Category: Culture change

Change towards a more innovative and collaborative culture

Collaborative cultureCulture changeMarketing 3.0

Making collaboration efficient when face to face is not possible

Started as a simple experiment in social media, in 2010 composer and conductor Eric Whitacre called out to his online fans to record themselves singing “Sleep” by the British choir Polyphony and upload the result. Impressed by the result, he decided to push the concept to the next level by recording himself conducting ‘Lux Aurumque’, then asking fans to sing along to that. This way, the first Virtual Choir was created. The results of that experiment quickly became viral. Now with more than fifteen million views, the Virtual Choir phenomenon has reached all corners of the world, inspiring more and more singers to join each year.

Beyond its beauty and emotional impact, Virtual Choir also fascinated because its implications regarding the potential new uses for new communication technologies and as one of the first virtual experiences turned into something real. The Virtual Choir can also be considered as an important remainder for how businesses might overcome the challenges of virtuality to benefit from innovative and more efficient business processes, customer relationships or forms of production, from co-innovation and co-production to crowdsourcing, crowdfunding or open source.

Not even leaving the limits of a corporation or a company, working remotely can offer operational flexibility, happier employees and lower costs, but to team up virtually with colleagues and coworkers can also pose important challenges. As we know, truly efficient collaboration presents no few difficulties. Virtual collaboration raises even more added complications that require even more care. But as the concept of the extended enterprise becomes more common and most professionals can do their jobs from anywhere, the more critical becomes to get virtual teams right. But how?

Getting right four pillars for virtual collaboration

The answer is not easy. Different studies carried out during the last decade seem to conclude that most of virtual groups fail to satisfy the expectations of companies and their clients. In another study conducted by Deloitte some years ago most of CEO’s and other managers interviewed still considered face-to-face interaction much more productive that virtual communication, and nearly half of them admitted ignorance and confusion about collaboration technologies and their potential.

But some other experts consider is all about how these teams are managed. An Aon Consulting report found that dispersed teams, when run accordingly to this condition, could outperform those sharing the same office space (recording up to 43% higher efficiency). A study of 80 global software teams conducted by BCG and WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management concluded that virtual teams can improve employee productivity when they are properly managed.

But, what do they mean by “properly managed” or “run accordingly to its virtual condition”? According to Keith Ferrazzi and based on his research and experience helping all sort of organizations as customers of his consulting firm, there are four critical elements to get right: right teams, right leadership, right technology and right touchpoints.

Size is important (the smaller, the better)

We have recently wrote in this blog about how important is to consider people mindset and attitude for working collaboratively beyond their professional knowledge and other skills. Ferrazzi agrees people should first of all be specially suited to work in virtual teams, backing for instance profiles with good communication skills or high emotional intelligence. But it is also equally important to put them into groups of the right size and implementing and clearly establishing and communicating the right roles for each one.

As we know, smaller groups facilitate collaboration. In the case of virtual teams, size should be even smaller than when face to face interaction is the norm (some studies suggest teams of 5-6 people and no more than 10 in any case).Team members reduce effort when they feel less responsible for output, but this fact can equally be applied to non-virtual teams. Collaboration between people not sharing a physical space should pay special attention to ensure inclusive communication, a quality harder to achieve the bigger the virtual group is.

Good leadership amplified

Managers can maximize the productivity of virtual teams also by developing the right leadership. Again, this is a quality to apply to every teamwork, no matter if virtual or not. But right leadership must be amplified in virtual ones. A study of different engineering groups concluded that the virtual teams that performed best were those with managers with previous experience in leading such work groups.

Encouraging open dialogue, for instance, is particularly important in these cases. Leaders of dispersed groups in particular must push members to be frank with one another as the problems associated with lack of affinity are more common and severe for virtual teams. For similar reasons, virtual collaboration requires an extra effort fostering trust among co-workers. Ferrazzi mentions the case of a fully virtual organization that encourage new hires to offer video tours of their workspaces, allowing colleagues to mentally picturing their surroundings in later communications. Managers also push their team members to share personal news as a way to compensate the lack of the common chat about their lives that usually takes place sooner or later when a physical office is shared.

Special care is also recommended about clarifying goals and guidelines and establishing a common purpose or vision (explaining and repeating often the reason of working together and the benefits that will result of that). Particularly vital in the case of virtual teams are guidelines about interaction between members. For instance, multitasking on conference calls should be banned, as full attention is needed when using communication technologies that are not able to fully replace the subtle signals of personal interaction beyond a voice.

