Millennials: The Game Changing Generation ?

Millennials: the game changing generation ?

InnoTrends is a semantic analysis of specific trends as discussed and shared on WAI social networks. Over the last few weeks, we have investigated what makes the Generation Y so different in the eyes of innovation analysts, experts and practitioners.

While connectedness and sense of engagement is highlighted by business experts, society explains how we intend to develop new learning methodologies to empower younger generations. As a whole, the arrival of a technology savvy and information rich generation on labor and consumption markets seems to be an opportunity to develop new models, new approaches and new hopes to challenge world problems.

You can now access the end to end analysis in below video:

You can also download the slides from Slideshare :

Key highlights:

Hackathon, serious games, agility and pragmatic knowledge, society explores all possible ways to better engage with younger generations.

Businesses are increasingly investigating how to best define and address them. They understand they need to develop their presence on new media, but also question the benefits of developing products specifically for Millennials.

The economic and technological environment surrounding Millennials is an invite for innovation. With a high sense of engagement, younger generations hold the power to drastically change the world we live in.

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Posted in Change, Creativity, Education, InnoTrends

The Digital Challenge: politics and economics

The Digital Challenge.035

The Big Picture is a PESTLE analysis for innovation based on trends shared by experts from our networks. Today we look at innovations talks for politics and economics. While governments in Europe start to build and invest in digitally driven initiatives to modernize democracy, economists question the potential opportunities and threats of the sharing economy, as well as our ability to analyze and fix the way our current economies develop.

Building digitally open governments

Governments in Europe have great expectations on the digital technologies. Yet they are still to best define the needs, the plans, and the solutions to address social and economic issues. In her article for Maddyness, Anaïs Richardin concludes: “Although France has initiated a vast international development plan through the French Tech initiative, the country keeps sending contradictory signs, including the witch hunting organized against AirBnB or the multiple court cases targeting Uber.”

The reality of the market may be tough, but still France shows a candid interest in digital public services. In below video, CNNum (French Digital National Committee) explains that the benefits would not only impact process and organizations, but also the way citizens interacts with the government.

Citizens, knowing they now can access new communication tools to get heard, are getting organized. Initiatives such as Eklezia expect to become a citizen social platform to gather all ideas and projects in one place. Whether they come from citizens or the government, digital developments show a growing appetite to communicate more and better to align public policies with citizens realities. 

It is only a starting point, but France, among other European countries, is getting ready for the digital era. As Sandrine Cassini reminds for Les Echos, “according to the French Prime Minister office, Axelle Lemaire’s proposal, under development for several months now, will be presented “in September”. It will be oriented towards “rights and freedoms on the Internet”. (…) Emmanuel Macron, for his part, will investigate laws concerning “innovation”.” With these new projects, France hopes to stimulate the economy by creating digitally driven employment and business growth.

Beyond the economic opportunity, digital technologies also enable countries to hope for more efficiency and cost savings. In France, Etalab describes the “Government-As-A-Platform” project called “State Platform and France Connect”. As the article explains, “By working on openness and interoperability between their own systems, administrations become a resource for other administrations and create an opportunity for new social and economic innovations.”

Obviously this is not a French only story. In the UK, plans to support a growing digital economy are also being rolled-out. As Bryan Glick explains for Computer Weekly, “The UK’s digital economy is vibrant and growing rapidly. To ensure that these benefits are felt throughout the whole economy the government will publish a Digital Transformation Plan by autumn 2015 that sets out concrete actions the government will take to support the adoption of digital technologies across the economy, and the ways in which the government will assist in tackling barriers to new businesses entering and creating new markets,” said a HM Treasury report, titled Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation.”

In the midst of all these changes, experts are questioning the European policies and decisions. They ask for example : are politics in Europe really open to external views? This is what Ludovic Lamant wonders in his article for Mediapart. In his view: “Decision making bodies in Brussels are allergic to any expert criticism, as a result of a growing distance they take with universities“.

Yet, under the current economic situation and the system in place, politics are being forced to react. This is not just an economic choice. It definitely is a political one. As James A Robinson explains for the World Economic Forum, “Our framework suggests that when policies are chosen by politicians who want to win elections, the volatility of public income, a particular problem for poor countries reliant on natural resource wealth, has clear implications for the efficiency of policy. In particular, it can make both policy and the extraction path for natural resources less efficient.”

As a way to bring more openness, Europe is funding through the European Research Council a project called Oecumene, aiming at analyzing citizenship outside Europe. As Engin Insin explains in the article, “Our empirical research shows how people across the globe have been inventing creative ways to claim their democratic rights as citizens. After the Oecumene project, it becomes difficult to suggest that democratic citizenship is an exclusive European value”.

