Open Source Innovation versus Incubating Innovation

by New Idiom

The design process is all about collaborating, communicating, and sharing. The free flow of ideas - in addition to being a core principal of academia - creates new synergies by bringing new ideas and new perspectives on old ideas. Design consultancies are well-known for breaking down silos and building diverse coalitions as a way to generate value.

Our culture at ID is also heavily influenced by the business view of ideas, or ‘intellectual property’, where new insights are more useful than common knowledge. This leads to a natural tendency towards secrecy, so that the frameworks and stories we’ve worked so hard to develop this year will still be useful when we finish the current project. Apple is famous for turning a tight control on the flow of information into surprise, fascination, and value.

But just because we must sometimes choose to play with the cards close to our chest doesn’t mean we can’t share what we learn about doing so. Does anybody have stories about how sharing or hiding information (especially when it goes against the dominant culture or instructions) influenced the outcome of a design?