Not leaving it all to virtuality

Fostering touchpoints is also critical. Virtual teams should come together as often as possible. To do so, some specific stages of the working process are more important than others. Kickoff should be one of these for sure, using a first face to face meeting to star working in some of the key points mentioned (clarifying team goals or encouraging trust, for instance). If any proper project management stablishes milestones, when dealing with virtual team leaders can leverage them to get people together for celebrating achievement of short-term goals or cracking problems.

And last but not least, efficient virtual collaboration also depends on using the right technology. According to Ferrazzi, even top-notch virtual teams can fail due to poor technology. In this case, recommendations are not so much about detailed features as about fulfilling general needs especially critical in the case virtual interactions. For instance, facilitating automatic transcriptions or records with a simple click, making easy to search for this content in a database or, while using the right tool for each mission, favor technologies that better help to reproduce face to face interaction (videoconferencing instead of a phone call, for example).

This post is from http://www.co-society.com/making-collaboration-efficient-face-face-possible/

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilitySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Voluntourism, beyond responsible tourism

Responsible tourism, Voluntourism, Sustainable tourism…are different concepts with a common idea: the tourism activity in which the visitor brings positive impacts to the destination, either to alleviate poverty, to help in the development of the local economy, rebuilding areas affected by natural catastrophe, etc.

With regards to the kind of people interested in these types of tourism activities, they are not all moved by the same motivations and goals. The visitor travels either passively (holiday trip + sightseeing), actively (holiday trip + volunteering) or as a volunteer (volunteering trip).

Nowadays, Latin America and Asia are the continents offering most of these programs. There are both outbound and incoming travel agencies specialized in this type of tourism, and some tour operators have developed business units based on responsible tourism, whereas in Africa volunteering holiday programs are more popular than responsible tourism programs.

Also in Eastern Europe some countries are discovering in this type of tourism a new source of revenue for its poorest regions. Other Western countries such as the USA, Germany, France, Spain or Italy have also included strategies for the development of volunteering tourism products in their tourism development plans.

These type of holiday programs let the visitor truly discover the local culture, staying in local homes or accommodation facilities managed by locals, visiting the destination and cooperating in different social projects. Some examples may be:

  • Helping in building homes for refugees or in the poorest areas of the destination
  • Working as a teacher in primary schools or supporting in sport camps for children
  • Cooperating with an NGO dealing with the victims of a natural catastrophe
  • Participating in an ecotourism program where to work in the preservation of the environment

Some portals like Xmigrations.com work as a search engine for activities and accommodation where you may find nature, sport and spiritual activities in places where you can work in exchange for a free stay.

http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-solidario-y-volunturismo/

Co-creationCollaborative cultureCulture changeInnovative cultureOpen innovation

Shared decisions feel better

 “The social networks potential to turn every citizen into an agent for the improvement of the community is huge” says Alfons Cornella –Spanish Innovation leader- in his book “The solution starts by CO”.

During the last few years it has become fashionable that destinations outsource part of their promotion activities to visitors and local community members. In what could be called co-creation processes, many destination management and promotion bodies have decided to celebrate public elections to select their logos and slogans. In this election there is first a period to receive proposals, and at the end of this period the public election takes place.

At first it may sound very open and transparent. So long as both the logo and the slogan are to become key elements of the destination image, it is good that everybody can express their opinion about it. However, this system may entail some risks. Those who vote probably choose their vote according to purely esthetic criteria, without considering aspects related with the value promise of the destination, or its desired positioning, the targets, etc. As a result of these processes there have been some bad experiences.

The main issue is that the chosen logo and/or slogan should be in accordance with the destination strategy, which is usually defined in a Strategy Plan according to the destination leaders’ criteria. It is therefore necessary to introduce a filtering phase either before or after the public election, to discard all those logos and slogans that do not match with the destination strategy.

In Spain there has been mainly one experience of this kind, in the Basque Country, driven by the Bilbao City Council and the Bizkaia Province Government. These two institutions had been collaborating for a long time, up to the point that they shared a stand in the FITUR Tourism Fair under the brand BI2. In this way, they wanted to leverage the power of the Bilbao brand to favor also the rest of the Province, so long as the Bizkaia brand is far behind in terms of awareness, despite the worthy resources it has. Bilbao, in turn, has experienced a transformation thanks to the Guggenheim effect and the public-private collaboration, which has led to a sustained visitors’ growth in the city.

