Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Intel Innovations in Social Media

Intel Corporation.

Bryan Rhoads, Senior Digital Strategist at Intel whose job title is one of this year's coolest collaboration innovation leaders:

Rhoads starts by explaining the Intel journey:

"It all started in the early 2000's with grassroots employee participation. One employee in particular, Josh Bancroft, started to build out our social infrastructure in 2004. The result was the creation of Intelpedia, a team based wiki collaboration site launched in November of 2005. Today, Intelpedia contains over 15,000 articles from Intel employees defining, collaborating and documenting their part of the Intel workplace."

Over time, Intel created a comprehensive set of social media policies simply called the Intel Social Media Guidelines. These guidelines are now available in over 35 languages designed to help everyone use social media in a respectful and responsible way.

(And if you want to really explore what cross section of these social media guidelines look like across companies and industries, you can refer to the Social Media Governance website, with over 105 Social Media policy documents from a wide variety of companies — all available for free at Social Media Governance Database.)

According to Rhoads, however, it is important to recognize that merely having social media policies in place at an organization does not necessarily mean an organization's employees will understand them or incorporate them into their daily jobs. Instead, he believes, as we do, that employees must be trained in how to use social media to drive business results. It is the training and policies combined that provide a framework for employees to increase their participation in social media. With this framework in place, a comfort level evolves between employee participation and management's concerns. Both find satisfaction that everyone is on the same page and that the expectations and responsibilities of social media participation are clearer.

To better foster and manage social media, Intel's next step was the creation of the Social Media Center of Excellence, a cross functional body of experts in Legal, Marketing, PR, and Web Communications, who come together to create guidelines, processes, strategies, and skill-building courses for how Intel employees can responsibly and respectfully use such social media tools as blogs, wikis, Twitter, Foursquare, and social networks around the world.

In June 2008, Intel added the Digital IQ training program on how to use these social media tools to increase innovation, communication and collaboration at work.

The company has created a series of over 60 online courses, organized as an online university granting Intel employees a certification in Digital IQ. Says Rhoads, "We created Digital IQ to raise all boats and to up-level our sales and marketing employees' skills and understandings of this dynamic digital marketing world. While the target audience was our Sales & Marketing organization, the program is open to all global employees who wish to expand their understandings of digital and emerging media."

The Digital IQ courses cover such areas as:
  • Tweet Like You Mean It: The Right Way To Tweet Your Brand
  • The Importance of Brand Identity in Social Media
  • WOM (Word Of Mouth) The Anatomy of Buzz
  • Social Media Measurement
  • Viral Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing: Wide Reach of a Small Screen
  • China's Social Media Landscape
Intel employees select a unique certification path based upon their job role. Then they plan a curriculum path of both required and elective courses leading to a certification in their Digital IQ. Since its inception in 2008, more than 20,000 Intel employees have completed Digital IQ training. Intel went one step further by creating a Masters Course called Digital IQ 500 which licenses Intel employees to practice social media on behalf of the company.

As you plan your social media strategy, first ask yourself: what are the sweet spots in your business where social media can have the most impact? For Intel, it is focusing on the entire population of sales and marketing population who can go through Digital IQ training and then move on to participating and collaborating on the social web. For a company with a large population of new hires, this could mean creating an internal corporate social network to build greater speed in collaboration, innovation and problem-solving.

How are you:
  • Building a community among your global employee base?
  • Engaging employees and customers to more easily collaborate with each other?
  • Moving from a marketing campaign to having a conversation with your customers?
  • Training your employees to be active participants in using social media to build your brand?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Recognition on Research goes to Karie Willyerd, Chief Learning Officer, from Sun Microsystems who is researching on her new book on Workplace 2010.

Monday, February 22, 2010


As you look out for planning your travels for conferences. Here are some that my friend David Gurteen from the UK recommends. I will be speaking at the Conference in Washington at KM World as we leave the coast of California where this has been hosted for many years. This will be exciting to be in a new location with all my global Collaboration, and KM friends.

If you are in any of these locations, this may be of interest to you.

Dr. Cindy Gordon

Conferences to be Aware of:

KM Forum 10th Annual Conference24 - 25 Feb 2010, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

3rd Annual Global Learning Summit03 - 05 Mar 2010, Singapore City, Singapore

Making KM Productive30 Mar 2010, Hong Kong

KM Egypt 201021 - 22 Apr 2010

Driving Business Performance26 - 30 Apr 2010, Houston, United States

5th Knowledge Management International Conference25 - 27 May 2010, Terengganu, Malaysia

Global MAKE Conference 2010 Brasil (GMC 2010)25 - 27 May 2010, S?o Paulo, Brazil

KM UK 201015 - 16 Jun 2010, London, United Kingdom

World Library and Information Congress10 - 15 Aug 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden

11th European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM 2010)02 - 03 Sep 2010

International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning (ICICKM 2010)11 - 12 Nov 2010, Hong Kong, China

KMWorld & Intranets 201016 - 18 Nov 2010, Washington DC, United States

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Perspectives on Data Information Knowledge and Wisdom

I was stuck by David Wineberg's recent post discussing data-information-knowledge-wisdom .

