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The 4 Laws of Enduring Innovation Success

7 04 2010

[tweetmeme]Always an avid reader of the Financial Times, (one of the few decent news sources in an otherwise barren information landscape here in the US)  I came across a great commentary/review by the FT’s always fabulous Lucy Kellaway on the “Money-Honey’s” (CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo) recent book “The Ten Laws of Enduring Success”.

Lucy does amusingly short work of debunking the 10 laws that Maria came up with, and proposes a few laws of her own instead.

Lucy’s Laws were so much better formulated (in my opinion) that it got me thinking about the “Laws” of successful Innovation programs – not least of which because I think the first couple would be the same as the ones Lucy came up with.

So, here are my 4 Laws of Enduring Innovation Success:

1) Be Lucky – no matter how many different ways you squeeze it, Innovation is about luck.With your typical long term program “failing” 75% of the time, there can be no doubt that it takes a certain amount of luck to be successful – especially over the longer term.

You are in essence, shooting into the dark with most innovation programs – trying products and processes that haven’t been tried before in your company, your industry, or sometimes even the world.

That’s not to say you can’t improve your chances of getting lucky though. Unlike with the Las Vegas casinos, no one will kick you out of the game for learning the innovation equivalent of card counting techniques. Indeed, in this game, cheating of any form is encouraged; and banding together in casino-busting style innovation teams with other individuals and companies is heavily rewarded.

By setting up and executing robust innovation strategies and processes you are in essence increasing the predictability of the Lucky Breaks you get – And in Innovation, Luckier is most definitely Better.

2)  Be Ambitious – There’s an old saying: “Fortune Favors the Brave” – and nowhere else is that truer than in the Innovation game. To score big, you have to aim big.  If you only look for incremental ideas, then that’s all you’ll get.

During my time at Imaginatik, we used to make the bold claim of being able to consistently achieve “a 10x ROI on your investment”.  How did we make sure that happened? By making sure that the problems being targeted by the client’s innovation strategy were big enough to achieve at least that. And you know what? It worked.

3)  Stay Focused – Running an Innovation program at a big company is kind of like a subscription to a “Shiny-New-Toy-Of-The-Month” Club.  It’s easy to get distracted by the current toy sent to you. It’s easy to forget to go to the mailbox for the following month’s toy because you’re having too much fun with this month’s toy still. And after a while, it’s easy to forget the reason you shelled out so much money to get the subscription in the first place.

To that end, maintaining a laser-like focus on what you’re trying to achieve is imperative for an innovation program.  Your Innovation strategy needs to be revisited constantly and attacked with the same brutality for embracing change as you’re demanding from the organization with the innovations that you are introducing.  Your strategy needs to be a fluid structure with one constant– “How can I best drive significant business results and organic growth for my organization?” – and you should make sure that your processes and actions are targeted at achieving that goal.

4)  Embrace Everyone – not in a “creepy guy who keeps looking at me funny” way – but rather in a “let’s talk to, and get input from, as many different people as possible” in your quest to solve your corporations problems.

Innovation, more so than any other business discipline is leading the way in the upcoming socialized business revolution. That revolution will herald a new era where a company’s potential knowledge-base of solutions is no longer limited to the company walls, nor even close collaborators, but will instead embrace a global audience of potential participants.

To do this, you’ll need to begin to develop new skill sets that will involve learning how to identify which communities of people provide you with specific types of input; learning to set up and drive Social Teams to turn subsets of those communities into useable and active groups that will help you achieve your goals; and learning how to make those groups self sustainable so as to make sure they’re constantly available to you as a resource.

That’s it – 4 simple laws for ensuring that you not only become successful, but also stay successful. Keep these 4 on a post-it on your desk, on a poster on your wall, or as the screensaver on your laptop – whatever works for you – just do them!

Do you have any other Laws to Enduring Innovation Success?[tweetmeme]


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The Need for Variety and the Innovation Quiver

16 03 2010

[tweetmeme]Innovation, like writing, is a fickle mistress really – easy to find one day, hard to find the next – but always around somewhere.

