This shot is from a photographer's portfolio on 500px.com, a wonderful resource for creative inspiration. But I'm discovering so many other resources too. Behance.net is actually my favorite and, coincidentally, they have just partnered with Adobe.com.
I love how this discussion revolved around the idea that there is so little real innovation going on right now because you and I are too afraid to aim really high. The same thought rolled over to fixing the economic mess. As Peter Thiel says, the question should be reframed. "What are you doing to end the recession? And the question about technology is, what are you doing to try to accelerate technology? And as long as it's a problem that's seen as a problem that will be simply solved by other people, it's not going to get done."
Trying to understand alternative visions for government innovation, I was browsing through the blog at mises.org, a libertarian-oriented web site. I was inspired to respond to one post that took issue with Canada.
Ideological polarization, I would say, has been less prevalent in Canada than in the States. Yes, perhaps we're complacent about large benign government but, measured by many international metrics of personal well-being, Canadians can see that we're doing better than most, including Americans. And we take some pride in the fact that we have worked together, largely through government, to accomplish that.
Obviously, there's room for quibbling since many of our blessings come from natural resources and a giant protector and customer to the south. But the point is the giant is not invincible and now we are confronted with formidable, new natural and human challenges. Dismantling government, unions and other vehicles for cooperation in the face of those challenges just seems like naive and ineffective ideology.
The really disappointing thing I'm seeing in our current Conservative government is its willingness to arbitrarily abuse its power as if to say "See, this is why government is so bad." Just to make an ideological point. Meanwhile, fearful citizens watching Rome burn with climate change, pollution and global competition, are urged to take sides and dehumanize the enemy.
As a recovering socialist, I'm inclined to agree that government is not a panacea. But, if we're going to abandon it, I certainly want to replace it with something more effective and inspiring than "every man for himself." Sadly, though, instead of looking forward and nurturing new forms of government, businesses and social welfare, people withdraw into comfortable old ways of thinking: it`s either monolithic socialism or a dog-eat-dog free for all.
New technologies and ideas in systems thinking (and spirituality) are providing hope for the idea that our individual happiness and success will be in moving forward, not back.
I suspect, though, that reasonable people will not change their comfortable "us vs them" thinking until the global shit hits the fan. And then it will be too late. Our only hope is with unreasonable people who have the imagination, passion and courage to advocate new ways of thinking and working together.
I discovered Meri Walker's Lifestream today and, on it, this beautiful little video about communication. In a way it says something I've been thinking for awhile: in order to really communicate, whether it's marketing or education, you need to get naked i.e. make yourself vulnerable.
During the next two to five years, you'll see enormous conflict about the technical pros and cons of cloud computing. Three of cloud's key characteristics will create three IT revolutions, each with supporters and detractors. CIO.com's Bernard Golden explains the first of these, involving scalability and IT operations.
This blog post at CIO.com is the first I've seen to actually point out that, with organizations moving to the "cloud", it is not necessarily doom and gloom for all IT departments. Instead it points to new directions. Golden's post presents his projections for the winners and losers to come from cloud evolution. Here is the paragraph that caught my attention:
Winners: IT operations. Huh, this is a surprise, eh? Well, if the inevitable outcome of reduced friction (not to mention cost -- that will be addressed in my next post on Cloud Computing Revolutions) is to increase demand for IT resources, someone is going to have to do the capacity planning. In a sense, the impact of cloud computing will be to shift the tasks for IT operations from tactical resource provisioning to strategic resource planning -- with an emphasis on achieving the most efficient, lowest cost infrastructure possible. This is a far cry from the "your mess for less" outsourcing that has previously been the outcome of cost focus -- this is about creating an automated, immediate search for the lowest cost, most available, most appropriate computing resources needed to fulfill a provisioning request. The most successful IT operations groups will be those that stop thinking about controlling allocating resource and begin thinking about locating resource.
We've been hearing for a long time that companies need to break down the silos isolating IT departments from business units and that CIOs need as much orientation to business as they have to technology. At the same time, business process engineering tools are showing up (SaaS tools such as iPB and Visual Process Manager) that ostensibly give executives an easy entry point to designing and aligning their business processes with software development. The trend is for software development to move towards business design and vice versa.
It's collaboration and integration leading to leaner, faster and smarter teams, which is fine if you want to merely keep up with the competition. However, the problem for every company moving to the cloud is that every company is moving to the cloud. If you really want to differentiate, you must do more than just pave the old cowpath. And that calls for systemic innovation.
The current plan for Mobile Process Services involves partnerships with airlines. That seems obvious since it is a global plan and certainly requires a lot of meetings in the Nordic countries especially. Even so, there is a big question in my mind about how necessary are face to face meetings, even in the initial trust-building stages.
