Posts Tagged ‘Open Innovation’

Five Essentials for Business Success in the Digital World

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Digital technologies are forcing an unprecedented pace of change for business. If you don’t get on board now, you risk being left behind! To determine whether your business is on track to becoming a Digital Business, you need to ask these five questions:  



  1. Do you proactively monitor the industry changes that are affecting your business?

Use web based tools to help track the impact that converged technologies are having on all aspects of your business, such as customer behaviors, new suppliers, technology trends etc. This approach will give you a holistic perspective of your industry and enable you to identify strategic options ahead of your competition.


  1. Do you encourage collaborative behaviors within your organization?

It is crucial that your company provides the tools and environment that enable the sharing of knowledge and information in order to tap into one of its most valuable attributes – the tacit knowledge of your employees.


  1. Do you regularly engage with communities external to your company? 

It is essential to adopt a digital mind set and rethink how your business can more effectively engage (interact, listen, learn and co-create) with the rapidly growing collective knowledge base outside of your company in order to understand changing customer requirements, generate new ideas and gain important feedback.


  1. Do you disrupt your business model?

Traditional business models, tools and methodologies do not adapt well to the opportunities and threats encountered in today’s digital world. First you need to understand how the individual elements of your existing model work together and then take full advantage of digital technologies to create a disruptive new business model – before your competition does it for you!


  1. Do you inspire your employees to bring innovation into the workplace?  

You need to encourage your employees to leverage the mobile and social technologies that they use in their everyday lives to generate innovative ideas that will enhance, simplify and accelerate the business processes within your company.

We at KeySo Global have developed frameworks and tools that can help you rapidly adapt to changes in the digital environment. We have assisted companies by designing and implementing development programs that produce dynamic digital strategies. Contact us at 847-478-1633 or  to set up an initial meeting and we’ll help you discover your digital path to success!


Why Google should buy Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Article first published as Why Google Should Buy Barnes & Noble on Technorati.

The media is abuzz with the news that John Malone of Liberty Media has made an offer of $17 a share for 70% of Barnes & Noble, the last remaining bookstore in the US.

In the Financial Times the point was made that, being the last man standing, Barnes and Noble has the advantage of no competition, and the Wall Street Journal emphasized the value of the Nook software that could become prevalent across Android-based tablets.

There could, however, be a broader opportunity for a company with vision. In one of his recent blogs, Seth Godin challenged the concept of the current library as being a warehouse of dead books to being a place where “people come together to do co-working and coordinate and invent projects worth working on together”.

Why not extend this concept of reinventing the library to being a reinvention of the bookstore? Apple’s concept of successfully mashing 3 things together – a community (Mac / iPhone users), a platform (iTunes) and an experience (Apple store) – could be built upon to create a powerful viral marketing experience and exceptionally loyal fans.

If Google were to buy Barnes & Noble they could enhance the Apple model by blending communities (Android, Nook, YouTube) with platforms (Nook, Google Search, Chrome and Android), and provide opportunities for new experiences of learning, creating and discovering in an amazing distinct new mashed-up retail forum.

It could become the perfect living laboratory for integration of digital and real-world resources, and at the same time provide a mechanism for interaction with consumers; it would make the Google brand incredibly tangible across all its ventures.

Coincidently, it could provide the perfect forum for facilitating a nationwide open innovation environment that encourages the growth of entrepreneurism. In this new digital age, the Barnes & Noble Café could become the innovation catalyst, similar to the old coffee houses of Europe that used to facilitate the bringing together of creative and inspiring inventors and entrepreneurs. The Android and Nook platforms could be extended to enable a social networking community focused on education, innovation, creativity and fun.

The retail aspect of the B&N facility would also evolve offering a broad array of products and services that real and virtual associates could advise on and show virtually, while suggesting suitable additions that could be purchased locally or online with their Android devices and delivered when they want. The facility would then morph into a hub that brings Adwords to life, with context and location both physically and virtually on Android devices in the store.

In a single move, Google could totally revolutionize the face of retail, turn the tables on the Amazon business model by emulating and enhancing the Apple model – all for less than $1bn. Sounds like a deal to me!

We at KeySo Global understand the importance of reinventing business models and we’d be delighted to show you how converged technologies can be used to help your business run more efficiently and effectively. To set up an appointment, call us at +1 847-478-1633, email us at or visit our website at
Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global LLC

Turbulent times –a seed bed for creative growth

Friday, February 18th, 2011
This week GSMA Mobile World Congress, Europe’s premier mobile telecom and internet industry conference took place in Barcelona. As the industry shared the latest gadgets, technology and service developments, it was also trying to determine the real significance of the Nokia Microsoft partnership.

It is clear that as mobile telecoms and the internet come together, nothing is guaranteed. Two of the most successful players of both industries have struggled for relevance in the converged space of the mobile internet and smartphones. This converged space and the impact that it has on society has been our focus at KeySo Global for the last 3 years, and we refer to it as Digital Life. This phenomenon is spreading virally and facilitating increasing globalization of politics, economics, education and societal change.

Efficient real time communication and “anytime anywhere” access to information sources are fueling a broader societal perspective and increasing peoples’ expectations for leaders to solve the issues that negatively impact their lives, especially among the younger generation. The impact has stunned industry veterans like Intel’s Paul Otellini: “I would not have thought that technology would change politics or democracy. But it changed the American electoral cycle, it just changed two countries and it’s not going to stop there. It’s a liberating technology.”

2011 has continued to provide a constant stream of 24 /7 TV images and online reports of the problems in many countries such as Tunisia, Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and most recently Bahrain. Given this barrage, it’s difficult to deny that we’re living in uniquely turbulent times. Citizens in all countries have gained a louder and more powerful collective voice which is generating real and intense pressure on incumbent leaders to alter their policies or step down.

