Symbiosis in LOs LO11214
Sun, 1 Dec 1996 23:01:00 -0500

Replying to LO11197 --

In a message dated 96-12-01 22:21:48 EST, Richard wrote:

With all due respect, your value system may need further examination.
Being a LO should not mean that the LO must share its trade secrets on
an unrestricted basis to its consultants or the outside world. Would it
be fair for 3M to spend $5M on some R&D project, then after you come in
for 10 hours you take everything you just learned and carry it
unrestricted to your next consulting job? Tha doesn't sound fair to me.

Perhaps the LO needs to be very open within itself and its strategic
partners (i.e. consultants like you) but outside the organization the
competitive information is not disclosed or used. As another example,
you may run your business "open book" to your employees, but will you
respond to this message with attachments of your client list, or tax
returns? I wouldn't if I were you.
--- end of quote ---

Here's a simple theory, that I think has merit: An organization should not
seek to dominate its competitors, but rather make them better. This
implies some free flow of information/knowledge.

As we publicly share information and knowledge, it forces us to be more
innovative, which brings us more success.

The fact that we share information and knowledge does not ensure our
competitors will understand how to effectively act on it. Knowledge can be
a very contextual thing.

Some of my friends fault me for how freely I share information and
knowledge (especially stuff I come up with on my own). But I can't tell
you how many times I've had a conversation with someone -- perhaps a
complete stranger sitting in an airport lobby, or on a subway somewhere --
about ideas bouncing around in my head, only to find the conversation led
to new insights for both of us. It is from this "fresh perspective," that
I often make significant jumps in my thinking.

Benjamin B. Compton

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