(Strategy Goal) Open source enabling innovation
Innovation is the practical implementation of ideas that result in the introduction of new goods or services or improvement in offering goods or services.
— Schumpeter, Joseph A.
Open-source can be a key factor for innovation through diversity, collaboration and a fluent exchange of ideas. People from different backgrounds and domains may have different perspectives and provide new, improved or even disruptive answers to known problems. One can enable innovation by listening to different views and actively promoting open collaboration on projects and topics.
Similarly, participating in the elaboration and implementation of open standards is a great promoter of good practices and ideas to improve the company's daily work. It also allows the entity to drive and influence innovation to where and what it needs and enhances its global visibility and reputation.
Through innovation, open-source makes it possible not only to transform the goods or services that your company markets but also to create or modify the whole ecosystem in which your company wants to thrive.
As an example, by releasing Android as open-source, Google is inviting hundreds of thousands of companies to build up their own services based upon this open-source technology. Google is thus creating a whole ecosystem from which all participants could benefit. Of course, very few companies are powerful enough to create an ecosystem by their own decision. But there are many examples of alliances between companies to create such an ecosystem.
It is important to assess the position of your company compared with its competitors and its partners and customers because it would often be risky for a company to drift too far away from the standards and technologies used by its customers, partners and competitors. Innovation obviously means being different, but what differs should not represent too large a scope; otherwise, your company would not benefit from the software developments made by the other companies of the ecosystem and from the business momentum the ecosystem provides.
- Level 1: I have identified the technologies and the open-source communities that develop the technologies that have an impact on my business
- Level 2: I closely monitor the progress and publications of these open source communities; I am even aware of their strategy before the releases are made public
- Level 3: I am a member of (some of) these open source communities and influence their roadmaps and technical choices by contributing lines of codes and participating in the governance bodies of these communities.
Out of all the technologies that are necessary to run your business, you should identify:
- the technologies that could be the same as your competitors
- the technologies that should be specific to your company