Mikael Eriksson Björling

About people, business and culture in the Networked Society



Say hello to the era of social business

post-1-siembraviva-768x373In our brand new report, The Social Business Era: Creating Impact and Influencing Change, we explore a new model for 2017 and beyond: The Social Business. This is a new type of company on the market that is out to challenge traditional ways of doing businesses.

The majority of companies operating today use profit as their main measurement, i.e. the business is judged by others (the market) with economic figures and the potential for growth. But things are changing.


It is no coincidence that social businesses have recently emerged and developed in the Networked Society. But why is this happening now?

  1. The ultra-capitalistic industrial society of the late 20th Century is now being questioned as a relevant model for a ‘good world’. At the same time, the state and traditional social institutions that are supposed to care for the welfare of citizens are failing people across the world.
  2. New generations growing up with mobility, broadband, and internet access are now entering the arena of social issues. They are also used to things moving quickly, getting things done right away, and seeing direct impact. They experience frustration with old ways of doing things and the slowness and inefficiencies of institutions to accomplish any real change.
  3. The necessary technology is already in place. Today, we have technology platforms, digital tools, and social networks available for free or at a low cost, which makes it possible for people to start something without the need for large investments or technological skills.

How do we define The Social Business?

  1. No dividends allowed. “A non-dividend company that is created to address and solve a social problem”.
  2. Focus on intent and output: “An organization formed by one or more people whose commercial activities are primarily driven by the desire to create positive social change”.
  3. A broad, pragmatic approach: “A business whose primary intent is to create social impact and that uses revenue streams to become financially sustainable in order to further that impact”.

Create positive impact…who wouldn’t want to do that?

In my next post for the Networked Society blog, I will take a look at the main differences between traditional and social businesses.

Read more about this report at Ericsson Networked Society site

Related: The Social Business Era: Creating Impact and Influencing Change


Intelligent medicine: the future of health

The Swedish American Life Science Summit, held August 21 – 23, had many interesting presentations and discussions about various topics across the life science sector, such as Innovative Healthcare Delivery Models and Creating a Digital Health System.

At the event, I presented Ericsson’s vision of the Networked Society and some of the concepts that could be realized today if we utilize the possibilities we have within connectivity and networking.

Here are a few examples:

The Doctor in a Box is a device that you can either have in your home or that can be brought to you by a home Samaritan, relative or friend. It offers distant healthcare and video conferencing with real doctors for daily/weekly checkups like blood pressure and a simple blood test to see that you are fine and that the medications you take are working well.

The “Doctor in a Box Program” aims to make it easier to get medical assistance, by simultaneously reducing the pressure on the health care system.

Intelligent Medicine Jar acts together with the Living Tray ( an app running on the tablet that connects with the medicine jars), and displays live, up-to-date information on the outside packaging. You are identified with fingerprints, so no one can take the wrong medicine. The packaging is secure, keeps track of your consumption and dispenses only the right amount of pills. If the patient combines medicines that are negative to each other it will send a warning.

Fast line traffic management is an advanced traffic logistics system, providing real-time information through its network. This enables green lights along the route of emergency vehicles and directs traffic flow effectively in rush hour. This reduces the risk of collisions and shortens travel time in matters of emergency, saving lives for patients and reducing risk in traffic.

To learn more, view my presentation on SlideShare or look at the Networked Society blog 

Social life of the young – same needs, different tools

When I was young, dating – or at least trying to date – consisted of slipping a note into a girl’s locker, or shuffling nervously towards her to ask her out with my friends offering humiliating support in the background.

Today it’s much simpler. Ericsson’s ConsumerLab report, Social Life of the Young, looks into how US teenagers are using technology in their social lives. What it shows is that a few text messages can test the temperature of a girl’s interest without you having to suffer the humiliation of your friends’ encouragement. Texting also allows you to communicate with your circle of friends during class or in the privacy of your family home.

Back in the day, walking around school holding your girlfriend’s hand was proof that the relationship was “official.” In today’s technology-driven society, and with Facebook being the highlight of a teenager’s online life, changing your status to “in a relationship” is now seen as the official announcement to your friends.

Read the full post at the Networked Society blog >>>

Changing the way business is being done

How can business and the public sector adapt to – and utilize – the power of creative people?

