OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Defining Open Innovation

In my mind, true innovation is high risk and low probability, but the necessity for it outweighs all other factors.

Photo of John Bowditch
6 2

Written by

Defining Innovation first: In my mind, true innovation is high risk and low probability, but the necessity for it outweighs all other factors.  Failure is to be accepted and appreciated.

Defining Open Innovation: Often times, innovation is secretive, private, and heavily protected from often imaginary threats to ownership.  I have seldom seen disruptive innovation come from such restrictive setups.  Innovation requires openness and collaboration.  The problems that the world is facing are not secretive, private, or heavily protected.  They are "wide open" and most people can plainly see what they are.  Why do we often struggle to make possible solutions for these problems as "wide open" as possible?  Open Innovation requires selflessness.  The end result is more important than protecting someone's ego or potential financial gains. Open Innovation is also rare.  It is very hard to share, especially when you believe you have a ground breaking or innovative idea.  Unfortunately, most of the hardest problems facing our species in the future will only be conquered with open and collaborative solutions.

If you'd like your name to appear in our report on open innovation, please include it below as you'd like it to appear.

John Bowditch, Athens, Ohio, USA


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mrinmoy Das

I think we the like minded people are engaged with the subject "Open Innovation" in action.

Photo of Brandon Drumm

You took the words out of my mouth. Thanks for saving me the time!

Photo of Helder Lima

Great definition, John. You are right when commenting on how we are going tackle the hardest problems without open innovation, climate change for instance.

Photo of John Bowditch

Thanks Helder!

Photo of Shane Zhao

Very interesting definition of open innovation John — in particular when it comes to your reference of high risk and low probability. You might also be curious to check out these two definitions: Open Innovation Thrives in Spaces of Juxtaposition and Bidirectional flow of ideas 

Photo of John Bowditch

I like the idea about juxtaposition.  When you combine an abstract thought with conventional problems in can be enlightening.  I find most people are unsettled by abstraction.  Why do you think that is?