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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Google Official Blog Sums Most all of it up

The official google blog sums up the last year of posts, reminding me of a number of things I had followed up on and some I had forgotten. Many still remain interesting. I do note though that they extensively mention Google+, but no mention of the once celebrated Buzz. It does make sense not to market your misses.

Personal Brand Audit

The Burghard Group Suggests: Some simple steps for a personal brand Audit. Good set of straightforward ideas. Every one of us is an emergent brand.

Wearable Computing

A topic we followed.. Not an unexpected direction. Integrated computing and clothing. We are not far off today, with buzzing devices in pockets altering us to every sensing whim. I doubt it will stop at the clothing, skin deep, but eventually embed itself more deeply. Will you participate? Or will there be a point of rejection? This morning I walked the beach anticipating the new year and felt better disconnected.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Continuous Revisions

By Nicholas Carr: A consequence of e-books: the ability to continually revise. Yes, I agree ... If we want that, but the same technology allows us to specifically identify a book as unchanged. Technology books already suffer from being immediately out of date. So why shouldn't they be the sum of its text and it's links?

Finding New Customers

In Mashable: Intriguing thoughts on how to get new customers. Not an obvious set of examples." ... The subject of finding customers is one of the most mysterious in business development. I’m often asked how the most successful companies do it, maybe in the hope that there’s a secret or shortcut to success. Sorry to say, no silver bullet exists ..."

Leveraging Semantics in 2012

Excellent post by Mark Montgomery: Strategic IT Alignment in 2012: Leverage Semantics ... read it here

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Technology Evolution

In ReadWriteWeb. A look at Kevin Kelly's new book on technology evolution. Makes me want to read it. "... It's a highly ambitious and expansive book, which looks at technology from an evolutionary perspective. Over 350 pages, Kelly outlines and explores technology as a living system, akin to humanity's biological evolution. The title alludes to this - 'What Technology Wants,' as if technology is a living, breathing thing.... "

Grace Hopper Interview

An interview with computer pioneer Grace Hopper, who I met while working at the Pentagon. A reminder of how far we have come.

WiFi Vending Machines

In Japan, the home of universal vending, machines that will provide free registration-less WiFi and product. Assuming they will sell advertising for companies that want local exposure. The combination of smart phones and local connectivity will attract attention by getting people near the vending product. Simple, smart idea. What kinds of ads and linked promotions would work best?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sands Research Nails VW Ad

An interesting result that starts to connect new ad analysis methods with classic methods: ------ Wall St. Journal and AdWeek Agree with  Sands Research #1 Ranking ------- El Paso, Texas - Sands Research Inc. (SRI), a leading provider of neuroscientific market research services and technology, announced today that the recent rankings by the Wall Street Journal and AdWeek of the best television commercials of 2011, confirmed SRI's rating of Volkswagen's "The Force" as the top advertisement in their Annual Super Bowl Neuro-Engagement Ad Study and the benefits of neuromarketing based market research.  ------ "Our Company revealed earlier this year that Volkswagen's "The Force" was the best, #1 ranked advertisement in our annual study of all the commercials run during the Super Bowl. The spot by Deutsch LA ran away with the highest Neuro-Engagement Score (NES) that we have ever obtained in the thousands of commercials we have tested," stated Ron Wright, President / CEO of Sands Research Inc.."

Telling a Business Story with Slideshare

Telling a business story. Simple advice overall. " ... Because presentations are generally about very specific topics, companies use SlideShare for inbound marketing, to generate traffic through clients’ and customers’ searches. By sharing SlideShare links, it’s possible to optimize searches by tagging presentations and using the SlideShare profile to link back to the company website.... "

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Visualizing the Flavor Network

A flavor network. From FlowingData. The different relationships of flavor and location. An interesting example of visual relationships.

Common Statistical Mistakes

Very common examples. I have seen variants of all of these. Still, should be well known to all saavy managers. If you see anything that is similar to these examples, call your local statistical resource.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Teach Kid's Ruby

Another example of a teaching language. Here it is Kid's Ruby program development. A quick look makes it appear to be fairly easy to use. The more complex details of systems development, perhaps not, but a useful starting point.

Considering Gamification

When should you consider the use of game methods for business? This should be carefully considered for applications alternatively in and outside the company, and the corporate and customer culture involved. The book also nicely outlines the 'lenses' in Jesse Schell's book, which identifies key aspects to be considered in a Gamification project.

Wikipedia of Maps

A Challenge to Google. A non charging means via OpenStreetMaps to deliver complex frequently updated global maps. It appears that Google is finally aiming to charge for map API use.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Customer Lifetime Value Equation

Is it of value to Tech?   From Wharton. It is always useful to think about, but may not be the key measurement for all innovations.   The Kindle Fire is brought up as a good example.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ipsos Neuroscience and Emotion

I like adding the emotion part.  News release:

" ... In the US, EmSense’s Chief Analytics Officer Elissa Moses has left the company to join Ipsos as EVP for Neuroscience and Emotion. She starts her new job on January 3rd. Reports in September suggested that neuromarketing specialist EmSense may be sold and/or broken up. At the time, Moses confirmed to MediaPost that the firm was ‘going through a sales process’, which was expected to be completed soon - tho' no further announcement has been made. ... "

Rules of Thumb

Good WSJ piece on Heuristics.  Not random hunches, but rules of thumb that work.  Not always perfectly,  or optimally, but are very useful to get to a real conclusion.  Our brains are full of them,  we learn them from birth, we practice them daily.  We adapt to new ones that have applications.  Via Stan Dyck.

