Archive for the collaboration Category

The digital battle is getting serious but who is fighting and why?

Posted in collaboration, Community, Digital business, digital collaboration, Digital media, Digital news, innovation, IT and communication, Web 2.0 on April 5, 2013 by Geir Stene

Painting_Liberty Leading the PeopleIt’s the giants leading on the battle; it amazes me that the rest of us let them rule the ground alone.

It is all about power, owning the value chain and keeping / achieving profits. Who owns the production line ? Who have control over the infrastructure (path of delivery) and who has the strongest grip of the customers?

For some; helping people to improve their lives and decrease their sufferings and problems seems to be a necessary (but undesirable) cost aspect. No wonder people distrust whole countries, corporations and those who want to sell us yet another vacant argument.

Facebook is coming up with a mobile solution, but do not launch a cell phone. IPhone got behind in the innovation race. Kodak is bankrupt. Sony is losing money all over. Many newspapers tries to generate sufficient revenues by hiding behind firewalls. AT&T (and of course Telenor in Norway) are fighting too, they want the free ride of earning on others production of content. Media moguls are on the ground too, armed to their teeth with copyright arguments. North Korea and other nations are accused for running a cyber war. Most nations want some sort of control over the Internet, they say it’s due to fighting crime.

Confused? No need to be embarrassed. Most people are.

The digital revolution is really about who is producing value in the digital era and are able to deliver solutions to people’s problems and fulfilling their desires in the most benefitual way. It can be a revolution FOR the people, but then the people have to wake up.

The question is not about copyrights, VAT, or that the artists will not survive when everything becomes free. It is not about journalism or literature, storytelling, pictures and film as dying crafts. It is really about a new level of democracy, where the value is in delivering real value to people – the market.

For the media industry  it is important to understand this, and at the same time to understand that the real producers of added value (the artists, the storytellers, the journalists and so forth) need to get the fair share of the value produced!

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The collective flow of money is in crowd funding!

Posted in collaboration, Community, Digital business, digital collaboration, innovation, IT and communication, Web 2.0 on December 16, 2012 by Geir Stene

16.dec_imageCrowd funding is still ‘hype’ for most industries, but you will hear lots about it next year, experts around the world tells us.

It started out with the music industry and according to this article from Wikipedia  it dates back to ca.1997. I’ll remind you that typical “donate option” at free software websites has been common for years and is also a kind of “retro perspective crowd funding

Till now crowd funding has been used mostly for creative projects (music, independent film, fine arts). We see that “new journalism / citizen journalism project have stated using this kind of funding.

Internet start-ups and other entrepreneurs are increasingly using crowd funding as a financial source. Even the US President Barack Obama embrace crowd funding by the “JOBS Act” that allows accredited investors to invest in equity crowd funding campaigns.

The skeptics will also tell us that crowd sourcing is risky, as criminals will use this phenomenon for creating frauds. I’m certain that is correct. Criminals have always used every possible way to cheat. Read THIS  from TIME magazine about the subject.

Not all kinds of project are suitable for crowd funding. The most obvious areas is project that is non-profit (charity), or where the profit motif is absence (arts) or that the project is somehow perceived as great for mankind.

That means that e.g. environmental- , citizen rights movements, job creating projects and so forth will be able to meet a collective support where crowd funding is a great opportunity to fund a project.

I believe that also more traditional businesses will attract  crowds for financial support, maybe even as a contra- reaction against  what is perceived as “cynical and greedy finance acrobats”.

“Look out for the crowd – there is power in the voice of the masses!”

What about “crowd sourcing”?

Posted in 1, collaboration, Community, Digital business, digital collaboration, IT and communication, Web 2.0 on December 15, 2012 by Geir Stene

15dec_imageLast year Crowd sourcing was a ‘hip’ word. This year it starts making sense. But what is crowd sourcing and how does it work?

There is plenty of literature, speeches and opinions on the subject to find on the net.

 

To ask your users or other crowds is a great way to get feedback, to help improve your services and products.

And it is really something people want to do: To help you!

Crowd sourcing can provide tremendous value for you, because you have access to potentially a lot of, very motivated and talented people.

Brainstorming and specific proposals can be produced in large numbers and very quickly. Problems can be resolved quickly and you have greater accuracy in terms of being ‘spot on’ market needs.

Innovation, research, entrepreneurial companies are just a few examples of who / how to use crowd sourcing for improving your business or other activities.

One pitfall is if people feel “used” by you instead of happy for being able to help out. My advice is to do your homework before you make your next project a crowd sourcing project.