Innovation experts also question the end-goal of digital innovation and innovation labs for public policies. As Nesta asks, “Could small country government innovation labs lead to a special case of Mazzucato’s ‘entrepreneurial state’  – with positive spillover benefits not, as in the case of the US, through government investments in defence-related research (the US’s DARPA, the Internet and the i-phone) but in core public services like health and education?

An economic system looking for new breathe

Digital technologies impact the economy by developing new business models, and creating new promises of growth. Beyond the market potential, experts wonder if the sharing economy going to put an end to capitalism. Chris Martin has analyzed experts views and concludes for the World Economic Forum: “It’s hard to tell which path we’re currently on. I for one hope Mason is right, and that the sharing economy will bring an end to an unsustainable system. But I fear that it’s more likely to transform the world of work in a negative way, reducing quality of life for many within society. The people championing this path are those with great power within the capitalist economy.”

Because of the remote working enabled by communication tools, new forms of organizations and structures are developing. Talents are everywhere. And they are changing the game. As Brendon Schrader writes for Fast Company, “And of course, the rise of independent work isn’t just a boon to independent workers, either. It also allows businesses to find more targeted and better qualified talent to address their needs—typically at lower costs. Rather than bringing someone in full-time, with benefits and a salary, a company can hire a consultant who’s ideally suited to a particular project. And that consultant is likely to have more resources to tackle it than at any time before.”

Yet analysts remind  we can now draw lessons to anticipate future challenges and current limits of our own system before we start transforming it. A changing economy needs to be analyzed on the long term, countries like China offer a good example to determine the results of economic transformation. This is what Tomas Hirst intends to do in his article for the World Economic Forum. In his view, “The catch-up process that has delivered significant productivity growth in the country is also likely to slow as Chinese industry gets closer to the technological sophistication of its Western counterparts, while the initial gains of adding hundreds of millions of workers to the global labour supply are also quickly fading. Instead of allowing low-cost exports to drive growth, China will increasingly have to rely on expanding its own domestic demand to meet the government’s ambitious growth targets. Achieving this, however, will require further reforms to release Chinese consumers’ spending power and build the foundations of a more balanced economy.”

In this relentless race for growth, experts seek to re-assess the numbers and indicators that drive economic decisions. For instance, they wonder to what extent growth is actually back. In the U.S., Josh Boak explains for TIME how “Falling unemployment usually reduces the number of people available to hire, which then forces employers to boost wages. But many frustrated job seekers have stopped looking for work, perhaps only temporarily. This has made it hard to assess just how healthy the job market is and when pay might rise at a faster rate.”

As we start investigating potential new economic systems, experts question our ability to find the right answers to current economic problems, including with the learnings we could have drawn from distant and less distant past. As Mariana Mazzucato explains on her blog, “Today both debt forgiveness and an investment plan are lacking in the EU’s approach to Greece. A second form of hypocrisy, often lost in the media, is just how much international private banks were saved and ‘forgiven’, with little scandal amongst the finance ministers.

Finally, experts put a question mark on the economic tools we use. In a changing economic environment and ecosystem, it seems questionable to carry politics that were defined for long past stable economic patterns. As Paul Beaudry concludes his article for the World Economic Forum, “However, if the system is inherently unstable and exhibits forces that favour recurrent booms and busts of about seven to ten years intervals, then it is much less likely that monetary policy is the right tool for addressing macroeconomic fluctuations. Instead, in such a case we are likely to need policies aimed at changing the incentives that lead household to bunch their purchasing behaviour in the first place.”

By defining both the frameworks and tools provided by a now closer digital revolution, analysts and innovation experts bring essential discussion points we need to bear in mind with regards to politics and economics:

  1. We need to bridge the gap between politics and citizenship to better define the necessary social and economics scheme that will build our digital future.
  2. We need to clearly identify the impact of digital on work structure and society by looking beyond business and growth potential and assess social threats.
  3. We need to clearly understand and learn from current economic struggles to define policies that anticipate risks and changes from a growing unstable environment.
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Posted in Change, Digital Economy, Politics and Economics, The Big Picture

Startups, people and ecosystems: success and reality

Startups, people and ecosystems

InnoGraph is an innovation trend explained through visual graphs. 

The business world is in search of unicorns. Or is it? Startups are created throughout the world as a way to challenge existing business models and bring disruption as a market changer to develop growth. Because they showcase personal success stories grown in an accelerated environment, made of a financially hyperactive ecosystem and tech savvy connected consumers, startups have become a live framework where ideas meet technology and talents to build inspiring innovation. But that is only one part of the story. There is a darker one. Highlighting the risk of a financial bubble, the need to diversify ecosystems as well as prepare individuals to lead in tough market conditions, innovation experts and analysts describe the dynamics leading startups on the frontline of change. 

Startups by the people

Startups by the people

Startups by the people

Startups are personal stories, they open paths which are specific to personalities. As Jay Jay French writes for INC, “Often, when building a company from scratch, personality differences in the founders will dictate which path – which leadership style – they’ll take.”

