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Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media

Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media: de-risk innovationEthnographic research for business innovation shows how to apply ethnographic research of social media to managing controlled disruption within organizations. Ethnographic research of social media can transform the entire innovation process because it’s a very efficient way to study the behavior and motivations of the people that the innovation proposes to serve. Unlike traditional innovation and ethnographic research methods, which are relatively slow, costly and qualitative, ethnographic research of social media combines qualitative richness with quantitative analysis. It’s faster and less costly, too.

Ethnographic research for business innovation can dramatically improve the depth and breadth of business and corporate strategy, business design and service design research since it allows teams to consider more users and to assess their behavior and motivations, which can improve the value of more costly research.

This post outlines the business innovation use case of ethnographic research of social media, and it includes examples in banking, professional services, consumer products, and B2B marketing. For more on ethnographic research, see More Resources below.

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The Connected Car and Customer Experience

The connected car and customer experienceThe connected car and customer experience reveals a new opportunity for carmakers to dial into real customer behavior and desires around connected cars and autonomous cars. The Connected car and the autonomous car are powerful services that will help transform how people move around, and they are emerging during an era of unprecedented volatility in markets. I’ll wager that there’s never been a better or more challenging time to be a carmaker because opportunities and threats have never been higher. I’ve been fortunate to meet product managers and engineers who are pioneering connected and autonomous car services. I’ve also been meeting leaders in the Internet of Things (smart devices), of which the connected car is a part.

My crystal ball says that the connected car is a bet-the-brand proposition for carmakers because it directly addresses competing on customer experience, the most disruptive trend of all. As I detailed in The Social Channel, we have moved from a product/service-based economy toward an experience economy. Even IT analyst Gartner has proclaimed that customer experience is the final battleground for firms. Established […]

Why Probability Is the Key to Profit in the Digital Social Big-Data Age

10 Detailed Case Studies + Big Data & Analytics’ New Digital Divide + How to Think Like a Data Scientist Book Review: Numbers Rule Your World/Kaiser Fung

Why Probability Is the Key to Profit in the Digital Big-Data Age[UPDATED] Step inside a data scientist’s mind, and learn why probability is the key to profit and how it’s the key to understanding and using big data for better decision making. This fascinating and useful book clearly shows how people misunderstand probability and misuse statistics—and therefore big data—and how the knowledge gap leads to faulty models, thinking and decisions. New winners and losers are emerging in the digital social and big-data age. A new digital divide, people who think like data scientists and use probability to support decision making—and everyone else. The data science group will outperform, and Fung shows how creative, fun and useful data science is.

This book is a perfect twin to Duncan Watts’ Everything Is Obvious* Once You Know the Answer, which exposes how common sense pervades management decisions and failure. I shall refer to several specific connections between the […]

Social Media Upgrade [Social Business Team Building]

Social Media Upgrade [Social Business Team Building] case1[Updated] The Social Media Upgrade applies to most consumer-oriented brands that have been outsourcing much of their social media work to agencies. In 2013, digital marketing and brand executives are thinking about building their internal teams to provide more continuity and scale.

Social Media Upgrade is the first of the five-part social business team building series The series describes team building in the context of various scenarios in which firms build social business capability, step by step, while investing wisely. Social Business Strategy Use Cases outlines and compares all five use cases while Social Business Team Building gives general guidance for how to create social business teams as well as recommendations for what characteristics leaders have, so I recommend reading them, too.

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Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Economic Forecast

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Economic ForecastI covered the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Economic Forecast last week, where all speakers issued this refrain: “More of the same.” Key economic indicators have been stuck in neutral—the proverbial “sideways” movement—so the consensus in the room was one of faint frustration tempered by gratitude. Everyone had lived through worse.

The current “recovery” is underperforming any other in recent memory according to many measures, especially employment.

The conference was very well organized and featured expert presenters. Reading between the lines, I perceive significant opportunity that will surprise most people. After my notes of speakers’ remarks, I’ll share my thoughts on 2013’s opportunity that is evident when one regards “the economy” from a different point of view.

Everyone wonders what kind of presents we will open in 2013 (right).

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Knowledge Economy Products and The Future of Manufacturing

Knowledge Economy Products[UPDATED] Several profound market forces are preparing the ascendancy of Knowledge Economy products, which result from collaboration among designers, artists, engineers, customers and firms. This represents one of the Knowledge Economy’s most exciting-yet-disruptive elements: “products” will cease to be dominated by monolithic factories that mass produce virtually all items that people use and consume. Moreover, people have an inherent joy when they can make things for themselves, their friends and their families—and a dramatic new wave of creativity and innovation is imminent. To help you wrap your mind around Knowledge Economy products, this post will recall what happened to mass media and entertainment industries.

