LeWeb innovation and entrepreneurship notes (and quotes)

LeWeb is over as is the short week that followed it – time to put together some of the innovation notes I jotted down during the LeWeb 08, add this to the first impressions I posted on my other blog already:

  • Paulo Coelho welcomed his readers and the pirates too, saying that every artist wants to have her work experienced and read. Sending in the attorneys instead of negotiators is killing business models, and yes, this is not about acting in the best interest of the author. He commented about pirates always winning, and that he’s actually seeding his books. Hmm, while he’s showing a fine understanding of todays media business model landscape I wonder what will happen to authors with the advent of ebooks? I guess not much, books are physical goods, no bonding with a Kindle for sure. It’s way more important to think about how the internet is shaping and supporting creativity …
  • G.-E. Dias of L’Oreal: “It´s moving from push push push to pull pull pull.”. Big brands may finally understand how to get along with this social media stuff …
  • Yossi Vardi: “Business plans are an interesting subgenre of science fiction”; “I do not read business plans” and “The driving force of Internet is not the productivity, but the abilit to serve people in their relationships” (he said some nice things about the growing importance of mashups (which works out to consolidated portable lifestreaming in my book, i.e. creating new ways of being and doing)
  • Gary Shainberg “Everything is a feed these days, it’s the feedification of the web” and “How do you get paid for a service that is build on top of others services, that again is build on others services?”. Incidentally I met some guys at LeWeb that are working on that exact problem at the moment, ie. monetizing API usage and data access.
  • Michael Arrington and Loic had a brawl over European vs. U.S. (err, Silicon Valley) types of entrepreneurship – as a european I side with Loic, if only because it implies a much more sustainable type of business (and hey, what’s wrong with developing deep relationships). Still I enjoyed Michael’s show. And hearing Gary Vaynerchuk speeding on about passion, honesty, belief and commitment rocked too.

By the way, picture of Metro sign above is by Kai who’s been there too.

A mixed bag of tabs …

… with some interesting stuff I found but can’t really blog about, at least not yet, I will see how much time I get next week when LeWeb is in full swing …

  • Wharton says what we should do when the times are getting rough: innovate. Well, yes, no point in playing safe these days, rather use the downturn to trigger serious change. A good idea (like supporting more efficient collaboration and teamwork with enterprise social software solutions) stays a good idea after all. A sense of urgency may just be what is needed to overcome some of the remaining resistance …
  • Kathy Harris of Gartner collects some thoughts on principles and actions to foster and increase creativity, like rapid knowledge and idea sharing, effective information management, listening to the customer, visualizing concepts and information relationships and to develop deep analysis and analytical skills (good list, competing on analytics gets missed upon too often).
  • Bruce adds some words of wisdom and a reality check warning the overly collaboration optimists, and while I agree that participation inequality is no real problem, I am more optimistic for enterprise wikis that have a clear goal and that support a dedicated group of people. That’s what gets wikis flying – a group of people that care and invest themselves into wiki gardening, motivating and educating (yet, wikis can do a great job as information platform even when “most people contribute nothing”, but that’s not the best they can do).
  • Ted Schadler blogs about extranet collaboration platforms, collects some (infra-)structural problems that must be solved and proposes in the comments his “working model for an extranet collaboration platform toolkit”. Seems like a pretty complete offering to me, at least in “advanced mode”. Well, I think that these are good and valid elements of an (extranet) collaboration toolbox, but I doubt that all of them will and must be used in parallel. Individual tool usage in Enterprises is highly dependant of the context, and “tool inflation” won’t help. It’s changed methods and practices of collaboration that do the trick, not tool A vs. tool B. Shines a little light on the “best of breed” vs. “integrated suite” debate too I guess.