It’s extremely important to  give proper feedback to all who contribute! Crowd sourcing project is all about you delivering more value to those who helped you, than the effort they gave you!

“The more you give, the more you get back”

Social responsibility in business

Posted in collaboration, Community, Digital business, Digital news, innovation, Web 2.0 on August 21, 2012 by Geir Stene

Social responsibility has become a “hot topic” over the last years. I’ll present some viewpoints to the subject, but first three examples from my network:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ferd (@FerdCEO)
Why is it that a “hard core” industrial-and financial company like Ferd spends 20 mill NOK a year on supporting Social entrepreneurship?

In order to learn more I visited Ferd before the summer and had a long talk with Øyvind Sandvold (@oyvind_sandvold ) about the work Ferd is doing. What they support and what is outside their scope. You can read more about it HERE

I think the short answer is because they can! They have the assets and also valuable knowledge to share. Of course the element of charity is there.

But to my surprise Øyvind told me about another aspect: That there is a great “return of investment” for the Ferd company and the employees. Every project they support includes that one of the investments consultants (from the other investment funds) take part in the project as a board member, consult the Social entrepreneur and ensure that strategy, business plans and company start up secure the social business and its objective, and also has a growth plan. Øyvind tells me that these projects have become some of the most attractive assignment the employees can get involved in. They learn a lot, make great friends with people in the projects and experience that it’s very meaningful to provide their knowledge and to support social change. The most important part however is that Ferd as a company gets valuable knowledge in return.

Interesting enough: The Ferd social entrepreneurs has yet not received one application for a digital project!

Kavli (@KavliFoundation)
Most people in Norway know of the company Kavli. The Kavli Group is one of Norway’s largest and most international food groups, with some 800 employees creating a turnover of about NOK 2 billion. The companies produce goods for more than 20 countries. Maybe fewer people are aware of the fact that the profit from all Kavli products is channeled back to society, via the the Kavli Trust? They mainly donate money and focus on advanced science research, cultural activities and humanitarian work both in Norway and international.

Kavli has supported a great range of projects since 1962 and it’s interesting to note this project: Barnevakten.no  (Kids and Media). The organization has acquired a global reach with backing from the Kavli Trust. It is now a big operation with various web-based activities in the USA, the UK, Australia and Denmark as well as in Norway.

Bien Bank (@BienSparebank)
Bien bank is a small bank and the only local bank in Oslo. It used to be a savings bank owned by the customers, and is now owned by a trust. In the same manner as Kavli, Bien banks profit is channeled back to the population of Oslo by supporting informational and educational activities towards children and youth, art and cultural projects and community initiatives.
Bien tells me that they are looking into digital projects as we speak.

In addition to these few examples, we all know of the wide range of classical charity organizations, aid organizations and government’s engagements of all sorts.

As we see social responsibility is not at all a new idea. Our western democracies are built upon such ideas. What I believe we will se in the coming years (and why I write about it) is new and innovative initiatives, more and more of them will be digital. And more and more of them will have elements of what Ferd has implemented: In short – funding and expert help towards Self supported and sustainable social entrepreneurs.  

We will se “niche” projects from groups that want to take part in changing a business, like  Spot.us that says this about themselves: “Spot.Us is an open source project to pioneer community powered reporting.”… (spot.us red) “provides a new opportunity to expand the impact of public media journalism by making it more responsive and responsible to the public, while deploying new ways to support freelance reporters and the newsrooms that depend on them.”

As a warning: We will also see fraud! Solutions created only to enrich criminals, like the warning states in this article in e24 concerning the risk of scandals and fraud in crowdfunding

But should we let the risk of criminal acts from a few, stop the actions from millions of people and thousands of companies around the world that genuinely want  to help and improve the world we live in?

Network economy and digital economy are inseparable

Posted in 1, collaboration, Community, Digital business, digital collaboration, Web 2.0 on February 28, 2011 by Geir Stene

The concept of a digital economy emerged in the late nineties. Nicholas Negroponte (1995)  used a metaphor of shifting from moving  atoms to moving bits.

With the globalization, increased mobilization, decreasing economies in the western world and the position the Internet  a digital economy have emerged. A network economy in combination with a digital economy is not limited to business trading and services only. It encompasses every aspect of life from health to education, from business to social awareness and geopolitical changes.  We have all become eCitizens.

