How Luxembourg is playing to become a technology hub

A few weeks ago I gave the keynote at the IT Nation Golden i Gala and Awards and earlier in the day ran a CIO workshop on Creating the Organisation of the Future.

In my brief time in Luxembourg I learned about some of the many things that are happening in the tech scene in nation. As a tiny country of half a million people, it has the highest GDP per capita in the world, currently based primarily on its strong financial services industry, facilitated by its strong banking secrecy laws. Luxembourg is the second largest funds management market in the world after the US. However an economy dependent on financial services is not necessarily the best position to be today. As such the government and business sectors are seeking to build Luxembourg into a technology hub, with ICT named by the government as the third of five pillars for national development.
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Creating emergent, adaptive systems in organizations

In my keynotes and executive sessions I often use the analogy of ant colonies, in which the collective intelligence of the colony is far greater than that of its individuals.

Since the collective intelligence of many – or even most – human organizations is significantly less than the intelligence of many of its participants, there are no doubt lessons we can learn.

In my book Living Networks I included a small section on Creating adaptive systems in Chapter 6 on Network Presence. The company I mention, CompanyWay, was subsequently acquired by AskMe and in turn by HiveMine, by name at least keeping to the spirit of the initial concept.

The underlying concepts described in the passage below are now being implemented into some of the most interesting crowdsourcing platforms of today, building the mechanisms whereby we can create value – and hopefully intelligence – from many.
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Australia takes the wrong path on Twitter advertising disclosure

On Saturday I was interviewed on ABC24 about the news that Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had said that it is acceptable for celebrities to do paid promotions on Twitter without disclosing their affiliation. This followed the announcement on ABC’s MediaWatch program that celebrity chef Matt Moran, among others, had accepted payment from South Australia’s Tourism Board for tweets.

I was asked why there was any difference with the “cash for comments” furor from 1999 when radio personalities were charged and fined for making on-air endorsements without disclosing payments made by the companies concerned.

There is of course no essential difference. Twitter is media. As attention shifts from traditional channels such as TV, radio, and newspapers to social media, naturally advertisers want to shift their presence to the emerging channels. That is absolutely fine. If advertisers want to use social media to get their messages across, that’s OK – users have many ways to deal with that. However there are clear regulations and norms on advertising in traditional media, where commercials are clearly delineated.

The US Federal Trade Commission has provided detailed endorsement guides, specifically revised to include social media, “because truth in advertising is important in all media – including blogs and social networking sites”.
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Researchers develop ‘smart’ touch-responsive internet-enabled newspaper

My European speaking tour (ending today) has had two primary themes: crowdsourcing and the future of corporate IT. However at a couple of points, notably a guest lecture to Moscow’s Higher School of Economics’ School of Journalism, I have delved into the future of media. As always, my well-known Newspaper Extinction Timeline has come up as a hot topic of discussion.

One of things I always have to point out is that we should not be comparing newspapers with the tablets of today when we think about the choices people will make in how they access news. Tablets similar to those of today will be given away for free and digital paper which has all the qualities of today’s paper plus the advantages of digital at a low cost will be the alternative.

The e-ink initiatives have some way to go, however it seems there are other paths to this outcome, as shown in this video.

In a post on BBC College of Journalism website Paul Egglestone of University of Lancashire’s school of journalism writes:
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Next generation gesture recognition will transform how we interface with computers

It seems as if the next generation of how we interface with computers may be here.

I have long spoken about how we will transcend antediluvian computer interfaces such as the mouse, from predictions about the future of the home to commenting on real-life ‘Minority Report’ interfaces and the merging of physical and digital worlds.

If the announcements and videos from startup Leap Motion accurately indicate the power of the technology, it will greatly accelerate the shift to new and better interfaces.


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Why crowds are an extension of our capabilities

Marshall McLuhan very often provides an instructive reference point for how we understand our changing world. As I wrote in my Chapter 1 of Living Networks:

The brilliant visionary Marshall McLuhan accurately described the media as an extension of our senses. Your eyes can see what’s happening in your immediate vicinity, your ears can hear what people are saying in the same room as you, but with television and radio as an adjunct to your senses, you can see and hear anywhere around the world. All of the cameras and microphones of the world’s media are an extension of your eyes and ears, and journalists are your personal emissaries to report on their findings and impressions.

In my keynote on The Future of Crowds at TheNextWeb conference shown below I built on this perspective to suggest that:

“Crowds are an extension of our capabilities”

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We have a choice whether to be optimistic or pessimistic about the future

Below is a brief interview I did when I spoke at TheNextWeb conference in Amsterdam recently.

Some of the points I cover:
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Open Meeting Protocol and the structure of emergent collaboration

Last week I had an early evening meeting set up with Indy Johar, the inspiring co-founder of Hub Westminster. When I arrived I found that Indy had invoked an ‘Open Meeting Protocol’, offering £10 to Matt Sevenoaks of KPMG to join the meeting, who in turn invited Shelley Kuipers, the CEO of Chaordix, who as it happens I had conversed with on email as reecently as a few days before but had never met in real-life. Another Hub Westminster member Pamela joined us.

To be frank I don’t completely understand the protocol, even after viewing the very interesting Prezi explanation below from David Pinto. In essence it is a structure for inviting people to join a meeting by paying them (nominally) £10, and thus participating in a value-creating structure.

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8 crowd insights from 8 crowdsourcing workshops

[This post first appeared on the Getting Results From Crowds book website]

Over the last two weeks I have delivered 8 keynotes or workshops on crowdsourcing across Western Europe. Most of them have been highly interactive sessions, bringing out new ideas or highlighting common issues or concerns. Part of the intent has been to gather input from many participants on what to cover in

There is much to share. For now, I will quickly review the events I’ve run so far and highlight just one insight that was prominent in the questions or discussions from each event. Many of themes mentioned were in fact echoed across several events. I will write soon in more detail about a number of these topics.

– Ketchum Pleon Amsterdam client presentation
Insight 1: Know when to use open calls and managed crowds.

A question that frequently arises when you discuss crowdsourcing is how to manage the sheer quantity of input you can get. Of course the best approach depends on what type of crowdsourcing you are doing, but the first answer is in the filtering mechanisms that you use, which enable the most valuable input to become visible. However another approach is to use a closed crowd, where participants are selected by quality or profile. In this case you can take a ‘managed crowd’ approach in which a more individualized approach optimizes outcomes. While many definitions of crowdsourcing refer to an ‘open call’, in fact in many siutations restricting the pool of contributors will lead to better results.
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