Inspiration: – Inventing the Future is Everybody’s Job

Posted on 27/06/2011


Polly LaBarre skriver på

When Larry Huston faced the challenge of revving Procter & Gamble’s innovation engine to contribute to $5 billion in annual topline growth, he opened up the ranks of the company’s vaunted R&D operation to some 1.8 million scientists and researchers around the globe.

When Rob McEwen desperately needed fresh ideas about where and how to drill for gold in his Red Lake mine, he shared his company’s proprietary data with thousands of potential prospectors, many of whom had no experience in the industry.

When, earlier this year, Iceland decided to craft an entirely new constitution in the wake of the breakdown of its financial system, the 25-person constitutional council decided to open the process to the public by publishing draft clauses and inviting (and later incorporating) comments and suggestions via a dedicated website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

It’s tempting to conclude that the era of the all-knowing leader with all the answers has given way to a productive populism in which the contribution flows freely to enrich and enliven institutions and individuals alike.

And it’s true that the whole world seems to have woken up to the notion that great ideas can come from anywhere (and anyone)–and that it’s impossible to predict where the next great one will come from (or to employ all the relevant talent in the world). Exhibit A: the surge of crowdsourcing, mass collaboration, co-creation, and open innovation initiatives seeking to channel those ideas and leverage that talent in every realm of endeavor.

But when it comes to taking those ideas and turning them into a comprehensive view of the future, a compelling set of priorities, and a genuinely involving and ongoing collaboration with a community of stakeholders, there aren’t many instructive models.

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Posted in: Inspiration