04/01/2013 06:20 GMT | Updated 05/03/2013 05:12 GMT

How Technology Can Help Businesses Innovative - Without Reinventing the Wheel

Many reasons have been given as to how technology can help businesses evolve. Cloud computing will do wonders for your IT costs and your ability to scale your business. Social media will provide a whole new way to connect with your customers. Software service platforms such as will help you run an organized and structured business at no up-front cost. will allow you to create an e-commerce site at the fraction of the cost it would normally cost. Dropbox, Evernote as well as other great productivity apps out there will help organisation and teams stay in sync.

This is all fine and dandy, but one thing that I personally feel people are missing out on is how technology can help a business innovate. More precisely, how today's technology concepts can help businesses take advantage of the principles of open innovation. The term that Henry Chesbrough coined to promote more than a decade ago, has now - in certain industries - reached another level due to technological advancements.

Open innovation - defined herein as the ability for businesses to include third parties to entitle their innovation process - looks great on paper, but has always been really difficult to implement in the past. Looking back five years ago at large corporations of enterprises - they have been used to working with vast project teams on big, closed infrastructure platforms, making it difficult for third parties to contribute. In the case of a smaller businesses - they typically wouldn't have any technological foundation.

But modern technologies are changing this.

Today, larger corporations can take advantage of app-universes, open APIs and external developer ecosystems to benefit from open innovation "out of the box". This has happened in music, in CRM, in mobile technology and even in financial trading.

Smaller corporations can now take advantage of freelance sites such as oDesk or e-lancer to quickly find resources that they would otherwise not have been able to find, these in turn help the firm with custom innovations.

Everybody is moving towards a more collaborative and open world that allows businesses to innovative without having to re-invent the wheel.