Open Source Is Opening The Closed World Of Science And R&D.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on June 7, 2007

I spent a hundred years in grad school and basically live half my life in academic culture, so I know how closed scientific inquiry traditionally is. But new open source models are changing the model, opening it globally and perhaps making it more efficient as well. Peter Turner over at his Open Source blog highlights a new study—The Value of Openness in Scientific Inquiry—that makes the case for this. It’s by Karim R. Lakhani, Lars Bo Jeppesen, Peter A. Lohse & Jill A. Panetta from the Harvard Business School, Copenhagen Business School, and InnoCentive.com.


Let me quote from it:

“We present evidence of the efficacy of problem solving when disclosing problem information. The method’s application to 166 discrete scientific problems from the research laboratories of 26 firms is illustrated. Problems were disclosed to over 80,000 independent scientists from over 150 countries.

We show that disclosure of problem information to a large group of outside solvers is an effective means of solving scientific problems. The approach solved one-third of a sample of problems that large and well-known R & D-intensive firms had been unsuccessful in solving internally. Problem-solving success was found to be associated with the ability to attract specialized solvers with range of diverse scientific interests. Furthermore, successful solvers solved problems at the boundary or outside of their fields of expertise, indicating a transfer of knowledge from one field to others.”

The InnoCentive model, of course, matches scientists around the world with problems offered up by global corporations.

We now have two models for creativity: social networking and individual genius. Which suits your culture?

 

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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