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Notes from KM Asia 2005: Part I: John Seely Brown

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My notes / scribbles from KM Asia 2005. I will post it in 4 parts (John Seely Brown, Larry Prusak, Dave Snowden, Euan Semple)
Disclaimer: these are really scribbles – jotted down on the back of the handouts!

Accelerating innovation through knowledge management: Dr. John Seely Brown

Legendary John Seely Brown argued how today’s organizations falls into the competency trap and focus on developing a product family rather than identifying new patterns. JSB

With the mind blowing example of Clipper ships Vs Steam-Powered ships, JSB demonstrated how companies walk down into the deadly spiral of ‘incremental-innovation’ or improvement instead of identifying new pattern and innovating completely new paradigm.

JSB’s antidotes:
Shifting from managing continuity to managing discontinuity by

  • Sensing the edge (looking around) at the edge of your enterprise, industry, region, generation
  • Learning to see and learning to unlearn.
  • Rethinking the very nature of the firm and competitive strategy

Sensing the edge will not come (only) from internally from the organization, rather the next wave of business innovation will come from the knowledge ecosystem (including partners, users/consumers and competitors!) or extelligence. JSB provided plenty of examples (In-Q-Tel, Goldcorp, P&G etc.) to demonstrate the knowledge ecosystem in action in organizations.

Why ‘ex-telligence’? Seeing (the new ‘edge’) is harder than it might appear. Many organizations falls into the trap of ‘incremental’ innovation and miss out the cue of completely ‘new-new’ things. In an era of rapid change we must also shift our focus to the edge and transition from managing our stocks of knowledge to participating in flows.

Introduction from the KM Asia website

Technology continues to play a large role in the way business is being conducted. The most obvious impact that technology has had on business is its effect on the speed of globalisation and the way businesses compete at innovation – both process and product innovation. Today, innovation is no longer a closed game. The key to innovation is understanding ways to couple ecosystems together, to harness the innovative spirit in process networks of ODMs, and more generally how to amplify both your own talent and the talent of others outside your enterprise. All these are variants of the new thrust of open innovation.

This presentation will discuss how the only sustainable edge companies have is to accelerate capability building through new kinds of open process networks. Such networks turn crucially on the use of social software, social network analyses and some new knowledge management techniques for growing thrust.

  • Importance of productive friction and dynamic specialisation in innovation
  • Building distinctive capabilities at a rate faster than competitors
  • Knowledge-based bootstrapping: Learning from and with each other in order to get better and faster
  • New technologies for enhancing corporate memory

Written by anol

November 2nd, 2005 at 5:48 am

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