Deepening in this collaboration line, they have launched a contest to select their new common logo and slogan. In this case, they opened a public contest for professionals under a detailed briefing. As a result of this idea contest, they received up to 84 proposals from 7 different countries. They were all exposed to the public, though the first selection process was carried out by a commission of experts to present 10 final proposals to be voted for by the public. To facilitate participation, they have installed 6 voting points to let locals vote for their favourite choice.

However, the citizens’ votes will count for only 20% of the final decision. The rest will be responsibility of the experts committee led by Garry White, President of the European Cities Marketing Association.

What do you thing about letting the locals vote for strategic decisions of high symbolic value?

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/las-decisiones-compartidas-saben-mejor/

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureInnovationTourism trends

Dinner at my home? It’s 30 Euros

What is a SMART destination? These may be defined in many ways. They are destinations that think and advance strategically, improving competitiveness and searching positioning through effectiveness. Becoming a SMART is no more than a strategy to enhance the destination value by leveraging both the cultural and natural heritage, developing innovative resources, improving the efficiency in the production processes and the distribution, which finally propels the sustainable development. This transformation generates positive effects in all sub-sectors such as energy, health services, security, culture, etc. thanks to the cross-destination impact of the tourism activity.

The key concepts that set SMART destinations apart from conventional ones are accessibility, innovation, technology and sustainability. Among these concepts, new technologies are the ones which are more likely to be perceived by the tourist, namely mobile applications, augmented reality and everything related to data smart management.

There are 4 key concepts upon which Smart destinations are developed:

  • Technology/Big Data
    • Innovation
    • Sustainability: social, economic, cultural and environmental
    • Accessibility

The development of the SMART concept in destinations consists mainly in working to attain a higher profitability in the daily exploitation of the resources. This is to be achieved by engaging both the local community and the tourists in order to enhance interaction between them. There are already some examples of Smart destinations, such as El Hierro island in the Canary Archipelago. Some of its main achievements are the energetic self-sufficiency and the pollution reduction, which have been achieved through actions such as:

  • Waste converted into energy
  • Environment camouflage of telecom and energy facilities and equipment (solar panels, antenna, etc.) within the landscape.
  • Reduction of the visual impact in the buildings and facilities construction, by using local volcanic stone instead of bricks.
  • It has gained awareness and branding by sharing and marketing its experiences in the social networks.

Other actions carried out in SMART destinations encompass:

  • Mobile Applications
  • Tourism Intelligence System, including data transportation and information Smart management, which altogether turn the destination into a SMART destination.
  • Smart office; a common working place where to unify processes which produces a work synergy and allows sense and common methodology guidelines in the transformation towards an intelligent city.
  • Beaches with free wifi

It is important to mention Singapore Smart City, which is on the way to become the first SMART nation worldwide. The country is working on its Master Plan for the next 10 years, which will be focused on the development of smart communities propelled by integration and innovation.

This blogpost is based on http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/smart-destinations/

Business trendsCulture changeInnovative culture

Human digital tourism

Are you a human e-leader? Europe is working to develop more professional profiles that improve their competitiveness and productivity over the long term, focusing on developing attitudes and skills related to humanism, competitiveness and innovation.

Based on a research survey carried out in 2012 by IDC and INSEAD for the European Commission’s Directorate General Enterprise and Industry, named “e-Skills for Competitiveness and Innovation”, it works to visualize the future scenarios that we are likely to face and the challenges that we are likely to tackle.

The focus is on developing social and personal skills, as well as technical and business entrepreneurship capacities in an ongoing way, thus to make human e-leaders. The report explains that Europe has to take advantage of the opportunities in fields such as innovation, new technologies and emerging markets, new ways of managing productivity, etc. without stopping growth.

At present, digital economy makes it obvious that investing in ICT is necessary. However, it is also necessary to have human resources up to date with training to manage and optimally leverage these technologies. Managers, entrepreneurs, and business executives must have e-competences to grow, export and be connected to the global digital markets. In a digital economy, e-leadership skills are essential. —Michel Catinat, Head of Unit “Key Enabling Technologies and ICT” at DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission.

Taking this reflection and the survey results to the tourism industry I foresee that we have to develop a strategy, skills and tools with the digital component in the center, connected to each of these concepts. The tourism industry, through its destination managers such as DMOs and businesses should lead the digital tourism development. This industry, more than ever before, needs e-leaders to orient the good practices of the industry as long as it grows rapidly and is sensitive to all changes and advancements in digitalization.

