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This article touches on developments in collaborative research and development efforts. It examines key areas where the effects and opportunities where R&D has most influence: • Collaborative spaces and remote collaboration • Collaboration with clients and suppliers • Cross border collaboration and emerging labour relations • Public policies & Public/Private issues • New legal frameworks & intellectual property • Open Source collaboration • New institutional setups • Emerging markets for R&D
Conclusions demonstrate that the broad thrust of innovation is now collaborative, distributed and less proprietary and this is felt most in knowledge-based industries. For enterprises that wish to remain at the cutting edge, it is the management and discovery of innovation both within and outside the company that are critical. Companies need to make spaces to collaborate internally and with their stakeholders whilst expanding into outsourcing, partnering and purchasing research and development capacity. Introduction R&D is moving away from the research laboratories of large companies in Europe and the US. New innovations and technologies can arise from anywhere in the world and they are more likely to be born from open networks and collaboration than rolled out of a single institution. Organisations now have little choice but to seek open collaboration – it is a choice of 'Go it alone versus Go it together', as Robert Rycroft puts it1. Innovation in isolation is no longer a palatable option in the face of increasingly competitive innovation and mounting knowledge opportunity costs. Collaborative efforts are responsible for an increasing number of patents and publications and these relationships are also constructed and operate across borders. Figure 1 shows this increasing reach Figure 1 of international co-authorship and the dramatic effects of new media and new communications. 2 Technological advances have made remote collaboration much easier with personal communication links improved while legal and financial transactions are more certain and more secure. Knowledge and information are now easily stored and exchanged, it is their management that is the barrier to fully opening up new learning networks. With these opportunities there are new complexities. These are the emerging frontiers of innovation -
Robert Rycroft (2003) Self-Organizing Innovation Networks: Implications for Globalization, , Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University. 2 National Science Board and the National Science Foundation. Science and Engineering Indicators 2004 Chapter 5, Figure 5-40 Showing the number of articles with at least one foreign co-author as a share of the total number of articles from the region or country
pushed by new technologies, and redrawn by globalisation. Where there are new policies, legal frameworks, work relationships and ethics, there are also changing markets, institutional setups and relationships with clients and suppliers. This is a developing taxonomy of collaboration with which to understand and recalibrate innovation networks. Few organisations managed a complete transition to more open innovation patterns and a flexible R&D infrastructure, however an emerging class of leading companies is succeeding. Those that have built up experience in this area have been labelled “complexity masters”3 – organisations that can maintain multiplex knowledge interfaces and connections between innovation and R&D; sourcing, manufacturing, and delivery; marketing, sales, and after-sales service.4 Crossing the frontiers of innovation requires a commitment to a comprehensive effort which can open and improve the channels where ideas flow.
Collaborative spaces and online tools Collaboration tools are now ubiquitous on computer desktops. The open up collaborative spaces for the discussion, development, evaluation and dissemination of research and ideas. Web and email are ubiquitous while tools for conferencing, publication and filesharing are only a directory away. Each new upgrade, version release and office productivity package brings further opportunities for reliable knowledge sharing while producing challenges for user training. A current survey of European scientists5 shows that up to 57% are using newsgroups in their work – networking systems for identifying and commenting on research publications and findings; 52% use FTP to post files - for sharing and electronic publication. They are almost universally using the web – locating papers, colleagues and initiatives - compared to the 56% who are sharing and accessing information locally through their intranet. Almost without exception, European scientists are using email – the foundation of rapid collaboration – however their performance with slightly newer technologies shows that little progress has been made across the board. Only 8% use virtual conferencing tools while around 10% use virtual environments and advanced groupware for marshalling and managing knowledge. There is room for improvement. Corporate use of technologies is more encouraging. There is a greater acceptance of recent software which positively affects co-operation. Research on Instant Messaging use6 within AT&T shows that it enables team collaboration and finds that: • The main use of workplace instant messaging is for complex work discussions. • Collaborators use instant messaging for a range of interdependent activities. • Coordinators have short, single-purpose conversations, often to schedule interactions in another medium. • Instant messaging is a good entry point for collaboration, supports complex collaboration tasks and builds organisational capacity and the potential for full-scale collaboration. Weblogs enable fresh information to be delivered at a wider level for customers, teams and suppliers7: • 500 IBM employees use blogs to collaborate on software development projects and business strategies in more than 30 countries. • 850 blogs and 1,300 link to a weblog maintained by a Microsoft product marketing manager which generates regular feedback to his blog from customers on how to improve Microsoft products.
