Five steps to effective content distribution strategies

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When I wrote the book Living Networks the content distribution landscape was in the early stages of unfolding. Yet the strategies I prescribed then seem to be just as valid today.

Here they are, excerpted from Chapter 8 on Next Generation Content Distribution: Creating Value When Digital Products Flow Freely.

POSITIONING FOR CONTENT DISTRIBUTION

1. Build evolutionary business models

2. Define and refine strategies for standards and interfaces

3. Develop and implement aggregation strategies

4. Enable versatile syndication models

5. Rework your product versioning

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3 steps to creating participative strategy processes in organizations

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Some of my most interesting work in in helping clients create effective processes for participative strategy. The traditional approach to strategy is that it is generated in the executive suite or by highly-paid consultants, then it is communicated to staff, usually rather ineffectively.

There is an increasing recognition that many people across the organization have invaluable insights into industry change, competition, client requirements, innovation and other issues that will help shape strategy. The challenge is in establishing processes that enable broad-based participation in a useful way, tapping ideas and generating positive energy for change.

In some cases, for example as I helped a global real-estate development company to implement, this can be framed in a fun competition format, assisting teams to generate visions of where the company can go. In other cases, a formal process can be created to expose staff across the company to strategic issues, then generating, capturing, filtering, and applying their insights to corporate strategy, as I did for a large financial services company.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of my book Living Networks providing some of the broader issues to address in implementing participative strategy.

CREATING PARTICIPATIVE STRATEGY

The Work-Out process is one of General Electric’s standard practices. This brings together 40 to 100 people in a “town meeting” to discuss specific issues, and make firm recommendations. Once the issues that need to be addressed have been identified, these are clearly defined by a team, and attendees for the meeting are selected from a range of functions and managerial levels. The team meet in an offsite location for usually three days, commencing with a briefing by the relevant executive, who then leaves. The participants break into a number of teams, and in a structured process come up with clear recommendations. At the end these are presented to the senior manager, who must make a decision on the spot whether to proceed. Work-Out sessions are routinely run across General Electric’s divisions, and often include customers and suppliers.

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Augmented reality and ID tagging might be the killer apps for video glasses

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Since 2006 I have owned and written about video glasses, including in my Six Trends that are transforming Online and Future of Media Lifecycle framework.

Despite my predictions, we still don’t see many people around wearing video glasses. However I still think it’s going to happen, as I predicted earlier this week.

In the many radio interviews I’ve done this week I was asked a lot about the video glasses. As I explained, there are many applications for video glasses, but augmented reality is the most powerful.

The recent swathe of augmented reality apps on iPhone have shown us the very beginning of the potential of AR. However people don’t want to be always holding up their phone in front of their face.

A case in point is ID tagging, in which facial recognition software identifies people in your field of vision and provides additional information about them. This is something far more easily and less obviously done using video glasses.

The classic scenario is that you see someone you’ve met before and don’t remember their name, but your AR glasses displays their name and any other publicly available information or things that you’ve noted previously next to them.

Imagine when the technologies in this video can be embedded into your glasses. This kind of information could easily get people to start wearing glasses when they go out into social situations.

Living Networks – Chapter 9: The Flow of Services – Reframing Digital and Professional Services

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Download Chapter 9 of Living Networks on the Flow of Services

Every chapter of Living Networks is being released on this blog as a free download, together with commentary and updated perspectives since its original publication in 2002.

For the full Table of Contents and free chapter downloads see the Living Networks website or the Book Launch/ Preface to the Anniversary Edition.

Living Networks – Chapter 9: The Flow of Services

Reframing Digital and Professional Services

OVERVIEW: Digital connectivity and integration are dramatically shifting the role of services in the economy. Software is being provided as a service, business processes are readily outsourced, and the functions of the firm can be broken down into defined modules. Professional services now range across a spectrum of business models ranging from digital services to traditional face-to-face delivery. The same drivers are resulting in the rise of professional networks as viable competitors to established firms.

Chapter 9 of Living Networks – Commentary and updated perspectives

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Living Networks – Chapter 8: Next Generation Content Distribution – Creating Value When Digital Products Flow Freely

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Download Chapter 8 of Living Networks on Next Generation Content Distribution

Every chapter of Living Networks is being released on this blog as a free download, together with commentary and updated perspectives since its original publication in 2002.

For the full Table of Contents and free chapter downloads see the Living Networks website or the Book Launch/ Preface to the Anniversary Edition.

Living Networks – Chapter 8: Next Generation Content Distribution

Creating Value When Digital Products Flow Freely

OVERVIEW: In a hyper-connected world digital products flow freely, unless safeguards are put in place. Providers of content – including entertainment and high-value information – must balance protection and promotion to maximize value. All content industries are in a state of massive flux, and evolutionary strategies are required to succeed in this time of transition.

Chapter 8 of Living Networks – Commentary and updated perspectives

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Living Networks – Chapter 7: The Flow Economy – Opportunities and Risks in the New Convergence

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Download Chapter 7 of Living Networks on the Flow Economy

Every chapter of Living Networks is being released on this blog as a free download, together with commentary and updated perspectives since its original publication in 2002.

For the full Table of Contents and free chapter downloads see the Living Networks website or the Book Launch/ Preface to the Anniversary Edition.

Living Networks – Chapter 7: The Flow Economy

Opportunites and Risks in the New Convergence

OVERVIEW: Devices, communications, and industries are all converging into one vast space for doing business. This is the flow economy, in which almost all value is based on the flow of information and ideas. Companies must continually reposition themselves in this flow economy, both to meet new competitive challenges from unexpected quarters, and to take advantage of the massive emerging opportunities.

