Why your networks and collaboration are at the heart of the value you create

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I was recently interviewed for an extended article Networked Business: The wealth in your connections written by Nick Saalfeld for the Microsoft Talking Business series.

Here are some excerpts from the article, which provide a neat summary of some of my thinking on the space.

It’s a fallacy to think of networking as a sales tool. Firstly, it’s not. Secondly, it might instead be one of the defining sources of value in your business. Business strategist Ross Dawson, author of the (free and highly comprehensible) Future of Work Framework explains how.
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Keys to innovation: Tapping communities of lead users

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Today I was interviewed on ABC Radio National’s ByDesign program on how our expectations of beauty are increasing. You can listen to the interview here.

At one point the conversation shifted to how companies could generate the innovation that will meet the soaring expectations of users.

Notably through the work of MIT’s Eric von Hippel, companies have grown to recognize the critical importance of co-creation in innovation, and in particular the role of ‘lead users’. Lead users are typically those who find new applications for products, extend their use, and are the most discerning.

In the interview I was asked how companies can find these lead users to help them innovate.
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How technology is enabling the humanity of organizations

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After my recent opening keynote at the SAP Australia User Group Summit on Leadership in Enterprise Technology, I did a video interview for Inside SAP magazine, shown below.

The full transcript of the interview is available on our new publication CIO of the Future.
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Reality check: intelligence agencies have been using social network analysis since the 1990s

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There is a big hubbub today over a New York Times article N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens.

I fail to understand why this is big news, since US intelligence agencies have been using social network analysis (SNA) for domestic purposes since the 1990s, and likely even before that. The only issue here is that the NSA is tasked with non-domestic surveillance, so is not supposed to gather data on US citizens. However other US agencies that cover domestic intelligence have long been using SNA.

Certainly recent revelations suggest the NSA appears to have data surveillance capabilities that exceed those of US domestic intelligence agencies, but there is no good reason to imagine the CIA, among others, doesn’t have access to equally good data to seed its social network and other analysis.

I have been focused on networks since long before I wrote Living Networks in 2002. In the July 22, 1997 issue of The Bulletin (at the time Australia’s equivalent of Newsweek) included an article I wrote titled Beware! Netmap may be watching, which described how an Australian software package called Netmap was being used by police and intelligence around the world, taking examples of the identification of insider trading and a serial murderer. I wrote:

“For nearly 10 years, Netmap has been used primarily in high-level security and intelligence analysis. In Australia clients include the NSW Police… and the Australia Tax Office, while in the United States, several secretive government agencies use the software.”


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The immense social media opportunity for real estate

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The Weekend Australian last Saturday had an interesting article titled Facebook shakes up house hunt (subscription may be required).

It described how a couple had bought their dream home after finding it on the Facebook page of a real estate agent. They arranged to inspect it immediately after it appeared on the page and bought it the next day, before the for-sale sign had been put up in the yard.

The journalist writing the article called me for some comments and included this at the end of the piece:

Social-media expert Ross Dawson said Facebook had enormous potential, but many real estate agent’s efforts were “terrible”. “They just don’t understand it. It’s a completely different mentality. They just want to sell,” Mr Dawson said.

This is true, but I think what was more interesting was the rest of what I said to the journalist, which wasn’t quoted in the article.
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The future of business education will be centered on contextual learning

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Earlier this year I gave the opening keynote at the Thought Leadership Forum on The Virtual University, which examined the future of business education.

The event organizers, the Centre for Accounting, Governance, and Sustainability and the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia, have now released a book The Virtual University: Impact on Australian Accounting and Business Education based on the conference proceedings.

The opening chapter in the book was generated from a transcript of my keynote. If you are interested you can read the full article online: Global Social and Technology Trends Shaping the Future of Universities.

One of the points I make is about the shift to highly contextual and modular learning:
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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.

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Source: The Economist
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Keynote slides: Crowds and the future of creativity and innovation

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Earlier this month I gave the opening keynote at Crowdsourcing Week on Connecting the Crowd: The Future of Creativity and Innovation.

Here are the slides for my keynote. As always, be aware that my slides are intended as visual support to my presentation, and are not designed to be meaningful on their own. However they may still be useful or of interest to those who did not attend the keynote.

Here are a few quick notes on what I covered:
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Crowdsourcing and building models for sharing value from intellectual property creation

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I’m currently at Crowdsourcing Week where I gave the opening keynote and have been participating in and moderating a number of panel discussions.

One of the panels was written up in ZDNet as Crowdsourcing faces ethical, legal risks

The article is well worth a read, capturing part of what was a very rich discussion on the challenges and opportunities from crowdsourcing.

One of the questions from the audience was on addressing intellectual property issues in crowdsourcing. The article quoted me:
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Crowdfunding creates a new layer of capital markets and new layers of value

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Yesterday ABC News featured a story on crowdfunding, providing a quick overview of the space for a broad audience.

An edited version of the segment on the 7pm News also appeared on The Business program. Click on the image to see a video of the news segment.

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Having spent quite a few years working in capital markets, I have long seen that shifts in the broader economy mean we need new layers of capital markets.
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