Excellent report by Booze&co. on what they call Generation C: People born after 1990, digital natives, highly connected, living online, using social networking as second nature, being able to consume vast amounts of information, and living in what Booze calls a “personal cloud”. The premise is that by 2020 an entire generation will have grown up in a primarily digital word, with technology as we know it today just part of their life, rather than an add-on. Booze says the C in Generation C stands for Connect, Communicate and Change.
You can read the full article here.
What are the implications for innovation acceleration if this is the case? If you endorse the premise – as I strongly do – that innovation is powered by collaboration and connectedness – that innovation acceleration happens just by the fact that people are connected in an ecosystem, then we are in for a meteoric rise is the innovation capability of Generation C. Do you agree?
And if this is the case, what structures, if any, do we need to put in place to capture and harness this creativity? Can the corporation as we know it cultivate and environment where all of this innovation potential is harnessed and exploited?
The answer is – not today. Next year? or 2020?
Everyone wants to be more connected and more collaborative. So – do we collaborate? Really collaborate? The power of the Internet allows friends to connect over Facebook, business colleagues to remain in touch over LinkedIn, and email, voice and video provides for richer connectedness. That’s true. Indeed, organisations like Cisco have developed sophisticated voice and video communication tools to allow people to connect in more meaningful and lifelike ways, wherever they are.
But my hypothesis is that we are still very far from understanding how to deeply and meaningfully collaborate. Very, very far. We say we are collaborative when we sit on a bunch of conference calls, or try and use an enterprise blog or Wiki (until we give up and go back to email) but that’s not collaborating.That’s just connecting.
True collaboration should involve:
- Shared data stores with defined and agreed IP management rules. I should be able to safely and securely access information from any of my colleagues in select groups (within and outside of my organisation) with ease. Firewalls and passwords are transparent to me. Boundaries are there, but invisible. Today, this is almost impossible.
- An etiquette for collaboration. When I post something in a colleague’s data ecosystem, there is an etiquette for collaboration that will give me confidence in when to expect a reply and in what form. Today, no such etiquette exists.
- Almost immediate construction, and decomposition, of collaborative teams. If we decide to form a collaborative group today, with the press of a button I should be able to construct the teams, the data stores, the IM channels, and the IP protocols. Today this is an incremental process that usually breaks down half way through, and people revert to email.
- Collaborative histories that can be easily and intuitively browsed. Who said what to whom, where, and when?
- Collaborative document management and construction. We should be able to build plans, documents and presentations truly collaboratively. Ever tried to build a PowerPoint deck as a group of 10? Almost impossible to do this in a truly collaborative manner.
And that’s just the start of the list!
Email is an archaic, point-to-point, hub and spoke outdates communication tool. It inhibits collaboration. The problem is, we really don’t have anything much better.
Mind you, tools are not the place to start. We need to define truly collaborative business models that we agree to. Once defined, the tool set will be easy.
Open Innovation is an opportunity. It defines the potential for breaking down the barriers internally within an organization, and externally with that organization’s ecosystem.
In order to realize that potential, however, the entities in the ecosystem need to be connected. I call this Connected Innovation. Connected Innovation is what unlocks the potential of Open Innovation. However, connectedness in itself will deliver the result – its the frameworks that make Connected Innovation real that delivers the power. And technology delivers the scale.
This concept of connectedness has been reinforced just recently at the 3rd Annual Open Innovation Conference in Las Vegas when Jeff Bellairs, G-Win Director for General Mills, said: “Open Innovation is not about being external. It’s about being connected.” Jason Husk, Group Manager Technology Brokerage for Clorox, supported this stance and presented a relationship between technology, consumers, and business results as a model for connection. And Chris Thoen announced P&G’s launch of Connect + Develop 2.0 OI model through which the company will focus on collaborating with partners for mutual value creation.