Friday, March 28, 2008

Leadership and Innovation

Leadership and Innovation continues to be a top CEO priority globally.

More than 70% of senior executives from a recent McKinsey survey states that Innovation is one of the top three drivers of growth for their companies in the next three to five years.

This also mirrors our experiences at Helix Commerce International Inc., and TerraForum, a close strategic alliance partner of ours that also specializes in innovation and growth acceleration strategies and approaches.

In today's fast paced business world, innovation is one of the most important business strategies to accelerate growth. Yet even with the incredible support and awareness growing of leadership wanting to develop increased innovation capacity, their confidence level on their organization's ability to innovate remains very low in the majority of industry surveys.

Stimulating innovation capacity is very difficult - creating the demand and supply practices for innovation requires the following approaches for success.

Strategy One - Organizations need to integrate innovation into their core business strategies and day to day operating practices. Too many executives are using the word "Innovation", but when you dig under the covers - you soon find that there is not a clear innovation framework for governance, operating practices and measurement systems anchored to monitor innovation success.

Strategy Two - Organization Culture and People are critical to developing innovation capacity. At the core of innovation is achieving stronger values, beliefs and rituals which increases: trust, risk taking, lateral thinking, collaboration, curiosity to continually learn, knowledge sharing, respect and cultural diversity. All of these value are attributes are core cultural needs to be carefully cultivated and nurtured. The most important drivers for innovation success are culture and people. You can develop wonderful strategies, business processes, and practices to enable innovation, but if the culture and people skills are not aligned - you go no where fast. More CEOs and Chief Talent Officers need to ensure there is a deep focus on people and culture to generate innovation capacity.

Strategy Three - Our research on collaboration commerce and innovation practises has continued to reinforce that: if organizations spend more time on architecting innovation network capabilities for people to collaborate they will increase their ability to generate new ideas. This means - understanding the social network patterns of knowledge flows and then ensuring there is resilence and capacity to share knowledge. Investing in collaboration and social mediated tools will help - but network and collaboration stimulation is key. We believe network innovation stimulation practices are far more effective investment strategies than automating rigid business processes. Start ensuring first that the networks and knowledge sharing ecosystems are enabled to connect, collaborate and communicate effectively. This will go a long way to successfully develop and transform innovation cultural capacity. More formal practices can follow - and need to follow.

Strategy Four - Ensure your organization invests in leadership development programs as leadership is the best predictor of innovation performance. The way leaders interact day to day sends strong communication signals to employees, customers and suppliers. Encouraging innovation, promoting it, supporting it, enabling it vs paying lip service is critical for people to believe that senior executives mean innovation is important, as they are focused on reinforcing the innovation importance message and backing it up with business processes, practices and support tools to ensure Innovation happens.

Strategy Five - Nothing is more successful than success. Ensuring specific projects are seeded that are innovation projects and communicated as such helps an organization feel there is real progress and commitment to innovation - walking the talk is key. Quick successes allow people to see results and hence participate in the change and also learn from the change. Innovation needs to be carefully seeded before stronger harvests can be acheived. But a positive experience makes all the difference in building an organization's confidence and capabilities to continue to sustain innovation momentum.

We have strong innovation strategy and innovation capacity culture assessment toolkits available to help organizations address these five key strategy areas. If you would like to learn more, please contact us at (647)477-6254.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Making Sense of Enterprise 2.0

It has been interesting to see so many organizatios trying to make sense of the implications and differences unfolding as a result of the next generation of web based capabilities, often referred to as Web 2.0 - which relates to the social media aspects of participation and collaboration - having conversations on the web with employees, customers and suppliers. We have seen a major shift in differences between the interactions between the first generation capabilities of the Web prior called Web 1.0 which focused more on disseminating information on the web for knowledge sharing vs interactive and dynamic conversations using rich social media experiences which is the underlying shift with Web 2.0

One of my esteemed Knowledge Management colleagues, Dave Gurteen has prepared some rich comparisons between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 - often referred to as Enterprise 2.0. Outlined below is a summary of his initial comparisons, modified from my perspective of how I see us shifting to the Enterprise of the Future.

Enterprise 1.0
Knowledge sharing and learning is imposed as additional work
Enterprise 2.0 Knowledge sharing and social learning is a welcome natural part of people's everyday work

Enterprise 1.0
Work takes places behind closed doors
Enterprise 2.0
Work takes place openly and transparently where everyone can see it

Enterprise 1.0
Tools are imposed on people
Enterprise 2.0People select the tools that work best for them

Enterprise 1.0
People are controlled out of fear they will do wrong
Enterprise 2.0People are given freedom in return for accepting responsibility

Enterprise 1.0
Information is centralized, protected and controlled
Enterprise 2.0
Information is distributed freely and uncontrolled

Enterprise 1.0
Publishing is centrally controlled
Enterprise 2.0
Anyone can publish what they want and interact with whomever they want

Enterprise 1.0
Context is stripped from information
Enterprise 2.0
Context is retained in the form of stories with rich multi-media experiences

Enterprise 1.0
People think quietly alone
Enterprise 2.0
People think out loud together - you are only in the conversation if you are on the web based conversation

Enterprise 1.0
People tend to write in the third person, in a professional voice
Enterprise 2.0
People write in the first person in their own voice and demonstrate courage to co-create in real-time.