Alternative Digital Recipe Libraries

As a long time cook this is a challenge.  Some alternatives.  But no, not impossible.  As simple as a file folder. Or as complex as an associative memory.

Friday, December 23, 2011

On Mobile Payments

Good overall piece in GigaOM on the state of mobile smartphone payments.   Have followed the idea for years, and it has been a long road.  Finally in 2012? 2013?  A 'good' Amex infographic sets the stage.

Saffron Technologies

I have mentioned Saffron Technologies a number of times here, since visiting them five plus years ago.   Just now re-examining their associative memory techniques for several applications.   " ... For example, a new situation may remind us of a similar experience we had in the past. We then recall other memories of people, places, things, actions, or outcomes that are likely connected with that experience. But we can also imagine what’s missing, or notice what’s different compared with what we already know.... "

An Examination of RFID ROI

In the apparel industry where RFID item level tagging has been generally successful. We commissioned a similar study years ago with MIT and  the University of Arkansas that I pushed back on unsuccessfully, given the management beliefs of the time.   The context of this study are worth examining.

Vending Machine 2.0

A look at a technologically impressive new vending machine.  Will this concept machine engage, sell? Japan Gets Vending Machine 2.0 With See-Through Full HD Display, Facial Recognition The comments suggest it is too complex in design.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Digital Sign Deployments

In Digital Signage Today: A video of cool out of home digital signage deployments from 2011.  By Keith Kelsen.   I am currently reading his 2010 book:  Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage: Content Strategies for the 5th Screen. Which has some great examples as well.

Apple Trumps Wal-Mart Online Sales in November

Fairly remarkable result.  Technology purchases continue to move forward. Will we all be virtual in the Cloud soon?

What Makes a Brand Experience Great

Brian Collins on the delightful Hershey store.  A great brand experience worth a visit.  He provides some reasons why it works.

Wizard Theatricals and Technology

Russell Brumfield, aka 'The Wiz', colleague who worked with us at the innovation center on aroma technologies has a new web site.  He is an expert on putting on events and now has pulled together dozens of technology specialists to effectively deliver drama, spectacle, technology  and results.  Check it out, contact me if if you want any thoughts on what he has done in the past, and potential for the future.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Look at Local 3D Printing

Discussed here.The idea has been around for a while.  When will it's consumer moment come?  Remote 3D construction of parts, likely plastic,  in out homes in a device that can 'print'  in 3-D.  Still inclined to think this will occur in service  locations to minimize shipping time and cost.  But shipping for small parts  is already very efficient.

Training Games

Training games and simulations from Kognito.    I was just asked about such systems, which are a favorite topic of mine:  " ... Kognito is an award-winning developer of online role-playing simulations and games where users build interpersonal skills to effectively manage challenging conversations in the areas of health and behavioral health. These simulations provide organizations with cost-effective solutions for training large or geographically dispersed audiences with engaging and effective learning tools that include deliberate practice and personalized feedback.... "

Training the Robotics Designers of the Future

Promoting entry level robotics for kids .   Late to order for holiday gifts,  but I like the idea.  I particularly liked Lego Mindstorms and played with far more primitive approaches years ago.  I think there is an advantage for systems that are touch-and-feel physical as opposed to purely virtual.  Can we help train the builders of the robotics systems of the future?  I think so, and sometimes it just takes a little direction setting, and training in process logic.

Determining Pecking Order

A human pecking order algorithm based on linguistic style.  Helping with the ordering of online conversations?  Or a means to determine marketing influence? Contains some interesting additional background on analyzing text style in general.  We experimented with related approaches when this was called 'content analysis'. 

SAP Gearing up Google Apps

Quite interesting development.  SAP moving towards easier to access and utilize capabilities in the Cloud.


" ... The current plan is for SAP to deliver an integration between its Business ByDesign on-demand ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite and Google Apps early in the third quarter of next year, as part of a ByDesign feature pack update, said Bernd-Uwe Pagel, senior vice president of outsourcing and on demand ecosystem for SAP, during a conference call with press and analysts.


Business ByDesign is sold by subscription, as is Google Apps, and customers will need to license both products to take advantage of the integration. It's not completely clear whether ByDesign customers will be charged any extra fees to turn it on, however. "I don't foresee this will cost additional money," Pagel said.... " 

FohBoh

Just brought to my attention.  FohBoh, Front of the house (Foh), Back of the House (Boh).  Food service social media.   " ... Servicing the restaurant, chef and wine community. Join 40,000 + industry peers to connect communicate and collaborate interactively and worldwide in the restaurant commuity.... " .

I like the general idea.  Looking at how it is implemented.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Material Properties Search

From MIT News:   Thanks to a new online toolkit developed at MIT and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, any researcher who needs to find a material with specific properties—whether it's to build a better mousetrap or a better battery—will now be able to do so far more easily than ever before.... "

" ... Exhaustive reference system and interactive toolkit could revolutionize materials research, potentially enabling new types of manufacturing.... "

Patients Want Links to Doctor's Notes

In InformationWeek:  Ultimately not only to read, but to link with other sources of health expertise.

Innovation Tournament at P&G

A considerable description of how P&G used a tournament method to address this problem:

Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald is a man with a plan. Last year, he and his company declared a bold vision -- one that includes making all products and packaging with recycled or renewable materials, and ensuring that no waste from P&G products touches a landfill. Prominent in the vision, too, is powering all plants with renewable energy.... "

Paywall Penalties

In GigaOm:  A good piece on the increasing use of Paywalls on the Web.    Should we be penalizing the loyalty of customers while we are exposing them to paying advertisers?   Engagement should be more clearly defined, and loyalty more clearly measured to keep from having to do this. 