4 5 6
Mastering Innovation: Exploiting Ideas for Profitable Growth, Deloitte (2004) p.1 Executive summary Mastering Innovation: Exploiting Ideas for Profitable Growth, Deloitte (2004) p.10
Internet for R&D, SIBIS, December 2003 p.52 Instant Messaging introduces complex collaboration Martin Langham, IT Director March 2004 7 It's a Blog World After All, Jena McGregor Fast Company April 2004
• At Hartford Financial Services there are 40 technology managers who use blogs for troubleshooting agents´ technology problems in the field. Virtual web spaces are allowing opportunities for innovation, idea generation and peer management. For example, Mondi – a leader in the paper and packaging industry and subsidiary of Anglo American – has a centralised team that manages the harvesting, sharing, evaluation and development of innovation8. Their web-based system, called the Innovation Zone, allows a space where ideas can be shared and improved by employees, accessible in a knowledge base until they can be developed by the company or spun off as independent initiatives. The Innovation Zone is creating a culture where ideas can flourish, such as: radio frequency identification (RFID) chips for supply chain tracking and a low cost protective packaging solutions to challenge the dominance of polystyrene.
Collaboration with clients and suppliers Product cycles are growing shorter and there is increasing pressure on the expedition of R&D. At the same time there are not enough examples of improvement in communications between companies, their clients and suppliers. Recent statistics from Deloitte9 show that: • Companies are shortening the time to market for new products from an average of more than 18 months in 1998 to less than 13 months in 2007. • By 2010, products representing more than 70 percent of today’s sales will be defunct. • Only 13 percent of executives say they collaborate extensively with customer on new product designs. • A third of all companies do not collaborate with suppliers to improve production processes. Reverse innovation10 is possible in listening and learning organisations that are internally and externally connected from the laboratories to the shopfloor. All relationships should be interrogated to solicit ideas and improvements while partnerships with suppliers and connections with customers should allow for more and more of their input and feedback on the research and development of products. The example of Natura in Brazil is striking11: • 40 percent of the company's revenues are derived from products introduced within the last two years. Natura achieved this result with an R&D staff of about 150 and a budget totalling only 3 percent of net income. • New product ideas can be quickly tested in the market and immediate customer feedback can easily be obtained with its network of over 200,000 direct sales consultants - most of whom order and give feedback over the internet. The close relationships between customers, consultants, and also promoters can reveal what type of reception a product will receive within a week! At Dow Chemicals12 there is also a system of reverse innovation. The company first approaches customers and asks them to make a wish list of products or technical characteristics. This guaranteed demand allows the company to innovate to order. Its laboratories were able to respond to a request for a natural soft-stretch fibre from manufacturers and the resulting product – XLA – has the potential to deliver sales of $300 million by 2012. Cross border collaboration Transnational companies have good experience in managing crossborder relationships while regional marketplaces, such as within the European Community, have normalised these transactions. Offshoring and outsourcing of R&D is now an attractive option with advantages in
Mastering Innovation: Exploiting Ideas for Profitable Growth, Deloitte (2004) p.9 Mastering Innovation: Exploiting Ideas for Profitable Growth, Deloitte (2004) p.3
Inventing To Order, Lois Lavelle, Business Week June 2004 What Developing-World Companies Teach Us About Innovation, Donald N. Sull, Alejandro Ruelas-Gossi, and Martin Escobari. HBS Working Knowledge, January 2004 12 Inventing To Order, Lois Lavelle, Business Week June 2004
labour costs, adjusting for local skills shortages and balancing global market needs. At the frontier of the open innovation paradigm, figures show a ready basis for extending international research participation, partnerships and collaboration13: • European firms have the highest proportion of R&D abroad (about 30 percent) – much in other European countries. • About 10-12 percent of U.S. R&D and about 10 percent of Japanese R&D has been internationalised. • Around 15 percent of patents granted in the U.S. are generated by foreign subsidiaries of multinational enterprises. • The share of patents generated by foreign MNC subsidiaries in Europe is about 30 percent. • The most internationalised patenting takes place in older manufacturing sectors such as food and paper products, while the least internationalisation is in more complex sectors like semiconductors.
