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Friday, September 30, 2011

Business Rules Engines

I have been asked about the use ot business rules to drive specifics of process.   This came up:

Welcome to Business Rule Engine. This site is a companion to the book How to Build A Business Rules Engine: Extending Application Functionality Through Metadata Engineering, by Malcolm Chisholm. The book and the site address design issues in building rules engine functionality that can be added to specific applications to extend their capabilities.

"Business Rules" are individual pieces of logic that are normally captured in specifications by systems analysts, and put into application program code by programmers. There are two major problems with this approach ... "

You Need a Data Scientist

Good piece on the reasons why you need a data scientist to address how to use analytics for your business.   In my own consulting business I get similar questions and give similar answers.  Good initial read on the topic.

Watson and Wellpoint

Another good article, this in Analytics Magazine on the application of the IBM Watson AI technology and Wellpoint Inc.  " ... WellPoint, Inc. and IBM announced an agreement to create the first commercial applications of the IBM Watson technology. Under the agreement, WellPoint will develop and launch Watson-based solutions to help improve patient care through the delivery of up-to-date, evidence-based health care for millions of Americans. IBM will develop the base Watson healthcare technology on which WellPoint's solution will run ... "
Quite ambitious.  It is also interesting how the companies involved are avoiding the use of the term AI, although the methods used are exactly what we used in the 90s for enterprise applications.  Now as then, there will be challenges in using these methods in conjunction with well established professional groups in healthcare.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teasers from Brandwashed

Martin Lindstrom's latest book: Brandwashed has made number 8 on USA Today's bestsellers list.   He sends along a flier that outlines a number of interesting topics in this controversial book.    Check out the flyer  here, it includes a provocative test to see if you have been brandwashed yourself.  Includes such topics as:  How you walk determines how much you spend ...   Subliminal Speed Bumps .... and the Convincing Power of the Morgensons.    Nicely done.    

Real Time Site Analytics

Google Analytics is adding real time tracking to its dashboards.  This will be phased in over the coming days.

Kimberly-Clark Logistics

A good example of how RFID can be used to make the supply chain more efficient through transparency: " ... The consumer goods manufacturer is using a solution that includes EPC tags and readers to track the arrival, loading and departure of trucks transporting the company's goods throughout Colombia ... "

Interdictive Analytics

Forrester's James Kobielus on what he is calling 'Interdictive Analytics'.  Good thoughts.  I had not heard the term before but it is a form of  predictive alerting using analytics, that is not uncommon.

" ... Predictive analytics is not just about forecasting what’s coming down the pike. It’s also about keeping the bad alternative futures from happening. If you can see the nasty things that might happen far enough in advance, you have a better chance of neutralizing or squelching them entirely. In fact, many real-world applications of predictive analytics are “interdictive,” a term often used in military and law enforcement contexts to refer to tactics that delay, disrupt, or shut down an adversary’s forces or supply routes before they can do damage. Anti-fraud is one of the principal interdictive applications of predictive analytics technology.  ... "

Social Analytics Transforming Retail Business Planning

Correspondent Armen Najarian at DemandTec posts an excellent piece: Four Ways Social Analytics will Transform Retail Business Planning.  Read his list of four dimensions of transformation. 

I heartily agree.  Let me take it further.  While it is not just about using technology,  it is about how you can link key participants via communications to key improvement processes.  In the past this was just about emailing a list of people,  but that is no longer enough.  Now, using methods pioneered in social networks, we can attach processes like optimization and improvement analytics to groups of people as well.   Its now in real time, with the assistance of predictive analytics. 

So what is the value of this 'social analytics'?    Many examples are possible:  A process that alerts retailers to changes in profitability at the shelf.  A prediction of impending out-of-stock.   An optimization that dynamically changes a promotional offer.   A historical loyalty database that suggests how a particular offer, based in part on a shopper's location, should be adjusted to their needs.  An in-store display that can be adjusted based on local demographic conditions at a market.  And many more potential ideas.

This new form of  social analytics includes the shopper.  They provide communications as well, via their shopping behavior, their interaction and feedback.   As the shopper becomes armed with powerful smartphone communications and scanning sensors, the potential just increases.   Retail can dynamically react to the full context of the shopper experience. 

So the social analytic network will increasingly include all the players.  Employees, vendor partners, analysts, shoppers .... AND processes that will alert the network to changes in the retail system.  The near real-time dynamics have great potential.   Companies like Armen Najarian's DemandTec can lead the way by providing more analytical methods and retail expertise to the mix.   We approach a heady future of enabling analytics.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Packaging and Consumer Choice

An interesting case study in Knowledge @ Wharton regarding packaging design at Heinz and how innovative packaging can be transformational in very common and 'old'  businesses.

Tom Davenport Looks at MoneyBall

Information and analytics in Baseball and Industry.   Games have always been a good way to think about business and how to apply technical methods.   A good look at the similarities. I largely agree, but this is more about the generalities than about what specifically you can do to apply predictive analytics.   Some good ideas are provided.  Going to see Moneyball.

Agile Business Intelligence at Guess Inc

An intriguing case study of business intelligence at Guess.   The concept of agility.

Agile BI: Good but Not Enough
At Guess Inc., BI Director Bruce Yen embraces mobility and fashion culture, but wants more from technology in a quickly changing business landscape ..... "

Accidental Creative

Todd Henry of Accidental Creative on Realism, Ambition and Hypocracy.  See his excellent book: The Accidental Creative.

Bob Herbold's New Book and Blog

I have noted this before, but my boss at Procter & Gamble, Bob Herbold,  was our SVP and later spent seven years as the Chief Operating Officer at Microsoft.    He has a blog and has just published a book called:  What's Holding You Back? Ten Bold Steps That Define Gutsy Leaders. Looks to be an interesting read.   It is on my list and I will review it here after I read it.

"  .... Bob's latest spells out ten core principles of confident leadership. He also outlines proven tactics and strategies that managers have used to confront their inner wimp and call upon their inner courage. Step-by-step Herbold reveals how managers can cultivate and deliver accountable and decisive leadership, even while grappling with the toughest dilemmas. Operational and innovative excellence can only come with gutsy leadership.  .... "

Data Mining Health Problems

As we gather more data about health conditions, it is natural to look at the relationship over time between these sensory readings and conditions.   And also the connection between seemingly unrelated conditions. The basic idea has been done for a long time, but now it is easier to  overlay mining techniques and data sources.  An example in CACM.

Google Wallet

An overview of the recent Google Wallet rollout.  It is still early, but we will start to see more phone based payment systems.  The future will be a collection of location, payment and shopper interaction.  All leading to richer data sources, mining opportunities and shopper value.

