Open Innovation in International Cooperation
This post was originally published on crisscrossed.net
It is great to see that our publication is now available as an eBook. For this project, I worked together with the GIZ, namely Jan Schwaab, and Christian Gmelin, to create 10 exciting chapters, which enlighten the abstract concept of innovation. The various chapters provide an overview and practical advice on how to pursue an open innovation approach. Thanks to all the authors. Following are some introductions to the chapters.
1. Creating Space for Change
Geraldine de Bastion
Africa’s Technology Innovation Hubs
Social Media have by now spread to all corners of the world, including the remotest areas in Africa. They have changed our personal and professional communication, our news and consumption habits and the way we share information. New markets and industries are emerging as these technologies, in particular mobile internet services, are now globally accessible. Whilst these creative and digital industries are driven by the Internet, they also require physical space to evolve. Creating such space as well as physical social networks 3. is crucial for digital innovation, especially in spots where edgling technology communities are just beginning to evolve, like Addis Ababa or Dar Es Salaam. Beyond the bad news about famines and civil wars, Africa is also undergoing a profound telecoms and IT boom that sees young entrepreneurs invent anything from mobile payment systems to rooftop gardens.
2. Africa’s silent revolution
The mobile phone has turned from a communication tool to a device, on which much of Africa’s economic aspirations rest. Innovations built around the mobile phone have increased the population’s inclusion in nancial markets and have helped to work around the continent’s infrastructure problems. In some regions, more Africans have a mobile phone than have access to electricity. This has opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs and has changed the way business is done in the continent’s banking, agricultural, telecoms and pharmaceutical sectors. But it has also helped to increase transparency in politics, as activists use mobile applications to monitor political violence and ght against state control of free speech.
3. Without a boss and open to customers, startups can only innovate
The most efficient way to force yourself or your company to be at the forefront of innovation is to share what you are doing with everyone around you. When your customers can constantly see what you are working on, when they can copy your product and adapt it and develop it further, you need to be the best to thrive. Software startups are amongst the most innovative institutions in the world. They offer the environment that developers, engineers and creatives need to create ideas and develop products. These companies mostly do with internal hierarchies in order to allow good ideas to grow quickly and realize their potential without being bogged down by internal politics and bureaucracy. Online collaboration tools allow developers to focus on nothing but joint product development in a collaborative way, allowing for exible software development that can quickly respond to requirement changes and problems that emerge along the way. These online tools are more than just technology. They also function as social media, allowing these companies to immerse themselves into large communities of users who contribute their ideas in what is known as open innovation, further leveraging the innovation power that single companies can field.
4. Learning by Sharing
How global communities cultivate skills and capacity through peer-production of knowledge
Open sharing of knowledge and ideas revolutionize the way in which global communities cooperate and learn. Learning can be organised in peer production based on open licensing and a decentralized, collaborative and non-proprietary process of global knowledge co-creation. This joint learning propels transformation processes and capacity development across borders. Global knowledge peer production and open innovation allows for exactly the scaling up of technical and social innovations that is currently much debated and needed in the international development cooperation world. It also allows striking a balance between respecting the intellectual property of corporations and institutions and giving communities access to advanced knowledge, in a bid to create fair and just conditions for everyone. The vision is a self-organised and connected peer-to-peer learning for sustainable human development worldwide, turning learning by sharing into a game changer in development cooperation.
Wolfgang Gumpelmaier, Karsten Wenzlaff, Jörg Eisfeld-Reschke
What’s in it for development aid?
Crowdfunding is the latest fundraising buzz word. One project, one website, through which hundreds or thousands of donors not only raise money for their cause but also spread the word all over the Internet by asking friends and followers for support. With social media at work, crowdfunding has turned into a fundraising hype. There are already more than four hundred operating platforms worldwide. But those who pioneered this fundraising instrument have long discovered that crowdfunding is not about the money at all. Crowdfunding wins feedback, volunteer support, public debate and open innovation processes that also results in direct improvements to the fundraiser’s work. Crowdfunding has the potential not only to be a game-changer to organisational structures but also to the aid industry in a broader sense - it levels hierarchies by directly linking people short of funds to people with money.