Digital tourism needs to generate a human resources solid base ready for the digital era, who are not only technically competent but also skilled for human relations through the social networks. At the same time, it is necessary to develop adequate profiles, retain them to let them consolidate their expertise and let them co-create with each other.

According to the mentioned survey, the demand for positions with technological skills will gain importance, and they will be hunted for medium and top managing positions, rather than in supporting and operational levels. E-leaders are expected to be the main drivers of productivity, and so the quantity and quality of those e-leaders is a key asset for an economy to compete.

Nowadays we all try to do more with lesser resources, by reinventing ourselves, the organizational structures, the business model and the strategy we develop to compete. Are we going to be capable of managing and leading teams while mastering the new technological systems to meet both the local and the global demands?

The survey also summarizes the main differences between leaders and bosses considering several issues related to the digital field:

BOSS E-LEADER
The boss manages The leader innovates and starts up
The boss maintains The leader develops
The boss focuses on systems and structures The leader focuses on people
The boss relies on control The leader inspires confidence
The boss asks why and when The leader asks what and for what
The boss does things well The leader does the right thing

If we look at the right hand side column, we can see words such as inspire, develop, people, confidence, etc. The difference is mainly that the words referring to e-leaders are to humanize the relationships between the different levels of the hierarchy.

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-digital/

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative culture

Collaborative tourism: is it an original business model?

When we talk about collaborative tourism or tourism peer to peer, we refer to a new trend in the way of traveling based upon sharing basic resources such as accommodation, transport means or personal experiences with other travelers through platforms where the host publishes his/her offer and the tourist makes the booking.

Theoretically, this phenomenon comes from the collaborative economy model, where consumers may also become suppliers by sharing their means with other consumers, also operating on a global scope, prioritizing human relationship above competition and selfishness. The presentation results in being attractive to more and more tourists, who do not really know the business model completely.

Due to the constant transformation of the virtual economy, the task of identifying and describing virtual business models has turned to be quite hard. However, since this P2P platform business model usually determines it’s success, it is no longer unknown: platforms meet the needs of both supplier and buyer, and take a commission from the booked services price.

Checking the four main collaborative platforms operating in Spain for the four types of services available (eating, accommodation, transport and experiences), we find that their revenue sources are not so different from the traditional tourism intermediation models:

  • AirBnB: charges a commission between 6 to 12%, plus 3% of the conversion rate.
  • BlaBlaCar: depending on the amount of the transaction, it charges 1,60€ for transactions from 1 to 8€ or a commission of 20% for transactions of more than 8€.
  • EatWith: it takes a commission of 15% of the transaction.
  • Trip4Real: it takes 25% of the transaction.

A similar procedure is used for any other tourism intermediary, such as a travel agency, a tour-operator, broker, etc. The difference remains in that these intermediaries comply with the regulations in terms of safety, health and taxes, whereas most of the accommodation and transport means offered in the collaborative platforms do not comply with them.

Therefore, the consumer of collaborative platforms pays a lower price due to the non-compliance with the aforementioned regulations, and takes the risk of suffering any kind of accident without the safety prevention means. Furthermore, despite the social sharing philosophy upon which the platform is created, many suppliers operate for profit rather than for the aim of sharing cost or experiences. However, this is difficult to prove and control.

The hospitality sector’s opinion. The outburst of the tourism collaborative platforms has transformed many housing apartments into competitors for the hotels and regulated tourist apartments, and so it has turned into an important issue for the Public Administration.

According to the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Apartments, there are only two possible solutions to this conflict: the total banning of the platform operations –as has happened in many major cities-, or the obligation for the apartments to comply with the same regulations as the current regulated tourist apartments.

It is necessary to take into account that the tourism sector in Spain is hyper-regulated. There are around 250 regulations at the European level referring to intellectual property, consume, safety and payment means, plus those from the local administration. All in all it entails a great deal of costs that do not apply to the collaborative platform operators, including the VAT, the police files, fiscal and sanitary costs. This is clearly a case of unfair competition. In this regard, there are many points to consider:

  • The regulations applying to these tourist housing apartments are different for every region in Spain, for it is necessary for the destination regulators to study them all in detail.
  • It is necessary to consider the product separately from the platform, taking into account that the platform operation is similar to the traditional channels such as the travel agencies, and so the same regulations should apply.
  • The evolution of the global society is likely to propel this paradigm beyond the current conditions, demanding solutions in terms of adapting the new regulation and policies.