He challenges the rapid acceptance that this logical progression really works. I have reposted this below as I think it is pause for reflection for us as professionals tying collaboration to knowledge and innovation practices.

The DIKW hierarchy (as it came to be known) was brought to prominence by Russell Ackoff in his address accepting the presidency of the International Society for General Systems Research in 1989. But the actual first recorded instance of it was in 1934:

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in the information?

Those lines come from the poem "The Rock" by T.S. Eliot. (And for now we can skip over the 1979 reference in the song "Packard Goose" by Frank Zappa.) The sequence seems to have been reinvented in the late 1980s, independent of these poetic invocations.

The DIKW sequence made immediate sense because it extends what every Computer Science 101 class learns: information is a refinement of mere data. Information thus is the value we extract from data. But once the idea of information overload started taking root (popularized in Alvin Toffler's 1970 Future Shock), we needed a way to characterize the value we extract from information. So we looked for something that would do to information what information did to data. Ackoff suggested knowledge as the value of information, and we collectively nodded our heads.

But, the info-to-knowledge move is far more problematic than the data-to-info one. Ask someone outside of the circle of information scientists what "information" means and you'll find that it's a hollow term. It thus was available for redefinition. But "knowledge" is one of the most important words in our culture, with a long and profound history. In the DIKW hierarchy "knowledge" slips its mooring, and that matters.

So, what is "knowledge" in the DIKW pyramid? For Ackoff, knowledge transforms "information into instructions." Milan Zeleny, who came up with the hierarchy a couple of years before Ackoff, says that knowledge is like the recipe that lets you make bread out of the information-ingredients of flour and yeast (with data as the atoms of the ingredients).

The European Committee for Standardization's official "Guide to Good Practice in Knowledge Management" says: "Knowledge is the combination of data and information, to which is added expert opinion, skills and experience, to result in a valuable asset which can be used to aid decision making."

The emphasis in all these cases is on knowledge being "actionable" because of the business context, and on knowledge being a refinement of information because that's how we extracted value from data. That may be a useful way of thinking about the value of information, but it's pretty far from what knowledge has been during its 2,500 year history.

Throughout that period, Plato's definition has basically held: Knowledge has been something like the set of beliefs that are true and that we are justified in believing. Indeed, we've thought that knowledge is not a mere agglomeration of true beliefs but that it reflects the systematic and even organic nature of the universe. The pieces go together and make something true and beautiful. More, knowledge has been the distinctly human project, the exercise of the highest and defining capabilities of humans, a fulfillment of our nature, a transgenerational treasure that it is each person's duty and honor to enhance.

But, nah, we needed a word to explain what good comes from our massive investment in computers, so we grabbed ahold of "knowledge" and redefined it as we had to. Then we threw "wisdom" into the mix. Bah.

And humbug. The real problem isn't the DIKW's hijacking of the word "knowledge" but its implication that knowledge derives from filtering information. It doesn't. We can learn some facts by combing through databases. We can see some true correlations by running sophisticated algorithms over massive amounts of information. All that's good.

But knowledge is not a result merely of filtering or algorithms. It results from a far more complex process that is social, goal-driven, contextual, and culturally-bound. We get to knowledge — especially "actionable" knowledge — by having desires and curiosity, through plotting and play, by being wrong more often than right, by talking with others and forming social bonds, by applying methods and then backing away from them, by calculation and serendipity, by rationality and intuition, by institutional processes and social roles. Most important in this regard, where the decisions are tough and knowledge is hard to come by, knowledge is not determined by information, for it is the knowing process that first decides which information is relevant, and how it is to be used.

The real problem with the DIKW pyramid is that it's a pyramid. The image that knowledge (much less wisdom) results from applying finer-grained filters at each level, paints the wrong picture. That view is natural to the Information Age which has been all about filtering noise, reducing the flow to what is clean, clear and manageable. Knowledge is more creative, messier, harder won, and far more discontinuous.

