Personalization and the future of retail: Knowing your taste better than you know yourself

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One of my recent series of interviews on the future on the Morning Show was on the future of retail and shopping.

Click on the image to see a video of the segment:

MorningShow2May13

One of the examples I gave is of Trunk Club, which regularly sends a trunk of clothes to its male customers. They can pick anything they like in the trunk, and ship the rest back free of charge.
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The immense role of national and ethnic diaspora in driving global innovation

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For over a decade I have been working with various facets of the idea of Global Innovation Networks: connections around the world that facilitate new endeavors.

Innovation always stems from diverse connections between ideas and people. Bringing in different viewpoints from around the world necessarily provides more opportunities for the new. Moreover, in the many stages of the innovation process there are almost certainly points where resources or capabilities from other countries can create better outcomes.

In my travels I have often seen how national and ethnic diaspora have been at the heart of the connections between nations. The TiE network began in Silicon Valley as The Indus Entrepreneurs, with innovators from the Indian subcontinent creating an organization that is now well and truly global, facilitating connections not just between Indians but also people of any nationality.

Diaspora_Economist
Source: The Economist
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LinkedIn removes reply before accepting invitations, accelerating the devaluation of connections [UPDATED]

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[UPDATE] LinkedIn has now restored this functionality. They have variously said that it is a test they were running and a technical issue. Whatever the reality, hopefully the weight of users’ voices is helping LinkedIn to focus on supporting valued connections.

In 2011 I wrote about The continuing devaluation of LinkedIn connections.

When I first wrote the article I incorrectly thought there wasn’t a way to message people who had invited you to connect without first accepting the invitation. Commenters on my post as well as LinkedIn’s local PR company let me know that you could in fact do that.

The broader point I was making about the devaluation of LinkedIn connections still held, but the feature allowed me and others to sort through requests.
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Social networks and engineering serendipity in the workplace

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The New York Times has an interesting article titled Engineering Serendipity which looks at the some of the ways companies are trying to create felicitous and unexpected connections between their staff. After introducing what Yahoo! and Google are doing in the space, the article continues:

As Yahoo and Google see it, serendipity is largely a byproduct of social networks. Close-knit teams do well at tackling the challenges in front of them, but lack the connections to spot complementary ideas elsewhere in the company. The University of Chicago sociologist Ronald S. Burt calls these organizational gaps “structural holes.” In a 2004 study of 673 managers at the defense contractor Raytheon, Mr. Burt found that managers who serendipitously bridged such gaps were more likely to generate good ideas (and advance professionally as a result). “This is not creativity born of genius,” he wrote. “It is creativity as an import-export business.” In such cases, serendipity is the spontaneous plugging of these holes, over which good ideas flow.

The article describes some of the research being done in the space by measuring online and real-world interactions:
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How to make friends with and influence Sydney’s entrepreneurial and self-employed community

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This year we celebrate the 14th annual Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Xmas Party in Sydney.

As every year, the intention is to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs and self-employed people, primarily from the technology and creative sectors, to celebrate the end of a great year with their peers. While corporate employees have someone to put on their Christmas party for them, those making it happen for themselves don’t have that luxury.

As we did last year, we have invited companies to support the Entrepreneurs Xmas Party by helping to buy drinks for early arrivals at the event. So far we have almost all the companies that supported our event from last year, who all found it highly valuable, plus a couple more on board.
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The imperative of designing and building agility in customer service

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Last week I was involved in two events for cloud-based contact centre application company IPScape, facilitating a media luncheon and hosting a customer event where I did the keynote and moderated a panel of experts.

An article in Computerworld titled Companies ‘still grappling’ with basics of customer service: IPscape reviewed some of the content at the events. The article notes:
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The Future of Customer Service: Using technology to increase both efficiency and relationship strength

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Last week I gave the closing keynote at KANA Connect 2012 in Las Vegas, on The Future of Customer Service.

I packed in a wide-ranging view on where customer service is going, including the impact of connectivity, the rise of new channels, where value will reside in relationships, and what supports the integration and integrity that will be at the heart of successful customer service.

One of the key areas I covered was the shift in customer service channels, using a diagram I originally created for a keynote and supporting article on Creating the Future of Customer Relationships.


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The 5 elements that enable expertise networks to flourish

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Last week I gave a keynote at an internal conference of a large technology services firm that has recently acquired another firm. The conference brought together senior executives and managers from the two organizations so they could get to know each other and plan how they would work together with existing and new clients.

A significant part of my role was to provide a highly upbeat, optimistic, engaging perspective on the future of business. However I also wanted to address the specific issues they would be encountering in combining their capabilities.

Many years ago when I was working with a large law firm to help them develop their client relationship and cross-selling capabilities, I created a simple framework, shown below.

The fundamental issue for any significant professional firm is to match the best possible capabilities in the organization with the relevant opportunities for value creation at their clients.

This begins at the interface with the client. Whoever has any interaction with the client, including the relationship leader and relationship team, has responsibility to identify and bring to the client the most relevant capabilities of the firm. However there are 5 key steps that are required for that to happen.


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Prediction: Video-conferencing will help drive increased business travel

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Yesterday I gave the opening keynote at Global Business Travel Association Australia/NZ’s annual conference, on The Future of the Global Economy: The Opportunities.

My keynote focused on the major economic, technological, and social shifts under way and how they impact business travel and how it is managed in organizations.

Clearly a particularly pointed issue in the world of business travel today is the rise of video-conferencing, which many companies in recent years have latched onto as a substitute for travel, largely for cost-saving.
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How collaboration is transforming the relationship between sell-side and buy-side financial markets

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One of the most important dynamics in almost all industries today is how value creation is increasingly shifting to be between organizations rather than within organizations.

Most notably, the nature of client-supplier relationships have dramatically shifted over the years.

This is not new. I have spent considerable time working with the institutional financial services sector, and seen major changes over the years. I recently recalled a White Paper I wrote years ago, How Collaborative Technologies are Transforming Financial Services, in the wake of a Collaboration in Financial Services conference I co-organized and chaired in New York.

Here is an excerpt from the White Paper. The same issues are still playing out today.

At the highest level, there is no question that collaborative technologies will impact the structure of the financial services industry. The implications may take some time to be visible, however the shifts in power and value creation between industry participants are already evident.

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