Sunday, March 26, 2006
Sun: Network is the Computer
Network as the Locus of Innovation
An article in today's NY Times illustrates how companies are innovating by tapping into the collective IQ and expertise of people. The new source of value creation is economies of expertise. This included product knowledge, process knowledge and service knowledge. More importantly, it's about reuse of knowledge with high leverage.
Some of the experiments underway today in the world include:
1. Rite-Solutions. The NY Times article illustrates their ide well..
At Rite-Solutions, the architecture of participation is both businesslike and
playful. Fifty-five stocks are listed on the company's internal market, which is
called Mutual Fun. Each stock comes with a detailed description — called an
expect-us, as opposed to a prospectus — and begins trading at a price of $10.
Every employee gets $10,000 in "opinion money" to allocate among the offerings,
and employees signal their enthusiasm by investing in a stock and, better yet,
volunteering to work on the project. Volunteers share in the proceeds, in the
form of real money, if the stock becomes a product or delivers savings
2. InnoCentive. This is a web-based community matching top scientists to relevant R&D challenges facing leading companies from around the globe. It also has an online forum enabling major companies to reward scientific innovation through financial incentives. It matches solution seekers with problem solvers.
I will post other examples here later as I try to develop a typology of locus of innovation in networks.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Here is a preview of what the product looks like in use. Th evideo in that link is a good illustration of the use.
this is another example of blurring boundaries across devices, functionality, size, operating systems, portability, applications. etc.
Will this be the next ipod? or is it enterprise-focused? May be hospitals, retail stores, shopping buddy in supermarkets... Worth watching when the products hit the market later...
Google Local (with Ads as an Experiment)
Selective Ads on Google Local as one would expect..
how long before we see it on Google Mobile?? Reinforces my point about the dynamics of ambidexterity.
As Shimon Sandler says in his blog:
Wanna see it? Go to Google Local and
type in the search box, “booksellers
nyc”. You should see a little coffee cup in addition to the little red
ballons. Click on the coffee cup, and an ad appears for Barnes & Noble with their logo,
hyperlink, street location, and phone number. Sweet, huh?
Adobe: An example where blogging helps (but is it clear cut?)
I have always felt that direct blogs by engineers working on a project always help so that the customers know about the product and services. Here is a very good example of what Adobe is saying about their products that run on Apple with the Intel microprocessor.
Notice the legal disclaimer on the blog: [The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Adobe Systems Incorporated.]
Has Adobe publicly commented on this? What if the blog contradicts it? Will it affect Adobe stock movement? Those are thorny and messy issues.
We are in the early days of blogging as streams of conversations in the dynamic marketplace.
Emergent Ecosystems for Next Generation Business Innovations
My colleage Bala Iyer and I have been working on the concept of emergent ecosystems as a central concept to understand the network era. Our ideas are that:
1. Business requirements in the industrial era led companies to form ecosystems through alliances and partnerships through formal mechanisms (minoroty equity investments; joint ventures, joing marketing, joint R&D and so on). These resulted in designed ecosystems as different companies formed their set of linkages over time. Iansiti and Levin's book on the Keystone Advantage is a good reference. Business and academic publications have long focused on such ecosystems as ways to understand how companies create new capabilities and capture new sources of value. Researchers have used ex-ante assessments of how such designed ecosystems could create value through the lens of stock market reactions to the formation of joint ventures (see my work published in 1991 as an example).
2. Web 2.0 (especially mash-ups) creates possibilities that complement those formal relationships. And Web 2.0 is becoming real through creative efforts of many that are creating new and varied functionality. Links are formed as third parties innovate using data and applications from others to create new functionality. Bala Iyer's blog has pictorial representation of such mashups based on data assembled in the programmableweb site. These mashups create not designed ecosystems (through formal agreements between two or more companies) but emergent ecosystems through creative repurposing of data and applications. We need new lenses to understand the formation of such ecosystems as well as assessments of their value and impact. My colleagues and I are working on different ways to represent the dynamics of emergent ecosystems as well as assessing their impacts.
3. It is easy to dismiss many mashups as fun, playful creations devoid of any future business value (see a recent NY Times Article on how different venture capitalists are betting on this trend). More important: we need to understand the potential role of such mashups in creating new business innovations. What do sites such as housingmaps and zillow do to change the business landscape of real-estate? We need to understand their potential roles: Do they eliminate friction and ease commerce on the web as ebay did? Do they create one-stop shopping as Amazon did? and so on. In other words: not all mashups are the same (jus as not all websites are the same!). Richard MacManus offers a classification of Mashup business models; it is a good start. What we are trying to do is to come up with a classification that is based on the rigors of taxonomies reflecting underlying dimensions such that the models are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (at least for now). More important: web 2.0 does not seem to have the frenzy of get-rich-quick through flipping companies through IPOs. Chris Anderson of the Wired Magazine gives his reasons why this boom is different.
Experimentation has just started.
4. It is clear that some companies such as Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft have started along the path of trying to understand how mashups enhance (and potentially destroy) their current offerings. Amazon seems to be building up the basic infrastructure to migrate their business model from e-commerce through books to something much broader and deeper. I find Microsoft's moves in this area interesting as they have so much to lose if they do not migrate their business models away from the physical world offerings. Track what these companies are doing to let the innovation community build creative, useful business models.
Mashups are more than creations in technology playpens. They could unleash emergent ecosystems that may shape how we craft successful strategies using the functionality of web 2.0.