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The Flow Economy Framework

Chapter 7 of Living Networks – Commentary and updated perspectives

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Living Networks – Chapter 6: Network Presence – Harnessing the Flow of Marketing, Customer Feedback, and Knowledge

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Download Chapter 6 of Living Networks on Network Presence

Every chapter of Living Networks is being released on this blog as a free download, together with commentary and updated perspectives since its original publication in 2002.

For the full Table of Contents and free chapter downloads see the Living Networks website or the Book Launch/ Preface to the Anniversary Edition.

Living Networks – Chapter 6: Network Presence

Harnessing the Flow of Marketing, Customer Feedback, and Knowledge

OVERVIEW: Today, your company’s success depends on how well it builds its network presence in three key domains:

Marketing, which is now mainly about influencing the flow of messages through consumer networks;

Customer feedback loops, that tightly link a company and its customers, enabling them together to constantly create more value;

Work processes and knowledge, that flow through the networks of workers within and beyond the firm.

The idea of the ‘network presence’ of organizations is still very relevant today. Still today not many companies truly have a strong presence in the social networks of consumers and customers, even though much progress has been made over the last five years.

The first space, where there probably has been the most movement so far, is in marketing. Marketing using social network approaches is now mainstream, though a nascent idea back in 2002. I opened with the example of the online marketing for Lord of the Rings, which took advantage of the strong social cohesion of the book’s fan base. While the concept of the ‘meme’ seems to have lost traction over the last years, I still think it is enormously relevant. I wrote:

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Living Networks – Chapter 5: Distributed Innovation – Intellectual Property in a Collaborative World

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Download Chapter 5 of Living Networks on Emerging Technologies

Every chapter of Living Networks is being released on this blog as a free download, together with commentary and updated perspectives since its original publication in 2002.

For the full Table of Contents and free chapter downloads see the Living Networks website or the Book Launch/ Preface to the Anniversary Edition.

Living Networks – Chapter 5: Distributed Innovation

Intellectual Property in a Collaborative World

OVERVIEW: Innovation and intellectual property increasingly dominate the economy. As technology advances, no firm has the resources to stand alone, and collaboration with others is becoming essential. This means that new business models are needed for developing intellectual property and sharing in its value. Open source software provides us with valuable lessons that can be applied to many other aspects of business and innovation.

This chapter on innovation and intellectual property was one of the most important in Living Networks, I thought, and is absolutely as relevant today as five years ago. Innovation is the source of the majority of value-creation in a networked world, and how we deal with intellectual property can either enable or block human progress, on every level.

The nature of the intellectual property landscape is that the structures are highly rigid, by definition being set by legislation. However attitudes are rapidly changing, and new approaches such as Creative Commons have gained enormous traction over the last years. Certainly innovation is seen more today than as something that happens across boundaries, though most organizations are still hesitant to open up. The critical next phase is in innovation in innovation models.

The chapter begins by explaining a few basic shifts:

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Living Networks – Chapter 4: Relationship Rules – Free Download and Commentary

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Download Chapter 4 of Living Networks on Emerging Technologies

Every chapter of Living Networks is being released on this blog as a free download, together with commentary and updated perspectives since its original publication in 2002.

For the full Table of Contents and free chapter downloads see the Living Networks website or the Book Launch/ Preface to the Anniversary Edition.

Living Networks – Chapter 4: Relationship Rules

Building Trust and Attention in the Tangled Web

OVERVIEW: Connectivity allows companies to integrate their systems more deeply and form many more business ties, but these opportunities are often neglected. In an increasingly transparent world, trust is becoming more rather than less important, and organizations must take steps to develop trusting relationships with their partners. The one scarce resource today is attention, so you must earn it from your clients and partners in order to create and maintain profitable relationships.

Chapter 4 of Living Networks – Commentary and updated perspectives

I opened the introduction to my first book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships with the words: “Knowledge and relationships are where almost all value resides in today’s economy.” For the last decade I have explored the apparent paradox that in an increasingly digital world, human relationships, particularly trusted relationships, are becoming ever more important. At the same time, as the amount of information available swells, attention is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity. It is commonplace to talk of the attention economy, where value is based primarily on attention.

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The feedback loop of customer attention and personalization

(See below for description)

Since trust and attention are so fundamental to where business is going, this chapter is absolutely as relevant today as when it was written. Arguably the underlying principles will become even more important in coming years.

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Living Networks – Chapter 3: The New Organization – Free Download and Commentary

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Download Chapter 3 of Living Networks on Emerging Technologies

Every chapter of Living Networks is being released on this blog as a free download, together with commentary and updated perspectives since its original publication in 2002.

For the full Table of Contents and free chapter downloads see the Living Networks website or the Book Launch/ Preface to the Anniversary Edition.

Living Networks – Chapter 3: The New Organization

Leadership Across Blurring Boundaries

OVERVIEW: The boundaries between organizations are blurring as technology reduces the costs of transactions. It is becoming essential for companies to work closely with their customers, suppliers, and partners, however this involves very real risks. In this world leadership is required to take whole industries and supply chains into new ways of working based on transparency, collaboration, and sharing value. Those that embrace the networks and lead the way forward will reap the greatest rewards.

Chapter 3 of Living Networks – Commentary and updated perspectives

From the original writing of Living Networks I felt that the issues raised in chapter 3 were at the heart of what the living networks are about. The key concept here is that of ‘blurring boundaries’, something we are experiencing across every domain of society and business, including organizations, industries, and countries.

A quotation I discovered since writing the book, and have used extensively over the last years in my presentations, expresses this perfectly:

“Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.”

This quote comes from the delightful and wise book Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse, which looks at how we either limit ourselves or open ourselves to infinite opportunity in our lives. While it was published in 1986, its messages are more relevant than ever today.

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