Michael Hay

HDS OPEN INNOVATION: An Operational Definition

Blog Post created by Michael Hay Employee on Jun 12, 2013

While we've started several healthy and solid discussions and questions on this topic I figured I'd take the time to synthesize the discussions and thinking into something more succinct and consumable.


Cris Danci inaugurated the site with a great question/discussion entitled: How do you define Innovation? A starting point.....  There were many contributors to the discussion including Nicholas Howe, Lauren Klein , Tony Cerqueira, Renu Bhatt, Janet Hutchison, and myself (Michael Hay).  Within this discussion there were topics related to brain processing, reflections on openness/open source, references to the proper dictionary definition of innovation, citations of what CSC thinks, etc.  Throughout all of it Cris did an excellent job of curating the conversation!


I also provided a question/discussion thread entitled Open Innovation. There Taizo Hori, Lauren Klein , Tony Cerqueira and Nicholas Howe added in their own color commentary which covered ideas about crowdsourcing, authenticity, social leadership, and bi-directional "game changing" innovations.


Tracing through all of the threads in both discussions I think that Cris said it best:


"I don't think there is one key single definition, just a set of core ideas on what makes something an innovation.   I'm looking forward to getting other views on their definitions and Michael Hay's definition of open innovation." Cris Danci


Moreover there were calls to create an operational definition for those participating in the community to push on, provide alternatives to, etc.  Therefore what I'd like to suggest is the following: I'll start off by including a succinct and to the point definition for the HDS Community, yet I'll call for alternatives or modifications.  After say 1-2 weeks we'll distill these down into options and vote on which one(s) make the most sense and fit our aspirations.


HDS Open Innovation - Starts with open access to various programs, both nascent and mature, designed to engage with general community surrounding HDS, and leads to a tangible result with material benefits for more than just the instigator of the activity.


In closing, yeah I know there's Q&A below, I do want to personally reflect on the recent keynote session at Apple's WWDC.  Specifically, I left feeling that Apple's done something magical and I want to coin a phrase for it: Apple has made Innovation about us.  By that I mean it is what we do with their tools that gets them and I would say us excited.  Sure they've reshaped markets in a single day and innovated experiences like the AppStore, yet it is what we do with their tools that can really make the next important innovation possible.  In fact case and point, here I am authoring this blog post on a MacBook Pro defining HDS Open Innovation if that's not full circle I don't know what is.  So for all of the pundits and critics who sit on the sideline critiquing Apple or another organization for not being innovative, well I'd like to say that you're a part of the innovation cycle.  So step up an participate, but don't just sit on the sideline and criticize.



Qualifications + Q&A:

  1. Do benefits need to be open/transparent?
    • Short answer: It depends.
    • Long answer:  Since the Open Innovation activity might be between two (or more) companies leading to a revolutionary offering sharing the outcome may be in the cards, then again the parties may agree to keep it closed.  An example of this could be working with the US Government on technologies that are specific to them which benefit all citizens yet cannot be made open to the public.  At the opposite end of the spectrum we could initiate a project that starts, progresses and completes transparently and in the open.  Therefore it depends and I don't think we want to assume either approach is "in" or "out."
  2. What happens if something fails?
    1. Short answer: Fast failing is a key part of learning and therefore essential for Open Innovation to occur.
    2. Long answer: Failing isn't a bad thing especially with the realization that only 1 in 10 efforts are likely to succeed.  It was clear in the discussions that we will need to tolerate failures for the purposes of learning.  Moreover, I think that even if something fails we may want to open up the results -- assuming the parties innovating agree to that -- so someone else can imagine other outcomes.  After all there is a saying that one man's trash is another's treasure and I think that could be true for Open Innovation as well, but in a slightly different way. So fast failing, with the ideal of opening the failure for all to see, is key
  3. Can Open Source be a part of HDS Open Innovation?
    1. Answer: Yes
  4. I've seen some reference to running Open Innovation tracks/programs.  What are they?
    1. Answer:  We have several tracks which are running now and some have been running for many many years.  They include:
      1. Annual Customer Studies - Last year we went on a tour that spanned 15 countries around the world and included qualitative discussions with around 40 customers.  Our topic was Content and Information, and there were some enlightening results.  The year before we did the study with a different focus, Infrastructure/Platform, and visited around the same number of customers.  I suspect that this year we will plan on extending this program to include other key interviewers around the globe and of course select questions will be on the Community as well masquerading as blog posts, polls, discussions and questions.  Our customer study program has a broad impact on our long term directions
      2. Annual Hitachi Technical Council sessions - In many of our geographies we run a 1-2 day session connecting engineering, researchers, executives and planners at HDS with our user base.  This provides an opportunity for our customers to interact with one another and have a direct impact on our current roadmaps.
      3. Early Access Program - Increasingly we're experimenting on the bleeding edge with new things.  JDSU is one example and there are several others running now as well -- we cannot spill all of our beans now can we -- our aim with this program is to open the door for our customers and partners to consume emerging offerings, co-develop and figure out what routes to market, if any, make sense.
      4. Access to our Research Centers - Hitachi has been expanding research access and footprints around the globe and a key part of their emerging charter is to open their portfolio and thinking more intimately to the markets served by Hitachi.  To make real progress we're focusing on access to the Hitachi Research Centers in our Santa Clara, CA US Headquarters and our research centers in Japan through our Executive Briefing Center program.  So please inquire about access through the EBC.
      5. Developer Network - Increasingly our products are offering user facing APIs that can be consumed so our users, partners, ISVs and community members can build and integrate their own applications.  Already the Hitachi Developer Network has the group called the The specified item was not found. and the overarching site on the Community will grow over time.  (NOTE: I've also noticed the Ab de Kwant has been uploading sample code for interacting with HCP.)