Innovating with small pieces loosely joined

It’s hard to justify the production of a single piece in a jigsaw.

A mash-up is much like a jigsaw. The services which sit behind the mash-up are generally of less value than the combined value. Businesses want to own the whole jigsaw because that is where the obvious money is.

So why should a company expose data when they can see no immediate benefit? Can exposing such a service be justified when the benefit to the end user is not immediately obvious?

Businesses seem to understand the widget model quite well. They can stretch their online estate, pushing the brand outside of the traditional .com domain. However, when the only reference to the brand is an AJAX call to a server never seen by the end user, where is the value?

Businesses are comfortable with prescribed innovation. They need an idea before there is investment, and exposing data is not an idea. The thing that I particularly love about the English language is that it’s described rather than prescribed.

Its the reasons that we have words such as: “blogosphere“, “flash mob” and “stealth tax” in the Oxford English dictionary.

Solving problems not building business models….in many cases we may not even be able to see a problem. The end users knows all about the problems and weaknesses, and if you can enable the edges of your network to try out different solutions to their problems you are going to see more innovative solutions.

Lets think of it as an innovation model rather than a business model. By allowing developers to mash up their own data you find out that they want to do something with it that you could never have imagined. You can then incorporate those ideas into your own product(s).

In my previous post I said that :

“Software (as with people) is only as good as its ability to interact with the eco-system around it.”

Increasingly we are judging software by its ability to pump information in and out. How long will it be until the same can be said about a business?

If you have any other good reasons for business opening up there data please let me know.

As always comments welcome.

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