Sunday, December 12, 2010

Communities of Practice: Leading Practices

Communities of Practice (CoP’s) are not a new concept, however, sustaining community enthusiasm, with challenging growth and continual learning experiences, is critical to sustain long term community engagement.

Coined by Etienne Wenger and Jean Lave in the 1990's a community of practice is a group of people who share an interest, a craft, or even a profession. CoPs can exist either online, in discussion groups, in newsgroup, or in real life. They are an evolution from working group like Quality Circles from the 1980's but an evolution in terms as a result of the focus on community from the cultural anthropological perspectives, vs productivity improvement perspectives. The one common learning element was the emphasis on story telling to share knowledge, transfer practices and create shared meanings, and experiences. A community is most healthy when the stories are rich in meaning. One of the key success factors in leading CoP organizations is the constant mining of stories to keep the community fresh, and behaving as a strong learning organism.

This was recently validated by AQPC in their Collaborative Benchmarking Study, however, their insights are not particular new, as those of us who have been experts in Collaboration for over 25 years, know that a community of practice needs to have a strong sense of purpose.

Although it’s fairly easy to hold people’s interest when a community is new, initial enthusiasm often settles into apathy, and keeping members actively engaged can prove challenging. Leading practice organizations typically use several techniques to promote long-term member engagement. These include:

„ providing a center of excellence, or one stop shopping with expertise in content, resources, ask an expert, research sourcing;

„ provide a place for learning by holding regular activities and learning events, and

„ provide a vision for the value of leading and participating in CoPs for leadership development as a core capability important to organizational growth, and ensure leadership measurement systems look for in performance reviews active demonstration of knowledge management, of which participation in CoP’s is a clear expectation of performance accountabilities.

Below is some excerpts from both AQPC research, but also from our research at Helix Commerce.


1.) Provide a center of excellence, or one stop shopping.

Organizations committed to Collaboration, KM or CoP health ensure a Center of Excellence (COE) is clearly established. Companies like: Accenture, Bain, Caterpillar, Conoco, Phillips, Fluor, IBM, and Schlumberger have embedded KM/Collaboration or CoP practices for some time now. New innovators like RIM, have only recently developed CoP strategy capabilities, but with such a young and talented culture, adopting collaboration practices is germane to their unique and creative DNA.

Some of the importance practices needed in a COE is ensuring strong leadership and a governance process for sustaining a long term collaboration vision. Some of the activities they typically do are regularly hosting events and providing learning opportunities, best-practice communities offer a one-stop shop for content and resources. This means that everything related to a particular topic—documentation, how-to articles and videos, discussion forums, collaboration spaces, contact information for experts, notices regarding virtual and in-person events, and so on—is accessible through the community interface. Most elements are available through both “push” mechanisms (i.e., community members can go to their respective communities to search for information) and “pull” mechanisms (i.e., community members can sign up to receive alerts whenever new content and resources become available).

2.) Provide a place for learning

Many communities become places of learning for their members through the myriad of resources they offer, from expertise location services and discussion forums to content repositories and tips documents. For example, Schlumberger’s communities host regular Webinars led by experts, enabling members to expand their knowledge while networking with their peers. Similarly, at ConocoPhillips, career development strategies highlight the importance of community membership as a means of professional growth and development.

Fluor takes this strategy one step further by making its communities a destination for employees seeking career development and learning resources. Information on career paths, formal training opportunities, and links to the learning management system are all available within the communities section of the organization’s knowledge sharing portal. According to Fluor’s vice president of KM and technology strategies, no employee is required to join a community nor, once he or she joins, to be an active member. However, if a person wants to keep abreast of his or her peers professionally, community membership and involvement are critical.

Another technique that best-practice organizations use to keep community members engaged is to schedule regular community activities and events. The type of activity—monthly community
projects, teleconference calls, bi-weekly Webinars led by subject matter experts, lively discussion forum exchanges—does not seem to matter. What is important is that there is a variety of frequent, structured activities that focus on relevant topics or issues and engage a significant portion of a community’s membership. For example, ConocoPhillips’ knowledge sharing team holds an annual, face-to-face Network Leader Summit at the organization’s headquarters where community leaders can network and share tips for managing communities. Schlumberger’s communities hold Webinars hosted by experts once or twice a month, with many Webinars drawing more than 100 participants. Fluor leverages similar activities in addition to some that are unique to the organization, such as an annual campaign to collect and promote KM success stories and a community-based mentoring program that pairs subject matter experts with less experienced colleagues.

3. Provide a vision for the value of leading and participating in CoPs for leadership development as a core capability

For CoP’s to sustain their growth capabilities, leadership needs to ensure there is a clearly defined vision for what a CoP is, why a CoP is a key organizational learning enabler, and what value they bring to an organizations health systems in terms of: innovation, employee engagement & loyalty, customer loyalty, & share holder value (Productivity improvements, and supporting profitable revenue and growth goals).

CoP measurement systems need to be linked carefully to broader KM and collaboration systems. and also performance appraisal systems.

Organizations that regularly inspect the health of their CoP’s against a more strategic KM and collaboration framework will be more successful than those cultures that have inconsistent and lack of integrated collaboration practices.


The key to member engagement for any organization is to establish communities as hubs where employees can get help with tasks, take advantage of professional development opportunities, and/or engage with like-minded peers around issues of mutual interest.

Employees must know that the community can meet their needs. When a community gains a reputation as the place for learning and networking, it becomes a powerful mechanism that ties employees to their colleagues, their departments or functions, and the organization as a whole. Communities are instrumental in making employees feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. This sense of belonging is a strong motivator for participation and an enabler of long-term community success.

When Dr. Jose Claudio Terra, Heidi Collins and I wrote Collaboration Commerce, we explored the importance of CoPs as a core competency in enabling collaboration health in organizations.

Source Inspiration and Recognition:

APQC’s 2010 report Sustaining Effective Communities of Practice

Monday, December 6, 2010


Today women are entering the workforce and earning college and advanced degrees in numbers equal to or surpassing men. But women still are not advancing into leadership positions as fast as men.

Women hold less than a quarter of the leadership positions in nearly all industries. Women of color fare even worse: Of the 15.7% of corporate officer positions in Fortune 500 companies that women hold, women of color hold just 1.7%.

Part of the reason is due to longstanding discrimination and cultural biases. Part is because some women “off-ramp” to raise their children or care for family members.

But part of the problem also stems from the fact that many women are uncomfortable with the 21st century taboos: power, ambition, money and failure.

As a result, many women manage their careers differently from their male colleagues.

Having risen to senior management early in my personal career before the age of 30, I was already a VP in a tier one bank, I knew then women were not equally represented in leadership and throughout my career over 25 plus years, I have yet to be on a client working team, or a leadership team with 50/50 male/female representation also balanced with cultural /and ethnic diversity

We have come a long way, but we still have a long ways to go, if we are to ensure the collective talent we have mirror's the customer/consumer landscape.

With over 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions being controlled by women, from houses, to cars, to clothes, and toys - women control the decision purse strings in families throughout North America.

Women know what women want and do not need additional filters to interpret their needs. After all there was a book written Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus, offers insight to explain some of the differences that we know of. Dr. Barbara Anis's research on leadership and gender differences, also reaffirms that for organizations to compete more effectively (in other words design and develop solutions to attract more women to purchase), that innovation and growth is healthier with a stronger and more diverse workforce.

So take a look at your board level representation, your leadership representation, and ask yourself - Are we reflective of our customer market or not?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

TOP 50 Knowledge Management Posts

There are a number of blogs that offer information and insight on knowledge management.

If you are interested in enhancing your ability to manage your knowledge, here are 50 knowledge management blogs that can be of use.

General Knowledge Management

Learn about knowledge management at a more general level. You can find out about a variety of topics related knowledge and how to organize it.

ActKM: Learn about knowledge management and participate in discussions about KM.
Anecdote: A cool knowledge management blog that focuses on stories that can help you learn more about better managing your knowledge.
Gurteen Knowledge Log: A great blog offering different insights on knowledge management and learning, along with other topics that might be of interest.
KM Edge: Helpful insights into knowledge management, and information about how you can keep the flow of information used properly.
Aa..ha!: A great blog that focuses on different aspects of knowledge, and how your brain works.
McGee’s Musings: Learn more about facing knowledge management issues, including great posts on framing problems.
Knowledge Jolt with Jack: Get great perspective and learn helpful knowledge management techniques.
Green Chameleon: Insights on a variety of knowledge management topics.
BRINT: Find out more about knowledge management headlines and tools.
Cognitive Edge: Keep up with what is happening in the world of knowledte management — and learn how you can enhance the way you work.
KM News: Get the latest news and information related to knowledge management.
InsideKnowledge: Headlines, information, commentary and more related to KM.
Matthew Loxton’s KM & OL Blog: A look at knowledge management, business and more.
Conversations with Dina: Interesting thoughts on knowledge, creativity and more.
Dove Lane: You can get insights into knowledge management and learning when you read the writings of this consultant.
Knowledge Management for Development: Find out more about knowledge management from a variety of helpful blog posts from different bloggers. Offers breaking news and information about knowledge management topics.
KnowledgeBoard: Great articles and posts from a community committed to knowledge management.
KM Articles Home: The Knowledge Management Advantage offers helpful and interesting posts on KM and how to use related techniques effectively.
Mathemagenic: A helpful look at how you can use knowledge management in various aspects of your life to enjoy improvement in productivity, and other areas.
Reflexions: Considers patterns of thought, and helpful information on how we manage the knowledge we have.

Web 2.0 and Content Management

Find out more about how the Internet can help you with knowledge, and how to use the web to manage content and information.

