Debriefing Leanovation website’s first draft

Ali and Laure from DigitalPark are busy helping me creating something appealing online for Leanovation. They already did a great job and here’s the debriefing! I received very rich and inspired feedback from my Twitter friends. Thanks a lot to them!

Of course, this is a bad rendering (click on it if it doesn’t play) of what they did (here if we haven’t move on yet) but it’s a first prototype, right? ;o) Here’s the consolidated feedback:

  • Focussing on the model as it is, getting rid of title and footer. We’ll explain through overlayer windows
  • Bringing more volume and a human touch to it. It feels a bit cold, especially the user in the middle
  • Using something extra for “more”: contact, extra information… I’m thinking of a label-like button somewhere on the screen
  • Set up of the 2 wheels, especially the one to the right. Labels will be something related to the Lean Startup method (Build-Measure-Learn) like MAKE-TEST-ADAPT. I think the first one to be reached by the arrow should be MAKE and TEST should face the user in the middle. So a graphical adaptation is needed. Or maybe the first one to be touched would be ADAPT…
  • Making more clear that the white bubbles are actually clickable for a second level of reading

Here we go! Let’s see how the next iteration will look like… =o)

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Introducing Leanovation – 1. Research

For almost a year now, Iʼve been a very busy boy mapping out the next step beyond DICoDE et voilà! I have come up with an end-to-end innovation method inspired by all modern tools I’ve learned during my research and applicable to any sector and situation. A few weeks ago, I came up with a name for it: Leanovation. I already acquired the trademark, the .net dns and soon the Twitter account.

So now it’s time to move on to the next step. But like I’ve said before, I’d rather work on it with a team instead of solo. I’m looking for and hoping to collaborate with like-minded people who will find it valuable to make something out of it. I am currently building a simple website to explain the 10 steps of the method. I’ll be sharing each step of the way with you fellow readers. Feel free to reach out, comment, give feedback or ideas…

Here’s a series of blog posts giving you a detailed overview of the whole method starting with the first step: Research!

Doing research the Leanovation way means to first start with available quantitative figures (small q in the figure) or information gathered from earlier surveys.

Based on these figures, we can form new hypotheses for the user problem we’re trying to solve using this new Lean Innovation we want to create.

A qualitative study (the capital Q in the figure) can then be conducted in order to validate or modify the hypotheses formed. Design and Architecture have always used ethnographic methods to identify users’ pain points, intentions and delights. Mapping users’ journey, studying the behaviors of individuals and communities, watching them talk and create around your brand… these are the things that matter in gathering great qualitative insights and identifying interesting opportunities.

If you need a confirmation of figures or simply want to gather more quantitative data, then you can just stick to an additional quantitative study or poll.

From there, simply rinse and repeat the research process until you find the best results. The purpose of each iterative process in Leanovation is to have it done quickly and repeated as many times as necessary. By experience, I believe that 5 to 15 iterations give the best results. You don’t need to wait a whole week or a long time before making another iteration. It can be done immediately or as called for, even within the hour or the day.

The Rationale/User Research

Traditional Market Research especially Focus Groups cannot capture users’ intention. Why? Because it is an environment where participants are gathered and interviewed in a place that is detached from any relevant context. For example, if we’re talking about a particular brand of cooking oil, wouldn’t it be better to visit users in their kitchens and witness firsthand why they use the kind of cooking oil they use, instead of taking them out of that relevant context and into a likely boring round table discussion. So no, focus groups are not that effective unless of course what you’re researching is the concept and set-up of a focus group itself. ;o)

Instead, Leanovation recommends starting with figures that any company already has on their users, even if they’re old and not detailed. From these figures, we can already identify trends and make hypotheses for studying the very aspect we’re working on. The fact that we can iterate on what we will be studying and that no exclusive is ever taken means that even with low-quality data, we can move on!

As said, what’s important is to do and learn. No matter if the data we’re using now are not qualitative enough, we’ll learn from them and move on to the next step! We will later come back to them anyway but with a higher level of understanding!

Next: 2. Ecosystem Mapping

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Merry Christmas and Happy 2012

2011 has been a wonderful year for me and my project DICoDE. I’ve met incredible people, participated in great initiatives like the Belgian Webmission to the Silicon Valley or the World Creativity Forum and made giant leaps into the understanding of Digital Ecosystems and Innovation as a whole.

I would like to grab this opportunity to wish each of you all the best for this coming year. I also hope you’re spending a wonderful Holiday Season, a moment of Digital Detox, reconnecting to important things in life like family and friends and building perspectives and plans for the coming year.

Happy 2012 !