Enterprise 1.0
People especially those in authority are closed to new ideas and new ways of working
Enterprise 2.0
Everyone is open to new ideas and new ideas are encouraged and embraced as a source of new energy for growth and innovation - creativity becomes a core competency of executive leadership

Enterprise 1.0
Information is pushed to people whether they have asked for it or not
Enterprise 2.0
People decide the information they need and subscribe to it - right information in right format in right time becomes a reality

Enterprise 1.0
The world is seen through a Newtonian cause and effect model
Enterprise 2.0The world is recognized to be complex and that different approaches are needed - complexity science takes on new meaning and know-how

You can subscribe to Dave Gurteen's knowledge management letter at this link area.

Every CEO or senior level executive needs to become more familiar with the shift in business perspectives on the organization of the future - its shape, its texture, its voice, its melody - what is clear to many leading business strategists and futurists around the world - is we are in a time period where nothing is safe from change. Many people have voiced the need for agility, flexibility, adapatability, creativity in regenerating our organizational health and intelligence - yet there are few organizations that have truly mastered Enterprise 2.0 outcomes.

Organizations like Google have made major inroads providing flexibility to their employees to pursue projects of passion. Whole Foods engages its talent to select and de-select talent. Gortex encourages its employees to not worry about structure and strive to ensure things just get done. Nike reinforces the entrepreneurial spirit to Do It.

New beginnings create new possibilities. Watching my son today play his Xbox 360 and communicate with 10 of his friends in his game battle - Call of Duty 4 for Modern Warfare - we know that this next generation acts very differently.

We will soon be in Enterprise 3.0 and then 4.0 - fortunately with numbers applied to generational change - we have a long ways to evolve to. I hope I am blessed to live a long rich life - there is so much more to be created in this century - each day is simply a gift to nurture.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Disruptive Software as a Service

It won’t be long before enterprise software pricing strategies are totally dead - as the market for Software as a Service (SaaS) continues to grow at twenty five percent per year, and this trend is anticipated to continue through 2010.

Bill McNee, Founder and CEO of Saugatuck predicts that by 2012 more than thirty five percent of all new business software that is deployed will be delivered as SaaS. McKinsey also reports that forty six percent of companies with sales of over $billion will adopt SaaS as their main business model by 2007.

One of the major growth SaaS segments to watch is the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market which is growing currently at thirty percent annually according to Gartner Group. Currently only two to three percent of the overall ECM market ($1.2B) is spent on hosted SW solutions (about $23M currently).

An interesting web content SaaS software company to watch is Crown Peak. CrownPeak SaaS Solutions include: Web Content Management, Search, Web Hosting, and Intranet/Extranets. They were recently named to eContent’s 100 most influential companies list, has won Product of the Year from InfoWorld and eWeek’s Analyst’s Choice Award, and named as one of the top 25 ASP’s worldwide by

With the large market for improved enterprise content management solutions, and the rapid growth of this sector, business models like CrownPeak have tremendous opportunity to service clients globally as the continued focus on operational efficiency and productivity of knowledge workers intensifies in our Flat World Economy.

During the last year, our firm partnered with WebEx to research and write a new book on the future of on demand business models (SaaS). This book is NOW released called Why Buy the Cow: How the On Demand Revolution Powers the New Knowledge Economy. This book was a commisioned book project which we did market research and supported the CEO of WebEx Subrah Iyar with his vision to share his lessons and other leader perspectives on SaaS. To order your copy on Amazon


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Collaboration and Young Adults: Changing Business Realities

Is your organization prepared to meet the collaboration needs of young adults to attract, develop and retain the workforce of the future?

Fact - Generation X and Generation Y Talent use more real-time collaboration tools over asynchronous (non real time like email). According to a recent survey by The Associated Press - almost half of the teens surveyed use Instant Messaging (IM) and almost three fourths of teens use instant messaging more than email, while less than a quarter of adults use IM, and almost three fourths of adults who use IM use email, more often than IM.

I know that with my daughter who recently started university - for me to personally keep in close contact - having an MSN IM account was the best way to stay connected as she seldom checks her email, but guaranteed she is always accessible on MSN IM or via cell text messaging.

