Scarcity = Abundance - Trust. How to boost initiatives via an open innovation mindset.

MTL NewTech
3 min readSep 30, 2020


By Andy Manel

Traditional business models are based on scarcity, concealment (secrecy), and competition, where the value of a product or service comes from limited supply and demand. However, there are ways of using technology and a particular mindset to embrace trust in order to move and generate abundance. Modern business models tend to leverage assets and embrace staff on-demand instead of innovating within the organization.

“No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else,” Joy’s Law.

Trusting in the power of collaborating with external organizations can play a big part in the success of your venture. It’s not an easy decision, but it’s a practical one. Trust is a currency. A lack of it equates to eventual stagnation.

Trust inside traditional organizations is broken. The realization of possibilities is within our grasp, but the lack of collaboration between governments and the private sector, communities, and corporations, etc. makes it especially tricky. It’s a shame that organizations, who are focused on the same social challenges, tend to go their own way, without a common shared platform where their knowledge and challenges are made accessible to others, again accentuating separation rather than collaboration. The lack of cooperation may be declared as one of the most critical global challenges.

“Scarcity = Abundance — Trust”

Organizations face a significant number of challenges with the intent of open innovation, but one of the most critical problems is the organization’s “immune system,” which will defend against any change or disruption avoiding innovation. Each organization has an immune system, preserving the status quo, safety, and tradition. To shift your organization so that the wind works in your favor, you might want to consider evolving your “core” and “edge” environments.

Core initiatives help you change the culture and adopt experimentation, agile methodologies, and an open mindset for autonomy and good communication. Internal initiatives are those more open to receiving a direct attack on the organization’s immune system. Sometimes the only way to improve an existing culture is to destroy it, then to create a new one based on truth and common purpose, but it’s not an option: edge initiatives might bring you fresh air.

Edge initiatives happen on the fringe of an organization through interaction with communities, engagement with the ecosystem, leverage of assets through partnership, and, most importantly, there is the potential for new venture creations.

The edge is where your organization can escape its immune system. It is where organizations can take simplified risks, adopt new collaborations, business models, and initiatives, without the friction of changing a full culture.

Edge initiatives can be boosted 10X by an open innovation mindset. A small group of people with limited resources, but with the support of the core organization behind them, can act like a startup, share knowledge, and be open to collaborating with other players in the ecosystem, with agility and flexibility.

Edge initiative takes advantage of open challenges like:

  • Open Hackathons: Airline Nippon Aerospace (ANA) to catalyze the future of traveling through robotic avatars in the 10$ million dollar competition ANA Avatar XPRIZE, or Hydro Quebec’s challenge in the Coopérathon 2020, Canada’s biggest open innovation competition.
  • Outsource your staff: Keeping your core team agile and small, finding solutions with human resources outside of your organization, matching your organization’s needs with external expertise.
  • Community engagement: Wikipedia, the biggest encyclopedia in the world, written collaboratively by the people who use it. Wikipedia is an excellent example of an open model based in abundance vs. a close model based on scarcity like Microsoft Encarta.

There is a lot to explore around open business innovation and the positive impact of shared knowledge versus concealed and isolation initiatives. We want to invite you to stay tuned to future initiatives focused on this exciting topic.

This article aims to inspire you to shift from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance and that “ideas that spread win.”



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