Smartphone Based Brain Scanning

Another interesting sensory application: " A team of researchers from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) have developed a portable EEG system powered by a Nokia N900 smartphone. In addition to the phone, the portable EEG also consists of a commercially available Emotive EPOC wireless EEG headset and specially designed app.... " .  How well this works is unclear.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tablets Likely to Come Out After Dark

New statistics reported on tablet use.   I would agree, I often use tablets as a 'second screen' as an auxiliary information device for TV or Radio.  Can that fact be used to leverage new methods of marketing?

Innovation by Embracing Failure

In the WSJ:   A friend sends me a good article on how companies are addressing risk aversion in edgy economic times.  Includes mention of outright rewards for disclosed failure by Gray Advertising and Procter & Gamble's Future Works program.   Have always believed that failure, if properly handled, is valuable for generating innovation.  Good examples here.

Text Analytics for Legacy BI

Always interesting Doug Lautzenheiser discusses in his business intelligence blog the use of text analytics techniques to search code libraries in enterprises for modernizing their function.  A novel approach that can greatly simplify this process to make sure that mission critical software is still doing things right.  I can think of many other kinds of searches that might be done in legacy 'knowledge' that could be useful to the enterprise.


Hotels Becoming More Social

As frequent travelers we participated in brainstorming sessions for several large hotel chains five years ago.   We leveraged our expertise in in-context innovation to help.  Part of what we proposed then was a 'social module' to make impromptu meetings easy to set up.  So why not use the lobby?   This article shows some examples of changes that are occurring, including the increasing social nature of the lobby, a place that used to be mostly about waiting for your colleagues or shuttle bus.  It is starting to change, fostered by new technologies and value added service plans.   I remain irked by major chains that charge for now fundamental services like WiFi.

How Will Gaming and Advertising Overlap?

A response by two young CEOs in FastCompany.  It has become a point of contention recently. My answer:  In a way that they will produce value for companies.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Interdisciplinary Computing

Lisa C. Kaczmarczyk  writes the Interdisciplinary computing blog.  I have mentioned this effort before,  but have just revisited it before meeting with her.   The concept is important, but often forgotten. She writes:

" ... I am performing a final review of the the production text of my book on socially beneficial uses of computing (officially: Computers and Society: Computing For Good). The computing topics range all across the discipline of computer science (high performance computing to social media) and the non-computing topics are as diverse as saving endangered sea turtles, medical informatics and educational software for children with disabilities. Several years in the writing, I met on this journey either virtually or in person, dozens and dozens of people. Looking back on all these wonderful encounters I am struck once again by the commonalities among them ... "

My Mobile Apps Floweth Over

I have noticed it happen.  Every possible publication, newsletter, alert, actual application, search notification, political group, neighborhood group, conference, NGO, charitable group  and game now has its own mobile App.  I downloaded two yesterday.   I can't find what I have.  Even the simplest seems to update weekly, also attracting my attention.  As groups learn that Apps are good at gaining attention and are easy to create, why not?  I also noted a post in Frog Design that discusses this at some length, dramatically titled:   Mobile Apps Must Die.  Yes, I agree, it has to happen.  I am waiting for HTML5 and the decrease in the clutter on my Smartphone.

Big Data Analytics

TDWI report on big data analytics.  " ... Big data analytics is the intersection of two technical entities that have come together. First, there’s big data for massive amounts of detailed information. Second, there’s advanced analytics, which can include predictive analytics, data mining, statistics, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and so on. Put them together and you get big data analytics, the hottest new practice in BI.  ... " ...   This requires registration and log in, but looks to be worth the effort.  Update:  I have scanned this and read parts ....  40 pages ... good non-technical view of this space that is useful.

Brandwashed Review

Good balanced review of Martin Lindstrom's just published Brandwashed book. Emphasizes Lindstrom's insider view of the marketing world.   I have mentioned his book here a number of times, including some example videos.  Good read.

Launching a New Product on Facebook

In Mashable:   Good piece on using Facebook commercially.  I have my doubts that it has a great influence specifically  in new product launches.  But where ever millions of people gather, marketers should be there as well.  Certainly some good ideas about how to do that.  

ZuluTime and Shopper Location

More on what the location based interaction innovator Zulutime is doing in retail.      I am continuing to follow their work and will post my findings here. " ... The ZuluTime® platform enables retailers and brand owners to engage shoppers in a true 1-to-1 marketing relationship by providing highly personalized and engaging offers to their smartphones matched with their location inside the store, and not just for loyalty program members. By knowing a shopper’s real-time path, dwell time, and behavior in the aisle or at the category and product level, retailers and brands can deliver highly relevant product information to the shopper’s smartphone while the shopper is at the crucial point of purchase decision.... " .  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Accent Monitoring

Some interesting disparate takes on accent neutralization efforts.   Having been involved in several content analysis projects, this strikes very true.   Different pronunciations do result in different meaning and emotions being understood.  Are we intent upon not being understood?

When a Market Fails

Useful thoughts here: Behavioral economist Dan Ariely  discusses in a video chapter 8 from his excellent book: Upside of Irrationality.  When a Market Fails: An example from Online Dating.  Note also the link to the IKEA effect.

Super Wi-Fi

In Technology Review:   Will it live up to the expectations of increased range and capacity?

Being Relaxed Makes You Spend More

Relaxation and spending.  " ... Why does relaxation turn us into spendthrifts? When we feel safe, we are better able to fully focus on the potential rewards at stake. Instead of worrying about price, we can contemplate the advantages of having a sophisticated camera, or the thrill of falling through the air. As the psychologists demonstrated in subsequent experiments, those subjects who were more relaxed thought less about particulars – the specific cost of the gadget or the dangers of the risky behavior – and more about the abstract pleasures they were trying to purchase.... "

Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage

A book by  Keith Kelsen I just discovered:  Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage.  This was a big topic of the retail innovation center.  How do you successfully engage the consumer in the aisle, at the shelf and now, on the smart phone?  Good start here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Big Data is Scaling Analytics

It is clear that every enterprise is scaling up their gathering of data,  and  especially getting closer to real time acquisition.  New sensors in everyone's pocket.  This will result in additional real time challenges.  Analytics, predictive and otherwise will be the key to leverage this further.  Information Management on how this is progressing.

A History of the Emoticon

A Brief History of the Emoticon.  The transferal of emotional hints remains an important and unsolved issue in electronic communications.  I think it needs a further overhaul.

Bookworm

A Bookworm interface for an open library.  " ... Bookworm demonstrates a new way of interacting with the millions of recently digitized library books. The Harvard Cultural Observatory already collaborated with Google Books on the Google ngrams viewer that has data for years. Bookworm doesn't work so closely with Google Books: instead, it uses books in the public domain so you can explore the information we know about a book from many angles at once: genre, author information, publication place, and so on. We're submitting it as part of the Digital Public Library of America's Beta Sprint initiative.... "

Friday, September 23, 2011

Comparing Neuromarketing and Traditional Market Research

Traditional market research or neuromarketing methods?  I have always believed that it is worth thinking of neuromarketing methods as an augmentation of traditional methods.  Yet they are rarely compared outside of the corporate lab.  Here is a very nice example of of where they are compared.  The outcome is that it does make sense to use both methods.  It is not magic yet, just a very useful tool. Contact Sands Research (SRI) for more objective help.