Dr. Gordon Commentary

I would agree on David's point of view as the realitiy is humans are simply complex. Without the culture being socialized effectively for people to be motivated to share their information knowledge cannot be sourced. Far too often we talk about culture being key - yet in most of the global KM Programs, companies fail time and time again to change their reward and recognition systems to ensure people are recognized for contributing to improving collaboration socialization practices. Collaboration is key to unlock the best knowledge sharing. It does not come without trust and reciprocity (exchange of knowledge). It also does not come without risk taking being appreciated as connecting insights means stepping beyond one's often authority lines, and if a culture is highly territorial, people shut down like clams and selectively peek out when the coast is clear.

If we all focused more on understanding the importance of human motivation in designing our work practices, and processes we would be far more effective in executing successful knowledge and collaboration program outcomes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Twitter Growth Highlights

Developments in social networking and internet applications continue to advance rapidly. The growth in Twitter is a social pheonomena that is one of the most interesting developments as it allows humans to increasingly connect their DNA (love to tell stories) in real time and continue the story telling. We are all connected.

This blog will give you current facts on what is really happening in Twitter land. Reinforce this tool is used by a highly inflencial audience that's voice is growing. Average age is 31 unlike Facebook is 26 on average.

Let's catch up on what this buzz is really about.

As humans, we always been socialized to tell stories.. but only recently has the sentences been like Once up a time, I invented a snow board (author one)... picked up by (author two) and I won the gold at the Olympics using the new new story board invented by (author two).

We are no longer in the Knowledge Era we are in the Human Era as there is no longer any competitive edge other than the stories perhaps we share to invent our futures. Motivating people to share their stories and the distinctive cultural attributes that need rebalancing in Fortune 500 companies are critical to continue to evolve ( I will spend more time on this on my next blog)..

Back to Twitter updates:

  • As of December 2008, 11% of online American adults used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others.
  • Just a few weeks earlier, in November 2008, 9% of internet users used Twitter or updated their status online and in May of 2008, 6% of internet users responded yes to a slightly different question, where users were asked if they used “Twitter or another ‘microblogging’ service to share updates about themselves or to see updates about others.”
  • Of the standalone applications that enable short messaging to a network of friends, Twitter is the most well known. First made available to those online in August 2006

So What is Twitter?

  • Twitter allows users to send messages, known as “tweets” from a computer or a mobile device like a mobile phone, RIM Blackberry or Apple iPhone. Users of the service are asked to post messages of no more than 140 characters and those messages are delivered to others who have signed up to receive them such as family, friends or colleagues. Twitter’s open development platform allows outside developers to build add-on applications to expand the service’s functionality. Twitter users can select from a variety of third-party Twitter interfaces, browser plug-ins, photo- and video-sharing applications that enhance mobile and computer-based use of the basic application. Users have themselves expanded the information carried in a twitter message through the development of in-tweet shorthand and symbols3 that allow for the sharing, replicating and searching of tweets.

Research Highlights hot off the press.