Column Two: An awesome blog that offers news and opinion from around the web, mostly dealing with the content aspect of knowledge management.
Seb’s Open Research: Helpful thoughts and insights on social software and how knowledge management is evolving.
Boxes and Arrows: A great design blog that also includes some information on knowledge management — how information is presented online.
chieftech’s blog: This blog is about working online, and includes great information on social media. Helpful for those involved in knowledge management.
Knowledge Management: CIO offers a section on KM, and tips on how you can use it to better management content online.
ELSUA: Looks at Web 2.0, enterprise 2.0, and what you can do to manage it all. Great knowledge management blog.
Dissident: Addresses social media, and questions related to all the Web 2.0 stuff we see around us. A great resource for knowledge management.
Portals and KM: A helpful look at how you can better manage knowledge online. Special emphasis on social media and Web 2.0.
RicShreves.Net: Offers insight and information on content management.
TechnoLawyer Blog: Great information on online management, including content and document management, as well as knowledge management. A good way to learn how to stay on top of your information.
Enterprise Content Management Blog: Information on managing content and information online. Especially helpful for businesses.
Patti Anklam: Learn how to get your network up and running — and stay up and running. A great blog on knowledge management, interconnectedness and the Internet.
Trends in the Living Network: Insightful information on what’s coming when related to online networks. Helpful for knowledge management pros.
Unofficial RedDot CMS Blog: Learn more about content management and Web 2.0 trends that can provide insight and information.
Web 2.0 Blog: Find out more about Web 2.0, and how it can be used to manage your knowledge.
Enterprise Web 2.0: This ZD Net blog offers insights into how the Web and information management online can help business.
The Enterprise Web 2.0 Blog: Hints on how you can use information and knowledge to improve your business.


One of the keys to knowledge management is collaboration. Find out more about collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Apophenia: This blog is more about collaboration and making connections with others. A great place to learn about issues related to connecting meaningfully with others.
All of us are smarter than any of us…: This is a great blog focusing on collaboration and how it can be used in knowledge management.
Collaborative Thinking: Thoughts on software, collaboration and how it all fits together.
Communities and Collaboration: Get more information about how you can collaborate more effectively, and share knowledge within your community.
Full Circle: Learn more about making connections and sharing knowledge — online and offline.
Sustainability Knowledge: Learn about community, sharing and sustainability. An interesting blog with a unique take on knowledge management as it relates to sustainability.
Gilbane Group Blog: This consulting group offers helpful insights into collaboration, content management and more.
Collaborative Strategies: Learn strategies that can help you share information more effectively.
Collaboration 2.0: Using new strategies to successful collaborate and share knowledge.’s Collaboration Blog: Hints and helps to become better at collaborating and managing knowledge.
The Culture of Collaboration: Find out what it takes to build a culture in which knowledge sharing is part of the management process.
The Innovation and Collaboration Blog Jam: Explore the future of information and knowledge organization, as well as organization of other aspects of life. A great way to learn more about collaboration.

Sourced from Miranda, Nov 2010 at Biz-gasm a veritable explosion of business knowledge. We aim to rub out the stiff competition by offering well researched posts, and well formed opinions covering everything in the exciting world of business.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Innovation for Small Businesses

It's almost the end of a business year and the beginning of another. And, as the old saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results. If you want better business results, especially in a slow-growth economy, you'll need to adoptsome fresh new resolutions. The key to improved results is innovative actions that, while they stick within the limits of your budget, also take you in exciting new directions. Here are some resolutions to help small or mid-sized businesses innovate in 2011.

1. Be proactive in 2011.Things change, but do you?

If your business is simply reacting to declining sales, then you are not being a proactive innovator. Be the one who makes change happen, instead of a victim of change. Resolve to take the proverbial bull by the horns in 2011. But how? You will need a few moreresolutions in order to be practically and profitably innovative.

2. Stop doing anything that no longer makes a profit.

The sacred cows of your business have to go. It does notmatter how long you've done something, if it no longer offers both profits and growth, stop doing it!

Most businesses are a mix of break-even activities, losscenters, and one or more sources of profit. For example, a gas station owner may have three properties, one of which is in a high-traffic area and makes a solid profit from pump sales, while another makes a profit only on its large convenience store and food court. The third used to make a profit from both gas sales and repairs, but now barely breaks even. Add it all up, and you have a low-profit business that takes a lot of management effort. Sell the property that barely breaks even, concentrate on the two that have profit centers, and you are heading toward a stronger bottom line with the ability to focus more management attention on building those profits.

It is hard to sell off or close parts of your business that do not make money, especially if your business is small or mid-sized, because all its parts tend to be interlinked. However, by taking this hard step early in the year, it becomes much easier to move ahead with growth-oriented innovations before another year gets away from you.

3. Find your most valuable asset, and make it the core of your business.

Resolution 2 focuses on improving your cash flow. This third resolution helps with your makeover by getting the right strategic mix of hard assets such as property and equipment, and soft assets such as know-how, name recognition, customer lists and reputation. Because assets are illiquid (don't change easily), they tend to lag behind strategy, and hold the business back. Don't let your assets become an anchor to future growth. Ask yourself, Which are our most vital assets for the future, not from the past?

To identify your best assets for growth, look at your business as an outsider would. What would someone else be eager to pay for? This question narrows the list -- sometimes to an alarming degree.

For example, a high-end restaurant and bar specializing in the well-to-do dinner crowd was no longer making a good profit for its owners. The menu and the name, both sources of pride, were no longer valuable assets because they had stopped delivering crowds and profits. The most valuable asset turned out to be the lease because the location was good with ample parking and high visibility in a popular downtown area. The owners promptly jettisoned the menu, costly chefs, sophisticated name and upscale decor, and reopened as areasonably priced beer and burger joint that immediately started to post triple the profits of the old restaurant.

Nostalgia is not bankable. Be practical about what your best asset is and how to put it to use in today's economy. Sell off or discard any asset that won't work hard for you in 2011.

4. Take some time away from your business to think about it.

Nobody is going to come up with a breakthrough growth strategy while repeating the daily routine for the thousandth time. Get away. Go visit some other businesses, both in your industry and outside of it. Have lunch with a different person every day, until you run out of people who'll let you buy a sandwich -- in exchange for picking their brains about new business ideas and models. Stretch your thinking by stretching your routines and horizons. Spend a few weeks soaking up diverse perspectives and seeing people and businesses you don't normally visit.

Fresh eyes help immensely. You could hire an expensive consultant with fresh eyes but with little or no practical knowledge of your business. However, you are more likely to find a new approach that really works if you invest in freshening your own perspective, instead of hiring someone to do your seeing for you.

5. Implement something by midyear.

Yes, it all comes down to doing. Innovation is creative insights applied in a practical manner to your business. Apply yourself and your ideas by making some changes. The sooner you try some new approaches, the sooner you'll test your ideas and learn from your experiences.

Innovations, at least successful ones, do not always spring fully-formed from the owner's mind. They often take a period of experimenting and refining before they work well. So, get started as soon as possible in 2011, and try to have the major kinks worked out of your new strategy by the beginning of 2012. Then you won't have to repeat 2011's resolutions. Instead, you can resolve in 2012 to refine your new business model and harvest a higher levels of growth and profits.

6. Become a seasoned innovator.

Innovation is a specific business skill that takes some study and practice to get good at. Pick up a good book on the subject, quizentrepreneurs and other innovators you admire, and spend at least a half a day each week using the tools innovators use, such as brainstorming (which, contrary to skeptical press coverage, is the only way to produce a rich stew of potential new strategies or designs). Also, make sure your team of employees, distributors, or co-owners is innovative at heart and willing to try new things with the persistence it takes to make them work. If you have some stick-in-the-muds who simply won't consider anything new, then get rid of them. Jettison the naysayers who rain on every new idea, so that you can approachyour new business year with optimism and openness.


Alexander Hiam ( is an entrepreneur, artist, and the author of Business Innovation for Dummies, a how-to guide that offers practical techniques for stimulating imagination and developing ideas into successful innovations.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Since the days when blogs were new, MySpace was cool and “You” were Time Magazine’s person of the year, marketers debated the validity of measuring the ROI of social media. The argument was that social media was a conversation and not something to be measured like a direct response campaign.

Author and blogger Shel Holtz once commented that there was no reason to measure ROI, he said “after all, is it necessary to measure the ROI of your pants?”

The point was that social media is a conversation that is essential for good business and to apply traditional marketing measurements to it does not recognize all it has to offer. The fact is that social media is what you make it. It is a communication’s tool that can be used by almost every function within an organization to be more receptive, responsive and efficient. Even though groups like customer service, PR, HR, consumer affairs and market research use it with different communication goals, they are participating in the conversation that is occurring around the brand and building strong relationships. The benefit of participation can certainly have a financial impact, but measuring a precise ROI is not a primary goal.

The goal for marketers can be different. Social media and word of mouth are more influential than any type of advertising and there is a lot a marketer can do to activate discussion about the company’s products. There are very specific practices to accomplish this and the results can be measured accurately. If you approach a social media word of mouth initiative with a direct marketing mindset, you can capture the right data to determine its impact on sales. So when people argue that social media cannot be measured, or that the ROI of social media is zero, they are looking at it the wrong way.

Although many of our clients are still struggling to come up with a social media strategy, let alone analyze those conversations and turn them into ROI position.

Recently, over 2,100 companies completed a survey sponsored by SAS Institute Inc. which found that: 75 % of companies didn’t know where their most valuable customers were talking about them, and only 23 per cent use social media analytic tools.

At the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series, the company announced that SAS Conversation Center, which is designed to help companies capture tweets in real time and identify those that are significant to the company, brand or product, based on sentiment and influence of the tweeter, will be available in January 2011. Tweets can then be routed to customer-service reps.