Silicon Halton

Chris Herbert of Mi6 Agency sends along this news article about Silicon Halton near Toronto.  Startups via social connections.  How can social connections be best used to link customers and solutions?  Good luck to Halton.

Business Intelligence Mind Map

A business intelligence mind map that covers most of the territory typically included in BI and its implications.  Informative.

IBM Big Data Bet, with Watson and More.

Another step forward for big and bigger data:

" On the same day that IBM passed Microsoft in market cap, Big Blue showed how it will ride the growth of big data to continue its momentum. IBM announced a new $100 million investment for future data analytics along with new services and software aimed at helping improve data analysis and new services for IT professionals.... "

Monday, December 19, 2011

10X Accelerator at Ohio State

Just brought to my attention:   10-xelerator or "10x" is the newest New Venture Accelerator in Columbus, Ohio. 10x is a mentorship-driven investment program designed for energetic and game-changing entrepreneurs. 10x is partnering with Ohio’s New Entrepreneurs (ONE) Fund, an innovative business accelerator designed to attract and retain the best and brightest talent... "

Computers With Mind Control Soon

In IBM's A Smarterplanet Blog:   They predict a number of expected things.  One is that mind control will take over a number of computer interfaces such as cursor/focus control.  Not very unexpected, the idea has been around for some time, just not completely reliable. The others, all welcome thoughts:

    People power will come to life
· You will never need a password again
· Mind reading is no longer science fiction
· The digital divide will cease to exist
· Junk mail will become priority mail

MIT Online

In GigaOM:   A revision of their previous online course system.   " ... Next spring, MIT will launch a pilot of MITx online-only courses geared  to reach prospective learners everywhere. The university said it will open source the underlying technology infrastructure for use by other educational institutions ... "

Social Spices at McCormick

Cooking is a strong side interest of mine.  I see in MediaPost they describe how the McCormick spice company is trying some new social plays on Facebook. It is in the most mundane product lines that social can strongly  spice up the engagement.

IE Group

Just brought to my attention: " ...   IE Group.  IEG - The Innovation Enterprise Group shares the knowledge of innovators in Forecasting & Planning through its research, conferences, communities, training and virtual & on-demand content.   IE Group is an independent Business-to-business multi channel media brand focused on the information needs of Senior Finance, Operations, Planning, Strategy, Decision Support & Advanced Analytics executives.  In addition to conferences, our products include online & on-demand content & communities. We also provide marketing services as well as on-site custom production and custom research. Whether it's delivered online, or in person, everything IEG produces reflects the company's unshakeable belief in the power of information to spur innovation.... "

SAP and the Cloud

When I was a fellow at the SNCR we saw a presentation by SAP about their planned use of social and Cloud systems.  It was an impressive plan for next steps.    I was surprised by their lack of work in the following several years in this area.  About the same time we saw similar plans by IBM that did end up in actual results.   ComputerWorld has written about this here.  Recent acquisitions appear to indicate that they are getting serious. Cloud-Social ventures are spreading broadly.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Collaboration at the Mayo Clinic

Collaborative Innovation at Mayo. This is exactly the kind of thing I have been thinking about for some time.    What is different from most kinds of innovation is that the patient is also included.  Why not?  They are the recipient and the ultimate sensor for any kind of treatment outcome.  I also see sensors and AI components to any kind of collaborative group as well. 

Fashion, Style, Deals: Stylezen

A new site I have been pointed to:  Stylezen.    More to follow.  Style is a good thing to link to on the Web.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Entity Web

Matthew Hurst on competencies in the entity Web.  A look at the future of this thing we loosely call the Web and what it will take to interact with it. 

Future Look

A slide show look at the near future by Phil McKinney of HP:   " ...  the future impact will be in 2020 to: social dynamics, personal entertainment, intelligent networks, gadgets and ubiquitous content ... "

Making Memories and Applying them

Repeating and updating this post because I think there is considerable value in the application of Associative memory systems.  

I had the opportunity to read a draft of this book during a long flight and was very impressed.   Associative memory  is a big part of our technical future.

Saffron Technologies forthcoming book: Making Memories, Applying Neuron-inspired Associative Memories to National, Business and Consumer Intelligence by Manuel Aparicio IV

See their blog.

In the enterprise we closely examined the application of associative memories for enterprise experience storage and retrieval applications.  It is relates well to neural network techniques.   I have met with Saffron several times and am impressed with this rare and complete application of this leading edge work.

" .. Making Memories tells a story about the science, technology and business of Saffron's new approach to capturing and reasoning from the "memories" of your data. It's what Saffron calls "Experience Management." ... These sections will give you a strong sense of what Making Memories is about: How an old idea -- human thought processes and how they work -- is being applied to create a completely new arena of data analytics for business that surpasses the need for rules and statistics.
We believe the book is very timely given today's data management challenges ... "

New Disruptions in Retail

We will continue to see additional changes based on technology.  Ne prepared in engagement proposals.  As the article suggests, the gold will be in the data.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Unilever Changing the Mix

I am often asked questions about continuing TV ad dominance.  Is this an indicator of major media buyers making significant mix changes?

CEOs and the Cloud

A good HBR article on what every CEO needs to know about the Cloud.   As usual the comments are also thoughtful.   Requires registration for full article or payment for a pdf copy.

