Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

How will owners of Intellectual Property cope with the era of big and open data?

November 11, 2012 1 comment

The concept of Intellectual Property (IP) is well proven as a powerful incentive that drives creativity and innovation, but it is increasingly being challenged by a highly connected world, particularly in all aspects of digital information and content life-cycle  To further complicate matters, rapid changes in the enabling technology / triggers are only likely to increase or accelerate, and according to Gartner, some of these developments, (e.g. Big Data, Cloud, Mobile & Social) have combined to produce a paradigm shift in the way we do business.  Such worrisome trends are only exacerbated by the fact that IP sits right in the middle of it all.


The IP Puzzle

The IP Puzzle

Surprisingly, not many decision makers appear to understand, or are willing to discuss, how such developments affect their business, particularly with regards to information assets and IP. Is it too early for any meaningful dialogue? Are the impacts unlikely to be anything major, (i.e. compared to the other trends), or are business leaders far too busy facing harsh economic realities to focus on this too? The respective answers are no, yes and probably. However, the impact will be anything but trivial, when you consider just how tightly IP is interwoven with all such developments. Some of the high-level intersections between IP and technology trends are:

IP and the Cloud – Key implications for IP, (aside from relevant cloud technology patents), are related to access and use of data held within the cloud, as well as the services they power.

IP and Social Media – Social media is the product of all interactions between individuals in a social network, including all information created, modified, exchanged and shared between the members. Such content, their usage, and user behaviours, have huge implications for IP.

IP and Mobility – Mobility is the ability to access to information and other resources, through a mobile device, without restriction of a fixed location. Key implications for IP include unauthorised access to / use of location dependent material (e.g. territorial rights over copyright content).

IP and Big Data / Open Data – Data and information arguably have the most implication for IP, especially since digital data is both raw material and output / enabler of the information age (e.g. all IP is ultimately reducible to digital data, including the often controversial software IP). Data permeates and binds all the other technology and behaviour trends mentioned above, and reflects all their IP implications.

IP and Litigation – Following the recent spate of patent lawsuits between several large technology companies, it has become clear that IP is now regarded as a crucial weapon by some. According to a recent BBC news article, serious attempts are being made to address “an unwelcome trend in today’s marketplace to use standard-essential patents to block markets”. The cost and impact of such ‘weaponised IP’ litigation is basically stifling innovation, and goes against the key sentiment and objective of IP.


Top 5 things enterprise decision makers need to keep in mind

  1. The motivations and interests of 5 key IP stakeholder groups (i.e. the creative, technology, commercial, legislative and consumer stakeholders). No group is completely independent of the others; therefore a balanced approach is required for all IP related decisions.
  2. Need to create and communicate clear enterprise policies for IP, Social Media, Cloud, Mobility and Data
  3. The much desired real-time enterprise requires certain key elements to be in place, including: self-service BI (e.g. data mashups), event driven architecture (incl. Complex Event Processing), analytics and data discovery, as well as contextual capabilities (incl. location based services), and cloud computing. In all cases, early consideration of IP implications is crucial.
  4. The key to digital transformation and architecture, in a fast moving dynamic environment, may be found in alignment with constant business model innovation. The architecture of such an organisation, (incl. process and technology), must become more dynamic if it is to provide any sustainable value.
  5. In the brave new world, the customer comes first, and IP becomes the ‘value’ centre of the enterprise (rather than the products or services it is used to drive), whilst the business model flexes and changes as needed to accommodate those dynamics.

In conclusion, digital trends appear to suggest that mere products and services will no longer be sufficient differentiators in a digital world with ever diminishing barriers to entry. It ultimately boils down to a question of how, and not what, you create and deliver to your customers. Either way, data / Information and IP will continue to play a fundamental role in the entire digital value system.

Note: The above post is adapted from an article which is submitted and due for publication by the BCS Chartered Institute for IT.


The Innovative Art of Business Model Generation

July 1, 2011 1 comment

Simplify and facilitate. In my opinion, this should be a key principle for any modern business operating in the Internet age. It really baffles me to see many so called business models that appear to be doing just the opposite. Well, the remedy is close to hand, in form of a novel approach to business modelling using something called a Business Model Canvas.  

Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas (

The business model canvas, as shown in the above template, is a tool that allows you to create high-impact, visual models of your business, (or any other business for that matter), on a single sheet of paper (or any other suitable surface or medium – ranging from the storied paper napkin to an iPad). At the heart of any business is the ultimate, bottom line, question of profitability (i.e. how much it costs versus how much it makes), but it is often not that easy to understand the other key aspects that make a business work; at least not in such a straightforward manner as the single sheet canvas allows .

The great thing about the Business Model Canvas is the comprehensive way in which it can describe a business, by breaking it down into nine key components (including cost and revenues) as follows:

  • Key Partners
  • Key Activities
  • Key Resources
  • Value Proposition
  • Customer Relationship
  • Customer Channels
  • Customer Segments
  • Cost
  • Revenue

Furthermore, this is not a stand-alone tool. Even though it may be simple enough for anyone with a little common sense to use the canvas to describe innovative business models, the canvas is part of what I can only describe as a multi-publishing project which includes: the website, the book (click here to see my review of same), an iPad App, and a thriving community of experts and users, many of whom had direct input to the content in those products and channels.

I’m not normally one to be effusive in praise of anything, but in this case, the proof is overwhelming that the clarity and immediacy this canvas brings to describing any business can only be matched by the screaming urgency of need for such a tool. Anything that helps to accelerate the creation, articulation and / or understanding of any modern day business model can only be a good thing in my book.

