I’ve been listening to the Beer, Blokes, and Business podcast which is made right here in Melbourne, and on a recent episode featuring Fenn Bailey from Adioso learnt a new term – permissionless innovation. Bailey used it to describe how damn tough the travel industry was to break into and how Uber and Airbnb didn’t seek permission to innovate the transport and travel industries. They took advantage of the open nature of the Internet and created a new space that no one had seen before (and billions of dollars for investors).
Permissionless innovation seems to me to be a key feature of our world today where with some vision it’s possible to create a new market without reference to existing businesses, standards, or dominant structures of power. The Internet Society notes that, ‘it is primarily the open architecture of the Internet that encourages innovation – we can call it “open innovation”’.
It’s a powerful and motivating concept. Whether you’re in a small business, huge enterprise, or starting out, the dominant technological and cultural thread today is one of openness and disruption with the customer at the heart of a movement which seeks to liberate customers from the grasp of restrictive trade practices, oligarchies, and inefficient processes which suck the heart out of life.
You don’t even have to seek permission – just do.