Moving Towards a New Innovation Movement around Ecosystems.

Ecosystems in our business thinking have suddenly become of age, they can enable cross-cutting innovation to be delivered in highly collaborative and dynamic ways. Understanding the value of working within an ecosystem is becoming critical to understand.

Ecosystems can offer, through collaborating on a shared platform, closer relationship with cross-industry partners and more importantly, the final customer.

Sharing, exchanging and deepening the understanding of different needs and experience through increased collaboration, and engagement opens up innovation to a whole new dimension of more radical innovation. We are seeing a shift in innovation cooperation with this ecosystem design approach and we are all working through the implications of this from a process, structure, architecture and design point of view. It changes our internal perspectives and opens these up to a diverse external influx of knowledge and different understanding.

The more we are connecting and collaborating, seeking out joint opportunities for business, there is this realization that there lies a really powerful network effect for value-adding in participating in these ecosystems, for finding and sharing in new economic opportunity. This calls for some radical rethinking of the existing business and deciding the design of the future business. Continue reading

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Innovation is Changing Partly Due to the 4th Industrial Revolution

There are twin forces at work, feeding off each other. We are facing greater disruption and an increasing innovation pace. These are constantly combining, relentlessly adding a new shape to our future. We are actually caught up in a very revolutionary period.

The days of simple product innovation are dwindling. It is through the fourth industrial revolution (also known as Industry 4.0), currently being undertaken, that technology, talent, and new innovation ecosystems are emerging – building greater complexity into our final innovation offerings. Intelligent automation and technology are fueling this new industrial revolution. And this unprecedented, exponential pace of change is increasingly reliant on collaborative platforms to realize the result: more radical innovations.

Innovators struggle to manage in a new way

Organizations everywhere are facing mounting pressure to transform – to shift from product-centric business models to new models focused on creating and capturing different sources of new value, resulting in new, far more connected, Business Model offerings that can transform their business. As a result, innovation is becoming more complex, it is capable of breaking issues down through a greater collaboration and connected environment.

At the heart of this transformation is the fourth industrial revolution. Here, manufacturing is fast becoming the digital manufacturing enterprise (DME). The DME is designed to increase response rate and manage in more efficient, connected, and effective ways. There is this growing recognition that everything needs to be connected to bring a different perspective to any global value chain –one of being far more responsive and bringing manufacturing closer to the customer need. Continue reading

How Open Is Open? Check it out.

The broad use of ‘open’ does seem to have very different interpretations, especially when it comes to platforms or cloud-ready architecture.

Two examples for me in my research recently, needed some “airing” as the openness (excuse the pun) gives me a higher level of comfort. I wish others would state what openness really means in their offerings.

The two I have been drawn to are Aras and their open architecture platform for PLM and the other is Bosch with their IoT platform.

Let me take quotes from both to underpin that real clarity I believe the client would want before they go into a partnership. Today so much is banded about upon “lock-in” when you commit to platforms, it sort of scares of many potential clients wanting to have platform solutions, from making that investment. Trust and confidence in what you are actually signing up for, is needed to be fully transparent. Goes to say but is it?

In my view only having one platform provider is not the right path, it is a range of providers, selected because they can cater to your jobs and needs, not you having to fit into their architecture but it is this openness that significantly needs to be looked at closely. Continue reading

Defining Ecosystems in Industry

In a recent exchange, actually, on twitter, we were discussing definitions of platforms for IoT or IIoT. This was to shape a story to be told. We got into the “how” to position them and in these exchanges, we eventually arrived at the question of Ecosystems, of “What defines ecosystems within an industry?”.

There is growing value in engaging in business ecosystems and let me offer the “why” and move you through the “what” towards the “how.” I felt it needed my “take” on defining Ecosystem design for Industry.

The present growing use of the word “ecosystem” has been born or borrowed (for industrial use) from ecology but it is not appreciating the understanding as well as it should do. We in an industry do need to understand this, embrace it and interpret it in this ecological way, or design the Eco-friendly intent in a clear, game-changing way, that allows us to move forward at higher increased rates of change.

So the issue is what does make up an Ecosystem and make it stand apart and be valued for what it brings. Continue reading

Great Apps will deliver the future business value in IIoT

Technology is radically altering our need for innovation. We see increasingly innovation is feeding off the “digital response rate” and how we build and design the application software will transform IIoT as it has for our personal world (B2C), where we download apps on a daily basis to solve a problem or to improve our understanding.

So what is an app? An app is a modern term for a software application, and it is most often used in reference to a mobile app or a small piece of software that runs on a website. It has made significant inroads into B2C offerings, less so on B2B.  It’s typically used to describe anything that isn’t a full-fledged software program, but even that line has become blurred by those developing this apps become more creative and ta into value points for specific application. Typically apps sit on a platform and we download them or simply access them.

The capabilities of these apps vary greatly today, but some companies have started to push the boundaries of what these apps can do, turning the devices into fully functional work tools. Mobile-device management software will explode within the IIoT space. As we grow more enterprise networks the market for smart devices and/or embedded intelligence production processes will see an increase in growth. Apps will allow for a greater building out of our diagnostic needs as well as enable smart nodes. They will assist to combine experience-based knowledge with contextual automation device data and solve problems quicker as a team or send this specific data for analysis and response.

Connecting technology and innovation is altering how we should re-access organizations ability to build out. We are in the middle of a technological-led industrial revolution It is becoming highly dynamic. Apps are a critical part of the building block.

Using an app with new innovations and approaches can provide new functions by tapping into the local power of devices where tablets and smartphone operate as mini-supercomputers on site that is full of sensors, and designing specific apps to explore capabilities and rapidly “feedback” data that has potential value, often called “event management” or experience understanding. Continue reading

A Statement of Ecosystem Intent Inside Our Business Enterprise- the CEO letter currently missing

Ecosystems have become a really hot topic. As we gain the understanding of what a dual strategy approach to what our business could look like, you need to recognize what you still need control of, those you call your core assets. Yet at the same time, to explore and expand out more today we need to build better external collaborative approaches.

To achieve this reaching out and collaborating will require participating in platforms and building up your Ecosystem Management understanding.

The word “Ecosystem” is getting as much “air time” as the general use of the word “innovation” in business recently. It generates buzz, it projects the impression you are looking to the future, managing your business in that progressive, outward way, that shareholders and your employees love to here.

Well as we well only well know with innovation, if it does not align to strategy, integrate within the business activities, it stays a little out on one side. Also, innovation stays so often a necessity to “call upon” but not as your core focus of activity. That focus still is, sadly today focused on managing the assets for short-term performance, where the consistent focus is always on efficiency and effectiveness to “work or sweat those assets”. Maybe we might be seeing a change in ecosystem management design. More of the “assets” outsourced or in collaborative partnerships.

Well, Ecosystems are entering the lexicon of top management. It does sound good to talk about “building our ecosystem” in every possible way. You need to ask though, has management actually sat down and defined the type of ecosystem it wants to design, to participate in, or become part of. Or do this simply happen, a sort of drifting into, a grand experiment, as if that made real progressive sense? Let’s take a different approach

What if the CEO and the board decided to open up the discussion around the future pathway, one of managing within a federation of ecosystems. Continue reading

The increasing pace of the IIoT world- don’t hold your breath.

You certainly have to make choices in life in where you focus your energy, otherwise, it gets way to complicated. For me to learn about Ecosystems and Platforms I have chosen a “select” group of IIoT players or advisors in their field to concentrate upon. Increasingly the insights and leading knowledge seems to be less coming out of the Big Consulting firms but more from those actually operating in the Industrial world (IIoT players).

These IIoT companies are living and breathing industrial solutions to achieve the digital transformation we see coming towards us. These are companies operating at the edge, in the middle in manufacturing the physical solutions or providing or combining the software solutions and they have their heads and assets firmly in the clouds every day. and on the ground. They are actually building the new IIoT world.

These are the likes of Siemens, Bosch, GE, Schneider Electrics, ABB and a few others. Then I often take a look at those operating from their China base, to build my continued understanding of the greater (to date) B2C market and where one, specifically. takes out their ever-growing ambitions, namely Alibaba.

Then, of course, you often “drink in” the consultant’s reviews or reports on our progress on digital transformation or industry 4.0 but they are increasingly lagging the players with a real deep “skin in the game”, that  of providing their client’s real tangible solutions. The pace of building an IIoT network is accelerating. I try to keep up and “project ahead” in the limited ways I can. Everything continues to change and accelerate in providing digital IIoT solutions. Continue reading