1 Year Older, 100% Wiser


We’re delighted to be celebrating 100%Open’s 3rd birthday today!  It’s more of a virtual celebration given our networked nature, but there may be one or two jars shared in Tom’s Bar at Somerset House.  So, how to sum up a year in the eye of the storm?

3rd birthdayFirst it has to be people.  We are privileged to be working with a growing network of  Associates who are a talented, flexible and heterogenous bunch.  Welcome aboard to Jogesh Limbani, Kim van Niekerk, Guy White, Lucy Gower, James McGilvray, Cassie Robinson, Richard Telford and Andrew Thompson.   We love this open way of working.  Wally Olins described it as like making a movie. In this way each each project becomes a production with different stars.

Then it’s place.  We took the plunge (or more accurately were pushed into the water by Simone and Murray) and got ourselves a studio.  It’s made a difference.  We talk more, have better meetings and as you can see increase 3M’s profits too.

100%Open Studio

100%Open Studio

Our other place is the 100%Open Lab co-creation platform (thanks Crowdicity!) and we are using this to innovate our own offering and start a crowd-sourced book.

So how about product?

We have had productive fun working with Interface, Nesta, BAE Systems, Ordnance Survey, Avanade, Scottish Social Services, Oxfam, Akzo Noble and Detica.  These clients have inspired us with their varied challenges and collaborative vision.  We’ve decided to make all of our techniques Creative Commons.  We’ve embraced open space facilitation courtesy of Johnnie Moore.  We’ve extended our Union corporate network to Switzerland and launched Venture Radar.  We’re planning to kick off Interplay training and Open Mobile co-creation network and Un-Un, a Union Unconference.

So we’re older but are we any wiser? We’ll let you be the judge of that but I’ve had a look at the year’s 36 blog posts and tried to draw some threads together.  Funnily enough it seems that we blog equally about three themes.  Apart from birthdays.

Innovation Culture

These 13 blogs focus on creating a more innovative and open culture.  They talk about innovation as a process and a state of mind rather than an end product to be created.  We observe that we’re all entrepreneurs now whether we work in large or small companies and that big doesn’t always mean successful.   We’ve detected a new open enterprise emerging that is more comfortable with order emerging from chaos.  We note that smaller companies are more open and collaborative and often better networked.   We entreat you to ‘put down your clever’ and to watch out for arrogance, the collaboration-killer.

Innovation Practice

These 12 blogs describe new ways of innovating.  We look at the 6 collaboration mindsets and note that collaboration experiences can the most fulfilling and frustrating ones.  We publish a bluffers guide to open innovation and look at how we can use paradoxes to be creative.  We note that there’s a connection problem with open innovation and that clients often lack the right partners to collaborate with.  We’re seeing that crowdsourcing offers new ways to practice democracy and take a look at crowdfunding as its counterpart.  We observe that there are fewer degrees of separation between us all.

Innovation Strategy

These 11 blogs are our take on innovation strategy.  We’ve observed that the internet of things will create a wealth of new products and services but that many innovations will come form where you least expect.  We’ve learned that collaboration is at the apex of Maslov’s hierarchy of needs and that corporate social responsibility programmes are best aligned with real business needs.   We unearthed the notion that the best ideas exist between people in conversations.  Smaller organisations can form alliances when they need scale and decouple when they need to change and embrace their natural creativity.   Companies that acknowledge the necessity of engaging  with the outside world will be more successful.  This goes hand in hand with a dawning realisation that innovation isn’t just about owning IP, but generating value for each of the partners involved in invention and commercialisation.

If any of these themes are interesting to you please ask and I’ll point you to the appropriate post.

So it seems that we have learned a fair amount from our experiences this year.   We’re looking forward to an equally productive and stimulating fourth year.

David Simoes-Brown


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