The Big Picture: When change becomes a fear, and difference a threat

The Monthly Big Picture is a PESTLE analysis to give you a snapshot of WAI social network landscape over the last month. Today we take a look at Laws, Regulation and Environment (part 3 of 3).


The Big Picture: Laws and regulationLaws & Regulation –  When change becomes a fear, and difference a threat

In following article from Bernard Ghilon on, innovation is seen as a victim of finance and stock exchange dictatorship over productivity and long-term investments. From his point of view, US based innovation leaders were able to be successful because of public investment in R&D and long-term investment in productive tools to rapidly spread innovation. When companies are driven by shareholder values, short-term returns on investments and lack support from government, they end up investing less in R&D. Lack of funding and support might not be the only barriers to innovation one can find in France. In this article from, Carole Hernandez-Zakine argues that the “precautionary principle” prevents science from going further while keeping stakeholders close to their fear of change. From her point of view, it forgets to look at the wider scope of opportunities an innovation can create IF supported by politics, society, and respectful of environment. It rather focuses on specific issues (which are still, by the way, important issues). These opinions show how hard it is to define a model enabling intelligent financing and regulation to support innovation in a country where changes and differences are still seen as threats, even by most educated people. As a way of defense from the unknown and a protest against government’s repeated failures, France has recently chosen the extreme right to represent their country at the EU parliament, a party notably known for being anti-European. Early July, the French government announced a series of measures to facilitate investments in long-term value added sectors.


Environment – Back to basics to reveal the obvious urgencies

Environment.006-001Now let’s take a step back and follow the Stanford Social Innovation Review in their quest to bring society closer to nature. This article shows how going back to basics of natural growth, changes, patterns, shapes and materials can help innovation find new sources of inspiration. Biomimicry is an invite to have “nature as a mentor” and “nature as a mirror” to help us rethink society. Having nature as a mirror would also help us see some dramatic changes that are real threat to us all as human beings, such as the alert given by this new version of the National Geographic Atlas of the World. As pointed out by Adele Peters in Co.Exist, the “shrinking ice sea in the Arctic ocean is the second biggest change other than the breakup of the U.S.S.R”. Enabling mentality evolution to support innovations that could preserve our planet is another upside of being able to consider the world as it is: a single home for us all. Below is a recent video from TED Talks which will help us understand what “one world” means:


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Posted in The Big Picture

The Big Picture : Society & Technology – June 2014

The Monthly Big Picture is a PESTLE analysis to give you a snapshot of WAI social network landscape over the last month. Today we take a look at Society and Technology (part 2 of 3).


Society – JLM’s questions at the dawn of the “breakthrough decade”

The Big Picture: SocietyThe Economist reported on an artistic initiative led by Jennifer Lyn Morone, who has “incorporated” her entire body to estimate its value in a data-driven economy. JLM Inc is a derival from Jennifer’s biological, mental and physical services. Ms Morone will store and monetize data generated on her own servers, using a bespoke solution called the Database Of Me (DOME). This unexpected artistic experience is a question mark to the place of human being in data and vice versa. Although clearly an extreme, there is a sense in trying to better define where the fantastic tools we are currently developing will land us. Especially as the coming decade, the “Breakthrough decade” as labelled by scientists, seems to be an “all or nothing” one. As quoted from Alex Steffen’s tweet in the article from CSwire, “what happens in the next 40 years (is) critical. What happens in the next 10 years sets the range of what’s possible.” Big data has a role to play, but what’s going to be ours?


Technology – A muscled robot and a mission to Mars

The Big Picture: TechnologyResearchers of the University of Illinois have created flexible robots made of jelly-type material, that come into a muscle-like texture to move more easily, as LiveScience have found out. These robots are believed to enable a great deal of innovation for operations, reparations or construction, as researchers point out. This tiny 3D-printed “bio-bot” is a sign that a significant advance is being taken both on engineering and production, with a lot of opportunities opened by a myriad of motions that weren’t possible to reflect with previously used materials. While those advances take place in the tiny 0.2 inches of infinite science these bio-bots represent, technology also allowed us to travel beyond imagination in space and time last month. It is now foreseen that the first mission to Mars could take place in 2026, as Sploid explains. Some vehicles already designed or to be created are presented in the article, together with the view of Elon Musk, who wants to build SpaceX spaceships that will be able to “save humanity”.


Legal and Environment parts will follow shortly. Stay tuned!


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The Big Picture: Politics and Economics – June 2014

The Monthly Big Picture is a PESTLE analysis to give you a snapshot of WAI social network landscape over the last month. Today we take a look at Politics & Economics (part 1 of 3).


Politics – Fifty shades of innovation policies from Europe to the US

The Big Picture: Politics June 2014

Innovation Policies

The OECD released an updated review of the French innovation policy, highlighting the need to “encourage private sector innovation, make public research more accountable and channel more funds into most promising R&D projects”. An interesting view in the midst of France’s social crisis after records rates of unemployment now reaching over 5 million French citizens. You can find the updated review using following link. The same month Brookings Institute held a webinar to discuss top innovation policy in the US, going through “the right to be forgotten, internet governance, copyright & IP, patent reform”, opening the debate on how innovation policy opens or restricts innovation. You can find a summary here. Those analyses outline how typically different cultural and social backgrounds affect innovation policies and demands that are complex to align, both on a national and global basis.


Economics – The relativity of the API rise

The Big Picture: Economics

Innovation Economics

McKinsey published an interesting insight on how companies generate revenues from APIs. According to the consulting firm, “a small but growing proportion of app revenues comes from organisations making their data available through APIs”. They outline the business models enabling API related revenues, showing 43% of organisations are currently using a safe pay per use model. While business models are maturing, there is still a need to properly lead privacy discussions, as shown in the above section. This insight can be contrasted by another trend around Big Data, made available by Forbes, suggesting that only 10% of leaders would follow their “gut-feeling” for decision making, and among the rest of them, “nine out of ten executives would ignore the data if it disagreed with their intuition”. Although most of these leaders would re-analyse data to figure out some sort of compromise between gut feeling and analysis, it shows we are still far from being able to fully drive strategies based on metrics and their API counterpart.


Society and Technology parts will follow shortly. Stay tuned!


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Why We Are Innovation, and not robots.

norobotsIn the near future, we may be wondering what makes us different from all these machines that can now combine power, knowledge, rapidity and some sort of intelligence of their own, some sort of experience, to work instead of us. If they can find the right words for the right events, analysing everything we say and the way we share it, if they can go up to create algorithms that can reflect feelings and emotions, what will make our work different from theirs? A question Jeremy Garner analysed in this article in Business Insider.

Here’s a few reasons shared on WAI social networks which show there are a few yet most important core reasons why we make better innovators than robots and machines. They are so much worth reminding the obvious.


Something about hope

These two young women have discovered a bacteria that could break down plastic and reduce pollution. They say: “We were curious, and bold. And we wanted to give it a go”. Hope as the juvenile will to “give it a go”, no matter how complex things may be. (Source: TED / Facebook)


Something about surprise

“Over the past few years, a small group of funders have begun to return to their roots by deliberately reintroducing innovation into their philanthropic processes and portfolios. They seek out ideas with transformative potential, take risks on less proven approaches, open themselves up to exploring new solutions, and recognize that innovation requires flexibility, iteration, and failure.” (Stanford Social Innovation Review). Sometimes we let ourselves be surprised because we take the risk of the unknown, and we accept the potential failure behind.


Something about humour

We care about how cats feel at work. And we are creative about it. Here’s the result, from


Something about reaching to others

We know everything we do have to connect us with each other. And we have the will to make a better world, with a very clear idea of what “better” means. Here is a global ethic platform delivering Global Civics courses, as pointed out by Policy Innovations Magazine.


Something about getting the big picture

We know innovation comes from elsewhere, that elsewhere that has no link with the issue we’re trying to focus on, that elsewhere that will make us think different. Why not dance? Following Innovation Excellence article will tell you more on how dancing could inspire innovation.


There may be an algorithm to generate all of the above, yet all of the above should make us believe we’d still find ways to bring a personal value to any elaborated algorithm. What’s yours?

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The Internet of Things. Of what, exactly?

WAI Innovation Index takes you through key market figures and facts for the Internet of Things (IoT).

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Social Innovation: under construction, but that’s the whole point.

social innovation.001-001Because it is mainly “humanly-driven”, social innovation offers a great view of how and in what innovation actually makes a greater sense when people are both its engine and its end-goal. Of course it all sounds very nice and the reality is a bit less shiny, as most initiatives are scarce and/or at early stage, but WAI wanted to outline how beneficial it is to go through the whole sometimes painful but always necessary process of creating innovation led by social goals and tools.

As Graham Dovers explains in following article, social innovation has been increasingly followed-up over the last ten years, yet there is still a need to better define the exact roles each one has to play, especially on the government side, to enable a better spread of social innovation. The article lists an exhaustive range of existing initiatives and examples around the world of how governments and entrepreneurs, start-ups, have already positioned themselves, and draws a very good picture of the external factors that will accelerate social innovation in the near future: costs savings and financing, emergence of technologies enabling global platforms and hubs, governments and companies embracing social innovation as a trend, and ultimately helping to develop innovation tools and systems that adapt to each different culture and society. As an example, Dell has launched a social innovation challenge, the Verb U community, aimed at promoting social projects for sectors as diverse as health, technology, human rights. One of them, ESSMART, gives “rural retail shop owners access to products that improve their customer’s life”. All projects are supported and/or financed by Dell through specific awards.

This is where we can start seeing how social innovation makes a major difference with standard innovation as ran in most companies today. It is primarily meant to answer a specific need creating a community of virtual suppliers and enabling a real human issue to be solved globally. Hence the rise of a number of hubs all around the world, such as the social innovation centre in Canada, and the social innovation exchange (SIX) group in Europe. They both offer physical places and virtual tools so people can meet and create social innovation projects that are connected on a single platform. There are also private initiatives such as the application launched by Entirely which aims at “helping people share ideas with a community who come together to form teams, explore ideas and share them with the world”. We can also mention the Benisi network which aims at promoting and actively develop European focused social innovation projets. But it’s not just about offering tools, space and communities, it is also about empowering people to create innovation that serves these communities. This is why Georgetown University has recently opened a specific course on social innovation in their new Beeck Center for Social Innovation & Impact to specifically teach how to generate, drive and foster innovation that has a social impact.

Governments, private and public sector, universities, technology, ideas, people, it’s all out there and being put together. The economic downturn and even the technological gaps will in the short to mid term highlight the need for more social innovation, as for example in France, many rural areas still lack a real technology development programme, which will give even more reasons for people to take power and initiate their own innovation projects to drive local change, generating specific requirements for their towns, regions to develop adequate technological tools. And that’s the whole point: in the end, social innovation is driving change that is both empowered and targeted at a specific group with a specific need, which defines the technological, social, financial, environmental and perhaps even legal structure it requires to be developed in the most adequate way. This is the reason why Hitachi Europe and Forst & Sullivan have held the first Social Innovation Forum in Istanbul last February, to bring together companies and NGO and think as a group about how “smart technologies can deliver innovation that answer societies’ change”. This initiative is even more interesting taking into account the recent access ban in Turkey for Twitter services.

Social innovation reflects what innovation should be delivering today in many companies and sectors. It is built on a wide variety of projects that answer a wide variety of needs, and a need to share ideas and tools to answer those needs in the most efficient way. It does look like a bottom-up innovation wave paving the way to strategic changes, and that’s the whole point. By showing how complex but necessary those initiatives are, social innovation highlights the critical need to learn from others in order to build for others, which is the social change that will help build societies better connected to their virtual and physical environment, inclined to change because they know why they have to and create the tools to do so.

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Open innovation vs. governance: the API equation to business agility

API.001-001“Open innovation”: trying to use external developers with internal APIs to develop new services and new business, the intent is definitely here. But the API model is clearly going in a bottom-up direction against the existing top down investment/resources/organisational complexity/technological constraints that each company necessarily imbed in all initiative they drive, even if they do want to change to real open innovation. Here comes a first buzz word: transformation. Transforming towards a hybrid organisational model where each link on the value chain is impacted by external developers via a set of APIs, creating a co-development eco-system that generates benefits to all. This is the view taken by 3scale, suggesting on that article that open innovation impacts organisations in the inside to make them grow along with co-innovation with the outside. They hence propose tools and services that enables companies to create product in time and in line with exact customer needs.

Some companies are curious. They want to know what it looks like, meaning they want to perform tests and trials, see where it gets, how they can create disruptive yet financially acceptable business models around. The big deal is about defining those services that will serve their interest: a selective approach to use APIs and open innovation in pre-defined product strategy. Orange, for instance, have used API to specifically develop a social TV applications that “enhance content value, promote programmes and embrace new behaviours, which generates customer loyalty”. In that context, it is interesting to note the recent discussions with Microsoft to sell part of Dailymotion to the US giant. Other companies and organisations select applications developed by external players using their APIs via creative challenges, as AXA bank and insurance company in France and even the GSMA.

Andy Thurai, from Intel, explains in this article that the best way companies can use APIs and external developers is to provide “enterprise grade APIs”, together with the underlying security, governance, product lifecycle management to both external and internal developers to initiate a virtuous innovation circle and provide everyone with a chance to add value without losing control over sensitive data and assets. This is the very equation business scientists (meaning those able to turn big data and APIs into business strategy) have to equilibrate, as usage, time to market and competition is increased by the API power. That power is obviously driven by the developers community companies can manage on top of controlling the API made available for open innovation, as suggested here by Mashery. It is not about losing control, it is about driving it with more “horses” in the correct direction. Atchison Frazer reminds in this article that an API strategy has to be created with the appropriate security policy: “API managers must consider how much API governance can be automated to reduce potential for coding errors. On the flip side, security issues related to governance policies, date protection, compliance adherence all need mitigation to achieve optimal business agility”.

Here is the last buzzword: business agility. As this article from Innovation Excellence reminds, “API not only accelerate innovation endeavour, they generate new revenue streams, strengthen your marketing campaigns, and extend your reach in distributed business models”. They act as an additional “lego” in the companies’ DNA, unlocking innovation potential. And as ReadWrite points out, the mobility side of API is being identified as the “spur to innovation” multiple mobile screens have to offer to millions of users in the entire world. In this API-ecosystem, it is suddenly not only companies’ responsibility to foster innovation. Developers, users, behaviours, economic trends that influence all of them as they would influence a market, it all comes and drives companies from the inside with the right API strategy. Isn’t this the definition of an agile business?

Posted in IT Innovation, Market Roadmap

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