Net Culture Lab Austria is an initiative that wants to explore what "internet culture is" and how a large corporation, Telekom Austria, its main sponsor, can learn from it. The project was initiated in May 2007. It supports small projects of innovative people all around Austria who want to build, experiment, create, or craft in the broad area of "net culture" (remember that Austria is one of the world's leading countries with regard to multimedia and electronic arts).
Recently, I was invited to one of their regular "trend camp" gatherings, and it was a great experience for me. The topic of my 1.5 day workshop was open innovation, and we were a mixed crowd of managers of Telekom Austria (a typical former monopolist in the telecommunication industry, now under pressure in a deregulated market) and young artists, web programmers, lecturers in the area, and consultants. Organizer was Thomas Fundneider from a small innovation consultancy in Vienna.
The day was a great surprise for me: I frequently do this kind of workshops with companies, and regularly the reaction is one of fascination for the opportunities of open innovation, but always paired with a very strong resistance towards change and how this could work in their own corporation.
Not this time, however. The Telekom managers seemed to be even more open on the topic then the "net people", and thus it was a very refreshing experience, one that really filled me with hope that Crowdsourcing and open innovation really can change large corporations fundamentally.
In many small presentations by everyone from the group, and two large structures open table discussions, we generated lots of ideas and great input. I also learned a lot – and mow I am curious to see what Telekom Austria will do with our results.