How does this influence how we do business? The customer base is the company’s you are able to connect to and provide value for. -No connections, no values.- We are moving from an industrial economy (now fading out) into a network- /Internet- /digital economy. (That has started to fade in). Stewart Brand points out that commerce is being accelerated by the digital and network revolutions and that the role of commerce is to both exploit and absorb these shocks.

Open economy
This means that there are a lot of things that need to change, rapidly if one want to take part in, and conduct business into the near future. In network economies one party doesn’t control the value chain, property- and copy rights are under pressure, the drop of production and distribution costs reduces the prices one can charge and put profit creation under stress. Information and knowledge, products and services aren’t scares resources anymore. “Everything has become commodity”. You need to know how to provide added value for something that’s free and you need to know what is considered value for your customers.

Relations / networks are pairs of the main assets for enabling added value for customers. Knowing how to create added value for customers creates an economic flow where we have the opportunity for a fair share of the value created.

Decentralized organization
In a network economy it’s vital that the decisions are made as far out in the organization as possible. One important reason for this is the “need for speed”, if we aren’t able to decide quickly enough, our customer have no need for us. Their need is to be dynamic, and rapid towards their markets, and shifts in them. We cannot afford to report “to base, await a decision and act when we finally have a go – no-go from HQ. Not only is the network and relations we build our selves the sum of our network economy, also our customers network and relations are of value for us, since we have the possibility to take part in their networks. The relations our customers have between themselves are added values for us and increase the opportunities we have.

The elements of network economy
So what are the parts these kinds of networks consist of?  First it’s the customer which is the core of all business. It shouldn’t be necessary to name it, but surprisingly often a firm forgets this simple fact. Secondly it’s your partners. Partners are other companies that contribute to add value for the customer, either directly with you, or indirectly in some manner. In any event, you should look upon these entities as partnerships. Thirdly you will need “Node Management”. A node is the connection points where the network/ relations are interconnected. The last, but most important element in the chain of a network economy is the services and products delivered, implemented and maintained. This is typically consultants, experts and solution implementers.

Node Management
The Node manager’s task is to develop and grow relations and networks relevant for the customers and the firm the Node Manager is working for. The needed skills for a Node manager is, beside having excellent social skills, to have deep and real insight in the challenges the customers are facing and providing the correct means to convert those challenges into added value for the customer. A Node Manager needs to have a profound understanding of how network economies and digital economies work because this are fundamentals for solving customers challenges in the present and the future.

Do we need the firm?
The connection to the firm needs to be strong and have clear objectives to benefit from the creation of value and accumulate the gained knowledge from the ongoing processes at the customers. This is where the economic flow is ensured for the firm.

The “Hub”
The focal point for the firm is to establish itself as a “Hub”. On the one side the “Hub” need to “depersonalize” relations and networks in order to “secure” the value of the network and make it independent from a singular person.  On the other hand the “Hub” needs to provide Node Mangers, consultants, experts and solution implementers with added value. Employees need to see the benefits for them otherwise they could might as well be self employed.

The “Hub” needs to be able to provide day to day assistance, have all the assets a given project needs and can direct partners, skilled people, information, know-how and administrative support, easily to the one with a need in order to solve a customer project rapidly.

The elements for the firm are to offer added value for the employees: Excellent collaboration options, extended networks and partnerships, collective awareness of customer needs and collective insights in customer’s challenges. In addition the “Hub” needs to create and maintain a brand that is attractive, that signalize a culture where working for a better environment and a better world is the essence. In short this is the replacement of what was defined as “the production apparatus” (“means”) in the industry economy era.

UPDATE : Read what Capgemini Consulting says here

Connectivity, collaboration and innovation; how will it change us?

Posted in collaboration, Community, Digital business, digital collaboration, innovation, Web 2.0 with tags , on January 31, 2010 by Geir Stene

Collaboration used to be”hype”. Nowadays it’s social media and the iPad/ Kindle e-readers. The speed of innovation is increasing.  It’s getting harder and harder to divide these topics. In my eyes they are interconnected, and will become even more woven together. How will this change us?

We have moved from a closed in collaboration (software for use only within the organization, document sharing and workflow) towards a more open and including form of collaboration, where Twitter now seems to be in the forefront of the development. The best forms of collaborative activities are those who appear from nowhere, that aren’t planned, in short are anarchistic in their form. That doesn’t mean that they are purposeless, it means that the collaborative need develops from an individual (or small group) that has a motif for finding answers and solutions quickly. The most effective way to get there is to search for other people that might have the answer,a part of an answer or/ and a benefit from participating with you to solve a topic. Because of the relational interaction, collaboration starts to develop. The blending of collaboration and community (social media) happened in the process, because it’s the most effective way to get to the goal.

