Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nokia World: Geoffrey Moore on "Dealing with Darwin"

Famous innovation thinker Geoffrey "Crossing the Chasm" Moore gave a lightspeed presentation about some of his more recent innovation ideas, which he has put in his book - Dealing with Darwin. Here are my raw notes:

In today's market: innovation is the key to differentiation. Dialogue around innovation has not been very articulate. Signal to noise ratio is often high with unfocused innovation.

Four new ideas about innovation:
Return on Innovation
Innovation Strategy
Funding Innovaiton
Perpetuating Innovation

Return on Innovation
Innovate to achieve competitive separation from the market.Choice is innovate or get marginalized. Vector of innovation that will set the organization is on track to be separated from the competitors, is CORE. Every other form of innovation is context. Rule for CORE is to be beyond good.

Core competence is different - it is what you are definitely good at. But that is often also what other people to. It's not core business either. It's going to have small revenues to start with.

Return on innovaion results from:
Positive returns: Differentiation (CORE), Neutralization (catching up the leader), Productivity (efficiency)
Negative returns: Failed attempts; Waste (projects that even if they succeed fail to create sustainable competitive advantage). Customers love "waste" - they get genuine innovation for free.
1. Identify a vector of differentiaton
2. Define all other work as context
3. Commit to beyond class outcomes

Innovation strategy
We should not just throw things at the wall. A key to this will be to decide where is the market that you are in in terms of its Maturity Life Cycle. Innovation is different in different parts.
Product Leadership > Customer Intimacy & Operational Excellence Zones > Category Renewal.

Innovating in Growth markets:
1. Disruptive innovation (new category)
2. Application innovation (applying applications in new markets)
3. Product innovation (outperforms competitors)
4. Platform innovation (Google, APIs etc) - this has been the most economically powerful

Innovating in Mature markets: (customer intimacy)
1. Line extension innovation (P&G)
2. Enhancement innovation (Apple)
3. Marketing innovation (Nike iD)
4. Experiential innovation (Cirque du Soeil)

Innovating in Mature markets: (op excellence)
1. Value engineering (Ryanair)
2. Integration (SAP)
3. Process innovation (Dell)
4. Value migration (IBM - products to services)

All of these different innovations require different people.

- Pick a small number of innovation vectors for core - ideally one
- Drive performance beyond category norms
- Declare all other forms of innovation context

The kind of person who they hire at Dell is someone who likes process, and Apple they would like design, even if they work in HR or finance.

Funding Innovation
Nowadays people don't want to give you money to innovate. They want you to cut costs. The key to finding the money is to look to the context. Resources get trapped in Context issues, such as voice and not into the new core (e.g. social networking). "Coins in the couch" extract resources from context to repurpose for Core. Sometimes painful to get this cash but it is important.

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Four phases: invent, deploy, manager, ofload

The problem is that there is nobody in place to deploy the graduating core issues that move from non-mission critical to mission critical. How to solve the problem with the resources getting stuck (top right) box? Six Levers:
1. Centralize: single authority to reduce costs and create single decision making authority. New individual will make everybody angy. Profile of this person: Neofascist.
2. Standardize
3. Modularize: Deceonsruct
4. Optimize: Eliminate redundant steps
5 .Instrument: Quality control, SLA
6. Outsource

Problem is that people leaving the context issues do not have the right skills to go back to the innovaiton. The answer - work is moving clockwise, and people move counter clockwise.

People's profile roles:
- Optimizers (quadrant 3&4):
- Deployers (quadrant 2&3): these people do mission critical things for a living
- Innovators (quadrant 1&2):

Executives role is to manage the handoffs between the different types of people.

Summary of growing human capital:
- Focus on bulding role expertise
- Avoid overvaluing task expertise
- Be cautious about asking people to change roles.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nokia World: OPK: Just call me Mr Internet

The two themes that dominated CEO OPK's presentation were "Internet", followed closely by "consumer benefits". In line with Keith Pardy's evocative description in the introduction of our vision to 'connect people with what matters to them', this first keynote was a fairly powerful message (to customers, partners and I suspect employees themselves) that the Internet is now a fundamental bedrock of the company's strategy going forward.

A smattering of stats shows that this game (which is still being called "mobile internet" but needs a bette name) has only just started. By end 2006 *only* 41% of people globally will own a mobile phone and *only* 13% will use them to connect to Internet. However, 1.3m new subscribers are joining a day (that's 15 per second) and most of these will be in emerging markets. Nokia now expects 3bn subscriptions to be reached by 2007 and 4bn by 2010, powered by selling almost 1bn phones (970m) this year. Conecting this idea - that the new growth is from developing markets, together with our Internet vision (OPK calls it "the third wave" of the Internet) is extremely motivating for me personally -- how much more interesting than downloading ringtones to spoilt kids?

On a less substantive level, I couldn't help being amused by the megawats of blaring music and funky video clips of leaping parkour hipsters that signalled his arrival on stage and interstitials. For all his many talents, OPK's USP is not exactly "youthful cool" - he admitted as much when talking about how David Bowie - the front man for the new Music Recommender Service - is one of his generation's heroes. So maybe his handlers are seeking to redefine his positioning, in line with that Internet thing? OPK meaning Oh Par Kour? What next, trainers, rollneck jumpers and a ponytail? I wouldn't bother. Shifting a couple of hundred million phones a year takes a fairly firm hand on the tiller and good delegation skills, so OPK's no-nonsense, not that cool approach works for me.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Nokia World: Counting down to quite a party

[I've been asked to be an 'official Nokia blogger' at the forthcoming Nokia World blog in Amsterdam on 28&29 November. Will cross-post those posts to this blog too.]