At the recommendation of my good friend, fellow Bostonian and business author extraordinaire Steve Shapiro, I’d begun to use a local Starbucks as a place to go and get inspired and avoid the typical distractions that keep popping up in my office.

However, this last week or so, my Starbucks was failing me; it simply wasn’t doing it for me anymore. Whether it was  the constant parade of chatty college girls passing through the doors, releasing a blast of cold air to all inside; or the large trimmed windows reminding me of the yucky grey day I was trying to avoid outside , I just couldn’t find the inspiration I needed to begin writing anything useful. My trusty “innovation tool” simply wasn’t working for me anymore.

It occurred to me that something needed to change, so I got up and walked out the door. I ended up walking into the cavernous interior of the Boston Public Library, and found a desk and chair nestled somewhere within the US History section – that for whatever reason seemed to call to me. Surrounded by books on George Washington’s military career on one side and books on  Thomas Jefferson’s political career on the other and before I knew it, the floodgates had opened and off I was writing again!

As I wrote and reflected upon my inner creation demons that I was struggling to overcome just a few hours earlier – I was thus reminded of one of the most important lessons in innovation – the need for variety in an innovation program. Let me explain:

Whilst you should strive to make innovation a repeatable, sustainable process, that doesn’t mean it should be executed like an automaton. I’ve seen too many clients ultimately fail because they don’t understand that they simply can’t rely on a single trusted process to last them forever. There are 3 main reasons for this, in no particular order:

1)   Innovation is about problem solving – identifying, defining, and solving problems that will drive new growth opportunities for your company to be precise.  Problems have a tendency to be unique, to offer individual challenges that need to be understood and overcome – and whilst most can frequently be tackled in more than one way, to rely on one single methodology to tackle all of them is foolish.

2)   Modern day innovation is a highly human intensive process, relying on creative and constructive contributions from a variety of sources – employees, suppliers, customers, and more. As such, we are subject to the subtle whims of the human creative conscience.  In other words – people get bored.

They also can just get creatively exhausted. Keep asking the same subset of people a continuous stretch of questions and you’ll notice participation slowly, and sometimes dramatically, fall off. No matter how important the topic, people reach the limits of their creative thought endurance.

3)   Modern day Innovation is also no longer the domain of a few, but rather the expectation of the many. You’re now expected to run an innovation program that is no longer confined to one part of your company like R&D, but reaches out across all aspects of your business in search of the next big thing that will eek out a few more points of competitive advantage in the market.  And that reach doesn’t stop at the traditional corporate walls, but extends to a global audience with the understanding that the best solution to your problems will frequently lie outside of those walls.

What that means is that you’re now talking to a variety of people – some internal, some external, some trusted, some unknown – each of which should be handled in a different manner to obtain ideal collaborative input from them.

I’ve frequently told my clients that they should think of their innovation program as a quiver of arrows – the more arrows you have, and the better aim you have, the more your chances of coming back home with a nice venison dinner rather than a shot-up turnip.

Each arrow in the innovation “quiver” is designed to offer a different way to bring in a solution to the innovation problem at hand; and by using a variety of arrows in your innovation program, you not only become a better and more well rounded “hunter”, you also become more adept and understanding how best to overcome the environmental conditions at hand.

Ask a cross sectional group of employees for their ideas on how to solve a specific problem. No success? Then ask a different cross section of employees in a different manner. Maybe your internal staff has reached exhaustion point, or maybe they’re just too close to this particular problem. Look outside then! Maybe we invite specific suppliers and partners to have a go at the solution in our Idea Lab. Maybe we invite the local entrepreneur community to show their potential solutions in an Entrepreneur Day at our offices.  Have we found several solutions now? Maybe we bring in interesting entrepreneurs from inside/outside the company to a “Dragon’s Den” (“Shark Tank” in the US) type of event. Or how about setting up a virtual idea market to tap into the wisdom of the crowds instead?

Each of these methods and many more should be developed as innovation arrows in your quiver that can be reused multiple times to ensure an active, engaged and efficient innovation program that will drive the achievement of corporate growth goals.

It’s an interesting paradox though how many in the innovation industry, an area where we endeavor to bring a state of constant (but controlled) change into our organizations, don’t consider the necessity for that same state in our very own innovation programs.