6. Managing the open
How organisations can use social media to open up without losing control
The rise of social media is constantly and profoundly changing the environment businesses and organisations operate in. Employees are using twitter and Facebook to share their views, at times unwittingly disclosing con dential information and con icting the organisation’s goals. Business partners and customers have access to a wealth of information as competitors and markets become more transparent. These rapid changes in communication technology and behavior put pressure on organisations to embrace more openness. This change offers tremendous opportunities. Organisations can improve their everyday operations and boost their sustainability and competitiveness. Wikis that enable eficient online collaboration, weblogs and discussion boards that allow global knowledge sharing or the joint development of software in open innovation processes are just some examples for social technologies. At the same time, organisations are facing the fact that the widespread use of social technologies undermines traditional hierarchy structures and threatens an organisation’s traditional power structures. They need to nd ways of dealing with the challenges of social technologies and make conscious decisions on how and to what extend a wider degree of openness can be integrated into their existing structures.
7. Taking Down Barriers To Social innovation
Thanks to the Internet and social media, we are nowadays able to mobilize talent and great minds from around the world to work together on all sorts of matters. This form of collaboration is the main driver of open innovation. People collaborate on open innovation platforms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Open innovation is a global phenomenon. People share ideas and work together through open and transparent networks, be it for commercial or social purposes, thanks to the ease of online collaboration tools and social media. This chapter maps out open innovation as a new form of innovation enabled by the rise of social media. It provides an overview of its use in co-creation of anything ranging from products to policies, describes its use in monitoring politics and in open government. It then discusses how open innovation is an answer to organisational barriers to innovation. The next section is devoted to providing practical steps on how to set up innovation challenges and how they can be evaluated.
8. Impact in the Age of Context
Approaching the issue of Social Media Impact Monitoring
Social media has become one of the most powerful tools in creating the context, in which capacity can be developed. But unfortunately little evidence is available for how the impact of social media can be measured. This chapter describes possible criteria that indicate the success of social media activities. Unfortunately, literature on the phenomenology of social media (the experience you enjoy or create by using these tools) is scarce. However, as this publication also shows, the anecdotal is particularly strong. We all create and own stories about successful social media projects, as well as advocate for its wider usage in development cooperation. However, we often lack numbers to describe its actual impact. We have no indicators at hand, which are proven and trusted within the framework of development. How does the use of social media relate to economic growth, to food security, to youth employment, etc.? In other words: what is the economic impact of having 10,000 fans on Facebook? We lack answers to that kind of questions. Sometimes – when complexity increases – it is worthwhile to take a step or two back and observe.
Volker Lichtenthäler, Philipp Busch
How is it possible to create multimedia programs, mobile apps and other software in a very short space of time? One interesting way to succeed is a hackathon. The term is a combination of the words ‘hack’ meaning tool or solution, and ‘marathon’. It refers to an event at which programmers, graphic designers, interface designers and other ‘co-workers’ sit down together in order to focus on work and be creative. Hackathons typically last between a day and a week. They usually have a specific focus, such as creating usable software for educational purposes or the social good.
10. Internet of Things
Franziska Kreische, Angela Ullrich, Kathleen Ziemann
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing. In urban centres of emerging countries – megacities such as Rio de Janeiro, Beijing or New Delhi – thousands of sensors are already monitoring air quality, traffic and water systems. Increasingly, local governments are using IoT technologies and the data analysis they enable to better manage resources while driving economic growth. The potential for such economic growth is vast. A McKinsey report for example estimated the possible economic impact from traffic applications, smart waste handling, and smart water systems in urban areas at “100 billion to 300 billion US-dollars per year by 2025, assuming that 80 to 100 per cent of cities in advanced economies and 25 to 50 per cent of cities in the developing world have access to IoT technology by that time.” However, currently only a few stakeholders in international cooperation are specifically promoting IoT applications.