Earlier this year SAS also announced its Social Media Analytics tool, which brings together unstructured data such as RSS news feed, blogs and Facebook, and looks at sentiment over time. is one company that sees value in analyzing this unstructured data. The company spent six years building up its business intelligence strategy in Canada, and now the Canadian model is being used in its subsidiaries across the globe. It’s using Base SAS, Enterprise Miner and SAS Stat for sales, marketing campaigns and customer service. So far, it’s increased customer retention by 15 per cent through its job posting optimizer, which was rolled out in 2007 to provide customers with value-added statistics.

But the impact of a bad customer service experience is even worse these days with social media, where a negative comment can be viewed by millions of people, said Jean-Paul Isson, vice-president of global BI and predictive analytics with Monster Worldwide Inc., based in Montreal. So his team is exploring social media analytics and putting together a project plan. For example, before they’d launch a new product, they’d include that analysis in their strategy.

“To survive, any forward-looking company should have a social media metric strategy in their business,” said Isson. Otherwise, they’ll “miss the bus.”

His team is also looking to analyze voice to text, in order to provide insight to the customer service organization. “It’s really about unstructured data,” said Isson. This includes text, voice and social media, but the challenge lies in differences between language and culture, even generational differences. For a Gen-Xer, saying “that’s sick” typically refers to something as disgusting, while a Millennial means that as a compliment.

But Isson says there’s still a lot of room to grow with structured data. Monster, which now operates in more than 55 countries, launched a subsidiary last month in Brazil and another this month in South Africa. While the company has a global framework for analysis, he says emerging economies are still at early stages of analytics, and they have to learn to ride a bike before driving a car.

Online travel reservation Web site Expedia Inc. is also exploring the concept o Sentiment Analysis and starting to apply it. In any given month, the company gets some 80,000 reviews. “We can diagram sentences, suck out sarcasm, and apply those same disciplines to what we see coming in on Twitter and our Facebook fan page,” said Joe Megibow, vice-president of global analytics and optimization with Expedia. “So if someone has an issue and posts some nasty comment, that we are in fact founded by the devil, we will respond privately to every one of those [types of comments].”

Clothing retailer Gap, for example, recently introduced a new logo and got “creamed” by customers, said Jim Davis, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer with SAS. Two years ago, Gap would have gone to a PR agency, launched the new logo and conducted a study over six to eight months — and by then it would have been too late. With social media, they found out immediately that customers hated the new logo and made an immediate adjustment.

But, Davis said, the social media feed is just another data source. Right now, there are many companies that offer views into sentiment, but he believes this phase will be short-lived and move toward something more actionable to try to move that sentiment needle.

Tom Davenport, author of Competing on Analytics and a professor at Babson College, agrees that social media analytics is just another channel. “As we do with our other channels, we have to evaluate what we do with it,” he said. “Social media is pretty good for customer service, but it’s not very good yet for selling anything. But even for customer service it’s not easy to analyze.” Sentiment analysis, for example, has to take into account sarcasm, language and cultural factors.

“So you better make sure you care about that feedback,” said Davenport. Comcast, a provider of cable services, is getting wonderful feedback for responding to tweets, he said, but they don’t have great customer service in other channels. “I call you up and I talk to you and you don’t respond to me — should I hang up and tweet about it?” he said, adding that anyone can tweet, whether or not they happen to be a Comcast customer. “You’ve got to give it the amount of attention that it really deserves.”

Research Reference Sources:
Vawn Himmelsbach On: 31 Oct 2010 For: ComputerWorld Canada

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Banking Industry Trends

The banking industry is under increased scrutiny due to the impacts of the velocity of change. Some of the changes are summarized below, but perhaps the most riveting one to not lose sight of currently is:

The wealth transfer is projected to be $12-18 trillion in inter-generational wealth transfer over the next twelve years, note the USA GDP is $12 Trillion. By 2053, some 130 trillion will have moved from one generation to another. This generation is tech savvy hot and smart; are we ready for them?

Here are some of the points gathered from research and our own experiences in supporting our FSI Clients.

1. The financial crisis has caused banks to re-assess their business fundamentals like profitability and client relationship management to improve client retention and cross selling capabilities.

2. Banks are renewing their focus on the fundamental assets of customer, staff and capital rather than product innovation for long-term growth to become well managed.

3. Banks are increasing risk transparency to help reduce operational risk and comply with corporate governance regulations and standards.

4. Banks are focusing on staff efficiency to make them more aligned with the bank’s risk and profit strategy by enhancing their IT solutions.

5.Banks are moving from a product-centric approach to a client-centric approach with a 360-degree understanding of their clients to better manage and maintain client relationships.

6.Banks are deploying client profitability analytics to enhance performance by analyzing profitability at multiple levels.

7. Banks are seeking data reporting technology and proactive approaches to better manage clients and client portfolios.

8. Banks are trying to better leverage the best of existing infrastructures while adding new platforms for operational and cost efficiencies.

9. Banks are accelerating the use of algorithmic approaches to complex back-office tasks for increased automation and efficiency.

10. Banks are looking to do more with less by balancing cost reduction with process improvements using business process management and business activity monitoring.

11. Banks are investing in online banking and improve electronic trading infrastructure and mobile solutions are a high priority in getting read for Gen X and Y needs.

12. Banks are recognizing the need to create stronger customer experiences across all products and services in terms of integrated portfolios, simplified interface experiences with all channel touch points or improved design interfaces.

Friday, October 29, 2010

INNOVATION TRENDS: New Product Introduction (NPI) Opportunity for Executive Leadership

The Boston Consulting Group’s Innovation 2010 report, a large majority of companies named innovation as a top strategic priority for 2010: 72 percent named it as a top three priority for 2010 versus 64 percent in 2009.

The trend is clear: Companies coming out of the Great Recession believe innovation in product development is the key for growth in the future.

In a recent breakfast with the COO of a Tier One Smart Mobile Platform Provider yesterday, I asked him what his number one business priority was for global scale improvements and the New Product Introduction (NPI) process and the quality around this process was his number one focus area for improvement.

As the competition continues to grow in the Mobile space, this was not a surprize to hear. For some time, our firm has been helping leading companies like SAP, MTS Allstream, Bell and many others understand the strengths and gaps in their NPI Processes and practices.

In today's market, C level executives must be digging under the covers of their NPI processes, irrespective of company size and integrating ideation to retirement practices for all their service lines. With the amount of planning and investment in taking a new product or service to market, and the knowledge/documentation that is generated from each solution launch, organizations have to tighten up their knowledge management practices, and measurement systems in this area.

It is no longer sufficient to simply have the Chief Technology Officer or Chief Marketing Officer or VP of Product Development overseeing NPI practices, this is one of the most critical fulfilment underpinnings to any organization and each C level executive needs to be deeply knowledge of this value chain.

NPI needs to increasingly become a business imperative for creating a stronger innovation highway, supported by vigilence in culture and leadership practices.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Innovation is Like the Bark of a Dog

I have been listening recently to the different sounds of how a dog barks. Sometimes the sound is sharp if a small terrier, if a german sheppard, firm and often echoes, a small new born maltese, faint and weak, a bulldog is strong and aggressive. Thinking of the different dog barks, it occurred to me that Innovation is like the Bark of a Dog.

Innovation is all about being heard in the crowd. Dogs like to be heard in any crowd, no matter how big or small they may be.

Innovation is like the steady beat of a drum to ensure breakthrough results. Dogs are like this as they are persistent in ensuring their drum beat is heard and they seldom stop easily, if if taken away from a barking doggie jamming session - they soon return with renewed eloquence to keep their beats being heard.

Innovation flourishes when trust is amplified. Dogs on a walk with their masters do a quick check with one another, but soon come together to play and focus on a task at hand, especially when there is a common goal they can both relate to.

Perhaps the most important thread of why Innovation is like the bark of a dog, is that dogs come in all different shapes and sizes.

Some dogs are small like incremental change, while other dogs are one of kind, and difficult to breed, like innovation often is; finding a barrier to entry and creating complexities in production practices is all in the day of an innovation dog!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Innovation is a Process with Art of the Long View

Innovation is a process that is best managed with a long term perspective, not necessarily measured in long time increments (e.g., months, years), but rather in the completion of targeted goals.

This requires separating the innovation process into three implementable stages:1)identification of goals and exploration activities, 2) short-term deliverables and 3)near-term development.

The first stage, identification of goals and exploration activities, defines the course of action and establishes the motivational inspiration for the entire innovation process.

Setting forth a vision for the innovation goal and providing opportunities to explore various solutions enables innovator buy-in to the goal. Once the goal has been identified, the steps that need to be accomplished for success can be prioritized, assigned to stage 2 or stage 3, and executed accordingly.

It is important to realize that stage 2 and stage 3 are not static, and should be routinely reviewed and updated. As goals in stage 2 are completed, some of those in stage 3 move into stage 2 to provide the basis for a new set of measurable results and outcomes.

It is management’s responsibility to assess performance to goals in each stage and to determine when a goal has been completed or moved into a different stage.

By splitting the execution phase into 2 stages, the innovation process is positioned to yield a continuous flow of near term successes, which maintains innovator motivation. Furthermore, if corrections to the initial strategy need to be implemented, they can be done in a timely fashion and at relatively low cost.

It is important to understand that a clear definition of what constitutes innovation is critical to the success of measurement. If we define innovation as "people creating new value and capturing value in a new way ," there are basically three focal points to measure it:

** Past / current innovation performance
** The demonstrated ability to create and capture sustainable and profitable value from innovation
** Future/expected innovation potential
** Effective/efficient innovation capacity
** The activated capacity to realize the firm's full growth and innovation potential

The best wisdom I received as a Venture Capitalist in viewing innovation was to think of innovation like a venture capitalist, drive hard into value proposition, go to market risks, and the quality of the teams' skills and abilities to execute successfully.

