Posts

Speaking at Microsoft: Intranets for Collaborative Innovation: From Failed Promises to Emerging Potential: April 29, 2010

I will be giving a talk to Microsoft’s Enterprise Content Management team on the role of Intranets in fostering collaborative innovation. Since their initial debut, Intranets have been touted as a platform to promote collaboration within an organization. Most organizations have invested serious resources in developing viable Intranets. Despite the significant investments, only a handful of organizations will claim that their Intranets are anything more than glorified document repositories. In this talk, I highlight key reasons that Intranets have failed to deliver on their original promises. I will also point out how users have had to build work-a-rounds to avoid interacting with Intranets when engaging in collaborative work. My talk will conclude with key recommendations for designers of next generation Intranets that can support collaborative innovation.

Building Sustainable Collaborative and Open Innovation Programs – University of Ljubljana

I will be giving an invited lecture at the Raziskovalni center Ekonomske fakultete (Faculty of Economics) of the University of Ljubljana on February 15, 2010. My talk will focus on how organizations can design collaborative innovation programs.

Organizations cannot innovate in isolation. Ideas, knowledge, expertise, and processes needed for innovation are often distributed in the marketplace across a wide-assortment of actors from business partners, to customers, government agencies, and even competitors. Organizations have to find ways to collaborate and develop open, rather than closed, innovation programs. Collaboration calls for the ability to share required artifacts from ideas to knowledge and expertise, and even processes, with external entities. Being open requires an organization to unlock, and make available, its innovation process to external entities. Developing Collaborative and Open Innovation (COI) programs can be a daunting challenge. Issues such as ensuring trust, governance structures, rewards and incentives, and mechanisms for rent sharing from innovations can seem insurmountable. In this presentation, I will share actionable knowledge on how we can build sustainable COI programs. I will draw on research and consulting on designing organizational innovation programs in over 50 global organizations. I will share a framework for organizations that want to collaborate on innovation. This framework will outline methods for collaborative idea generation and mobilization, idea advocacy and screening, idea experimentation, idea commercialization, and idea diffusion and implementation. Examples will be used to illustrate how leading organizations collaborate with external entities for innovation and build open innovation programs that external entities can plug-into.

Advocating and Screening for Ideas

If you have ideas, what should you do with them? How do you know which ideas to pursue (and which to abandon)? As an idea creator, how do you know which ideas will get the attention of managers or how to present ideas for consideration? As a manager, how do you screen the numerous ideas you get from your staff? These are not simple questions to answer. Unfortunately, this stage of the intrapreneurship process represents the Achilles' heel for most organizations. Too many organizations spend a lot of time, effort, and resources to get ideas from their employees but then do not know what to do with them. Equally discomforting are cases where employees spend too much time creating ideas for which there is no organizational interest or need. The end result is a lot of waste – from the individual to the organizational level.

Consider the case of a global technology organization. The organization, founded in the mid 1990s, had seen unprecedented growth during the Internet boom days. As one senior executive remarked, “we were not only running on all cylinders, but were actually borrowing cylinders and fuel rods to keep up with demand.” The organization grew from humble beginnings (3 students!) to just under 200 employees in five years. It now has 10 clients in US states and 3 international clients (based in London, Brussels, and Amsterdam). As soon as the glory days came to a screeching halt with the dot.com bust, the organization, like many of its compatriots in the industry, had to do some hard thinking to redefine business strategies. To this end, the organization solicited ideas from its employees concerning the company's direction for the future– the slogan – 10 for 10: 10 big ideas for the next 10 years! The goal was to get the firm to think big and to identify 10 broad areas that 1) they would want to invest and build capability in, 2) they would want to build collaborative capacities by reaching out to start-ups and established firms, and 3) they would require re-tuning (or complete obliteration) of their current strategic focus. The company did what any other organization would do; It solicited ideas from employees across all ranks. The company commissioned online “idea drop boxes.” Employees could send in their ideas via filling in a brief online questionnaire. Within a week, the company had over 500 ideas (about 2.5 ideas from each employee!); and by the end of the four week idea solicitation period they had captured over 1200 ideas (a little more than 6 ideas per employee!) As one executive remarked, “we underestimated the whole [idea solicitation] thing…employees were scared…their friends were losing jobs, companies like ours were closing, venture capitalist were getting tighter with the purse strings…all of this contributed to fear…employees wanted to help the company, and themselves, by sharing their best ideas that would not only keep us afloat but secure a better future…” This was the easy part-- getting ideas-- the big challenge ahead for the organization was what to do with these and how do to go about screening them. Over the course of the next five months, the firm tried its best to bubble up the best ideas through applying various screening procedures, getting comments and feedback on ideas from internal (i.e. employees), as well as external (i.e. board of directors, collaborators from academia, venture capitalist, etc), sources.

