Last week I made a short presentation at the Philips Innovations Services, a new consultancy wing of the company. I applied for an innovation consultant job with this group, even went to the interview, but failed to get the job; I guess, all my ‘people research’ and ‘future studies’ experience are too soft for this still hard-core technology driven company. Of course, they use all the appropriate buzz-words of these days in their leaflets, like ‘end-user driven innovation’, ‘consumer insights’ or ‘customer satisfaction’, but deep down this is still a company of engineers and scientists, and the approaches used the humanities keep escaping their understanding.
But never mind, thanks to these conversations they got somewhat interested in what I can do for them and with them, and as a first small step we agreed to run this presentation. I used some of the slides from my earlier talk at MindTrek in Finland, but also added a lot of new things specifically related to ‘people-driven innovation’. The triggering point was a study by Erik van Hippel from MIT Sloan (I wrote about this work a while ago – see Dark matter of innovation), but to understand this point I first had to present an entire spectrum of people involvement into business-driven innovation:
I bet that although some of the part and pieces of this spectrum were familiar to the audience (there were about ten consultants in the room), its totality, the whole framework was a new thing. And so was an entire ‘people-driven’ part, which I juxtaposed to business approaches; here I followed the binary logic by van Hippel (as well as many others, of course, Pyramid to Pancakes would by just one example). Some of the examples, lille an open source biotech or community-driven genetic research, triggered quite a discussion.
But my own story was very different from the usual take on these examples; I argued that we shouldn’t get stuck in the neurotic fights between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, between business-driven vs people-driven approaches, but rather construct a more holistic and integrated approach (and corresponding practices), of multiple role and position. Alas, integrated things don’t sell very well.
Anyway, the slides can be found at Win novation or wikinnovation . There are a couple of points I didn’t manage talk about, like the whole Transactional Analysis by Eric Berne, but I decided to leave them.