Events are the most visible part of Innotribe.
It is almost paradoxical that, in this increasingly connected world, meeting people in real becomes more and more important. As Jennifer Sertl (@jennifersertl) was recently telling me, at our Innotribe@Bangkok event: we’ve been Twitter friends, but now, after this event, I feel part of the tribe. Jennifer has captured, very elegantly, the key reason we produce these events- to establish a deep, personal, connection with a particular topic and the people interested by that topic.
Your next opportunity to participate is at Innotribe@Belfast, 13-14 June 2012 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. More on this later.
The recent Innotribe@Bangkok event was about the hyper-connected corporation of tomorrow. The event was curated by Peter Vander Auwera(@petervan) of Innotribe.
We had the honor that William Saito (@whsaito) kicked-off of the event. An entrepreneur at heart, a venture capitalist, advisor to various national governments around the globe, William explained some basic ingredients for innovation in Asia and elsewhere: passionate teams, new market opportunities being opened by technology and connectivity, the eternal dilemma of failure vs the need to innovate. In short, there is no standing still – we need to move. All of these are very dear to my heart as well.
The hyper-connectivity topic was framed by Guibert Englebienne (@guibert) of Globant– we live in exponential times and corporations can’t afford to have hierarchies and structure that prevent scale. And to prove the point, Globant, the company he co-founded, is growing at an incredible rate (from 70 people in 2004, to 2500 in 2011), out of their headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Watch Globant.
Mark Pesce (@mpesce) illustrated how the increase in connectivity drives self-regulation and self-organisation. He used Uber as an example. This is a smartphone app which links a person in need of a transportation and a nearby participating taxi driver (it is available in the San Francisco bay area, and spreading). Seems simple? Yes, and it is disrupting a whole industry, because it is removing friction – an organization that prevents scaling. In this case, the cab companies with their central dispatching. Mark Pesce is an author, researcher, engineer and futurist.
In this particular event, Mark was also our teacher. He gathered us in a half-circle around him, and talked to us, referring often to the small notebook that is always close. He summarized what was said, and emphasized for us the key points. It felt like we were back to school. It felt amazingly good.
Peter Vander Auwera (@petervan) of Innotribe injected another important concept – the API (application programming interface). The technologists reading this will know what the term means – it is coming from computer science, and denotes how to access a piece of functionality. You don’t need to know how the function is performed, you just need to know how to access it to get the work done. Translated to a hyper-connected business, it means providing – openly – access to your core business functions. Why should your company do that? To remove friction, and increase transaction flow. The friction in this case is providing the interface to your business yourself – you have to cover all different needs and combinations. Providing an API allows many more people to do that, including those who know best what they need – your customers.
Of course, open doesn’t mean without control. Peter talked about other important topic for the hyper-connected economy – digital identity and digital asset management. How to identify securely who accesses your APIs and how the information (digital assets) flows securely from user to user? These are the subjects of an Innotribe incubator project called the “Digital Asset Grid”, an initiative that Peter drives in addition to curating Innotribe events – more in one of my next blog posts.
An Innotribe event is very much about interaction. Our speakers, the participants and the Innotribe crew alternate between learning and working together in labs. We all thought about the implications of hyper-connectivity, frictionless and scaleable organizations and APIs. How do we know a company show signs of being hyper-connected? What are the barriers to reaching this goal?
Eiji Hagiwara, vice president of the IT services division of Mitsui&Co and Luc Meurant (@lucmeurant), head of Banking at SWIFT, illustrated some of these questions using the aviation industry as a metaphor, picking up on the exponential growth Guibert talked about – just think of the increase in the complexity of airplanes and air networks in the last 50 years.
Here is what the group has identified as hyper-connectivity Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Here’s your own lab, dear reader: assess your company along these KPIs.
- Situational awareness – is every employee of your company is aware in detail of the organization? For example, peers with similar interests.
- Reputation – how do your customers rate you, out there on social media for example? How is your wikipedia entry?
- Customer satisfaction – do you have difficulty in scaling your scanning of all the information feeds? Are your employees empowered to scan?
- Adoption rate – how easy is it to become your customer?
- Openness – how easy can customers combine your services with others?
- Connectedness – how many touch points you have with your clients? The more you have and the less friction you will have.
And here are some barriers to hyper-connectivity that Mark and the group identified –
- Time – If it were done when it were done, twere well done quickly;
- Territory – you can’t be everywhere at once;
- Talent – some people are naturally better at it than others;
- Trust – must exist for commerce to succeed;
- Tongue – language barriers persist until we all speak Globish.
- Tension – frictions in teams between humans
The energy then started moving towards the human aspects of the hyper-connected companies. How do people behave, communicate in hyper-connected companies? What tools will be available for them? How do you gauge your organization fitness?
Jennifer Sertl (@jennifersertl) establishes the deep behavior, the soul of the hyper-connected company, as having employees who:
- are resilient – learn from failures (which implies that an organization should not be afraid of failing)
- are responsive – sensing and scanning accurately the environment
- reflect – having the ability and time for deep thinking
This will build agile companies, who will have competitive advantage. Jennifer consults and coaches on these subjects, using brainstorm and simulation techniques.
Dan Marovitz (@marovdan), founder of Buzzumi, and Matt McDougall (@sinotechian) of SinoTech Group surprised everyone with some simple observations, such as: “how come companies producing knowledge – such as consultancies – struggle to deliver their goods virtually?”. We think we’re equipped but the hyper-connected corporations will need more, many more tools. The Office suite of tomorrow will be composed of directory, scheduling, messaging, payments, workflow, analytics, search and communication. Hint, hint …
Dan is a regular Innotribe “igniter”. He was head of product management at Deutsche Bank prior to starting Buzzumi, a knowledge sharing platform. Matt is a specialist of socially led online marketing and branding.
There you go – I hope you have been ignited by the hyper-connected future as I have been.
I hope you have also understood more on why we do Innotribe events and the type of intellectual kick our igniters provide. Yes, as Hugh’s cartoon shows, the movers and shakers we invite to animate the events with us are a little “devilish” – they tend to shake trees and established opinions. Innotribe events will get you out of your safe zone. But in a gentle, and fun way.