Bookshelf: Opening Up

Bookshelf: Opening Up

Innovative companies must look outside their own walls.

In his 2003 book, Open Innovation, Henry Chesbrough argues that businesses must adopt a model of innovation that looks both outside of its own four walls for ideas, as well as licenses its home-grown but unused intellectual property to others. In his new work, Open Business Models: How to Thrive in the New Innovation Landscape (Harvard Business School Press, 2006), Chesbrough takes this topic a step further.

The author, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, says that a firm's business model itself has to "become more open for the firm to open up its innovation process effectively."

The front end of the book examines the "whys" behind Chesbrough's push for open business models and explores the barriers to companies' embrace of the idea.

In the second half of Open Business Models, Chesbrough offers readers examples and frameworks to create open business models and concludes with an examination of how three companies -- Air Products, IBM Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co. -- have changed their business models to become more open.

Despite operating in very unlike industries, "these very different journeys had some common elements that are likely to arise in thinking through your own transformation of your business model," he notes.

It is not necessary to have read Open Innovation to appreciate the ideas he presents in his latest effort.

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