Urban Labs and Innovation
First of all I must apologize, I didn’t write in this
blog for long (besides my problems with ebay). In fact I have been pretty busy in the past months because of teaching, speeches, research and projects.
I hope I will be able to write about some of this stuff soon, but today I would like to comment a bit Urban Labs.
I was invited to give a keynote speech in the first session of Urban Labs (http://www.urbanlabs.net) that has been a very refreshing and engaging experience (thank a lot Vicens and Ramon!!).
It was really a pleasure to have the opportunity to engage in a conversation with so many friends coming from University, Open movements and Administration. However, the representation from companies was scare to say the least. This divide is characteristic from Spain – although much less in the Basque country – where industry still focus almost exclusively to the most traditional business models. There is a huge contrast with for example in North Europe where many times you find together people from companies and Open Movements and where mix models are more prevalent.
One of the enlightening surprises of the conference was how well known and well understood the Open Innovation ideas are. Of course, one could argue that after all we are talking about ideas that are more than half a decade old and that they are now entering into the “airport bookstore” level in the food chain. All this is obviously true, however I doubt that we can find the same level of understanding on the mechanics and motivation that drives Open Source or Open Platforms in the Spanish Business community, ideas that came from the same period if not older.
Also refreshing was the interest on new organizational structures and mix environments coming from the people working in the Administration. We don’t have yet a wide translation of coordination activities engrained into platforms, p2p production or Open movements in Administration and this is clearly an opportunity that must be taken. Still in Administration the coordination process is carried out by a management structure, effectively limiting participation, unnecessarily enlarging management, dividing citizens between the ones who manage and the ones who are managed and preventing contributions from the normal citizens that are not “professionals”. Administrations have a lot to learn from organizations like Amazon or Lego in ways to involve citizens and platforms that can carry on coordination in an open way. Finding people in the administration with the ambition to explore all that was certainly refreshing.
Also it was very nice the opportunity to talk lengthy with Michel Bauwens (http://www.p2pfoundation.net ) about p2p coordination models and their implications for innovation.
Congratulations to everybody for an event that situated the discussion beyond the repetition of what is already public domain and dare to explore novel approaches and new territories !!!! Companies – please put this event into your agendas, these are ideas worth to be incorporated as people like P&G, Amazon, Lego, IBM and many others show us on a daily basis.