Monthly Archives: May 2012
I’ve spent the last two months traveling around the U.S. and Europe visiting Fortune 500 executives and Microsoft Technology Centers (MTCs) and the journey has left me feeling both energized and alarmed. Energized because I am seeing a dramatic rise in the attention given to social business and the foundation for it is being laid by social CIOs. These CIOs and their executive counterparts understand how the social and mobile transformations are changing the game. Never has business been handed so much opportunity and so much risk.
The blueprint for this opportunity has been drawn by several social business thought leaders. But rarely has it been represented in physical form.
To see that, the opportunity is best demonstrated at one of Microsoft’s MTC around the world. If you haven’t seen a demonstration there, it can best be described as the Enterprise equivalent of a Microsoft or Apple Store. As Microsoft MTC Director Adam Hecktman put it to me, “We’re here to help envision, architect and demonstrate the needs of our customers.” Thanks to the fully equipped MTCs, anyone can see a live simulation of their current and future technologies under several different circumstances.
The MTC demonstrations are leading to a rush of new technology implementations. “Every square foot is built around some element of the customer’s decision making process,” Hecktman explains, “we’re reducing the risk for businesses to quickly prepare and implement Microsoft technologies.”
It struck me while visiting with the Fortune 500 intertwined with my stopovers at the MTCs that the future workplace will need to evolve. Seeing the juxtaposition of the digitally enabled MTCs next to the analog (think 1960s Mad Men era) workplaces of today, I was alarmed by the amount work that needs to be done to accommodate a more social and mobile workforce.
In this new workplace model, born of the social and mobile age, what are the best ways to meet the workplace challenges of the future? What do we see as the digital office of the future? How do we accommodate the unprecedented numbers of mobile devices entering the workforce?
Digital Workplaces: Combining the Humanities with the Sciences
I often hear the office of today appears and functions much like it did fifty years ago. Conference rooms with tables, chairs and perhaps a whiteboard – office spaces or desks neatly lined up in long rows across an ever expansive landscape – basically a sea of inhumanity.
And that space doesn’t align with the social business transformation taking place around the world. The workplace of tomorrow will need to adapt to the new more social and mobile environment, while remaining flexible to accommodate different situations. You can see an example of this at Microsoft’s Envisioning Center in Seattle and in some cases Pixar’s offices outside of Oakland.
Quite simply, our workspaces will have to change to digital workspaces. And only a few companies like Microsoft and IBM are talking about this. What I’ve seen in my research with executives and MTC Directors is that the world is moving faster, product cycles are shorter, and yet the workplace is still built for slower moving organizations. I can say with confidence that the workplace has to change dramatically in order to remain effective.
Here are 10 reasons why:
1. We’re going to be measuring emotional IQ in the workplace:
Happiness and sentiment for the enterprise? Sounds sappy right? But it’s going to happen. There are companies working on this now -because you get what you measure. And if you measure employee happiness to changes in their work and physical environments, management can make the necessary changes to increase productivity. Using the data, ethical leaders will rebalance the work environment to support greater collaboration, serendipitous encounters, informal knowledge flows and more profit.
Environmental Changes Needed- Sensors in the workplace that measure how people are using spaces and infrequently query employees on sentiment for a given topic.
2. The right information will find us:
The user interface of the workplace is a major inhibitor to growth. Because people are not working on the most important things at the optimal time with the optimal people that can solve the problem. Why? Because we don’t know – what we need to know – unless we know to search for it. But information in the future will find us by checking our calendar for meetings and people, looking at our activity streams for trends, and studying the rest of the organization for information and people that may be important to our job.
Technological Changes- Big Data will become Smart Data and all of that information being aggregated by social platforms (SharePoint, Connections, Yammer, etc.), email (harmon.ie, Gmail, etc.), sensors in the workplace and mobile devices will soon be used to increase workforce effectiveness.
3. The workplace will reinforce corporate goals and strategy:
Based on a recent study by Chris Zook of Bain, only 40% of the workforce knew about the corporation’s goals, strategies and tactics. Imagine if you had a football team, where only 4 in 10 knew what the game plan was. A physical environment that reinforces strategies and tactics and prioritizes them is paramount.
