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Mikael Eriksson Björling

Things that matters! About digital transformation, design, culture and lifestyle in the Networked Society

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5 key steps to creating an innovation mindset

mindset

If innovation is about developing something new that impacts the market and creates value for users – what is required to make that happen?

Innovation is a question of mindset, and creating that mindset precedes everything else. In my opinion, it’s the innovation mindset that overrides the aspects of human nature that are often holding back innovation in large organizations.

So, how do we create an innovation mindset?

1. Be open to change

To be open to change means to admit and embrace the notion that the world is in constant transformation and all areas of society are challenged by this change. It also means to be aware of where this transforming world is heading and to curiously keep track of change and new phenomena. Finally, it also means that you have to constantly keep analyzing what the transformation means and what the possible consequences of the transformation will be for your business.

Change is a tricky thing – we all have to deal with it and organizations are no different. Accepting the fact that technological transformation is about to impact your business is usually very hard for established organizations.

Let’s apply a light version of the Kübler-Ross Change Curve to this:kubler-ross-change-curve-768x401

Denial is a common reaction to new technology and new market forces that can potentially overthrow an organization’s incumbent business.

‘We’ve been doing what we do for many years: it has proven successful and if we just continue to deliver on our quality we will be back on track again. The newcomer does not even have a working business model and are financed by venture capital.’

Defense is the next stage in the Change Curve: a kind of anger or aggressive energy to defend one’s current business model. A prime example of this can be seen in the music industry when MP3 and streaming came along as new technologies, and established organizations tried to change laws and prosecute against their customers.

The next stage is depression, where an organization will begin lamenting the state of affairs. Only after this depression stage are they ready to accept the new market paradigm and start working towards managing and adapting to it.

In today’s fast-moving markets there is little time to dwell in the different stages of the Change Curve, as competitors and new market entrants are pushing forward while you’re in the first three stages. To be innovative, established businesses must learn to shortcut the Change Curve and go directly from shock (pre-denial) to acceptance, without dropping into any of the stages in between.

2. Embrace creativity

The other aspect of an innovative mindset is to truly embrace creativity. An innovator’s attitude is that creativity is the solution to problems, rather than a traditional scientific method. This argument is predominant among many of those who have successfully practiced innovation in the realm of daily business activities. The innovation-as-art perspective in business stems – to a large extent – from the concept of design thinking.

But importantly, to equate innovation with art doesn’t rule out the necessity of structure, processes and methodology for innovation. All these are required also when practicing the art of innovation. However, the innovation-as-art perspective stresses that the starting point for innovation is creativity, rather than implementation of management processes and organizational structures for innovation. Which, in turn, requires a certain kind of culture and organization that enables creativity. In this area, we see many digital companies positioning themselves. For example, Valve Software, who stress their flat organization and the freedom – and every employees responsibility – to be creative in everyday work in their company handbook.

3. Think big

Today, most academic researchers and experts on innovation agree that innovation is about more than just incremental improvements to existing products or product extensions.

This leads to the point that innovation requires an ability and the courage to think bigger and beyond the current norms and truths in the market. Innovation is about stretching one’s thoughts out of everyday ordinary thinking and analysis.

We’d argue that big thinking and innovation is a combination of analytical skills, entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to fantasize. Few individuals are blessed with all these capabilities, but a group of people – and certainly organizations – are well equipped to accommodate these capabilities under the same roof. This is also one of the reasons why a diverse organizational culture has emerged as a key prerequisite for innovation: diverse groups that combine skills and capabilities can accomplish big thinking more easily than homogenous groups that are likely to reproduce versions of similar thinking over and over again.

4. Show courage

Innovation doesn’t happen unless organizations and the innovators within them have the courage to constantly rethink how things can be done. It takes courage not to conform to widespread beliefs and popular “truths” in big organizations. It takes courage to challenge proven strategies and successful products and services before they go into decline. It takes courage to question management and colleagues for doing things the way they have always done. It takes courage to constantly problematize and be that one person who always goes against the grain and tries to think about things from a different angle. It takes courage to be vulnerable rather than playing it safe according to established business practice. It takes courage to venture into the new and uncertain, risking failure.

