July edition – 3 Innovation Ideas – Any takers?

innovation headIdeas are just ideas until you start working on them to transform them into real projects. So here are some of the ideas that have been going through my head. Some of them are probably rubbish or already done, but if you think an idea is worthwhile exploring more and you are interested to develop it further then let’s discuss. Eventually, I am looking for like minded people, that could help develop the idea. I hope to write down a few new ideas every month or two. If the idea is good and gets traction, then it would make sense to explore it further in a hackathon or through a kickstarter project. Have your say, comments most welcome!

1 – Multi-media center and home content aggregation – Can’t we do better?

Content storage, streaming and the multi-media center market are probably quite cluttered already, but frankly I am surprised nobody has come up with something better than what is available on the market. ITunes, AppleTV are great from a user experience perspective, but are pretty closed eco-systems. It is cumbersome to add content that is not on apple devices and still to get the same user experience. It usually starts with the problem of linking all devices to some kind of hub, being it protocols or authentication issues, I feel we are today constrained by closed eco-systems.  Second is the issue of the digital library presentation. I believe it should be possible to do a much better job at automatically sorting and structuring your digital library. Too much manual job involved. Just take the example of adding album and DVD covers to your itunes library, what a nightmare! Is it that difficult to dynamically add a few websites, where you can search for album or DVD covers? As long as your search for US content you are OK, but try to find the cover for a french movie or an italian music album you will not get that far with what’s built-in, and while Amazon is a good source of info, it is not enough. I want to add local sites that have usually much more regional content available. Same applies to content reviews? Where do you get the reviews from? Here also you should be able to select where the reviews are from, probably also taking language into consideration. I think a great improvement would be to use an approach like wordpress does for blogging or paper.li, for content curating, where you basically dynamically structure the way your portal should look like and your content should be filtered and presented. You will say, not everybody is tech savvy, but that is where you can leverage on the “Alpha” users, which could explore various ways of rendering for a local community, then share these settings with rest of community. I believe there is an opportunity for an open-source project to develop something really useful and the base is maybe already available (I am thinking XBMC or similar) .

2- Crowd sourcing revisited

I love the idea of crowd sourcing, since it brings a lot of like mind people together.  Betting on innovation idea is great to get community involvement. What I feel is missing, and that makes me sometimes a bit reluctant in participating, is how much do you actually know of the team behind a kickstarter project? Adding some kind of social influence information, like linkedin  recommendations or klout score could help get a better idea about the team members. Similarly I think information about the skill sets required and skills available in the team could help in the assessment. Another possible development with crowd-sourcing is to combine the actual financing of the project with the team build-up phase.  I see this type of approach already used in hackathons, but I believe it could benefit also to integrate these early stage needs  in the crowd sourcing platform.

Beside the  financing aspects and people’s contribution, I believe a crowd sourcing platform could also include other resource types required for a successful  project setup. Here I am thinking about computing resources or office space, but anything valuable for a project could be included, like coaching, marketing or sales support.

The idea would then be to provide an opensource platform, where you crowd-source pretty much everything and throughout all stages of an innovation project.

3 – Social media community manager – Twitter Circles?

For those of you heavily engaged with social media like twitter, linkedin, google+, instagram, you will probably agree with me that it becomes increasingly difficult to manage all you connections without proper tools. Yet, many of the tools available on the market have serious limitations in the way they manage the community connections. Personnally I have tried two tools, SocialBro, which I use on a daily basis, as well as Hootsuite. Both of them are great, and serve slightly different purposes but are not necessarily efficient. Here are or two functions I would like to see to manage twitter for instance. When searching for new followers, it would make sense for instance (instead of searching the whole twitter user base and filter on keywords) to have mechanims to search followers and friends of people you already follow or search their lists. So in a sense introduce a closeness function, similar to what you have in linkedin. Another function I am missing and that has to do with timezones in a sesne is that we are all active at different times of the day, so I would like to be able to filter based on who has been active for the last few hours. There are may more search criteria that one could implement to better manage communities.  I think also a graphical representation would help in that process. Another limitation of current tools is that they limit themselves to processing multiple streams, but without adding much intelligence on top. Wouldn’t it be good to know how much commonality you have with an other person across skills, social networks and interests? I think there is an opportunity to develop a tool that provides more value to community, and it think a good start would be to develop it for twitter first.

