Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

I’m a big fan of Disclosing New Worlds by Charles Spinosa, Fernando Flores and Hubert Dreyfus. Its practice perspective, rooted in Dreyfus’ reading of Heidegger, is complementary to the social theory of Pierre Bourdieu, who provides a foundation for the research into communities of practice by Etienne Wenger and John Seely Brown.

Thus, I was thrilled to read an article by Peter J. Denning and Robert Dunham on “Innovation as Language Action” in Communications of the ACM. (To make the social network link, Dunham was at BDA with Flores). This article appeared in a special issue on “Two Decades of the Language-Action Perspective“.

Working from the conclusion to the article, Denning & Dunham make the main claims that:

  • Innovation occurs when a group or community adopts a new practice.
  • Invention and innovation are two different skill sets.
  • The language-action perspective helped identify seven practices that constitute the innovation skill set.
  • Anyone can learn the innovation skill by mastering the seven personal practices. [p. 52]

I like the first three claims, but have some reservations on the fourth!

Denning & Dunham are helpful to clarifying innovation research by making the distinction between theoretical, empirical and generative frameworks:

December 17th, 2006

Posted In: by David Ing, innovation, practices

The spam filters into IBM seem pretty good, so I don’t get nearly as much spam as on my private e-mail IDs. Today, I opened a message in my inbox that I thought might be spam. It generated a return receipt, and since I unfortunately wasn’t in “island” mode, a message got returned to the spammer that I had opened the note.

I’m relatively savvy on spam deterrence. I maintain multiple e-mail addresses as personas. (I learned this from my sons. These are ways of maintaining gradients of intimacy). Some e-mail addresses are redirection IDs, so at least I know where I’m getting spam generated from. Thus, I annoyed myself on contributing to increasing my own spam.

I found a solution on Rocky Oliver’s “Lotus Geek” blog. In the mid-1990s, I was working around Lotus Notes a lot, and got training to the level of a Notes 4 developer. (This was certainly a benefit of having some amount of corporate training!) I haven’t kept up my Notes coding skills, but the instructions to modify an Inbox template using Domino Designer took me less than 5 minutes to implement.

December 13th, 2006

Posted In: by David Ing, web tools

Tags: , , ,

In the first week of September, I was in Finland to launch the Master’s Degree in International Service Business Management at Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia. Here’s what the instructor’s view looks like.


The classes for this one-year program run on Thursday and Fridays, with all of the lectures front-loaded into the fall. Since I don’t live in Finland, I installed Drupal as a content management system, and have been communicating with the students at a distance.

December 6th, 2006

Posted In: blogging, by David Ing, services, universities

Should a blog reflect more than one persona?

Last week, I had practically written an obituary for this website, and was planning on integrating my personas on the blog at Reversing myself (as I’ve done before), I’ve decided that it makes more sense to maintain a professional persona (of interest to business thinkers) in addition to my non-work persona. There’s two motivations for this.

December 3rd, 2006

Posted In: blogging, by David Ing

If you’re checking out the dates on this blog, you’ll note a long … gap between entries. After consultation with my blogging partners, Doug and Martin, we’ve decided to formally wind down the blog … at least for now. I’ll retain the domain name and probably leave the entries to date accessible for posterity, but will be more active elsewhere on the Internet.

If you’d like to leave comments on the entries on this blog, I’ll still accept them. You can check out my personal blog at if you’re okay with stream-of-consciousness writing, but for more in-depth content, sign up for an ID at to follow the two-year Finnish research project on innovation. If you’re really far out on the adoption curve, you might have a better chance of catching Doug on Second Life, maybe on Almaden Island! was an experiment initiated by myself, with Doug and Martin game to try it out.

November 25th, 2006

Posted In: blogging, by David Ing

Tags: , , ,

Since I had already planned to be in Finland for educational purposes, I had offered Juha Hulkkonen (country manager for IBM Global Business Services) some of my time for purposes that might help the company. He asked me to coordinate with Jyrgi Koskinen, who has a more formal role in university relations for IBM in Finland. In addition to lecturing in the afternoon on research that I’m likely to publish over the next year or so, I was asked to give a morning lecture on SSME (Services Science, Management and Engineering) at a Friday morning coffee gathering at the IBM office.

I had seen Jim Spohrer give a version of this talk at the ISSS conference in Cancun last July, and then stepped up as a last-minute speaker on SSME at the IT Strategy Consulting conference in Toronto a few weeks ago. After more than a year of seeing similar presentations based on Jim’s slides, I wasn’t comfortable in presenting that content at IBM Finland. Firstly, Jim’s presentation is deep, and I only had 30 minutes with a casual audience. Secondly, Jim’s presentation is targeted more at universities and researchers, and my audience would likely be management consultants, technical services professionals, and some sales personnel. I decided to customize my own version of the presentation.

May 5th, 2006

Posted In: by David Ing, services