A Richer Diversity of Ideas Makes the Single Best Idea Even Better


“OI speed up ideas and transforms them into products which did not previously exist. “The value of the best general idea increased with the variability of the ideas received”.”

A richer diversity of ideas makes the single best idea even better, it’s a statistical principal.

Open Innovation brings a wider selection of potential products, methods and ideas to the company doing the searching, and that wider diversity of ideas helps ensure that the single best idea of the bunch is even better.

This is a statistical concept described by Andrew King and Karim R. Lakhani in their MIT Sloan Management Review article, Using Open Innovation to Identify the Best Ideas (Fall, 2013, pp. 41 – 47). yet2. com believes this whole-heartedly based on real-world experience since 1999.

Recently, yet2.com worked with a major Fortune 500 compa­ny to conduct a technology search with the goal of finding a bet­ter bathroom cleaning technology.

yet2 looked beyond the world of bathroom cleaning to general hard-surface cleaning, and even to extremely heavy-duty cleaning techniques used to de-foul marine ship hulls.

Out of the search came 500 leads. Then we boiled them down. Of the original 500, about half held real promise for the client.

yet2 then worked with the client to review the leads in depth to arrive at a final four all of which came from outside the F500’s familiar world of the consumer cleaning products industry.

While the client was de­lighted at the result, according to the MIT Sloan article what really should have grabbed their atten­tion were the diverse results.

Ac­cording to the researchers, one of the biggest advantages of search­ing broadly for new ideas is that “the value of the best general idea increases with the variability of the ideas received.”

A broader diversity of ideas leads to better, more valuable ideas, a concept that the authors call “a fundamental statistical principal… the more ideas generated, the better the quality of the best one is likely to be.”

How can your company put the strength-in-diversity idea to work? How can you best go about gathering a wider range of ideas so that you can make sure you select the one with the greatest ROI potential? We think you can anticipate the answer: use outside resources.

Many firms turn to their supply chain for thoughts and suggestions an excellent approach. However, stepping outside of your own industry, as the F500 client did, is important for diversity’s sake, and it’s more challenging. Here’s where a service provider such as yet2.com can add value.

Not only has yet2.com cultivated a large, global network of technol­ogy scouts around the world, the company has refined the art of searching reducing the elements of the search to fundamental concepts that enable productive searches in adjacent and com­pletely unrelated industries.

“Search articulation” expertise, com­bined with a global technology broker network, brings a world of solutions to our clients’ doors… solutions they never would have conceived of or been able to tap into on their own.

Perhaps you feel you know your market extremely well and it is unlikely that yet2 could find something you’re not already tracking? We think you’d be surprised… our client, NASA, certainly was. NASA engaged us to find a technology for non-invasive measurement of intracranial pressure.

(Astro­nauts who stay up in space longer than 60 days can suffer vision problems, thought to be a result of pressure on the brain.) yet2 found 4 viable and exciting possibilities, and NASA, rightfully proud of its own engi­neering expertise, confessed that they hadn’t expected yet2.com to find anything they didn’t already know about.

In fact, two of the technologies yet2 found were completely new to NASA, and two others had been rejected by NASA at an earlier point but had improved their performance enough in the interim to be vi­able possibilities.

So think hard about daring to look outside your company for new and better ideas. Statistics show that gathering more ideas will work in your favor, and we think you’ll be surprised at the results we find for you.