So who should use this tool?

In my opinion, the Business Model Canvas should be a mandatory tool for business leaders (i.e. CxOs), entrepreneurs, financiers (e.g. business angels / venture capital / private equity), strategists and consultants, as well as any business school curricula. You could say that I am sold on this concept, not only because I have read and reviewed the book, (and even used the App to create and analyse new and existing business models), but also because I feel the need to discuss it here. But don’t take my word for it – try it out for yourself – what’s more, it’s also free to use, share and remix the canvas under a Creative Commons License! What more could anyone ask?

Dragons and Gurus Talk Innovation and Entrepreneurship

October 22, 2009 Leave a comment

What does a BBC Dragon, a Lateral Thinking Guru and our UK CTO & Innovations Czar have in common? Well, a British Computer Society event on Entrepreneurship and Innovation for one thing, and who better to talk about said topics than real practitioners, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Last night, at the British Computer Society venue in London’s West End, the audience and organizers of this event were treated to a frankly inspiring discourse on what it means to be an entrepreneur and innovator, even in these days of economic woe. The speakers were each able to focus on a specific aspect of the event theme, and by so doing provided good coverage of the topics, specifically:

  •  Dragons and Gurus Talk Innovation and EntrepreneurshipJulie Meyer (Venture Capitalist and BBC Dragon), talked about entrepreneurship and what it takes to become successful especially in tough times. Her personal experiences and involvement with early stage start-ups painted a clear picture of the qualities required to grow and thrive as an entrepreneur
  • Paul%20Sloane sm Dragons and Gurus Talk Innovation and EntrepreneurshipPaul Sloane (Author and Lateral Thinking Guru), came on last minute as a surprise guest speaker, and he delivered an entertaining but insightful look into the mindset of those people that have successfully driven change through innovation and entrepreneurship. He should know – Paul is a successful author on innovation and lateral thinking with over 2 million books sold
  • Dave%20Pepperell%20v02 sm Dragons and Gurus Talk Innovation and EntrepreneurshipDave Pepperell (UK CTO and Innovations Czar) delivered a masterclass on Capgemini’s approach to innovation, and he described how to engage and harness the combined creativity of the talented people within the organization, and how clients can accelerate innovatiion via Rapid Design and Visualisation, as previously described on this blog

This excellent cast of speakers touched on the full spectrum of innovation and entrepreneurship, and had something for everyone. It also prompted a key discussion about how individual innovation and entrepreneurship might apply within a corporate environment; especially in a changing business landscape where the people-formerly-known-as-employees are starting to see themselves more as their own brand, (e.g. on Blogs, Facebook and Twitter).
I wonder if this isn’t just a precursor to the next big disruptor of the business world. Who knows, perhaps the next generation of workers might start to demand IP or equity in exchange for their creative labour; now won’t that be something?

Leadership in tough times

December 7, 2008 Leave a comment

The recent Leaders in London event brought together some great business leaders (e.g. Jack Welch & Muhammad Yunus) and inspired speakers (e.g. Rudy Giuliani & Carly Fiorina) to share their thoughts on the main topic du-jour for most CxOs, i.e. how to lead their organization through the current economic crises.

This two day event, chaired by author / business guru, Rene Carayol, succeeded in delivering immense value to attendees, (ranging from newly minted MBAs to seasoned CEOs), and included additional master-class days by business thought leaders like Dan Pink and Daniel Goleman. Key messages from my attendance on day two includes:

  • The former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, emphasized that the role of leadership in times of crises was about motivating people, fostering & recognizing teamwork, and remaining visibly present and optimistic even during the toughest of times.
  • Legendary CEO, Jack Welch, gave a moderated interview / Q&A session, (via satellite link), with his classic forthright opinion on a variety of topics e.g.: the current economic crisis (a breakdown in the financial industry); management theory (only pundits think new management models are the answer); and emerging markets like Nigeria (challenged young leaders to change the game). I could not resist asking if there were any applicable lessons to be learnt from the recording industry’s own crises. His answer: It was caused by technology innovation; therefore need to respond with innovation, in the business model.
  • Richard Reed, Co-Founder of Innocent Drinks, described their journey from start-up to becoming a successful company with firm values of fun, sustainability and focus on doing one thing well.
  • Inspirational leadership helped retired US Naval Commander, Captain Michael Abrashoff, to turn his ship from the worst to best performing ship in the US Pacific fleet. His mantra: give up control, achieve command.
  • Prof. Vijay Govindarajan (Tuck Business School) stated that organizational strategies should be focused on creating “next practice”, and not adopting current best practice. Also that strategy architecture should address five key areas of: non-linear shifts, strategic intent, core competencies, growth playbook and new competencies
  • According to Prof. Gary Hamel, (London Business School), management has stopped evolving and most companies now have more or less the same management models. His hierarchy of desirable management outcomes covers traditional qualities like: Obedience, Diligence and Intellect, as well as the emerging need to inspire Initiative, Creativity and Passion in employees.

Overall, this was one heck of an event, even if only for the quality of invited speakers, but the key message from most of the sessions I attended was about the critical value of inspiration and motivation as the best way for leaders to engage people into delivering above and beyond the call of duty, particularly in these most turbulent of times.


Note: Originally posted on Capgemini’s Technology blog.  You can see the original post, including comments, at: