Tuesday, December 25, 2007

For the end and for the new beginning

Few more days and the 2007 will open the doors for a new one. It was a really special year, full of challenges, turnovers, changes, unpredictable moves and deep revelations. A very dynamic year, indeed. Yet, rewarding too, with powerful keys and visions that will make the 2008 a year of progression and clarity.

As far as the innovation is concern, at least in Slovenia, it became well understood and accepted concept for growth and value creation. Innovation Journalism and Innovation Communication leaded the way for its better understanding, locally and globally, for the acknowledgement of the importance of creativity, individuality and freedom of thoughts. This is a needed foundation for prosperity of holistic economy. I hope we will all actively co-create its next development cycle. I am looking forward to sharing the cycles of visions and manifestations with all of you all around the globe. Aho.

Monday, December 24, 2007

ENTERPRISE 2.0 – new concept for thinking companies

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via WikipediaDear friends, colleagues, and travelers in a common space.

Let me use this opportunity to share with you once more, experiences and insights from our business practice. As one of the prime companies in Slovenia we implemented the concept of Enterprise 2.0 for our company, called Vibacom 2.0. Here are our initial observations and experiences, shared with you, through an interview with our team members, Estera Lah and Siniša Jančić, that have led the way. This is their story:


VB: At the beginning of this year we presented to the Slovenian public the concept of Web 2.0 that has been broadly acknowledged in the world community, already. But what is so special about Enterprise 2.0?

EL: We've heard a lot about Web 2.0 and its advantages for an individual's social life on the web, e.g., in the form of blogs, wikis and social communities (FaceBook, MySpace). But the variation of this concept for business systems is becoming more and more popular and efficient. That is Enterprise 2.0. It means that different web tools and applications for communication are being commonly used within our company. The key functionality is that the knowledge and experiences of employees are shared on-line all the time, and at anytime. We can talk about some kind of "internet of the company" the content of which is co-created by employees. This concept could be extended to customers or partners, as well. In other words, with Enterprise 2.0 we can build business communities simply, and cost effectively.

VB: For the Enterprise 2.0 concept to flourish, a certain organizational infrastructure (physical and social) needs to be in place, some sort of "thinking company". What is your experience?

EL: Certainly. Vibacom 2.0 (note: Enterprise 2.0 corporate community for Vibacom) allows and needs a net-based organization of which characteristics are flexibility, transparency, a non-hierarchical approach and of course cooperation. One of the key success factors is the willingness of all users to change their mindset. This is very important in order to co-create information flow, and cooperation in any thinking process. Vibacom 2.0 tools allow our company to merge our knowledge, experiences and the day-to-day activities into a so-called collective mind that is accessible to everybody in the company. That leads to increased productivity, quality and creativity that is a base for all innovative breakthroughs.

VB: Siniša, what does Vibacom 2.0 really mean, what kind of tools are we talking about?

SJ: Web 2.0 offers many effective tools for "home users" which are also applicable for business environments. In the first place these are all advanced tools for web information exchange: corporate blogs, that are written by employees; wikis that allow large numbers of people to access and up-grade documents on web; RSS sources that allow a selection of fresh and custom-tailored news; web portals (such as SharePoint) and social networks that allow the exchange of focused content. In addition, there are tools that allow unified communication and combine the voice and text (VOIP, messaging, videoconferences etc.). It is worth pointing out also, platforms that combine most of these tools and are adjusted to business environments,
for example Google Apps, which is used by Vibacom for its Vibacom 2.0 space.




VB: What has stimulated Vibacom to start using Google Apps and move its business to web?

SJ: The key motivations were the challenges of data synchronization, remote access, data storage and co-depended platforms that we had to deal with daily. The centralized web platform allows us to get rid off all our difficulties related to corporate calendars, document up-dates, revisions, and project coordination, regardless of the location or system platform (PC, Mac, Linux, Symbian). It was important for us to get access to our e-mails contacts, and to see the history of the data use from any point of the globe, either via fixed or mobile communication. There are still many other benefits that we will integrate to our work place in the future. However, in spite of the enthusiasm, I would like to stress that the migration to this platform could be sometimes slow and even difficult. Yet, the benefits justify the investment needed in for the initial phase, especially in the work organization and business logic.

VB: Based on my experiences I understand that Enterprise 2.0 also requires some cultural changes in business environment. What were the challenges while implementing Vibacom 2.0?

SJ: I was not surprised that the first response of my colleagues was very enthusiastic; there were no emotional challenges in the transition to a new business platform, since Vibacom's team is always open for new ideas and fresh business practices. However, we were all concerned a little, how we would work when there was no access to the web, how to reach mail and calendar in that eventuality? The question was of-course relevant to me, however, my constant response was, can it ever really happen that there is no access to the web? Web is everywhere; we have so many types of acceptable prices for systems, types of access (wi-fi, HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE,...) that the issue is not an issue any longer. So we have started a journey but are keeping in mind this possible weakness.

EL: I would just like to point out that in fact Vibacom 2.0 is an intellectual challenge related to willingness to change. It requires a different understanding of the net and the applications. This cannot happen over night. It is a process of constant transformation and comprehension that it is vital, and desirable to share knowledge and experiences with others; that in fact we are connected on the net all the time anyway, and that is great when each of us can create and participate in a common repository of the corporate consciousness and self-being.






VB: I know that as a director of Vibacom I was, and continue to be, concerned about the security, abuse or misuse of corporate knowledge and information?

SJ: The most common questions about Enterprise 2.0 and in for matter, Vibacom 2.0, as well, is how safe the transition is, what happens when or if somebody abuses the system, what if Google is abusing our data etc. The question is of course a relevant one, and all the concerns are legitimate ones. However, many people never ask about the security of existing, well-established, conventional institutions (like banks). I'm quite sure that IT security in many companies today is much weaker than these new web platforms. Only a people few really understand how complex efficient administration of local servers and appropriate protection of access is. Not to mention the enormous costs related to sustainable up-grading of such a system. Nevertheless with Google, people are less concerned about security. Their primary fear is the concept of Orwell's Big Brother, who sees everything, hears everything and knows everything. Again the analogy with a bank is appropriate one. It took some time for people to trust the banks.. in the end it comes to a decision between fear of a Big Brother and the commodity of an open system. Of course big companies can get the best of the both worlds: Enterprise 2.0 concept in their protected local environment.

VB: What are the next steps in the evolution of Vibacom 2.0?

SJ: The next step is to complete the rest of the document management transition to the web and implementation of the Google's version of a Power Point. In addition, we would like to up-grade our access devices (smart mobile phones) to improve mobility access.

EL: It is our plan to up-grade Vibacom 2.0 communication and work-flows with the networks of our customers and business partners. However we're aware that this will be an ongoing process and that we first need to gain more experience within Vibacom,s internal environment. However, a first small pilot project is already happening.

The first steps have been taken. As owner and director of the company, I can see the first positive effects; common calendar access and co-creation of documents (on-line) with colleagues. These steps have improved productivity significantly and allowed much faster generation of suggestions and new ideas. Simultaneously, project management has become much more effective and transparent.

That's it for 2007. I wish you a Merry Christmas and Wonderful 2008!
Let it be a good partner and an honest friend.


From our hearts to you,

Violeta, Estera, Mojca, Barbara, Siniša

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Innovation and the Turkey conference


The conference was really well organized. And we managed to provoke some positive reactions in the audience with the round table on innovation. It felt right. It seemed that the topic was well received, need. It is great to be a speaker when you feel that you managed to cause proliferation of thoughts. I really liked the comment of the lady that was translating simultaneously: “this was a great topic. Even we (translators) started wandering where and how we can be innovative”. Cool… so what were the major messages that we passed along:
- Every clusters needs to be build on an innovative core, e.g., an innovative product, or service, or business model, or system or a process.
- Innovation society needs cooperation of policy makers (environment), researchers (ideas), local communities (people, local environment), businesses (manifestation) and media (critical view, common language and understanding of concepts).
Much more about the conclusions can be seen at the conference page...... the awareness on innovation has just reached global level of discussion and this is hopefully a little contribution to it….