MPS, once it is into the production phase of pilot projects, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in terms of face to face. Project teams in the Smart Business Network will be drawn from widely dispersed organizations, on short notice and for quick bursts of collaboration. Student researchers will balk at a lot of travel for the expense, whether they’re paying for it, the customer or their university. Not to mention the time involved.
I’m sure as MPS evolves there will be considerable air travel for face to face meetings - maybe a lot. But it seems so anti-green and 20th century to build a partnership plan upon airlines and face to face meetings when the viability of online collaboration tools is staring us in the face.
This blog post by Jessica Lipnack (and its comments) captures the tone of discussions about the future of business air travel.
“I am writing to you this evening with what seems to me to be a slightly paradoxical request,” the email began. “I am looking for a presenter (live and in person) on the topic of Virtual Teams.”
He was writing from Europe, where the event would take place, with colleagues and clients joining from across North America, Europe, the Caribbean, and Asia. I was impressed with the emailer's self-awareness.
HP Labs’ Open Innovation Office pursues and coordinates research collaborations with top researchers and entrepreneurs in academia, government and business around the world.
Time is running out for professors to submit their proposals for HP Lab's Innovation Research program for 2010. January 29 is the deadline. The HP Labs Innovation Research Program is designed to create opportunities -- at colleges, universities and research institutes around the world -- for collaborative research with HP.
MPS has a research project ready to go. Project-based learning, Enterprise Mobility, BPM, Axiomatic design, Agile .... We just need an innovation-oriented university as sponsor.
There's not much left except the brand, and even that is tattered, but Sir Terry Matthews sees the value in salvaging the remnants of Nortel. More to the point, it is the talent left behind from the bankruptcy and breakup that he wants to put back to work.
Matthews sees the former employees of Nortel as a valuable resource that could be lost to Canada if new tech companies don't jump in to fill the breach. The idea certainly fits perfectly with the plan to create the Mobile Process Services market. Here's the story ....
Matthews seeks $100M-$200M to finance startups before ex-Nortel staff leave area
By Bert Hill, The Ottawa Citizen January 22, 2010
Technology magnate Terence Matthews is starting a $100-million investment fund to drive development of new companies to fill the gap left by the collapse of Nortel Networks.
The funding will be aimed at both the tiny companies he has traditionally nurtured and a new generation of billion-dollar players in advanced wireless and communications software.
With Ottawa technology employment and venture-capital funding at the lowest levels in five and 10 years respectively, the ebullient billionaire isn't worried.
"Whenever there are bad times, it is usually a good time to start new companies," he told a forum held Thursday by CATAlliance, formerly the Canadian Advanced Technology Association.
In his blog post, Harold Jarche provides a high level view of the social learning promise, with a little help from his friends at the Internet Time Alliance. This is the elevator pitch for social learning with some important links for more depth.
With all the industry hype about Web services, it is easy for CIOs to get the idea that SOA is just another new technology, but taking that attitude means missing a very important strategic point: SOA is first and foremost about your business, not Web services technology. In fact, 38 per cent of Global 2000 SOA users report that SOA is helping them with strategic business transformation.
Good article that makes the point that too many business leaders see service-oriented architecture (SOA) as strictly a software or technology issue. The article follows with a number of other points that CIOs must understand about SOA.
Jim Carroll hits hard on the idea that organizations need to adapt to the increasing velocity of change. They need to learn how to respond more quickly to opportunities - "to innovate faster, to change faster, to do things faster" - in order to compete in the high velocity economy. Of course he's right but where are the models for designing rapid response processes into a business?
I'm certainly no expert but it sounds to me like a job for the zig zag model from axiomatic design. A plan for responding to a sudden opportunity is going to require a business model and a team of players. To get both, axiomatic design requires following a rigorous path of back and forth design steps as plans are forumulated and tested on potential players. In traditional scenarios, that back and forth is ponderously slow because lessons are being learned over and over again. Axiomatic design in business process engineering, on the other hand, codifies those lessons and cuts out all the meandering through dead-ends and faulty propositions.
Traditional forms of corporate learning, however, are a major roadblock to learning the lessons that need to be codified. Here, the promise for rapid business response is in social learning.
But the systems running the enterprise are far from ready for real time, and can you guess what one of the major stumbling blocks will be? Anybody?
That's right: Integration!
Social media is changing everything and the question becomes “How will business adapt?” This post and the report that inspired it suggest that most companies will struggle because their business models need to be overhauled.
Big vendors like Microsoft, IBM et al are moving fast to provide tools to facilitate the changes their customers need to make.
My question is “Will customers get locked into a proprietary communication system that prevents them from sharing information with business colleagues on competing systems?”
Momentum is building for development of standards that will support communication and sharing between companies on different content management systems. You can follow stories of that development at http://www.cmswire.com/news/topic/cms+standards.