Environmental Changes- Using Smart Data analytics, digital screens and surfaces in the work environment will automatically display goals and strategies in the context of a meeting. Changes to strategy will automatically be sent to an affected employee’s mobile device in order to reduce inefficiencies.
4. Employees will provide vastly higher levels of real time feedback:
Command and control management models will disappear over time. Employees will gain the ability to provide real time feedback to management through social platforms, mobile devices and automatically through their digital behavior (Smart Data will capture this). These feedback mechanisms will be built right into their work flow processes. Management will use that feedback to become more agile and adaptive to changing market conditions.
Cultural Changes- Management will encourage employees to provide consistent and relevant feedback on projects, customers and the organization’s strategy and tactics.
5. Mobile devices will interact with our physical environments:
Why is it that we still can’t capture and interact with notes produced in our physical environments? Sure we can snap a picture of a whiteboard, but the picture doesn’t understand the contents of the whiteboard. That’s going to change. Harald Becker, who leads business strategy for Microsoft Office Labs showed me how mobile devices are interacting with smart boards and screens placed around a room. The technology enables bi-directional content sharing from screen to mobile devices with the press of a button. This will enable far greater collaboration and information capture for both manager and employee.
Environmental Changes- Digital smart boards and screens will need to be placed around the workplace. Mobile apps will need to be downloaded in order to interact with them.
6. Organizations will become fast learners:
Everyone has heard Hewlett Packard’s Lou Platt famous quip: “If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive”. Even today, there’s a lot of information created that is stored in digital silos. But with the forthcoming aggregation and analysis solutions hitting the market soon, the ability to turn organizational learnings and continuous improvement into repeatable patterns is right around the corner. Soon, teams will be able to quickly learn and build on the ideation work of others simply by pulling it up on their desktop, mobile device or smart board.
Environmental and Technological Changes- Digital smart boards and screens will need to be placed around the workplace. Social platforms will be querying and aggregating social information from ERP systems, CRM solutions, enterprise apps, and mobile devices to provide employees with relevant information.
7. Gamification in the workplace will go mainstream:
Imagine if leader boards were placed around the company ranking teams’ net promoter score with employees, customers, partners or suppliers. If you’re in the bottom half, you can easily pull up and review the game plan from the high performing teams.It’s already happening. Companies are beginning to understand the power to solve a variety of business problems by encouraging the right user behavior through the use of gamification principles.
Technological Changes- Companies like Bunchball provide plug and play gamification for a variety of social platforms.
8. The workplace will help you build relationships:
The new role of management is to facilitate the finding of solutions; not to dictate them. The new role of management is to facilitate “connections”, to match people with the right skills and abilities to projects where those skills are most needed. The new role of management is to remove hurdles to engagement by building approvals mechanisms into workflows. Management won’t do this alone. They will leverage new technologies that automatically introduce employees to employees, partners and suppliers in order to build relationships that help you and the organization become more effective.
Technological Changes- Smart Data and social aggregation solutions will suggest people and partners to follow, connect with and engage – in situations enterprise wide.
9. Work spaces that support the visualization of ideas.
It’s aggravating to be in a brainstorming situation with your colleagues when inspiration strikes and there are no way to capture the ideas visually. The future workplace will support spaces that materialize a team’s ideas while remaining fluid so that teams can move in and out of concepts. These spaces will allow virtual notes and ‘content as objects’ to be shared on screens and smart boards – giving the team the ability to animate the ‘objects’ to test and improve on concepts. The best ideas and content will be moved into digital collaborative environments for further study, improvements and perhaps new products or micro-improvements to processes.
Technological Changes- Motion sensing technologies like Kinect combined with smart boards and mobile devices.
10. Adaptive work spaces will adjust to its intended purpose:
Becker showed me a ceiling grid system that at the press of a button, moved curtain walls, increased wifi bandwidth, changed the lighting and set up a smart board with the previous day’s work. There will be more systems like this developed to accommodate a more fluid workplace. Flexible work spaces that change according to need. Think of these flexible work spaces as providing the right infrastructure, physical environment, tools and content to complete a meeting objective.