Tools for SemanticTechnologies

Mark Montgomery points me to this useful post on tools for semantic technologies.  Work at least a scan and a selective drill down.  Things are changing rapidly and maturing.  Overall a thousand plus tools.  " ... this is the inaugural ‘State of Tooling for Semantic Technologies‘ report, and, boy, is it a humdinger. There have been more changes — and more important changes — in this past year than in all four previous years combined. I think it fair to say that semantic technology tooling is now reaching a mature state, the trends of which likely point to future changes as well.  In this past year more tools have been added, more tools have been dropped (or abandoned), and more tools have taken on a professional, sophisticated nature. Further, for the first time, the number of semantic technology and -related tools has passed 1000. This is remarkable, given that more tools have been abandoned or retired than ever before ... " 

Answer Set Programming

We examined what is often called declarative problem solving  for AI applications in the enterprise. Here an article in the CACM (abstract) on what is called Answer Set Programming.They call it a promising new method.

Valuation of Media Content

On the  Valuation of media content.  An increasingly important topic.  Always looking for ways to make this resource efficient.  More on the method.  Examining.  Comments?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SAP and NetBase

More on the use of social media analytics to manage client reputation and interaction.

" ... Taking a cue from rivals such as Salesforce.com, SAP on Monday announced a partnership under which it will resell and support social media analytics software from NetBase. NetBase is one of a growing variety of vendors with platforms that ingest large amounts of data from social websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and then analyze it to give companies a sense of what people are saying about their products, strategies and brands. The move follows Salesforce.com's acquisition earlier this year of Radian6, a NetBase competitor, as well as Oracle's recent US$1.5 billion acquisition of RightNow, which has social-media monitoring software among its offerings ... "   " ... the solution indexes over 95 million posts to Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. These are managed in the social intelligence warehouse where these insights are made available through the web based UI, and to custom applications that use the web services API ... "

See also more details on this on the blog of Blair Wheadon of SAP.  Note in particular the use of sentiment and emotion  analysis in the analytics.  I saw some early presentations by SAP on how they planned to use social media methods.

P&G Shaping the Store Case Study

Again brought to my attention: "P&G Shapes the Store".  The virtualization of the store and its use with shoppers and designers to bring science to bear on the shelf.  Read the article.  So what is next?  The use of simulation techniques to predict the performance of alternative designs based on behavioral information. I think it can be done by working with agent-models of the shopper and the store context.  Note too that one goal is to build a library of stores.  These could also be used to look at the varying performance of stores by alternative designs.

What Works in Emerging Technology

Of Interest  (requires registration) Reading now.    This has always been a primary focus of mine.  We were largely successful in filtering out the not immediately useful.
" ... TDWI's What Works in Emerging  Technologies offers more than 30 pages of fresh, topically focused  customer success stories and expert perspectives designed to enhance your  understanding of the tools, technologies, and methods that are central to  today's emerging technologies in data integration, data warehousing, and  business intelligence.

Download What Works now!

TOPICS COVERED
Analytic Databases
Collaborative/Agile/Lean Data Integration
Columnar Databases
Data Governance
Data Warehousing Appliances
Mobile Business Intelligence
Real-Time Data Integration
Software-as-a-Service
Unified Data Integration Platforms ... "

Numerical Algorithms and DemandTec

I have been talking to several companies about advanced analytical algorithms used for making choices about engagement practices for the enterprise.  A few new discoveries made:   " ... In today's highly competitive retail market retailers need the most advanced and up to date software capabilities to achieve advantage over competitors and maximize profits. DemandTec provides the retail and consumer products industries with Consumer-Centric Merchandising software, which enables the planning, optimization and execution of merchandising and marketing programs based on a holistic understanding of consumer demand. No other company has as broad a merchandising planning and optimization software suite as DemandTec, nor does any other vendor have the large number of successful deployments with blue chip companies around the world ...  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Perceiving the Complex World

I met Sumon Sadhu, the Director of Intelligence for Quid today.   Augmenting Our Ability to Perceive this Complex World .. "   We had been trying similar things in the enterprise.    Visually interesting.   " ... Quid software is used by decision-makers running companies, NGOs, banks, and funds. It captures data, structures it, and  enables people to visualize and interact with the information, to understand the global technology landscape. Teams can immerse themselves in and play with the data, optimizing decision-making about what to build and where to invest or partner. ... "  ... Quid is building software that captures, structures, and visualizes vast amounts of open information, to help organizations make more informed decisions ... "

Crowd Designed Episodic Game Development

Bold, Curious idea. But is it any more than just voting on minor elements of game design? I would think that a genetic oriented design based on usage would be a better play. Will follow. More

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Innovation Boom

Look for the coming innovation boom.  I have personally seen quite a few good ideas recently.

The Intelligent Social Dashboard

Addresses the sharepocalypse.    I am confused, both before and after the private introduction of 'Bottlenose', but it may be worth examination:

 "  It's hard enough being a normal user, but some have millions of people tweeting at them! How are they supposed to process all those messages? In the Information Age, you'd think more data would be a good thing, but on the social Web, the opposite is true. But the aforementioned Nova Spivack - along with co-founder Dominiek ter Heide - has just unveiled Bottlenose, and it could be the tool that helps us avert The Sharepocalypse in the nick of time.... "

P&G Personalized Style

Personalized Style site:
P&G Beauty & Grooming announced the launch of StyleUnited (www.styleunited.com), the first truly personalized site that brings beauty and fashion together for a total style source. In partnership with ShopStyle, StyleUnited delivers an exclusive experience to each consumer to help women achieve their best head-to-toe style ..."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Exploring Your Blindspot

A free E-Book.  Well, more like a pamphlet.   About human vision blind spots.  This is a frequent topic in psych classes.   We do not see everything in front of our eyes.  I have always wondered how this information influences what we see, say in a display or signage in retail.  Has anyone looked at that question?  The pamphlet does not cover that.

Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts as a brand tactic.  Gamifying as engagement.  Some interesting examples are given to increase brand engagement.

Game Changing Presentations: Prezi

I was reminded of the Prezi presentation system by a link Jerry Michalski sent me today.   It is an interesting, Cloud based,  unique method to construct visualizations and presentations.  Sometimes called a  'zooming user interface'.  It does have a fun aspect.   The simple animation attracts your attention. Here are a number of examples.   It uses a freemium cost model.   I am looking at the possibility of linking it to mind and concept map demonstrations.  Has anyone out there done that effectively?

See Jerry Michalski's excellent Prezi on other kinds of innovation as an example.  It also has a viewer for the iPad, where I think could be a good and mobile tool.

"  ... Prezi is a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and the connections between them. The result: visually captivating presentations that lead your audience down a path of discovery .. " 

More background.

Qualcomm Sends Medical Data to the Cloud

This relates to an effort I am currently examining from a business analytics angle:

" ... A plan to send medical data to the cloud. Some 133 million Americans suffer from chronic disease, and many would benefit from better home-based monitoring of their condition, but today's home-health medical machines remain mostly unconnected to the doctors who might want to check the data between visits. A new platform from Qualcomm aims to solve this with a simple box that detect signals from devices of dozens of makers, and dispatches them by cellular connection to a cloud database that can be accessed by medical staff as well as patients.... " 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Car as a Platform

A Tablet integrated into a car.  Revolutionary, or just dangerous?

Renault has launched what it describes as a “tablet,” an integrated Android device built into its next range of cars, effectively opening the way to the car-as-a-platform. The device, called the R-link, will be integrated into the forthcoming Renault Clio 4 as well as the Zoe electric vehicle, according to Patrick Hoffstetter, Renault’s chief digital officer. Renault will roll it out across the full range, he said.... "

More on the Kahn Academy in Higher Education

This remains a very interesting approach to providing educational snippets to all:

As a fledgling voice of reform in higher education, Salman Khan is an oddity. He cannot name any higher education accrediting agencies off the top of his head. He advocates for competency-based credentialing, but has never heard of Western Governors University. He is capable of talking on the phone for a full hour without using the word “disruptive” once. Until recently, he was an analyst for a hedge fund ... " 

The Problem with Requirements

From Business Genetics.    The Problem with Requirements AKA the Requirements of the Problem.  by David McGinness.   '...  Too often companies make large investments in Information Technology projects which fail to deliver the business value upon which the investment was justified. According to the Standish Chaos Study Results, the top two factors contributing to challenged and impaired projects are "incomplete requirements & specification" and "lack of user involvement".... '

Mind Map Library

I mentioned the oddly named Biggerplate some time ago.  A repository of thousands of mind maps that you can access freely,  then edit and use for your own purposes.  Recall that mind maps are a simplified form of what we called concept maps.  We used them in the enterprise to log knowledge about our  methods and the reasoning methods used by consumers.  I am using them now to stage specific business analytics problems.  Look at the Biggerplate repository of business process maps.

Breakthroughs in Learning Algorithms

In CACM:  Some technical notes on a 'Terascale' learning algorithm.  Pointed at new sources of very big data.  Learning is the very crux of artificial intelligence.  All intelligent systems must adapt, otherwise you may well become stuck in solutions that eventually become wrong.   We struggled with that in AI solutions for the enterprise.

Innovation is Everyone's Job

I think this is very obvious.  But it is up to the enterprise to establish the right context to produce innovation.  Context based on the company's goals, and the employee's job, and a contextual feedback and reward mechanism. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

' ... "visual equity analyst." His work centers on re-animating a brand's sensory equities in order to expand emotional connections with consumers/customers..... " . I have seen him in action and he is a keen practitioner of the art.

Neuro-Semiotics Applied

My former colleague J Duncan Berry is interviewed about Neuro-Semiotics.   A topic he introduced me to.  See also his site.     He describes himself as a  ' ... "visual equity analyst."  His work centers on re-animating a brand's sensory equities in order to expand emotional connections with consumers/customers..... " .   I have seen him in action and he is a keen practitioner of the art.

Institute of General Semantics

Discovered.   This is not about computational semantics,  the form I have most often encountered,  but behavior. Worth knowing about.  "  ...  The Institute of General Semantics (IGS) promotes a scientific approach to understanding human behavior, especially that related to symbol systems and language, and the application of proven principles that guide advancements in critical thinking, rational behavior, and general sanity.... " .

Getting Ready for Big Data

Some useful thoughts and real world examples from the McKinsey quarterly.  And ultimately how we have to integrate both business process definition and business analytics closely with the data itself.  That will lead ultimately to rich and useful decision support.

Data Scientists Needed

Not unexpected, with more data being gathered than ever before, sensors becoming common, and business analytics leveraging this data towards business leverage, that we are increasingly in need of data scientists.  More in Data Management.

Digital Disruption

In Mashable, thoughts about digital disruption.  yes we know this already, but it deserves repeating:

" ... No matter what industry you are in, you are their target. Where you could once dismiss digital disruption as the sole province of the music or other media industries where it destroyed billions in value, digital disruption has now expanded. These disruptors employ technologies — and the platforms they enable — to build better products than you can, establish a stronger customer relationship than you have, and deliver it all to market faster than you ever thought possible.

