June 23, 2008

McKinsey on Open Innovation

McKinsey Quarterly has an article this month entitled “The next step in open innovation.” (User registration required)

It’s mainly about user innovation — not (to quote Jerry Seinfeld) that there’s anything wrong with that. After all, user and open innovation are two facets of the same process. But it recites a lot of the same open source/user innovation linkages that have been made for years, without, for example, talking about more direct linkages (and differences) between open source and open innovation.

Reena Jana is down on the article because some of the trends seem stale. I think that might be a little unfair, because she can get her work published online in 24 hours (and in paper within a week) while a journal of McKinsey probably has a lead time like months or even a year.

The article gets the concepts of open innovation out to an audience that might not know much about it, and also mentions two of the three open innovation books and von Hippel’s latest user innovation book. I think if someone had read one of the dozens of previously-published open innovation articles, there might not be a lot that’s new. Apparently this is one of the few free articles on the website, intended to generate interest in the Quarterly’s premium content (like last summer’s article on user-generated content).

3 comments:

Jeffrey Tobias said...

I agree. I was disappointed with the depth and quality of the article.

Ash Seha said...

I think there's a tendency for those of us who work in the Open Innovation space to believe that the market is more mature than it is. Certain sectors, such as food and CPG, are marked by quite mature thinking about open innovation, owing to the early efforts of P&G and others. In other sectors, most companies have been exposed to the notion of OI, but are only now beginning to embrace it as an important part of their innovation strategies. For companies such as those, the McKinsey article was probably at the right level...

Joel West said...

Ash, you raise a good point. I still think the article could be a little more fresh and original, but of course there are people out there for whom this might be the first exposure to the concepts.