Knowledge Economy products are conceived, designed, prototyped and fabricated in the Social Channel. Best practices in open source, Agile development, design and Web development will unleash continuous innovation at a scale and pace we’ve never seen before. Knowledge and innovation will be free in the Knowledge Economy because all supporting processes will become an order of magnitude faster and cheaper. Firms and brands that do not recognize and respond quickly enough will become irrelevant.

Most brands can […]

Event Brief: Mashing up Mergers & Acquisitions and Web 2.0 at the AM&AA's Summer Conference

Web 2.0 and the Mergers and Acquisitions Industry at the AM&AA reveals how digital social networks are affecting mergers and acquisitions in the mid-market

Reports of “Character Building” Market—Significant Parallels with High Tech Bust—Plus, the Emerging Web 2.0 Vein

Web 2.0 and the Mergers and Acquisitions Industry at the AM&AAThe sub-prime induced correction of the U.S. financial sector has changed the context around M&A during the last year, and mergers and acquisitions experts met last week to share success stories, lessons learned and admonitions at the Alliance of Mergers & Acquisition Advisors Summer Conference July 22-25, 2008 at Chicago’s Wyndham Hotel. I was asked to present a new talk, “Leveraging a Web 2.0 Ecosystem to Grow Your Business,” and I had the opportunity to attend some of the other sessions. I’ll summarize their key points before adding some thoughts on the promise that Web 2.0 and social networks bring to deal marketing due to significantly decreased transaction costs.

AM&AA members hail from all parts of a rich ecosystem of investment bankers, attorneys, private equity, brokers, intermediaries, CPAs and others who specialize in every aspect […]

Noodle VI: New from the Unorthodox Exit Strategy Department—Acquisition by an Asian Firm

New Exit Strategy for Mature Manufacturers—Acquisition by Asian Firms shows how process excellence can inject new vitality into ailing manufacturers.

New Exit Strategy for Mature Manufacturers—Acquisition by Asian FirmsPicture this: you are the CEO of a venerable manufacturer that has been besieged by price pressure, increased imports and high capital costs. Revenue has been barely edging up, and profits have been negative three of the last five years. You have had to lay off a significant portion of manufacturing personnel, many of whom had been with you more than a generation.Your ship is still taking on water despite best efforts, and you do not know where to turn.

This was precisely the situation of several U.S. firms that took the unusual route of selling themselves to Indian firms that turned the companies around very quickly by applying sophisticated process and management expertise. In many cases, local employment increased because the companies became much more competitive. Here are two examples:

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Noodle II: Disrupting the Intractable Delight of the Automobile

Disrupting the Automobile explores how several ventures are changing the rules of an intractable industry.

Disrupting the Automobile

The automobile is a personal manifestation of the ultimate promise of the Industrial Economy—that physical power is essentially free—because it enables people to move quickly and easily. People just love cars because it is immensely satisfying to glide effortlessly (traffic notwithstanding ,^) from one place to another with a high degree of individual freedom.

However, as 2007 draws to a close, autos’ current reliance on fossil fuels makes it increasingly obvious that we need to change the rules. First, new wealth in emerging markets is dramatically increasing auto ownership and its concomitant demand for oil. Increased demand and uncertain supply will undoubtedly prove unsustainable in the medium term. Second, and even more daunting, is the carbon/climate change problem, which is far more life-changing in the long term. Petroleum and coal are the largest contributors to man-made carbon emissions.

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Caterpillar CEO Pitches Free Trade Gauntlet to Business Leaders at Executives' Club

Caterpillar CEO Pitches Free Trade to Business Leaders at Executives’ Club asks whether the U.S. is at turning point with global economy in the balance—A lack of courage?

Caterpillar CEO Pitches Free Trade to Business Leaders at Executives' ClubJames W. Owens, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Caterpillar Inc., beseeched U.S. business and government leaders to find the courage to save free trade. The speaker at the Executives’ Club of Chicago’s Global Leaders Series, Owens addressed a packed house at the Hilton Chicago on 16 October 2007. His speech was immediately followed by the Club’s Technology Conference at which CIOs advised their peers on the emerging role of the CIO in the “networked economy 2.0.”

A Ph.D. economist with extensive global management experience, Owens made a very convincing argument that the U.S. and the global economy are at a turning point. It is time for the U.S. to lead by example to assure the continuance of the free trade juggernaut that has produced so much wealth in the world. If it fails, the world stands before the prospect of sharply curtailed trade.

Following a […]