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-colaborativo/

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureInnovative cultureMarketing 3.0

Making collaboration efficient when face to face is not possible

As it has been explained in many posts, content and product co-creation is in the core of Marketing 3.0, though to leverage a significant share of the stakeholders’ creativity potential it is necessary to think of virtual co-creation methods, to complement co-creation workshops and other face to face activities. However, beyond the technological tools such as video-conference, it is necessary to know how to manage virtual co-creation. This article provides many clues to do so successfully.

Started as a simple experiment in social media, in 2010 composer and conductor Eric Whitacre called out to his online fans to record themselves singing “Sleep” by the British choir Polyphony and upload the result. Impressed by the result, he decided to push the concept to the next level by recording himself conducting ‘Lux Aurumque’, then asking fans to sing along to that. This way, the first Virtual Choir was created. The results of that experiment quickly became viral. Now with more than fifteen million views, the Virtual Choir phenomenon has reached all corners of the world, inspiring more and more singers to join each year.

Beyond its beauty and emotional impact, Virtual Choir also fascinated because its implications regarding the potential new uses for new communication technologies and as one of the first virtual experiences turned into something real. The Virtual Choir can also be considered as an important remainder for how businesses might overcome the challenges of virtuality to benefit from innovative and more efficient business processes, customer relationships or forms of production, from co-innovation and co-production to crowdsourcing, crowdfunding or open source.

Not even leaving the limits of a corporation or a company, working remotely can offer operational flexibility, happier employees and lower costs, but to team up virtually with colleagues and coworkers can also pose important challenges. As we know, truly efficient collaboration presents no few difficulties. Virtual collaboration raises even more added complications that require even more care. But as the concept of the extended enterprise becomes more common and most professionals can do their jobs from anywhere, the more critical becomes to get virtual teams right. But how?

Getting right four pillars for virtual collaboration

The answer is not easy. Different studies carried out during the last decade seem to conclude that most of virtual groups fail to satisfy the expectations of companies and their clients. In another study conducted by Deloitte some years ago most of CEO’s and other managers interviewed still considered face-to-face interaction much more productive that virtual communication, and nearly half of them admitted ignorance and confusion about collaboration technologies and their potential.

But some other experts consider is all about how these teams are managed. An Aon Consulting report found that dispersed teams, when run accordingly to this condition, could outperform those sharing the same office space (recording up to 43% higher efficiency). A study of 80 global software teams conducted by BCG and WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management concluded that virtual teams can improve employee productivity when they are properly managed.

But, what do they mean by “properly managed” or “run accordingly to its virtual condition”? According to Keith Ferrazzi and based on his research and experience helping all sort of organizations as customers of his consulting firm, there are four critical elements to get right: right teams, right leadership, right technology and right touch points.

Size is important (the smaller, the better)

We have recently wrote in this blog about how important is to consider people mindset and attitude for working collaboratively beyond their professional knowledge and other skills. Ferrazzi agrees people should first of all be specially suited to work in virtual teams, backing for instance profiles with good communication skills or high emotional intelligence. But it is also equally important to put them into groups of the right size and implementing and clearly establishing and communicating the right roles for each one.

As we know, smaller groups facilitate collaboration. In the case of virtual teams, size should be even smaller than when face to face interaction is the norm (some studies suggest teams of 5-6 people and no more than 10 in any case). Team members reduce effort when they feel less responsible for output, but this fact can equally be applied to non-virtual teams. Collaboration between people not sharing a physical space should pay special attention to ensure inclusive communication, a quality harder to achieve the bigger the virtual group is.

Good leadership amplified

Managers can maximize the productivity of virtual teams also by developing the right leadership. Again, this is a quality to apply to every teamwork, no matter if virtual or not. But right leadership must be amplified in virtual ones. A study of different engineering groups concluded that the virtual teams that performed best were those with managers with previous experience in leading such work groups.

Encouraging open dialogue, for instance, is particularly important in these cases. Leaders of dispersed groups in particular must push members to be frank with one another as the problems associated with lack of affinity are more common and severe for virtual teams. For similar reasons, virtual collaboration requires an extra effort fostering trust among co-workers. Ferrazzi mentions the case of a fully virtual organization that encourage new hires to offer video tours of their work spaces, allowing colleagues to mentally picturing their surroundings in later communications. Managers also push their team members to share personal news as a way to compensate the lack of the common chat about their lives that usually takes place sooner or later when a physical office is shared.

