Sunday, December 25, 2005

Businesses might really have a new model for growth

It was one of those evenings you wouldn't want to forget... you probably know the feeling when suddenly things make sense... that was how I felt when we (the Vibacom team) had the »end of the year« gathering with all our business partners… with those we had been developing the business models together for the last few years... it was for the first time that we were all together, that they all met: Andrej, Živa, Bogo, Mojca, Barbara, David, Siniša, Ladea, Miha, Marko, Rok, Edita, as well as Jožica, Polona, Darko, Estera and Urban, who were with us only in our thoughts, being engaged with prior arrangements ... and when I started explaining the concept of our possible long term cooperation it all made real sense... I understood what I was reading about in several books in the last 2 years... sustainable growth of business ecosystems is also possible based on knowledge and innovation networking, based on intellectual capital... I should not say that everybody jumped in with a great enthusiasm immediately, but the clear idea and the core model went on air and step by step it will find its manifestation in practice... I see it…we are doing it (unaware at this moment), yet, organized in the future…and the word »trust« got a new powerful meaning in business ecosystems....have great holidays and let the magic of moments inspire you and move you closer to the mission of your life...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Innovation as fundation, design as value creation

Yesterday was one of those inspiring days when energies were floating freely and enriching all participants… We were working on a new edition of the TV show “Business Rhythms”, Power of Business Innovation (co production of Mediade, Vibacom and TV PIKA) about Adria Mobil, one of the most inspiring pillars of Slovenian economy. Managers we talked to proved one more time that besides knowledge, experiences and luck, passion is the one that makes a difference. The combination of all of them makes Adria Mobil such a special business ecosystem. The final remarks of Mr. Bruno Korelič, former director general of Port of Koper: “When thinking about the business success and sustainable growth, think about people, people, and again about people”, just made the whole day really special. And as always, where is success there are innovations. We all agreed that the primary challenge for established corporate environments is to penetrate into their collective consciousness with yet another concept, philosophy. Innovation in corporate environments is a process which differs from classic operational processes where stress was on performance and quality. Innovation process is a typical thinking process that needs a lot of cross-functional and cross-hierarchical coordination where the stress in creative ideas and their successful manifestations on the market. In today’s business environment, companies can no longer rely on performance and quality improvements to gain value add market recognition. These two factors are becoming entry point qualifiers. Only innovations, based on creative thinking, can today ensure winning position and value creation for the buyer, as well as, for the seller. And least but not last, Ladea congratulations on the successful completion of your master degree and thank your for the perfect party full of heartfelt, conscious and subconscious streams and inspiring singing…

Saturday, December 17, 2005

EU i2010 Action Plan

It's late at night. I just came back from Brussels from the closing session of the I and II Advisory Chamber to EU Commission on eEurope. Besides eAuthentification topic presented by the II Chamber (it caught quite some attention from the I Chamber) and Commission initiatives on the territorial digital divide and the role of structural funds, the main topic of the meeting was presentation and discussion on the recommendations of the II Chamber on the implementation of i2010. The content offered in depth views and recommendations built around six-point strategy of the II Chamber on how to ensure the innovation and investments in ICT to be successfully implemented in the i2010 Action plan.
At one point in January this will be an official paper available on eEurope web pages. However, I would like to stress, that in order to really make SMEs as a core building block of the Future EU and to ensure a vivid role that they are meant to play in the field of R&D, some substantial changes in conceptual thinking should be made. Europe needs new business and social models (B&SM) that could really push towards more entrepreneurial and innovative society. Yet, I am convinced that we should not just automatically copy US models for that purpose (for example Venture Funds). We have different values, core competences, ways of communication, different social capital. Therefore, we should integrate those in our own B&SM.
Second major obstacles in more active and structured role of SMEs in EU are administration procedures and the life cycles of project acceptance.
We should seriously address both of these issues … not only on philosophical level, but also via operational strategies and action plans....

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Networks of deversity and EU

These a are some of the insides from my comments on EU i2010 strategic documents “…I would like to point out one more time that the networking as a concept and consequently "networks of diversity" should remain our core focus while searching for a successful EU models ... Therefore, we should not overlook the historic role Europe has been playing in the development of mobile communication industry... and I think we should keep it as a strategic field for cross sector development and also R&D,... and just lately I’ve become quite an advocate of European school of thought, specially in management... I would stress that EU has a unique opportunity to start developing new business models that would include a sustainable overall social and business development towards a cohesion and prosperity of our ecosystem as a whole... Therefore, I suggest to include management and leadership or business development as one of the strategic segments for future prosperity of Europe (that would include development of social innovation, relationship innovation, business innovation, HRM, business models, new forms of corporate cooperation, etc.)”….

