On research laboratories

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Two weeks ago some people in Igalia took part/attended some lectures on entrepreneurship. Those events are always good places to meet fresh and innovative people and this event wasn't different. I attended some lectures on free software and disruptive business models really interesting but perhaps a hotspot in those lectures was my chat to Chema about research laboratories and their impact in organizations/corporations and how they are related to pymes and startups. If you attend this kind of events regularly you know that research and innovation are strategic drivers to keep your business growing.

While Ignacio de la Vega sketched his ideas showing some slides, people could see one slide about the active researching in enterprises. Ignacio talked about the research laboratories and how they are key factors to get continuous innovation in huge corporations. Meanwhile, I remember some basic problems to introduce a research laboratory in your business and how they're becoming obsoletes.

If you're playing an innovative role in your market, motives don't matter, it can be a good idea introducing a place where you coordinate and link all your scattered attempts. But if it's a good idea then why main corporations are failing. I think they're making al least two huge mistakes.

First mistake is forgetting about the social innovation and how those enterprises are understanding the "lab without walls" concept. Nowadays a lab without walls is not enought. It must be open but it must be a transparent project too. Goals must be clear.

Second mistake is about change. Huge corporations, Enterprises and Universities conceive and, the worst of all, build this concept with strict geographic barriers and non disclosure policies in mind.

Nowadays bootcamps, hackfests, hackathons, etc. give a boost to a lot of open/free software communities/enterprises. Research is futile without Innovation but Innovation appears anywhere. Ideas crisscross among enterprises cause people live and understand a new social moment. Enterprises can't stop this revolution. They must contribute.

In my opinion innovative enterprises must understand their "new" laboratories as comunication tools interfacing their business to other knowledge groups and enterprises. Laboratories shouldn't be closed room with very expensive hardware inside alone. Sharing and evolving common and different ideas produce free innovation.

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