I have also learned innovation is all about talent that are smart enough to iterate and learn successfully together working with leadership that have the art of the long view, and patience to keep sustaining the art of practice.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


IT Service Meeting Highlights Social Media Program Benefits
by Brian Sherman on September 23, 2010
(Sharing Content on our personal helix blog site as coverage from a recent presentation our firm spoke at to the COMPTIA Association this week)

Is social media a boondoggle or a valuable marketing tool for your business? That’s the question many solution providers have asked since these sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter came on the scene.

The attitude of many business executives is, “If you can’t provide tangible results, what good is it?” Attendees of the CompTIA Canadian IT Services and Support Community in Toronto found several answers to that question with a deep dive discussion into the opportunities available with these web media sites. Dr. Cindy Gordon and Alex Blom, Senior Executives of Helix Commerce International Inc shared their knowledge of effective social community business models and provided advice on how to incorporate these tools into their own businesses.

Why should you incorporate social media into your organization? First of all, these interactive sites reach an international audience, including prospective customers, future industry partners, and potential employees. In addition, proper social media best practices can help strengthen relationships with current clients, collaborators and your existing workforce.

The second motive for integrating social media is to spur innovation and helps you spread your message with links to blogs, white papers and case studies, event registration (webinar or live), and product or service promotions. Through interaction and awareness of your company’s services and strategy, beneficial feedback should escalate and allow you to adapt your offerings and programs.

“Product innovation is rooted in collaboration, finding the means that allow you to build robust networks of partners that will help advance your organization’s goals,” says Dr. Cindy Gordon. “Social networks help build those relationships and allow you to receive quick and valuable feedback from a cross-section of industry experts, customers and others.”

It’s not unusual for businesses to attract 20,000 or more followers, allowing you to expand your reach and create new avenues that allow you to achieve your company goals. “Two-thirds of the global population is using social media, with millions of posts and site visits each day,” says Blom. This type of forum requires a creative sensitivity; you can’t repetitively broadcast your marketing message.

Business leaders need to talk to followers (consumers of social media) in order to develop trust and a mutually valued relationship. Success depends on attracting the right audience to your discussions. Don’t focus on the number of connections; having 10,000followers isn’t worthwhile if only a few are good prospects, partners or job candidates.

Building Twitter or Facebook communities requires a grass-roots recruiting effort, adding content and contacts in a rational manner to ensure eventual success. Posting the media profile links on your website, in newsletters and connecting to industry friends is a great first step. “This effort is not just about creating social media connections, but creating a transformational model that motivates people to communicate and collaborate,” suggests Gordon.

Here are some takeaways from the discussion:

1.) Start small and build a grassroots community, no matter what media you use
2.) Build trust via the brand messages and information you share. Make it worthwhile to be connected with your business
3.) Research and experiment by integrating programs such as Foursquare, which allows you to “check in” to a location (industry event or customer site) and notify your “followers” to your position. You can use it for onsite promotions or to publicize your attendance at certain conferences or preferred customer sites.

Reinforcing the social media discussion at the Toronto event was speaker Glen Robertson, COO of Service 800. Their Service Metric Benchmark Program takes into account many customer satisfaction variables, and social media is becoming an important part of that business measurement process.

According to Forrester studies, more than 500 billion web impressions of products and services are counted each year, with collaborative web sharing a big part of that. Businesses need to be proactive in blogs and other media, providing helpful information and discussing the topics that show they not only understand their customers, but have compassion as well. The web-enhanced customer experience isn’t relegated to the youth segment either; studies illustrate that almost 2/3 of Facebook and Twitter users are 35 and older! While they have the mass, a high percentage of people in their 20s—key group for employee recruitment— are social media consumers.

The reality is that new web communities are a force to be reckoned with. Social media is a critical component of today’s business and those that ignore or dismiss its value may lose out on connecting with a “tuned in” audience.

For more information on our Helix Social offerings, contact us at or contact our office at (647)477-6254.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Supply Chain Sustainability Challenges

Harvard Business Review (Oct 2010) provided highlights from a survey of 335 respondents of which nearly 80% have direct or indirect supply chain practices. Of those surveyes 54%, indicated that they are extremely or very concerned about their sustainability performance.

The top performance issues identified concerning their company were:

*cost and financial concerns,
*lack of interest from stakeholders (Employees and clients),
current economic realities;
*the need to run lean,
*potential risks for brand and reputation,
regulatry compliance, or
*managing the life cycle and cumulative environmental impacts.

Areas hindering sustainability in the supply chain were:

*cost and financial concerns
*focused on more pressing priorities
*limited resources
*uncertain ROI
*insufficient supplier understanding and buy-in

As more businesses demand increased transparency, more organizations will need to reveal more clearly their sustainability practices in their supply chain practices to establish trust, and secure reputation.

Increasingly companies like Wal-Mart, Tesco and Kroger are using new technologies to provide more transparent information to the marketplace.

As telepresence becomes more pervasive and even live webcams allowing monitoring of what is happening on a factory in real-time, product and service provenance will be more open to public inspection.

New forms of technology will provide unprecedented visibility into the industrial system.

Social media products like YouTube, Twiters and other forms of social media provide viral platforms for activisits that are keen to challenge SCM practices.

Organizations will need to strive to release provenance information otherwise likely come under increased scrutiny as the world continues to move to demanding supply chain sustainability and provide increased assurance of following environmentally sound practices.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



7 years ago I was a partner in a Tier one private venture capital firm, called XDLI, led by serial entrepreneurial Toronto leaders like Michael Bregman, and Dennis Bennie. Prior to joining XDLI, I was a partner with Accenture and all the excitement in the dot com space drove me to jump ship and in some respects jumped on the band wagon of the excitement to find the next holy grail. This was in 2001 - 2003 when the market was exciting as valuations were competitive and felt like the wild wild west. As we know the market came to a crashing wake-up call in 2003, and the venture capital industry in NA started to implode, and has been course correcting ever since.

However the trend continues to decline which has me personally very worried about Canada's long term economic smarts in innovation and commercialization.

Unfortunately in Canada, there is still too much retraction of VC investment activity. According to a recent Deloitte Survey released in TORONTO on September 7, 2010 — Venture capitalists (VCs)Canada expects their industry to contract further while those in emerging markets, including China, India and Brazil, expect to see theirs expand over the next five years, according to the 2010 Global Venture Capital Survey by Deloitte, Canada's Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) and several other international industry associations.

According to the survey results, two thirds (66 per cent) of Canadian survey respondents expect the number of venture firms to decrease between now and 2015, while a great majority of venture capitalists in China, India and Brazil anticipate adding more venture firms in their country during the same time frame. Venture capitalists in the U.S. and the European continent also expect an industry tightening in their respective countries, but the Canadian industry is much more vulnerable to such a trend given its much smaller size.

The outlook for the dollar amount of venture capital available for investment in the next five years followed similar trends, with half of Canadian respondents seeing a decline or no change. In fact, 11 per cent of respondents predict a decline of more than 30 per cent, the second worst outlook of any country surveyed. Comparatively, respondents in Brazil, China and India see healthy increases. The institutional source of funds is also expected to be weak by Canadian VCs: Only 25 per cent of Canadian respondents believe limited partners are likely to invest in the country’s venture capital funds in the next five years, compared to 92 per cent for Brazil, 91 per cent for China and 76 per cent for India.

The 2010 Global Venture Capital survey, which measured the opinions of more than 500 venture capitalists worldwide, also examined the factors contributing to each country’s outlook and identified sectors of future growth.

Government policies to increase the size of the domestic VC industry seen as key to maintaining a capital venture industry in Canada


As opposed to past years, and following recent Deloitte-led changes to Section 116, Canadian respondents did not say that tax policy or regulations were creating an unfavorable climate for venture capital. Only 28 per cent cited tax rules as a major barrier. And they are positive on government support of R&D, with 67 per cent naming it as a favorable factor, second only to Israel.

Despite those advantages, when asked about the dangers of a lack of an established VC industry, Canadian VCs were by far the most critical in the world, with 61 per cent suggesting our lack of critical mass is creating a poor climate for investment and innovation. In contrast, VCs in other developed nations saw this as a non-factor, with only seven per cent on average mentioning it.

“Clearly, Canadian venture capital firms are up against serious competition from emerging markets, as are their counterparts in the U.S and Europe. But with the small size of the Canadian industry, the impact of this decline is even more devastating for Canada,” said John Ruffolo, National Leader, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Industry Group, Deloitte.

“This is an urgent situation and policy makers need to move quickly with measures that improve the odds of this vital sector here at home” Ruffolo added. “We need to get more dollars into the hands of existing Canadian VCs, and encourage the creation of more domestic VCs. A reinvigorated Retail Venture Capital program (particularly in Ontario), angel and VC investing tax credits, and the expansion of government-sponsored fund of funds programs are the three main priorities. Some of these measures have been adopted in Quebec, and that province’s venture industry has seen growth in both the number of firms and the amount of capital available for innovation.”

Clean tech and new media/social networking: Opportunities to seize now for the future
Despite numerous challenges, survey respondents across the globe show interest in new investment opportunities on the horizon. In looking ahead, respondents singled out clean technologies, healthcare services and new media/social networking as areas of great interest over the next five years.

Clean tech is the leader overall, with 67 per cent of Canadian survey respondents expecting increased investments. It is also ranked number one by China (95 per cent), Brazil (92 per cent), India (90 per cent), U.K. (85 per cent), U.S. (72 per cent) and Germany (71 per cent).

New media/social networking is seen as the second key sector of the future by 50 per cent of Canadian venture capitalists as well as 58 per cent of respondents in the U.S. and 64 per cent in Germany. Healthcare services were ranked second by survey respondents in China (92 percent), India (89 per cent), France (69 per cent) and the U.K. (62 per cent).