In other words, we decide upon one arrow to use, and we keep on using it until it fails to work anymore before we begin to look around our bare quiver for further possibilities.

How many arrows do you keep in your quiver?…





“Innovation in a Collaboration World” – the other side of the coin with #innochat on 28 Jan 2009 – 12pm EST

27 01 2010

Collaboration is, apparently,  “the new hot thing” in Innovation nowadays. Not that it’s all that new – but it certainly is hot. More than a passing trend, it’s surely just a concept whose time has finally come after years of flirting with the edges of corporate credibility.

Now, the drive toward a socialized business structure is firmly on course thanks to the penetration of Web2.0 technologies not just through business, but through our personal lives too – the net effect being a gradual cultural change towards accepting a universe where the exchange of information and knowledge in a seamless, timeless, and social manner is quickly becoming “the way it is”.

Companies have, this time, been quick to jump on board as visible value is finally being derived from social collaborative initiatives – and corporate innovation processes have been at the forefront of those driving that value. As a result, collaboration practices are now considered “de rigeur” for any innovation program looking to be taken seriously by corporate executives and shareholders alike.

But is it being “all it can be?” – to paraphrase the old US Army slogan?

That’s the general theme of this week’s #INNOCHAT (Thurs, 28 January at 12PM EST) – when it tackles the second part of a massive 2-part discussion on “Collaborative Innovation” with #smchat (Weds 1PM EST) which I’ve been asked to moderate.

On the Wednesday, we’ll have discussed the social aspects of collaborative innovation with #smchat. As expert consultants and practitioners in Innovation, #INNOCHAT team participants are, however, the better placed to delve into the process side of the Collaborative Innovation discussion.

You see, whilst collaboration may well be the “new hot thing”, but in most companies, its use is still very limited – even within innovation functions – where it can be most commonly found on either “end” of the innovation process. So we’ll be exploring and uncovering the how, where, and why collaboration can be used at each stage of a high level idealized innovation process, namely:

1)   Discovering and Framing the Problem

2)   Collecting Ideas and Solutions

3)   Building ideas into mature concepts

4)   Developing the new product

5)   Marketing/Selling/Executing and expanding a new Product/Process/Concept

At each stage of the process, I’ll be asking participants to discuss how they’ve seen collaboration work at each stage – what are the business models for its use? What are the pitfalls to watch out for? What are the noteworthy solutions and companies out there? And most importantly – what are the new rules for success in this new collaborative innovation world?

Have more questions / issues you’d like to see addressed? Add them below in the comments section and I’ll add them to the agenda!

As with #smchat’s conversation, there’s a LOT to cover in the 90 minutes allocated to this discussion, and the conversation is typically fast and furious in order to get through as much as possible.

However, if you’re unable to take part in the synchronized chat, please take advantage of the various tools available to download a transcript (I use the built in service on (http://www.wthashtag.com/innochat usually) and then continue on the conversation with the other participants throughout the week!





“Collaboration in an Innovation World” – setting the stage for a landmark #smchat on 27 Jan 2009 – 1pm EST

26 01 2010

Collaboration and Business have long been interesting bed fellows, ever flirting with each other, but rarely embracing each other.

For business, collaboration has been an attractive mistress, full of allure and promise, but always just out of reach – never delivering on the early promise shown.

For Collaboration, Business is the bad boy with a leather jacket on a Harley – knowing that great things could be achieved if only business wasn’t so selfishly focused on personal profit.

Although the above is probably not the best analogy I’ve ever come up with, it holds more than a nugget of truth in it. After all, businesses have been toying with collaborative processes and technologies for quite some time now. Globalization and the pervasiveness of web 2.0 tools have accelerated this interest further for most companies – and yet, rarely is this interest rewarded by real rewards.

Nowhere in the increasingly socialized business of today is this more evident than in Corporate Innovation programs – the other newfound darling of recent years. By combing the two, companies finally found a method by which to use the global knowledge base at its disposal to drive real corporate value in the form of improved product pipelines, powerful value chain partnerships, new business models, and other forms of competitive advantage – the lifeblood of any lasting corporate entity.