Thursday, October 25, 2007

In Turkey again

I haven’t written anything new for several days… time has such a different meaning at different times… paradox within itself… yet so much has happened in between, so many great sessions, projects, moments of love and compassion.
Yet I am back to Turkey at the “Clustering 07” conference in Istanbul. Very formal beginning with anthem, movie, showing the army power and red flags, dark suits. Tells so much about Turkey. Overlooking this in any kind of project it would be a mistake and ignorance. Important to remember. I am still very excited about the clustering project in Turkey… they can make it work if they really base it on the core social structures, means of communication and ways of doing business that has existed through out the centuries in this region. That is probably the largest mistake that countries or regions are making when following a success concepts of other regions/countries. They follow the idea by copying the processes as well… So often a dead end. Embrace the idea but include the local natural way of coexisting and behaving within … it seems that Turkey has learnt about this based on the reach experiences of other countries. Anyhow, these are the initial thoughts from the opening session of the conference. I’ll be back with more….
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Friday, October 5, 2007

A poet’s contribution to the development of an innovative society

I believe that our next opportunity lies in the efficient connection of all who search and create - from artists, scientists, experts, all thoes who constantly search and discove new. The manifestation of networks on this kind of foundations opens the pligon for the understanding of new dimensions and creates the pools of creativity for innovative ideas.

I'm publishing the interview with one of this kind of people - Iztok Osojnik is Slovenian poet and publicist and a lot more...Here is his view on the role of a poet and poetic language in today's world, poet's contribution to the development of innovative society and his advices on what economy has got to learn from poetry.

1) Who is Iztok?
A self-made, creative spirit, who likes to do many things, exploring new paths and horizons.

2) What does it mean to be a poet at this day and age?
Someone who, drawing on the last resources offered by language, brings into being something yet unknown, gives shape to reality flowing from the future into the present, into what is. You have to understand that being a poet is not a special vocation, but a state of mind, a level of personal culture, knowledge and inner realisation. Any person who rises above received knowledge and actively reaches out for the unknown, for the surplus, is a creative being, or as the Greeks would say, poietai – poets.

3) What is the role of poetic language in today's society?
I would say it is vital, since it supplies us with what we could call the existence of the world. Somewhat similarly as the electric dynamo creates an electromagnetic field. Invisibly, from behind. Without poets – and I mean poets, not versifiers – the world as being would not exist. Here lies the key dimension of (poetic) language, it enables precisely that.



4) Language too changes over time. Are these changes a consequence or a generator of change, are linguists historians or visionaries?
We live in a world which is a historical product of man. Language is the original plane upon which the novelty of the world is being realised. Linguists are experts studying language as it already exists; they are in that sense historians. Those making language, the visionaries, they create visions in the constant flow of time, they are poets and have a living knowledge of language, they live language actively. Again, I stress, a poet is someone with a fair measure of talent and not a vocational forger of rhymes.

5) What can a poet contribute to developing an innovative society?
Poets are those who keep the burning flame of creativity alive, which is a fundamental condition of every innovative society. In relation to creativity, innovation is what technology is in relation to knowledge. Innovation applies new knowledge, which is generated by pure creativity as a fundamental possibility. A society which nurtures and sustains creativity is the only society which can be innovative. Innovation can of course be imported from elsewhere, but a society that imports innovation cannot be original, nor can it be very interesting or competitive on the world market. It will always be a step behind.

6) Can the Slovenian language contribute to such innovation of space, and how?
The Slovenian language is one of the successful languages of the world. By becoming an official language of the EU, it has consolidated its status. It is a success story it its own right. It asserts its own view of the world, and moreover, it creates a space for it. Such a space is not a given. Its existence derives from language, in this case Slovenian, and is thereby made distinct from other spaces generated by other languages. Innovation of space is first and foremost its existence. The fact that it has a right to exist: in its difference and uniqueness. If German was spoken here, as was at one point the imagined scenario of a certain man with only one testicle and a short-cropped moustache, this space would today be something quite different. Also its economic setup would be something else, and certainly the people working within this economy would be entirely different. Similarly, if we spoke Latin or Italian here, as was held to be an option by some circles in Slovenia at the beginning of WWII, this space would not be here. All its differences are bound up with its capacity to be original. This space, in other words, is a fundamental innovation, from which grow all other innovations.

7) Does the dual form of the Slovene language have a role in this?
Absolutely. The consciousness of a duo, a couple, or two things, is an important shift in differentiating one from the many. The dual form is, for example, the language of love. It would be quite absurd for two lovers to say to each other : “we”, as in more than two, love each other. The dual form is also the language of dialogue, when the two of us say something to each other, from eye to eye as it were. It is quite clear that the “we” here is the two of us, who are directly involved, saying this and that. That we are close to each other. The closeness is concrete. The “we” in this case (midva) means you and I, and is the most intimate of social conversations. It is in the dual form that we speak to god, with those close to us, even our enemies. »The two of us«, midva, is a form of direct address. Me speaking to you as my other. The other thus becomes closer, communication is clear and direct. On the other hand, we as the plural form, mi, expresses generality. In the plural we, there is no directness of communication. Instead, the speaker hides behind the collective general “we”, which can be deceptive, since there is no precise way of knowing who exactly is involved. The minute we say, midva, there is no elusive third party that would remain hidden in the act of speaking.



8) What has economy got to learn from poetry?
A number of things. True, poets do not understand added value in the same way that economists do. For poets the key components of added value are to do with the wellbeing of human beings in their social totality. There is no poetic creativity without investment into human potential, knowledge and originality. Every innovation is the result of many factors and a complexity of background, which is in itself a product of a rich and highly evolved social environment. It is important for a person to have truly experienced, for instance, a first-class musical performance. He or she will not only be led to experience the richness of this wonderful world of creativity, but will also be inspired to apply this experience to their own field of work, and enable them to try things anew. It is no coincidence that the leading managers surround themselves by works of art of highest quality. And this, you can be sure, is not merely for reasons of profit making investment into art. If that were the case, they would not be keeping these precious objects on the walls of their offices or houses, but would be selling them on. And neither would they be financing art. A contact with a top-notch artist is a source of powerful inspiration for anybody, a touch of reality on the other side of the quotidian. True work of art has a special characteristic in that each new appreciation opens up a new horizon. That is where the power of poetry lies. With every new reading you are lead a step further into the unknown reality of this miracle of world's existence. This contact is not merely on the level of information exchange, but it is a living contact, which touches the heart, one's living centre. It is like a seed taking root in the heart, offering new thoughts and images. It guides you, gives you a moment to enjoy silence, to think things through, to conduct a quiet inner dialogue, it helps you to make a decision, to listen to yourself. It alerts you to the depth of ever new realisations, etc. Of course it is far from easy to discover a top-notch artist in the midst of an anonymous crowd. We are familiar with those from yesterday, who have proven their worth. But it is only with the ones living today, who are invisible, that we can forge a living contact. For one to recognise them, you have to be able to listen to them. You have to ultimately make your own decision, because you never know when you will be led astray by someone else's advice, no matter how well-intended. The most successful of businessmen have indeed always been surrounded by the best artists. They knew very well this was a matter of a long and important investment. Into themselves.