Figure 2: Comparison of timezones New York California 09.00 Friday 09.00 Friday Shanghai* 21.00 Fri 00.00 Sat Bangalore* 18.30 Fri 21.30 Fri Johannesburg* 15.00 Fri 18.00 Fri São Paulo* 10.00 Fri 13.00 Fri
* Times vary by minus one hour October-March
New York 17.00 Friday 05.00 Sat 02.30 Sat 23.00 Fri 18.00 Fri
California 17.00 Friday 08.00 Sat 05.30 Sat 02.00 Sat 21.00 Sat
Major factors that are influencing the shape of this cross border collaboration are the complexities of managing outsourcing itself and frameworks for intellectual property. The decision to outsource has been eased by the growth of instant communications and the work of path breaking institutions which have led to better expertise, more outsourcing providers and a culture of collaboration. Intellectual property (IP) issues are influencing a counter-trend of less open institutions – inflexibility, red-tape and opaque patenting procedures influence the establishment of subsidiaries or full ownership in order to retain innovation 'in-house´.14 Physical distance is now considerably less of factor than timezones and these are a measure of the possibility of 'chasing the sunset' and round the clock research. The trend to stretch R&D worldwide is undeniable. UTStarcom is locating R&D activity outside the United States: it sells almost all of its products and services overseas. Currently the company has more than 1,400 engineers in China while it also has 150 engineers in India. Meanwhile, Alcatel raised its R&D investment in Shanghai to $100 million for work on thirdgeneration mobile infrastructure and applications as a part of a network of research centres worldwide and sharing a common system.15 Emerging labour relations Managing researchers entails working with highly intelligent employees, idea generators and dream makers. They are influenced by rites of passage16 – a PhD, a week in a laboratory, writing a thousand lines of code; peer review – from publications and journal articles to the SlashDot newsgroup; and incentives – such as solving interesting and do-able research problems. There is also a double sided edge to maintaining these human resources. From one side an organisation wants to recruit and headhunt the best researchers; meanwhile there is a concern for reducing brain drain. Knowledge management helps out by empowering corporate memory and touching the knowledge sharing ego.
Robert Rycroft (2002) Technology-Based Globalization Indicators: The Centrality of Innovation Network Data George Washington University p.5-6 14 The China Syndrome, Abe de Ramo, CFO Magazine (2003) 15 The China Syndrome, Abe de Ramo, CFO Magazine (2003) 16 Noriko Hara, Paul Solomon, Diane H. Sonnenwald, and Seung-Lye Kim (2001) An Emerging View of Scientific Collaboration UNC SILS Technical Report TR-2001-08
The issue of offshoring cannot easily be brushed over. It will be of increasing importance to the rational choices of employees for knowledge sharing and research co-operation and positive aspects need to be emphasised. Virtual spaces enable flexibility in location and telecommuting, a wider spread of work colleagues allows recognition and international peer, greater scale opens up resources such as unlimited access to scientific journals and databases. Such recognition, incentives and perks may also mean employees accept lower compensation17 or reassess IP regimes where ownership is shared between author and organisation. At the research company, Generics Group, engineers are paid to spend a subset of their time on personal projects that may be unrelated to their day to day work while Google's willingness to let every employee spend 20% of his or her time on an independent project is a similar motivator.18 It is estimated that Google has as many Ph.D.'s working for it as Microsoft, which is 30 times larger19 – an emphasis on a rite of passage, a belief at that creative people are fuelled by freedom to find problems and with the threat of losing talent to independent skunk works. Public policies In the 1970s the state retained a prime role in research and development – government institutions were often the customer, supplier, managed the R&D iself and even oversaw the production and distribution of the research outputs. With the shrinking of the public sector, privatisation and tercerização there few end-to-end solutions of this type. Around the world there remains strong public R&D in universities, education, heath and transport – while in the US it is the military that control the largest government research budgets. According to The Economist, between 1990 and 1996, American taxpayers paid out US$140 billion on R&D compared with US$70 billion in Europe. 