Oh, and it doesn’t cost anywhere close to six million dollars for them to get started. I offer Lose It! as one of many case studies worth considering. Targeting the weight loss and fitness business — one of the most analog industries on the planet — Lose It! is disrupting the more than $40 billion Americans spend on weight loss each year. It’s a costly industry to enter — think of Jenny Craig’s marketing budget alone, then add its hundreds of physical locations, prepared meals, and all the infrastructure to support the entire enterprise. So while franchises like The Biggest Loser have succeeded in entering this business recently, they have done so at great cost.... "

Friday, December 09, 2011

General Mills Portal for Open Innovation

A good example of a CPG company looking for new ideas.  Open innovation at work: " ... General Mills launched G-WIN Digital, an avenue for consumers to give the food company feedback on applications and games. Consumers with digital-product ideas can use G-WIN to send their concepts directly to the company's marketing team. "Our goal is to make sure that people outside of General Mills know that we have an open invitation to talk about emerging technologies and digital capabilities," said Chief Marketing Officer Mark Addicks.... "

Shopping Carts Tracking Every Move

A  piece by Martin Lindstrom on the dynamic activation of shopping carts to track the movement of shoppers.  The idea is not new, we utilized the basic idea as far back as 2000.  Primarily in experimental retail places.  The fact that it is becoming more common and even approaching standard practice is new.  The goal will ultimately be to increasingly gather more behavioral information about shoppers in retail. 

Subliminal Sound Ads on Your Phone

In Engadget: Ads to be triggered on you phone based on subliminal sound at a given location.  This is a little like augmented reality, which can be triggered by GPS location.  Opt-in I would assume.

A Technology Driven World

In Forbes:  How to Be an Optimist in a Pessimistic Time: A Techonomy Manifesto ..   The conference mentioned is now over, but the thoughts are interesting:   " ... Despite all our optimism, tech is no panacea. There are real and troubling questions emerging globally about the impact of tech on jobs, for example. It seems more and more likely that while technological progress improves productivity, global GDP, and aggregate social wealth, it will replace more jobs than it creates. Separately, security concerns are growing almost as fast as new technological capabilities. We can see a new world of efficiency and connectedness coming into view. But there is the real risk it could be undermined or even stopped by those who do not want global prosperity—be they criminals, terrorists, or renegade governments.... " 

Tricks of Holiday Marketing

Martin Lindstrom is interviewed in Bloomberg on the complexity of holiday retail marketing. " ...  In an interview with Bloomberg.com’s Ben Steverman, Lindstrom explains some of retailers’ canniest techniques, including why stores suddenly smell like cinnamon during the holidays and what online retailers and casinos have in common. Edited excerpts of the interview follow.... " 

Thursday, December 08, 2011

In Defense of Gamification

In Gigaom:   " ... Gamifications can have a bad rap, admits Gabe Zichermann, CEO of Gamification.Co. He said people think it means turning everything into Angry Birds.... But he said companies are increasingly turning to gamification to accomplish a number of real world goals and they’re not simply turning everything into a game. They’re realizing that gamification, or the use of key game concepts to engage users and solve problems, can be a powerful way to create happiness and innovation and spur on results and education among its workforce" .  As I also emphasized in a recent presentation, gamification is all about lifting engagement to a level where the boring can be made interesting, and the mundane, exciting.    If you do that, it is a useful technique.

IBM to Acquire DemandTec: Delivers Analytics via the Cloud

I see in a press release that IBM has agreed to acquire DemandTec.    Our enterprise retail innovation center was an early evaluator of DemandTec, which brought advanced analytics to key retail and manufacturing  processes.  I was impressed that they had delivered approaches that we had long examined and leveraged to improve operational systems.  Aiming to deliver smarter commerce through analytics.

 Later, they were an innovator using social network interaction to help manufacturers and retailers to collaborate using business analytics.   This new acquisition looks to the Cloud to make those capabilities even easier to connect to data, provide analytics and share results.   This should add nicely to IBM's already impressive vertical analytics capabilities.  To see where this plugs in, see IBM's Smarter Commerce  initiative.

" ... The acquisition of DemandTec will extend IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative by adding cloud-based price, promotion and other merchandising and marketing analytics to help companies better define the best price points and product mix based on customer buying trends.

Organizations are struggling to meet the demands of rapidly shifting customer buying patterns in the era of mobile and social networks. This new digital marketplace requires companies to be highly responsive to consumer demands on the fly. Whether it's setting and executing the right pricing strategy or the ability to automatically adjust pricing based on online and offline data, being able to rapidly shift to market changes has become a key competitive advantage for global businesses ...  "

Higher Education Bubble

I have been hearing this term used more and more.  It has a Wikipedia entry.  I am still old school on this, but can see some of the symptoms.   It is likely better to focus education better than it has been done before.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Siri Changing Education

Received, interesting thoughts. " ... We at Onlinecollege.org recently came across your blog and were excited to share with you an article “20 Ways Siri May Forever Change Education” was recently published on our blog ... "

Rethinking the Funnel

A very good article on the innovation funnel.  We actively used the concept in new business development efforts to think about work planned and underway.  I like these new thoughts about the metaphor.  Worth a read.

Global Supply Chain Visibility

Video in CGT:  How Amway achieved global supply chain visibility.