So, what do these behaviours tell us about the collaboration age gap between different generations?

I think this means a number of things for organizational and leadership communication approaches. Companies need to encourage IM, Blogs, wikis and all forms of real time collaboration to motivate the talent of the future. These communication needs need to be taken into account and designed into all forms of employee communication, online communication and software development approaches.

Asynchronous communication is well on the way to extinction….unfortunately old habits for the Baby Boomers, including me are hard to break.

Demand for real-time collaboration solutions have already generated more than $1.3 B in 2006 - which represents nearly one quarter of all collaboration application revenue. An increasing trend is to integrate all communication toolkits - and in different formats - whether the media form is via: email, IM, or voice - the promise is an integrated platform or a unified communication platform (UM) which promises to improve the productivity of knowledge workers - and for sure simplify operating infrastructure costs.

A promising collaboration company based in Canada that was recently recognized as one of the hottest Web 2.0 companies at the Enterprise 2.0 and Tim O’ Reilly conference recently held in San Francisco is Octopz.

Octopz is a browser based collaboration solution developed in Flash and has a simplified interface allowing ease of navigation, enables interactive and secure communications, and easily allows markup of advanced media types like videos, audio, animations, Flash files, and 360ยบ panoramas. Octopz gives us a good perspective of the increased collaboration toolkits that are viable business productivity tools. This is a company to have not just on your company watch list, but also BUYING a subscription is a MUST to get you underway in using onoe of the most powerful on demand collaboration software solutions that I have seen in a long time.

More information on understanding collaboration commerce and the business impacts can be further understood by reading Collaboration Commerce: The Next Competitive Advantage.. This recent book can be ordered on Amazon at

Virtual Worlds and Real Estate

Virtual Worlds and Real Estate

Virtual Worlds continue to evolve and enchant marketing professionals as rich media experiences continue to improve and integrate blogging, instant messaging, podcasting, discussion forums, gaming, and rich communication interaction experiences. One of the major opportunities for Virtual Worlds is to help sell real estate property as it provides an opportunity to navigate real estate properties leveraging three dimensional experiences. Second Life, the 10 pound gorilla, founded by Linden Labs, has been innovating in Virtual worlds since it was founded in founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale to create a revolutionary new form of shared experience, where individuals jointly inhabit a 3D landscape and build the world around them. Second Life, has a rapidly growing population of over 10,000 Residents from around the globe, who are creating and inhabiting a virtual world of their own design. Just today, when I signed in to my account under Syndi Lane and, there were over 200,000 member’s teleporting (navigating or flying) from one real estate landscape to another.

There has been a number of innovative real estate developments enter Second Life including Starwood Hotels where they initially launched a new hotel brand, aloft, in the massively multiplayer virtual world of Second Life over a year ago. Their in-game implementation, called “aloft island,” was based on early designs and floor plans and will serve as a 3D dress rehearsal for the actual hotel. Another active Real Estate company, based in Canada that aggregates market information on condo projects around the world is Global Condos.

On November 12th, 2007 they unveiled its comprehensive virtual directory of new condo developments in Second Life. An international project with locations in Dubai, India, and South Africa, developments are organized by the city and region in which a developer’s project is located. This ensures the property is showcased in searches by local residents as well as global buyers. Condo Centre offers access to information about multiple developments in a single location and a Web site listing condos for sale in different cities. Potential condo buyers in SL can to explore new developments, view information detailing real-world properties with interactive floor plans and design options. “We wanted to create an immersive and interactive experience for prospective buyers”, says Cliff Bowman, President of Global Condo Centre. Bowman’s SL avatar name is Barry Janus. “Our real estate developer clients around the world pre-sell condo developments aimed at several demographic profiles. Namely the Boomers, X, Y generations and the newest profile, the “Net Generation or Thumb Generation”. Visitors to Global Condo Centre Island may get the chance to a walk through floor plans in real time and interact with design options, altering the flooring, kitchen cabinets and wall colors that better fits their lifestyle: urban, resort or ski recreation.

What are the implications to Real Estate Developers in Canada?

1.) Marketing Strategies and Online Web Planners will need to start thinking about how to develop virtual world experiences to reach out to a new market segment of buyers that are tech savvy. In looking at future segments like Gen X and Gen Y’s who in less than 10 years will be able to make major investments in the real estate or condo market….companies that get ahead of the game and build relationships with their future customers here will have a lead advantage

2.) These environments provide low cost and low risk ways to test new real estate design plans and seek customer feedback on the design using online focus groups in virtual worlds.

3.) Opportunities to sell virtual world real estate and develop a new revenue line.


