Open innovation is a hot theme at the moment. The idea is that you only know so much within your organisation and outside there is so much more knowledge if only it could be harnessed for (your?) benefit.
The more council you take the more certain you can be that your decision or approach is (the wisdom of crowds sampled by taking point measurements?) However, the more you share your ideas the more open they are to be copied or stolen. Also, your IP position can be a concern or even a sticking point for establishing a win-win situation with a third-party that is bringing something to the table. But the bottom line is that people work together when they can achieve more together than they can alone (which is why mergers take place!)
So like most good ideas there are pros and cons and like capitalism 'it may not be perfect but its better than the alternatives'. Initiative like Connect have a role to play in helping break down barriers, enable cross-silo thinking and generally help catalyse action - if the market participants want to. The region’s ability to commercialise science and technology depends on the strength of its “social business infrastructure” and an entrepreneur’s ease of access to critical resources. We want to make it easier, not harder to start a business or gain market traction.
Experienced people will be willing to give time pro-bono if they get a “return on involvement”: either altruistic satisfaction or the promise that everyone will profit from a rising tide. The development of a “culture of collaboration” that goes beyond mere networking towards a process of co-creation and information exchange that creates trust-based relationships, and so instills a sense of shared ‘ownership’ in both the risks and rewards.
Living in splendid isolation (and having absolute focus on your own bottom line) has its place, but equally there is always space for serendipity, participation and collaboration where everbody wins.