But all of the above is necessary to push innovation forward and to create an innovative climate in organizations. Because when has anything new ever happened unless someone dared to take that step into the uncertainty of the unknown? When I think about the courage needed to take that first step I always think about the guy that started a dance party at Sasquatch music festival. That is exactly how things can work in an organization as well.

5. Think and act fast

Innovation within an organization must be a fast-moving process to keep up with the change going on outside of the organization.

Twentieth century innovation was often a slow process, with long lead times from idea to concept, and concept to market. A lot of time usually went into extensive R&D. In the automotive industry, for example, the timeframe to invent, design and launch a new car model has been around eight years. But today, eight years is an eon in an automotive market that is transforming year by year. Potentially disruptive business models for auto manufacturing like Local Motors have proved that a new car can be dreamed up and launched in the market in 12 to 18 months, and with advanced 3D printing technologies and VR-aided design and manufacturing, that timeframe can probably be cut even shorter in the years to come.

To sum all of this up succinctly, there are five main ingredients to an innovation mindset. We need to be open to change, have a bias towards to creativity, an ability to think big, unrelenting courage to challenge the norm, and be characterized by speed of thought and action.

An organization with the desire to be innovative must think fast and apply a fast-paced innovation process with an efficient go-to-market roadmap. In this context, it’s also critical to adhere to the notion of “failing fast”, as new ideas and concepts have to be tested out quickly and be shut down just as quickly if they don’t fly. In this way, the organization can move resources to the next concept instead of getting stuck in a dead-end innovation project, because after all, the world’s next “big idea” is just around the corner.

Want to know more about how Ericsson works with an innovation mindset? Discover how real-time connectivity is fundamentally changing the way we innovate, collaborate, produce, govern and live sustainably.

For more Big Idea blog post visit: https://www.ericsson.com/thinkingahead/the-networked-society-blog/

 

The future of learning

The future of learning, what is it about, what challenges are we facing? A couple of years ago I did a film (together with a bunch of skilled people, such as the film team from Radon) in a project about, how education and learning is changing as we enter the Networked Society. We meet with some of the most prominent thinkers to talk about learning and education. I like this film a lot (still)! And looking around most schools and university have long way to go to meet the future.

EdTech Sweden

Konferensen EdTech Sweden hölls i Stockholm Waterfront för några dagar sedan. Jag var där och höll en keynote under rubriken ”The Big Picture”. Jag tillsammans med Denis Hurley (Director of Future Technologies på Pearson) pratade de första 50 minuterna på konferensen. Denis fokus var framtida teknologiers användning i utbildning, tex. virtual eller augumented reality. Min presentation Learning in the Networked Society eller på svenska, lärande i det uppkopplade samhället handlar om IKTs (Information och Kommunikations Teknologiers) generella inverkan på industrier och dess särskilda påverkan på utbildning och lärande. Presentationen hittar du på Slideshare. Mina intryck av konferensen som höll för andra gången i Stockholm var mycket bra! Den var välorganiserad med bra moderatorer, Ulf Skarin och Tommie Cau i de sessioner jag deltog i samt att det var bra kvalitet på talarna i programmet.

cvnatkixeaep5k6Jag (Ericsson), Helena Sjöberg (Microsoft), Marcus Wärn (Spotify) och och moderatorn Tommie Cau under panelen ”Innovation och digitalt i DNAt, organisationer måste tänka om”

Båda bilderna i denna bloggpost har jag lånat från Tommie Caus Twitter konto @TommieCau

Läs mer om framtidens lärande här >>>

 

From Stockholm to Sydney – exploring the City Index

I recently made a trip from Stockholm to Sydney. Sydney is really an iconic city, so beautiful and full of nice people! My hometown Stockholm and Sydney are located 15584 kilometers away from each other – roughly a 24 hour flight – and both cities are measured in the Ericsson City Index 2016. The City Index consists of a report and an interactive tool to compare and explore cities. So let’s have a look at how two of the world’s most beautiful cities do index-wise.