Zusammenfassungen …

… meiner Recherchen und Analysen u.a. zu Themen wie Cloud Computing, SaaS, Enterprise Microsharing, ECM, MOSS 2007 und Sharepoint sind normale (und tägliche) (Beratungs-)Arbeit. Nicht alles wird hier (oder als Bookmark bei delicious) öffentlich geteilt. Anderes durchaus, ein paar Notizen und Anmerkungen zu Fundstücken der letzten Zeit

Mit dem Google Search Wiki (gefunden via TQU und netzwertig) können angemeldete Benutzer die Reihenfolge ihrer Suchergebnisse für eine bestimmte Suchanfrage verschieben, löschen, hinzufügen und Ergebnisseiten mit Notizen versehen können (ähnlich wie es Wikia und Mahalo mit Social Search anstreben). Interessant – kollaborative Entdeckung und Empfehlung (digg-like) als erweiterte Suche? Ja, analog wird auch für RSS mehr Personalisierung gefordert:

As Web content becomes more granular, compositional, and personalizable (not to mention more perishable), subscribability becomes a design consideration. Users want to be able to opt into dynamic content. […] it’s no longer enough just to let users save queries; they now need to be able to subscribe to their queries (or the content generated by them).

Via Stewart Mader habe ich den neuesten Forrester Report zu Enterprise 2.0 (Enterprise Web 2.0) gefunden. Die vollständige Analyse ist umfangreich und kostenpflichtig (ja, wie oben gesagt) – aber einen wichtigen Punkt fasst Stewart schon ganz gut zusammen: “wikis are transforming collaboration“:

[…] One of the more promising of the Web 2.0 technologies for the enterprise, wikis show good evidence of helping transform collaboration in the enterprise. Users report success with many wiki endeavors when they’re sponsored by business leaders and connected to business processes.

Und um wieder mit Forrester zu argumentieren: Verteilte Teams profitieren besonders von (Real-Time) Collaboration Tools – auch wenn sicher nicht alle Kommunikation in real-time geschehen muss. Aber die Unterstützung reichhaltiger, kontextgerechter Interaktionen (Ted Schadler spricht von pervasiveness, aus meiner Sicht bestehen zudem weitere Anknüpfungspunkte wie “reach” und “ambient intimacy”) ergänzt die Zusammenarbeit in Wikis ideal. Es ist also schlüssig dass Micro-Sharing und -Blogging, sowie “federated, cloud-based collaboration platforms” wie Forrester schreibt an Interesse gewinnen.

Upcoming: LeWeb (and BarCamps, conferences and more too)

[EN] English title, alas a german post. Just some notes on various places and conferences and unconferences I am planning to attend. Well, they’re mostly in Germany, based at a german audience, hence the german post. But I am planning to attend LeWeb 2008 too next week, see you there my english speaking peers.

[DE] Nach der LeWeb 2008 nächste Woche und einer kurzen Weihnachtspause kündigen sich bereits die ersten BarCamps und Konferenzen des Jahres 2009 an:

Der Startschuss (no pun intended) erfolgt mit dem PengCamp in Mainz am 10./11.1.2009 – ein BarCamp rund um Kommunikation. Anmeldung hier, die Plätze sind begrenzt, man sollte sich beeilen wenn man Interesse an diesem kleinen, spannenden Themencamp hat. Gefunden via die Lokalmatadore Gerrit und Frank. Das Orga-Team hat mittlerweile auch eine Mixxt-Seite für das PengCamp eingerichtet.

Ein weiteres fokussiertes Themencamp wird dann ebenfalls das DesignCampCologne am 24./25.01.2009 in Köln, auch hier habe ich mich angemeldet, in erster Linie aus meinem Interesse am (Design von) Geschäftsmodellinnovationen. Meine professionelle Peergroup habe ich schon auf das DesignCamp hingewiesen, ich würde mich freuen wenn das DesignCamp ein Treffen vieler am “design thinking” Interessierter werden könnte …

Teaming up for innovation (and integration) …

Via Oliver Marks I found an article (free download at nGenera) who appeared in the November issue of Harvard Business Review (“Teaming Up to Crack Innovation and Enterprise Integration”) by Robert Morison of nGenera (yes, Don Tapscott is involved …), James Cash and Michael Earl of Oxford and Harvard respectively.

Picture to the left by Idris Motee who understands the need for interdisciplinary creative thinkers

Morison et al.s “idea in brief”:

Your company is continuously creating new generations of products, services, and business processes. These innovations require seamless collaboration across your firm’s different parts. But in most large corporations, innovation and integration are unnatural acts. Resistance stifles new ideas, and silos block cross-functional cooperation.

[…] explore how some companies are overcoming these boundaries […] establishing two new types of cross-organizational teams:

Distributed innovation groups (DIGs) – foster innovation throughout the company.
For example, they deploy intranet based forums and wikis to scout for promising ideas.

Enterprise integration groups (EIGs) – establish the architecture and management practices essential for business integration. For instance, they identify
integration opportunities, channel resources to them, and reconfigure Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to support ever-tighter crossbusiness collaboration.

To establish each of these groups, select a small number of talented people who combine broad business knowledge, technology expertise, and the social skills needed to build relationships both within and outside your company.

Yes, establishing tools and protocols is only the start. People and their skills (that includes leadership, being trustworthy and good at team building) are essential, especially when dealing with innovative tasks. And it’s more challenging when dealing with scattered (or even rivaling) business units.

So I liked the sound strategic thinking Oliver added – namely what separates the successful collaborative enterprise from those that aren’t – even more as he pointed out usage arenas like business intelligence, internal and external environmental scanning. These are memes worth expanding upon: one of the often overlooked benefits of Enterprise Social Software like wikis is that it both puts real time information to the front-lines of a corporation and collects the wisdom that is spread at the “edges” of the company:

[…] DIG’s could include, as examples, scouting for new ideas and untapped potential in current technologies, scanning the external environment for emerging technologies, Facilitating participation in idea forums, acting as an innovation expertise center, serving as an incubator for promising innovations and publicizing promising innovations and funds.


[…] why there are so many sparsely populated wikis and blogs slowly twisting in the wind in the corporate world – because they were set up as tentative trial balloons with no clear utility or guidelines for expected use. It’s trivial to set up a blog or a wiki from a technical perspective – you could do it in the time it took to read this article – setting up the internal use case to ’scout for promising ideas’, for example, takes a great deal more thought and planning.

The real challenge is in finding the key people […] these are the core resources that will drive innovation, adoption of associated methodologies and their enabling technologies and the successful execution of usage models.

People issues again, but it also reminded me of this (old) article by Rob Cross, Andrew Hargadon et al. (“Together We Innovate“) on the MIT Sloan Management website (and it isn’t about scouting for ideas inside the organization alone, right). It claims “How can companies come up with new ideas? By getting employees working with one another”,

[…] problems that stifle innovation. They share a couple of common themes: the failure to effectively leverage the expertise of employees (or their peers in partner organizations) and the failure to react effectively when new ideas do arise. But we’ve also found five steps companies can take to clear those barriers and start producing big ideas.

Cross, Hargadon et al. collect some network problems (and wrangle some ideas on how to solve them too):

1. No Communication […] the structure of the company keeps people apart […]
2. Bad Gatekeepers […]
3. Insularity […]

Check out the proposed “solution takes” – and see that these are about people and leadership in the beginning but include as well adaptivity & agility, connectivity and emergence (well, they don’t name it but it’s shinig all through, like when arguing that we need systems that allow for easy collaboration, in my book that means systems that can be personalized and tweaked to my very own needs).

Upcoming: LeWeb 9./10. December

I will be going to Paris to the LeWeb conference. Will blog about it mainly in English (yes, some liveblogging here and of course on Twitter). This is much easier than automagically translating everything to German. And you’re used to it anyway – huh? Moreover, you’re aware that there are separate feeds for all of the content and the english-only content here.

Together with the guys from Berlinblase I will arrive by car, probably late on 8th of December – if you want to arrange for a meeting – get in touch. And if you’re not going yet, click on the logo above and enjoy a 20% discount. As ticket prices will raise after 20th of November it’s probably a good idea to hurry up. And many thanks to Stephanie who arranged discounted ticket deals (this is my full disclosure, I paid to get there but it’s a heavily discounted ticket).