Microsoft Playing the Boundary Object Game Elegantly

Boundary Object concept is very interesting on technology-driven sectors. And it’s the case for the ones covered by DiCoDE. Writing the first 2 chapters of the book, I highlight the key role of technology in human history and economy, thus also on media, telecom and on all digital content production, distribution and consumption universes. I already used the concept in my foresight here and here, and used it to explain how socialization process of alcohol inspires me for the book.

This article highlights how Microsoft seems to have understand the concept, showing how they are succeeding their move from an “industrial era company” to an ‘information era company”, being a digital migrant that accommodates to this digital world. Indeed, just like other digital migrants (major music record companies are the best example), Microsoft is tempted to “sue every thing that is moving” regarding their new product Kinect. Being rigid on their property and design created by the corporation. But on a second thoughts, they realized that “hackers” could bring a lot to the product (also on image and buzz marketing), entering a design thinking process, allowing users to capture new value that the one intended initially and guide Microsoft on how they wanna use Kinect.
Apple understood this earlier, but didn’t play it in a transparent way, imho. I believe Steve Jobs knew he wanted apps on the iPhone before releasing the product. But probably the roadmap didn’t allow having such features in v1. It requested a whole ecosystem, a SDK, follow up and support for developers… so he took this Boundary Object concept method and allowed developers hacking the system to test its limits and highlight potential opportunities. Customers are better than competitors to boost your innovation, aren’t they? And they’re playing the same game with Apple TV, I think. But the host ecosystem (TV world) is much more difficult, like Google is experiencing it already…
These 2 companies are thriving for innovation through design (thinking) processes. Apple is doing it internally and in a hidden way, Google, as a true digital native, is doing it outloud and publicly. It’s a strength and a weakness for both…

Design thinking was already part of Alex Osterwalder (and Yves Pigneur)’s Business Model Generation book, and is now connected to Steve Blank‘s Customer Development Stack through the Pivot logic. It meets the Boundary Object concept placing customer discovery and validation early in the product design of disruptive technologies. It allows customer to adapt and adopt it to its uses. Remember how SMS stepped out of its basic purposes through customers use and how it became a cornerstone in Mobile Marketing and Mobile Distribution.

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1 Response to Microsoft Playing the Boundary Object Game Elegantly

  1. Pingback: Apple sharing DiCoDE – Future vision on The Connected Fridge |

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