The Single Biggest Mistake You Will Make in Open Innovation
by @ClintonBon – Clinton Bonner
I was staring at it again… my backyard. When I moved to Westbrook, CT we got a house with about 3/4 of an acre of land. My wife and I wanted to have kids, so getting a size-able yard “made sense”. Even though approximately 1/2 of the 3/4 was covered with trees, saplings, bushes, brush and other green stuff, I was confident that I would tackle the “wild” sooner than later and properly clear the backyard.
Seven years later, and I was staring at it … again. Nothing had changed, in fact, there was more brush and the saplings were significantly larger. On the first warm day of the year, and for those of us in the Northeast we know we waited a long time for warmth this year, I took my kids out to the backyard so they could romp around the way a 5.5 and 2.5 year old do. My son, the younger of the two, picked up a head of steam and went careening toward one of the large flat rocks that are strewn about my yard. He stumbled a bit, but regained his balance as he stood atop the flat, wide rock and then I noticed it. A piece of Bittersweet had grown (over time no doubt) horizontally against the rock and then jutted skyward leaving what was a nature-created spear sticking directly up into the air about 4″ high, and incredibly sharp. I slowly moved the kids away to another part of the yard and thought to myself, I need some sorta hatchet.
I went to a neighbor of mine who is a very handy fellow, and sure enough left his garage with a nicely sharpened tool. After a few purposeful whacks, the potentially very dangerous Bittersweet ‘shoot’ was no more. Sad as this may be, it did give me some feeling of satisfaction. As you might have guessed by this point, I’m not an outdoorsman. I enjoy nature wonderfully, but I’d prefer a beer with my Walden Pond over a bow and arrow. So for me, this tiny little ‘accomplishment’ felt good, and made me want more of that feeling. So I looked around my very near vicinity and picked out a few ‘not too big’ saplings and branches that needed to go 7 years ago… and I began whacking. After taking down about 3 small saplings, it was dinner time and I was content that I had at least begun and that the actual work – while good labor no doubt – was less “hard” than I thought it would be.
The next morning I headed to my local hardware store, purchased a hatchet of my own and a bow-saw at the recommendation of my friendly neighborhood expert. She was right, the bow-saw was a tremendous upgrade from the hatchet and though it took me a few saplings to master it, soon I was taking down and de-branching saplings only the day previous I ‘decided’ were too big and would leave for the professionals. In one full day of real, focused work, I took down approximately 20 good sized saplings (20 – 30 feet high each), cut them into carry-able pieces, and positioned them on my front lawn for removal. Was I extraordinarily sore the next few days? Yes. Am I done or really anywhere near done with the whole backyard? No. Did I begin? Did I already learn to use a few tools, tricks, and techniques that empower me to get back out there and continue taking back my back-yard? Absolutely.
Why did it take me 7 years to begin? I’m not a lazy individual. It’s pretty simple actually; I had convinced myself- and to a worsening degree over time – that it was too hard to tackle and because I didn’t even know where to begin, I wouldn’t. As we stated in a recent post: The paralyzing totality of Open Innovation is manifested in our brains, and it is a false premise. Shed this mindset, and shed it now. Mastering Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing to produce valuable assets (of whatever kind you are after – digital or physical) will take you real and substantial work. But beginning does not. Beginning only requires a small action with very limited risk. And let’s be clear; beginning is an absolute essential to mastery.
Don’t make the single biggest mistake you can make in Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing. Don’t decide to not begin. Begin. Here are a few assets for you to consider that might help you do just that; consider them your shiny hatchet:
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image credit:examiner.com, toolmonger.com