  • “Twitter user” refers to users of Twitter and internet users who have updated a status online on a social network or elsewhere. 22% of respondents did not give their income.
  • Younger internet users lead the way in using Twitter and similar services.
  • As with many technologies, enthusiastic users have used Twitter for more than just answering the question, “What are you doing?”
  • Twitter has been used to help organize and disseminate information during major events like the 2008 California wildfires, the recent American elections, the Mumbai massacre and even the January 2009 crash of US Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River. Janis Krum, a passenger on a ferry that rushed to the scene, took a photo of the plane with a cell phone and sent it out via his Twitter feed.
  • Twitter and other status updates have also been used for many other purposes including the airing of complaints against companies, sharing ideas, forwarding interesting material, documenting events, conversing and flirting.
  • Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults.5 Nearly one in five (19%) online adults ages 18 to 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults 25 to 34. Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35 to 44 year olds and 5% of 45 to 54 year olds using Twitter. The decline is even more stark among older internet users; 4% of 55-64 year olds and 2% of those 65 and older use Twitter.
  • Given the youth of most Twitter users, it is not surprising to find that online Americans who live in lower-income households are more likely to use Twitter than more affluent Americans. Some 17% of internet users in households earning less than $30,000 tweet and update their status, compared with 10% of those earning more than $75,000 annually.
  • Younger adults generally earn less money than older adults.
  • Wireless internet users are also more likely to be users of Twitter and other status updating services; 14% of users who access the internet wirelessly via a laptop, handheld or cell phone have used a service like Twitter, compared to 6% of users who go online but do not do so wirelessly.
  • The use of Twitter is highly intertwined with the use of other social media; both blogging and social network use increase the likelihood that an individual also uses Twitter.
  • Adults who use online social networks are much more likely to say that they have used Twitter or some other service to update their status and read the status updates of others. Nearly one quarter (23%) of social network users say they have ever Twittered or used a similar service. In comparison, just 4% of those who do not use social networks have ever used
  • The correlation between status updates and social network use is less surprising given that many social network sites offer opportunities to post status updates and read the updates of others. Facebook offers a status update feature while other social networks offer taglines and mood updates, often rendered with an adjective and a smiley face indicating the corresponding emotion.
  • Blogging shows a similar pattern; 27% of bloggers Twitter, compared with just 10% of those who do not keep a blog. Overall, 13% of internet users have created a blog.
    Portrait of a Twitter user
  • A look at the demographic profile of Twitter users as a whole reveals some additional details about who uses Twitter and how they communicate and consume information.
  • As noted above, Twitter users are overwhelmingly young. However, unlike the majority of other applications with a similarly large percentage of youth, Twitter use is not dominated by the youngest of young adults. Indeed, the median age of a Twitter user is 31. In comparison, the median age of a MySpace user is 27, Facebook user is 26 and LinkedIn user is 40.7
  • Twitter users are slightly more racially and ethnically diverse than is the full U.S. population, most likely because they are younger – and younger Americans are a more ethnically and racially diverse group than is the full population.
  • Twitter users are also slightly more likely to live in urban areas, with 35% of Twitter users living in urban areas (compared to 29% of all internet users) and just 9% of Twitterers and status updaters living in rural areas, compared to 17% of internet users.
  • Twitter users are more mobile in their communication and consumption of information.
  • Twitter users and status updaters are a mobile bunch; as a group they are much more likely to be using wireless technologies – laptops, handhelds and cell phones -- for internet access, or cell phones for text messaging.
  • More than three-quarters (76%) of Twitter users use the internet wirelessly – either on a laptop with a wireless connection, or via PDA, handheld or cell phone. In comparison, 57% of those who go online but do not use Twitter, and 59% of internet users as a whole connect to the internet wirelessly.
  • Overall, cell phone ownership among Twitter users is comparable to the online population as a whole, but Twitter users are more likely to use their cell phone to text and go online. More than four in five (82%) Twitter users have a cell phone and use it to send text messages, while 59% of those who go online but do not use Twitter (and 61% of the internet-using population at large) own a cell phone and use it to send text messages.
  • Data on twitter users and going online via a cell phone is from Pew Internet’s November 2008 Post-Election Survey, fielded between November 20 and December 4, 2008.
  • Twitter users are also more likely to use their cell phones to connect to the internet; fully two in five (40%) Twitterers with cell phones use the device to connect to the internet, while one quarter (24%) of those who go online but do not use Twitter do the same.8
    Along with communicating extensively via untethered mobile devices, Twitter users are more likely to consume news and information on these devices as well.
  • For many Twitter users, learning about and sharing relevant and recent nuggets of information is a primary utility of the service. While Twitter users are just as likely as others to consume news on any given day, they are more likely to consume it on mobile devices and less likely to engage with news via more traditional outlets. Twitterers are less likely to read a printed copy of a newspaper, but more likely to read a newspaper online (76% vs. 60% of non-Twitter users), and more likely to read a news story on a cell phone (14% vs. 6%) or on a smart phone (17% vs. 7%).
  • A similar pattern holds for video news consumption; on any given day, Twitter users are just as likely as others to watch news on a TV, and just as likely to watch video news on a computer, but more likely to watch a news video on a cell phone (6% vs. 1%) or on a smart phone (8% vs. 1%).
  • Regardless of the platform, Twitter users are also significant consumers of blog content; 21% read someone else’s blog “yesterday” and 57% of Twitterers have ever read a blog.
  • By comparison, 9% of those who go online but do not Twitter read someone else’s blog yesterday, and 29% have ever read a blog. Twitter users also keep blogs at a greater rate than the overall online population; 29% of Twitter users have ever created a blog, and 8% worked on a blog “yesterday.”
  • In contrast, 11% of internet users have created a blog and 3% are working on their blog on any given day.


In conclusion, Twitter users engage with news and own technology at the same rates as other internet users, but the ways in which they use the technology – to communicate, gather and share information – reveals their affinity for mobile, untethered and social opportunities for interaction. Moreover, Twitter as an application allows for and enhances these opportunities, so it is not so surprising that users would engage in these kinds of activities and also be drawn to an online application that expands those opportunities.

Innovation Leadership Questions:

1.) Does your company have a policy to use effectively Twitter?

2.) Does your company have a strategy to harness Twitter to help employee engagement or innovation ideation practices?

Helix helps global companies ensure their Web 2.0 and collaboration strategies make business sense and demonstrate value. These tools work to solve many business challenges. They also can create havoc if not managed effectively. Want to learn more drop me a note and we can continue the dialogue.