We have been analyzing marketing approaches to Virtual Worlds with CMP Media out of New York for over a year, with Dr. Dobb’s brilliant visionary, John Jainschigg and in our seminal evening conversations when we were key note speakers last year at the International KM World Conference, we both concluded that we are entering another generation of web presence, where the experience economy promise is rapidly changing how consumers, and markets will interact in purchasing their products and services. There was a day when people could not fathom how eBay could dominate a global community auction, with staggering growth rates

Marketplaces net revenues totaled a record $1.5 billion in Q4-07, representing a year-over-year growth rate of 21 percent. With 46 percent from US operations and 54 percent from its International business.

In Q4-07, gross merchandise volume (GMV), the total value of all successfully closed items on eBay’s trading platforms, was $16.2 billion. (Total GMV for the full year 2007 was more than $59 billion.)

eBay users worldwide trade more than $2,039 worth of goods on the site every second.

There were 637 million new listings added to eBay worldwide in Q4-07. At any given time, there are approximately 113 million listings worldwide, and approximately 6.7 million listings are added per day. eBay users trade in more than 50,000 categories.

We predict that like with communities like eBay, virtual worlds will create new communities of interaction which will shift traffic patterns of consumers. Early predictions by Gartner Group have indicated that by 2011 over 80% of tech savvy users will have an avatar. This is only three years away.

If this growth rates happens as aggressively as forecasting this has significant implications to not just real estate markets, but also to all marketing professionals world-wide in their struggle to capture eye balls.

The real question is your organization prepared for a virtual world tsunami – it is moving and gaining strength and momentum – although skeptics are still resting on the beaches – those that are smart are entering virtual worlds now to test and learn to ensure there are positioned effectively to ride the constant currents of change.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

MeshUps - and implications on the Organization of the Future.

Today at Microsoft’s Mix conference for developers Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie hinted at a new service to be called Mesh.

Mesh sounds like a very ambitious cloud computing platform that will attempt to unite Web applications across all devices securing the promise of unified communications and ubiquity. Below is an excerpt from his speech:

Just imagine the possibilities enabled by centralized configuration and personalization and remote control of all your devices from just about anywhere. Just imagine the convenience of unified data management, the transparent synchronization of files, folders, documents, and media. The bi-directional synchronization of arbitrary feeds of all kinds across your devices and the Web, a kind of universal file synch.

Just imagine the possibilities of unified application management across the device mesh, centralized, Web-based deployment of device-based applications. Imagine an app platform that’s cognizant of all of your devices. Now, as it so happens, we’ve had a team at Microsoft working on this specific scenario for some time now, starting with the PC and focused on the question of how we might make life so much easier for individuals if we just brought together all your PCs into a seamless mesh, for users, for developers, using the Web as a hub.

Before you know it, you in this audience are going to have the option of being the first to try out an early technology preview of this simple but incredibly useful new software and service. As this product emerges just over the horizon, I think you’ll find it to be quite intriguing and key in delivering upon a compelling vision of a personal device mesh and of connected devices.

The possibilities are endless if personalization and remote control of all devices from anyplace, any time, any where comes to fruition. The convenience of unified communications, transparent synchronization of files, folders, documents with rich media formats is the ulitmate Mash-Up Experience. .

Just thinking about the possibilities of an application platform that is intelligent enough to interact with all devices where the web is the universal intelligent hub is a simply delicious technological vision of unified communications that one can simply imagine new scenarios like: Walking down the street close to home, my cell phone's GPS signals my home mesh mixer that I am arriving in ten minutes, and relays a series of messages that simplifies my life. First, the expresso machine is signaled to strart brewing me me a fresh cup of coffee. Then the fire place is signaled to turn on with a lighter blaze hue setting, as the weather patterns have indicated from my running shoes my feet are cold as as it is a chilly day and my personal preferences when I am chilled is always to sit by an inviting fire.

Next my dog's day kennel is signaled to release Jeffrey, and to start dispensing some fresh water before he races upstairs to sit beside the fire. The air conditioner siwthces on and selects a nice pine scent to infuse a fresh early morning spring aroma. The integrated sound system selects a soothing jazz ensemble, and the lights are dimmed softly.

Every day, I can change my integrated settings over the web to create the personalized experience to greet me. In time, with bio-genetic engineering, my watch will know the mood of my body and intelligently simply alter the settings based on the types of thoughts that I have had during the day - the concept of Mesh Up will mix with bio genetics and wireless and the web - one day man and machine will be more intelligently fused than we can possibly begin to imagine.

The term Mesh Up is actually a good choice of words as it illustrates mash-up and the fusion of possibilities in life - all we have to do is let our imaginations go on a journey.

I checked out the new Microsoft, it brings you to Windows Live ID sign-in page for a site that is not yet up. I tried to sign in and was told my account is not authorized, but was sent to this URL:
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