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Looking back reaching the destination. Connecting the dots.

I am currently wrapping up this DICoDE project that kept me active for a while now. You can say I’ve been working on it for 18 months, with the focus on writing a book… Or for 2 to 3 years since I left Sanoma and found that IME’s Value Chain can be a great starting point for helping Media and Entertainment companies in their mediamorphosis… Or even 10 years since I started working at a Telecom corp’s Media initiative…
But ultimately, I realize, through Design Thinking, System Thinking, my Passion for Design, my Quest for Purpose and so much more, that it all makes sense to me since I started questioning myself about my place in this world. And maybe how my parents, my teachers, my friends and family shaped me in the early years is also part of it.

So I started looking back through my Slideshare presentations. And I believe these 5 ones can highlight interesting things around this DICoDE quest. Let me guide you…

This first one dates back to August 2008. We just launched Cleverwood and I wanted to position this company as a THINK consulting company in New Media. I didn’t know yet that I really meant MEDIA and that, almost a year later, this Business Class at IME would  pave the way for DICoDE. Some important elements were already present in this preso like the power shift to the user, the value chain logic with some key steps like the SIM, the link between virtual and real world, the convergence between Media and Technology, the huge potential of (Telco) Infrastructures, the ultimate quest being Innovation, including Business Models, fundamental disruption in Apple’s strategy in the hugely potential Mobile Market. All this in 21 slides. =o)

This second one was given at the 2nd Belgian chapter of Mobile Monday a couple of months later. I felt that there was something to be told around platforms in Mobile, at the junction of Technology and Media. I haven’t even seen IME’s Value Chain yet but I already drafted one (slide 5) and knew that mapping actors would have an importance in understanding the ecosystem. My experience back then at Sanoma taught me that Content alone couldn’t thrive. Platforms (aggregators, as I understood it later) and modern Business Models were crucial for success. I was in a world of campaigns, one-shots, issues… and I felt we needed a meeting point between complementors (advertisers in this case) and users. That’s when we developed with Carole Lamarque and BlueTalk our Mobile Magazines. This 22-slide preso and this interview for AWT tried to pass the message to the community.

This 3rd one happened after the class at IME. I was so excited by what I learned in New York and the thoughts it generated that I wanted to share it with the Cleverwood people. Unfortunately, maybe because of the limited size of the community at that time, it didn’t create any interesting dynamic.

These are the real roots of DICoDE: the basic value chain, the clusters of trends like Regulation, Business Model Innovation, Disruption… and a better understanding of platforms mechanics. All this seeing the value chain as a game board already and seeing Innovation as THE solution! In 14 slides!

This brings us to the original DiCoDE 2010 that gathered all these trends, and more or less filtered and augmented this Value Chain. It has been created for a speech at Belgian’s yearly Mobile Marketing Forum where it has been very well received. You can read the rest on this post.

And now, here we are with the 2011 version, augmented with the Business Models dimension that was always in the back of my mind and that people like Alex Osterwalder (through the Business Model Generation book) and Nick & Phil from Board of Innovation helped to make emerge.
These latest evolutions have been developed out of Cleverwood (that I left in the meantime) receiving great feedback from people I met in places like Mobile Monday, Webmission, Café Numérique… and through online networks like LinkedIn and Twitter!
Carole even used it at a recent Mobile Monday to explain the Yelo initiative she designed at Telenet.

I’m very curious about your advice on it, so don’t hesitate to comment! I just finished it 3 days ago and I’m preparing already the 2012 version that could gather all that I learned in these past years…in a simple, convenient and actionable way!

[Update December 15th 2011]: Just forgot this intro/outro speech at the Cleverwood Trends Session on “What Women want in Mobile” where I also use the value chain to set the stage. Carole (again, yes! ;o) and Mélanie did a great job tackling the topic in a Media and Telecom point of view!

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Ubiquitous Computing UX and beyond

Last week, I had a spot for presenting at Mobile Monday Brussels. In fact, being part of the Committee and having received the assignment to coordinate the agenda, I opened that spot myself;oP I felt I had something to tell, but it wasn’t really clear yet… I had 2 weeks to work my storyline!
The topic was User Experience and the location was Namahn’s wonderful office place. I’ve never really seen myself as a UX person, but my research for the last 30 months highlighted a few thoughts that could worth working on. In fact, what I used to call DICoDE – the future (middle one here) gathers most of what I talked about.