However – there’s a snag to this wonderful idealist concept.  It turns out there’s more to Collaboration than buying a tool, or putting a smart manager in charge of the initiative. It turns out that Collaboration, like any other process that relies on human interaction to succeed, is complicated.  It turns out, that Collaboration is simply not a cheap date – needing to be wined and dined, wooed, and convinced that Business is a truly a worthy mate, before deciding to intertwine her power with his… (to carry on my analogy a step or two too far probably..)

But just how does Business do that wooing? In other words, as business people – what are the ways in which we, can mobilize the global knowledge base to help us in our endeavor to drive corporate value?

This is the question we’re aiming to answer on this week’s #SMCHAT on Wednesday – part one of a two part intertwining of powers with #INNOCHAT that follows up on Thusday. As an “expert” on the discipline/art of Collaborative Innovation, I’ve been given the task of moderating both discussions this week.

As experts in the Social Media arena, contributors to #smchat are perfectly positioned to tackle the social implications of this collaborative conundrum. So here’s the list of themes I’ll be driving people along to – feel free to comment on them, or add further questions and areas for the group to tackle:

1)   We can Build it, but will they come? – There are two main problems that come up right at the beginning of any collaborative process – and innovation is no different: Who do we want to ask for help? And how do we ensure they agree to show up?

2)   Let’s look at the Tools: Assuming we know who to ask – what are the success criteria for a good collaborative innovation tool?

3)   Why should I? : Innovation is unique amongst collaborative initiatives in being most able to show a direct line between input, and valuable output. After all, the result of innovation initiatives is the creation of new value for a corporate entity – so why should audiences participate? There are some obvious benefits for employees to take part, but what about people external to the organization?  Companies have tried a variety of different incentive programs from outright cash rewards, to tangential rewards (e.g. gift vouchers), to virtual achievement badges, to absolutely nothing.  Is there a one-size fits all? Is it realistic to expect altruistic contribution from people with nothing to gain? And if you decide to give rewards – how much is appropriate?

4)   How much is enough? : Just how much collaboration is enough? Can you ever over-collaborate on an idea?  Is collaborating on an idea different to than collaborating on a more mature concept? Are there differing levels of collaboration required at different points in time?

As you can see, there’s rather a lot to cover in the 90 minutes allocated to this topic -and I’ll be aiming to get through as much as possible. If you’re unable to take part in the synchronized chat, please take advantage of the various tools available to download a transcript (I use the built in service on (http://www.wthashtag.com/smchat usually) and then continue on the conversation with the other participants throughout the week!

Then, for the other side of the coin – don’t forget that #INNOCHAT tackles Innovation in a Collaborative World” on Jan 28 at 12PM EST.  See you all there!





Tackling Collaborative Innovation – the #smchat and #innochat doubleheader

22 01 2010

I should’ve known better really – after, all it’s happened once before, so surely I should’ve spotted it coming a mile away when I  1) was dumb enough to make some suggestions on #innochat for future topics and then 2) found myself on the receiving end of a seemingly innocent telephone call with Chris Jones, Renee Hopkins and Gwen Ismael.

Like a steam liner heading slowly but surely into an iceberg in broad daylight, I found myself yet again somehow agreeing to moderate an upcoming session.

For those of you not in the know, #smchat and #innochat are two of the most vibrant and productive “Social Teams” on the Internet. Each virtual group, meets once a week to openly discuss, debate, and generally advance the thoughts and practices of their respective members in specific areas.

#Smchat meets on Wednesdays and is focused on all things Social Media and Collaboration related, and headed up by the excellent Chris Jones (@sourcePOV).

#Innochat, held on Thursdays, delves into the inner working of corporate innovation practices and theories and is led by the formidable duo of Renee Hopkins (@Renee_Innosight) and Gwen Ismael (@Gwen_Ismael).

Both groups are classic “Social Teams” by my definition – a loose “membership”, focused on achieving a specific purpose, massive in scale, floating leadership, and more – anyone can join by logging into twitter at the appropriate pre-scheduled time, follow the appropriate hash tag, and wait for the moderator to begin the discussion. A quick round of introductions later, and the fireworks begin, with the moderator working hard to try and keep the enthusiastic team members on course, on topic, and on target to drive a useful conclusion to the topic being addressed that week.