9) So is there a place for a poet in the developmental and strategic team of a given company? And if so, what kind of a role can he or she be given?
I would certainly say yes. A poet in the sense in which I have described him/her, as someone who is attentive to the dimension of a creative process which brings out what has not yet been, and brings into existence what now is. The dimension of language is fore grounded here, since language, as I have said, points to this event of coming into being, emerging, and becoming. Certain degree of knowledge and skill are required to attain free, uninhibited thinking, to be looking at things in a new way and then giving them shape in new language. Isn't innovation precisely that? Something new, something done differently? In the same way that engineers and technicians are able to transform scientific knowledge into practical and useful equipment, so poets too can be a source of ever-new ideas and visions, enabling specialists in the company's developmental and strategic team to understand and realise innovative interventions into the processes of creating added value.

Questions by Violeta Bulc, in English translated by Ana Jelnikar, september 2007.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Proliferation of innovative thinking - Econtent Summit, Brioni 2007

What a cool conference… ( Econtent Summit) diversified on all levels, just to prove one more time the essence of collaborative networks and importance of multidisciplinary views for innovative thinking. What have the latest space technology from Japan, venture capital success stories from Stanford, BBC model in response to new media challenges, InJo, provocative and critical posters from all over the world, Nikola Tesla and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart genius minds, fake personalities, media coverage, governmental e-projects, and trash computer equipment in common? They all capitalize on creativity and contribute to a pool of knowledge and experiences that could be used for a sustainable improvement of innovation systems and processes. Well defined eSummit organized by eHrvatska, Internet Institute and Business Institute in a beautiful environment of Brioni Islands. The event proved one more time that technology is very useful but person to person exchange of views will always have and important position in proliferation of creative environments.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It takes a lot of courage to follow the inner call

I am really privileged to know Sarah... a beautiful being with such an exploring mind. This is just one bliss of her story.

It takes a lot of courage to follow the inner call and, in spite of all the odds, to change life dramatically. Yet, those that are able to make such a step are happy people, eventually managing to combine the skills from different periods of their lives into a new successful story.



Sarah Lopez-Luis has just done that. And this is her story.

Q: Who is Sarah Lopez-Luis?
A: Just a girl. A woman. A yoga teacher. A reluctant and a bit spoiled Californian. Cuban by heart. I used to be in technology. I retired from technology 6 years ago. I’ve always liked my jobs. But I thought I wanted to do something different. I was doing technology for so long. At 40 I felt that this is the time to make a move. I was doing yoga all along and I loved it. So, I decide to stop working to take a 2 year Advanced Studies/Teacher Training Yoga Program. Yet, right at that time I got offered a new job that I really wanted. I accepted it. So I postponed my thoughts of a change for a while. Yet life provides. 2 years later there was a buyout of the company I was working for and I accepted the package offered to the employees. So, I was free to pursue my dream. …

Q: What is your passion?
A: The first thing that pops to my head is yoga. I love yoga.

Q: What does passion mean to you?
A: Something you never get tired talking about, that you always want to read and do more of … When I was in India this Spring in a special training even when I got back to my room after 5 hours of Yoga, I continued reading about yoga, thinking about yoga… It’s just always interesting for me… it is almost like an addiction. A desire you cannot resist.

Q: Yet, your professional life was not always about yoga. How did you become a hi-tech manager in a first place, how did you ended up in Silicon Valley?
A: I wanted to travel. So I was looking for a job that would offer that. I was a math and computer science major… so I applied for a job at Eastern Airline… I got it… the job was great – technical support for the airline industry. I worked in a great group, had a lot of fun... We traveled a lot… We were growing really fast and with that growth I got promoted and 9 years later I was at the senior managers meeting and I realized that all of us in that room had started in the same group and worked our way up together….

And than I married and moved with my husband to Silicon Valley…. At first I was scared… I thought that people there would be so much better, smarter… but I soon realized that people are people and I blended in really fast… but I realized that I am not a techie… I love to use technology but I am not intrigued by it… I do not have a passion for it.

Q: What was missing?
A: Passion…. I was not unhappy, I had a very nice work environment, friends, I liked my boss, I made a lot of money...But I had a feeling that I was getting to nothing…. So, being without children I started asking myself “Why am I living this conventional life?” So, I started thinking why not just go into yoga more seriously… not to teach, I was not thinking about this before, but just to get better, to explore it.. to learn more about it…

Q: How did the morning of decision making look like?
A: It was not really a morning… I was thinking about it for a wile… I talked to Steve (op. her husband) about it…. It had been at the back of my mind for a while… But the moment that prevailed was: the company gave us an option over an e-mail for a retirement package and we needed to respond immediately... So, I was looking at the e-mail, talking to one of my friends and while I was talking to her I clicked and sent the confirmation for my retirement package… My last official date at work was August 1st and on July 31st I was at the top of Half Dome in Yosemite.

Q: How did you feel?
A: I felt very liberated…

Q: How did you feel 2 weeks later?
A: About the same. I enrolled into the Yoga Program. The day I was supposed to start the program was September 11 (THE September 11)… I remember, my mom called me in the morning, telling us to turn on the TV... We just sat there, watching… so I forgot about the school… a bit later the school called and rescheduled the start to the next day…. The first class I had was a philosophical one… I can still hear my teacher saying, “Just do not add to the violence”; I use this statement with my students even today.



Q: Than there was a decision about starting to teach….Was it hard to enter a new field, to start like a junior?
A: It was not hard at all…. I started teaching even before I started the program… that is how life is… when you make a decision you suddenly start getting offers everywhere…. I took a summer class… and the teacher invited me to join as an assistant … she offered me to take over her class... So, that summer I actually started teaching… Yoga became so popular in California that there was a huge demand for teachers… I got invited to act as a substitute for different teachers and after a while I developed my own group of students and I started doing it on my own…

Q: When have you thought for the first time about connecting the two worlds (the previous and the current)?
A: The two worlds have always been connected in some way. After working in an industry for a long time certain patterns just stay with you: I always plan my classes (almost like preparing a presentation), I always have a theme, 2-3 major points, I always start on time and end on time… I try to make contact with every student … so the habits of the business world come out unconsciously. But one of the things I’ve noticed more recently is that.. .in business you are constantly making decisions. I’ve realized that this is now missing in my life, so I would like to get this part of my life active again… and that is where the idea about my own studio came from. I really want to have my own place where I can create a positive space that attracts people that value that… So, that is what I am working on right now.

Q: Have you noticed changes in your behavior, perception of the world?
A: Oh, yes. I do not get headaches. By nature, I am very impatient person but I am noticing that I do not get annoyed any longer with “normal stuff”, little things in life (like busy traffic) I am a lot more compassionate about people…

Q: Which thought would you share with people who are pursuing management careers?
A: Managing people is difficult. In my opinion, most people want to be told that they are good. They really do not want to hear what they need to work on. So, if you get employees that have difficulties it is hard to get them together and focus them on common goals. The best managers are the people that know how to manage themselves. A good manager needs to be a role model first. And that is true in the yoga world, too. I need to be good. I need to live what I teach. In the Business world, managers need to be doing everything to the best of their abilities to become a role model to their people then the rest will follow. And you really need to know the business. If you want to manage engineers you do not need to be the best engineer but it is critical that you have a strong engineering background – otherwise your people won’t respect you.

Q: Should everybody follow your path?
A: No. Everyone has to follow their own path. Just follow your intuition. Some of the best decisions I’ve made, I made when I didn’t think of the outcome. If we really listen to our inner voice there is always something that is pulling us forward. Just listen. There is just so much noise in our lives that it’s hard to listen to the inner voices. We need to create a space for ourselves so that we can hear.

Sarah story is very deep and inspiring. It was not the intention of this article to suggest that we all have to become yogis to be happy and to add value to a society. Her story is a bit extreme, however, the major message is clear. Follow your dreams, follow your inner guidance and be ready to invest in it. And you will find your path and will experience the peace and balance in life. In economically developed societies we will be seeing more and more of truthful moves in business as well. And that could be the hope for European economy – centered, confident, innovative individuals, willing to invest in dreams and share them with a high level of empathy the wisdom, wealth and happiness with society they work within. Are you following your inner call?