Startup owners are therefore personally engaged, and talk with emotions about the thrill of leading this specific type of companies. That’s one of the reasons why Janine Popick “is diving into a new startup”. In an article for INC, the CEO explains how “there’s a real satisfaction that emerges out of building something from scratch, watching customers buy or use what you’ve built and listening to what they like and what they don’t. It’s something that’s in my veins and I suppose always will be.”

In fact, startups place their objectives beyond financial and personal successes. What matters is the impact they have, and the success story they build around it. As Kevin Laws from HBR remarks, “What drives the most successful start-ups isn’t the money, it’s the mission. The founders who go on to create the greatest value for themselves and their investors are those with a vision of changing the world in some way.”

This engagement and ambitious goal create a burdensome pressure that startup leaders need to be prepared to. In reality, many of them are not, and the level of commitment they tend to demand themselves may well have mental health consequences. As Biz Carson analyses for INC, “More surprising was the incidence of mental health in the families of entrepreneurs: 72 percent said they either had mental-health problems themselves or in their immediate family.”

The economic success story

The Economic Success Story

The Economic Success Story

Yet startups keep bringing such an intense financial activity, underlined by the hope that they, as an innovation frontline, enable new models to emerge. Economic magazines such as Challenges in France keep listing the most successful French start-ups to invest in.

Other lists come from a variety of sector, food being part of it. For this sector as well, articles mention how startups are “creating the future”, as Maya Kosoff found out for Business Insider. In her view, “We’re seeing new ingredients, like insects, and new means of production, including 3D printers. Investors are taking notice. In 2013 VCs invested $146 million in the food and beverage industry, according to a report from CB Insights.”

As a specific part of business, startups apparently have their own vocabulary. Alex Wilhelm and Jason Rowley from TechCrunch volunteer to teach you “how to speak startup”.

Startups also attract their own talents. The “unicorns” success stories emerging on all parts of the globe create a unique enthusiasm that appeals to young investors and entrepreneurs. In the Philippines, for example, Oliver Segovia from HBR explains how “alongside the skill, there’s the shift in mindset among younger workers in the industry. Traditionally, business process outsourcing was associated with high-volume, low-price work. Today, the mainstream appeal of Silicon Valley is turning young Filipino workers who might have been satisfied with a call center job a decade ago into a creative and entrepreneurial class seeking a deeper connection with innovation-driven and mission-focused companies.

As a result, startups provide an innovation framework for business models, as well as organizational models. Some of them have experienced “self-management”, as Jeff Haden found out for INC. In his interview with the author, Leo Widrich, Buffer co-founder, explains: “Self-management builds on the foundation of transparency. I don’t think self-management works without being transparent to some extent. It’s simple: if you want everyone in the company to be able to make great decisions, then everyone needs to have access to all the information.”

As a result also, startups have great stories to share. This is the case for Smiirl, a French IoT startup that Steve O’Hear introduces for TechCrunch. As the article shows, “French hardware and IoT startup Smiirl hit on pretty early the concept of a mechanical Internet of Things-styled ‘Like’ counter for Facebook that bridges the digital and physical worlds. (…) Now, two years on, the company has closed a modest €400,000 seed round to help it bring new products to market with the addition of Twitter and Instagram counters in the same vien as Smiirl’s original Facebook version. ”

The learning ecosystem

The learning ecosystem

The learning ecosystem

All great stories do not have great endings, as reminds The Economist. As the article explains, “The enormous, disruptive creativity of Silicon Valley is unlike anything since the genius of the great 19th-century inventors. Its triumph is to be celebrated. But the accumulation of so much wealth so fast comes with risks. The 1990s saw a financial bubble that ended in a spectacular bust. This time the danger is insularity. The geeks live in a bubble that seals off their empire from the world they are doing so much to change.”

Startups show what it is to learn, and they come-up with interesting go-to-market truths from their accelerated environment. As Quora explains for INC, “But sales, just like every other important role in a startup, is more about long-tail activities that help the company and customers get what they need than hitting some arbitrary goal.”

Yet startups around the world tend to follow a Silicon Valley driven model. As Bérénice Magistretti writes for l’Atelier, “Because of its US based community, Armenian entrepreneurs usually follow the same path: they target the US market and use Armenia as a test area. As soon as the startup goes live, it moves to the startup promised land: Silicon Valley.”

Because of the huge expectations they generate, startups have become the heart of an ecosystem some consider as counter-productive for startups themselves. As Arthur Atwell writes for The Next Web, “Lured by the lights, we spend valuable hours crafting slide decks, jumping on planes, giving presentations and filling out entry forms, almost always so that someone can sell tickets to the show. I worked it hard, and I didn’t see the return. I want that time back for my business.”