Unfortunately, the organization did not have a robust process for advocating and screening ideas. The end-result is best summarized by a statement made by the CEO – “absolute disaster…we ended up pissing off more staff than those we appeased, lost good employees who felt their ideas were not duly considered, and what hurts me most, is employees lost faith in the organization as a place that valued ideas…front-line programmers and system designers who are our most important assets felt ideas get promoted based on ones political network and clout…we all lost, I will never do this again…we might never recover the trust and camaraderie that we had prior to this undertaking.

The bad news for organizations is that the advocacy and screening stage of the intrapreneurship process is fraught with difficulties.

To learn how to build sustainable processes for idea advocacy and screening, please contact me (or wait for a future posting…or my new book)

Speaking at the Washington Technology Industry Association: Securing Organizational Knowledge – Human Intelligence Operations

wtialogo_intI will be giving a talk for the Washington Technology Industry Association based on my recent book, Managing Knowledge Security (Kogan Page, 2007). The talk will take place on December 7, 2009 at Seattle University. For details, please click here [Link]

Based on his recent book, Managing Knowledge Security: Strategies for Protecting Your Company's Intellectual Assets (Kogan Page, 2007), Desouza will describe how human intelligence operations are conducted to ascertain competitive intelligence. Warning his audience of business practitioners that most organizations fail to understand that their core resources intellectual assets are constantly under attack, and that protecting these resources is as important as any other part of the strategic agenda. Desouza, gives advice on how to recognize dangers of human and technological breaches, hazards of outsourcing and business alliances, implementation of breach prevention measures, and the necessity of working with disaster scenarios. He illustrates his advice with cases from his personal experience working in the fields of competitive intelligence, knowledge management, crisis management, and security operations.

The Future of Innovation in the Insurance Industry: Talk at PEMCO Insurance

pemcoOn September 10th, I will be giving a talk at PEMCO Insurance on the Future of Innovation in the Insurance Industry. I plan to outline how insurance providers can enhance service offerings and enrich customer experiences through crafting sustainable innovation processes. This talk is part of PEMCO’s @pfslive series, which brings together over 100 business professionals from the following organizations: PEMCO Insurance, School Employees Credit Union of Washington, Evergreen Bank, PEMCO Corporation, and PEMCO Technology Services, Inc.

Speaking at Talent Management – 2009

PLSI will be speaking at the 2009, Talent Management: A Systematic Approach to Acquiring, Developing, and Retaining Talent and Organizational Knowledge Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona (November 4-6, 2009). My talk will discuss key strategies global organizations employ to build effective knowledge transfer and retention strategies.

Knowledge Transfer: A System for Capturing and Transferring Institutional Memory
As an organization prepares for the departure of valuable staff, a key challenge is how to capture, store, and transfer knowledge. Managing knowledge and ensuring its transfer will increase productivity.

This session will provide useful tools and processes for selecting the best strategy to fit your organization’s culture. Participants will explore the use of technology as well as best practice approaches and tools to preserve and transmit institutional memory. Topics include:

  • The role of technology in collecting, storing, and retrieving vital knowledge
  • Methods for knowledge transfer
  • The role of document management processes
  • A process map for knowledge management and transfer
  • Best practices and alternatives

To register for the event, please click here.

Keynote Speaker: First International Conference on Information Society and Information Technology, Slovenia (12-13 October 2009)

header_3I have been invited to deliver a keynote lecture at the First International Conference on Information Society and Information Technology in Novo Mesto (Dolenjske Toplice), Slovenia. The conference is being organized by the Faculty of Information Studies.

