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“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!

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“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!





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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