Diversification allows the best to florish

Only with a high level of diversification we can really create ourselves a favorable environment that helps every individual to flourish and maximize her/his potentials. It is so beautiful to watch an authentic meadow, so full of beautiful flowers coexisting in its beauty.... that is the spirit of innovation....

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My first visit to Turkey

What a hot day here in Ankara…. I almost forgot what it means to work in an overheated office, no air-conditioning… however, when I arrived yesterday, I realized what a potential Turkey really is. Observing the county from the air, the space, one needs to notice the emptiness, geographic position… you can tell, that this is my first visit here.
And than Ankara, endless streets of apartment buildings, lots of construction work, new airport which is quite empty, wide main avenue that reminded me of the size of the city I was entering… more people live here than in entire Slovenia…(unofficially over 5 million) and than my colleague Mateja kindly remained me of the fact that this is nothing comparing to Istanbul…. Turkey really has a potentials… especially because it is developing in waves, which means that there is a large potential for a sustainable long term progress even within the country itself…
The project I work for is the “clustering in Turkey” project. Being a leader for the communication group puts me in the position of an observer…. observing the local habits, behaviors, advantages and constrains of the Turkish culture…. great challenges and opportunities…
People have been, so far, very nice and opened… our first meeting and discussions went well… mostly young people, all well educated, open looks and cooperative energy… I hope my experiences will fit well with their needs and that we can make a quality contribution …
but the weather is really hot… they say that it is going to be a record high today…..

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The 2nd Conference on Innovation Journalism Stanford after Stanford is finished


The 2. Conference (this time international with a strong presentation of all sectors) on Innovation Journalism (Stanford after Stanford) and innovation drivers is over. And there are many strong emotions that I could draw out of the 2-day experience. I can confidently say that The Region from Turkey to Slovenia, and all the countries in between is waking up to the innovation as an opportunity of economical growth and sustainable development… not only that… things are happening as we speak. And different media (old and new) are playing an important role in this waking up call… pointing out the lack or the beauty of the presence of innovation, both is useful, important. Commissioner Potočnik and Minister Turk were both very clear about that in their speeches, too. They were both cool, relaxed and very clear in importance of innovation for us, Slovenia, EU, the countries that care. Ms. Fink very clearly showed where a conscious work on innovation can lead, many active media people, academics, scientists and business representatives understood that the secret is in cooperation, dialog, honest exchange of views, data, results, visions and consequences…


David Nordfors was very visionary sensing the importance of the InJo concept a few years ago. Vinnova supported him. Today David with a help of Jan (great in presentations, as always) and Willi, along with Stanford, EJC and many more organizations, are leading a way in exploring this concept further… Slovenia is not much behind. I try my best to inspire and contribute hands on experiences of the use of the InJo concept.
The rewards added the charm to the first day and showed that people care, see the difference and appreciate a good media story. Trust and passion are those that make a complex truth an attractive media contribution. And we can say that the conference was all of that…
The workshops really made a difference. Brought sharp points out, asked for solutions and we, as participants, delivered. At the end we felt like a big community, that openly exchanged views, experiences and delivered some concrete solutions and calls for action. I am looking forward to cooperating in the future. This might be a new model for conferences all together.



Keep checking the the page… every day for the next few days there will be published new transcripts, podcasts, comments and views of the event … until completed for the full experience to those that missed it or want to follow up… Do not be ignorant, play the role… and do not forget to check the interviews on this blog… they are InJo story by themselves….
First comments about the conference you can read on:
Ministr's blog
Official page of the Ministry
Blog about the innovation
Vizior
Jan
David
EJC

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Who is Willi and everything else on the future of media

Q: So who is "Willi"? (video with his views on media and innovation journalism role in it)


A: In the age of the internet, we see a (slow) dissolve of what was previously considered your "identity". On the web you can be many "personas" at the same time.
Building and managing your different, and indeed, sometimes diverse and conflicting identities is something we will all have to learn, and use for our communication advantage.
So this guy, 55, male, married, university educated, and with a 15 year background in broadcasting and journalism education, and now the German director of a Dutch international foundation called the European Journalism Centre, could also be blogging as an African grass roots activist demanding more help for developing countries on Global Voices.com or be caught chatting live on YouTube as that 16 year old teenage girl "Minnie from Minneapolis" who is into Nelly Furtado and Linkin Park and has a crush on Orlando Bloom.

Q: What is my passion?
A: Apart from really loving soul music and reading gritty American crime novels from authors like Elroy and Connelly, what really makes me tick is " the future": some of the questions I am interested are:
- how will today's weak signals be received tomorrow,
- how will change affect the media industries,
- how can the internet be turned into an ever better tool for research and communication,
- how can innovation contribute to better lives for all of us,
- which structures and vested interests do exist that hinder change and innovation and that want to maintain the status quo.
- how can more and more people be enabled to contribute to human knowledge and be enabled to share what they know and like



Q: What does it mean to be a director of the EJC (op: European Journalist Center)?
A: It means an excellent opportunity to be able to follow up on my passions just mentioned. Over 15 years the EJC has been instrumental in educating journalists from Europe, but also from countries all over the world, with the EJC helping them to better understand their jobs, the topics they cover, and the important developments in the media industries that affect or will affect their jobs.
It also puts quite a big responsibility on my shoulders since the ejc is a very respected organization, internationally, and we always have to try to live up to that reputation by going for the really good stuff, not being satisfied with just the second best. It means identifying good teachers, lecturers, and industry professionals who also share this vision of excellence, and who want to share what they have learned in their professional careers with others who are just starting their journalism careers, or share experiences with those who, after having worked in the industry for some years, are now looking for new challenges or a new direction in their professional lives.
I must admit I feel very privileged to be the Director of this organization, since it allows me to support so many fine colleagues in their further education and to be able to play a role in enabling some serious networking amongst these professionals.

Q: What is the primary role of the centre in the EU?

The primary role of the European Journalism Centre is to help educate journalists on complex issues such as the workings of the European Union, convergence (as the integration of text, audio and video in publications on the web) and innovation systems, and the roles the different actors play in that innovation space.
Moreover, we see ourselves also as an institution interested in, and doing serious research about, the future of media, but also about issues such as good media governance and the future of copyright.
We target journalists working in traditional environments such as the print and broadcasting industries, but we want to better reach out to citizen journalists, to bloggers and video journalists and to all those media workers whose job descriptions still have to be invented.

Q: What is your worst nightmare?
A: This must be my dentist, really. He just extracted three teeth and has hinted that another four (!) will probably have to go. Apart from that I see more opportunities than dangers in (my) life. As the saying goes in my native city of Cologne: "so far things have always worked out'.

Q: Can journalists play an active role in the development of a future society?

A: Yes, journalists have done this in the past and will continue to do so in the future. There is no democracy without freedom of expression, and the freedom of the press is vital to any open society. Journalists have an important watchdog function that makes sure that politicians and other officials are under professional scrutiny and are held accountable for their actions. Moreover, since the public is facing an ever increasing amount of (dis)information, journalists can act as gatekeepers, differentiating the important from the merely sensational, the relevant from the merely curious. As media professionals, they are able to make sense (and to communicate that sense) of the ever more complex world we all live in.

Q: What is the biggest change in the media industry that you are noticing: how does it show?

