The great inventor Leonardo Da Vinci contributed tremendously to advancements in the arts and sciences with his study and invention in fields including human anatomy, civil engineering and optics. His designs were so advanced that it was not even feasible to construct most of them during his lifetime.
Despite his great contribution, Da Vinci had the potential to be even more effective. The man was known for working in secret, writing and drawing in coded, unorganized notebooks most of which weren’t even published until hundreds of years after his death. In our modern society, where information moves in seconds, not decades, such research, requiring a team of project managers and linguists to sort and interpret, might likely end up in the trash. While big, future-oriented ideas certainly have their place, most companies would like to break through the many immediate challenges that are hindering them from progress.
Fortunately, in today’s ultra-competitive business landscape, innovation happens faster, smarter, and more efficiently than ever before. If an idea is generated in one country, it can, almost instantly, help a team with a similar challenge on the other side of the world. And that’s what open innovation is all about – speeding up the flow and increasing the value of ideas.
Benjamin Franklin, inventor of a gamut of practical items from the bifocal to the lightning rod was motivated by finding ways to help people live better. His inventions were current, practical and relevant – the kind that are still valuable today. But even he had plenty of leisure time to spend in contemplation while making long, slow journeys across the Atlantic by boat.
Most modern companies don’t want to pay their research team to sit in solitude for days on end contemplating an R&D challenge. Fortunately, there’s a better way. Rather than sitting in solitude, talented minds can work together, sharing experiences, brainstorming, challenging each other and working together to form ideas and solutions significantly faster than they would be able to as individuals.