September 9, 2009

Silicon Valley technology sourcing

More than 15 years ago, when I was helping to start a software trade association in San Diego we flew up to study the Software Developer‘s Forum. Today SDForum is helping foster solutions to technical and business problems across a wide range of industries.

Next week, on Sept. 18 SDForum is hosting something it calls its “Second Annual Open Innovation and Corporate Research Fair.” The event is being held at Techmart, next to the Santa Clara Convention Center. Since I didn’t go to the first, I wasn’t sure how this year’s session relates to the definition of open innovation or whether it even would count.

The program has keynotes from EMC, Forbes, IBM and Nokia Research. So far, it sounds like yet another Silicon Valley conference. However, three hours in, there is a single one hour panel discussion
11:30am: Panel Discussion: "Open Innovation in Practice"
Panelists will discuss how large high-tech corporations source technologies from outside developers explain how partnerships are formed, technology acquisition and transfer deals are structured.
OK, so here “open innovation” is being used as a synonym for “buying outside technology.”

Of course, that’s not the definition of open innovation. Still, there is a plausible enough overlap to use the buzzword.

It would be nice if someday the conference were to actually talk about open innovation in its totality — transforming how firms think about creating and commercializing innovations. But right now the term seems to be used mainly for big companies firing their R&D staff to outsource technology development or to rebrand existing university relations efforts.

1 comment:

Henry said...

Maybe such a conference needs to happen! Hmmmm.....