Environmental Changes- There are companies that are starting to provide adaptive workplaces. Social business platforms and mobile solutions will soon interact with these spaces as well.
A More Effective Workplace
The best workplaces find a way to integrate their organization’s culture and mission. In the future, these workspaces will also help your workforce to become more effective. An adaptive workplace – where physical objectives and software adapt to the working style of the organization and not the other way around. Work in the workplace will become more human and more results oriented.
In the end, the future workplace will be more of a digital and analytical environment that smartly enables more innovation, more collaboration, and more learning opportunities that increase competitiveness and your bottom line. It will remind employees that the business does not exist in a vacuum and will set organizational priorities.
Investment in social business platforms and mobile solutions are great – we’re finally on the right path. But ignoring the workplace infrastructure to accommodate them will be a missed opportunity. We have to move away from the Mad Men era office, to digital workplaces that take advantage of the entire social, mobile and content being produced by an organization’s greatest asset.
We’ve seen QR codes come in all shapes and sizes over the last couple of years and just when you thought the medium was wearing thin, along comes a brilliant new creative idea from Guinness.
It’s a simple code printed on to the side of a Guinness glass, but the real beauty is that it only works when you fill it up with beer. Not just any beer either because as the creative says if you fill it with a normal larger or any other inferior product, it just won’t scan.
Try and scan it when the glass is empty and it won’t work either. The code itself takes you through to special Guinness content on Facebook and Twitter, giving you the ability to download vouchers and to invite your friends along to the bar where you are at.
Don’t expect QR codes to start taking off in a big way just because of this campaign, but it is refreshing to see a campaign where the product is put at the very center of the marketing. If you want to see how it works have a look at the handy chart that Guinness have produced for you here although we are not sure what Guinness drinking purists here in Ireland will think about this new design.
Following the recent availability of the Skype for Windows Phone Beta app announced at Mobile World Congress, today Skype releases an official version of the app to the Windows Phone Marketplace. You can also get the app directly from your Windows Phone.
With Skype on your Windows Phone, you can join the thriving community of 200 million people using Skype every month across almost any screen: smartphones & tablets (running Android, iOS, Symbian), computers & laptops (Mac, Windows) and connected TVs.
Microsoft has taken a big step towards its vision by making SkyDrive far more powerful. There are new storage options, apps that connect your devices to SkyDrive, and a more powerful device cloud that lets you “fetch” any file from a Windows PC. Taken together with access from popular mobile phones and a browser, you can now take your SkyDrive with you anywhere, connect it to any app that works with files and folders, and get all the storage you need—making SkyDrive the…
Which is, of course, a decent phone indeed.
But really, an iPhone 4S-only service prompting you to check out a rival device when you ask it what the best handset is?
Siri’s amusing recommendation is drawing comments from hosts of Nokia and Microsoft fans worldwide (yes, there are still many of them), which in itself is rather amusing. It’s kinda like watching people cheer because the magical mirror told the queen that Snow White is actually the fairest of them all.
Hopefully needless to say, the reason why Siri is making the above recommendation isn’t because Apple thinks the iPhone 4S is subpar (as if).
It’s simply because Siri bases its answer to that particular question on results from Wolfram Alpha, which itself draws from users reviews Web-wide.
User satisfaction rates for the Lumia 900 in the United States happen to be very high, hence why WA will tell you that it’s the ‘best smartphone ever’.
Our recommendation is: give both the iPhone 4S and the Nokia Lumia 900 a whirl and decide for your damn self instead of asking Siri.
Yesterday, I had the chance to meet SKWAK at FNAC Brussels – Toison d’Or (picture here-above).
SKWAK is a French artist specialized in illustration, characters design and graphic design.
He created his own graphic world populated by creatures with an exagerated look, fed with absurd : the “Maniac World”. His universe is perpetually evolving, getting richer, and finds its place, its codes.. It’s a huge playground completly crazy, polluted, coloured and laidback. ” His world is constantly changing and extends in various fields like music, computers (computer mice, QR codes, Social Media, …). Discover his Universe HERE.
