The Game is changing

gameThe game is changing rapidly. Recently read the book from David Kirkpatrick on The Facebook effect. An interesting piece of work on the rise of Facebook, but more importanly on the social implications of Facebook. The fact that we are now all connected and know how to find each other. Recently I became friends with one of my former classroom mates from junior school (from 6 till 12 years old). My lady friend is now living in America and frequently updates photo’s. On the recent ones, it showed her father, who used and still lives above the store of my parents (they unfortunately don’t live anymore). But by seeing the pictures of this man, it brought back my childhood memories of living in Utrecht and spending a lot of time in my parents shop.

It made my world really small, but more important, it gave me a true quality moment, a moment to reflect back on where I came from, my values in life.

Put that in reflection on the current currency crisis. First Greece and Europe and since las week also the United States in distress. In a newspaper it was already declared that globalisation was coming to an end with all this stuff going on.

Question is whether this is true.I think the Facebook example shows that people, not economies are already fully adapted to a true global community. We just need to figure out what kind of economics go along with that. The current economies all are based on their current currencies, but what happens if we are going to have different currencies. In the netherlands we already created a sub economy with our local “markplaats” site, the Dutch version of eBay. With the high density of the netherlands, people find it easy to travel and pick their stuff at the house of the former owner of the goods. We are becoming a trading nation once again.

This is also reflects back to the virtual money we are trading on electronic games we find amongst others on Facebook. Social games, where we think it is normal to buy goods for.

The coming years we will integrate payments with our mobile phones and the trust in virtual money will increase. Then the Global Social Community we are today, will perhaps become the Global Social Economy.

The game has changed. Don’t be fooled on the distraction we are currently facing. No change happens without disruption !

Frank Wammes

Overfeeding your eco system

Dan Barber is a chef and story teller who is fascinated by how the food industry is organized. In February 2010 he gave a great presentation on TED where he told a story on how in South-West Spain a company was created on wetlands that were used for farming cattle, but now used it as a Fish farm company.

The owner of the farm shows that by having extensive farming (not intensive) he is able to have great Fish production, while meanwhile being able to host one of the largest bird populations in the world. Better so, Success for the owner is achieved when the birds are in good conditions and in large numbers.

Can you imagine, measuring your success based on the number of birds, whilst they are eating the fish?

But here is the comparison with your company, isn’t it true that markets can grow because competition is there, so that you either can create establishment and credibility of a new product in the market place, or that you are so focussed on continuos innovation because you want to stay ahead of the competition.

Take another look at your eco system and potential competitors. Don’t automatically see them as something bad. Look at how you can build on each other, what you can learn. Embrace competition as a trigger for improving your company and your performance.

If you are not convinced, take a look at the TED video of Dan. Perhaps he will be able to convince you.

Frank Wammes

Improve your Agility

iuIn the latest issue of Businessweek magazine, an interesting article is written about the developments at Nokia. Once the pride and flagship of technology craftsmanship of Finland. Addressed at all Business Schools, as an example on how you can turn around your company.

But as the Businessweek illustrates, Nokia missed the developments around the smartphones and is losing market share. With the rise of Android, the continous growth of the iPhone and the latest release of Microsoft’s mobile platform, the Nokia is not able to turn around it’s business.

But is it an issue of the phones, or is it a cultural thing within the company. Nokia also bought small start-ups, whom most of them failed to continue their growth under the Nokia umbrella. There seemed to be no room for true diversity of business models and management styles within the organisation.

Businessweek suggested that Nokia should have moved to Silicon Value ten years ago, but I doubt whether that would have made the difference. For me it’s all about the adaptiveness of your company and the agility to adapt new technologies, new demands from the market, but also to have the flexibility to deal with different business models and management styles.

Most large companies will spin-off companies in order to have a broad portfolio of companies, which allows different management styles and models. Afraid of having mixed ups or difficulties between the different business.

I predict that those companies that can have true diversity from within, are those companies that can best leverage from their different units, can promote innovation between the different units and can foster new initiatives that comes out of this.

Are they there yet. Not really, but we will witness the rise of these companies !!

Frank Wammes

History of innovation

iu-7Yesterday I head a very interesting meeting with one of the senior management at SAP. We had a very interesting discussion on the developments of SAP and where companies need to adapt in order to create impact at customers.

Very interesting, but the most interesting part was when he discussed his view on the history of innovation.

The first stage he saw was the innovation by authority. Companies wanted innovation, installed their R&D departments and hope good things came out of it.