Research Sample Size:

Princeton Survey Research Associates International
for the Pew Internet & American Life Project
Sample: n= 2,253 national adults, age 18 and older, including 502 cell phone interviews ;
Interviewing dates: 11.19.08 – 12.20.08
Margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points for results based on total national [n=2,253] Margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for results based on National internet users [n=1,650]

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meso Economics Blog Entry 3

Meso Economics

The story on Meso Economics has been explored in a three blog entry. This is the third and final entry.

This last blog explores more deeply Schumpeter's perspectives on the entrepreneur who carries out innovations, and by doing so destroys and newly creates the structure of the economy “from within”. The Schumpeterian entrepreneur introduces new knowledge, reconfigures generic rules, and enables the agents to use a new set of operations inducing a reallocation in the commodity space. These propositions, in themselves, do not yield a theory of the economy, but they do furnish the stuff from which the elementary theoretical unit can be derived.

We start with an ‘idea’ and its actualization by many agents. Ontologically speaking, we have “oneness” and “manyness”. Ideas are time- and space-less. They are potentials that can be (qua idea) actualized. Knowledge - defined as ideas ´carried´ by agents - does not degrade if used; in fact, the use of ideas is instrumental for maintaining a store of knowledge. Opportunities, in turn, are consumed. An idea is physically actualized by (possibly) many agents in time and space. A single agent is a member of a population of agents that actualize an idea. This all sounds very philosophical (and rightly so), but it is of immediate practical relevance.

Schumpeter's Meso

Schumpeter has challenged the received doctrine with his simple proposition that entrepreneurs carry out innovations that are then adopted by a population of followers. This proposition led to an elementary unit that is composed of, on the one hand, an idea, or generic rule, and, on the other hand, many physical actualizations of it. The idea can serve as structure component, the set of physical actualizations as process component. The bimodal nature of the elementary unit breaks up the traditional micro-macro dichotomy, and, introducing meso, leads to the new framework of micro-meso-macro.

While this in itself is a significant contribution to economics, the question of further interest is Schumpeter's particular contribution to the multi-facetted concept of meso.

As structure component, meso relates necessarily to the whole of structure, and we shall take up Schumpeter's contribution in the subsequent section on macro. As process component, meso deals essentially with the individual agent and a population of adopters of which (s)he is a member. An idea or generic rule is actualized along a three-phase trajectory of origination, adoption and retention.

To ease the discussion of Schumpeter's contribution, we shall sub-divide each of the three phases, specifying the trajectory on the basis of six (sub-) phases. In the initial phase of origination, the distinction is between the creation and the discovery of a new idea.

In the next phase of adoption, it is between the first and the many following adoptions, and in the terminal phase of retention, the distinction is between stabilizing and destabilizing forces determining the generic rule regime. The six phase dynamic was introduced originally as a schema for a comparative theory study which included neoclassical, Austrian and evolutionary-Schumpeterian economics (Dopfer 1993).

In the following, the discussion shall be confined to the contribution that Schumpeter made to the theoretical elucidation of six trajectory phases. These can be summarized as follows:

I Origination

Sub-phase 1: creation of novel idea, innovative potential
Sub-phase 2: search, discovery and recognition process, microscopic selection

II Adoption

Sub-phase 3: first adoption, chaotic environment, bifurcation,
uncertain outcome
Sub-phase 4: macroscopic adoption of ‘seed’, selective environment, path dependence

III Retention

Sub-phase 5: retention of adopted ‘seed’, meta-stability of actualization process
Sub-phase 6: existing regime as breeding ground for novel potential(s), link to phase I.

chumpeter's key contribution lies in the analysis of the (sub-) phases 2, as well as 3 and 4. The locus classicus of his analysis is phase II.

In phase 3 (first phase of adoption), the entrepreneur carries out a new combination, changing the environment by initiating a new meso trajectory that eventually gains momentum in phase 4 (second phase of adoption).

Primary Sources:

The Origins of Meso Economics Schumpeter's Legacy by
Kurt Dopfer :Max Planck Institute of Economics Evolutionary Economics Group Kahlaische Str. 10 Jena, Germany ftp://papers.econ.mpg.de/evo/discussionpapers/2006-10.pdf

Definition of Mesoeconomics - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesoeconomics

Monday, February 8, 2010

Schumpeter's Deeper Dive and Linkages to Innovation

Three Posting Series - Post 2


The 20th century brought forth a number of great economists, among them
Joseph A. Schumpeter. Yet, none of these giants has attracted an interest similar to that of Schumpeter's over the last two decades. There are two main reasons for this. His simple proposition that entrepreneurs carry out novelty, luring swarms of followers, contains in its core an analytical category - called meso - that prompts a breakdown of the traditional distinction between micro and macro and aspires to the reconstruction of economics on a micro-meso-macro basis. The extraordinary and increasing interest in Schumpeter's work today, and likely in the foreseeable future, is part of what may be called a meso revolution.

