Open innovation for small business = networking

While I was reading this great article on BusinessWeek about innovation, I was struck by how much the findings resemble what happens at the networking meetings I attend.  Each of us, as small business owners, have problems we have to solve every day.  One of those is "how do I get more clients?".  The answer is business networking.

Listen to these findings from the article...

"The further the focal problem was from the solvers' field of expertise, the more likely they were to solve it." "...diversity increases the probability of coming up with a solution..." "Serendipity is most likely to occur when a large number of diverse participants are aggregated in ways that expose them to a broad range of challenging problems"

People who engage in networking quickly find that a referral can come from anyone in any industry.  As an example, one of my projects was referred to me by a commercial painter.  The more diverse your network, the more likely you are to uncover opportunities.  The more people you expose to your "problem" of needing or wanting new clients, the greater the likelihood of finding new clients.

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