The Road to Economic Recovery

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is always an opportunity for big-picture thinking (see my post about the 2008 Forum here).  And this one comes right in the middle of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.  In a deep crisis, innovation can be perceived as optional; “we have to focus on survival”. So I was delighted to read when Dr. Paul Stoffels, company group chairman of pharmaceutical research and development at Johnson & Johnson, advocated innovation as the way out of the crisis in the Boston Globe this week.  And not just any innovation, but open innovation–the kind of networked co-creation that I advocate in my book Group Genius.

He writes:

“Our scientists are taking a networked approach across internal organizational disciplines and geographies, including Asia and other emerging markets, and increasingly with external public and private partners to generate ideas and intellectual property. By working with experts at other companies, universities, and research institutes, we tap a wider range of expertise, capabilities, and resources. Together we share in both the benefits and costs of innovation that will yield more useful technologies and solutions that will contribute to new advances in healthcare.”

Innovation is necessary for survival.  And Johnson & Johnson gets it.