Exemples of creations
- TRUCK DESIGN for COOKIES ‘N’ CREAM
- Art Commission for Le Centre Pompidou, Workshop Area Young public.
Skwak composed specially for Fnac, a dozen works displayed in the forum of FNAC Brussels (Toison d’Or) throughout the month of May 2012. His Exhibition will be held at Fnac Brussels (Toison d’Or), from May 4, 2012 to Thursday, May 31, 2012 from 11:00 to 18:00. Adress : 17, Avenue de la Toison d’Or - 1050 Brussels – Belgium. See details for this event HERE.
Look at exhibition Microsoft @ Fnac HERE. See one exemple here-below.
Yesterday, I’ve attended a workshop at Fnac where Skwak has developped a work directly with public participation. The work has been printed and distributed to participants.
Microsoft recently announced its latest series of “artist” mice. SKWAK designed the artwork for this wireless mobile mouse 3500. New BlueTrack technology means it can be used “even on a rough park bench or your living room carpet” and this is very cool … You can buy it at Fnac in Belgium …
Yesterday, I’ve given a presentation to STIMA (Stichting Marketing) at Microsoft Office in Balgium.
Coming from an FMCG company (11 years at Unilever) and working now at Microsoft for 5 years, I’ve a good feeling of what’s important for the consumers (their needs) while I observe how the consumers are consuming new technologies & media now and how it could change in the Future.
In 1960, a concept was introduced by E. Jerome McCarthy that identified the four basic tenants of marketing as Product, Price, Place, and Promotion or, as it is more commonly known, the 4 Ps.
Based on that, I can confirm you that the world is changing fast and that the world won’t never been the same.
While the 4 P’s offer a good basic framework for understanding the all encompassing nature of marketing, They are missing one key ingredient that has been made apparent by the consumer revolution – the consumer’s involvement in the process.
So, Old Marketing is dead.
While the way consumers adopt new technologies and consume media, is changing, I can personally observe that many marketers have not changed. The consumer is now in the driving seat ! This has a huge impact on the way we should interact with them as the consumer becomes a medium itself.
There are some decision takers and marketers who are declaring the 4 P’s dead, or at least no longer relevant. They, and I’m part of them , dare to say that the four P’s are DEAD ! There are other marketers who don’t change and continue to apply old principles.
But what are the main drivers for change ?
The age of interactive information has turned the four P’s on its head. Indeed, the adoption of new technologies has never been so fast : 38 years to get the first 50 Millions users of TV while it took only 9 months for the first 100 Millions users on Facebook. See following slides showing how fast is the adoption of new technologies.
This adoption of new technologies is driven by the digitalization of everything (music, picture, movie,…) The consumers want to consume this content on every devices (PC, TV, Smart Phone, Slate, …) while the content in is the CLOUD. This is the vision of Microsoft.
The speed of transactions is faster, more dynamic and happening real time. The world is moving into a more demand-based view. Customers are exposed to large amounts of ads every day. So how do you make your product stand out and above the rest?
On-top of that, as you can see here-below, the world of advertising has changed since advertising’s glory days in E. Jerome McCarthy’s 1960s, in the way we should interact / dialogue with the consumers. We can observe following evolution (from broadcast / mass marketing to interactive / targeted marketing) as you can see on my slide here-below.
As Seith Godin would say, there is an evolution from interruption marketing to permission marketing.
What’s interruption marketing ? Imagine it’s later in the day at the same airport. You’re late for your flight, and someone asks you the same question. Will you give him the same attention? Finally, a third scenario: You’re late for the flight, the airport is crowded, and this is the fourth person to ask you the same question. What are the chances you will pay any attention at all? You’re probably going to even develop a strategy for avoiding further interruptions –not making eye contact, brushing them off, refusing to help.
What’s permission marketing ? Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.
It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.
Real permission works like this: if you stop showing up, people complain, they ask where you went.