Data Temperature

So what does the concept of 'data temperature' mean?   Summarized here, with links to more detail:

- Hot = accessed all the time, or extremely important data requiring sub-second response times
- Medium = is data accessed most of the time, but where response times can be anywhere from 1 second to 10 or 15 seconds
- Lukewarm Data = data that is accessed rarely; rarely may be (for example) once every 30 minutes or twice every 4 hours. 
-Cold Data = historical context that is hardly ever accessed, but when requested, must have a response time equal to that of a couple minutes ..... "

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Visual.ly Blog Launched

I see that the Visual.ly blog on data and design has been launched.   I like their general approach, but am leary of the overuse of infographics.  I like to see data provided that you can make your own conclusions with. 

Cost of Customer Loss

In Inc.  Thoughtful short piece about the cost of customer attrition. " .... It may surprise you just how much each lost customer is costing your business.... "

DemandTec Retail Challenge Scholarship Awards

In an era rewarding mostly sports and celebrity, it is great to see math being noticed.  More. 

Stickers Acting as Sensors

In general a nice idea.   Wireless sensors delivered as stickers.   With considerable potential application in retail. Gamifying implications. Worth following.  I will,  and report back here.  More and pictures in Engadget. 

"... Rather than ask people to integrate bulky or intrusive sensors into their lives, GreenGoose's upcoming system (pre-orders start on Dec. 15; systems ship on Jan. 1) will instead provide small stickers with built-in Internet-connected sensors. Tip a water bottle and the attached GreenGoose sticker logs it through a small base station that plugs into your wireless router. Feed the dog, go for a walk, clean the house — GreenGoose has designs on all of it. No special skills required.... "

Breaking from Microsoft Office

Walter Riker, who teaches MS office applications and is a true expert on their use, writes about their use and how that influences our work.  Nice job Walter.  If you need some help in this realm, contact him.  I always do.

Duke Synovate Research Center


Brought to my attention. The Duke Synovate Research Center.  Sounds similar to our own Innovation Center founded in 2000.  It will include board members from CPG companies. " ... The center will focus on advancing the research in shopper decision making, how to create demand generation through the shopping experience, and provide an integrated view of consumer and shopper marketing ... " .   Press Release.   Also has a strong connection to Ipsos.   Will continue to follow the development.  To what extent are they considering virtualization of of the retail process, as we did?  If anyone from Synovate would like my help, let me know.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Digitizing Innovation at P&G


My first post at Innovation Excellence was realized recently.  It was a re-post of an item in this blog on modeling and innovation at P&G.   I am glad to see it have further  exposure.   Thanks to Julie Anixter, colleague and now at MagaDesign, a company I am very intrigued with,  which links information modeling and graphic design.  Hope to see that idea taken further.    See also their Magamaps blog.


Disney Method

In Innovation Excellence: Using the Disney Method.   By Paul Sloane.  A group parallel thinking method that we were introduced to now years ago that is based on views of interaction with an innovative proposal.  Nice to see it mentioned again.

Thinking Fast and Slow

Freeman Dyson, physicist and favorite thinker and writer, insightfully reviews : Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman.  Excellent thoughts regarding How to dispel your illusions. The basis of irrationality in economic decision making.  Includes his take on the famous 'luck vs skill' Lancaster bomber survival analysis of WWII.  Even addresses the near universal dilemma of calorie consumption among many of us.

Best of KYield

Interested in how the entrepreneur operates?   The ups and downs of selling the semantic enterprise?  Mark Montgomery, a long time correspondent,  has posted a index of his articles in his KYield Blog .   Enlightening.  

Changes in Consumer Loyalty

In Walter Riker's excellent Curious Voyager:    Loyalty Now Includes Interest in What Companies Stand For.  Some good points and links.   I think part of the reason here is that consumers can figure out, via technology, what companies do stand for.  And they can do it while in a store.   Read his overview.

Rise of Enterprise Apps

I recently attended an enterprise business analytics meeting where a number of management people were openly seeking enterprise apps to power their newly delivered tablets and smart phones.  They had been sold on the new model of application delivery and needed software appropriate to their jobs.  How will this effect IT in the enterprise?  E-Commerce Times article on the subject.

Don't Limit What You Know

A friend sends along a link out of of the HBR Blog network.  Don't let What You Know Limit What you Can Imagine.    You have to have effective ways to look outside, learn more, objectively analyze it and get it to the right people.  It is, as one of the comments says, a reason for using consultancies.

" ... One of the most perplexing features of these troubled times is that so many capable people in so many fields look so lost and ineffective. Whether it's the stubborn inefficiencies of the health-care system, the ever-rising costs of the higher-education system, even the slow-motion collapse of the US postal system, leaders with unrivaled expertise and decades of experience can't seem to develop creative solutions to dire problems... "

Twilight of EMail

GigaOm has a good piece on the end of email, now about 40 years old.  Yes, it has become increasingly annoying.  But its annoyance is created in large part by its volume in the modern world.  I think it will continue to be adapted and we will see something very much like it for a long time.  Notable is their paragraph on the need for semantic web technology to make sense of unstructured data like text and general communications.  We will see more of that provided in coming years as part of what we now call EMail.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Billion Prices

Once more I had cause to look at the Billion Prices project at MIT.   A way to calibrate prices generally and in real time by region?   Clever idea to syndicate this kind of data.  " ...The Billion Prices Project is an academic initiative that uses prices collected from hundreds of online retailers around the world on a daily basis to conduct economic research.  This page shows our most recent research leveraging high-frequency price data, as well as the US daily inflation index (updated monthly on this page).... "

Brain as Computer Model

 In the New Mexican: Chris Wood at the Santa Fe Institute suggests that in an application  of bio-mimicry we could use the brain as a model for new kinds of computation.  This has been tried before with neural nets.  Though the model was very inexact. That technology did produce some useful paradigms for some kinds of computing, but never claimed a general model.  I am currently exploring the model for another kind of application.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Innov8 for Health Competition

I see that the results of the Innov8 for health competition,  held yesterday at  the GE Aviation Learning Center, has posted the results in their blog.  I got to see only a small part of the interaction but the interaction looked very good.  