20 Half of the US$140 billion of the public money spent on R&D in America was for defence research. Henry Chesborough praises the increase in private involvement: 'As government support for research declines, industry support has picked up the slack. This has shifted the research priorities of faculty towards problems of concern for industry. And it diffuses useful knowledge to society as a whole´21 This also means that leading companies now assume more responsibility for the common good. Meanwhile governments motivating and underwriting research through research bodies and agencies are acutely aware of these new relationships and, from the success of science parks in the USA nearly fifty years ago, have grappled with the physical interface and collaboration with the private sector. IP licensing companies and venture capital have also started to be accepted in public sector research to unlock much of the value tied up in intellectual property and to ensure that universities miss fewer opportunities for the commercial application of outputs. American universities received $1.1 billion in license income during 200022 and these funds represent both fruits of research unimaginable 50 years ago together a measure of financial independence for some university departments and research institutes. IP2IPO, a British intellectual property commercialisation firm made a US$36m investment in Oxford University's chemistry department23. The department produces 80 PhDs each year and $US18m in research income, with a growing stream of spin-outs. The university owns the IP rather than researchers and spin-outs now split their equity four ways: 30% to the investors, 20% to the management, 25% to the university and 25% to the academics who did the original
Olav Sorenson, Lee Fleming (2001) Science and the diffusion of knowledge, Anderson Graduate School of Management, HBS 18 Sparking the Fire of Invention, Evan I. Schwartz, Technology Review May 2004 19 What's Google's Secret Weapon? Randal Stross, New York Times, June 6 2004 20 Reinventing Europe, The Economist, September 2003 21 Meet Henry Chesborough, Philips, 04/2004 22 Reinventing Europe, The Economist, September 2003 23 Reinventing Europe, The Economist, September 2003
research. The department that fostered the research sees a direct payback, too, by receiving 15% of the university's profit when it sells its stake. Similar deals are underway with other universities although this encroachment of the private sector is not yet a global phenomenon and there are also strong countercurrents.
Public v Private issues In recent years there have been two contrary infringements on the public-private status quo in the field of biochemistry - the patenting of living organisms and the development of generic substitutes for patented drugs. The patenting of natural organisms or 'biopiracy' is a divisive international issue and for some it represents the symbolic theft of an indigenous nation's or nation state's property – for instance plants from the Amazon are not patentable in Brazil but they are in Japan and the US – and from their exploitation for commercial ends. A symmetrical incursion is the development of generic AIDS drugs by Brazil. In fact, the triumvirate of Brazil, South Africa and India have been ignoring international patents in order to seek the lowest cost solutions for life-saving or epidemiologically significant medications. These are controversial and viable alternatives to the model of developed country Intellectual Property where countries with nascent innovation systems have to some extent set aside IP concerns to develop generic drugs solutions with the additional benefit of building innovation capability.24 Both examples bring up issues of how the frontiers of research encounter both collaboration and confrontation. They also demonstrate that public-private interfaces extend beyond state and industry and touch on public goods and the commons where patent law encounters changing ethical and practical considerations. Patent laws may not be flexible enough to survive unaltered. New legal frameworks & intellectual property Intellectual property claims are now more likely challenged in the online court of public opinion25 - blogs, newsgroups, file sharing applications and chat rooms - than in the courts. The internet has made copying quicker and currently there is a large amount of physical collaboration in undermining Intellectual Property through the channels of peer-to-peer networks file sharing networks like EDonkey, transfers such as BitTorrent and more recently through instant messenger software. It might seem that copyright, software rights and patents are under co-ordinated attack however they are also not fully calibrated to the reality of lithe internet. For example, when the Harry Potter book Order of the Phoenix was released, German fans translated the 766 page book on community forum Harry-auf-Deutsch