Upcoming, part 1: European Creativity Dialogue @ Stuttgart


Today it’s a day of conferencing, I’m going to the European Creativity Dialogue event, which is part of the “Kreativraum” week in Stuttgart. Looks pretty promising, especially as the afternoon is planned to be a much more open and interactive style thing than practiced normally at regular conferences: The organizers plan for an integrated afternoon break out session, to foster the dialogue with and among the participants:

The afternoon session therefore starts off with short statements by selected speakers as an introduction to the intensive workshops on the issues of start-up support, IPR and linking the Creative Industries with the wider economy. The World Café method (see:www.theworldcafe.com) used for these workshops gives the participants the opportunity to go through several 20-minute-long thematic sessions of their choice, network with other participants and bring in their own experiences – all along the overall topic “Towards new growth models for the Creative Industries? Visions, Strategies, Actions”

I think this is a great idea, and am looking forward to discuss issues like

– What are the impacts and challenges of current Intellectual Property laws on new digital business models?
– IP challenges in production and commercialisation of software and games – how to make real money with virtual goods?
– Open Source Software – a non-profit charity or serious business? Who benefits?

and especially

– Which tools from the creative sphere could foster innovation in other industries?
– How can the dialogue between the Creative Sector and other industries be fostered?

Got some ideas, and some ideas about relevant principles, methods and tools – it would be great if I could float some of them in a relaxed athmosphere and get some feedback.


Open Source Meets Business (OSMB) – Tag 1

Heute bin ich auf Einladung von Heise Events auf dem Open Source Meets Business Kongress (OSMB) in Nürnberg (Disclaimer!). Wie im letzten Jahr werde ich Beobachtungen und Notizen hier (oder in meinem Business Model Innovation and Design Blog) veröffentlichen. Daneben wird getwittert, vorrangig aber auf dem Konferenz-Account.

OK, um was geht es heute? Open Source meets (means) Business, durchgehendes Thema der Investment Keynotes am Vormittag:

Eröffnung, Empfang und Begrüßung durch Richard Seibt, Chairman der Open Source Business Foundation

09:15 – 10:00 Uhr – Investment Keynotes I, The Future of Software – Why Open Source is the Safe Bet, Larry Augustin, Diverse, Angel Investor

10:00 – 10:30 Uhr – Investment Keynotes I – Ergebnis der Trendstudie Open Source in Unternehmen, Oliver Diedrich, heise open, Chefredakteur

10:30 – 11:00 Uhr – Investment Keynotes I – Increasing Communication Drives Cloud Computing – Open Source Makes it Work, Rafael Laguna de la Vera, Open-Xchange AG, CEO

11:30 – 12:15 Uhr – Investment Keynotes II – Collaboration Contagion – How Collaboration is Changing the Economics of Software Development, Stuart Cohen, Collaborative Software Initiative, CEO

12:15 – 13:00 Uhr – Investment Keynotes II – Open Source Stack – a Prudent Choice – Not Only – when the Economy Gets Tough, Tom Berquist, Ingres Corp., CFO

Nachmittags dann zwei Technology Keynotes, gefolgt von Workshops.

14:00 – 14:45 Uhr – Technology Keynotes I – Mozilla – How to Bring an Open Source Application into the Mainstream, John Lilly, Mozilla Corp., CEO

14:45 – 15:30 Uhr – Technology Keynotes I – Participation in a World of Choice – Open Source and Microsoft, Bryan Kirschner, Microsoft, Director Open Source Strategy

Bei den Workshops werde ich voraussichtlich zwischen den Tracks 1 und 2 hin- und herwechseln, je nach Relevanz für mein Kernarbeitsgebiet Enterprise Collaboration und Enterprise 2.0:

T01 Business Intelligence, Content Management
T03 Frameworks, Tools
T04 Infrastruktur, Security
T05 Integration, Systems Management
T06 SW-Entwicklung

The digital company – freedom to collaborate

I am closing down some of the open tabs, cleaning up draft versions and stuff I always wanted to blog about. Not all drafts stand the test of time, but some do. On the topic of good organization the report Digital company 2013: Freedom to collaborate written by Kim Thomas for the Economist Intelligence Unit stays interesting. Some of the key themes explored by the report are

  • Technology knowledge will permeate the enterprise.
  • Social networks will be common in the workplace, like it or not.
  • Beware information paralysis.
  • Digital tools will democratise access to information.
  • Digital tools provide employees with greater control over the information they can access.
  • IT will also need to loosen the reins.
  • Ceding technology control will be good medicine.

And they note that in order to realise the benefits of improved collaboration business leaders must come to terms with autonomy: “for employees, in how they access information and spend their work time; and for business units, in what technologies they purchase and how they use them. Above all, it will require from executives a great deal of courage—to allow technology to bring customers and other third parties into the company’s operations—and trust in their employees to access and use information freely.”

