The Rx for Change?

February 28, 2011 By Aminda

Extensive content has been written about barriers to open innovation faced by companies. It’s said that leaders just need to change their mindset, change their vision, change their organizational structure. All the good advice and direction can be more overwhelming than the thought of implementing open innovation in the first place.

An article about crowdsourcing posted by American Medical News makes an interesting observation that might apply to any business leader debating the implementation of an open innovation strategy.

“The words ‘I don’t know’ are three very powerful words,” said Howard Luks, MD, an associate professor for orthopedic surgery at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y. Dr. Luks said the more physicians are able to admit what they don’t know and seek the help of others, the better it will be for themselves and patients.

Think about your business. What benefits, for both employees and customers, could come about if the culture allowed all parties to admit, “I don’t know”, and freely seek help from whatever source necessary.

That said, the AMN article did caution physicians about networks that were too open, in other words, open to people without medical credentials who can get off topic or present answers that are not factual. The same can apply to businesses, who want to wisely choose partners.

Both doctors and businesses will also be more comfortable accepting outside help if they have done their due diligence from a legal perspective. For doctors this means using judgment when deciding how much patient information can be shared without compromising privacy. For businesses, it means creating a game plan for dealing with copyright and patent issues that arise from using innovation partners.

Doctors regularly have to prescribe treatments that may be uncomfortable, just like implementing change can be a rough process for a business. However, the long term benefits can be just what the doctor ordered.

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