Complexity, Open Innovation and Cheese Strings

The FT had a good article about open innovation this week accompanied by the following image which I think is rather interesting:

I must confess that when I first saw it, my first thought was that it reminds me somewhat of Mr Cheese Strings character from the recent TV adverts. But that probably says rather more about me than anything else. What I particularly like about both the article and the image is that it recognises now only just how complex innovation now is, but how fluid organisation boundaries are becoming. One definition of complexity I heard recently is “A situation where there are more wrong answers than right answers” which definitely applies to any organisation looking to innovate in my experience. And whilst I think we all crave simple solutions, I certainly know I do, it’s important to recognise that, as Douglas Horton says “The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.”

The FT image also reminds me of another post from a few years ago where we described open innovation as resembling a comedy bow tie (see here) but that’s another story.

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