At first look, Stockholm is ranked number 1 and Sydney ranked in the middle of the index at place 20. How come? What are the major differences?

First of all, let me explain shortly how we have built the index. What we measure is Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) maturity and Triple Bottom Line (TBL) development in the city. ICT maturity and TBL development are both divided into three dimensions. The TBL dimensions – social, economic, and environmental – reflect the three dimensions of sustainable development. ICT maturity is broken down into ICT infrastructure, ICT affordability, and ICT usage.  These three dimensions capture the complexity of the connected society: a well-developed infrastructure, a competitive market that offers affordable prices to citizens and businesses, and sufficient know-how to invent, adopt, and adapt new ICT solutions.

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As number 20 in the Networked Society City Index, Sydney is somewhat below what would be expected considering the size of its economy. Overall, Sydney performs better in the ICT maturity dimensions than in the TBL dimensions. The city has the second-best mobile broadband quality of all the index cities, but fixed broadband is lacking in quality compared with other similar cities. On the TBL side, Sydney performs best in the economic dimension. It has a competitive economy with a large number of business start-ups per capita.

Stockholm’s top ranking comes down to performing exceptionally well in all dimensions of both ICT maturity and in the TBL part of the index. Stockholm also scores well when it comes to ICT affordability and ICT infrastructure. This is reflected in the city’s ICT usage, which is among the highest in the index. Stockholm is also ranked first in the economic and environmental dimensions of the TBL.

You can explore these cities and 38 more and a number of parameters in our interactive tool.

Explore the Index at:

Life in 2025: The Mobile

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In our model of lifestyle movements for the Networked Society in 2025, the last group, the Mobile, are difficult to pin down. To some extent they definitely want to see themselves as classless. Their overall motivation is to move between contexts without committing too heavily to one career path, one lifestyle, one life project, or one category of consumption.the-mobile-588x300

Some of them they may work on freelance basis, others might engage in various kinds of collective projects and then they may simply step back from any type of productive life, before they again seek out employment in different areas. The Mobile might quickly switch geographical and cultural contexts and may compromise a relatively good job with a good salary to take a lower paying job at an interesting location. In a sense, the Mobile are relatively empowered in society, but they tend to shy away from taking on too many challenges and responsibility. They are often highly individualistic and prioritize the accumulation of personal experiences before a career or a socially regarded position.

The Mobile focus on experiences, preferably as alternative as possible. They collect these experiences and use digital tools, services, and social media to maintain and manage their narrative of their life experiences. They prefer to live light in order to stay flexible and they exercise a mobile lifestyle. Accordingly, they avoid owning and possessing things and instead choose access-based models. Being highly digital in everything they do and consume allows them to stay light, flexible, and mobile.

The Mobile:

  • move between contexts
  • focus on experiences
  • own as little as possible
  • are highly individualistic
  • shy from responsibilities
  • use digital services of access.

Explore more about The Mobile here.

Life in 2025: The Social

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In 2025’s Networked Society, the Social are empowered and have momentum in society but do not belong to a traditional labor market. They have either chosen to leave or been forced out of the traditional labor market, because of the structural changes in society, and have instead taken matters into their own hands. Accordingly, they are removed from institutionalized systems but they have also deliberately chosen to “escape the market” because they no longer believe in the traditional industrial system (because it hasn’t been able to provide for them). As they are stepping out of the system and escape the market, they are promoting an alternative economic system.the-social-588x300

Some of them move from traditional forms of work to focusing a majority of their time and effort in the categories they are passionate about. They become more and more involved in these categories, until a point where they start to add productive value to their consumption. This can be done in different ways. When a person becomes extremely knowledgeable about a category that she is interested in, she rises above the market, making other consumers and companies extra interested in the person’s opinions and ready to reward the person as an expert, communicating her opinions in various social media outlets or entering into more formalized co-creation with commercial providers. As a result of this, some people make their passion their occupation. This can be done by making their names in various forms of social media, making money through fashion blogging, news writing, video game reviews and other pursuits. Or, they may start up small alternative businesses, focusing on handicraft, craftsmanship, or sustainable ecological products, and eventually turn their passion into their living.