“With characteristic optimism, venture capitalists are already looking ahead to new growth industries and opportunities. In order for Canada to participate fully in this new economy, we need to have a larger and better-financed VC community to help incubate and grow these industries of Canada’s future,” concludes Ruffolo.


This blog has been sourced from major extracts from the Deloitte and CVCA Global Trends in Venture Capital: Outlook for the Future The Global Trends in Venture Capital: Outlook for the Future Survey was sponsored by Deloitte in cooperation with the Canadian Venture Capital Association and numerous other VC associations around the world. It surveyed venture capitalists in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Deloitte received 516 responses from general partners with assets under management ranging from less than US$100 million to greater than US$1 billion. The survey was conducted during March and April 2010. Of the total number of respondents, 61 per cent were based in the Americas (of which 7% or 36 firms were Canadian,) 16 per cent in Europe, 23 per cent in Asia Pacific.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Social Innovation (SI) is all about simply strengthening community interaction models. It is a growth area impacting business strategies, innovation ideation practices, organizational designs, talent management, employee and customer engagement appraoches.

Working Definition

According to wikipedia, social innovation has developed several meanings. It can be used to refer to social processes of innovation, such as open source methods and techniques. Alternatively it refers to innovations which have a social purpose - like microcredit or distance learning. The concept can also be related to social entrepreneurship (entrepreneurship isn't always or even usually innovative, but it can be a means of innovation) and it also overlaps with innovation in public policy and governance. Social innovation can take place within government, within companies, or within the nonprofit sector (also known as the third sector), but is increasingly seen to happen most effectively in the space between the three sectors. Recent research has focused on the different types of platforms needed to facilitate such cross-sector collaborative social innovation.[1] Currently, social innovation is becoming increasingly important within the academic debate, also regarding its theoretical concepts.

Social innovation was discussed in the writings of figures such as Peter Drucker and Michael Young (founder of the Open University and dozens of other organizations) in the 1960s. It also appeared in the work of French writers in the 1970s, for example Pierre Rosanvallon, Jacques Fournier, and Jacques Attali. However, the themes and concepts in social innovation have existed long before that. Benjamin Franklin, for example, talked about social innovation in terms of small modifications within the social organisation of communities that could help to solve everyday problems. Many radical 19th century reformers like Robert Owen, founder of the cooperative movement, promoted innovation in the social field and all of the great sociologists including Karl Marx, Max Weber and Émile Durkheim focused much of their attention to broader processes of social change.

However, more detailed theories of social innovation only became prominent in the 20th century. Joseph Schumpeter, for example, addressed the process of innovation more directly with his theories of creative destruction and his definition of entrepreneurs as people who combined existing elements in new ways. In the 1980s and after, writers on technological change increasingly addressed the importance of social factors in affecting technology diffusion.

Toronto is Alive with Social Innovation Leadership

There are many leaders in Toronto alert to the transformation needs of this type of thinking integrated into our business models and cultural communication practices. Centers like the Social Innovation Center or MARS where small businesses leverage for collective jamming, and cross-pollination are effective new age real-estate models integrated with community foundations.

Helix is in the early stages of developing a Social Innovation practice that extends our deep expertise in business innovation, New Product/Service Commercialization, and Channel Innovation practices to integrate our deep know-how in collaboration. Having written over 8 books in these areas, and hundreds of articles, and client engagements - we want to increase this know-how into a more open social innovation cluster vision.


I often think what we really have happening is less about SOCIAL INNOVATION and is simply more about MOTIVATING HUMANS. Humans have always been social creatures, enjoying social rituals. The kitchen is the place always for great conversations, whether by a fire in the woods eating a meal close to a cave, or in a luxury 5 star restaurant, humans are social creatures and are more open and relaxed over a good meal, surrounded by diverse sensations.

Research in Sweden on the impact of smell being airated into offices that increase social happiness has found that apple pie is one leading scent that stimulates conversation connectedness.

What is clear is the impact of community and the value of social sustainability challenges how the majority of organizations are designed and led.

Developing social competencies into our university programs will also be a key success factor in developing more universal knowledge with our future business leaders. There is a great deal of work to be done.

Any ideas, do not hesitate to contact me directly at

Monday, September 6, 2010

Social Voice Strength on the Web and Implications to Changing Business Models

In August 1991, Sir Timothy John Berners Lee put the first website online. The first consumer web we recall were the likes of: AOL, AMAZON, eBAY, and Yahoo.

Little did we appreciate the impacts new models like: PayPal, TicketMaster would have on revolutionizing and creating the transactional web.

The new era we are in is the Social Era as solutions like :Facebook, MySpace, Ning, Orkut create a more faciltiating, engaging and rewarding social experience. It's now all about self-expression, naked conversations, relationships, user affiliation, trust and user generated content.

The Social Web is now called Web 3.0 or the Semantic web.

Larry Weber in his book, Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build your Business, says that:

" The social web is the online place where people with a common interest can gather to share thoughts, comments, and opinions. It includes social networks such as: My Space, Gather, Friendster, BlackPlanet, Eons, linked and hundreds more. It also includes branded web destination sites like: Amazon, Netflix, and eBay. It also includes enterprise sites such as: IBM, Circuit City, Cisco, and Oracle. The social web is a new world of unpaid media created by individuals or enterprises on the web."

The real job of the marketing professional in the social web is to aggregate customers. You can do this in two ways:

1.)Providing compelling content to create a pull factor to return again and again and spread the word to others to create a following by creating retail rich media experiences, and
2.) Visibly becoming an influencer in the public arena and actively participating in the conversations.

Brian Solis, Founder of Future works says:

Social Media is no longer an option or debtable. It represents a powerful, and additional channel to first listen to customers, stakeholders, media, bloggers, peers and other influencers and in turn build two way paths of conversation to them.

Yes conversations are taking place about your company, product and service right now with or without you. This represents priceless opportunities to build relationships and shape perceptions at every step. In the process, you become a resource to the very people looking for leadership, expertise, visions, and also solutions.

The most important driver for outbound and proactive online relationship is that's its measurable and absolutetly tied to the bottom line. Much in the same way that Web marketers integrates calls to action and dedicated splash pages to direct responses, successful conversations can also benefit from strategically carved inbound and interconnected paths that can be tracked and measured.

From listening, participation to analytics, social media creates new opportunities to make deep and meaningful connections, forge relationships, and influence without manipulation. And, in the process, we also earn a place within their network as a trustworthy resource."

David Meerman Scott lists three uses of blogs for marketing and PR:

1.) To easily monitor what millions of people are saying about you.
2.) To participate in those conversations by commenting on other's blogs.
3.) To begin and to shape those conversations by creating and writing your own blog.

Social professional niche networks abound and they will continue to flourish. For example, Art Cloud for the Art world, Inmobile for the wireless industry, MarCom Professional for Marketing communicators, Sermo for Physicians, etc.

In summary, Cluetrain Manifesto proclaimed:

A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering, and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter - and getting smarter faster than other companies.

These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny, and often shocking. Whether explaining, or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can't be faked."


Every Canadian business should have a cleared defined digital social media strategy in place and reaching out to the world for new growth connections. If you cannot afford to hire FT engage PT professionals from outsourcing Social media solution providers, a growing trend globally as marketing professionals and business recognize being social is a skill and a core competency.

Helix has a new offering on social media outsourcing solutions. Want to hear more reach us at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Intelligent Cities - Technology Big 3 Leadership

In my role as Vice Chair for the Intelligent Communities for i-CANADA, I recently researched some of the leadership activities of the BIG THREE technnology leaders: CISCO, MICROSOFT and IBM.

I am pleased to say, our firm and sister company, TerraForum have strong relationships with these organizations as clients, and partners.


In 2009, Cisco launched its global Intelligent Urbanization initiative from Bangalore and signed a MOU with the local government to develop a roadmap for an intelligent and sustainable Bangalore City.

The global Intelligent Urbanization initiative was designed to help cities around the world using the networks as the fourth utility for integrated city management, better quality for life for citizens and economic development.

Bringing together a broad portfolio of products, services, partners and solutions across CISCO, the intiatives in initially focused on intelligent, sustainable solutions for public safety, and security, transportation, buidlings, energy, health care and education. An example of how technology can be used to improve security operations, Cisco proposed its own internal Security Operations Center, Real-Time security monitoring and alerts, video surveillance, tools, acoustic sensors, card-readers with biometric recognition, automatic alerts, and security activation systems were the highlights of this environment.


IBM announced its Smarter Cities program as part of its initiative to create an Intelligent Planet. The program was created to stimulate economic growth and quality of life in cities and metropolitan areas witht the activation of new approaches of thinking and acting in the urban ecosystem. Interconnected and instrumented smart technologies offer a real-time integrated view of complex city systems, enabling administrators to monitor operations, improve performance andrespond to the needs of their jurisdications each day. IBM's initiative focuses on seven areas: education, health, safety, transport, water management, energy and public governance in each of which the company describes a series of best practices, strategies, technologies and applications.


Microsoft is working with Coventry University and Birmingham City Council to establish Birmingham as the first UK Intelligent City able to showcase new and innovation applications.

The Intelligent City Proof of Concept is about an interoperable technology platform focusing on transport.

The objectives include demonstating the intelligent city vision for Birmingham and creating a service layer platform integrated with exisiting data/services, managing journeys across devices and modes of transport, empowering individuals to make more informed, smarter choices, and describing the impact on travel patterns, and economic and environmental issues.

Reference Sources:

Intelligent Cities, R&D OffShoring, by N Komninos and E. Sefertzi, Paper Presented at the Second Knowledge Cities Summit, China, Nov 2009.