Since 1989 and the deconstruction of both the Berlin Wall and the Soviet empire, the number of democracies in the world has increased significantly, according to George Mason University. Some observers have noted the Middle East was an outlier in the trend to democracy and that the current events are evidence of the continued enlightenment and alignment of the global population. Others highlight the impact of a connected and educated younger generation and an empowered middle class. Both these factors are relevant but probably two of the most significant aspects of change are the democratization of information and the mobilization of people that these converged technologies enabled. Despite the desperate efforts of some existing governments to curtail, block and usurp access to these converged services, the inevitable outcome could not be prevented.

Returning to the question of the significance of the Nokia and Microsoft partnership – the deciding factor will be their ability to quickly unify their product strategy and collaboratively re-enter the market. As the pace of change accelerates they will be shooting from behind at a rapidly moving target. Compounding these challenges will be the added distraction of finding synergistic thinking among many different egos, overcoming turf wars and posturing which could further hinder the ability of both companies to collaborate effectively and innovate competitively. Nothing is guaranteed in this converged space but if these two can harness their combined depth of knowledge with proactive interaction with consumers and enterprise customers, they have the potential to win.

If you would like to learn how open innovation can be leveraged through internal & external knowledge networks and how to take advantage of Digital Life opportunities, contact us at +1 847-478-1633 or visit our website at

Nokia and Microsoft – A window to heaven or 7 years bad luck?

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

In January at CES (the Consumer Electronic’s Show in Las Vegas) CNBC’s star reporter “Money Honey” Maria Bartiromo asked Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer “What are you going to do with your $50 billion of cash? Are you going to buy Nokia or RIM?” Ballmer, of course, refused to comment. The consensus is, however, that Microsoft’s options for succeeding in the smartphone market are declining rapidly.

This week there is news that Stephen Elop, Nokia’s new CEO, has determined he and the company are on a “burning platform” and tomorrow is likely to announce a restructure of Nokia’s executive board, making it less Finnish; but more significantly, he is looking to make the company more successful, specifically in North America. Additionally, he is reportedly looking for a new head of operating systems, as well as a new head of research and development with strong software capability. This reorganization will be a major shakeup for Nokia. The question is (as was pointed out in a previous blog) will this consensus driven company that historically succeeded because of continuity of leadership make this transition, not only in strategy but culture as well?

Is this a marriage of convenience or desperation? Both Microsoft and Nokia are struggling in the smartphone arena, particularly in North America, where the latest Comshare subscriber data shows that Nokia has only 7.0% of the overall subscriber base and has no presence in the smartphone platform market. Microsoft is also desperately hanging on to 8.4% of Smartphone platform subscribers; this is compared to RIM that slipped to 31% under pressure from a rapidly accelerating Android and a solid Apple performance.

The scene is certainly set for some bold moves from a market share and business survival perspective, and this leads me to think about the outcome of potential acquisition activity. In reality the key question that should be asked is not “what are you buying?” but “what would the purchase develop into? “

The real issue is not about the strategic benefits and opportunities of such a merger, but whether or not the cultures of the companies can be positively blended. Does Steve Ballmer, in cooperation with ex Microsoft exec Steve Elop, have the stamina and fortitude to work with the Finn’s, where collaboration is more than just a word – it’s a national, cultural and management style? This culture is totally unlike most American “command and control” multinationals, and certainly nothing like Microsoft.

The probability is that tomorrow Stephen Elop will announce a close partnership with Microsoft on Windows 7 and next generation smart device operating systems. This will allow both companies to gain experience of each other, similar to an engagement. The final outcome of this is experimentation and open to speculation, but the reality is that, together or apart, the 2 companies are unlikely to be the dominant forces they were or currently are.

Contact us at KeySo Global if you’re interested in learning about the implications of digital life trends on your business. Call us at +1 847-478-1633 or go to our website at

Can Digital Life help SME’s unleash open innovation internationally?

Friday, January 28th, 2011

In a global world, where emerging international markets now present the greatest growth opportunities, can the small to medium sized companies that are the heart of the US economy continue to thrive when their sole focus is on the domestic market?

With the current negative investment climate forcing companies to cut back their workforces at an alarming rate, the aggregated knowledge of many of these companies is being depleted exponentially. They need to find out, as a matter of urgency, where the needs lie in the global marketplace, and the ways in which they can tap into the opportunities that are arising beyond their current domestic horizons.

Digital life refers to the impact of convergence technologies (wireless broadband, mobile Internet and cloud solutions) on global business models and consumer behavior. Increasingly online communities, facilitated by social networking, are enabling experts and consumers to share knowledge, experience and needs in ways that unleash opportunities that know no boundaries.

As digital life rapidly becomes an integral part of today’s business life, SME’s should seize the opportunity, made available via the Internet, to leverage the collective knowledge of the global community, and use it to drive open innovation.

The opportunity for SME’s to attack the emerging market demand pyramid by leveraging their own core technology, combined with concepts and ideas from the collective community, could be the mechanism to spur growth in manufacturing in the US, and consequently sustained economic growth through exports.

Do the government and banking industry have the wherewithal to put in place the necessary frameworks and incentives to facilitate the reengineering of the small and medium business sectors of the US economy? Based on President Obama’s State of the Union speech this week, the awareness is clearly there; the question is – does Congress have the determination to make it happen?

Find out how the processes we have developed at KeySo Global can help you to drive international business, open innovation and be successful in bringing new technologies on board. Contact us at if we can help in any way and for more information about the services we offer, check out our website at