Building Brands with Communications that Connect  (full report at link) (Joint Study with Sands & Synovate)

Sands Research works with many of the world's leading market research firms in providing the consumer neuroscience component for their studies.  At the recent WARC Advertising Research Conference, Jon Harper, global head of brand and communications at Synovate, presented the findings from a joint study testing consumer response to twelve ads using EEG and Eye-tracking compared to Synovate's self-reporting surveys.

In his presentation, Harper focused in on a controversial ad on LeBron James (NBA Star). The ad performed poorly on pre-testing surveys but the commercial scored well on SRI's Neuro-Engagement Score (NES).  Even though participants were upset by the ad, neuroscience revealed that the viewers' attention level was high and throughly engaged in the advertisement.

Also reviewing SRI's Emotional Valence Score (EVS), the ad demonstrated strong positive and negative emotions. "People remained hooked through the ad - they did not switch off" Harper said. "You definitely wouldn't have got that if you looked at self-reports alone."

Harper revealed that the negative self-reporting data suggested limited engagement in this ad but through neuroscience, you see that Nike challenges and disrupts the viewer - who is engaged but in a survey responds differently.

The combination of methodologies provides a more complete picture and neuroscience enhances traditional approaches but is not the magic solution. "There's no doubt that EEG reinforces the value of the standard pre-testing questions" Harper stated. "But we've yet to be convinced you can find all the answers by measuring brainwaves."

Sands Research agrees 100% and why we strongly recommend that consumer neuroscience is an enhancement to traditional methods.... '

ThinkVine Gets Forrester Nod

Local company ThinkVine, who I have have talked to  now for a number of years,  has been a leader in marketing mix and promotion analysis work, using unique simulation methods.   I see they were mentioned in the Cincinnati Enquirer today, which describes their direction.  They also recently got an excellent call out in a Forrester study, which you can get here.  It includes:

 ... Highest Rated Marketing Mix Current Offering
Highest Growing Marketing Mix Vendor for 2010 new business in Report
Unique, Customer-Centric, Agent Based Methodology

"ThinkVine's biggest strength is its focus on modeling how a group of consumers actually behaves when exposed to a communication or a promotional or a social activity."  ...  '

Marketing Automation

In E-Commerce Times:  A good look at what is called marketing automation.  Is it science or not?  Or just a way to push for attention.

Practical Quantum Computing

Getting closer to practical computing. " ... Physicists find quantum versions of both feedback control and classical computer architecture ... " 

Sales Motivation With Games


   Just received from notable gamification vendor Bunchball.   Some nice ideas embedded here, and where better to try gamification than with a heavily extroverted sales team?

" ... We are pleased to announce the start of our Beta Program for Nitro for Salesforce, Bunchball’s award-winning sales motivation app. We are looking for 10-15 organizations willing to help us in this effort by installing, testing, and providing feedback on the app during the month of October. To begin the qualification process, please fill out our Beta Program Application at http://www.bunchball.com/nitro-salesforce-beta-program-application.


   As a reminder, Nitro for Salesforce makes it easy for you to motivate your sales teams using tried and true motivational tactics like team competitions, leaderboards, and rewards, all right in Salesforce.com. No more manually managing incentive programs in separate systems where they’re out of sight of your salespeople.


 With Nitro for Salesforce, you can keep your sales team focused on the activities and  rewards that matter most to your business and boost Salesforce.com adoption while you’re at it.  To get more information about Nitro for Salesforce, please visit http://www.bunchball.com/products/nitroforsalesforce.   


In the meantime, visit us at www.bunchball.com, follow us on twitter @bunchball, or shoot us an email atsales@bunchball.com for more information.  We're looking forward to working with you! ... "


Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Computer Scientists Can Empower Journalists

In CACM:  Computational Journalism:
How computer scientists can empower journalists, democracy's watchdogs, in the production of news in the public interest ...

Unilever App that Rewards Shoppers at Wal-Mart

This uses a simple check-in loyalty model at Wal-Mart and Sam's.   A collaboration with Unilever

" ...  Unlike most location-based apps, Check In To Win focuses on real rewards that specifically benefit shoppers, such as gift cards and free music and movies. According to the company, Check In To Win is unique in that it focuses on making everyone a winner, and prizes can be earned immediately.

“If a customer makes the effort to get up and go to a store to find their favorite brands, they should absolutely be rewarded. Proving to retailers and brands there is a fun way to get actual products in customers hands is far more valuable than clicking on an ad from your living room,” said Adam Roe, Lunchbox CEO ... "

P&G Shaping the Store with Virtual Reality

In CGT, an excellent and fairly detailed article on Procter & Gamble's development of the virtual store concept within it's  innovation centers.   The first time I have seen this detailed publicly, including a picture of a life-size virtual store display.  This was previously mentioned in less detail in A.G. Lafley's book:  The Game Changer of a few years ago.

The development and use of virtual reality capabilities started in 1997 and have dealt with the construction of trials to improve the understanding of how shoppers shop.  Virtual reality allows shelves to be arranged and placed quickly in preparation for experiments to understand the nature and details of shopper shelf interaction with aisle, shelf and package in a retail context.  Real people or simulation models can be used to load the interaction for tests.


' .... “Together, we delivered a set of virtual solutions tools that better deliver on the needs of our businesses, customers and consumers,” says Bernard Eloy, associate director, Virtual and Modeling Simulations Services for GBS. “This enables P&G to go to market smarter, faster and more efficiently, and empowers internal collaboration and external connections to consumers and customers.”

Over the years, 19 more virtual solutions centers have popped up in P&G facilities around the world. These centers have life-sized screens backed by computer modeling, simulation and 3D technologies that present new P&G products as they might appear on store shelves. Consumers are then invited to view and assess these virtual product representations, which helps P&G to better understand their wants and needs. Meanwhile, sophisticated software helps P&G record consumer reactions to product placement, shapes, colors and designs.

According to Eloy, virtual solutions tools are now used in almost 80 percent of all P&G initiatives and have yielded critical capabilities in three key areas ..... '

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Enterprise and the Network: DemandTec

I had an interesting conversation with DemandTec a few weeks ago about how they have constructed a network to help retail and manufacturing companies collaborate by using merchandising and marketing optimization tools.  This is useful because for a very long time these kinds of companies have used very different tools that led to different results and directions.

When DemandTec first came to us a decade ago they presented primarily about how to optimize profits choosing prices.   It immediately came to mind that this was not the responsibility of the manufacturer and was not of imminent interest.  It was, of course, of interest to share goals between us and our many internal and external partners.

So how do you do that?   We had shortly before talked to IBM about how they were using social networking tools to efficiently connect their large work force, both internally and externally.    We agreed based on our own analyses.

DemandTec believes it is about understanding who the people involved in decisions are (Profiles). Establishing cooperative groups to solve problems both immediate and ongoing (Community),  Being able to quickly share information and specific solutions (Sharing), and tracking activity to determine its relevance to your responsibilities (Following).

Very similar to the approaches we eventually outlined internally.    In addition, with the approaching baby boomer loss of   knowledge,  it was important to build ways for expertise to be gathered, archived and easily applied.   There we applied a number or methods, like blogs and wikis.

It also makes great sense to think of such collaboration in terms of process.    Processes are developed to improve results based on fine tuning the natural complexity of corporate tasks.   There are many processes and many interacting tasks.  These tasks concern both the enterprise and its partners.  To make that work we need to make the needed collaborative interaction work as efficiently as possible.

People processes are naturally inefficient and tailoring a social network to match your own business needs makes sense.   Digital tools help, but the culture of a company must also be enrolled.

Implementing a social network in terms of Profiles, Community, Sharing and Following is a great place to start.  Making sure to adequately include enterprise and partners.  Analytics, optimization and improvement are also about process, so linking them to social needs and interaction is an efficient response to complexity.  It also creates an open source framework that brings the needed people to the task.

So I applaud the DemandTec direction.  Makes sense. I will continue to track its use and progress here.

Here is more about their optimization network and their social networking approach.  A good case study for addressing both the complexity of analytics and getting people to use these methods collaboratively


They write about their method, note this includes the involvement of some 14,000  participants:

" ... The common denominator between retailers and manufacturers is the shopper. DemandTec quantifies shopper behavior and revolutionizes decision-making with merchandising and marketing optimization tools for retailers and manufacturers. But, often these decisions are not made in a silo. Retailers and manufacturers are inherently connected in how they do business. But collaboration based on analytics has been largely constrained by one problem: retailers used one set of tools and manufacturers used another. Debates over whose spreadsheet was better ensued rather than productive business planning.


DemandTec is the solution. DemandTec is an online network of shared software services and analytics that finally enables real, fact-based, analytics-driven collaboration. All DemandTec customers and software services are part of the network and control how they collaborate with others on the network. Users work in communities and can collaborate with other users in the communities. Some communities are purely for internal collaboration within one company and others connect trading partners for collaborative business planning.... "

Kindle Books Available from Libraries

Amazon has launched a Kindle book borrowing service from over 11,000 local libraries. You don't need a physical Kindle, only a free App for your device and an Amazon account.  Great news, I will experiment with the experience.    Press release here.

Waitrose CrowdSources With its Shoppers

From IdeaConnection:   The UK retailer Waitrose is using crowd sourcing techniques with its customers to develop new products.  We will continue to see more of these techniques used:

  " ... In May 2011 a new product hit the shelves of upmarket UK supermarket chain Waitrose. What made this particular item so special was that it was the company’s first customer-created product and followed an eight month crowdsourcing contest that saw hundreds of customers send in their ideas....  A crowdsourcing competition is not only a cost-effective and rapid way to acquire a solution to a specific problem that a company may be facing, but it can also be used to generate new product ideas, promote a brand through free marketing (competitions can attract media attention), as well as helping to forge a deeper relationship with customers ..." 

Employee Segmentation

Bain & Company writes about Employee Segmentation:  Using employee segmentation to bring out the best in your workforce.   I had never thought about segmenting employees in quite this way,  often beyond education, specific roles and skills.  It has some merit in looking at how this would work in your organization.  I imagine it might clash with culture if not carefully done.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Brandwashed Published

Martin Lindstrom's new book: Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate our Minds and Persuade us to Buy is now available.  See this press release for much more, including excerpts and videos and ordering. See also my previous reviews of a pre-copy.  Great book that will open the eyes of consumers, and even give some new insight to the marketer.  Are we ready?

Internal Social Software

Excellent Mashable piece on the use of social software inside the company.  I am now involved with two projects that are seriously using this concept.  It makes lots of sense to do this right.  In particular linking the networks to outside partners and customers.

Eye Tracking for the iPad

A useful development reported in AdAge.    GazeHawk Brings Eye-Tracking Technology to the iPad.  Heatmaps Could Help Tablet Publishers and Advertisers.  Yes, this could be big as tablets are being seen as replacements for the magazine.   See the Gazehawk site.

Smart Marketing in Korea

In the Korea Herald:  A general article in English on mobile and virtual retail developments in Korea.  We looked to Korea for its forward looking understanding of retail, in home and appliance-centric solutions.

" ... Commuters with smartphones on platforms at the Seolleung Station in Seoul, South Korea, are able to do their grocery shopping while they wait for trains. At the click of a button, smartphone users can bring up images of a huge refrigerator or store shelves and then scan their quick-response codes to order the products and have them delivered. "It's time-saving, convenient. This will help increase our sales through smartphones, a new growing sales engine," said Jung Sun-hee, a spokeswoman for Homeplus, the firm behind the virtual stores. "It's still in infancy, but it has huge potential." ...  '

MS Robotic Studio

We examined a number of robotics solution for home solutions. In IEEE Spectrum:   Microsoft Releases Robotics Developer Studio 4 Beta, New Robot Platform. 

" ... Microsoft, to their credit, has done a good job of embracing Kinect as a game-changing robotics tool instead of just a... A... A video game controller, was it? Well, whatever it was originally designed as, it's all about cheap and effective robotic 3D vision now. Microsoft knows that Kinect is a big deal for robotics enthusiasts of all kinds, and they've just announced the availability of a new beta release of Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio that incorporates the full Kinect SDK that was released back in June. This includes skeleton tracking, speech, and the raw Kinect data stream for creating 3D maps of your house (or anything else)... "

What is RFID?

I have given many talks on the nature and usefulness of Radio Frequency Identification.  (RFID)  I see today there is an article on RFID Journal about its nature that is worth reading. We will continue to see more application, for example the recent rollout of Google Wallet, which uses a form called NFC, plus many other applications that address the transparency of the supply chain  and convenience for the consumer.  The privacy issues can and will be controlled.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Google Wallet Arrives

In Mashable:  " ... Google’s mobile payment system, Google Wallet, is now available to the public — for people who use Sprint Nexus S 4G phones and Citi MasterCards or Visa cards at least. The near-field communication and contact-less payment system was expected to launch this summer.  Google Wallet — along with Google Offers — is built on an open platform that combines multiple credit cards, loyalty programs and offers at the point of sale. Payment is made by swiping your smartphone at checkout. Essentially, Google is turning your phone into your wallet ... "

Optimizing Knowledge Yield in the Workplace

Mark Montgomery of KYield, writes about Optimizing Knowledge Yield in the Digital Workplace .  Some very important topics.   I am currently in the process of trying to understand some key examples of knowledge yield in the workplace.  Especially where there is important collaborative interaction with partners.  I will follow with some specific examples:  Mark writes about his paper:

" ... The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it briefly describes how the digital  workplace evolved in an incremental manner. Second, it discusses related structural technical and economic challenges for individuals and organizations in the digital workplace. Lastly, it summarizes how Kyield’s novel approach can serve to provide exponential performance improvement ... "

The Right BI Tool

Thoughtful piece about choices of BI tools.  From  Michael Tarallo Pentaho Director of Enterprise Solutions.  I have looked at Pentaho several times.  It looked interesting but was not able to get it to legacy approaches in my enterprise. Probably worth another examination.

Is Gamification a fad?

A post about the claim. I think not.  We used the idea of 'game dynamics'  to encourage engagement in and outside the company.  The term itself may be overstating it, but the goals involved are still those of the business, the strategic design of the interface is benefited by thinking of how people behave.  The article is a good overview, with an excellent point about 'cultural fit' of any interaction design.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Predictive Analytics with IBM SPSS

After attending the predictive analytics seminar last week I have been doing some examination of the current elements of the SPSS product suite.  I found this particular useful recent writeup by the Ironside Group.    This relates well to our use in the enterprise of the 'Clementine'  package, the predecessor of the Modeler capabilities.  Easy to use and visually powerful for selling a solution:

" ... IBM Business Analytics software is designed to deliver complete, insightful, and accurate information for decision makers to make more effective decisions. As part of this portfolio, IBM SPSS Predictive Analytics software specializes in predictive analytics which organizations can rely on to predict future outcomes based on patterns found in historical data. Organizations in almost all industries of every size can benefit from the IBM SPSS technology to provide clear and actionable insight into current performance as well as use the information to drive better outcomes for future business. While Business Intelligence can help to monitor the current and past performance of the business operation, Predictive Analytics can answer questions on why the business is performing in a certain manner and how it can be improved in the future .... "

Innovation Excellence

Julie Anixter,  colleague and Chief Innovation Officer at Maga Design. examines and mashes up content from the Innovation Excellence blog.  Put it on your feed, lots of interesting things are popping up. This mashup is a great introduction.

Behavior Modification Using Games


Good interview with Rajat Paharia, founder of Bunchball.   Do games alter behavior?  Yes, but in a particular and often useful context. Its a kind of behavioral engagement, akin to behavioral economics.     A month ago I have a well-received talk about how our enterprise used game dynamics over the last decade plus,  be glad to give that talk again,   let me know.

 " ... The surging popularity of such "gamification" has opened the doors for companies such as Bunchball. The company started its main business by creating a website for NBC's TV show "The Office" in 2007, but then spent the next "three years of suck" struggling to find clients, said Rajat Paharia, founder of Bunchball. Its fortunes only changed in 2010 when the success of "Farmville" on Facebook and the startup Foursquare made people realize the power of gamification...."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spinscape

Spinscape: This collaborative idea for mind mapping was just pointed out to me.  I am exploring further.  I am a long time user of mind mapping for storing and delivering knowledge.
" ... Spinscape is a Web based application you use to find, organize, and share information on any topic. Mind Mappers will be at home with the look, but Spinscape goes much further. Collaborate with people from around the world in real time, visualize mountains of information, and even find stuff and automatically pull it in to Spinscape.   ... "

Inflated Iluminated Wind Turbines

I would not have noticed this piece in Engadget if it were not about Dean Kamen,  famously the inventor of the Segway. And yes I know it is about a patent, not a buyable invention.  Still it intrigues me, as a combination of fairly simple individual,very old ideas:  ...turbine-inflation-illumination.   Is this true innovation or a waste of the patent office's time?  

Online Learning Resources

A good list of online learning resources from Mashable.   The Web continues to be a good resource for learning.   Here several things I have not heard of.  These are broad rather than focused, but augment ordinary search.

Crowd Influencing Storytelling

Can crowds do this effectively?   Or is it much better for markets to do it? Content selection perhaps, but will it destroy the creativity of storytelling?

" ... Crowdsourcing fundamentally alters the process of content selection — and by extension, storytelling itself — by bringing authors and readers (and, potentially, viewers) closer to the acquisition process. If viewers and readers are given a structured, fun way to give feedback on cutting edge stories, stories that might have been passed over before, these tales have a better chance of gaining the attention of editors and producers who have the funds to bring them to a broad audience ... "

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jumping the Shark

I had not known the origin of the term  'jumping the shark',   a perceived instantaneous loss of significance, which has been increasingly used of late.  Discovered its origins in mindless network TV in this Wikipedia article.  Appropriate.

New World of Vending

In USA Today:   Good overview look at how vending is changing with the increasing use of alternative methods of payment beyond coins and bills.  Broad phone-as-wallet implications.    A good place to test the idea.   Using the vending machine as a new kind of social nexus for Gen Y.    A number of good examples are shown.  We looked at these changes, and the ability to link vending to the net for replenishment and data analysis as well,  inspired by a look at vending trends in Japan.

Blogs Bringing in Investors and Clients

There has been some writing about how blogging is dead.  I disagree, I often read company or analyst blogs to better understand their methods and directions.  It takes it beyond just the web site About page.   In Inc, an article about how to blog to attract investors.  I have also seen it very effectively used to attract clients.   Some of the same rules in the post apply.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

TagWhat Launched

Tagwhat has been launched.  

Tagwhat Publishing at  Places is here.  We're excited to announce Tagwhat location-based publishing! Beginning today, you can easily place your videos, images, audio, and text stories anywhere on Earth for mobile users to discover. Here's how ... "

Social Manufacturing

When I saw this term I did not understand what it was about.  Check out this post for more about the details, players in the space and what it is meant to do.  It is better described as in the cloud and mobile sharing of process and information for manufacturing processes.   And what we used to call ERP. Kenandy is a new player in the space.  A manufacturing cloud:

 " ... Go global. Go mobile. Go live. Fast!
The Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud applications are built from the "cloud up" on Force.com, salesforce.com's enterprise cloud computing platform.     Force.com provides the foundation for social, mobile, open, scalable, and secure applications. By building 100% natively on Force.com, Kenandy maximizes these capabilities, bringing you instant benefits today and expanding capabilities into the future. And because Kenandy was built to be a true multi-tenant application on Force.com, your apps are always up-to-date - no more costly upgrades or painful transitions between releases.

No hardware. No software ... " 

WellPoint Meet Watson

More on the use of Artificial Intelligence techniques for medical diagnosis.  I happen to be visiting the offices of WellPoint this afternoon.  Note the mention of evidence-based health care.  That is good.  I also want to hear how this will be integrated with professional based diagnoses.  A key point.

