I’d like to get your input on a idea that I have been turning over in my head for a while now on how to create a killer app for wide-scale change that begins to pool the themes we have been discussing to date; crowd-sourcing; interdisciplinary collaboration etc. Clearly a nice and easy one to start your day!
Now I know there are many endeavors already in play here… really there are many… and they’re all contributing something special and doing fantastic work across the world today. For example, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t ‘tip my hat’ to the greenXchange or Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams fromWikinomics fame for their many wonderful insights on this subject. I also recently came across the work of entrepreneurial deign for extreme affordability at Stanford University (not quite crowd-sourcing but definitely interdisciplinary collaboration).
So to get the conversation going around this and to see if you have some of your own ideas on how to shake things up a little, let me share with you some thoughts that I have on the subject…
Firstly, I love the TED format for idea sharing and believe there must be a way to both leverage this and develop it further to create killer idea exchange and greater collaborative idea development.
Consider for a moment if we ran a parallel version of TED (TEDexchange?) based on only 2 or 3 ideas being presented (perhaps the TED wish ideas?). The rest of the conference was then dedicated to developing and driving some practical structure into how to get these ideas up and and working inside a period of 6 months.
The next step would be to push each of these ideas through a series of brainstorming sessions comprised of a wealth of diverse talent; in-person and online. Given the pull of TED and the caliber of the participants it wouldn’t be too hard to create an environment like this. These brainstorming sessions could take the form of multiple functional tracks which, when combined, form the basis of a rudimentary go to market plan. They would include, for example, a track on product development, a track on marketing for impact, a distribution and alliances track, a financing track, a ‘how to work with governments’ track etc etc – whatever was deemed appropriate.
At the end of the live conference, each track would then morph into an online-only version made up of opt-in communities and headed by nominated leaders from the conference itself. This would then create an environment that would enable the idea to be worked to conclusion.
So net net – this idea combines brainstorming at the intersection of different fields of expertise as well as innovatively leveraging the wisdom of online crowds (via polls, discussions and debates) to steer a radical and beautiful idea to a more promising and successful future. Sure it would take a lot of organizing, a lot of support from organizations like TED and a great deal of promotion via the media, but you have to dream big right?
So is this realistic? Overly ambitious? I’ll let you decide. Also please send any other ideas you may have for the crowd-sourcing killer app.
Was working out in the gym today listening to the November edition of Fast Company on my iPod and I was suddenly immersed in the debate between the reality of gene sequencing versus the hype and the promise that was sold to the public. Heavy stuff.
However, pondering this further, I started musing about the possibilities of approaching the creation of companies and modification of businesses in the same way. Consider for a second if the same principles, brain power and technology that were used to decode the human genome were applied to specific industries, market-places and businesses? What if you could find the key to unlock the genome of a particular business, could you could genetically modify it to potentially create a super company of the future? Perhaps a bit far-fetched, but at least an idea worth chewing over I thought. After all just look at Pandora and their music sequencing software which takes a leaf out of genome sequencing to help music prediction and the notion of leveraging similar breakthrough approaches to build better businesses isn’t that crazy after all. Perhaps…
After delving into this a little more there appears to be some companies out there already who have thought along similar lines and have tried to establish consultancy practices around such a notion. One such company is http://business-genome.com/. While I like their train of thought, I’m not sure I would bet my last $ on them transforming my business just yet.
So in summary, not sure if this is a flyer or not, but thought it would be a good discussion to get the creative juices flowing! Let me know your thoughts.
In this post I’d like to explore a new idea with you that I think could be really quite interesting and, if you are generally supportive, could result in the foundations of a global experiment in crowd-sourcing that you all take part in.
I was thinking recently on the topic of how to demonstrate and test the power of the masses versus established ways of doing things and I hit upon the notion of the ‘Citizen CEO’.
What I mean by this is what would happen if we created a company that was completely at the mercy of the masses? In other words all of it’s core decisions were made by majority rule voting instead of by an established management team. In effect, we turn all business operational decisions over to you… the citizens, the consumers, the prosumers, the partners; to see how and where you chart this ship.
To make this even more fun we could even pit the citizen CEO business against a traditionally run business, either existing or created as a competitor for the purposes of the experiment. We could also film the proceedings which could then be shown via a weekly YouTube broadcast.
With a period of 6 months as the time-line for the experiment, the teams could then be judged on traditional metrics like revenue, margin, customer satisfaction etc and/or other relevant ones depending upon the type of business that gets decided as the proving ground.