The second reason the game belongs to Schumpeter is closely related to the fact that his work can provide, as that of no other economist, solutions to the most pressing problems of our times. His approach appears to be tailor-made when calling for solutions to the complex problems of a highly dynamic, innovative knowledge-based economy.

Schumpeter’s Vision

Joseph Schumpeter’s proto-scientific interest concerned social life rather than nature. Social life being, arguably, more complex than nature, his original question cannot be formulated with comparable simplicity, but most students of Schumpeter would agree that his proto-scientific interest can be encapsulated in the question: what determines change in social life? Schumpeter early curiosity is with the preconception that change is brought about primarily by energetic personalities, and then phrase his proto-scientific question more specifically:

How do energetic personalities bring about social change?

Schumpeter did not mean change in ongoing social life under given conditions, but rather changes in these conditions themselves. This type of change involves new ideas, and in this way makes the energetic agent an innovator. The primary ‘agens’ of change is the energetic drive of the individual, and new ideas are his powerful tool. An agent who brings about change in social life by introducing novelty is termed an entrepreneur by Schumpeter. All important change, whether in political, economic or cultural life, is brought about by entrepreneurs. The notion of the entrepreneur is an archetype for a primary source of energy that changes social life.

Schumpeter translated his proto-scientific vision into a powerful economic theory with the entrepreneur granted center stage. Dealing in the following with Schumpeter´s assessment of classical and neoclassical economics, it is relevant to recognize that he took his position to be a yardstick for the assessment of the work of others. He missed few opportunities to make it clear that a theory that failed to acknowledge the central role of the entrepreneur was fundamentally flawed.

Using this lens, Schumpeter brought the works of the classical economists into
particularly sharp focus. The proponents of the classical doctrine worked with aggregate
resource magnitudes, and they proposed looking for objective laws in their relationships.

For Schumpeter, the essential point was that development was always propelled by the ‘agens’ of the entrepreneur, and that “in technical or organisational progress there is no autonomous momentum which carries in itself a developmental law, which would be due to progress in our knowledge.

It is impossible to understand Schumpeter’s disregard of Adam Smith’s work unless one realizes that his criticism was not aimed at the categories of the proposed determinants as such but, rather, at their presumed objective nature.

Schumpeter highlighted innovations as the central driving force of development, and
Smith analogously emphasized the power of innovations unlike any other classical writer,
but still no other economist of that strand had to suffer a comparable disregard. It was,
arguably, precisely this close congeniality that prompted Schumpeter to take Smith’s work as an exemplar for demonstrating the essential difference between his and the classical approach.


The hallmark of Schumpeter’s theoretical proposition is that the active agent engages not only in activities at the operant but also at the generic level. The entrepreneur carries out innovations, and in this way changes the generic knowledge base of the economy. There will be changes in the operations and the commodity space, but these are induced by changes in generic knowledge.


The Origins of Meso Economics Schumpeter's Legacy by
Kurt Dopfer :Max Planck Institute of Economics Evolutionary Economics Group Kahlaische Str. 10 Jena, Germany ftp://papers.econ.mpg.de/evo/discussionpapers/2006-10.pdf

Definition of Mesoeconomics - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesoeconomics

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Innovation from Field Observation - The Xerox Eureka Story


Xerox is a company consistently renowned for its innovation leadership in inventing new ways of working. I know this as I personally spent eight years in the company, and those were some of the best GM and leadership days of my career.

The culture's core values are maturely rooted in business results, but also with a fierce sense of community and history for protecting its flock.

The culture prides itself on innovation, organizational reflection and learning and diversity practices all critical to foster striving to be the best one can be.

Execution is not easy in any company, but Xerox consistently strives to apply problem solving and appreciative inquirty practices squarely focused on the customer and employee experiences allowing it to generate a DNA that few cultures achieve. Despite the organization's face of two near death spirals, it's resilence to recover is driven by the root system of its employees desire to drive customer loyalty, but also because Xerox is not a destination culture but rather a community and home culture. It is very rare to find companies that secure 25-30 year employee loyalty careers - Xerox like GE and P&G seem to have some of this magic that is not easily replicated.

Over time, the company has achieved global recognition and numerous global awards in these areas:

· Total Quality Management, 6 Sigma, Knowledge Management, Collaboration practices, Employee Empowerment, and R&D Innovation practices in PARC, many of which have changed the way people work around the world.

