This presentation is presented as part of Public Sphere 3 and makes a number of recommendations regarding Australian Government Policy on Innovation and Adoption/Commercialisation within the ICT/Creative Industries.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-5582481-seeds-of-growth.php My name is Rob Manson and I'm the managing director of MOB, an Innovation Lab based in Sydney. I've been creating new business models and building applications for my own startups, clients and within large NASDAQ and ASX listed companies for the last 17 years. This presentation is focused on the ICT industry and squarely upon the Web 2.0 and Mobile technology sector.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-3661653-catched-mouse.php This is the traditional view of innovation – build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. I think we're all aware that this is no longer right...I'm sure a lot of you here have learned this the hard way like I have. However I think the almost manic fixation on the supply side as “innovation” is a left over from this traditional word view. Over the next few minutes I'll lay out my case for re-focusing on the demand side to see “diffusion” as the applied driver for “innovation”.
http://www.commoncurrent.com/notes/Engelbart-Demo-Intro-9Dec68.jpg In the late 60s Douglas Engelbart helped to start the revolution that we're here discussing today. In only a few years he drove the innovation of the mouse, hypertext and networked computing. And in order to simply demonstrate these changes he and his team created video conferencing. His goal was to change the language we use to innovate. To change the way we collaborate and share innovations.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-9565786-flying-bee.php And the network has done that. It now connects computing devices together to quickly transfer information to almost any point on the planet.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-8472131-bees.php But the key thing that spreads this information and ideas are people. The social aspect of the network is what is driving the rapid diffusion of ideas.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/1342355056/ In the 50's Rogers started studying how farming innovations spread through the farmers in the wheat belt of the United States. By the time he published his seminal book “Diffusion of Innovations” he had come to the conclusion that people drive technology adoption...and that these people could be broken into distinct adoption patterns.
http://www.exampler.com/testing-com/writings/reviews/page19.gif But after years of people applying the technology adoption lifecycle concept to markets it had become clear that there is a large gap between the early adopters and the early majority. Moore refined this into a single business concept and published this as “Crossing the Chasm”.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-2499687-high-voltage.php But the network is unique and especially in the ICT, Web 2.0 and Mobile industries it's the network that can help bridge this gap.
This network is becoming more and more pervasive. But what does that actually mean? People seem to take the word “pervasive” as self-evident...but we've identified 5 key ways to measure this ongoing evolution. And this has significant impacts on both how innovation spreads and how policies such as R&D Tax Incentives should be implemented.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-10257207-computer-network.php First, the distance between the computer and the network is shrinking. Initially desktop computers weren't networked at all. Then came the LAN to connect computers in the same office. Then came dial-up where your computer or LAN would connect periodically. Then came always on broadband – so as long as your computer was plugged in or within a wifi hotspot then you were connected. And now broadband wireless dongles and soon laptops with built in wimax, etc means that computers are always connected to the network.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-2191841-touch.php The distance between you and your computer is shrinking. With desktop computers, you would go to a desk, often in your office to use your computer. Then computers spread into the home, then the laptop started to spread. This was a significant spatial change where the point of origin shifted from you circling around your computer to your computer circling around you. Now we have highly portable netbooks and who here goes anywhere without their iphone or smartphone.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-2914890-stop-watch.php The time to download or share information is shrinking. The roll-out of the NBN and more broadband wireless networks will drive this even further and faster.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-6386322-hopscotch.php The growth of User Centred Design and the general User Experience industry is driving simplicity into all of our applications. While the underlying functionality is becoming more and more complex, the number of steps to complete each of these tasks is shrinking and applications are becoming easier to use.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-7829513-i-d-be-rich.php Simply, Moore's law and the economies of scale brought about through the network effect are driving the cost of hardware and software down.
When you combine all of these metrics together you get a tangible measure of how the network is becoming more pervasive. But what does this mean. What are the flow on impacts of this increasingly pervasive network. Basically it means that the rules are changing again. During the late 90s the rise of the internet brought about major commercial and social change. The growth of social networks, wireless and mobile technologies are changing this all again.
http://www.yiyinglu.com/failwhale/images/failwhale.gif 10 years ago, if you had said you wanted to create a simple service that let people share short messages about what they were doing but that you had no business or revenue model you would not have been taken very seriously. Now massive diffusion stories like twitter show that in a social world the real value is in the network of users. While twitter still don't have a clear revenue model, they have so much latent value in their business that the US government asked them to adjust their upgrade schedule so the outage wouldn't impact the Iranian political debates. Whether you love or hate twitter, and whether they're making revenue or not...they're not going away any time soon.
However twitter did have a major competitor called jaiku. They were acquired by google and conventional thinking would suggest that if you're bought by a major player like google then you've made it...your success is guaranteed. This is no longer the case. If you search for the message from the jaiku team about when they were acquired you'll see this message. I think a bird did eat it!
So the point of my presentation is that the culture of innovation in the Web2.0 and Mobile space is radically different from the traditional view. As pointed out in the Cutler review of the NIS – there is no linear pipeline from innovation to commercialisation. The separation between the developer and the user is shrinking with successful developers involving their users in adoption driven development where they simply respond in an agile way to what users show they will really use. And this circular integrated innovation environment is the only one that can drive diffusion. But this has big implications for things like the R&D Tax Initiatives and the proposed Commercialisation Institute. You can't separate our R&D in that way. This type of accounting and this type of business support simply don't make sense any more. Instead we need initiatives that help us reinforce this new culture.
Size and money don't guarantee adoption http://www.jaiku.com/blog/2007/10/09/were-joining-google
<ul><li>Government policies and initiatives should be re-designed to foster the following business behaviours or cultural values: </li></ul><ul><li>You should be embarrassed of your 1.0 </li></ul><ul><li>You must drive collaboration inside, out and through </li></ul><ul><li>You need to focus on “Adoption Driven Development” </li></ul><ul><li>You have to focus on the team (e.g. intellect NOT property) </li></ul><ul><li>Design “the Pervasive Network” into your Business Model </li></ul><ul><li>Power is about what you can control, Freedom is about what you can unleash </li></ul>Policy recommendations
Diffusion IS the innovation A presentation for #publicsphere 3 by Rob Manson http://twitter.com/nambor http://MOBusiness.com.au