The Social:

  • operate outside the traditional labor market
  • focus on their passions
  • disrupt the traditional ways
  • are empowered by and dependent on their own community
  • take collaborative initiatives
  • form alternative networks.

Explore more about The Social here.

Life in 2025: The Anchored

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The Anchored are the people steadily rooted in the middle class, which was once the result of the 20th century industrialization. In 2025, they are still living in the traditional industrial economic system. While they used to be employed in the manufacturing industry and related sectors, in the 21st century they have migrated increasingly to the service sector.the-anchored-588x300

A majority of the Anchored hold jobs in retail, sales functions, the catering industry, transportation, logistics, healthcare, customer service functions, and IT service functions. Some still work in the manufacturing industries and in civil servant positions, but they are significantly fewer than before due to a decreased need for traditional labor in these sectors and, in the case of government, due to significantly weaker finances.

The Anchored are the people in the Networked Society who most hold on to traditional, 20thcentury values. Due to their diminishing financial means, they are increasingly consuming only basic, automatically manufactured products in most categories, while saving up to acquire one or a few more goods loaded with material status.

The Anchored:

  • work within the traditional industrial economic system
  • value traditions and stability
  • focus on material status
  • divide life into work and leisure
  • save up to acquire a few goods loaded with material status
  • focus on affordable experiences.

Explore more about The Anchored here.

Life in 2025: The Players

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In the Networked Society of 2025, the Players are outside the economic system or have never been invited into it. They also lack the ability, skills, connections, and motivation to get back into the game, land a traditional job, or organize themselves. They do temporary jobs here and there, live off various forms of social security payments, and exchange favors with family and friends. Most of the Players have plenty of time at their disposal, and spend their time primarily on entertainment and games of various kinds. Sometimes they are pulled into different initiatives, but they rarely organize themselves.

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The Players often live under strained conditions and sometimes even struggle to take care of some of their basic needs. Many of them can’t really afford to own a home, but they tend to value their possessions greatly.

The Players spend much of their time playing in different ways. Primarily they consume easily available entertainment of all kinds: TV, movies, games, sports, social media, betting, and adult entertainment. Many of them seek out free alternatives on the market, whether legal (freemium business models) or illegal (such as pirate streaming of TV and video).

The Players:

  • operate outside the traditional labor market
  • have plenty of time
  • engage in digitally enabled entertainment
  • seek out free alternatives
  • value possessions and personal security.

Explore more about The Players here.

Life in 2025: The Resourceful

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My previous blog post was about the model you can use to understand movements in lifestyles in the Networked Society. If you missed that post you can find it here.  In this post, let’s look closer at the Resourceful.the-resourceful-588x300

The Resourceful employ the most attractive positions in society and are made up of business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, managers, leaders, information and knowledge workers, artists and creative workers, highly skilled specialists, and high-level politicians and government officials. The Resourceful have either economic, cultural, or social capital – and in many cases they have plenty of all three. They also have the ability to trade in cultural and social capital for economic capital and are, therefore, not always dependent on a traditional paycheck to carry them in their life as consumers. The Resourceful are, per capita, the strongest consumption class in the Networked Society, but as they are also the smallest group, they are primarily a force in terms of opinion leadership related to consumption.

The group spends a lot of their economic capital on consumption, but also uses their cultural and social capital to access and acquire the products, services, and consumption experiences they want. Many brands in all sorts of categories will allow them to use their products and services for free in order to reach out to other consumers through the networks of the Resourceful.

In short, the Resourceful:

  • have economic, cultural and/or social capital
  • belong to influential networks
  • seek extraordinary experiences
  • prioritize health and wellbeing
  • make conscious statements about global sustainability.

Explore more about The Resourceful here.

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