Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Resurrecting a persona for business

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 daviding.com. 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.

Redirecting energies

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 daviding.com if you’re okay with stream-of-consciousness writing, but for more in-depth content, sign up for an ID at rendez.org 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!

Coevolving.com was an experiment initiated by myself, with Doug and Martin game to try it out.

Why service practitioners should care about SSME

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.

Although I definitely have academic research interests, I am a management consultant, and understand the perspective of “why should I care”? I had spoken with Jim before leaving on this trip, and he said that SSME isn’t something that will happen overnight, but it would be rewarding to see the educational system change over a 3-to-10 year horizon.… Read more (in a new tab)

Lecturing at an automotive engineering class at Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia

Following on from David Hawk‘s practice, I’ve continued to lecture at the Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia for the past 3 years when I’ve been visiting Finland. On this visit, I was able to draw on some of the work presented a few weeks earlier at the IT Strategy Consulting conference in Toronto.

I lecture in Ritva Laamanen‘s classes, which are designed for Finnish undergraduate students to pick up greater English fluency that will advance their professional capabilities. The sections that I teach vary. I’ve spoken with business students (easy), and software engineering students (a snap). Since I’ve been studying and working in those domains on the order of 20-plus years, it’s second nature for me to pick some subject that has relevance to the current business climate and to students’ interests. My goal actually isn’t to lecture, as much as it is to encourage students to speak up and practice their English. On my visit last November, I spoke to a class working their way through an English operating system textbook (uggh!) on my personal history with operating system. This included being one of the first IBMers to work with Metaphor Computer Systems, participating in the OS/2 Warp beta, and observing the evolution of Patriot Partners into Taligent. On another lecture with the Stadia Formula Engineering Team has prepared for competitions in Detroit, I’ve spoken on Canadian and U.S. geography and cultural differences. Relevance is important to maintaining interest.… Read more (in a new tab)

IT Strategy Consulting conference, Toronto

Consistent with IBM’s direction on innovation, the Global (IT) Technology Strategy community of IBM Global Business Services held a two-day even in the Toronto area. After four months of planning, about 120 IBMers convened at the Toronto Lab at 8200 Warden (actually in Markham). Although this internal conference was named the “IT Strategy Master Class”, it was in fact a pilot for a series of IBM events.

The theme of “Business Innovation through IT Strategy” brought together IBM consultants from Canada, the United States, Europe (UK, Netherlands, Germany) and Asia (Japan, China). The approach was not to “invent” a program, but, in the belief that innovation occurs by practitioners at work within a community, request content from practitioners that they themselves believe is exciting and leading edge. From over 100 submissions, 20 breakout sessions were selected. Wrapped around the breakouts were some keynote speakers that provided big picture insight.

  • Mark Behrsin, Global Leader, IBM Technology Strategy Consulting, framed the meeting as responding to the needs expressed in the Global CEO Study 2006, recently released. CEOs are focusing on three imperatives: to grow (i.e. products, services and markets), to improve (operations and efficiency), and to transform (business and enterprise models).
  • Paul Johnston, from Kennedy Information, is forecast growth in IT Strategy consulting from 2006 through 2008 (as a recovery from the post-dot-bomb trough). IBM is a leader in the marketplace in a 2×2 matrix of “Using Innovation for Competitive Advantage” (i.e.
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Requirements … or … dreams?

This blogging area is about coevolution, and specifically coevolution of technology and culture. OK, maybe we haven’t said that so explicitly, but that is the larger process that would include coevolution of technology and business, or technology and work, or technology and enterprise.

How much of this is really about “requirements” at all? The definitions of requirements, as Martin has pointed out, are so dry and pedestrian. Requirements may be compulsory, requirements may be needs.

I like to think that much of what we do, even in business applications of technology, is about desires. Or, in the words of one of our IBM colleagues Sukanya Patwardhan, maybe it is about dreams.

What is it that gets right to the heart of what a user of technology aspires to? What can fulfill their human desires for success? How does this trace back to the levels of the Maslow hierarchy, from physiological survival to psychological actualization?

In a services world, like the one we live in (like the one we have always lived in even when fixated on the product-oriented industrial miracle), the fulfillment of dreams is an endless cascade of services. At some basic point there are people fulfilling their desires for influence, aesthetic satisfaction, or more basic survival and power. Almost none of this is “required” in any meaningful sense. Almost of all of this, however, is perfectly valid from the point of view of human beings embedded in their cultural environment, pursuing their most deeply felt dreams of success.… Read more (in a new tab)

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