Anyway, I think you get the idea…
So, the first step in this process is to decide whether or not this sounds like a good idea and one you believe we should pursue together. Step 2 would then be to hone in on an idea for the business itself which we can do only after this gets the thumbs up from all of you. If it does we will then make more decisions as to the direction this business takes based upon more questions and voting. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
In my last post I wrote about the possibility of fostering collaboration across competitive boundaries to bring about new levels of innovation that may seemingly be out of bounds in today’s highly litigious corporate environment. In this entry I really want to introduce the notion of diversity and how it could be a key driver of innovation in creative collaboration.
In this context when I write about diversity I’m not talking about ‘vertical’ collaboration of like minded peer-groups working together, instead I’m much more interested in ‘horizontal’ collaboration across multiple disciplines. For example, instead of having a room full of similarly trained and socialized engineers working together to advance a solution for a particular problem, what happens if you add-in an artist or a psychologist or a musician or a biologist? Now with such a divergent group of thinkers sitting at the same table working the problem each from their own individual frames of reference and their own set of experiences, what happens to the conversation and the brainstorming that ensues?… It get’s weird right?… and when things get weird we all know they start to carve new channels of thought and cause new emergent innovation down different avenues than would have previously been taken.
The bottom line is by using divergent viewpoints from a multitude of disciplines you create an intersection point in the joint thinking where a new type of solution potentially awaits - a pot of gold that has the potential to bring about radical transformation of entire industries.
As discussed in Frans Johansson book “The Medici Effect”, the opportunity to chart new tracks of thought innovation using this method is huge and is being deployed in various corners of industry today. But I also put it to you that there is so much more that could be done with this type of collaboration, so much more unique and innovative thinking that could be teased out of businesses, communities and societies at large to produce ground-breaking change. So in my next posting what i’d like to do is enlist your help to work on a specific idea that I have. Essentially what we will be doing is simulating the theory above, so it will be an interesting exercise to work on together… hope you’re up for the challenge!
Back in 1999 when I first started thinking about the potential of mass collaboration, the catalyst for my thought processes at the time centered around why talented technology engineers from different companies didn’t work together more often to take their ideas to a new level of inspiration. Why were they so tied and bound to the corporate apron strings and was there a fundamental reason or unwritten law that was preventing them from pursuing this green field of collaboration?
Indeed, was there room for a different model in which they could form loose relationships with like minded individuals from other companies away from the corporate mothership, giving them freedom to work with the best of the best, to develop their creative geniuses beyond where they were in pursuit of a greater challenge outside of the office or lab? Perhaps an altruistic avenue?
Now to some, I understand that the very notion of a company’s most talented and distinguished engineers freely teaming-up with peers from competing companies, sharing and exchanging ideas, is heresy of the highest order and sounds like an IP lawyers dream come true. However, imagine the creative possibilities if we managed to flip this switch. A new renaissance for technology development perhaps?
Just thinking about what new innovations could be spawned from these loose collaborations should really give you a sense of what makes it such an exciting time to be around. There is so much potential to change the old ways of doing things and engineer new processes at every level of society and business to spark new ground breaking advances. I know some of my ideas tend towards idealism at times but I really cant help thinking about the far reaching possibilities of ideas like this and I’ll leave it up to the rest of you to reign me in to a more sensible reality.
So here’s my first ‘throw-down’ for all of you… What do you believe are the barriers to this informal model of collaboration amongst our engineering elite? Is it even possible in today’s highly litigious environment and what needs to be done to ‘grease the skids’ of innovation here to bring this about in today’s world?
Let’s see where we can take this one and in part 2 of my next blog I want to explore the ideas of multi-discipline innovation. Stay Tuned!
Firstly, if you are reading this I want to say a BIG thank you for giving me the gift of your time and indulging me with your curiosity to see where I go with this post.
So, as is customary when embarking upon any new adventure, I want to offer you a small insight into why I am putting virtual pen to paper and what I could possibly share with you that could be of continual interest and have the staying power to keep you coming back for more.
The truth is I’m a guy fascinated by the endless possibilities of the internet as a vehicle for developing more authentic and purposeful human interaction and connection. Just consider the potential power of mass collaboration and what it could do for businesses and society if harnessed correctly. Think about the latent, untapped brilliance of people on the other end of a web browser who are just longing for a killer app that helps them voice their ideas for the first time and think also about the wonderful diversity of experiences and skills that everyone could bring to the table if only invited, and you, my friend, are staring in the face of unbridled opportunity to innovate and reinvent!
So as someone who is constantly dreaming up new ideas for exciting new business ventures and tinkering with the ‘art of the possible’ on how to connect people and unleash their potential in new and innovative ways, I have created this blog to share with you my musings in the hope you will join in the discussion, debate and brainstorm.
If you like the prospect of where I may be going with this, please retweet and share this invitation widely, after all the more people we get to join this conversation the better. I also have a few potential business ideas up my sleeve that i’d love for you to help develop and participate in too. Stay tuned!