It can be a little overwhelming at first – especially as the exchanges are frequently fast and furious – with tons of excellent, valuable comments being traded to and fro at a rate of knots. It’s really a fantastic learning opportunity, and a great way to mingle, interact, and cross swords with some of the best minds on Social Media and Innovation.

I’ve been participating in these two teams for some time now – and have the dubious honor of having moderated one of the most vigorous discussions ever on “What in the World is Web 3.0?” – which pulled in experts from all over the internet to debate what the next iteration of the web would look like.

I knew thus, that it was only a matter of time before I would be cornered into a repeat act, and sure enough it wasn’t long before I found myself cornered like a rattlesnake in a fishbowl.

The two groups have been increasingly finding areas of overlap in recent months, as “Innovation” has increasingly embraced collaboration and socialized processes, and “Social Media” finds innovation as a prime corporate driver for internal adoption and use of its tools.

The inevitable crossing of the two subjects occurs at “Collaborative Innovation” and as Collaborative Innovation is “my thing” – I soon found myself on the receiving end of a flung gauntlet to moderate the first ever “doubleheader” between the two teams.

Both groups have vastly different viewpoints on this topic which is an increasingly relied upon driver of corporate organic growth and new value.  So I’ve decided to split up the two sessions in a way that would release the most amount of value from the accrued expert minds in attendance.

So clear your agendas, fire up the espresso machines and best make it a double – because on Weds, 27 January at 1PM EST, #SMCHAT will be looking at “Collaboration in an Innovation World – focusing on the social issues of how companies can drive participation, collaboration, and motivation for innovation efforts – after all, people are asked to contribute to the creation of new value for a company – but why would they? And how can you structure collaborative efforts to drive the desired results for a company?

Then, for the innovation junkies out there, we follow up on Thurs, 28 January at 12PM EST, when #INNOCHAT tackles “Innovation in a Collaborative World – now that collaboration and socialization of business processes is not only a reality, but a mandatory element of any innovation program worth its weight, how can we inject collaboration into the innovation process? What are the various business models for its use?

Full-on framing posts for each topic will show up during the week, so keep your eyes peeled, and use the comments below to request specific topics, areas, questions or ideas to be addressed!





The Blogger’s Hub Mark II – The World Business Forum 09 and Social Media Innovation

5 10 2009

3904269880_4453a1e4a8Thanks to the good people over at HSM, I’ve been invited to take part in the Blogger’s Hub at tomorrow’s World Business Forum – something I’m really quite excited about for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, look at the lineup – where else in the world can you go to and see Bill Clinton, George Lucas and Gary Hamel all on the same agenda? The topics being addressed are equally diverse – ranging from Leadership, to Branding, to  Economics, to a simple “Conversation” (well you didn’t think George Lucas would address the audience on something like “Quantitative Analysis Techniques for the 21st century” did you?).

combined

However, and not to take away from the power of the content itself, one of the main attractions for me this year will be to see how HSM has evolved its’ “Bloggers Hub” concept. Whether or not HSM were the first to embrace Social Media (SM) and the concept of an “alternative press core” as part of its conferences I don’t know – but I think I can safely say that they’re the current leaders when it comes to integrating SM into their conferences. You certainly can’t fault them for lack of commitment to the concept – and it’s reaping some great results from them in terms of market exposure and attendee response.

Regular readers will remember a piece I wrote about the Blogger’s Hub at the World Innovation Forum – also run by HSM – where they first tried out the concept.  Inviting a core group of innovation bloggers, tweeps, and writers of various sorts to their event – they then set up a unique experience with reserved seating, dedicated WiFi channels, powerpoints, press packs, and more for this group. It was a bold statement at the time of HSM’s belief in Social Media – and one that was then rapidly adopted by many of their competitors to varying degrees of success.

draft_lens3845322module25308872photo_1241249735social-networking

So needless to say – I’m fascinated to see how they’ll push the boundaries again with their second go at it. Already they’ve done far more pre-conference than in the past. Having established an already pretty active hash channel on twitter (#WBF09 in case you want to follow the live tweets on Tuesday and Wednesday), a LinkedIn Group, a Facebook page, and several networking opportunities both before and during the conference specifically for the Blogger’s Hub members – they’ve done an admirable job of embracing what I think are the key components of a successful corporate SM campaign, namely:

1)   Open a channel to your target market and give them a means by which to communicate with each other – through the various linkedin, twitter, and other channels that they’ve created, HSM have provided the potential community with a set of tools to use. More critically, rather than attempt to create proprietary channels; they’ve built mini-channels within already established platforms so as to reduce the barrier to entry to new community members.

2)   Enthuse the community – Membership to the Blogger’s Hub has certain perks: Special invitation-only channels; exclusive networking opportunities; special press packs and media libraries; the specially reserved and equipped area at the conference itself; and more – all contributing to participants feeling “special” and thus more enthusiastic about the entire experience. Just as with any PR – giving a channel exclusivity to content gives it a better chance of being picked up

3)   Take an active role in the community – throughout, HSM has not only used the various channels as a way to put out marketing messages, but crucially, they’ve taken an active part in the online discussions – thus getting adopted by the community not as a sponsor, but as a member – and as a member, credibility and acceptance is much greater.

blogger_hub3Having covered all these points admirably, George Levy and his colleagues at HSM have ensured that come the Wednesday evening close of the event, not only will they have driven a modern day PR campaign that would be the envy of most corporates out there, but they’ve also created an active community that they essentially “own” and are a trusted member of. How many companies active in the SM space can say that? Talk about creating an asset!

Will there be more surprises for us when we get there? I’m willing to bet so – so make sure you track #wbf09 over the next few days and I’ll make sure to tell you all about it as the event unfolds!

More Resources

  • I’ve created an RSS Feed of Blog Posts on the World Business Forum from Blogger’s Hub participants
  • If you’re not an active Twitter user – you can follow all the action from HSM’s dedicated page
  • If you are an active Twitter user – make sure to follow #wbf09 to see the whole thing unfold live
  • Here’s a full list of the Blogger’s Hub Participants so you can follow each individually:

Wall Street Journal | Kelly Evans | @Kelly_Evans
Wall Street Journal | Paul Glader | @PaulGlader
The Huffington Post | Shahien Nasiripour | @huffbusiness
BusinessWeek.com | Reena Jana  | @RJMAC
Reuters | Felix Salmon  | @felixsalmon
Newsweek | Katie Paul  | @newsweek
asmarterplanet.com | Adam Christensen | @smarterplanet
Jossey-Bass on Leadership | Carolyn Carlstroem | @josseybassbiz
mashable.com | Ben Parr | @benparr
billgeorge.org | Zach Clayton | @bill_george
The Big Picture | Barry Ritholtz
Purse Pundit | Jacki Zehner
Execunet | Lauryn Franzoni | @LaurynFranzoni
Execunet | Robyn Greenspan | @Robyngreenspan
Execunet | Joseph McCool
Execunet | Jeffrey Sherman Thompson
1 to 1 Media | Don Peppers | @donpeppers
Path Forward International | Julie Lenzer Kirk | @YourBoot
Path Forward International | Renee Lewis | @chiefcatalyst
Thought Bright Blog | Robert McNeill
Working Knowledge | Andrea Meyer | @AndreaMeyer
Working Knowledge | Dana Meyer | @WorkingKnowledg
Business Boomer | Arabella Santiago | @businessboomer
Information Playground (EMC) | Steve Todd |  @SteveTodd
Social Media Blog Stu | Stuart Miniman | @stu
Insights on Leadership and Employee Engagement | Michael Lee Stallard  | @MichaelStallard
Innoblog | Renee Hopkins | @Renee_Innosight
Business Strategy Innovation Blog | Braden Kelley | @innovate
HSMInspiringIdeas.com | Graciela Gonzalez Biondo | @HSMAmericas
Gizmodo.com | Joanna Stern | @gizmodo
Time Leadership | Jim Estill | @JimEstill
Goodness500.org | Michael Mossoba | @creativemichael
All Things Workplace | Steve Roesler  | @steveroesler
Orrin Woodward Leadership Team | Orrin Woodward | @Orrin_Woodward
Influential Marketing | Rohit Bhargava | @rohitbhargava
GDGT | Peter Rojas | @peterrojas
Brain Leaders and Learners | Dr. Ellen Weber | @EllenfWeber
Brain Based Biz | Dr. Robyn McMaster | @robynMcMaster
Triple Pundit | Jen Boynton | @triplepundit
Triple Pundit | Nick Aster | @triplepundit
Triple Pundit | Ryan Mickle | @triplepundit
Marketing Thoughts Blog | Ken McArthur | @kenmcArthur
Training Magazine’s Training Day Blog | Margery Weinstein | @margeryw
Awake at the Wheel | Jonathan Fields | @jonathanfields
Hot Mommas Project | Kathy Korman Frey | @chiefhotmomma
Hot Mommas Project | Amber Hunnicut | @HotMommasIntern
Youth Entrepreneurship Lady | Julie Kantor | @NFTEJuliek
Vault.com | Philip Stott | @VaultCareers
Vault.com | Linda Petock | @VaultCareers
Economist Mom | Diane Lim Rogers | @EconomistMom
Hank Wasiak | Hank Wasiak | @hankwasiak
Chris Brady’s Leadership Blog | Chris Brady | @rascaltweets
The Complete Innovator | Boris Pluskowski | @bpluskowski
PR Mama | Stephanie Smirnov | @ssmirnov
Ramblings from a Glass Half Full | Terry Starbucker | @Starbucker
Conference Hound | Jordan Enright-Schulz | @conferencehound
Conference Hound | Bruce Carlisle | @conferencehound
Successful Blog | Liz Strauss | @lizstrauss
Collaboration Solutions in Industry Segments | Bob Preston | @BobPrestonCCO
5 Blogs Before Lunch | David Allen Ibsen | @daveibsen
Angry Bear | Dan Crawford | @angrybearecon
Angry Bear | Ken Houghton | @angrybearecon
Tree Hugger | Matthew McDermott | @matmcdermott
Fast Company Expert Blogger | Seth Kahan | @SethKahan





What in the Wide World is Web 3.0? – Let’s find out….

22 09 2009

Global NetworkSo it all started with a bit of a joke – I was chatting to moderator-extraordinaire @sourcePOV (Chris Jones’ alias on Twitter to the rest of you) at the end of a particularly well attended #smchat session to brainstorm some ideas for future chat topics (click here to find out more about #smchat).  “Hey”, I said with tongue firmly in cheek, “we’ve been talking about social media and web 2.0 for some time now… aren’t we due another point release soon?”…. Chris, with what I’m now realizing is a rather impressive ability to spot an opportunity, quickly managed to convert my offhand quip into a somewhat tenuous agreement to take over from him as moderator for next week’s #smchat gathering, with rather daunting task of leading the 50+ participants through “Qu.20” – figuring out what Web 3.0 is, might be, or would be, if it is anything at all – and then trying to understand the impact on business and beyond.

I found myself wondering if this was how Justin Timberlake found himself not only guest hosting Saturday Night Life, but then also in tights and high heels for a parody of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”… At some point he must’ve found himself thinking “How the heck….?”…  I guess in retrospect I should thank my lucky stars that I get to keep my trousers on to host #smchat…large_snl-jtrudd

Taking a closer look at the topic though, led me to some very interesting search into a future that really isn’t that far away – (many experts seem to suggest that Web 3.0 will be a real entity as close as 2010) – but one that is still unclear and the center of some debate as to what it really is, will be, and what it will mean.

Let’s take a quick look down the “point release” history of the Web:

Web 0.0 was the first interactions between computers – the beginning of a networked world as it evolved. Crude, and of limited use (by today’s standards), but a huge step change on what was possible with individual computers.

Web 1.0 took the next step and evolved protocols and common language to begin making sense and use the growing “web” of interconnected computers in both the private and public sectors. Data was primarily pushed at you with little intelligence about how and why; and content creation and distribution was the sole domain of the website owner. However it spawned a wealth of business models that managed to take advantage of a new, non-physical channel by which to sell and promote goods and services.

Web 2.0 introduced the concept of a two way web – with users not only reading information, but also writing, contributing, and creating content.

It’s given birth to the business models of co-creation, open innovation networks, crowd sourcing, wisdom of crowd approaches, and enough buzzwords to run a truly interesting and diverse game of “buzzword bingo” at the office.  It’s also introduced the concept of data and application mobility and a whole new level of interconnectedness with open standards beginning to evolve and standardize how machines, even from competing brands, talk to each other.

mullet

It’s a social, collaborative, and altogether more responsive and interactive web that is no longer just a tool, but a part of us and how we interact with the wider world around us.

So bearing in mind that marketing guys can be as unoriginal as a mullet at a Lynard Skynard concert when it comes to naming new concepts – we know a Web 3.0 is on its way – but what, if anything, will it be?

Here’s a nice little short movie from Dutch think tank EPN which does a nice job of introducing the Web 3.0 concept in relation to what’s gone before:

I don’t know about you, but I’m quite excited to see what the #smchat participants will come up with (Bet you’re jealous now Chris! :p ) – and to better prepare you all to discuss the topic, here’s some background reading on what some people think the Web 3.0, along with a list of some of the questions we’ll try to tackle on Wednesday:

Q20a) What is Web 3.0?

So what will Web3.0 bring us? Will it simply be a natural extension of Web 2.0? Will it just be a marketing gimmick devised by bored marketers looking to revitalize and differentiate a market where almost everything has been branded with a “2.0” by now? Or something totally different?

Alan Cho wrote a pretty nice article on the subject last year that does a good job of amalgamating some of the current arguments out there into a comprehensive prediction of what Web 3.0 might be characterized by, including:

–       The advent of a truly intelligent web – the development of contextual searches will finally make sense of the plethora of online information and will eventually spawn intelligent web applications able fully understand what you’re really looking for in natural English.

–       New levels of Openness and Increased levels of Interoperability – with users being able to skip from device to device and application to application using one single ID to seamlessly manage their online world – with the web being seen as essentially one really huge database.  A worldwide cloud without edges if you will.

–       A 3 dimensional web – not only in terms of Second Life type Avatars, but also crossing into the real world and integrating into everything you own. The web becomes an additional layer of information overlaying all aspects of your life, enriching the information flow your eyes process.

Q20b) What will be the hallmarks of a Web 3.0 world and how will it revolutionize the world?

Here’s a more academic view of Web 3.0 by a UCal professor:

Q20c) When will Web 3.0 be officially here?

The phrase “Web 2.0” was apparently coined in 2003 by Dale Dougherty, a vice-president at O’Reilly Media, and the phrase became popular in 2004. Some experts are saying that if the next fundamental change happened in roughly the same time span, Web 3.0 will be knocking on our doors sometime around 2015. Others seem to think that it could be upon us as soon as 2010! Time for all you Nostradamus wannabe’s to get your diving rods out on this one!

Q20d) What are the barriers to W3.0 ?

What’s stopping us from getting there? What are the major barriers that companies and consumers need to overcome? And what are the enabling features?

And finally, what I think is the most important question:

Q20e) What does Web 3.0 mean for businesses?

In this amusing interchange with a journalist, Eric Schmidt of Google gives a brief insight into what he thinks are some of the implications of web 3.0 including an interesting prediction that “Applications will be distributed in a viral manner” in the future.

Want more? Some further suggested reading:

http://www.labnol.org/internet/web-3-concepts-explained/8908/ – has a bunch of presentations from various peoples on what web3.0 might end up being.

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-30.htm – a good comprehensive look at all elements of Web 3.0

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2102865,00.asp – A nearby vision of how web 3.0 is evolving (hopefully not with all the annoying ads their site seems to be overridden with though…)

This #SMCHAT will be held on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 1PM EST on Twitter. If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat before – here’s a useful post by Jeff Hurt that can help you get started!

And if you want to suggest some more questions for us to tackle (time permitting) feel free to post your suggestions in the comments below or via twitter on @bpluskowski  – See you on Wednesday!








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