Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Making my dissertation relevant to non-academics calls for a change in style.  An invitation to speak at the Open Data Häme workshop, following announcement of funding by the European Regional Development Fund, gave a venue to unveil some normative theory-building from my research potentially useful in the real world.

This talk was fewer slides, and more talk.  With 9 content slides to cover in about an hour, the agenda was:

  • 1. Why does open data mean open sourcing (with commercial potential)?
  • 2. When did open data begin? What’s the history?
  • 3. How do behaviours change with open innovation learning?

The slides had been posted on the Coevolving Commons in advance of the event.

The slides has now been matched up with the digital audio recording, for viewing as a web video.  Another voice in the mix is Minna Takala, as a Senior Advisor at Häme Regional Council.

The audio recording was exceptionally clear, and is downloadable (so boosted volume is probably unnecessary).

Digital audio
[20170810_Hame_Ing mp3] (58MB)
[20170810_Hame_Ing 3db mp3] (volume boosted 3db, 58MB)
[20170810_Hame_Ing 6db mp3] (volume boosted 6db, 58MB)

Alternatively, downloadable video files may be better for people on the move.

Video H.264 MP4 WebM
Digital video
[Hame_Ing_HD  m4v]
(HD 325Kbps 238MB)
[20170810_Hame_Ing_nHD m4v]
(nHD 109Kkps 97MB)
[20170810_Hame_Ing webm]
(HD 470Kbps 212MB)
[20170810_Hame_Ing nHD webm]
(nHD 177Kbps 80MB)

The first part of the talk places open data in the larger context and trend towards the behaviour of open sourcing, and open innovation. Open sourcing enables visibility into system internals, in contrast with private sourcing that makes internals opaque.  The rise of open sourcing became more noticeable with the advent of open source licensing in software, but can generalized outside of technology with an example of raising and catching salmon.

September 2nd, 2017

Posted In: innovation

Tags: ,

Leave a Comment

At the Oxford Futures Forum 2014, hosted by the Saïd Business School, I was invited to be a participant in a generative dialogue.  Each of the invitees was requested to submit a 250-word abstract and an image four months ahead of the event.  In two days, we had three group discussion meetings, where individuals were free to go to other groups (or form new groups) according to the ideas emerging from the dialogue.

This event runs on the Chatham House Rule:

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

Further, in a generative dialogue, ideas flow and merge as participant learn from each other, so representations related to people outside of the involved group don’t get a full appreciation for the unfolding learning.  Having been a participant in a series of prior IFSR Conversations that similarly focus on generative dialogue, any describing of the experience turns out somewhat inadequate.  The most that can be related to others are “proceedings”, where some of the ideas in progress are captured.  As a participant in Oxford Futures Forum, I was involved in three rounds of conversations, which can be roughly framed as:

  • design and scenarios to instigate change (as an introductory clustering to start the first round);
  • methods framing (as the emergent theme from the first round to go into a second round); and
  • scenario-buffered design (as the label that was presented as the conclusion of the third round).

Based on the abstract I had contributed some months earlier, the conference organizers initially slotted me into the “Design and Scenarios to Instigate Change” group.  A few of us had brief contact on a teleconference a few weeks before arriving at the event, and then in the pub on the night of arrival.  When the full group finally met face-to-face, we still didn’t really know each other.  As a way of getting involved with others, we were asked to present the abstract of another person from the group.  From those foundations, we started a loose discussion making sense of some common themes.  The organizers helpfully provided a note taking volunteer, Saba Riaz, to record some of this preliminary dialogue — a challenging flow to track, as the round 1 groups tried to make sense of  the ideas of others, as well as ourselves!  The proceedings (final report) included the following synopsis:

Round 1: Design and scenarios to instigate change

August 18th, 2014

Posted In: design, innovation

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment

In my dissertation for Aalto University, I’ve chosen the label of “private source” in opposition for the label “open source”.  This dissertation has been under development for some years.  In November 2012, the annual Arctic Workshop — a meeting of graduate students and supervisors of the Finnish Doctoral Program in Industrial Engineering and Management — was scheduled to bring together participants from across Finland.  With a theme for 2012 of “Innovation and Sourcing”, and an opportune opening on my calendar, I went to Finland to participate.

As a graduate student, I prepared an article and presentation slides for the event.  The abstract sent in advance said:

This research paper is an excerpt from a forthcoming dissertation titled “Open source with private source: coevolving architectures, styles and subworlds in business”. The content has been extracted from the first and second chapters, particularly on foundational definitions. It has being contributed to the Arctic Workshop 2012 as a research paper as part of a thesis under development.