Monday, December 12, 2005

Innovation is everywhere

Today was the day to be social... besides quite a hard work to come up with an innovative presentation of the 2006 business plan for one of the clients, I've been talking quite a bit today... yet, sooner or later the conversations leaded to innovation... it is quite unbelievable how fast is this buzz word penetrating the jargon of all sort of interest groups and business tribes...lets go through today’s events … first it was challenged by Andrej while we were clarifying our new innovative hot idea on how to increase the success rate of joint ventures and acquisitions, than Amadea (she is this year holder of the Feniks award for the consulting project of the year – Vibacom got it last year) who I had an conversation on innovative business models that we used in our consulting work: did we need our own models or could we transfer and adjust other best practices in an innovative way to our business space? Than I've talked to the president of one of our funds for young music talents and he mentioned that they were searching for a good lecturer on social innovation and civil society, than I've talked at the new year event of the Managers Association of Slovenia with several managers what to do to increase the innovation consciousness of the daily corporate life? Innovation is everywhere…So, more I think about it more I realized that the movement has started… what is lacking now are tools, best practices, models, methodologies proven to lead to the realization of innovation as a strategic orientation and collective consciousness … So, let’s move... let’s start creating it from the real life and not wait for academics to do the first step... we just need to uncover it... innovation is such a natural human behavior...

Friday, December 9, 2005

Social innovation - a strong message from GEOSS

It was a cold and foggy night…So, driving was not the best thing to do ... Yet, something was pulling me to this meeting at the central point of Slovenia (Vače, GEOSS)… My 45 min drive was soon blessed with a spectacular view over the valleys on both sides of the hill... covered with milky mist... yet, at the top a clear blue sky and the smell of countryside coziness made the trip worth while. There was not an usual business crowd... they were mayors and other officials from the Counties of the central part of Slovenia... I wondered about the message I was about to get from them what could I pass on to them... it was cool.. their conversation was all about social innovation... they were trying to find new ways for self organization in order to stimulate a faster growth of their counties, to be more competitive for different forms of structural funding, and mostly, to be able to support the development of local business... it was an interesting message that they raised: foreign investors are not really the best choice, they are not willing to reinvest back in social environment (they do not sponsor local sport and cultural activities)... foreign owners do not pay attention to the social capital and local »ways of doing« business that is closely connected to the overall development of the society... they realized that only networking and close cooperation on different projects could facilitate new forms of internal development, help building a stronger base... Saša, you have started a really great process... keep going and feed tem with content driven projects based on networking and close cooperation ... you have a chance to build a firm social capital of the »central Slovenian region« and develop an innovative social model for sustainable development of local communities...

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Product vs process

Yesterday I contributed my views to the conference (part of Interreg IIIC) on "Systematic approach to new product development". Quite a new crowd for me (Žiga did a really good job), and after a longer time more discussions on technical aspects of innovations ... surprisingly, out of 7 presentations 2 were on design, super, at the end it is the design that makes a difference while the innovation culture sets the foundation for successful companies (as Zmago pointed out). Yet, the point I was trying to add was, that a product, service, solution is just a result of an innovative process, is just a food we keep feeding the business relationships with … to keep our customer segments alive, healthy, firm.... therefore, to make a good product, you first need to build strong relationships and understand the behavior and the nature of them, than you can generate successful products, as well...

Monday, December 5, 2005

Another cool site on innovation

Thanks to Metka, I have learnt about another cool site on innovation more and more the innovation is becoming a concept... cross functional, inter disciplinary, like a horizontal conceptual layer, connecting social, business and daily life aspects....

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Even in cozy environments innovation is a hot topic

The weekend was just gorgeous... The beautiful Logarska Valley proved one more time to be one of the best positive energy places in the world. Family Plesnik opened their friendly hotel for friends and business partners and it was worth driving in a heavy rain and fog to join them... Tereza Kesovija just added additional sparkles to the overall charm... yet, even there we got engaged in conversation about innovation and the magic of get it rolling in corporate environments... and the message: innovation has much to do with strategic thinking and you definitely need a critical mass of people that are consciously emphasizing it over and over again... it is all in the critical mass... a colleague Janez from Halcom also added an important comment »... but without somebody who takes the innovation as a personal project and pushes it strongly throughout the company, there will be no result« ... as always, to win you need a good team with great leaders.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Will it work?

While finishing the book »Crones don't Whine« on my flight back from the »Multi-Country Seminar on SMEs Development Policies« in Budapest, I was in parallel thinking about the relationship between inspiration and innovation … my presentation was on Innovation & SMEs and my point was that we have to manage innovation process in SMEs with a similar professionalism and sustainability as in larger business environments with a special emphasis on growth and participation of as a large critical mass of employees as possible ... we need to inspire them to be self motivated for creative thinking ... however, listening to the rest of the speakers, I got an impression that the financial incentives and regulatory environments are really the focus of the EU policies for growth and innovation ... will it work? ... my concern is that awareness and knowledge and social acceptance might be even more important for broader acceptance of innovation as a strategic direction and for more active role of SMEs that the official framework for innovation and SMEs itself ... is it better to start building the environment and implementing the rules based on our current perception of needs or would it be better to invest in building up a more self confident and self motivated society and individuals. The innovative environment would in such a case be a (self organized) consequence …