WellPoint and IBM Announce Agreement to Put Watson to Work in Health Care

WellPoint, Inc.and IBM  announced an agreement today to create the first commercial applications of the IBM Watson technology. Under the agreement, WellPoint will develop and launch Watson-based solutions to help improve patient care through the delivery of up-to-date, evidence-based health care for millions of Americans. IBM will develop the base Watson healthcare technology on which WellPoint's solution will run. .... "

On Marketing Automation

In E-Commerce Times:  " ... There is a lot of hype around marketing automation, and it's for good reason. An effective marketing automation strategy and implementation can help drive more qualified leads, and therefore increase revenues and decrease sales cycle times. But many organizations fall into the trap of believing all the myths around marketing automation. .... "

I have seen a number of automation projects in place lately, and the ones I have seen have not worked very well.  Good cautions here.


More Efficient Crowdsourcing Models

In the ACM:

" ... In recent years, crowdsourcing has gained more adherents as governments, businesses, and others aim to tap into the collective wisdom of crowds. However, the technique has limitations and shortfalls, particularly when it comes to gauging the value and accuracy of contributions.

Now, a network of researchers from Applied Research Associates External Link (ARA) in Raleigh, North Carolina, and seven U.S. universities External Link are attempting to create more efficient and useful crowdsourcing models that could be used to predict everything from terrorist attacks to changes in societal eating habits .. "

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Master Class on the Science of Human Nature

In The Edge: This looks very good.

 " ... Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman on the marvels and the flaws of intuitive thinking; Harvard mathematical biologist Martin Nowak on the evolution of cooperation; UC-Santa Barbara evolutionary psychologist Leda Cosmides on the architecture of motivation; UC-Santa Barbara neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga on neuroscience and the law; Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker on the history of violence; and Princeton religious historian Elaine Pagels on The Book of Revelations ... ".   

Wow, where else could you get such an all star, free set of lectures?  The first one is ready for viewing and the others will follow.

Crowd Sourcing Open Innovation with Lego

From Innovation Excellence:

" ... Yes, you gotta love Lego! Not only is the company doing amazingly well during this ”crisis”; they are also constantly experimenting with new ways of working together with partners.
Their new thing is Lego Cuusoo. Here Lego has teamed up with Cuusoo, which is a Japanese pioneer of user innovative product design that introduced a design-to-order process already in 1998 .... "

Cosmetics of Youth

A piece in the local paper about a scientist at P&G that is working on Olay solutions.
" ... As a senior scientist at P&G's Miami Valley labs, her work won't even show up on the store shelves for five or 10 years, if at all. Her job is to find the Fountain of Youth. To find ways to slow the skin's natural aging process. "What's going on in consumers' skin as it's aging?" she asks herself daily at her Colerain Township lab. The answers mean a lot to P&G, its consumers and its investors.  Olay is one of P&G's best-selling brands, ringing up $4 billion at retail each year. It's also one of P&G's premium products - shoppers will shell out up to $40 for 1 ounce of Olay Pro-X Skin Tightening Serum or some of the brand's other variations ... "

Google Changes their Algorithm

Algorithmic improvements at Google.   Its good to watch what Google is doing to know what you are getting.   Are you getting more quality sites today?  I find myself using more search alternatives today than I did a few years ago.  Google has been looking stale lately.  Show me something interesting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

OneRiot Joins WalMart Labs

In a new development., in Techcrunch.   Also see OneRiot's Blog

" ... Walmart has acquired OneRiot, a mobile and social ad targeting startup. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and OneRiot will be joining Walmart Labs.  As we’ve written in the past, OneRiot recently switched its business model; shutting down its realtime search portal and focusing exclusively on monetizing via its realtime advertising network. The startup then moved into providing a social targeting service for mobile ads within apps ... "

Predictive Perspectives Seminar

I attended the IBM/SPSS seminar today.   Jason Verlen,  Director of IBM/SPSS gave the keynote address that well positioned the use of predictive techniques in business based on the SPSS suite of tools. This links well with IBM's Smarter Planet effort.

I have previously written about our own use of the Clementine tool set,  from which the SPSS Modeler tools arose.   We used those tools for supply chain, Marketing,  R&D and HR applications in the enterprise.  The tools were useful because they not only gathered and ran models, but also graphically documented the models themselves.  This allows the models to be both more easily re-used, and effectively explained to management.  I was glad to see that a number of new capabilities have been added to the Clementine suite that make it easier to use and leverage.  It is well worth taking a close look at it with you own data. 

Verlen made the case that we live in an increasingly instrumented and interconnected world that begs for intelligent, data-based solutions.  Too often we do not have the insight, have inefficient access to data, and have the inability to predict outcomes.  Every business has big opportunities to apply predictive  and often real-time analytics today.  Our own analytics team did this for many years, and could have well used these tools to make the job easier and more effective. 

Overall the seminar was very well done and enjoyed.    Here is an overview they provided.

I also liked their white paper: Seven Reasons Why You Need Predictive Analytics Today, a comprehensive, business oriented paper.  Requires registration.

Designing Products for an Internet of Things

In GigaOM.  I have observed quite a bit of product design, and except for slapping a standard bar code on an item, and testing that code with a number of hand scanners and checkouts, it is not often done very carefully.  This short article reminds me it has to be done better.

SAP and Specialized Analytics Appliances

An interesting development. A number of such applications are addressing real time applications that gather large amounts of information.

  SAP rolls out new in-memory applications for HANA 
 SAP has released two more specialized analytics programs for its HANA in-memory computing engine The family of specialized applications for SAP's HANA (High-Performance Analytic Appliance) in-memory computing engine is growing, with a new application that allows utilities to crunch information from smart meters, and another that companies can use to run sophisticated profitability analyses on financial data, SAP said Tuesday at the Tech Ed conference in Las Vegas. .... "

How Many Pages on the Internet

I like numbers.  Have heard many estimates over the years.  Billions at first.  Trillions some say.  Now a new effort is underway to estimate the size of the net.  Apparently even Google does not know. " ... A group called the World Wide Web Foundation -- appropriately founded by Tim Berners-Lee, who pretty much created the internet -- is on a quest to figure out, with some degree certainty, how big the internet really is. With a $1 million grant from Google, the foundation plans to release the results of its online forensic search, called the World Wide Web Index, early next year, the foundation's CEO, Steve Bratt, said in a recent interview.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Brandwashed Videos

A couple of videos sent to me that illustrate the topics in Martin Lindstrom's forthcoming book: Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy I have finished a review copy and it is a useful and rollicking read for everyone that buys or hopes to convince someone to buy.  See also my previous posts on Brandwashed.




Have we been Brandwashed? The question is posed by Martin Lindstrom; a 2009 recipient of TIME Magazine's  "World  s 100 Most Influential People" and author of Buyology - Truth and Lies About Why We Buy (Doubleday, New York), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best - seller ...  "


IBM's Watson Does Diagnoses

Another piece about uses for the IBM Watson Computer.  Once again, patient diagnosis was an early application for artificial intelligence.  In particular pulmonary diagnosis was used as an early example.  Such systems can be seen as advisers to physician.   It makes sense, there is gathered personal data and a large library of patterns that resulted in specific diagnoses.  It is straightforward to find specific matches and attribute to each a level of credibility.   Could work where there are large quantities of complex data to be matched.