that was sanctioned by the German Publisher and then removed.26 Meanwhile the Brazilian Portuguese unofficial translation was available for download at the website HpBr.Net but removed after agents threatened legal action while the official translation took six months to arrive.27 The resolution of these conflicts of interests lies in the codification of intellectual property and in the ongoing development of open collaboration. In this light, copyright and software licenses have be reinvented with the idea of open collaboration in mind. Creative Commons license and the General Public License codify intellectual property according to its end use and at the instigation of its authors. They allow reuse of the work according to categories such as author attribution, no derivative works and only noncommercial use. Patents are currently beyond collaborative alternatives such as Creative Commons and GPL however they are under attack in the court of public opinion – especially those specified too wide that represent intentional blocks to competition: Bountyhunter helped renogotiate Amazon's One-Click payment
An open-source shot in the arm? The Economist Technology Quarterly Siobhán O’Mahony (2003) Understanding the Costs of Being Closed in a World of Cumulative Innovation, Harvard Graduate Paper p.5 26 Germans Just Wild About Harry, Steve Kettman, Wired, Jul 14, 2003 27 http://blogalization.org/community/comments.php?id=P814_0_1_0_C
system28; EFF29 is attacking Acceris for its patent on 'ways to make telephone calls over the internet'; perhaps the Kanisa patent for 'core knowledge management automation technology' a grandiose form of document summarisation30. Open Source collaboration Open source is now an established model for innovative product development. It means that the content, substance or code of any application is open to view, improve, extend, customise or share within the author's rules. Institutions are free to participate and build on components and applications as much as individuals. Yochai Benkler, law professor at Yale University gives a precise technical definition of 'non-proprietary peer-production of information-embedding goods´,31 however it also implies a research and development process that is collaborative and most likely virtual. Open source research can also have an impact in other fields and disciplines, for instance in biomedical research and also on the generic drugs example above. Open source research is relevant to the exploitation of non-patentable compounds, drugs whose patents have expired and in developing treatments for diseases that afflict small numbers of people, such as Parkinson's disease, or are found mainly in poor countries, such as malaria. In these last cases, there is not a large enough market of paying customers to encourage large commercial organisations to develop a commercial solution and where there are a number of international and connected researchers then this open source model is replicable32. This gives support to larger international development of open innovation in biotechnology. Open source software explifies collaborative and open innovation. It is having a serious impact both on the US$90 billion software market with more and more widely recognisable brands for example: Linux (34% of web servers), Apache (67% of web servers33), OpenOffice, ITRON Kernel34, Netscape & MySQL. These collaborative efforts have themselves spurned innovations in software production such as current versioning systems (CVS) which give a transparent view of the developing code. They are provoking innovation and building brand and reputation through encouraging user customisation and extending capabilities by encouraging plugins and modules. George Dafermos has examined the management of open source production and found virtual networked organisations where geographically dispersed knowledge workers could virtually collaborate for a project with barely any central planning and co-ordination.35 The project focus is central and brings together hundreds, thousands of collaborative authors of the code, implementers, members from a global community, industry and end users - to generate massive knowledge and exploit it in an extremely effective way. There are a number of striking elements of these networked projects that highlight the interface between innovation, collaboration and participation: • They rely heavily on web tools as modes of communication with automated communications archives, mailing lists & wikis. • A large user base specifies requirements, participates in design reviews, beta testing and implementation of new systems. • Source code and other artefacts are available to customers – for them to identify issues earlier in the project lifecycle and to create feel a greater sense of ownership.