OK, so now I have started publishing my first set of thoughts, let’s just hope that the landing is not too brutal and that nobody responds. Looking forward to your feedback.

Have you heard of tweet seats? Reconnecting with digital natives

tweet_seats_verona Apparently this is already a trend in the US, but it is the first I came across this usage of social media in Europe. The Arena of Verona announced a couple of weeks ago that it would provide discounted seats for people willing to tweet about the live performance they are watching at the Arena. This is an attempt to connect to the younger generations who are always connected and that might not be possible to reach with traditional media. The Arena wants to achieve two objectives with this: one is to reach out to the younger audiences but also to leverage on the viral effect we can get through social communities.The seats are well located in front of the stage so that the phone emitted light is not disturbing the actors and the tickets are attractively priced at 10 Euros. I hope there is no age limit, since I will certainly try to get one of these tickets during my next stay in Italy.

I guess the ultimate objective with this initiative is that we get these wow feelings and emotions reaching  to friends and families so that they also want to see the performance.  More common is the usage of twitter in live TV shows, where it is mostly used to provide instant feedback and interact with show hosts, but then again that is from your living room. Interesting is that social media marketing is happening in Opera and theater environments where normally a “turn off phones” rule is the norm. Is this just an experiment or is this phenomenon here to stay?

Most of the younger generations have probably never stepped into a theater or an opera, and getting these generations to make that move requires a bit of rethinking. Introducing twitter seats is maybe just what the performing art needs to reconnect with digital natives.

Paper.li – More than just trend monitoring, it is a great #BI tool!

M2M-Startup-Zone

 

If I would ask any of us where you get updated about trends, competitors and technology, I bet the majority of you would say through digital media.

The problem is how much time are we spending each and every day going through online magazines, blogs, tweets, links just to stay on top of our game? It usually ends-up with many, many hours a week.

I have tried out paper.li for a few weeks now and I must say this tool is amazing. The daily editions I have created for my own use have become my default portals for BI information. I have created one edition to follow M2M developments and another one to share a vision on how to shape the connecting society (Shaping the Connected Society & The #M2M Startup Zone). These have become my default news and BI pages.

For the #M2M Startup Zone , I have selected RSS feeds from Blogs, Twitter keywords and a clever selection of filters to make sure I get the latest updates from market shapers and shakers, from partners and competitors. My primary sources here where Telefonica M2M, DT, AT&T, Vodafone, Jasper Wireless, DeviceHive, Arduino, Gemalto and Ericsson Labs to name only a few.

The flexibility here comes really from the filtering capabilities and the variety of feeds you can use. You need to play a bit with the sources to make sure you get fresh daily content. Some companies are not very active while others have to much content. Filtering allows you to get a good balance of information between various sources.

Paper.li is marketed as an online newspaper publishing and trend monitoring platform but it is so much more when used in a business context. Tech Magazines tend to target a wide audience and often contain a lot of content that is not relevant to me and specialized magazines are often difficult to find. The curated content provided with paper.li provides exactly what I am looking for.

Of course none of this will replace ground work done by journalists or analysts, but these have, for me at least, become a secondary source of information. Once I want to dig into further details, I might get that expensive analyst report.

Shaping-connected society

For the first daily paper I created, “Shaping the Connected Society” I have been using twitter feeds mainly, but for some of them like Mashable, the sheer volume of information will fill your paper with only that source. So filtering on keywords was key here as well to get a good balance on the content. I have some of the other tech sources like Techcrunch, Quartz included as sources to this paper and I am quite happy with the result although I feel that the results when focusing an specialized area like M2M tend to be better since the filtering is sharper.

Anyway, I strongly recommend this paper.li to anybody that is looking for a good and free tool to get good Business Intelligence platform on almost any topic. Try paper.li and make you own magazine matching you interest and needs, being it technology, sports, food or education, you will easily find your way around this amazing tool.