Being at the heart of an ecosystem also enables startups to see the dysfunctions and attempt to fix them. As Cameron Adams explains in below video, one of the issue he has spotted out is the fact that design cannot only be the “varnish” effect at the end of the process but in fact, needs to be core at every step of the process.

Some of these changes might also include a diversification of startup “paradises” as new cities want to compete with Silicon Valley as startup ecosystems. As Richard Florida explains for CityLab about the recent 2015 edition of the Startup Genome project from Compass, “we can also see the rise of significant startup ecosystems in cities around the world. Tel Aviv is fifth, London sixth, Berlin ninth, and Singapore 10th. Three Canadian cities make the top 20—Toronto comes in at number 17, Vancouver at 18, and Montreal at 20.”

In fact, this specific positioning as the heart of an ecosystem allows startups to share a precious knowledge. They manage to get their specificities through the complex economic maze between them and their markets. There are learnings to share with the ecosystem. As Imaginatik explains, “There are three key elements for making entrepreneurship real within firms: 1) opportunity/permission, 2) resources (including guidance and mentorship), and 3) above all, ownership. Instead of having employees put their energy into thinking of the venture they want to start, why don’t companies put forward a corporate incubator in which promising and vetted projects can spin off, giving the “founding” team a stake in its startup? So what if the venture fails? Let them come back wiser and more seasoned.”

The bright reality ahead

Bright reality ahead

Bright reality ahead

Startups have a bright future ahead of them. According to Elsa Conesa from Les Echos, part of it could lay in the B2B payments in the US. As she explains in her article, “the market potential is gigantic for banks and new entrants on the FinTech market: on a global point of the, the market reaches an estimated $500 billion, which nearly equals the market potential of consumer payments market ($590 billion).”

Yet business experts remind that beyond the stories and the lessons lays a hard reality for startups. As Matt Palmquist writes for Strategy & Business, “On an individual level, startups seem destined for a bumpy ride — much of their contribution to the economy depends on cannibalizing other emerging firms. For example, 65 percent of the jobs created by startups in year five are offset by the number of positions eliminated at other new ventures, removing some of the sheen attached to the idea that fledgling companies propel the economy. The same is true, to a lesser extent, of financial growth: About 34 percent of the revenue generated by new firms in year five comes at the expense of their competitors.”

Meanwhile, in Europe, Vlad Savov from The Verge says the continent misses historical success stories to learn from. So far, this advantage is only given to Silicon Valley. In his own words, “Europe today finds itself in need of exactly this sort of young, vibrant businesses, but it lacks the ecosystem of established leaders that’s crucial to their proliferation. One of the reasons Silicon Valley keeps producing profitable new startups is because the profitable old guard is already there — and what better way to learn about the gaps in a given market than to work at the market leader?”

But haven’t we said that startups were personal stories? What if ecosystems could work with their own personalities as well? As Jason Fell writes for Entrepreneur, “Today, Berlin’s 3.5 million residents are creating a bright, new history for their city — and business is often at the heart of it. “Because Berlin was cut off during the decades of the Cold War, it is a capital again, but not with the usual infrastructure around it,” explains Nicole Simon, a startup mentor and head of publisher sales and blogger relations at Berlin-based blogfoster.com. “The city itself is a startup.”

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Posted in Change, Digital Economy, InnoGraph, SME innovation, Society

We Are Innovation because we fail

Learning to fail for success

We tend to be afraid of failure. We are taught to. Taking risk is not something you usually get rewarded for, and when you do, it feels “extraordinary”. While in fact, innovating often means taking a short term risk for mid to long term return, and it does frighten finance, risk-skeptic managers, project teams comfortable with “not so good” today. The reason for it being: it might not happen at all, it might fail. Think of all the things you could have done if you hadn’t been afraid to fail. This list is the failure. Trying hard and fail isn’t a failure. It is called learning. Strangely enough, innovation analysts and practitioners agree on one point: we are not taught to learn.

Redefining failures

Afraid to fail

Afraid to fail

Michelle Poler has decided to change this attitude. WYSK reports on that young lady who has consciously spent 100 days of her life not being afraid, going against her fears. As the article quotes: “Living a controlled life in New York has been a nightmare. Since the unknown has proven to be so much more fulfilling than the familiar in these last months, I’m ready to let go, face my biggest fears, try to be completely vulnerable about it and enjoy the ride,” Michelle writes about the start of her project.”

In a business world, this type of attitude leads to discovery, learning, and growing, as Nicole Fallon writes for Business News Daily. She interviewed Luis Orbegoso, ADT Business President, who says: “It’s OK to be wrong, and it’s OK to take a big swing and fail, as long as you have gone through a good, sound process of evaluating the opportunity. For example, if you make a significant investment, and you’ve gone through an analysis and reasoning of why that investment should be made, and all of a sudden, you don’t get the returns you expected, it’s OK, as long as you went through [the] process [and] … it was an educated risk.”

Times ahead demand an educated risk taking attitude. Past failures also work as experience. Taken on a local economic level, this allows analysts such as The Economist to think that unicorns born in the Silicon Valley, although over-valued for some of them, will not go through the dot com bubble of early 2000s as their internal and external environment has learnt, and provides a few improvements compared to 15 years ago, although far from perfect. As the article concludes, “the geeks and dreamers who populate the Valley will need to be able to navigate both smooth and rough waters. Some will try to go too high and wipe out into the bay. Others will be diverted by wild winds. But many will make it safely back to shore—only to head back out again for the thrill, the challenge and the future.”

The truth is, as Kathryn Schulz highlights in her talk for TED, we are all “stuck” in a feeling that all we do is right. We lack stand back and the ability to think we could be wrong. As she explains, this is a behavior we inherit from education system and grading. In fact, we have made it a cultural issue. In her view, “This internal sense of rightness that we all experience so often is not a reliable guide to what is actually going on in the external world. And when we act like it is, and we stop entertaining the possibility that we could be wrong, well that’s when we end up doing things like dumping 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, or torpedoing the global economy. So this is a huge practical problem. But it’s also a huge social problem.”

Paul Jarvis thinks the best way to experience successes and failures in making sure you own your own decision and path. As he writes in his article for INC, “Persistency and bravery always trump safe bets and proven methods. And bravery doesn’t have to look like mountain climbing or standing on stage in front of 35,297 people. The bravest acts can be simply putting ourselves out there without knowing the outcome or reception or that 254 people are going to hate us for it.”

Failure is just a sign that you need change

Failure and change

Failure and change

Because we are not taught how to fail, we are not taught how to change either. John Brandon explains how change is necessary to success. In his article for INC, he explains how ” not everyone needs to move across their state. Yet, you might need to make a purposeful, intentional change and then embrace it if you want to see progress.”

Management is seen as an area where failure is part of a learning process. In this question from Patrick Roult on Skiller, people are asked to explain “what is the place of failure in their management style”. As Jean Phillipe RYO answers, “Those who do not learn to fail, fail to learn“, and as in management everything we do is learning, failure is part of the learning process.”

Educated-failures leading to success and change are those that are carefully thought through and incorporated as lessons learnt for the future. Else, the “Fail fast” trap, as Dan McClure calls it in his article for Distilled, might get in your way. As he writes, “So who wins? Speed matters, but it will be the team that gets the greatest insight from their testing investment and then designs the best pivot toward greater value that really excels. It will be the organizations, teams, and individuals who go beyond simply failing fast to become masters of Learning Quickly and Thinking Well.”

Major companies such as Google offer examples of how failure can lead to improvement. As Alexander Sommer writes in his article for WTVOX, ” The company is clearly taking all of the lessons learned from one of the most public betas in recent memory back to the drawing board. And really, the whole thing may have been a necessary evil — how do you test an experimental wearable like Google Glass without turning the whole of the outside world into a testing ground?”

Failures leading to success

Failures and Innovation

Failures and Innovation

In the end, success is the visible part of work that everyone can see, hiding a series of less successful experiences that we tend to keep for ourselves. This is illustrated below as “The Iceberg Illusion”.

Accepting failure is on the path to happiness. What matters is ensuring you get the right viewpoint, and see the iceberg as a whole, not being afraid, but being pragmatic about it. As Jonathan Long explains for Entrepreneur, “When it comes down to it we are all responsible for our own happiness. The only way you will be happy is by changing your attitude and understanding that you are in full control, and fully capable of changing your situation.”

The business world is full of examples of failures leading to success. Daniel Gross, from Strategy and Business, highlights one of them, A123 Systems. After filing for bankruptcy protection, A123 found itself on a rising need for hybrid batteries and was able to seize the opportunity to grow again. As the author concludes, “While the public narrative arc of a company might end with its high-visibility face-plant, the story doesn’t have to end there — especially if the company possesses useful technology that can serve a growing market.”

Failure is definitely part of innovating. It enables to change views and focus on what we really should develop. It enables learning as individuals and as teams. Over time, failures give way to the one success only innovators can see because they know what work and learning it took to get there.

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Posted in Education, Management, Society, Why we are innovation

Storytelling shapes the way we speak innovation

Storytelling

Market Roadmaps build market stories around specific trends and strategies.

As a way to create human links between businesses, products and customers, leaders and innovation practitioners develop storytelling based strategies that are shaping new approach and messages sent to market. As business becomes slightly more personal, individuals are driven back at the heart of strategies and creativity, generating new innovation potential closely linked to emotions, although developed with technology. How does innovation use storytelling to shape new markets?

The human roots of storytelling

Words and emotions

Words and emotions

With all the data generated across devices, businesses, analytics cannot remain an endless series of facts and trends. As Gavin Heaton explains on his LinkedIn post, “But there are a few companies who are innovating on the edge and taking a different approach. For these companies, big data is just a means to an end. The real value is not in the data but in the capacity to tell stories with that data. It’s the realm of big narratives – and it is as exciting as it is terrifying.”

In fact, analysts and experts now know we are more impacted by stories than a series of speechless figures. This is the reason why storytelling is becoming so important with the rise of Big Data. As Rachell Gillett explains for FastCompany, “Numerous studies over the years have proven that our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than the cold, hard facts.”

Building stories comes with an increasing call to lead as individuals and let our personality and behavior shape a message. What this message circulates is key to business value, as Lolly Daskal found out. As she writes on her blog, “Be yourself. As the saying goes, everyone else is taken. Don’t change to fit in, but seek out and develop your best qualities. We are what we pretend to be, so be careful about what you choose.”

As a result of rising storytelling methodologies and personal branding, talking about oneself as living examples has become an increasing image opportunity. As Anais Moutot writes about TED conferences in Les Echos, “It initially was an informal meet-up gathering tech-savvy, entertainment and design oriented people, created by an architect who wanted a littler bit more action in the Silicon Valley. Thirty years later, the tiny meet-up has turned itself into a worldwide conference factory.”

Because individuals are a complex universe of emotions, virality and message sharing necessarily involve triggering those emotional needs. Dante M. Pirouz, Allison R. Johnson and Matthew Thomson from the MIT have issued a paper suggesting that “One of the more successful papers on viral messages, which looked at forwarding behavior in viral email marketing campaigns, suggested that many emotions can play a role, including surprise, joy, sadness and fear. Another study looked at the sharing of New York Times articles and found that still other emotional responses, such as awe and anxiety, also predicted sharing.”

To analyze the complexity of our emotions, some experts call on technology to come up with a sentiment analysis reflecting the intent behind the words. And they claim there’s nothing wrong about it. As Dan Piepenbring explains for The Paris Review, “There are probably still writers who find that statement provocative. I don’t. It should be obvious to all writers that parts of “the craft” are deeply schematic; if you feel threatened by a machine, there’s probably something suspect about your humanism. ”

Humans are indeed a complex organic system, under chemical control of brain and emotions. This is the reason why stories are more effective in generating actions, as Brad Phillips highlights on Mr Media Training. In his view, “Given the importance of oxytocin to achieving your goals, perhaps we should stop telling our trainees to “tell stories” and advise them instead to “produce more oxytocin for the audience.”

In the end, what seems to matter most in that a link is being created between a person, and another person. This is Susanna Gebauer’s view in The Social MS. As she writes, “Most likely many of these stories are personal, or at least relate to a personal experience. Thats good. Personality is what makes your stories stand out from all the others, what makes you unique and unforgettable. These stories also are related to your business, they are real and they are there for you to use for free.”

Stories as a business, the emotional strategies ahead

Humans shaping stories

Humans shaping stories

Telling stories has therefore started to be a new form of business. In his article for NiemanLab, Joseph Lichterman explains how “Using the user data it’s collected, Upworthy found that elements like humor and a story structure that built in suspense would draw in readers and keep them on the page and better engaged. Since it was published on June 25, March’s story has received more than 2 million unique visitors.”

As such, storytelling has business repercussions, among which transparency and engagement with customers. Gary Hamel reports the words of his sister for HBR about sharing heartfelt stories in her hospital with patients and among teams. As Doctor Hamel says, “Beyond the improved satisfaction score, there was a clinical benefit. We are in the business of saving lives, of enhancing heath, of restoring hope. When we touch the hearts of our patients we create a healing relationship that generates a relaxation response, lowers the blood pressure, improves the happy neurotransmitters, reduces pain, and improves outcomes — for both the patient and the caregiver.”

If there is a business benefit, could we extend storytelling so it has an economic benefit? Alison Demeritt has conducted an in depth analysis for the World Economic Forum to find out. As she concludes, “expanding our understanding of the rich set of factors that influence decision-making can aid development efforts. Incorporating behavioural insights from psychology, sociology, and other sciences can help policymakers develop innovative and sometimes low-cost interventions that help people advance their goals and increase their well-being.”

From a marketing point of view, storytelling already has a significant impact. The new developments now come from branding entrepreneurs behind the product and ideas. As Michael Georgiou explains in Entrepreneur, “Customers are looking for more than just a product. They’re looking for a personable brand to buy from. This is why it has become extremely important for entrepreneurs to brand themselves, too. ”

Again, in a near future, machines will write their own stories based on algorithms and our ability to better know what emotions triggers business or economic actions. As Demian Farnworth writes for Copyblogger, “Machines can’t create a genre or writing style like gonzo journalism. They can only execute within a formula — a formula created by humans. That is, they aren’t creative in the true sense of the word. Which is where we need to focus.”

Words as a business asset

Words as a business

Words as a business

The words we use are an important factor in shaping the impact we want to see in the world. Louise Lee from Stanford Business highlights the work of Walter W Powell, who has analyzed the words used to by non-profits language. As he found out, “The phrase “social return on investment,” for example, draws on the discourses of the civil society and business areas; that and other phrases and terms that borrow from different communities create potential alternative ways to evaluate a nonprofit and its effectiveness.”

In a management area, storytelling creates an engaging atmosphere. As such, it enables team working and conversation rather than a one-way top down discourse that leaves individuals outside the idea and speak-up sphere. As John Coleman explains for HBR, “Creating an ethos of conversation, rather than a one-sided presentation, for critical discussions can better leverage the collective intelligence of the team, make solutions to organizational problems better and more comprehensive, and improve ownership for execution of ideas.”

Engaging teams in story making on top of storytelling is an important initial step to build stickiness and virality. Furthermore, it generates the internal creativity to build a story that only belongs to a single company, a key differentiator that bounds individuals to a group or project. To better develop emotional creativity, Business In Rhyme suggests to write poetry. As explained on the blog, “Halonen in his paper “Demystifying critical thinking”, (1995) states that poetry often contains unconventional language or unusual treatment of a topic. Surprise becomes a catalyst for critical thinking as the audience works to resolve subsequent feelings of disequilibrium.”

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Posted in IT Innovation, Market Roadmap, Management, Creativity

The complex world around Millennials

A complex World

The economic and technological environment surrounding Millennials is an invite for innovation. The sharing economy promises new business models for their ideas, even paying systems are developing new services to follow their buying habits. With a high sense of engagement, younger generations hold the power to drastically change the world we live in.

Science and Technology experts

As a key differentiator in generational behaviors, the use of technology differs between Millennials and Centennials. While both generations may extensively use digital tools, their objectives are different. As Popsop explains, “Millennials use the power of Internet to change existing systems, unite people in communities and fight for their rights.  Centennials, vice versa, are quiet innovators, not fighters. Instead of changing systems, they create their own zone of comfort.”

Banks and Financial Institutions

Technology, trust and purpose are the key drivers for banks to attract and retain Millennials. As Petervan explains, “banks are most likely to be disrupted by Millennial consumer preferences, and are facing massive challenges in terms of approach towards customer acquisition and user experience. Millennials believe that the way we access money and pay for things will be completely different five years from now.”

Research and Consulting Firms

Generational usage of social networks is highly scrutinized to define the best content marketing strategies. In his article for INC, Kelsey Libert shares key metrics to understand how Boomers, Millennials and Generation X use of social networks.

Politics and Public Institutions

In France, politics worry about the increasing distance between youth desire for engagement and available opportunities to engage. France Stratégie has released a new report highlighting projects undertaken to encourage younger generations to take part in building a new society. As Beligh Nablin explains in below video, rewarding youth engagement in punctual citizen volunteering “represents a major public policy strategic issue, including as regards national cohesion”.

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Posted in Change, InnoTrends

We Are Innovation because we are entrepreneurs

Innovation Entrepreneurs

Innovation and entrepreneurship are closely linked by human behaviors and professional skills needed to launch and drive a business. Through a variety of specialists and entrepreneurs view, it is striking to see how entrepreneurship is needed not only to build new business models and recreate an entire economic system focused on individuals, whether inside our outside start-ups and organizations, but also to challenge social status-quo that tends to leave us in inaction when drastic change is needed. From having the inherent faith in our ideas up to transforming the world, we as entrepreneurs share experiences and knowledge to create a human network of pragmatic innovators.

Building a dream is nothing like dreaming

Entrepreneurship has a start. As entrepreneurs, we know exactly what energy this start takes, and how it only is a beginning. We as entrepreneurs have been afraid to fail. But then, we still gave it a go. As Jeff Haden explains for INC, “A whole other group of people will respect you for taking a shot. They’ll recognize a kindred spirit. They’ll empathize. They’ll encourage. They’ll pick you up. They’ll know what it’s like to try and fail and try again.”

It could be an idea not to go and fight on our own. We as entrepreneurs know the value of a “wingman”, sailing across storms being shouldered by a friend, or even a life partner. As Minda Zetlin explains for INC, “Starting a company is difficult with anyone. However starting a company with someone who is in it with you and whom you trust is a bit better.”

As Minda Zetlin draws a parallel between marriage, partnering in life and building a business, Brandon Weber from FastCompany explains how entrepreneurship demands a “yes i can” attitude towards challenges. As he writes, “Starting your own company and running an Ironman race are both intimidating situations, as the outcomes are completely unknown. Despite the fear of failure that constantly was top of mind, I had to ignore my fears and take the plunge; I had to say yes.”