· For example, the iconic graphical interface of the Xerox star was Steve Jobs inspiration for forming Apple and its consistent iconic experiences. The influence Xerox's innovations have had on many product's is due to the Xerox Parc historical roots and investments in R&D. Although Parc is no longer the power it used to be - the impact

Xerox has a core value focused on employee empowerment and there are a number of key leadership attributes and practices to help facilitate achieving employee empowerment such as reinforcing managers and employees to encourage the sharing of best practices, codifying knowledge, all with a vision to accelerate collaboration across lines of businesses, regions, and countries.

The Eureka Story Highlights

(insights from my Doctoral research Studies on Innovation and collaboration)

The most famous knowledge management /collaboration lesson learned from over 20 years of evolving the Xerox culture to achieve these underpinnings is the Eureka program which was started in 1994 as a Research program out of Xerox PARC to help service technicians share their knowledge through the use of a collaborative portal in a searchable database to stores tips and best practices.

The research from Eurerka is likely one of the deepest longtitudinal case study pools of research with over 20 years of cumulative research that demonstrates the value and benefits of collaboration.

Now let me tell you the story.

Eureka’s purpose was to capture knowledge about Xerox equipment breaks and fixes and as new problems were encountered on the job for employees to be encourage to record the problems rapidly as it was impossible for service technician manuals to keep current, and they were continually out of date as soon as they were printed, and failed to include many of the creative solutions that repair technicians naturally improvised in the field.

The Xerox field service organization consists of over 30,000 service technicians worldwide, handling over a million repairs a month to customer sites.

What is interesting about Eureka is that the company invested millions initially in developing a smart Artificial intelligence database, with all the programming bells and whistles…and set up reward systems asking the reps to contribute their ideas to the database to help with business productivity etc.

The ramp process was very slow in the initial stages, and not hitting the business goals and targets. So what Xerox did was something most people do not think of. Rather than cancel the program which was a discussion topic, Xerox stopped and reflected, and said there must be a pony in here somewhere.

So they took out to the field one of Xerox Parc’s cultural anthropologist who analyzed the behaviors of the service technicians, and saw that they made a point not to spend time with the customers after their field calls, but rather to spend time with each other in common field service technician drop areas, where it was the local parts warehouse, hang around the coffee pot, swap stories on their cell phones/ now their RIMS… it was the stories that held the collaboration learning gems.

So what happens when a cultural anthropologist goes to the global www counsel for strategic process program recommendations and says – we need to encourage our talent to socialize more, increase their reflection and renewal time to have time to tell their stories, it is the war tribal stories that seeds innovation and will increase our ability to innovate.

The dialogue was tense at this time. I was there. The traditional executives would say: Cut out the conversations, and socializing time, we don’t have time for this. Eliminate the dead time, and pocket the ROI and cost savings.

The anthropologist we had brought in to help on this program, as I was a senior lead for Canada for the Services Excellence program and also the Canadian representative sitting on the Xerox Total Quality Global Executive Round Table for Leadership Excellence.

What the anthropologist found out and shared with us was quite the opposite.

The tech reps were not slacking off; they were instead doing some of their most valuable work. Field service is not a job for lone wolves – it is a social process and a social activity. Field service technicians thrive in a community of professionals. The tech rep's were not just repairing machines; they were co-producing insights, and observations through language and rituals to explain how to repair the machines better, and faster.

Fortunately, there was a very wise French executive Oliver Raiman who stood tall and said we believe this is the pathway forward to greatness, and PARC will continue to fund this program, we just need time to make some key changes in how the Software design is architected.

He was given 3 months. The changes were simple, elegant and powerful.

The process became one of peer recognition (bragging rights) to tell stories on how to fix things based on personal experiences and allow fellow peers to reaffirm the practice explained or augment with additional insight – like the wiki encyclopedia, but with a thumbs up and thumbs down counting system.

Today, there are literally millions of leading practices that are easily searchable on product sets. Over 95% of Xerox service technicians access Eureka daily now, costs savings to Xerox are estimated at over $30 million annually. Perhaps the best example if of a Brazilian service technician who was having problems with a New Xerox Docu-color product and he was thinking of simply replacing the customer requirement a $40,000 with a new piece of equipment.

However, he checked the database for any tips to solve the problem and he found a tip from a Canadian service technician that described the problem he was having and to replace it with a connector. The tip was also automatically sent back to manufacturing and also Xerox saved costs of shipping in a new product plus the installation services, by simply installing a $90.00 connector device.

Leading Practice for Knowledge Transfer beyone Xerox Boundaries

The most powerful form of collaboration is rooted in natural socialization dialogue practices, and trust increases in an organization’s culture from story telling, and more importantly peer to peer recognition is a powerful motivator to increase the adoption of new practices.