What we see is that this kind of mindsets can be used generic. It will enable far better ways of knowledge management, collaboration, innovation, product development, project management and so forth. Furthermore it will be put into effect within all kinds of businesses, from education, media business, commercials and nonprofit organizations, production of renewable energy, car production and so forth, all will very soon see the connective collaboration and community as one arena of relational co- existence, where things aren’t as pre- planned as we used to do things. New technology, new tools and the semantic web will be forces that drive this development, or is it the other way around? I don’t think it matters, but I do think that it is what’s happening around us is as we speak.

I’ve spoken of Charles Leadbeater before. I won’t stop doing so, because what he’s been speaking about (innovation and mass creativity) is one of the things we see happens around us in an increasing speed. So I’d advise you to have a look at his homepage HERE. Seen from a different perspective I would highly advise you to look at Kevin Kelly from Wired magazine, a very interesting speech he had in 2008 that can be found at Youtube HERE. Kevin Kelly explains what the web really is in a philosophical way, and where it’s heading (web 3.0). In my eyes both are speaking of something that is going on, not about some distant future, which might happen. We are afraid, afraid of the value that disappeared; now everything is “free” on the web, how to make revenue? Newspaper people are asking this several times a day. Publishers fight the development of “free” Educational institutions are, and corporations are afraid that their competitive advantage is gone if you share all knowledge. I think it’s wrong, I think it’s missing the point of what this leads to.  I do like the postulate Kevin make in the speech “the value is beyond “free” Kevin Kelly argues that the web is, and will even more become something – not “out there” but something that embody us, that we are inside of. What is of value change, and I believe that holding on to what used to be “of value” no longer is a good idea. The change is, as you might guess – tremendous for all of us.

I found the blog of Umar Haque (Director of the Havas Media Lab and founder of  Bubblegeneration) and the posting in Harward Business review  “Twitter’s Ten Rules For Radical Innovators”  and discover that it seems to be a guideline worth while reading for all of us. It just migt give us some hints of how to focus of finding value, and making a living by changing what, why and how we do business into the future.  I suggest you read it for yourself, but here are the bullet points:

  • Ideals beat strategies
  • Open beats closed
  • Connection beats transaction
  • Simplicity beats complexity
  • Neighborhoods beat networks
  • Circuits beat channels
  • Laziness beats business
  • Public beats private
  • Messy beats clean
  • Good beats evil

Changes in Social media or changes because of it ?

Posted in collaboration, Community, Digital business, digital collaboration, innovation, IT and communication, Web 2.0 on August 16, 2009 by Geir Stene

Digital cityIt’s reported that the Twitter people will become disappointed and that the Hype is over. (Gartner) My Space is losing popularity. Facebook is looking for ways of not getting stuck, by developing Facebook Light?

I believe that the future of social media hasn’t really began, and that the coming years will look very different from what it is now.

Maybe, just maybe “social media” will disappear as a separate “label”? In my view we are only in the beginning of a huge shift in the history of internet.

The businesses of collaboration,(synchronic and a- synchronic) e- learning, internet, intranet,extranet and social media applications might just merge into the business core IT (ICT) systems seamlessly and only those who are able to create added value for different organizations, businesses and societies.

Another huge area of change is the complete area of media.  Internet already have changed most of the media industry in film, TV, radio and print media. Journalism, entertainment and the industries surrounding all of this such as my profession: communication advisor. And the changes aren’t over, they just began! An couple of interesting blog posts on the failure of newspapers can be read here: conversationagent, by Valeria Maltoni, and  at splicetoday by  Bill Wyman

I believe that the keyword will be the same: seamless integrations. The channel and carrier of  TV/ Radio media has no real function in the future, and the IP will easily replace it, and this is about to happen with the film industry that’s going digital. Internet as a carrier (tecnological and communication wise) already have become the core of all other activities.

I believe that any enterprise without a digital centered business- it, and communication strategy will fail. Collaborative and social aspects of conducting business will be incorporated in the business itself. Interaction between the corporation and the market / audience will grow rapidly.

But I’m sorry to say; I don’t believe in the ever so popular naive statement: “Social media has given power to the people” I do say that the winners of today and tomorrows business world are those who are able to adapt and take advantages in these times of change. I do hope that ethic and environmental trade will be seen as an competitive advantage and will be incoporated as well, that will make a better world for all of us!