9/11 Myths

A few years ago I had the displeasure of talking to a person who was absolutely convinced of and promoting several of the prominent 9/11 myths.  Damaging and disturbing.  See Popular Mechanic's recent excellent review of the the basics.

Walmart Labs Addresses the ZMOT

Good piece in AdAge on the reason for Walmart Labs:   Suggesting that Wal-Mart is in an increasing bind due to the online world. " ... Developments in Search and E-commerce Could Help Retailer Leapfrog Over Competitors ... ".  It may take a while,  but the Zeroeth Moment of Truth is becoming a key way for people to interact with purchase.

SAP and Sybase Unwired

After talking with SAP on a panel last week and asking about their mobile business intelligence solutions, they have sent me a link about their SyBase Unwired mobility solutions.  " ... As the demand for mobile enterprise applications grows and requirements become more complex, the need for a consistent but highly adaptable application development platform intensifies. Built on proven, industry-leading technology, Sybase Unwired Platform is a mobile enterprise application platform that enables you to simply and quickly develop mobile applications that give business users secure access to diverse business data on a broad range of mobile devices ... ".   Checking it out.

Posterous Becomes Social

I have recommended Posterous for a beginner's blogging engine for beginners.  In particular for its ability to work with mobile.   I created a few templates for the use of friends that were interested in starting in blogging.  Now it has made some changes to becoming more social.   This appears to make it more complex, not sure I like that, but am taking a closer look.  There are lots of other opportunities for social that most people will use anyway.

Our Nature

I am a big fan of Steven Pinker, read a  number of his books.   On his forthcoming book.  The Better Angels of our Nature:Why Violence has Declined.
The author of The New York Times bestseller The Stuff of Thought offers a controversial history of violence.
Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millennia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species's existence. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, assassinations, pogroms, gruesome punishments, deadly quarrels, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, Pinker shows (with the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps) all these forms of violence have dwindled and are widely condemned. How has this happened?
This groundbreaking book continues Pinker's exploration of the essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives- the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away-and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind's inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated in living rooms and the Pentagon alike, and will challenge and change the way we think about our society.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Zapaday

I was just alerted to Zapaday.   A site, which has similarities in  purpose to Recorded Future,  which I have now followed for some time.  " ... Editors and bots at Zapaday monitor 4.000 news sites and calendars for future events and news stories. You can create and publish your own events and calendars, re-using events and calendars of others.  Together, we create the world's most comprehensive source of information about the future....  Zapaday is an open news agenda and a global public calendar. Zapaday lets you see the future with day-by-day events, news stories, facts and trivia. ..."

What Zapaday does not appear to do, based on a cursory first look, is provide a predictive angle based upon authority or aggregation of the future calendar of events.  Or the degree to which in depth semantic analysis is being used.    In both cases though, there is a valuable potential concept that could provide a useful measure of the likelihood of some future event happening.  Perhaps using an AI approach, or just the judgement of expert analysts using the tool. What can be more important than accurately predicting aspects of the future?

Innovation Execution

Paul Hobcraft on the execution of innovation.   Its easy to build up a portfolio of innovation ideas.  Much harder to execute them in a particular context of the real world.

Growth in Data Related Jobs and the Importance of Language

From the Language Log.   Language is important when you are looking for employment:

" ... At the Revolutions blog, David Smith posts a nice little discussion about growth in jobs where people are making sense of data; he used job search site indeed.com to look at trends in job postings. Apparently postings involving "statistician" are not seeing a lot of growth, but "data scientists" have really started to catch on during the last year or so. (Hat tip to Joe Reisinger for tweeting this. He comments that data scientist is a "truly terrible name, but it's undeniably a different skill set: way too many statisticians can't code".) ... "

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Commercial Jetpacks

After so many years it appears that commercial, one person flying jet packs are getting much closer.  Legal apparently.  Safe?  Watch the skies.

Over versus Underpackaging

A talk I gave this week in Chicago alerted me again to the issues involved in packaging products.  I recall we were called in to look at how people reacted to packaging after there were a number of incidents in  Europe of people tearing off what they saw as excess packaging in grocery and strewing it in the aisles of grocery.  Too much package is wasteful, but too little packaging decreases the protection needed for goods in normal use cycles, from manufacturing to the consumer's storage area.  This article addresses that balance.

Perception of Time


On the brain's perception of time.   We examined this as part of how people shop. How does it change the dwell time in front of a shelf?

Friday, September 09, 2011

Digital Gastronomy

This week I gave a presentation in Chicago and mentioned the idea of manufacturing food and beverage remotely, giving as  examples the Coke Freestyle machine and work that had been done at MIT with food printing ideas.  The whole topic has been interesting to me for some time.  Now I see in Fast Company much more about work by my colleagues at HP on the topic.  As mentioned in the article, it is really about 'playing with your food', like all of the art and science of cooking is'  Good details.  Will we ultimately be able to transmit taste by sending it digitally?   I do note that our own experiments with digitally sending scent formulations were less than commercially successful,  but I am hoping that HP can do much better.  Does anyone else have there have good commercial examples?

Smartphones for Checking Out in Retail

Michael Koploy posts a great article on using smartphones for retail checkout.  It is a topic I have talked to many retailers about.  It is a key issue for retailers seeking to improve their experience.   The biggest issue is getting a majority of shoppers using the devices in-store,  and training them in their use.  He starts:
" ... Currently, the modern U.S. retail checkout experience is dominated by two types of point-of-sale (POS) technology: traditional and self-checkout. While self-checkout has grown in terms of visibility over the past two decades, there are indications that this version of self-serve sales processing may be on its last legs. Case in point: Albertsons has announced it will be removing self-checkout from all of its privately-owned stores, replacing them with traditional checkout lanes. Kroger has announced a similar experiment in Houston, Texas..... "      The complete article.

IBM Predictive Perspectives

I will be at the IBM Predictive Perspectives Innovative Ideas for Analytics next Tuesday, September 13 in Cincinnati (Actually in Covington KY).   Want to meet up?   Need some help in interpreting the capabilities from a thirty year expert in the field?   Need help or just chat during or after?    Signup above.  Let me know, my connection info in column at the left.

DemandTec Promotes Retail Challenge

I have been a long time promoter of getting all students started early in Technology, Math and Science.  It is hard to fill in the gaps later.  Just got this note about how DemandTec,  who I have linked to since their founding, is promoting the concept.   And it connects with my retail context!   See links below for more.  Get involved!

Hi Franz,

Many students wonder how they’ll ever use math skills in the real world.  Not only is there a need for more math and science majors in order for the U.S. to stay economically competitive but there is also a personal incentive for students to pursue these valuable skills.

But even if students do get excited and want to enter science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, many do not have the financial means to pay for education.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. will have more than 1.2 million job openings in STEM-related fields by 2018, and, unfortunately, there will be a significant shortage of qualified college graduates to fill them.