A: We see a blurring of borders in many areas of the profession and a move towards a more "horizontal"/ "peer to peer" communication:
- print journalists now integrate podcasts and videos in their stories. The separation of workers into (creative) writers and technical (support) staff is disappearing.
- citizen journalists and bloggers can now communicate and publish just as well as those who call themselves "media professionals". The separation between "publishers" and "audience" is disappearing.
- "content" is freely and easily available everywhere and will be even more so in the future. Already today, one third of all daily newspapers are given away for free.
- all media is on all platforms all the time: the different distribution channels for media are losing their distinct features: it is the content that rules ok, and it is present 24h/7d on all available platforms.
- the vertical communication model ( "one to many", "broadcasting", "ex cathedra") is being supplemented (and superseded?) by more "horizontal" communication models in peer to peer networks like “myspace”, “facebook”, “wikipedia”, “flicr”, “delicious” and other so called "web 2.0" applications and networks.

Groups of people interested in a certain topic are beginning to realize that by pooling and sharing their knowledge, they need less and less traditional (and hierarchical) structures to reach their goals and that the "power of the crowd" can be superior to any "proprietary" knowledge you must buy from commercial entities.

Q: Is media responding well to the challenges of a dynamic and constantly changing society?
A: Media itself is a part of this dynamic and constantly changing world, so it faces the challenges all industries and professions face in the globalized world. Is it responding well because it intrinsically loves change?
Rather: it is changing because it has to. Too much power, and money, is at stake, so if "media" is not up to the challenges, other market entrants will be, and they will take the vacant place.
So the big media houses and publishers like Murdoch embrace the new because they have to. Unfortunately, it seems that especially many public broadcasting enterprises, on the other hand, still do not seem to take the changes occurring very seriously. Many of them pretend that nothing has happened, and that the public that pays their service fee will allow them to "plod on" also in the future. There is very little "blurring" here: the same old hierarchies seem to be intact, the "news" is still delivered "from above", and developments like "user generated content" are perceived as a danger instead of the public broadcasters seizing the opportunity and enabling users to become producers.
But, generally speaking: yes, media is responding well to changes: journalists are usually very curious, often irreverent, and always interested in the "next thing": any changes affecting society as a whole usually affect media very early on since media is so much concerned with the "new" and the 'unusual", and so if media is not "ahead" of the curve, it will lose readers and users.

Q: Is there a future for media? Will it merge with other industries or will it remain a profession?
A: Yes, of course, there is a future. Remember: some 500 years ago there was just one book, the Bible, that tried to dominate people's lives and now there are tens of thousands of newspapers, websites, radio and tv stations all fighting for the attention and the time of the user. Faced with such a huge proliferation (of publications, distribution channels and devices) "media" has always been mixing its "authorship"/ its "content production” with the relevant distribution technologies in printing and broadcasting, and now with web technologies.
New players keep on entering the media markets, and now we see telephone companies, Internet Service Providers and technology companies like Apple occupying media space that was once reserved to the publishing houses and the national broadcasters. And of course, and again, there are all these new participants like bloggers and citizen journalists who are discovering their very own voices and who are making these voices heard.
Yet, I firmly believe that "media worker" is and will remain a profession: maybe the task of the media professionals will be changing, though: they will be less concerned with knowing it all and telling the truth "from above", and be more concerned with "gatekeeping" and with enabling all these new participants of the media space to find and stabilize their own voices and make these voices heard.
"Media literacy" will be a fundamental skill for the future, and the professionals in the industry will ( or rather: should) be devoting more of their time and expertise in enabling more and more people to use the media as a tool, enabling them to articulate their views and opinions.

Q: Can projects like InJo (op: innovation journalism) help?
A: Yes, of course. We believe Innovation journalism is a new and major approach to better understand and cover the world around us. It goes away from the traditional "vertical" approach in reporting (politics/business/sports/living/ health etc) and looks at the world in a more "horizontal" fashion, identifying change, its agents and drivers, at a very early stage.
InJo is all about "detecting weak signals" and making these signals strong and sustainable. InJo identifies, and embraces, change and change processes and, by doing this, journalists covering these issues all of a sudden become drivers of change themselves. This is quite unusual for traditional journalists who usually see themselves more in the role of observers rather than as actors, but we believe it is a vital new concept that will not just help us to better understand the world, but that offers an excellent opportunity for those who are interested in the "big picture" to better write and report on the paradigm changes taking place around us.

Q: And your final thought?
A: My final thought I want to share with Slovenian media professionals: I once saw a writing on a wall that gave very good advice. The graffiti stated, quite correctly: "the only liberties you get are the ones you take". So, be not afraid. Embrace the new, and go for it!

Willi, as usual, nailed it right on the spot. His broad views and very deep interest in local, professional and global issues make him a valuable media person. And here might be an answer to the question of the future trends on media sector… media will be the main driver for bringing people together, horizontally and vertically and offering a platform for exchange of views, ideas, and solutions. Let’s be part of this exciting future... Let's go for it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Day3 at Stanford .. add1

The day 3 was much stronger than my notes will show. I just has too many interesting discussions and not enough time to write… but still, there are two comments and observations I want to share with you…
1. Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart (born January 30, 1925 in Oregon) the pioneer of human-computer interaction (HCI) and the computer mouse inventor is saying that Capability infrastructure (Sensory, Perceptual, Motor, Mental ) will be much more significant than HCI. He appealed to journalists to interact more with sociologists and anthropologists in order to play an important role in raising voices or the future society. When I looked at him, the legend, I wished I could talked to him the whole day…. More on Wikipedia..

2. Journalist need a broader education about the concepts of new technologies, science fiction, cybernetics, (technological) forecasting… about all the areas that have significant impact on the future… That makes me think that there might be a range of wisdom, knowledge, and tools that all majors would need to include in their high education programs… the topics that Noam Lemelstrich from Israel was talking about are part of essential general knowledge that we would all need in order to be able to actively participate, communicate and lead…

For more you can also check Jan's or David's blog... (klik links on your right)

Day2 at Stanford .. add2

“Solution is not the answer” seems to be accepted at the conference as a motto…. All speakers were directly or indirectly suggesting that we are all in a search of new models, customer driven content that…let me try to point out a few provocative thoughts:
- In media we will be seeing more and more opportunities in content aggregation and content channeling for selected market segments
- Due to the switching cost for customers being close to 0, media will need to look more like a sport club generating “fan club” and “gadgets stores” in order to keep the audience
- Audience wants to participate, be actively, yet, sporadically involved in news evolution; those providing such an environment will succeed
- Stories are even more aggressively coming in; the story that changes our mind is getting the attention
- Every industry needs a business plan for innovation. Media, too. The same applies to audience. People want to know that they are not left out
- Strong media is essential for democracy, is essential for growth
- Regionally focused innovation clusters – the concept of “regional”, needs to be re-thought. Global innovation networks replace global regions/clusters. The same logic but geographically independent.
- Focus is needed on competence rather on learning. The key is to learn by practice.

At the end… I am really tired today. So, no smart comments… just a question maybe: What is the future role of the West in this new world order?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Day2 at Stanford .. add1

The first speech was a good introduction to the day. David is right. New things need new words and those words have to be well defined. So, that what his speech was all about. Let me share some of those and more you can find on the web:
- Innovation is the process of creating and delivering new customer value to the marketplace
- Innovation Systems present the flow of technology, information and capital among people.
- Innovation Communication Systems is the flow of attention. Attention workers are Journalists, PR & Communicators, Lobbyists, and Marketers.
- Innovation Journalism is about new things. New things need new words, new ways of presenting them.
- Innovation – introduction of something new.
- Innovation Systems: Competition between ideas. Alliances, compromises, conflicts, fights for attention. Winners implement their ideas on a marketplace.
So, the conclusion could be that InJo introduces names for new things. InJo gives language for discussing how innovation happens in society, allows people to communicate among each other with a common language infrastructure. Gives a framework of structural approach… and is allow constant change based on experiences and market changes. That is a good start of a new concept. InJo itself proves the model.