SAP to buy SuccessFactors for $3.4 Billion

The price seems to be high, but the idea is right.  Enterprise company SAP is positioning itself for future work in Cloud applications.  “The premium is significant and it shows that SAP was struggling in its cloud strategy, especially in talent management,” Paul Hamerman, a Forrester analyst, said in an interview on Saturday. “The cloud has been a small part of SAP’s revenue stream, about 2 percent; the deal adds to the revenue base and shows SAP’s strong commitment to the software-as-a-service business model.”

Buyology is Forbes #71

I see that a company I have worked with,  Buyology Inc, is in Forbes as one of the 100 most promising companies.   It is at #71.  " ... Founded in 2008, this marketing consultancy digs into the unconscious motivations that ultimately drive consumer purchasing decisions. One of its research techniques—called latency response—limits a respondent's time to questions in order to gauge gut reactions to products. Time magazine declared co-founder and chairman Lindstrom one of the "World's 100 Most Influential People" in 2009.... "

Intelligent Solutions for Everyday Objects

A continuation of work by Microsoft on embedded intelligence for everyday objects ...

Gaming and the Science of Expertise

In the SciAM Blog: How a game is being used to study the science of the development of expertise.  Collaboration, multitasking and goal achievement.

More Market Apps

Yet another supermarket App, here at Giant Eagle.  Nothing very new.  The usual assortment of promotions, information, coupons and shopping list.  They are easy to develop and provide, and seem to becoming an expectation at least for some shoppers. They do become clutter on the screen.  App bloat?

Friday, December 02, 2011

FourSquare Check-ins

Some interesting statistics about Foursquare check ins at major retailers and fast food.  Interesting that so many people are still checking in, but the percentage of total customers is still very small.   After being intrigued by the potential loyalty aspects of the check-in, I have not used Foursquare for some time.  I find the reaction similar among some of my friends.

P&G and Teva Consumer Healthcare Partnership

I know I am late to this particular piece of information about Teva and P&G, but I am in the process of looking at it in more detail.  Also Teva's press release.

Coke Embraces QR Codes

Yet another example of a company using QR codes in packaging and using them for a specific campaign.  As more consumers learn to use them, this will evolve further.  The scan statistics are interesting:   " ... Aside from the cups, the QR codes will appear on posters. The code leads to a landing page on Facebook that allows users to throw snowballs at friends. A recent Taco Bell campaign generated 460,000 scans in three months, of which 7% of the traffic came from people without smartphones, he said. ... " 

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Using Business Analytics to Run the Global Enterprise

P&G has always been a numbers and modeling company, though there have been some attempts in recent years to move it sharply into a design direction.  I think there are lots of opportunities to meld the two together.  Here in the McKinsey Quarterly, a good view of the current direction. 

" ... Robert McDonald is a CEO on a mission: to make Procter & Gamble the most technologically enabled business in the world. To get there, the 31-year company veteran and former US Army captain is overseeing the large-scale application of digital technology and advanced analytics across every aspect of P&G’s operations and activities—from the way the consumer goods giant creates molecules in its R&D labs to how it maintains relationships with retailers, manufactures products, builds brands, and interacts with customers. The prize: better innovation, higher productivity, lower costs, and the promise of faster growth.... "

A number of good examples are included to show how data is being gathered, digital simulations being created, and models utilized. Good reading, and to my understanding, accurate. This shows how Business analytics has been and will become a yet stronger means of running a large company.

Online Reading Trends

New trends in online reading.   I find myself staging my technical reading more.  On a tablet I do more moving back and forth in the text when doing technical reading.   I am also utilizing packages like Goodreader to add 'stickies'to the text. I have yet had any cause to do 'social' reading yet.

Emotion Reading Computer

Affective computing: New computer system can read your emotions, will probably be annoying about it (video).   A solution to at least conscious reaction to products and their contexts.

Predictive Health Screening

I have recently been looking at the analytics behind a  predictive health screening technology called Allostatic Load from a company called Allostatix.  Let me know if you have any input. " ...  Unlike existing HRA's, which rely on 25-year old technology and silo analysis of biomarkers, the Allostatix Risk Prediction System (ARPS™) predicts future health by using neural networks to transform longitudinal health data into accurate, actionable knowledge. ... "  

Wal-Mart Shopycat

A first of interest from newly formed Wal-Mart Labs, the Shopycat Facebook App, a means to help you choose holiday gifts.   Note the 'matching' algorithm aspect of this.   " ... WalmartLabs quietly pushed out an alpha of Shopycat last month and I gave it a whirl. It was underwhelming in part because there wasn’t a great diversity of suggested products. But Walmart Labs has made a lot of improvements in recent weeks. Instead of pointing to just Walmart products, it incorporates items from many  other retailers like Barnes & Noble, RedEnvelope and ThinkGeek. Shopycat also does a better job to find “giftable” items, products that make good presents, not just align with interests. That also means keeping items to around $10-50 dollars. If a user doesn’t have a lot of activity on Facebook, Shopycat defaults to suggesting gift cards.... "