IBM (2009) " A smarter Planet - Smarter Cities" Online

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Intelligent Cities Series - Post #2

Regional development in Canada is increasingly based on factors of knowledge, innovation and geographical accessibility.

Innovation led or knowledge based development of cities and regions has become the model with which most cities and regions will try to adopt and adapt to new conditions.

Linking innovation and regional development requires a nexus of co-operation between different industry sectors to enable intelligent city stimulation. This goes beyond traditional technology institutions and reaches into the disciplines of digital media, clean-tech, geo-local (mobile) entertainment, architecture and design rallying around a vision beyond infrastructure but reaching to a vision where collaboration and innovation growth outcomes are realized.

What are Intelligent Cities?

Intelligent cities is a new planning paradigm which corresponds to the type of innovation shaped by innovation networks and leveraging web-based collaboration intelligence ecoystems.

There are numerous movements shaping intelligent cities emerging all over the world. Some are driven by local intitiatives and local experimentations found in the Intelligent Community Forum which select cities recognizing their innovation towards intelligent communities. Last year Sweden was recognized. In addition in 2009, Moncton, New Brunswick California and Bristol Virginia, USA were also recognized.

These cities are characterized as intelligent cities with respect to five selection criteria in innovation and communication technology, knowledge and innovation. Broadband infrastructure whcih evaluates the local capacity for digital communication, Knowledge workforce, which measures the capacity of the population for qualified work in knowledge intensive activities, Innovation, which assesses how far communities have gone in creating an innovation-friendly environment that attracts creative people and creative businesses. Digital democracy which assesses the government and private sector programs to overcome the digital divide. Marketing,this assesses the attractiveness of a community and its competitive offerings with respect to other cities and regions.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Creating a Canadian Intelligent Nation Vision

Recently I joined Bill Hutchison, Chair of i-Canada as a Vice Chair in a voluntary leadership capacity to help a team of change advocacy leaders committed to help change Canada’s future to realize global recognition as a Intelligent Nation in less than ten years. To get there, we have so very much to do together.

Join us in our Linked In leadership advocacy forum organized by John Reid CEO of CATA.

What is inspiring me is the 21st Century need to take a radical turn in ensuring information and communication technologies are converging with the innovation led regional economies, and innovation clusters.

Intelligent cities is part of the foundational vision to create environments that improve our ability to learn, forsee and innovate. The driving forces behind sustaining the rise of intelligent cities, such as the globalization of innovation clusters and networks, open innovation and web-based collaborative environments are strategic to the successful evolution of Canada’s economic future.

The new paradigm of city development and planning is rapidly changing as cities in Europe, USA, and Asia respond to these trends but developing intelligent city strategies. Well known cases are Living Labs in Europe, Singapore iN2015 Strategy, Malaysia Multimedia Super Corridor, Florida’s high tech corridor, and a new series of innovation glucsters and global hubs such as Arabianranta, Zaragoza Milla Digital, Seoul Digital Media City, Sweden’s Intelligent Community Innovations etc.

Can we get Canada to global Intelligent Community recognition status in less than five years?

The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named Stockholm, Sweden the Intelligent Community of the Year for 2009.“This is a community that has methodically and substantially redefined the possibilities of urban living and sets an example of how technology can play a role to enhance economic and social development,” said Louis Zacharilla, ICF Co-founder."

The Scandinavian community, known for its prowess in innovative technologies and its quality of life, during a national fiscal crisis in the early Nineties, decided to pursue an unusual model in telecommunications.The city-owned company Stokab started in 1994 to build a fiber-optic network throughout the municipality as a level playing field for all operators.

Stokab dug up the streets once to install conduit and run fiber, closed them up, and began offering dark fiber capacity to carriers for less than it would cost them to install it themselves. Today, the 1.2 million kilometer (720,000-mile) network has more than 90 operators and 450 enterprises as primary customers and is now in the final year of a three-year project to bring fiber to 100% of public housing, which is expected to add 95,000 households to the network. Stockholm’s Mayor has set a goal of connecting 90% of all households to fiber by 2012.

In 2007, the City of Stockholm published Vision 2030, identifying the key characteristics the city aimed to have by that year. In 2030, according to the plan, Stockholm would be a world-class metropolis offering a rich urban living experience, the center of an internationally competitive innovation region, and a place where citizens enjoyed a broad range of high-quality, cost-effective social services.

Louis Zacharilla, ICF Co-founder, congratulated the new Intelligent Community of the Year, saying, Stockholm has expertly demonstrated how a culture of use has formed within the context of Stockholm’s policy commitments, especially those to the environment, business and care for its citizens.

Stockholm is an ambitious community and on the move. Stockholm serves as a case study for communities where national government has taken a more prominent role during the current economic downturn.

The annual awards are presented by the independent think tank as part of its annual conference, Building the Broadband Economy, produced in association with the Institute for Technology & Enterprise at New York University’s Polytechnic school in New York (USA). The goal of the awards is to increase awareness of the role that broadband and information communications technology (ICT) play in economic and social development at the community level worldwide.

ICF also announced the recipients of the Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year award and the Founders Awards: Issy-les-Moulineaux’s Legendary Mayor named Visionary of the Year; Dave Carter of Manchester Digital Development Agency; Andrew Spano of Westchester County, New York, and Taoyuan County, Taiwan presented with annual Founders Awards.

Stockholm Named Intelligent Community of Year 2009 by ICF

Monday, August 23, 2010

Innovation on Steroids

How do you drive an organization forward to achieve the most rapid innovation possible?

Based on my twenty plus years in both corporate (enterprise) and also supporting very early stage software companies, it strikes me the realities are still the same.

1.) Having a very clearly defined product or service vision of what you are trying to achieve, and an understanding of why the market should purchase this experience from you needs to be very acute and differentiated?

2.) Developing an employee engagement culture that ensures talent is motivated by your vision, mission and can believe the results you are striving to achieve are real and they can align their minds and hearts to focus on realizing the dream or customer promise you are aspiring to fulfil.

3.) Creating a customer experience that is uniquely differentiated to other experiences in the market. Each customer touch point makes a difference along the value memory highway. How you condition an organization to think and behave can be explicitely programmed into your organizational culture DNA, but also must be embedded into your business processes and measurement systems.

All these points add up, but there is nothing more critical than ensuring that you can successfully commercialize your products and services and secure consistent customer footprints, and create a brand that creates a following.

We are now at the same that employee engagement and customer engagement are constant heart beats in developing innovation capacity.However to drive innovation on steroids we need to add to this current formula fix a focus on community experiences.

What needs to be added to the mix?

As more and more trust moves to web based experiences where consumers rely on purchasing guidance or advice from trusted networks, the only growth engine remaining for innovation capacity is really community influence and mining for community intelligence to propel growth more rapidly forward.

When one looks at the success of companies like Zappos (shoe retailer sold to eBay for $850 million after attempts from eBay and others failed), or other companies like eBay or Facebook which are aggregating communities around deep product niches demonstrate new approaches to developing corporate business models.

Pathways for Innovation Execution Excellence

If you are looking to develop a deep digital social media strategy around your product or service offering, we have two new offers at my firm that may interest you:

1.) Digital Social Media Market Differentiation Rapid Scan - we quickly look at your digital social media offerings, scan the market, and give you clear recommendations of ways to differentiate and improve your go to market capabilities.

2.) Pilot Innovation Community Bazaars - we have learned that developing a rapid pilot with an existing community to test your product or service is a very effective way to gain rapid customer insights. There is a community these days for almost everything so stepping back and going directly to an existing community vs creating a new community is a far smarter way to innovate and be more agile.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Analytics Drive Business Profitability

BI Profitability Game Changer for Growth

In today's fast moving business world, customer relationship intelligence is everything. CRM technology has promsed for years to enable one to one relationship support and also to tailor organization's marketing and operational programs to drive micro-segmentation capabilities for target marketing.

This has been a long time coming. But finally there is starting to be stronger evidence backed by quality research that we are seeing some game changing realities.

MIT and the Economist, two organizations that drive rigor before they speak have recently written on the experiences of IBM, Cablecom and Walmart.

IBM claims over $1B new revenue from BI insights

IBM is a pioneer in the use of mathematical models. Their analytics challenge was to learn how to maximize revenue per client by analyzing years of sales data. This insight helped them reconfigure their sales account size, industry and service offerings. Their position is that over $1B US in new revenue was generated as a result of a more optimized sales coverage was the outcome from analyzing huge data sets for business insights.

Wallmart Inventory Intelligence World Class Smarts Continue

In the case of Walmart well known for thier legacy in optimizing supply chain practices. They invested heavily in a Retail Link investory management system where they turn information into profit acceleration outcomes. For example, they can offload inventory management to suppliers by not taking any ownership of the products right until the point of sale by the consumer. This new strategy allows them to decrease inventory risk, conserve cash flow and reduce operating loss.

Cablecom Reduces Customer Churn from BI

Cablecom like many cable providers constantly live with the reality of customer churn. In their case by using advanced data analytics, they learned that they can impact customer defection loss by increasing calls by their customer support services with new offers. These offers were new incentive programs to higher risk customers resulting in reducing their customer defection loss from 20% of subscriber defection to 5%.

These examples reinforce that if business analytics are carefully architected with deep gold mining of tera or petabytes of data there is profitability to be found.


In summary, data analytics has the ability to increase revenue, improve workflow efficiency, increase customer flows and improve customer satisfaction and hopefully achieve increased loyalty outcomes as well.

With the falling costs of high performance and cloud computing, more economical data grunching pathways are now available. the market is growing at about 10% a year, roughtly 2x faster than the rest of the Software industry, so CEO's , COOs, and CFO's and CIO's should be continually inspecting the quality of their CRM and data analytics capabilities.

My real question is how much knowledge do board of directors have on CRM - have you ever seen a Board Director overseeing CRM and BI and asking the tough questions at board meetings on these fronts... ? New ways of thinking are needed.

Is your organization up for the challenge?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Social Media Acquisition Buzz Highlights

Deals (M&A, Finance) – Disney Gets In To Social/Mobile Video Games
Disney acquired social and mobile game developer, Playdom, for $563 mm in upfront consideration and the potential for $200 mm in further earn-out based consideration. Disney management notes that the company continues to be on the acquisition war path.

The largest deals in the week involved the advertising sector, with $15 mm in follow-on financings to eXelate and AdMeld, and $8 mm to BuzzLogic.
Four different social network/media companies received financing in the week, including, Hot Potato (acquired for $10 mm by Facebook), PlacePop ($1.4 mm round), Rapportive ($1 mm seed round), and dating site, Triangulate ($0.75 seed round).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Innovation requires Execution for Success.

One of the biggest challenges facing organizations is their inability to execute. Organizations that focus on agility and execution across business units and functions - are more successful that those that are locked in analysis paralysis.

The levers to enhance execution capacity include: information systems flexibility and adaptiveness to meet changing business needs, corporate priorities clarity and keeping people focused to drive results vs shifting gears, ensuring robust talent management and employee engagement practices are in place.

What is a killer in many Fortune 500s we work with is the bureaucracy and process burden that distract people from being focused on the real work - of selling and delivering new products and services.

We have made some balancing act mistakes.

The recent ending economic boom drove companies to invest heavily in leadership development practices has often left middle managers with more limited training opportunities as they were focused on the nuts and bolts and often keeping the lights and wiring working in many organizations.

While many leaders are leaping into conversations in organizations -- are they doing sufficient execution heavy lifting to demonstrate real value to the bottom line?

What should you have your execution innovation eye attentive to?

1.) Ensuring you can spot new opportunities. Thinking like a Venture Capitalist is always a good skill to develop in your workforce. Real time data, formal reports supplemented with direct observations from the field widely shared across the organizations is key. Getting out to visit customers, talk to new employees, retiring employees. Always have the alert on to learn and grow is critical. Complacency and status quo is a killer.

2.)Ensure operational levers are well greased. Ensuring your organizational hydraulics - processes are translating into clear priorities into cascading group and indvidual objectives is critial to align the organization. How often does management review these goals with their employees... setting them and looking at them once a year or 2x /year in review cycles is simply no longer enough. Real time iterative learning is needed which means managers need real time conversations linked to online priority management.

3.) Reward for performance and not mediocrity. When I was at Xerox as a Full time employee this is something the culture did very well... sometimes too well for sales people.. always recognizing the service and administration resources is always something organizations need to balance out between the revenue producers and the revenue service enabling structures. Incentives need to be smartly balanced between the long and short term.

4.)Core Values that are memorable and believable. Having values with teeth is important. Too many core values sound the same from company to company and often employees cannot remember what they even are... and often even C level executives are caught exposed.. Try it some time in your board meetings too. Clearly articulated values that underpin agility and value execution are critical. Ensuring the right people are promoted along the way that really are role model in core values.

5.)Ensure you are building an organization of constant focused pressure vs heoric efforts. Senior leaders who clearly set clear priorities and inject continual pressure, rather than set and fight fires.

In summary, five high five requirements to help get your organization's innovation needs driving forward to achieve execution succes..

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Google hunting iPhone and Blackberry customers

Google has now entered the mobile telephony market and is unleashing another disruptive innovation. The Google Nexus phone is positioned against the Apple iPhone and RIM's blackberry.

Google is unleashing a tremendous amount of encouragement into the development community to build innovative apps for its Android Operating System, an open source operating system.

Apple has a very controlled approach in terms of carefully vetting which apps get into the Apple store, while Google exercises minimal control. Their approach is based on the abundance theory.. translated as "have fun" We will check back with you later." Creativity and openness oozes out of Google's strategy.

Developers can get started by going to (

Google is putting an interesting spider web together, dropping different pieces in front of the enterprise with little barriers.

As cloud computing increases in acceptance, enterprises will start to look at the costs of Software licences and evaluate the value given increased operating costs of IT infrastructure continue to be high and the need to secure cost savings to re-invest in the future will become more acute over the next ten years.

With Apple, Microsoft and RIM in the proprietary software business, and Google positoning itself in the open source market.

As developers are jumping on the Google Nexus jet plane, the dynamics will shift over time in the market.

Although the odds seem to be stacked against Google, one factor that none of us can predict is the creativity of start up organizations who see only new possibilities in supporting Google's dream.

Friday, May 21, 2010

CATA 25th Annual Innovation Award Gala - Proud to Be Canadian Night

The CATA Alliance Annual Innovation Awards Gala held in Ottawa on May 19th 2010 hosted by Paul Brent, Host of CJOH TV's TECH NOW, and John Reid, President of the CATA Alliance was a world-class event and evening celebration.

Over 500 executives from business, government and academia attended the evening. 20 awards were recognized at the GALA with sponsorship from leading organizations.

Recognitions ranged from HR Leadership Aware, CIO Leadership Award, Outstanding Clean Tech Product Innovation, Outstanding Content and Application in the Mobility Industry to the prestigious Sara Kirk Award for Women Entrepreneurs.

The winners are posted on the CATA wesbite

This is the sixth year I have attended the CATA Innovation GALA ball, and each year we have a chance as a community to applaud the strengths of our entrepreneurs in Canada and reflect despite some of our challenges in this country - we continue to have tremendous success stories of entrepreneurial, business, government and academic champions who make a difference every day to the fabric of this country.

I want to personally recognize John Reid and his leadership team, and support staff as without leadership from talent like them... events like this are not made possible. Thank you to the CATA Team!

The finale of the evening was the CATA announcement of i-CANADA a program vision to strengthen the broadband infrastucture in Canada. What was made clear by the eloquent speech delivered by Bill Hutchison at the closure of this evening is we have a great deal more work to do in this area. When you hear Canada is rated in out of 30 countries ranking 22 in terms of our broadband and high bandwidth infrastructure in terms of intelligent community rankings... it tells us we have to all come together and make a difference not just for our current generation but also to plan for our future generation needs.

Bill outlined a compelling vision, one that I hope others will learn more about.

Knowing one day my grandchildren can talk to a nurse in our home on our television set, and my mother in law can check her sugar levels easily for her diabetes using intelligent smart systems in our home, and my fridge can relay to the super market we are low on milk, bread, and eggs, and my house is environmentally controlled by my personal computer at the office ... these types of smart intelligent services will not come our way unless we address our broadband infrastructure.

Bill was behind the success of Canarie which enabled educational institutions across Canada to be connected and use high speed infrastructure. We now need to catch up in our business to business, and business to community infrastructure.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Enterprise 2.0 RFP TemplateSubmission for Enterprise 2.0 wiki template contest.Submitted by Mark Fidelman

Enterprise 2.0 – Collaborative Networks Request for Proposal (RFP)

FOR: ________________________

Examples (Intranet, Social Business Initiative, Solution, Extranet, Knowledge Base, Community)

Feel free to adapt it for your own use and drop me a note at mfidelman at if you use the template or have any questions.]

1. General Information

This section summarizes the General Information for the _________ Communities and is summarized into the following categories:

* Purpose of the RFP
* RFP communications
* RFP timeline
* RFP preparation
* Vendor responses
* Effective dates of pricing
* Evaluation criteria
* Right to reject RFP responses

1.1 Purpose of the RFP

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to establish the functional, technical and operational requirements for a _________ platform and _______management solution for _________.

TIP: This section should explain your high-level objectives. To develop this section of the RFP, it is important to take a step back and ensure that your team has a full—and shared—understanding of what you expect the project to accomplish. The more specific you can be with your objectives, the more specific and more accurate your respondents’ proposals will be.

The contents of this RFP are proprietary and are not to be disclosed to third parties without the express permission of _________.

The planned _________ solution will be a combination of:

* Primary
* Secondary

When we talk about building a solution, _________ is providing the infrastructure or “playpen” and the initial spark for the solution to get started. While we can nurture and guide the company to a certain degree, it would be a mistake to assume that we can single-handedly ignite a solution on our own. We have to have the patience and conviction to let the solution grow and evolve in whatever direction the users want them to grow. The solution will (or will not) be accessible from our website, but they will have an identity, name and style that are (same/different) from the _________ website and brand.

While the _________ customer component will be an important part of our solution, it is just a small slice of the total addressable audience.

One of the most important parts to becoming successful with the solution will be to continually provide fresh and new content. The expectation is that much of the content will ultimately come from team members.

Finally, building the solution will take a significant commitment and dedicated resources to manage and develop content for, and host (employees/guests) on the site. Another important point to make is that the solution will evolve over time – from both a content and adoption standpoint. The core infrastructure and initial content need to be in place for the launch, but it takes time to build trust in the solution, and to get members to begin contributing and actively participating in the solution.

We acknowledge that building the _________ solution will be a multi-year project.

At a high level, the types of content information planned for our solution include: EXAMPLES

* “Hot off the press” Content (relatively short shelf-life – days or weeks)
* Industry and other topical news
* Microblogging
* Blogs and columns
* Discussion groups and forums (threaded conversations)
* User editable wikis
* Alerts and RSS news or blog feeds
* Daily/weekly digest of new content/discussions
* “Library-Type” Content (longer shelf-life – months or years)
* Articles and whitepapers – by _________ or contributed
* Analyst reports
* Webinars – real-time and archived
* Podcasts and video
* Links to other relevant content

Ideally, we want the solution to become a destination site where our employees/customers come for valuable and topical content and to share insights with other employees/customers.