The approach from Eureka’s experiences has helped to shape F500's successful Knowledge Management and collaboration programs… and the breakthrough applied innovation insight was not dervived from quantitative methods but rather from observational and ethnographic methods rooted in story telling.

Story telling power is a core collaboration leadership competency to develop in any company that is striving to be world-class in collaboration capability development and also ensure innovation agility is rooted in story telling rituals.

Other companies like Bank of Montreal for example have also recently invested in a Leadership training program on story telling for all their senior managers – coaching them to take their ties off, lighten up, sit on a stool do not use ppt slides, and simply tell a story that personifies a role model approach and talk about in terms that they might describe to their son or daughter and show they are human and approachable.

Everyone loves a good story. It is what makes us human.

Concluding Observation:

We are rapidly entering the Innovation Humanness Era where the only competitive advantage is the talent of our people, and their core values and organization's collaboration practices unify a sense of purpose and alignment on business goals, both at a strategic and at a workcell tactical level. Many organization's have failed to invest in effective strategy and employee human performance system cascading practices, Xerox is one organization that does this extremely well.

Perhaps the most important ritual we need to re-surface in business is our ability to have an effective conversation. One that is not rushed, one that does not have the underlying current of making a decision yesterday, one that can reflect and appreciate the roots and context to surface effective sense making and allow organization's to learn effectively.

One that allows its employees the luxury of taking a sabbatical to invest in developing new skills and having quality reflection time to explore what is truly important to increase their sense of purpose in life which also increases their loyalty to the company.

The number one competency that leadership needs to increasingly develop in businesses to increase innovation capacity is trust making, reflection and renewal, risk taking to increase collaboration capacity and in turn fuel increased odds of fueling innovation exploration and finding those precious nuggets for market differentiation.

A few questions for you to ponder:

1.) Why is that we have so few cultural anthropologists in businesses today?
2.) Why is that we have so few experts in innovation leading companies?
3.) Why is that our HR organizations investments in leadership development, KM and collaboration capacity development have been traditionally so weak globally?
3.) Why is that our board of directors do not ensure these two competencies are around the board room table if the only competitive edge remaining is simply :

understanding how to unleash more effectively the best DNA from human value networks and clusters?

Recent Company Highlights:

· Ursula Burns the new CEO issued a $5.7 billion cash and stock offer for outsourcing giant Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) would put $3 billion in debt onto the books, and more than double Xerox's employee headcount from 54,00 to 128,000.

· These are some of the realities of great companies trying to remain competitive in what increasingly in the communications and high tech market is becoming more challenging and difficult to sustain.

· We also saw last year….Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition of EDS for $13.9 billion last year, and Dell’s offer of $3.9 billion for Perot Systems as well.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Meso Economics and Innovation Implications


Three Post Series On Meso Economics - Post One

Meso Economics has important Innovation roots in the subversive nature of Schumpeter’s proposition that entrepreneurs carry out innovations (the micro level), that swarms of followers imitate them (meso) and that, as a consequence, ‘creative destruction’ leads to economic development ‘from within’ (macro).

Mesoeconomics is a used to describe the study of economic arrangements which are not based either on the microeconomics of buying and selling and supply and demand, nor on the macroeconomic reasoning of aggregate totals of demand, but on the importance of under what structures these forces play out, and how to measure these effects. It dates from the 1980s as several economists began questioning whether there would ever be a bridge between the two main economic paradigms in mainstream economics, without wanting to discard both paradigms in favor of some other basic methodology and paradigm.

Schumpeter Meso Economic – Reader’s Digest Summary

It is argued that Schumpeter paved the way for a new micro–meso–macro framework in economics. Centre stage is meso. Its essential characteristic is bimodality, meaning that one idea (the generic rule) can be physically actualised by many agents (a population). Ideas can relate to others, and, in this way, meso constitutes a structure component of a ‘deep’ invisible macro structure. Equally, the rule actualization process unfolds over time – modelled in the paper as a meso trajectory with three phases of rule origination, selective adoption and retention – and here meso represents a process component of a visible ‘surface’ structure. The universal macro measure with a view to the appropriateness of meso components is generic correspondence. At the level of ideas, its measure is order; at that of actual relative adoption frequencies, it is generic equilibrium. Economic development occurs at the deep level as transition from one generic rule to another, inducing a change of order, and at the surface level as the new rule is adopted, destroying an old equilibrium and establishing a new one.

The Origins of Meso Economics Schumpeter's Legacy by
Kurt Dopfer :Max Planck Institute of Economics Evolutionary Economics Group Kahlaische Str. 10 Jena, Germany ftp://papers.econ.mpg.de/evo/discussionpapers/2006-10.pdf
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