When considering open innovation models, enterprise 2.0, open science and other similar concepts, we’re faced with the difficulty of explaining why should people and organisations open up to external collaboration. What should he/she gain from being open and giving free access to own ideas? What are the incentives to collaboration?

Yet from personal experience we know how positive it is to share knowledge. It leads to progress, better discussion, meeting interesting people, and visibility gains. I blog because I like it and it helps me to share early ideas with others, but then it turns out this is also a great way to gain a reputation.

Interestingly, this is the reverse of Adam Smith invisible hand, which states that “individual ambition benefits society, even if the ambitious have no benevolent intentions” (from Wikipedia). We could say that “collaboration benefits the individual, even if the collaborative person has no personal gain intentions.”