BountyQuest Revisited: The Coin Has Two Sides, Nancy Lambert, Info Today, April 2001 The Electronic Freedom Foundation 30 U.S. Patent # 6 711 585 entitled "System and method for implementing a knowledge management system" 31 An open-source shot in the arm? The Economist Technology Quarterly 32 An open-source shot in the arm? The Economist Technology Quarterly 33 Netcraft 2004 34 3 billion installations 1984-2004 35 George N. Dafermos (2001) Management and Virtual Decentralised Networks: The Linux Project First Monday, v6 n11
• More than 50% of open source developers participate in two or more projects and another 10% participate in 10 or more. • Archiving as much of the development process as possible protects a team's knowledge base, in the event of participant drop-out and sickness, while automatically logging of on the system captures and transfers knowledge.36 New institutional setups Each innovation frontier contributes an institutional possibility and part of a combination of solutions yet requires a context. A public-private ultra high speed optical data network like Projeto Giga is a means of connecting research institutions throughout Brazil – an 'open laboratory' as Communications Minister, Eduardo Campos, put it. The Rede Nacional de Pesquisa says that the network already connects 17 institutions and will allow virtual collaboration between a total of 46 institutions in 15 states.37 Hybrid organisations are also more common and are indicative of the open innovation model. It requires a number of types of institution to mobilise a research project. A recent example has been a post 911 military project – The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT. It involves 8 Academic departments, 6 international companies, 5 Small Enterprise partners, 3 Army research institutions and open participation from the public with annual Soldier Design Competition . Outputs range from armour to waterproofing to an artificial liver.38 The far frontier of innovation seems to suggest open research networks of virtual partnerships working at distance on projects with short horizons producing re-useable knowledge. Henry Chesborough sees it as managing a business ecosystem - selectively investing in a portfolio of academic research, venture capital, spin-outs, spin-ins and R&D alliances to obtain maximum leverage.39 Knowledge is distributed widely within organisations yet often R&D opportunities are created outside and in the market place. This implies stronger cultivation of innovation within and better market intelligence to identify innovative threats, new opportunities and targets such start-ups and product trends. The buying and selling of innovation becomes an integral business process and the development of effective markets will clarify and smooth the path to dealing in new intellectual assets. Emerging markets for R&D The advent of virtual auctions, online showrooms and secure transactions and communications has allowed the design of online spaces where IP and ideas can be showcased and purchased. This commoditisation runs parallel with the growing participation of industry, the public research and venture capital which have pushed research and development further into the market place. It is a fast maturing environment where market spaces are entering a consolidation phase of acquisition and mergers and poor competitors are closing down. Three models are apparent: (1) All on one service. This service includes a contacts database, a matching service for seekers and providers, submission of RFQs together with management of the project and payment process. NineSigma and CanBioTech are good examples (2) Shop window or auction. This model openly displays technology wants and needs according to the areas where expertise is sought. The range of sites varies from highly speculative – NewIdeaTrade.com to more specific, for instance Yet2.com - Internet ‘dating service' for IP users and providers. Finally there are sites with an extremely tight industry focus like PharmaLicensing.Com. (3) Reward or, challenge. These are usually biotechnology and pure science sites that offer a bounty for those who solve a problem or challenge posted on the site in exchange for the
Firms can improve success rate by learning from open source software development, Liz Barret , Carey E Schwaber Computer Weekly June 2004 37 http://www.rnp.br/pd/giga/ 38 http://web.mit.edu/isn/ 39 Henry Chesbrough (2003) Open Platform Innovation: Creating Value from Internal and External Innovation Intel / Haas School of Business
intellectual property rights of the innovation. Innocentive is a market leader and is underwritten by Eli Lilly and with the strong participation of Procter and Gamble plus Dow and BASF.
Figure 3 demonstrates the volume and breakdown of supply and demand for technologies at Yet2.com. It shows significant demand for manufacturing, chemical and materials technologies while there is a tenfold oversupply across the board. Innovation and expectation are imbalanced and this is a healthy situation for venture capital. The patterns, diversity and limitations of these examples show that markets for R&D remain underdeveloped and without the symmetry for evaluating and pricing. They are good for dealing with an innovation as a definable unit or technique and can also mediate when pricing a knowledge enterprise yet these existence of three different models reveals an underlying incoherence. Innovation markets are part of the future and the experience of the present is helping to shape them. Conclusions Smaller and more incremental innovations are arising at the same time as a flood of patent applications. There is a rush to claim intellectual property whilst advancements are not uniformly significant and institutional frameworks are moving at a slow pace. Open innovation has not been institutionalised in the legal apparatus nor fully adopted through large enterprises yet it is integral to venture capital markets and future business development strategies. The broad thrust of innovation is now collaborative, distributed and less proprietary and it is felt most in knowledge based industries. For enterprises that wish to remain at the cutting edge, it is the management and discovery of innovation both within and outside the company that are critical. Companies need to make spaces to collaborate internally and with their stakeholders while expanding into outsourcing, partnering and purchasing R&D capacity and outputs.
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