Special care is also recommended about clarifying goals and guidelines and establishing a common purpose or vision (explaining and repeating often the reason of working together and the benefits that will result of that). Particularly vital in the case of virtual teams are guidelines about interaction between members. For instance, multitasking on conference calls should be banned, as full attention is needed when using communication technologies that are not able to fully replace the subtle signals of personal interaction beyond a voice.

Not leaving it all to virtuality

Fostering touch points is also critical. Virtual teams should come together as often as possible. To do so, some specific stages of the working process are more important than others. Kickoff should be one of these for sure, using a first face to face meeting to star working in some of the key points mentioned (clarifying team goals or encouraging trust, for instance). If any proper project management establishes milestones, when dealing with virtual team leaders can leverage them to get people together for celebrating achievement of short-term goals or cracking problems.

And last but not least, efficient virtual collaboration also depends on using the right technology. According to Ferrazzi, even top-notch virtual teams can fail due to poor technology. In this case, recommendations are not so much about detailed features as about fulfilling general needs especially critical in the case virtual interactions. For instance, facilitating automatic transcriptions or records with a simple click, making easy to search for this content in a database or, while using the right tool for each mission, favor technologies that better help to reproduce face to face interaction (videoconferencing instead of a phone call, for example).

This post is from http://www.co-society.com/making-collaboration-efficient-face-face-possible/

Business model innovationBusiness trendsCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainability

B2B sharing: the next logical step for Sharing Economy?

As it has been explained in many posts, collaboration is at the core of destinations 3.0. However, we have focused on the collaborative efforts to co-create or co-innovate with the participation of both individuals and businesses. Another type of collaboration is that of the sharing economy, nowadays in the spotlight because of business models such as Uber or Airbnb, based on peer to peer (P2P) collaboration in sharing resources.

But, what about business-to-business sharing?  B2B initiatives of the sharing economy may not be as well known as B2C’s, but some analysts consider the real power of peer-to-peer exchange may be found in B2B transactions, as businesses could better leverage the potential financial and operational benefits of jumping on the sharing economy bandwagon.

But first, it is necessary to be clear about what “sharing” means. Sharing Economy is a term currently used to designate many different ideas that could be also tagged with so disparate concepts as “gig economy” or “collaborative economy”. For the sake of the argument a sharing economy initiative could be described as one activating idle resources for usage, facilitating the paradigm of access versus ownership, and using technology to enable the matching between idle resources and its demand.

There are still many barriers to B2B sharing…

Key differences between B2B and P2P sharing may explain why you might not have heard as much about the B2B sharing economy as you have about B2C/P2P. For start, there is the cultural mindset we have mentioned so often in here: businesses have been shaped for decades to be competitors, not collaborators. The kind of relationships are used to is exclusively transactional. Owning more and better assets than others is supposed to be a key factor for success. Sharing resources does not come naturally to them, even if there is a benefit for doing it.

Then, there is also the legal hurdles or gaps that many P2P or B2C sharing initiatives are still sorting out. These hurdles are understandably more intimidating in the case of business to business interactions. Finally, the quality and user experience of the sharing economy services is also a factor to take into account. While a disappointing experience is not usually going to discourage a consumer to try again a particular P2P service choosing another peer, a business is less likely to pay for shared services when a bad experience could have a more significant consequences than, for instance, a driver too talky or too quiet in a shared ride.

… but its benefits could tip the scales

But these particular barriers for B2B sharing might be rapidly overcome as the economic environment compels business of all kind of shapes and sectors to leverage its benefits. The promising area of shared commercial services is vast and varied in its potential environmental and economic impacts. Certain B2B sharing services could provide many businesses, especially SMEs, with access to once inaccessible resources that those companies have no way to access if not through sharing. Besides, sharing resources streamlines companies, enabling them to operate faster. It can also allows them to react quickly to market changes in a less expensive and more efficient manner.

For instance in manufacturing, where the increasing versatility spur by flexible manufacturing technologies allows companies to share their production facilities and equipment much easier than in the past. Or in areas related with a bigger pressure for sustainability, where sharing large assets with significant carbon footprints as cars, trucks, industrial equipment or buildings can help to reach environment-friendly goals.

Some examples

The number of B2B sharing economy platforms is still low compared with their P2P counterparts, but some business-to-business players are already enabling businesses to share access to assets as such office space or underutilized machinery:

Sharemyoffice.co.uk lets businesses anywhere in the world advertise their spare desks or office space providing a portal for startups to find their first commercial business space.

Yard Club Rental, recently acquired by Caterpillar, provides a way for construction companies to share their equipment by renting it out when not in use by their own companies.