One such initiative designed to address both these issues is the DemandTec Retail Challenge, a college scholarship competition.  The focus of the competition is on the math skills that students need to hone for their future, while providing the necessary educational funding.  The winning team is awarded a monetary scholarship toward the college of their choice and a chance to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ on January 17, 2012 in New York City. 

To hear the students share their perspective on the importance of math and science education or learn more about today’s news, please click here.  ....

Google to do Dart

Google is introducing a new structured Web programming language called Dart.

Driving Levels of Interaction

Gamification can get people minimally involved, but how can it lead to deeper levels of interaction?  Also, how does this fit in with mobile gaming?  Some thoughts.

Boot Camp Digital

See former colleague Krista Neher's  Boot Camp Digital.    Local Social media tips and tricks. Great stuff.  "Krista really knows her stuff re: social media. She has high energy and can bring tremendous knowledge and skill to your social media strategy and implementation. If your company is thinking of improving its social media presence or developing a strategy, I recommend you give Krista and her company a call." - Jo McDermott, Principal, Catalyst for Change Consulting.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Fusion Tables

Had completely missed this idea in Google Docs: Fusion Tables. " ... a new option in Google Docs: creating tables. It seems that Google Docs started to integrate with Fusion Tables, a little-known Google service that lets you manage large data sets. ... "

Open Badges

A clever, simple  idea that also depends much on how it is implemented.   An open infrastructure that is all about delivering badges for acquiring skills.  Much more interesting than getting badges for visiting places.  Thought of something similar for internal skill progress.  This could be the basis for delivering the idea generally.  With  similarities to game dynamics, but with more attention paid  to the acquisition and validation of real value. Looking further.

A Single Molecule Motor

One of the great accomplishments of the 19th century was the electric motor. Converting electrical energy to controllable mechanical energy.  Now a single molecule motor has been demonstrated.  The smallest motor ever.  What are the applications, especially in the medical domain?

Junk Charts Again

In Junk Charts they illustrate one of my favorite examples of poor data visualization. It is the use of bar charts without using scales that start at zero.  This is yet another example, and it is a very common one, of obscuring real insight from a visual.  Very poor.  Once you read this example you will see many other examples in your reading.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New Blogger Interface

This is now live.  Have not tried it yet, but plan to.   Need a reworking of my blog format and capabilities.

Grow from Within

Grow from Within: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation by Robert Wolcott and Michael Lippitz. Now on my stack of things to read.  Recently heard Robert C. Wolcott present at Clareo Partners.  The concept of internal entrepreneurship is coming up more often again.  Making it work internally is not always easy, but is a model that can be useful to consider.

Using R for Big Data

Some excellent examples of the use of the Statistical/visualization/data mining language R for a number of real applications.  Have started to use it more myself, very useful system.

Analytics for Neuromarketing

In Mediapost: More must be more done to quantify how neuromarketing results are used.  What are useful metrics?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Fundamentals of Information Management

Thoughtful piece, a great place to start thinking about why you should manage information at all:

The Path to Information Management Nirvana
Similar to Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, you start with basic needs – storage and protection – and progress to the stage where information becomes actionable and drives revenue growth ...

Peer Index Marketing

In GigaOM. 

"Marketers have long believed that some customers have a disproportionate influence on others when it comes to purchase decisions, and they have tried different strategies to identify and target those customers. Indeed McKinsey & Co. reckons 20-50 percent of purchases involve a peer reference. Recently academics have confirmed this contagion does happen. There are customers who are opinion leaders, and they tend to bring other customers with them ... "


Monday, September 05, 2011

Very Tiny GPS Receivers

An intriguing short post on how location tracking devices based on GPS are getting very small.   Another example of the flexibility of small sensors.  Medical and many other applications are sure to expand.

Rise of Electronic Medicine

The rise of electronic medicine.   Medicine today is a sea of paper and fax machines, privacy barriers, and unconnected data. The public is ready for a better system.  Some of my recent medical experiences show how true this is. We can do much better.  It is a challenge that can both improve the science of what is done in medicine, and decrease its cost.


Packaging that Glows

For a potential project I re-examined packaging work that we had looked at for shelf improving engagement.  The use of electroluminescence.  See a set of DuPont case studies.  Also related, smart packaging powered wirelessly.  Video.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Eyeborg

Document to eye, a documentary video.   The future of an eye prosthetic?

Speeding up Material Design


We spent considerable time and effort in doing packaging and product design via computer.  How do you understand how a package effects all parts of the supply chain, from manufacturing, to marketing to shelf, to consumer to recycling.  In Technology Review, a related effort that looks at the materials for a product:

Speeding up Materials Design.

A new computer program accurately predicts the behavior of proposed materials, which means faster development of new electronics and solar cells.   A chemical compound designed with the aid of a Harvard-created computer program has turned out to be one of the best organic electronic materials to date. This new material, an organic semiconductor, could be used to make new electronics such as colorful displays that roll up. It's an important proof of principle for using computers to aid materials design ...  

Package Goods Volume Decreases

In AdAge: Price hikes and decreasing volume. Further opening the door to more private label offerings.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Braun Design

I got to visit the Braun company a few times after they were acquired indirectly by our enterprise and observe one of their design competitions.  Now here ten principles of modern design:  ... from Dieter Rams (who was chief of design for Braun — the German manufacturer — from 1961 to 1995).  Their spare,  simple and easy to recognize and use methods were said to have inspired Apple.   Sometimes I see their early designs as repetitive.

Kroger and the Advantage Checkout



Tom Demeropolis
Checks out the Advantage Tunnel 
Checkout system at Kroger.   Also here is a video of the Fujitsu  / Kroger Advantage system in action.   More technical details.   Its what you might expect, you place items on a conveyor that goes through a tunnel, and multiple cameras 'find' the item codes. Why not just chuck in  your payment card as well?

" ...Kroger Co. is testing a checkout system that helps solve these problems. The Kroger Marketplace store in Hebron, Ky., has two of the tunnel systems, called Advantage Checkout, for shoppers to use.
Courier readers can read more about Advantage Checkout here, as well as other efforts Kroger is making to improve the checkout experience. The Advantage Checkout tunnel isn’t as fun as the Scan-Bag-Go system, but it is fast. I watched a customer with a full cart zip through. A few produce items slowed her down, because the current version of the tunnel doesn’t have a scale. A Kroger employee has to stop and weigh the produce.

To handle that drawback, Kroger installed scales in the produce department where shoppers can weigh their produce, bag it and tag it so the tunnel can read it without stopping. Two Kroger employees were helping customers at the tunnel, one unloading groceries and putting them on the tunnel, another bagging. The tunnel moves so fast, the bagger has to be on his toes to keep up with the scanned items. Once my items were through the tunnel, I was given a small receipt. I took this to one of four self-checkout stations, scanned it and paid.  It was faster than self checkout and I didn’t have to do any work ....  "

Via Jose F Guerra of L5 Source