Despite having been at Nokia three years, this is my first time attending what used to be known as NMC (Nokia Mobility Conference) and I'm looking forward to what promises to be quite a spectacle.

This joint blog idea is a new innovation - bringing together internals and external bloggers, and I guess we'll just have to see how it works. One issue could be multiple people posting about the same thing - I guess it's First to Post wins?

Anyway, in that spirit, here's a quick post with some thoughts about the event, before it's kicked off and we're in Frenzy mode. Impressions so far are good - the speaker lineup includes not only our top people announcing new&shiny things but some thoughtfully chosen externals such as Clive Anderson, Bruce Mau and Geoffrey Moore. They'll no doubt add some colourful perspectives to the 'consumer insight' agenda.


The logistics and technology seems promsing - who doesn't love Amsterdam?, and the ability to create your own personalized agenda and display this on your phone is cute, and works well. (This kind of functionality IMO can actually justify Flash on websites, which otherwise destroys 'linkability').

The third thing, and if I'm honest, what I expect to be the highlight, is the party on Wed evening; these are legendary. So expect light posting on Thursday morning.

As I'm just hitting Post I got a call from Oliver who's just arrived at Schipol and as excited as ever -- so it now really feels like the party is finally starting to kick off.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Apple can sleep soundly in Chicago

Chicago SunTimes' Andy Ihnatko takes his gloves off in reviewing Zune:

Yes, Microsoft's new Zune digital music player is just plain dreadful. I've spent a week setting this thing up and using it, and the overall experience is about as pleasant as having an airbag deploy in your face. "Avoid," is my general message. The Zune is a square wheel, a product that's so absurd and so obviously immune to success that it evokes something akin to a sense of pity.

You'll find that the Zune Planet orbits the music industry's Bizarro World, where users aren't allowed to do anything that isn't in the industry\'s direct interests.


Result: The Zune will be dead and gone within six months. Good riddance.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Nokia web2mobile competition

I rather like the title, and the motivation behind this event, launched to coincide with new Nokia Research Center location opened up in Palo Alto. I visited it 2 weeks ago - very chic, and a stone's throw from Stanford Uni.

Monday, November 20, 2006

MARA: Filtering real world via the screen

Technology Review: Hyperlinking Reality via Phones

From Technology Review:

A Nokia research project could one day make it easier to navigate the real world by superimposing virtual information on an image of your surroundings. The new software, called Mobile Augmented Reality Applications (MARA), is designed to identify objects viewed on the screen of a camera phone. The Nokia research team has demonstrated a prototype phone equipped with MARA software and the appropriate hardware: a global positioning system (GPS), an accelerometer, and a compass. The souped-up phone is able to identify restaurants, hotels, and landmarks and provide Web links and basic information about these objects on the phone's screen. In addition, says David Murphy, an engineer at Nokia Research Center, in Helsinki, Finland, who works on the project, the system can also be used to find nearby friends who have phones with GPS and the appropriate software.

Kudos to David - this is a project that deserves to be picked up and generate some real excitement. Less about the technology though, this seems to be more about what kind of alternative reality do we use to populate this information? With the 3d physical world, there's only one thing allowed in any one place. But multiple different databases in the virtual world will just fragment things. One thing is clear however, no proprietary solution will succeed here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

No dotmobi love songs from Opera

Opera CEO says DotMobi is a 'total waste of time', according to,

Von Tetzchner thinks that's stupid. He told me that the site and the browser
should work together to present Web content optimized for whatever device you're
using. "There should be one Internet," he says. "What if you're using another
device? Should we have .gameconsole? .car? .fridge? .plane? We don't need .mobi
at all." Besides, he says, "There are capabilities for sites to query the
browser to figure out exactly what you're using. That's a much more elegant
solution than having the user choose which site to go to."

I'm generally a one-web techno optimist, but there are a lot of people who have been very successful, and arguably delivered lots of value by being pragmatic. Many of us have written off the ringtone market each year for the past few years, as it continues its meteoric rise, and is now worth billions. But that's dumb we say, we could easily rip our own ring tones. Same with iTunes - who would pay for music, when it's free on P2P? Well, having just bought another song on iTunes this morning, I guess I'm proof that even the techno optimists can be targets for short term pragmatism, which is what I think is the key to dotMobi.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

So this is what Marko's been up to

Former colleague and head of design strategy for Nokia Marko Ahtisaari left a few weeks ago, and has now re-emerged in this interesting sounding startup:

Blyk is a pan-European free mobile operator for young people, funded by advertising. We're launching first in the UK market in mid-2007, with other markets to follow.
Blyk is an innovative mobile media channel for advertisers. We offer brands an opportunity for direct engagement with a young audience with real-time feedback.
Blyk has been in development since January 2006. As we are now finalizing our offering with our UK brand partners, we feel the time is right to go public on Blyk.

Doesn't say much, apart from ticking the right jargon-filled boxes (free, advertising, media, youth) but I like the team, and what I see so far. Will watch with interest.