Floow2 is about sharing between companies every aspect of the supply chain… and more. The most popular categories are cars, trucks, meeting rooms, aerial platforms, communication specialist and designer (yes, professionals can also be shared).

Flexe wants to transform how logistics and supply chain professionals manage growth, inventory peaks, returns and new market entry creating warehouse networks that scale as necessary by connecting organizations that need warehousing space to organizations with extra space.

Breather wants to become the Airbnb for office space and meeting rooms.

Storefront specializes in retail spaces available for pop-up shops.

This post is based on http://www.co-society.com/b2b-sharing-next-logical-step-sharing-economy/

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture change

Collaboration is a Science. The good news is the MIT is researching on it

Collaboration and collaborative intelligence are deeply ingrained concepts within Tourism 3.0. However, there is a lot to be learnt about how to collaborate effectively and how to optimize the leveraging of the collective intelligence for the benefit of the organization. The good news is that MIT is researching about it through various research lines, as explained in this article.

Are we smarter when we work collaboratively?

Depending to who (and probably when) you ask, a very different answer could be given. Several years ago, James Surowiecki popularized the “wisdom of crowds” effect in the book that coined that term, arguing that the aggregation of information in groups results in decisions that are often better than could have been made by any single member of the group. But, on the other hand, we all have also painfully experienced how is possible to have very ineffective groups made up of very smart people. In another bestseller, Quiet, author Susan Cain argued about how organizations undervalue the work and potential of introverts because the social and business cultural obsession with “teamwork”.

So, as usual, the more correct answer to that question is “it depends”. The problem is, we do not know enough about the factors involved in this “it depends”, which is a big ignorance considering we are entering an era in which the concepts of “crowd” or “co-“ are becoming so critical for business and organizations. As we know, different factors push into the direction of making everything more “open” and collaborative, including of course innovation. New communication technologies now allow huge numbers of people all over the planet to work together in new ways. In an increasingly networked world, strict hierarchies are becoming less viable. A new decentralized “bottom-up” management model is needed. And nevertheless, we still do not seem to pay enough attention to understand how collective intelligence works.

The Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT represents an important exception. This first-of-its-kind research effort draws on the strengths of many diverse organizations across the Institute, including the MIT Media Lab, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Dalai Lama Center for 21st Century Ethics and Transformative Values. The Center is laying the foundation for a new multidisciplinary field that involves research challenges impossible to deal with if not from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. This is why works and projects currently developed by the Center involve leading researchers from as different fields as computer science, biology, economics, psychology, social psychology, organizational theory, law and communications.

Understanding collective intelligence

The mission of the Center is to understand collective intelligence at a deeper level that we do today, answering the question of how can people and computers be connected so that collectively they act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer has ever done before. The answering of this question leads to a view of organizational effectiveness that is very different from the prevailing wisdom of the past. It also suggests different ways of thinking about issues as collective productivity, teamwork or leadership, opening up other new questions as what would it mean for a group of people to be “intelligent” or what can we learn from the ways human brains are organized that might suggest new ways to organize groups of people to perform intelligently.

Basically, the Center for Collective Intelligence develops three types of activity. The first one consists in studying collective intelligence in organizations. These studies include different research projects as, for instance, “Sensible Organizations”, a project using new sensors embedded in wearable “social badges” to systematically analyze organizations at a much finer grained level than has been done before; or “Collaborative Innovation Networks”, a research to help organizations increase knowledge worker productivity and innovation.

Secondly, the Center is also developing theories of collective intelligence by observing the new organizational design patterns that arise, especially in the business world. They have looked at more than 200 examples of what they consider interesting cases of collective intelligence, including Google, Wikipedia, the Linux community, Threadless, and InnoCentive. They call this work “mapping the genomes of collective intelligence”, and includes developing a taxonomy of organizational building blocks that can be combined and recombined to tie together the intelligence of crowds. These works also include examining the factors that affect the “collective intelligence” of a group and using the same statistical techniques used in individual intelligence tests to measure the intelligence of groups.

Finally, the Center for Collective Intelligence is also creating new examples of collective intelligence. The biggest project in that area is called the Climate CoLab, where they’re harnessing the collective intelligence of thousands of people all over the world, to come up with new ideas for solving the problems of climate change. As of February 2016, nearly 50,000 people have registered as members and over 1,500 proposals have been submitted.  In addition to members of the general public, the community includes over 200 experts on climate change and related topics who serve as Advisors, Judges, and Fellows.  The 2015 activities included 15 contests on a range of topics from how to reduce emissions from electric power generation to how towns can adapt to changes brought on by climate change.  Nearly 400 proposals were submitted.