In Auto industry and Enterprise 2.0 Andrew McAfee speculated what he would do if appointed “Detroit CIO”. While the set of 10 principles he’s applying is good, I am not too convinced that technology, i.e. rolling out emergent social software platforms (ESSPs) to all employees of the company, starting internal CXO blogs etc. would do the trick. The car industry is a heavy user of IT already, adding to the pile of tools won’t help in overcoming resistance. And that’s where the rub is: implementing Enterprise 2.0 concepts must cope with the people, processes and the tools they employ in these processes (I specifically doubt that Six Sigma or Lean Production processes can benefit much from Enterprise 2.0 concepts, these are repeatbale and highly automated processes, i.e. they don’t need no flexibility, adaptivity or emergence). But some other advanced (knowledge work) processes might benefit a lot – hey, collaboration and social software might even help in turning around a basically flawed business model, so Andrew’s thought experiment is very welcome.

Then, IBM Research is looking at adoption, usage patterns, motivations, and overall impact of Social Software in the Workplace (pdf). The paper focuses on the internal usage of social networking (Beehive) and examines the individual goals people have when utilizing these platforms (like interacting with colleagues, career advancement, convincing and informing others about ideas and projects).

Via Stewart I found Gerard Tellis & Ashish Sood‘s article “How to Back the Right Technology” in the Wall Street Journals and MIT Sloan’s Business Insight – dealing with mistakes organizations often make when choosing which technologies to adopt:

  • They fail to distinguish among different levels of technology, with the result that they focus too much on one level and get tripped up by changes in another level.
  • They assume technological performance follows a standard path — from innovation to obsolescence. It often doesn’t.
  • They fail to recognize that technological innovations shape consumers’ tastes, not mere whims.

Good advice included, like e.g. try multiple things at once and don’t bet too heavily on one choice, on picking a winner:

  • […] Technologies, and the competition among them, evolve in more-complex ways than conventional wisdom suggests. To make the right choices, managers need to understand these patterns of evolution.
  • [so that] executives can avoid some common mistakes: missing a market-changing technological breakthrough, embracing a hot technology too eagerly or abandoning another one too quickly, and underestimating the effect of new technologies on consumers’ tastes.

And if you’re in doubt what technologies to evaluate for 2009 EDS’ Charlie Bess gives you something to think about, see his predictions for 2009 (granted, a mixed bag of IT technologies and/or approaches). To me, most important and most interesting is his starting point:

In this [financial et al. crisis] situation, the investments in technology can actually have more impact than at any other time, since your competitors may be in a purely cost cutting mode. In 2009 organizations must maintain a balance between the new/strategic and the immediate return, between operational cost-cutting and operational excellence. Anytime there is this level of conflict, the situation is ripe for innovation

Well, basically looks like a good situation for social software in the enterprise aka Enterprise 2.0 …

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.

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).

WikiWednesdayStuttgart, business model innovations for Non-Profits and open-source organization principles

Yes, this is a really long title, but wait …

BarCamp Berlin 3

I am currently in my third sunday session at the BarCampBerlin 3 – and Clemens Lerche and Peter Bihr are leading an open brainstorming session on user-generated content, open source principles and more. I found about this via my post on The Web is changing the world (with Open Source organization principles) – Clemens commented and alerted me to their session.

But where’s the connection to the rest of the title? I guess it’s all about the implications (and potentials) of open source principles. And as we were discussing this (literally, well) also at the last WikiWednesday Stuttgart, e.g. innovative approaches non-profits are applying. While we started with community wiki projects, due to an interesting mixture of audience we ended at a discussion that went much farther then just discussing the potentials of social software – it touched upon business model innovations, especially structural and strategic innovations that can be employed.

So this is the idea for the next (and 7th) WikiWednesday Stuttgart: Let’s have a meeting of social entrepreneurs, innovators and social software enthusiasts and discuss this space. This must not be an incarnation and variation of SocialCamp or Social Bar, but it may well be a start to get local enthusiasts going.

One item on the agenda might be “What can we do with collaboration tools to support Non-profit work?” Well, yes, things like e.g. find experts, build up competency and “professional standing”, help our people to collaborate and communicate more easily and profoundly (all the while given that this is not coming for free but needs quite some time) …

But I guess that’s not all, so I’m thinking of inviting people like Christian Kreutz and Alex Osterwalder to do a keynote of some kind (in a very literal sense). Why do I ask them – for Christian it’s clear, he’s working in this space. And Alex? Lately he posted this:

[…] Some entrepreneurs involved in business model innovation are not only seeking for financial returns, but are also aiming at achieving social, development and environmental returns. In other words, money and fame are not their only motivators. They want to have an impact. What is interesting is that they are aiming at combining financial AND social success. These entrepreneurs try to prove that these two are not necessarily contradictory.

There are are a couple of interesting business models out there that I follow with quite some fascination. Grameen Phone is a telecom company founded by Iqbal Quadir, that has brought connectivity to rural areas in Bangladesh. What is interesting about their business model is that they partnered with the world famous micro finance institution Grameen Bank to exploit synergies.


And he did a workshop on this topic in London (“Disruptive models: The art and science of VISUAL BUSINESS MODEL DESIGN for breakthrough social innovation“) …

Making the links, i.e. how to leverage these new social software tools, new communication channels, new communities et al. in this space might be interesting for many people from Stuttgart too, like e.g. Dr. Brigitte Reiser from nonprofits-vernetzt, Thomas Becker, Cedric of course and other present and past WikiWednesday attendees.

I will coordinate the room and then announce the date via the usual channels, looking forward to this.