The Value-Creation Imperative for the Information System Academy: Lessons from Three Radical (Risky) Projects

The Information System (IS) Academy continues to falter in its attempt to create value-added artifacts for its stakeholders. IS researchers are seldom invited to participate in significant projects at private organizations and government establishments. Stakeholders, from management practitioners to government policy makers, are frustrated by the current state of IS research. In this talk, I draw on three of my recent research projects the change management book as part of the global text project, leveraging ideas for organizational innovation, and an examination of information management challenges in complex, networked, settings (e.g. government intelligence communities and terrorist organizations) to propose a new model for IS research. The new model puts value-creation as the central measure of IS research impact. Given this, the model illustrates how to engage stakeholders to co-create value that not only benefits the theoretical knowledge bases, but also contributes directly and deliberately to the state of practice. Furthermore, the model outlines how to commercialize research so as to benefit society at-large through the widespread diffusion and implementation of research results.

How to Implement a Successful Outsourcing Process? – PMI Services & Outsourcing SIG

polisheditionoutsourcingbook9780749444303I will be delivering a webinar on June 17th, 2009 to the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Services & Outsourcing Special Interest Group (SIG). My presentation will examine the basic, yet critical question, How to Implement a Successful Outsourcing Process? The presentation will draw heavily from my book, The Outsourcing Handbook (Kogan Page, 2006). For more information, please click here: LINK

To purchase a copy of my book, please click here: LINK

To purchase a copy of the Polish edition, Outsourcing: Podr?cznik sprawdzonych praktyk, published by Wydawnictwo MT Biznes, please click here: LINK

Two Research Seminars at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana

I enjoyed delivering two research seminars in Slovenia. Thanks to all that attended. I gained a lot from your feedback and comments.

Seminar prof. dr. Kevina C. Desouze (University of Washington, Seattle, WA), z naslovom Designing the Innovation Process: Building, Managing, Communicating and Measuring, bo v sredo, 13. maja 2009, ob 17. uri, v klubski sobi CISEF-a

Seminar prof. dr. Kevina C. Desouze (University of Washington, Seattle, WA), z naslovom Challenges in Inter-Disciplinary Research: Strategies from Crafting Research Ideas to Publishing, bo v ponedeljek, 11. maja 2009, ob 16. uri, v sejni sobi CISEF-a.

Upcoming Speaking Engagements: Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 2009

I will be delivering two invited lectures at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana in May. logo_eng

The first talk, Challenges in Inter-Disciplinary Research: Strategies from Crafting Research Ideas to Publishing, will take place on May 11, 2009. In this presentation, I will share my experiences in executing inter-disciplinary research projects. Studying complex phenomenon requires us to undertake research that (1) draws on multiple disciplines, (2) engages a diverse group of stakeholders, (3) appreciates a plurality of research approaches, and (4) communicates to a diverse set of audiences. Executing inter-disciplinary research is no easy feat to accomplish. Researchers face daunting challenges from the onset, beginning with the very inception of ideas, crafting of problem statements, executing the research process, and communicating the results via publications in academic and practitioner outlets. However, these challenges should not be viewed as an excuse to abandon inter-disciplinary research in favor of narrow-minded and singular research exercises, which reduce complex phenomenon in deterministic fashions so as to arrive at simplistic problems that lack relevance. I will present a method (process) for executing inter-disciplinary research that has served me well. Illustrative examples of research projects will be used to exemplify this process and outline strategies for researchers to consider when conducting inter-disciplinary research projects.

The second talk, Designing the Innovation Process: Building, Managing, Communicating and Measuring, will take place on May 13, 2009. In this presentation, I will describe the process of innovation and propose mechanisms to measure the value of innovation. The innovation process will be broken down into the discrete stages of idea generation and mobilization, screening and advocacy, experimentation, commercialization, diffusion and implementation. For each stage, context, outputs and critical ingredients are discussed. Findings are based on extensive study of over 30 top US and European companies with mature innovation processes.