This thesis, as a complete work, inquires into the question: How do open source and private source coexist and coevolve as patterns of behaviour in business? The research approach chosen is inductive, from nine cases in which both open source and private source have been in play. Theories built in the fully-developed thesis are placed into pluralistic contexts, as an inductive approach to multiparadigm inquiry.

Coincident with the theme of “Innovation and Sourcing” for the Arctic Workshop 2012, this research paper aims to explain the terms “open source” and “private source”, mostly as distinct patterns as phenomena in contemporary business. The larger agenda of research into open source with private source has been largely precluded due to length.

While most people think that “open source” is about software, it’s about much more than that.  In addition, the label of “private source” has been carefully chosen with a deeper meaning, in contrast to labels of “closed source” or “proprietary”.

Since I’m about halfway through writing the first manuscript of the dissertation, I expect that these excerpts from the first and second chapter will eventually be revised.  The prescribed page limit (of 15 pages) was enough to introduce open source and private source, but not open source with private source.  A dissertation of 100 pages is normal.  I expect that my dissertation will much long than that.  Perhaps the average reader may be satisfied with this shorter excerpt.

[See the presentation and article on “Open source, private source: foundations” on the Coevolving Commons]

January 24th, 2013

Posted In: innovation, systems

Tags: ,

Leave a Comment

On more than one occasion, I’ve heard IBM executives assert:

The nature of innovation has changed. In the 21st century, innovation is open, collaborative, multidisciplinary and global.

The ideas of open, collaborative, multidisciplinary and global appeared in the Global Innovation Outlook 2.0 report that was published in mid-2006. These words appeared on IBM-internal slides presented by Nick Donofrio at an Consulting Leadership Exchange in September 2005, and at the external-facing conference on Education for the 21st Century in October 2006 … with lots of other occasions in between. But what do these four words mean?

To make some sense for myself, I’ve extended these words into phrases and contrasted their contexts in a table .

  Industrial age nature of innovation   21st century nature of innovation
Strategy Private methods and development enabling autonomous control over designs + Open standards and interfaces leveraging expedient platforms for advancing designs
Relationship Transactional production chains linked by inter-organizational contracting + Collaborative alliances coproducing accelerated learning
Method Analytical problem-solving + Multidisciplinary conversations
Economics Colonial trade + Global talent

I’ve been listening to audio recordings of Donofrio in conversation, as well as following Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s blog. While I believe that my reasoning is consistent with theirs, this is not something they’ve endorsed. When I present the right column to audiences, I generally see nods in agreement. At the same time, the implications of a contrasting left column on current business practices provokes some deeper reflections. Let me unpack each of the four points.

June 13th, 2008

Posted In: innovation

Tags: , , , , , ,


There are some who believe that innovation is driven by the genius of a creative individual. I prefer a more sociological approach, where innovation comes from individuals working together in groups. Not just any random group produces innovation, though. I like the interview with Ronald Burt in Rotman Magazine1, although I have to perform some academic hair-splitting to reconcile with his language. Burt sees the value of innovation beyond the discovery.

SW: You have said that creativity is an import-export game, not a creation game. If the most original and effective ideas are more often borrowed than created, how can companies foster innovation?

RB: We all specialize, for reasons of efficiency and productivity, and are often blind to good ideas that occur in other places. When someone brings us a good idea, it’s typically something that person has seen elsewhere. But we don’t think about where that person has gone to find the idea; instead we think, “My goodness, what a brilliant person!” Value is created by translating an idea discovered else where into the local jargon, so that it’s easy to digest. And in that translation is the act of creativity. [pp. 78-79]

November 18th, 2007

Posted In: innovation

One Comment

Having coached consultants on writing articles, it’s clear to me authorship has foundations both in art and in science. A thesaurus is a familiar aid to writers. Visual Thesaurus has been the leader in displaying words interactively through a graphical user interface since 1998. Now, there’s a new alternative on the web: VisuWords. The snapshots below don’t do full justice to the animation featured in both.

Visual Thesaurus provides a simpler interface, of nodes joined by lines.


VisuWords presents a busier interface, and the lines joining nodes have different meanings. In the upper right section of a search on “system” appears the “is a word for” relations.

November 13th, 2007

Posted In: innovation

Tags: ,

Leave a Comment