Day1 at Stanford… add5 and

The afternoon sessions and workshops were talking about InJo challenges. Here are some that I would like to point out: university programs for journalists need more subjects on how businesses operate (innovation processes, product development, major science breakthroughs); a good example of such a studies is the Israeli an School of Communication (The Inter-Disciplinary College); secondly, Injo is not a commercial that could be spread on a piece of bread, it is a matter of attitude, a matter of values: do you want to be a better journalist, do you want to write better, more professionally; thirdly, we need a more educated and curious audience, so not only journalist need to learn more about innovation; in order for a society to move forward more and more people need to get aware about the need and the means of innovation; fourthly, we need to connect all that drive InJo concept closer together, probably at the beginning with RSS feeds and later with a more active international network… InJo is a movement and movements take time to evolve…. The last session was very “American”; it was interesting to learn how US press is in fact monopoly driven… the new media sector is stepping in, however, it will take time to shake it up and move it towards competitive markets… however, the view on how to solve the lack of interest in innovation was too narrow..... At the end I was ready to challenge the triple hex model (government, academia, business)… there is an important link missing – the manifestation layer (local communities, NGOs… media… ).. in the model itself.. only in that way we can actively address all of them….

Monday, May 21, 2007

Day1 at Stanford… add4

Will Rutten, director, European Journalism Center
Need for integrated news rooms (on-line, standard, and cross-industry approach, video)… something that traditional journalists were not used to… however, it is absolutely essential and needed… news are no longer vertical, the situation is calling for integrated news reporting, one workflow…very closely connected… this does not sit well with the traditional journalism and not with traditional education and training for journalists… so many changes are needed on all levels….
Are we in Slovenia ready for this… is our media thinking of this, acting upon? Well, I hope the InJo initiative will contribute a bit to bringing those issues on a table and we can only hope we will be able to initiate action, as well.

Day1 at Stanford… add3

Slovenia:
We presented a unique approach and, to this point, the broadest one in the world, bringing in local communities, elementary and high schools, entrepreneurs… Our case proved that triple hex can really work. Now it is time to come up with a good financial schema that can support a sustainable growth of the initial stage….

It is great to see that we are an important part of the proliferation of a global project and that world has something to learn from us… and is great to be here in person, since there is so much to learn from others, as well, and we can be productive and innovative immediately, here, today… on innovative business models and networks…

Day1 at Stanford… add2

Sweden: Jan, the program manager at Vinnova, brought up an really important issue regarding the need for policy changes in order to move forward as an innovative society… Sweden is doing it… here are some Vinnova’s policy changes:
- Competences rather than research
- Learning rather than teaching
- From maintenance to competitiveness – because the economy is global,
- Acknowledging media as a primary source of information; therefore, media should be treated as an industry… in order to be competitive, all industries, including media, need to have a research, need to do analysis, predations, future visions…. Therefore, InJo is needed…
Where are we, in Slovenia? What kind of changes in content our administration is doing? The message here is clear… the move needs to be mutual… all parts of the society needs to move forward… otherwise some might feel threatened and they automatically become non-constructive part of the progress… it is desirable to be different, critical, we are in trouble if we are just a demolisher ….

Finland:
- started introducing changes at the University level
- study shows that journalism in Finland dos not present future
- ICT is prevailing as a technology topic (“Nokia Effect”)
- they started with an association Finjo – community for covering the topic;
- they introduced the award for this year
Interesting approach…. We will exchange views and I already decide to follow their initiative on setting up associations… so we are start SinJo…. if you feel this is the path to follow you are invited to join..

Day 1 at Stanford …. add1

The first day, at 1000am (1700 Ljubljana time) local time, has started… a very powerful crowd from around the world…mostly journalists, professors of Journalism, research agencies, a few of us, entrepreneurs (over 250 attendees)… You can tell that the conference is maturing, becoming a powerful tool for raising the voice on innovation and media, governments, businesses, research space and community as a whole….The conference is opened by David, the father of the concept…. His main theme is “Journalism makes the innovation economy a part of democratic society”… and he made a special point on the need for innovation journalism that can be distinguished from journalism about politics (cynical), about business (hectic), …. InJo is more analytical, cross functional…It is offering a new business model (How to identify readership? What are the broader aspects and impacts of innovation? Where will the influences surface later on?)
It is becoming a very important tool for gathering valuable public information for administration bodies to see and hear what are the issues on innovation and hopefully follow up …. Slovenia is mentioned as one of the top contributors to the development of the concept…

Silicon Valley goes green.

Day 2. Silicon Valley is recovering. You can tell the difference between last year and this year and it is growing. Many new construction sites, remodeling, new shopping malls, car sales are going up… They are making a smart shift based on their core competence. They are moving towards the “green” industries bringing along all the knowledge and experiences about silicon; this time not for the computers but energy cells…. Cool, smart, encouraging…

Saturday, May 19, 2007

An early morning at Sarah’s house

It is my first morning after arriving to Bay Area. I slept well. The flight was quite easy. I was nicely surprised with the United economy + program… business class sits with enough legroom and plenty of beverages, which is all that matters for me.. .I do not care much about food…

I woke up thinking about innovation… I usually do not dream about such stuff… my dreams are usually taking me too much more profound, personal dimensions… not this time… it was about “How do we make a real content shift from productivity and quality mentality (that were both really well explored in the past) towards innovation?” My thoughts were the following…

The vital forces of our economy in the past (productivity & quality) had to do with habits, patterns improvements, knowledge, learning.. I think that in the case of innovation we are dealing with much more. We need to wake up and acknowledge our talents, the true “I” that is imbedded deep within us, and nobody is really teaching us how to do that. We learn in schools, at wor how to observe the outside world, e.g., in business that would mean customers, suppliers, competition, new comers, technology progress…. but not who the company really is within itself… the inner strengths. Yet, that is where the true power of innovation is hidden, is waiting to be awakened.

So, building a powerful innovative space, environments, we need to wake up our inner world, the curious child within and allow it to play with the excitement that only inner powers can provide… and the flow of creativity will burst out…that is where an important role is played by managers, leaders – connecting this wonderful streams of creativity with the ever changing needs of the outside world and when they match we get this beautiful flow of rightness….

The sun is coming out and it is going to be a great day. I can just feel it…

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

An interview with Sonja Klopcic: “On the company’s path of success we need to follow the call for our personal development, as well”

A modern manager needs to know how to lead people but first of all needs to have a greater knowledge of his or her self, and in facing many new challenges is a crucial need for new leadership methods and models. It is becoming more and more important how well these new approaches are demonstrated by the manager in his/ her daily business behavior. How creative, innovative and flexible he/ she is. Does she/he know how to lead the personal development and the process of change?

It is becoming more and more essential to really understand our own core competences and values, and those of our team members and lead them to the optimal outcomes. It is becoming more and more important to understand ourselves and to hear our inner voice. Sonja Klopcic, M.Sc. has just done that. This is her story.

Sonja Klopcic, the formal director of Oria Computers, and one of the most prominent young managers in Slovenia, has made an important step in her business development. After the most successful business cycle in the company’s history and after 14 years of being a leader and so-creator of its sustainable growth, she stepped down to take time to quietly seek guidance from her inner self for the next carrier step. The move was recognized by Slovenian business community as a brave and rather unusual step. The public and media were trying to find “a real reason” for her decision, searching for a scandal or a failure. In Slovenia managers just do not leave good positions for no reason, especially not when the results are great. Or maybe they do. Maybe this is a sign of a new mindset. Maybe we’ll be seeing more of that in the future.

Q: How did the last few months, before the decision was announced, look?