This blogpost is from:

http://www.co-society.com/collaboration-science-good-news-mit-researching/

Co-creationCulture changeInnovative culture

The kind of leadership that is music for our ears

Symphony orchestras are the paradigm of traditional autocratic driven organizations, where creativity is severely constrained, thus impeding the musicians to unfold their talent to the utmost. However, Chamber orchestras are a good example of how a smaller group of talented members can cooperate while having free reign to develop their creativity, under a very different leadership style. This article explains a case study that illustrates how Chamber orchestra leadership is appropriate for creative collaboration.

When cellist Julian Fifer graduated from her music studies in 1972, the prospect of becoming another member of a symphony orchestra seemed depressing in the extreme to her. Active in several movements of those counter-culture days and having tasted the freedom of playing chamber music, she was well aware that the role of the music director remained a bastion of totalitarianism and, as organizations go, few were more autocratic in structure than the traditional symphony orchestra.

So she decided to create Orpheus Orchestra as a co-operative 15-members ensemble. That was small enough to perform without a conductor. But it was precisely this innovative approach what attracted other talented like-minded musicians, as well as more concerts and gigs. Suddenly it was obvious that some hierarchy was necessary to reduce complexity and speed decision-making. But this leadership was not to be found by having a conductor, so a new collaboration methodology started to take place.

Today, this methodology is been dubbed as the “Orpheus process”, a process based in some elements that can inspire us when trying to establish a new more collaborative way to work together, the kind of methodology needed for a successful collaborative environment not just to work with some other companies but also internally within our own organization between different units, departments or roles.

The orchestra analogy is not trivial. It turns out orchestral musicians usually rank in the lowest levels of job satisfaction according to different studies on attitudes in the workforce (in one of these studies they even ranked below prison guards). Even under the most benign music director, the creative life of symphony orchestra players remains considerably constrained.

So we have this contradictory context between the need for passion/creativity and systems based on a hierarchical organizations designed to suppress both for the better good of “efficiency”. A contradiction that can also be applied to the most important kind of employees organizations need today and will crave for even more in the future, the kind of employees less possible to be replaced by a robot or a software, the ones adding their passion and creativity as key competitive elements for certain business activities, the ones therefore who will most likely experience a disconnect between their passion for their chosen field and their creative impulses, and not having those things engaged within the fixed, subservient roles of their workplace.

Innovation and collaboration are some of such key business activities. We all already know great ideas don’t depend on hierarchy or seniority, they don’t depend on a pyramidal organization but on a network of enough passionate and creative participants engaged in solving a challenge and, willing to put an important part of their egos aside during the process.

In summary, the process of an orchestra without a conductor producing wonderful music offers a metaphor for us to gain some insights as to how we can improve our process and methodologies for collaboration and co-innovation…

Size matters. Four or five people can easily discuss matters as equals. Some kind of leadership is necessary when bigger groups not just make collaboration more complex, but create a chaos in which it is also more difficult for each member of the group to have a meaningful impact.

Leaderships can be occasional. The Orpheus Orchestra works with occasional leaderships restrained to a particular project. They devised a system of rotating leadership revolving around a “core” of musicians elected for each piece by the musicians themselves, and a concertmaster (chosen for each piece by a committee of orchestra members) that has special responsibilities, as bringing focus and shape to the musical interpretation.

Leaderships are not about “all or nothing”. At the Orpheus Orchestra some teams form and disband from project to project, but others are longer range and involve larger artistic and administrative duties. Contrary to most of orchestras, they do not have a single artistic director but three coordinators (elected by members) who develop different roles usually hold by just one person.

Absolute power is bad even for the leader. There is a benefit in sharing power. To be leader all the time could be terribly stressful (therefore not good for taking the right decisions). By rotating between numerous positions, members of the Orpheus Orchestra can use a wide range of their talents and pursue different interest in addition to the highly specialization of playing their instruments.

Success is the best antidote for deniers. “At the beginning, there were probably only a couple of nuts in the orchestra who would consider that we could ever do a Beethoven symphony without a conductor. After 10 or 12 years, there may have been a few more people who thought we might have been able to tackle it”, explained violinist Ronnie Bauch, one of the first members of the Orpheus Orchestra.

What You Can Learn About Collaboration and Leadership From a Chamber Orchestra

This blogpost is from  http://www.co-society.com/kind-leadership-music-ears