1.2 RFP Communications

Please direct all communications and correspondence regarding this RFP to:

Name –

Title –

Address –

Email address -

Phone number –

1.3 Timeline

RFP submission date - ____

Vendor proposal due date - ____

Vendor selection - ____

Vendor contract process - ____

_________ detailed plan with vendor - ____

Launch Solution - ____

1.4 RFP Preparation

All costs incurred in the preparation and presentation of a RFP will be absorbed by the prospective vendors. In the event that modifications or additions to the RFP become necessary, prospective vendors will be notified in writing. All supporting materials submitted with the Proposal will become the property of _________ unless otherwise requested by the prospective vendors at time of submission.

1.5 Vendor Responses

Prospective vendors are required to submit their proposals no later than ________. All supporting materials and documentation must be included with the Proposal. Proposals should be sent or emailed to ________. We may ask vendors to present their proposals in person or by webcast to the _________ evaluation team.

1.6 Effective Dates of Pricing

Prospective vendors should state in writing that all furnished information, including pricing, will remain valid and applicable for a minimum of one-hundred and twenty (120) days from the date their Proposal is received by _________ and should submit their best and final offers.

1.7 Evaluation Criteria

Prospective vendor Proposals will be evaluated using the following general criteria:

* Ability to satisfy functional business requirements
* Ability to satisfy technical and integration requirements
* Strategic partnering potential
* Cost

1.8 Right to Reject

_________ reserves the right to:

* Accept or reject any and/or all submitted proposals
* Request additional information from all prospective vendors at any time
* Negotiate a contract with the selected vendor(s)
* Include the vendor's RFP response in whole or by reference in the final contract
* Accept the proposal of any vendor at any time during the process and other vendors may or may not be awarded the opportunity to further discuss their proposals or demonstrate their solutions to the _________ team.

Therefore your response should include all information necessary for _________ to evaluate your solution, pricing and contract terms.

2.0 Requirements

This section summarizes the key requirements for the _________ Communities and is summarized into the following categories:

* Solution strategy
* Infrastructure requirements
* Functionality requirements
* Ongoing management requirements
* Technology requirements
* Other requirements
* Cost requirements

2.1 Solution Strategy

We believe that getting the strategy right is an integral part of building our solution. As part of your proposal, we would like you to include a description of how you will help us strategize our solution and approach. This may be part of a bundled package or priced separately. It is important to make sure that you are explicit in terms how you can help us, a description of your qualifications and an estimate of the time/cost necessary to help us finalize our strategy.

TIP: Once you have identified the main focus of the project, it is important to specify key objectives and allow the vendor to provide a solution for each of the areas you have identified. For instance, if the project focuses on project management capabilities, you will need to detail the issues your organization is currently experiencing and any requirements you have defined to solve those problems.

2.2 Infrastructure Requirements(suit to fit)

The key infrastructure requirements include:
* Platform
* Provide a robust, fully encrypted, and hosted platform that provides room to grow the solution and meets the other requirements detailed below
* Establish single sign-on and permissions rules
* Implement and manage legal and intellectual property agreements for access to content, member privacy
* Establish service level agreements that are acceptable to _________
* Document and train _________ personnel in administration and management of site
* Provide periodic training to _________ personnel as updates are made to the platform or as new _________ personnel get involved with site administration
* Strategy and planning
* Drive completion of solution strategy plan
* Create a comprehensive project plan
* Develop a customized look and feel
* Build a membership recruitment plan
* Design a launch plan (for marketing and PR)
* Generate an ROI measurement plan
* Develop solution rules for participation, posting, etc.
* Multiple sites
* Support up to ___ solution sites
* Enterprise search across solution sites
* Separate URLS for each solution site
* Separate look-and-feel for each solution site
* Support different levels of members (i.e. guest, registered, employee customer) with different permissions/privileges and access to content
* Scalability and Governance
* Support up to ___ concurrent users
* Support different restrictions for members (ranging from total blocking to full access)
* Support collaborative networking (i.e. professional profile, my favorite files/links, photo, etc.)
* Support for employee/user rating

2.3 Functionality Requirements(suit to fit)

The key functionality requirements include:

* Content types – we need to support the following content capabilities
* Dashboard charting and gauges
* Document and content libraries
* Multimedia libraries for videos, podcasts and other multimedia
* Discussion forums
* Blogs
* Wikis
* Webcasts
* Podcasts
* Vlogs (video blogs)
* Links
* Realtime polls and surveys
* Project Management
* Ability to manage tasks
* Ability to set up project sites/pages
* Ability to add team members to project sites/pages
* Dashboard reporting on projects
* Available metrics – we want to be able to measure the following metrics. The metrics should be available in standard reports and in user definable reports. The reports should be available online and printed or exported if necessary:
* Unique visitors by date and date range
* Page views by date and date range
* Session time by date and date range
* Registered members and join date
* Peak number of concurrent users (in live events)
* Total number of users (in live events)
* Repeat visits and Frequent visitors
* Customization requirements
* Ability to update and program solution easily using java script, deki script or php.
* Ability to create new workflow forms (i.e. expense reports, travel, requests) and pages on the fly

TIP: Customization.

When it comes to customization, there are some key pieces of information that can help you select the best partner for your solution. How does the respondent plan to develop your set of solutions? Will they use mostly out-of-the-box templates, or will they architect a custom-developed tool? Depending on your needs, some may propose using a combination of these two approaches. Your RFP should include questions that will clarify their experiences with respect to building solutions using both of these approaches.
* Data integration and mashups
* Ability to integrate data from our ERP, CRM, MRP systems
* Reporting – we need to mashup our ERP data with our CRM data to show our sales team detailed customer payment information
* Dashboards - Ability to chart real time data quickl
* Other requirements
* Ratings - ability to rate content & users
* Workflow – custom workflow
* RSS feeds – RSS feeds for news, blogs and other content
* Notification Alerts - alerts for content (users can set alerts for pages, discussions, blogs and other content)
* Subscriptions – ability for members to subscribe to any content on a daily, weekly or other time basis of their choosing
* Search – ability to search content by title and within documents or discussions (Google-like search capabilities)
* Enterprise search – ability to search across multiple instances of solution
* Email Posting - Ability to post to blogs and discussion groups by email
* “What’s new” – easy way to find new content or discussions
* Talkback – ability to add comments on content, etc.
* Social sharing – one-click ability to share any content via email and other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, de.lic.ious, etc.
* Administration – ability for our admin manager to perform most routine administrative tasks such as setting permissions, making modifications to most pages, etc.

2.4 Ongoing Management Requirements

The key ongoing management requirements include:

* Management
* Provide a dedicated moderator to the communities to manage conversations and actively enhance member experience – with the goal of growing the communities and keeping the solution active and vibrant (based on activity and new members/partners added)
* Maintain and regularly check physical and virtual links
* Manage and summarize user feedback – and incorporate feedback into improving the site
* Provide continuous programming and membership moderation
* Provide solution training and demos to new/prospective members
* Generate detailed solution reports and analysis of results
* Solution Marketing
* Identify potential members partners and user groups to target, including obtaining of email addresses
* Invite potential users to join
* Get people to join – driving awareness and attention
* Encourage people to stay active and contribute
* Manage the membership and partnerships
* Create regular and periodic marketing campaigns to generate traffic, awareness of solution and member/partner growth
* Content creation
* Source new content (the majority of content must be from non-_________ to give it an aura of success)
* Build links to related sites, blogs, etc. (the onus of research and effort for this task will be on the vendor – to be augmented over time by _________ employees)
* Content management
* Keep the content fresh
* Prune and cull old or out-of-date content
* Coordinate, kick start and prime discussions
* Edit, review, upload and ‘censor’ materials and discussions, as necessary
* Content Moderation
* Please provide an overview of your moderation services (if any) and the various pricing options

2.5 Technology Requirements

The key technology requirements include:

Provide us with information that cover these technical details: (if hosted)

* Uptime and availability
* Backups
* Bandwidth
* Support access
* Privacy of data

2.6 Other Requirements

Are the any requirements that we missed? Please include ideas / topics / suggestions that we may have missed that you believe would greatly enhance a solution experience and/or be an area where you could provide significant value to the members of the solution and/or _________ as the solution sponsor.

TIP: People and Roles. Finally, ask for information about the respondent’s proposed team structure and the key roles it plans to fulfill in building your proposed solution. Respondents should provide a high-level snapshot of their proposed teams and resources, including specific roles and number of team members, as well as a basic reasoning behind their proposed team structure. Gathering this information will provide you with a clear picture of exactly how each respondent’s team will approach the project and whether it will fit your needs.

2.7 Cost Requirements

The initial proposal should outline a price quote and all pricing options available to support the requirements identified in the RFP. The price quote should address a plan for developing a solution and launching before the end of _____.

The price quote should include the amount and timing of the following:

* Upfront costs
* How much?
* What is included in the upfront costs?
* How many hours/days are covered in the upfront costs?
* What is the final deliverable?
* What flexibility is available in pricing?
* Annual costs
* What are the annual costs?
* What is included in the annual costs?
* How many hours/days per week are covered by this pricing?
* What flexibility is available in pricing?
* What ROI metrics can we expect?
* Payment options
* Monthly, quarterly, etc.

2.8 Other

Vendors should provide pricing data for any services not included as part of the software or support purchase. These may include training, implementation support, moderation, ongoing consultation, etc. This should include detailed rates for the different levels and experience of consultants that may be needed on this engagement.

Vendors should also be prepared to provide us with a list of reference-able customers with similar background as our solution. You may include information about reference-able customers in your response or include them in your presentation

Note: Some of this RFP is from an actual RFP developed by Tom Humbarger who has kindly allowed us to use and modify.


The wiki text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution License agreement
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