A: As the question implies, the decision was not sudden. It was rather a result of a conscious and gradual process. First, I felt deep inside that it is time to close this chapter of my life. At first the thought surprised me too. But when it is continuously recurring you get used to it and you start considering it seriously. Then I suddenly and definitely recognized that the time with Oria was over, that it was time for both of us to make a new step forward.

Q: Have you had, at the turning point, a new story in mind?

A: Not at all. During this process of clarification of the relationship between company and me, I was not thinking about a new step at all. I first wanted to make sure I understand my transformations and needs. Independently. Clearly. To stop a career at the time of very good results and a full support of all business partners (employees, owners, customers, suppliers, local community) was not an easy step. Especially in my case. People were always very important to me. I believe in people and was investing a lot in business relationships. For a lot of people Sonja was Oria. I was aware that the move would be hard for other people too. Therefore, the move had to be well planed. After all, my husband works in the company, too. He is also one of the owners. (comment: Sonja sold her shares in the company right after she took the leading position). I was thinking a lot about this move before talked to anybody (even my husband) about that.



Q: How to pick the right moment?

A: It is hard to say what is the right moment. It is always a shock. First I thought about revealing the new at the end of 2006, but due to the market intensity at that time decided to postpone it until after the New Year.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Innovation is just one of the manifestations of the “Space of Creativity”

It seems that the world got obsessed with innovation. All over the world media suddenly are swapped by this word. More and more coverage is of substation value to understanding the world of innovation, written in the innovation journalism spirit. So, it might be just a right time to broaden the perspective. Let me try this by saying that innovation is just one of the products of the “space of creativity”. Saying it, I should define what I mean by that. OK. Under the space of creativity I understand the infrastructure and thinking individuals who through bonding allow maximization of individual wellbeing for the common good; where common is limited to the scope of the space, e.g. definition of the space. So, in order to truly understand the potentials and processes of innovation we need to start observing the space of creativity in relation to global consciousness, its elements and behavior. A friend of mine, Jozica, and I were brainstorming on this subject quite a while and some interesting co-relations have been defined. We agreed on the importance of co-creation and the lack of proper tools for transformation and networking of embedded creativity with the higher systems. So, innovation could as well be a core manifestation of creativity offering the right solution for the right needs in the right manner within a healthy system. Therefore, we should pay more attention to the space of creativity, tearing down the walls of fear, judgments and discouragements and instead, encouraging the self motivation, self initiation, networking, open space culture, manifestation of the best people have within… and the innovation will follow. Can media be the one who can recognize the broader view and start searching for conditions and co-relations that contributed to the actual appearance of innovation?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

An interview with Michael Wesch

Passionate professor of anthropology on January 31st 2007 surprised the Internet community, but mostly himself, by the net effect that his educational video experienced. Even today, after 3 months he is still creating the history of the video Net sphere. So what really happened, why and how? What were the conditions? What is the message what are the consequences?

Interview1

In 14 days from an excellent anthropology professor to a number one Net 2.0 story.

Why?
Just trying to raise the awareness really. I just wanted to show how the web 2.0 looks like. Wanted to get people to innovate on the Net. To make people to see possible challenges. To make people start thinking about the social impacts of the Net, specially Net 2.0

How?
Well, I was really plying with this challenge of effective communication for a while. It took me almost a year to conceptualize the idea. First I was trying to write an academic paper. But it was difficult to express this dynamic and visual medium in writing. So I started thinking about animation that I often use to support my lectures. And one morning the vision came clearly through. And the video was born. I worked 3 days almost with ought any sleep. I was recording a screen after screen, trying to put steps together. Trying to tell a story. I really wanted to show the back “stage”. From a point of view of the code. To point out the new developments.

Day1 (Jan 31st 2007):
The video was posted on YouTube … I did not tell anybody… After a few hours I sent mail to 10 colleagues to get their opinion… in the evening one of them forwarded the mail to one of her colleague and the movement had started…

Day2:
The next morning it had 100 views. I got very excited. I was telling my students about the progress. I was very trilled thinking that 100 people saw my video. 100 views were really great.

Day3:
The next morning there were 300 views, in the afternoon 500 views and e-mails from all over the state (it went through the local networks and reached statewide reach)… And after some colleagues around the nation got in touch with me I started sensing that something is happening. The same afternoon the video got 800 views. That was already exceeding all my expectations. At this point my wife and I were hoping to reach 1000 views and that was my goal.

Interview2

Day4:
And it happened. The next day – by noon there the 1000 views was reached. But I knew that YouTube is refreshing the number of views only every 12 hours, so I started monitoring the statistics on “favorites” are refreshed immediately …there I saw that 8 thousands users marked my video as their favorite. In the evening it was blogged at over 100 places…This was awesome. From that point on I was monitoring and being constantly surprised. Mails started coming in, phone calls…

Friday, March 16, 2007

Salzburg Seminar - the inspiration and a challenge

It is just so great to be positively surprised. To be inspired. To be really intellectually challenged. It does not happen that often any longer. But the Salzburg Seminar on “The new Information Networks: Challenges and Opportunities for Business, Governments, and Media” managed to just do that. Meeting on one place so many incredible people, be able to hear, experience, exchange so many profound and diversified views on the most vivid global challenges related to new technologies and social transformations, exceed all my expectations. Started naming people that contributed to the excitement most would probably be unfair to the rest, since only as a community we were able to create this diversified space. But still Michael Welsch, the author of one of the most popular videos ever published on YouTube and professor of anthropology, with his personal story really demonstrated the power and culture of Web 2.0 communities. Christoph Mohn, the 6th generation of Bertelsmann family and director of LYCOS showed a business understanding of the emerging technologies and in some aspects the conceptual misunderstanding of the behavior of Net community. Yochai Benkler professor from Yale Law School, Andleeb Abbas professor and business consultant from Pakistan, Milena Bukova an executive director of media NGO from Bulgaria, Kemi Ayanda and advocate of development and change in Nigeria, Victor Mayer-Schonberger professor from Harvard University, Paul Sterne, the chief financial officer and general manager Americas of Open-Xchange, Inc. , Noel Hidalgo, freelance business and lifestyle consultant, blogger, Wilfried Rutten, director of the European Journalism Center, Stefan Blachfellner from Indaba, were continuously opening up views and thoughts and challenging my perceptions. I know that my understanding of the role of technologies, local richness, behavior and human desires, and needs has been enlightened with new relations, content and empowered with new tools. I feel more connected. I feel freer. I become even more aware about the power of self motivated, active masses and the power of response. Benjamin, thanks for inviting me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

World is not flat

The World does not need to be flat (any longer). Internet is becoming a powerful common infrastructure, common dominator that allows fantastic diversification, depth and broad variety of collaboration models. So, on a top of this fully distributed environment we see so many new layers, and depth. Above a large community a new specialized ones are forming. At the top of one application layer new are established. Business models are fully engaging in vertical and horizontal clustering. Cultural diversity finally gets a chance to be fully appreciated and integrated in all manifestations of our society. The same applies for the regional competences and natural advantages. Networks of diversity are being able to express their power. Therefore, Internet, especially the Net 2, really provide a flat layer but that is where the concept of “flat” stops. The rest is a tremendous differentiation that is based on the beauty of uniqueness of every individual, group, community, geographical position, historic momentum, potentials…. The world we live in could just not be described and perceived with the glasses of “old” society. The evolution made a huge jump. So big that is hard to see it.

