Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Innovation Happens Elsewhere

I spent the last two days at pcforum 2006. Check out Technorati's tag page on the event for more detail. A highlight of the event for me was Bill Joy's talk. Bill discussed areas of opportunity. He commented on the threats endemic today from pandemics and of the drivers that led KPCB to raise a Pandemic and Bio Defense fund. Quick case in point - vaccination technology is still premised on 100 year old models based on using chicken eggs to grow vaccines. He also made a comment that I found very interesting, "Innovation Happens Elsewhere."

Bill's premise is that no company owns a monopoly on talent and innovation. As such, businesses need to be architected to leverage the innovation of others. Certainly the multiple benefits - cost, innovation, wealth - standards and open-systems have made possible speak to the value of building businesses that are premised on the axiom of distributed innovation. It turns out the quote comes from work done by Richard Gabriel, a distinguished engineer at Sun (Ron Goldman, Dick's co-author, pinged me to say the quote is from Bill and that they borrowed it from him. FYI). Dick Gabriel wrote a book titled Innovation Happens Elsewhere that focuses on open source software models. He has made the book freely available on his web site. I am certainly seeing the fruits of models based on the idea - open-source commerical derivatives, web 2.0 models that leverage 3rd party web services and components, and the rise and power of end-user content surpassing. As entrepreneurs design their businesses, it pays to think through how company and customers will leverage the undeniable fact that innovation will happen elsewhere.


  1. Hi Will, Thanks for taking the time to direct folks to the Richard Gabriel book. Heads-up that the link to his website needs a small correction. Regards, Jonathan Dean.

  2. Ron Goldman3:59 PM

    Thanks for your mention of our book Innovation Happens Elsewhere. One minor comment: Bill Joy is the originator of the phrase, "innovation happens elsewhere" --- we got it from him.

    Ron Goldman, coauthor of IHE.