Entrepreneurs as a team

Beyond the project start, the team and skills needed to go ahead, Steven DuPuis from FastCoDesign highlights the need for a company vision. In his view, “Without dreams, companies lose meaning, purpose, and direction. Every startup begins with a vision of a business that matters—its equivalent of a concept car.”

We as entrepreneurs also know we are not alone. Diving into the unknown abysses of launching a business, despite the thrill of discoveries and early successes, is much easier when guided by peers, sharing experiences and teaching to others as well. Ilan Mochari from INC has listed short movies worth watching to understand the impact of entrepreneurship in business owners lives.

In order to thrive in a labor world highly impacted by systemic changes, entrepreneurs need to cultivate the right adaptive mindsets. They need to be given the appropriate thinking to do so. As Heather McGowan explains in her interview for Natalie Nixon from INC, “I became interested in accelerated change and the future of work years ago as I noticed the rising collaborative economy coupled with graduate unemployment and underemployment and an overall shift away from the old-economy paradigm of preparing graduates to be experts in single-career trajectories to one of engagements that require rapid cycles of learning and the leveraging of that learning.”

On top of arming ourselves with the right mindset, we as entrepreneurs also count on investment partners and need their support and belief to pursue business dreams. John Rampton from Entrepreneur has listed 32 VCs FinTech entrepreneurs need to know. As the writer concludes, “As the Fintech industry continues to grow, these are the VCs you want to keep an eye one. Their investments could shift the market drastically.”

Driving a business necessitates the right skill set within a supporting team as well. Although there is a common thinking that successful entrepreneurs tend to be young people, researches and experiences show that knowledge and maturity are critical assets for entrepreneurs. As Vivek Wadwa explains for Venture Beat, ” The vast majority of these startups fail, however, because there is no substitute for experience and knowledge. What makes entrepreneurs successful, as my team’s research revealed, is work and industry experience and management ability. These come with age. ”

Finally, Donny Gamble Jr explains in Entrepreneur what he thinks are the key requirements to launch a business. In his view, “For many of us, it’s a combination of being able to be more creative, make a difference, work for ourselves, have flexible hours and increase our earning potential.”

That being said, there are endless reasons why putting so much efforts in starting a business comes with high rewards. Freedom is one of them. As Jonathan Long explains in Entrepreneur, “Entrepreneurs have total freedom to roam, create, delegate and work. There are no cubicles or desks to be tied to all day.”

Transforming the world

Starting a business generates new values, for you, and those you work with and for. As Kerry Butters explains on MarkItWrite, “It’s much more rewarding doing something that will give not only to you, but to those around you – think about how you can achieve this.”

Entrepreneurship is indeed seen as a way to transform our societies and the world we live in. In his interview for FrenchWeb, Philippe Silberzahn explains how “innovation necessitates a new inter-disciplinary approach to understand the world in its complexity (from a cultural, technical, social, and economic standpoint) so we can take action and transform it”.  Femmes Numériques share a precious encouragement for women entrepreneurs from Maïna Marquette, Skippair CEO: “Dare to go ahead and leave your comfort zone. Once you have engaged on that choice, things around you will become simpler”.

In below video from FrenchWeb, Carlos Diaz explains the role of an entrepreneur in the American culture, as seen from France. In his view, the American entrepreneur has five key roles: creating and sharing a vision, recruit best talents, pushing teams towards goals, communicating and being the face of the company, and fundraising.

Entrepreneurship and the IT environment enabling fast scaling push organizations to identify and help talents very early. Steve O’Hear mentions London based Entrepreneur First in his article for TechCrunch. As he writes, the talent are first identified before they launch their ideas to market. “They are then helped to work through those ideas and decide what to focus on and who else on the programme they work with. Some of those ideas and teams stick and are fast-tracked to become a startup with product, traction and investment, while others chop and change and take longer to form.”

We as entrepreneurs are for sure building an important part of innovation future. In the US, higher education is aligning to arm the new generation of builders to they bring the needed flexibility and open-mindedness to create a better future. As Li Zhou writes for Smithsonian Mag, “There is a growing consensus that higher education, moving forward, should be a flexible experience that can be customized in both subject matter and structure to fit individual interests and learning styles. There is no longer one template that can be interchangeably applied to every student’s path.”

Entrepreneurs are inspired by change, and engaging into a changing lifestyle requires preparation as well as long term dedication. As role-models for creating breakthrough ideas and business models, entrepreneurs and business owners define a new vision and purpose for new generations of workers to take ownership and transform the world. This new definition of innovation driven by individuals is a key asset for change, and should be a corner stone for any inspired innovator willing to start a new business.

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Posted in Change, Creativity, Education, Management, SME innovation, Society, Universities, Why we are innovation

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