One of the oldest barriers to innovation is “Not invented here,” a persistent bias of even the most creative people toward their own creations and against those of people who work for other companies. 16 For instance, some major companies have promoted technology alliances with rivals to draw on a wider circle of big brains to work on core technical problems. 17 These efforts arise from the recognition that no single innovator or team, no matter how loyal to an employer or successful in the market, has a monopoly on wisdom.
Nowadays businesses have learned that there is no shame in buying ideas of others. How much of a company’s technology does it create on its own? How much does it buy from others? 18 When it comes to innovation, even companies that maintain their own powerhouse research-and-development units are increasingly aware that valuable ideas can arise anywhere. 19 When acquiring a mature technology, the buyer usually pays big money and takes the risk of a conflict between the internal and outside cultures. Perhaps the most important reason that large companies are willing to gamble on buying technology is that not doing so carries risks, too.