Unleashing Innovation through the Power of Participation

Unleashing Innovation through the Power of Participation
By Damien Wong, Vice President and General Manager, ASEAN, Red Hat

Participation drives innovation.

Today, the most innovative ideas do not come from the boardroom; they come from ideas built from the synergy of people working together. Leaders of all countries and industries see this trend. It’s no longer a question of if, but essentially a matter of how.

We’re in a constant state of disruption and change. Asia Pacific is a great example, where sleepy towns and fishing villages have been transformed into cosmopolitan cities. But success amidst this sea of change demands both fresh and creative thinking. The answer is a confluence of open innovation, and the Power of Participation – a key theme in our series of Red Hat Forum events across Asia Pacific late last year.

With countries in Asia Pacific demonstrating a strong emphasis on innovation, enterprises can leverage open source options as a more open and flexible path forward. In fact, a recent Red Hat commissioned Forrester study found that six in ten key technology decision-makers now turn to open source as a new way of engaging and fostering collaborative innovation.

In other words, innovation happens through collaboration, with the best outcomes being a mix of innovation – not just within, but with others as well. With that in mind, what are the best strategies to fully harness the power of innovation?

Synergy and empowerment
When you bring people from different organizations and disciplines together, and empower them with the freedom to collaborate, the likelihood of innovation instantly multiplies. Just like the underlying principle of open source, it’s not about finding the best solution from thousands of individuals, rather, it’s harnessing the synergy and collective talent that’s available when we participate as a community.

Now let’s consider an orchestra, which consists of various musicians, each with his/her own unique talents. The greatest conductors recognized that, in order to produce beautiful music, they not only need to bring these individuals together coherently, but also create all the right conditions (which might include relinquishing control) to achieve the best creative output from their team.

“The worst damage I can do to my orchestra is to give them a clear instruction. Since it would have prevented the ensemble from listening to each other,” Itay Talgam, renowned Israeli conductor.

Embracing diversity
That same lesson applies to how we work. We can’t merely order people to “innovate”. As leaders, we need to create an environment where the seeds of innovation can flourish through participation. Diversity matters too, especially in a multicultural region like Asia Pacific. The truth is, there will always be talents with new perspectives and experience outside our organizations and geographies. By breaking down these barriers, we can all accomplish so much more together.

We, at Red Hat, witness this amazing power of participation every day in the world of open source, where user-driven innovation powers advancements in cloud, big data, and emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence.

It is this participative movement that is accelerating the pace of innovation, and also making open source the default choice for organizations across the region. These include GovTech and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), which both received the 2016 Red Hat Innovation Award, in recognition of their innovative applications of open source technology.

An inspiration for all
The benefits of participation and open source for organizations go far beyond technology. Both serve as an inspiration for a better future, changing what was previously impossible. What’s more, our ability to harness and stoke the creative capacity of billions around the world will open new doors, contributing to the betterment of the society well into the next century – that’s the real payoff from participation.

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