Wednesday, December 10, 2003

HBS Working Knowledge... Sometimes success begins at failure
In this article, Henry Chesbrough discusses how apparent failures in inventions and new product development, have become astonishing successes. The history of Innovation is full of examples like Viagra. "It is time that companies anticipate the need to manage false negatives in their innovation processes and respond accordingly." The measures proposed by this article to cope with false negatives are:

- Review cancelled projects
- Expose projects to outsiders
- Seek external licenses
- Spin technologies off
- Seek external VC partners

I would add another measure which I think is very relevant:
- Channel diverse insight from the corporate social network to identify non evident applications for products and innovations.

Corporations can substantially improve their capacity to identify these opportunities when people across different functions contribute with their insight from different perspectives. Often, powerful concepts are discarded before they even get a chance of becoming a project. Leveraging the diversity of ideas and perceptions in the corporation, through open participation mechanisms as Idea Management, should be one of the first measures to consider.

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