The second stage was the selective innovation. On the one hand still coming from directions from the management, but more people and departments were allowed to join the innovation discussion.

The third stage clearly defines the current state we are living in. The anarchich innovation. everybody can communicate and tap from resources we could not enter before. Therefore we democratised innovation.

All stages need proper management in order to transform the innovation into impact, but the selection process has completely changed.

Question to you is whether you can truly identify in which stage you are in!

Frank Wammes

Innoversion: convert your product into a service

Products-ServicesLast week I participated in a workshop with one of our largest customers. One of the great initiatives they undertake is to invite their most important suppliers and bring them together to leverage the collective intellect to solve their challenges.

The challenge at hand that day was to professionalize one of their new business ventures, which consisted of creating a service business around one of their main product lines. Despite the fact that it concerns highly advanced and highly costly devices, the company recognized that even those products are commoditized. Differentiation should come from services around the delivery from the product.

That triggered me. It’s no longer about the product, stupid. It’s about the service. A new area of innovation that most companies still neglect.

The insight that my customer had, was that the service could be generated to identify how they could compose an advisory service that combined the insights and the knowledge coming from the sales of other product lines into additional service around their inititial product line.

Knowledge management and thereby creating new offerings and service offerings became thereby the focus of that day.

Action for you ? Bring in your products in one room. Look feel and experience and think about the knowledge you have about the product and what would happen if you bring learnings from the one into the other. Can you add extra service around that product and does it deliver value to the customer that gives you competitive advantage?

I think you will find some solutions !!

Frank Wammes

Don’t throw away outsourced industries, Innovate ?

1763647Just read an interesting article about the introduction of new suits for the formula one drivers of the Red Bull racing team. Why relevant for Innoversion ??

In the beginning of the 20th century, the eastern part of the Netherlands was famous for it’s textile industry. Perhaps because of the high concentration of sheep, but during time all textile producing companies were concentrating their business in this area.

When globalisation started to emerge, the whole region started to fall apart when all production transferred to low labor cost countries. This was not just the case in the Netherlands, but also visible in other countries. When I visited Bradford UK for my MBA study, you could still see the richdom of the past that will not return anymore.

But outsourcing your production does not mean that you have to outsource your intellect. That’s exactly what happened in the Netherlands. Focus was shifted from production of mean stream products to the design and even production of high tech fabrics.

Result: a powerfull business in creating fabrics for all kinds of applications, even for new high-tech suits in the Formula One. And who knows what other fabrics used in the car come from the Netherlands as well.

How can you use that. Always be alarmed if you see that the core of your current business is shifting away to other area’s of the world. But should you stop your business. Perhaps not. Perhaps now is the time to rethink what the real core of your business is and how you can apply this to other, perhaps even more profitable business models.

Do try this in your company. Select a group of people and put them in a room for two days. Show them a future scenario in which there is no room for the current business. What do they come up with as a new business using your existing intellect. Sounds strange, well for me winning companies are always defining the model of the future.

The Netherlands succeeded in fabrics, Nokia shifted from Wood to cell-phones. So, what is your next line of business.
Frank Wammes

Create intersections to improve impact

intersectionIntersections are erea’s where different disciplines come together and new innovative thoughts emerge. The Medici Effect is a book which demonstrates how to create intersections and how real life examples have proven to be successfull. What many people forget is that you can also create intersections to improve the implementation of your already defined Innovation.

What about an intersection where a marketing agency meets the sales office of a service company. Marketing agencies have professionalised the art of story telling. Can you imagine going to present your proposal not by “Death by Powerpoint”, but with a surprising, entertaining and right to the core addressing intervention at your customer.

Or what about orchestrating an intersection between a team of one of the largest construction companies in your country and your proposal office. Can you imagine what you can learn from a company building bridges, tunnels even cities and see what you can leverage to improve your proposal or project skills.

Fun thing is that the human is proud of what he/she accomplishes. We are eager to share information and distribute our knowledge. Particularly if we are not affraid to deal with a competitor. However, we are also to modest or stubborn to admit that we can learn from each other and lack creativity to identify best practices in other industries.

Tom Peters rightfully pointed out that if you measure towards the benchmark and make your plans to become even, you will always be outdated since the companies in the benchmark will continous improve itself.

If you want to make a difference, create a new benchmark by yourself. Create a culture in your company to share your learning with others and where people take pride in asking other industries how they make a difference in the market place.

You will be surprised about the level of collaboration you will encouter.

Frank Wammes