So, it’s time to review the 4P’s
There are many marketers who have even added more P’s to the mix, such as people, process, physical presence, or (as the word-of-mouth/social media crowd like to say) participation.
So, Long Live to New Marketing.
I personally like the 4 C’s concept that I found HERE
The principle is that you need to customize your product and/or your story telling to suit each customer’s needs. As the consumer is the MEDIUM thru social Media, your value proposition and your story telling should be Unique & Simple so that they will be your best Ambassadors.
So what are the 4 C’s:
From Product to Co-created solutions and experiences. Work with the customer to captivate and engage them.
From Promotion to Communication with communities. Customers want interconnected. interactions with like-minded people not just information. Social communities are the new-age promotion channel.
From Price to Customisable personal value. Give each individual customer something that they want and suits them.
From Place to Choice and convenience. Make sure your product can reach your customers. Use the internet and be online 24/7.
Here-below, great tips from on how to apply these 4 C’s
Work with customers to create products that they want.
Go online and create a group on a social network site about your product or business.
Give the customer more choices of your product whether it be colour, shape or size.
Get you business operating 24/7 worldwide – make a website where customers can buy your products.
Build your products so customers can customise it to suit their budget.
The customer is no longer the object of a sale, selling a service, or the subject of some department loyalty scheme. You as a business owner must capture what is important to the customer and understand the shift from the 4 P’s to the 4 C’s.
I also believe you have to dare to create something unique and remarkable. In his book called “Purple Cow”, Seth Godin explains how Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.
In this book, Godin urges you to emulate companies that are consistently remarkable in everything they do, which drives explosive word of mouth.
Some take-away of this book :
- Every day, consumers ignore a lot of brown cows (if you are on the highway) but you can bet they won’t ignore a purple cow.
- If you were driving down a road and saw a purple cow in a field, would you stop to take a look? Most likely you would, as spotting a purple cow would be pretty rare and unique. In fact, you would probably not notice most of the other cows grazing in the field, as you would be fixated on the purple cow.
- So how does this apply to the business world ? To be a purple cow makes you stand out, and if you have a business or service to offer, potential customers and clients would take notice, and if you are looking for a job, being a purple cow would cause potential employers to take another look. You have to be inherently purple or no one will talk about you.
- In the old days, marketers targeted consumers. Today, the opposite is true. It’s the consumers who choose. They choose whether you are listened to or ignored. So, you need to invest in the Purple Cow. So, you need to develop products, services that the market will actually seek out.
- We have always the choice between distinct and extinct. The only route to healthy grow is a remarkable product.
- It’s not bout being weird. It’s about being irresistible to a tiny group of easily reached people (sneezers =early adopters) who will communicate on this and will convince larger group to adopt the product. Irresistible isn’t the same as ridiculous. Irresistible (for the right niche) is just remarkable.
- “Being safe is risky, and being risky is safe.” And if you’re out there creating something on the edge, someone’s going to hate it. If someone doesn’t really hate your product, it’s mediocre.” And mediocre is where you SO do not want to go.
- A slogan that accurately conveys the essence of your Purple Cow is a script. A script for a sneezer to use when she / he talks to her/his friends. The script guarantees that the word of mouth is passed on properly.
- The leaning tower of Pisa sees 6 millions of visitors every year. The positioning and message are simple and unique. Put a picture on a T-shirt and the message is easily send a received. The purity of the message makes it even more remarkable.
- The power of storytelling shouldn’t be underestimated! I’ve heard it said that great entrepreneurs are also often great storytellers. Both Seth Godin and Brad Sugars told many great Entrepreneurial stories at their recent talks. A good story allows the teller to effectively capture the attention of an audience and leaves a memorable underlying message. Of course, storytelling is nothing new. That’s what probably makes it so powerful. But what makes a great entrepreneurial story?
- Seth Godin believes that a ‘Wow’ product and great story is vital for a business to succeed. However real stories can’t simply be made up, they have to be lived. Only then can the storyteller be passionate and real. To have an great story an entrepreneur most embark on a difficult and challenging business adventure.
Here-below, the first video explains this purple cow concept.