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Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Capgemini Group

Do You Want to Solve your Problem, and get paid?

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If you read the Henry Chesbrough article on Open Innovation in the winter 2006/7 MIT Sloan business school review then you can’t help, but think he identified the problem for the IT industry. The basic premise was that in the golden past internal development costs for a new product were low, and the life cycle for the product was long with the resulting good profitability for those who got it right. The current situation is that development costs have gone up; dramatically, and at the same time product life cycles have decreased, answer a squeeze on profitability. He argues for the need to share the development process with others, and to find new ways to capitalise on the product through creating parallel routes to compensate for its short life. Henry Chesbrough has a particularly impressive record in the field of Open Innovation, may be even being the leader. You can explore his work more carefully here. However taking the lesson to heart I gained my further insight into this through the ‘open’ approach to research from reading ‘Wikinomics’; sub title ‘how mass collaboration changes everything’. This is not at first sight a killer of a book, after all seems a fairly obvious title and theme, but reading it carefully, as well as looking up the examples it features, makes it a very rewarding read. The current state of the IT industry seems to be driven by; either consolidation of vendors for good old commercial reasons that happen in all industries; or the purchase of start-ups to access their innovative product / technology. The possible alternative could be said to be Open Source, but let’s put this to one side for now. If you have the book then turn to page 97, and start reading, alternatively go to the two sites that are quoted as examples; http://www.innocentive.com/ and http://www.yet2.com/ . What you are looking at are two similar, but different sites that trade break through capabilities. Unfortunately only in limited areas primarily around science, where corporations can post their problem, individuals can offer an answer and get paid the going commercial rate. Actually, there is a lot more going on than just this, with some global enterprises running massive R&D operations also offering their unused patents as a method of recouping their running costs, etc, etc. Seems in IT it’s only IBM who are really making this pay, and to the tune of about $1 billion a year in licensing unused or lightly used patents. Makes you think about some of those interesting problems that need solving in department operations doesn’t it? Or may be about your useful script for…… Back to Open Source, and doing the work for the satisfaction, might be nice to get paid too! Anyone know of an equivalent site for the IT industry and the Technologists?

About the author

Andy Mulholland
Andy Mulholland
Capgemini Global Chief Technology Officer until his retirement in 2012, Andy was a member of the Capgemini Group management board and advised on all aspects of technology-driven market changes, together with being a member of the Policy Board for the British Computer Society. Andy is the author of many white papers, and the co-author three books that have charted the current changes in technology and its use by business starting in 2006 with ‘Mashup Corporations’ detailing how enterprises could make use of Web 2.0 to develop new go to market propositions. This was followed in May 2008 by Mesh Collaboration focussing on the impact of Web 2.0 on the enterprise front office and its working techniques, then in 2010 “Enterprise Cloud Computing: A Strategy Guide for Business and Technology leaders” co-authored with well-known academic Peter Fingar and one of the leading authorities on business process, John Pyke. The book describes the wider business implications of Cloud Computing with the promise of on-demand business innovation. It looks at how businesses trade differently on the web using mash-ups but also the challenges in managing more frequent change through social tools, and what happens when cloud comes into play in fully fledged operations. Andy was voted one of the top 25 most influential CTOs in the world in 2009 by InfoWorld and is grateful to readers of Computing Weekly who voted the Capgemini CTOblog the best Blog for Business Managers and CIOs each year for the last three years.

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