Contributions by Developers

Karim R. Lakhani








If fifteen years ago you had gone to SAP, Microsoft, or Oracle and said that a bunch of strangers on the Internet will get together somehow and start creating software without any direct monetary incentives, without traditional managerial controls, and without any long-term plans, they would have just laughed at you, saying there is no way that would happen. But today we see that open source software communities have become a legitimate and important component in the way software gets developed. It has surprised us all to see this new form of organization appear and do so well. It is even more surprising that the biggest companies in the world, like IBM, are now participating in these communities and releasing code, their own property, back to the community. Economists didn’t anticipate that. Sociologists didn’t anticipate that. My interest in this phenomenon comes from my experience working with GE. You may remember GE’s slogan: “We bring good things to life.” In the medical systems division where I worked we certainly thought that we brought good things to life. But we had a few clients who were basically two years ahead of our engineering schedule. They were innovating in communities that we knew almost nothing about. This reality never fit my model of how research or innovation gets done and it did not fit anyone else’s model either.


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The Book

The book Leading Open Innovation describes OI’s search for smart people who might expand the space for innovation.
It reflects international, cross-sector, and transdisciplinary interests among contributors from the United States, Germany, France, Finland, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Tunisia, Austria, and China working in large multinational organizations, academic institutions, or entrepreneurial projects.
They are part of the Peter Pribilla network, which Ralf Reichwald describes at the end of the volume as a point of contact that supports overlapping interests in innovation and leadership.

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