In the latest Ericsson Business Review, I wrote an article about the game changers – the creative and entrepreneurial individuals who are bringing their innovations to global social networks and letting the public access their ideas, participate in them, or buy their products.

Previously, established corporations used to create consumer demand. Now, they are increasingly being challenged by the “game changers,” who often come up with the most attractive product concepts – changing the way business is being done.

There have always been creative and entrepreneurial individuals. Some of them have made names for themselves, started up businesses or become artists or corporate stars. But more often, they have nurtured their creative sides and entrepreneurial drive only in the seclusion of their own private sphere, as hobbies and garage projects. But this is no longer the case.

The internet holds digital content from all industries and simple communication tools, such as social media, spread this content to everybody, cutting transaction costs for distribution and communication to close to zero. The creative individual no longer has to make the leap that is required when starting up a business to participate in the market. Their projects are available to the market simply because they exist online, whether they were intended for commercial use or not. The presence of individuals’ content in what used to be commercial market categories, most notably newspapers, the music industry, TV and books, is turning the traditional market logic upside down. Read the full article at the Networked Society blog

SAIL Summer School in Santander

Yesterday I gave a keynote at the SAIL Summer School inSantander,Spain. SAIL stands for Scalable and Adaptive Internet Solutions. It is an EU founded project with leading telecommunication operators, vendors, and research institutions aiming to develop the Networks of the Future. As they write on their homepage “Today’s Internet rests on a foundation of technology, needs and visions that emerged 40 years ago. Since then, the purpose of Internet has changed profoundly.” The purpose of the internet has definitely changed and it has definitely changed they way we act, they way we work and they way we organize everyday life and it has changed they way we do business and we will continue to see change. By the end of 2011, the number of mobile broadband subscriptions reached close to 1 billion, and is predicted to reach 5 billion in 2017 and M2M will add to this figure (source: Ericsson Traffic and Market Report June 2012). Behind these facts there are changed behaviors among individuals and it is businesses seeking new value, building on the network.

My speech was about the Networked Society, a changing world, empowered individuals, expanding businesses and global challenges. Find my slides at:


The Invisible Girl


A couple a days ago the anthology “Invisible Girl – Ceci n’est pas une fille” was released by Umeå University. You find Marcus and my contribution under the theme Gender and Contemporary Media, Chapter 23, page 207.

About Flash and the web

Flash has probably seen its heydays and facing hard times due to a number of reasons. But let’s wait with that and instead looking back what Flash use to be.

Macromedia Flash which was the name between 1996 and 2005 before Adobe acquired Macromedia was a revolution for the web and for designers. Flash came when internet was a few year old and the bulk of web pages contained just simple text and a few images. Don’t remember? Take a look at the film:

In the early nineties I was studying at the University College of Arts Craft and Design and I still remember the day I saw a Flash animation for the first time. I was amazed by the moving images, interactivity and sound. Remember at this time most people did not have internet at home and if they had, it probably was a dialup 32 Kbit or 64 Kbit modem connection. Always on was not invented get.

So what happened along the road? There have been many debates about Flash’s pros and cons since the launch in 1996. Jacob Nielsen was criticizing Flash heavily back in the days and I agree there is usbility problems building websites using Flash. Personally have never preferred Flash when building full web sites. The strength of Flash has been more on interactive storytelling such as in interactive films, games campaign sites etc. Take a look at this example from HBO about voyeurism from 2007:

Obviously the HBO site is heavy, it contain lots of moving images, still images, sounds and scripts. Pingdom presented some stats on their blog last week comparing Gif, Jpeg, PNG, HTML, JS, CSS and Flash files average size per individual downloaded object, concluding and complaining the Flash files are far more heavier then rest of the file formats. Hmm. That is really to compare apples and pears. The Flash file does a little bit more than the other files.

So why does Flash facing hard times? One reason is of course that Apple don’t support Flash in iOS another is the new HTML5 standard with all new possibilities of building rich, dynamic and animated web sites without Flash. HTML5 with all API’s, JavaScript, CSS3, WebRTC and so on, will probably be the main building blocks in modern website and service design. But regardless what technology or format that will win there will be a need for an authoring tool similar to Flash. Maybe it will be Adobe Edge maybe something else.

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