Venture funding might not be enough

It is great seeing all the effort regarding the encouragement of risk taking and entrepreneurship development, providing funds for great new ideas, creating the platforms for competition, one minute presentations… all this is needed, no doubt about it….at a certain stage of establishment of an innovation platform. But I can only hope that there is more than just neo-capitalistic approach to exploration of ideas and maximization of solely financial capital behind it. I hope somebody is telling to these great enthusiasts how important it is to build on sustainability in their thinking and strategic development. Not for the sake of the financial capital investors but for the sake of the entrepreneurs themselves that they can one day get up and be able to say, “I crated a wealth and I am happy, I live full life”. The last thing we need is on the top of socialistic exploitation another generation of neo-capitalistic exploitation. It is not enough to provide great idea generators with financial capital… they deserve a chance to at least understand the dimension of human capital (intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social). Of course I do not want to say that this is solely the role of the state, or the investors. It is a great opportunity for innovation ecosystem to overpass the old frameworks of thinking and doing and bravely explore the new ones that distributed environments and holistic economy are offering. It is Ok to unique approaches… even in Slovenia… to do it our own way… maybe it is time to stop copying over lived models and understand our uniqueness and manifest it through our own approach that.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Another moment of inspiration and deep learning.

It was another moment of inspiration and deep learning. Today. At the lecture that I had for SIQ as part of the PIM project. What a great group of people, rich experiences, constructive thoughts, opened dialogs. At the moments like this one I feel my mission fulfilling, I connect with true challenges and opportunities of the space I actively am involved in. Innovation being the core subject is opening up so many real life issues. Words like movement, collective consciousness, social consciousness, cross-functional teams, constructive dialog, get a real, meaningful dimension. There is still too much fear, jealousy, lack of self-motivation, lack of self-activation, lack of global perspectives. But it is improving. More people are asking themselves “is there a better way”, “can we do it differently”, “who are we”, “who am I”. And it is true, for a society to move on you need a large base. But it has to start somewhere and there is always the first, the second, the hundredth, the .. so, if each of us who were part of this session, will integrate some of the shared experiences in the daily (business) life I am sure the impact will continue and more than 16 people will continue challenging everything we know, understand, take for granted. And the evolution will make a new step in its own sustainable growth. And then we will realize that there is already more of us, hundreds, thousands even in such a small country as Slovenia. Those that believe in good, that believe in light and in the well being. Who understand that only out of good for ourselves can we actively participate in creation of a platform that can bring the best out of many more; show them the beauty they posses and steer it into creative thinking; the manifestation of the core competences we all have deep inside.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

What can shamanism contribute to innovation ecosystem

So much has happened in the last 2 weeks that it is hard to come back and write again. I‘ve started the Shamanic Academy and step by step I am learning about the fascinating world of nature, an individual and the complexity of holistic approach that I strongly believe is the future of our society and the base for creative social models. Each of us should really first work on his/herself to be able to interact with the outer world… it is so true for corporate environments (companies), as well. First you need to have strong internal relationships in order to proactively and successfully interact with customers, suppliers, owners, public, specially to ensure the sustainable long term growth. Probably the most important conformation at the beginning of this journey was the fact that once you open up the channels to your soul and spirits there is no room for doubt (did you know that there is a tribe in Peru that has in its language just options of yes and no.. they always know, they are never indecisive), no room for bluffing, no room for dishonesty … just lots of work and white energy… and than you suddenly understand that companies have it’s own soul as well, and we hardly ever pay attention to it. It’s own character. It’s own powers. And managing this along with knowledge and experiences is the winning combination for success. There is just so much more we have no clue about, no conscious awareness .. .and at that moment you realize and understand that the polygon of human creativity is just starting to surface.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The first patterns on innovation ecosystems started to come out

The class on Innovation management and innovative management (IMIM) at DOBA University is over. What a great experience. Classical study and e-learning. Over 200 students all-together. We covered the internal and external forces that have an impact on innovative ecosystem (including the Innovation journalism as one of the latest tools for sustainable innovation growth), the role and competences of IMIM, and the elements of innovation process, including the final project that has to include all phases of innovation process resulting into an innovative product or service. Students really surprised me with the enthusiasm and the level of commitment they put into their projects to practice the innovative process. I have to make a step forward in that part of the curse and allow broader audience to be part of the final presentation.
This experience just reinforced my believes that for a successful innovation ecosystem we need a critical mass of people that actively participate in the innovation process, possibly in cross-functional teams, an open energy field and a broad scope of knowledge. I have now hands-on experiences on a local community level, in a corporate environment and in academic environment, and the first patterns of innovation ecosystems started to come out…. This blog will have much more to offer in the future…

Monday, January 29, 2007

Open Source Society - an importan concept for future organisations

A few days ago www.vibacom.si has launched a new web system (pages, portals…) in it will be available in English in 10 days, as well…. At first it looks like a simple page, yet I believe, we made 2 important moves:
1. all the coding is done in an open source environment with an idea in mind to come up with an architecture that could be used as a primary tool for implementation of the internal corporate innovation space
2. we used the relational data base architecture to optimize the process of updating and efficient linking/flow of information
For the devoted members of the Open space society (OSS) this might be the most trivial thing, yet, in the standard business world this is not so obvious. The concept of the OSS is too cool to keep it within the devoted internet group It is a great concept for the future organizations (self conscious space)…

Friday, January 26, 2007

The future of organizational structures

Just a thought…. Two of the characteristics of learning space (value creation primarily through quality) are flat organization and the system of continuous improvements… in thinking space (value creation primarily through innovation) these two elements evolve into net organizations and innovative process. In self-conscious space (value creation primarily through intuition and life-energy) spider net and natural growth are the adequate elements. And the thought I am developing is that the major difference between flat and net organizations and spider nets is in the growth approach. The first two still need a hierarchy in order to grow. In spider nets the growth is inspired by the natural growth of the holistic cells (individuals or groups) and is a subject of a natural behavior – growth from a node out, e.g., a holistic node knows when is time to split, join… it initiates not only follows…. It is self motivated… it uses its intuition in order to connect and disconnect…. Let’s see where will this lead me… any thoughts?

Students at DOBA

Yesterday I had last practice with a group of students before the exam at Innovation Management course at DOBA University. They needed to practice the innovation process by coming up with a truly innovative product or service for a market niche they had to specify first. They were amazing. They had quite a limited time for the completion of the assignment, yet they came true as professionals with animated introduction of their ideas. And their common experience: it was very valuable that they let at the initial brainstorming everybody to participate the ideas; most of the activities identified within a group later on were performed in parallel. One of the most important steps was the definition of the behavior of the target group at the beginning of the project launch. They had fun while working. All the groups completed the assignment and most of the products could actually be used … Really cool. They’ve started the innovative thinking progress and process.. and I hope they got encouraged enough to continue with the same innovation enthusiasm also in the future….

From an individual to a critical number

The last two weeks I’ve been receiving some really cool letters from a dear friend of mine, traveling in Australia. He has been making some incredible changes in his life… his travel to truly connect with himself, to understand his true essence has opened up really valuable thoughts about holistic individuals and their contribution to a “different” world order… towards holistic economy… It just reconfirms my thoughts that only those that are truly themselves can resonate freely with the essence of others and build a long-term sustainable growth for the benefit of all shareholders… It always starts and ends at an individual…. And the challenge of innovative society is to reach the critical number of those individuals who are truly wiling to start their personal transformation and progress towards an holistic individual …

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Businesses and media are taking a lead towards a self concious society

What a dynamic time we all live in. It seems like the concept of globalization is finally showing some firm results in Slovenia. We are accepting the fact that only internationalized businesses with a clearly defined market niches and leading positions (Trimo, Tipro, PipiStrel, Litostroj Ulitki) have a potential for a long term sustainable growth. And this new level of consciousness some how opened up the barriers for a domestic and regional cooperation, as well. The jealousy is slowly but surly stepping aside, making room for constructive networking (Mercator, Optima, Merkur), and integration of global ideas into daily life (Innovation management as a subject at DOBA University and InJo as one of the topics), complimenting our core competences and the advantages we have. Business and media need to continue taking the lead in progressive manifestation of changes for a successful transformation from learning to thinking and self conscious (holistic) society.