I start the presentation highlighting the difference between machines and human beings: we dream. We also assembled machines to execute repetitive and detailed tasks that we find boring. We also realized they are actually capable of executing tasks that are very painful or impossible for us to do. They’re better than us for these tasks. But they will never beat us on imagination or creativity!
I focus on 1 particular type of machines: computers. Throughout the years and decades, we saw a few technological evolutions for (personal) computers:

  • Space needed for storage and power/battery, as soon as we started making them mobile, diminishes with the time. And when we found a perfect form factor, we make them thinner, so that only the screen is left visible (look at smartphones and tablets)
  • Computing power increases significantly. According to Carved Mead and Gordon Moore, doubling every 18 months
  • Some elements disappeared (I’ll come back to this) like the keyboard and the mouse
  • Connectivity and Cloud Computing delegate storage and computing power tasks to distant servers

We can see that these key elements are located at the core of DICoDE, leaving content (and its aggregation) on one end, and the software on the other side.
And if you consider that content (aggregated or not), storage, connectivity, computing power, software and data are all being taken care of, mostly in the Cloud, you have a definition for Service!

These changes triggered the fact that we made the devices more mobile, more easy to carry around, thinner, beside the fact that they are more capable. It means that we found ways to make the device increasingly smaller, up to, following MIT’s 6th Sense project that replaces the screen by a projector/camera combo, having the device vanishing into the Cloud, converging into the real world. How? Let’s see…

If we look at it in a User-Experience perspective, we notice that the Human-Computer Interface paradigm also evolved! Starting with punch cards, moving towards a keyboard and text based (DOS) paradigm that quickly, thanks to Xerox PARC and Apple’s Mac, moved to the GUI that most computers still use today.

If we look at current’s evolutions, in the Post PC era as broadly called, we notice that the interface between the human and the computer is changing. No more mouse, no more stylus, no more physical keyboard. And the interface is much more intuitive that what Windows CE proposed… All this because it is based on Natural User Interface elements: natural touch, natural language (for Siri and upcoming mainstream intelligent assistants), gesture (Microsoft Kinect, improving game console UX initiated by the Nintendo Wii)…

So, where are we heading to if the device disappears? I believe in the concept of Augmented Objects. AO says that traditional objects (a lamp, a car, a kitchen table, a fridge… or even a thermostat, like Nest just did) can, thanks to new capabilities in terms of data storage, computing power and connectivity, accomplish new tasks. The purpose is to use these capabilities offered by Ubicomp (ubiquitous/pervasive computing), inside the object or (partly) delegated to the Cloud to achieve new purposes, aligned with new problems, expectations, usages of the user. To illustrate this, I like to take the example of the Swiss Knife.
Mobile is often called the Modern Swiss Knife. Indeed, it gathers so many sensors and features, as well as new roles via apps that this comparison is very right. But do you use your Swiss Knife when you eat in a restaurant? Do you use it if you need to cut a tree? The Swiss Knife Stage of the Mobile Computer (known as Smartphone) is just a step towards bringing back roles to the objects that were/are/will specifically be designed for it. After convergence of the worlds has been achieved, we need to diverge roles back to their “original” object.

Adding this (Augmented) Object dimension to the Service defined earlier in this post, you have a definition for Experience!

To conclude, here are the 3 take-aways of my presentation:

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Disrupt Yourself! Really?

Note: this post is not related to the excellent paper from Harvard Business Review: Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson which tackles more Personal Development. A choice I initiated 2 years ago, starting this project.

The more I pitch my project of creating the Innovation Strategy Consulting structure of the Future, the more I realize there are 2 ways forward and 2 kind of companies to help. Either we help existing established companies to make the move towards the New World, either we help New Entrants to disrupt these Ecosystems-Formerly-Known-As-Businesses.

I love the first approach because it means getting back to the roots, to the values, to the beliefs, to the identity of an established corporation and re-thinking it in the New World. It means getting back this “perverted by the passing time” passion that animated the founders to empower it with today’s tools. Lately, I had discussions with people from Mobility, NGO and Education who feel lost, unadapted to the outside world and who would like to find the keys to continue their mission. These emerging projects could be the base of the Network of Passionate Innovators I’d like to gather.
I believe that this approach of re-empowering existing traditional corporations and helping them re-find a balance can be achieved following 2 different paths: inside the company or outside the company, like people at Activate suggest in this wonderful presentation (Redefiners) on Media:

Change being lead outside the company can seem like the easiest, or the only possible solution. Still, I believe companies, with involvement from the Top Management, can transform themselves from the inside too.

Helping New Entrants (that are not emerging from existing established organizations) is a thrill. No legacy, no inheritance… But no soul neither and the risk to only interest Innovators or Early Adopters. So, sometimes, an exit is the Business Model and there’s no Purpose in the enterprise. This is the boundary I would like not to cross myself…

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