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Planning for “Hack for Sweden”

The largest hackathon in Sweden, “Hack for Sweden“, takes place next weekend and I’m looking forward to the privilege of being part of the jury again. Hack for Sweden is “a unique collaboration among 30 government agencies and organisations that want to enable the development of new services and products using their official open data.”

Today’s planning meeting was held at the venue in Kista (photos below). It’s a record number of participants this year, more than 200+ are registered. Among these we have talented UX’ers, designers, developers, and quite a few “innovators-of-everything”. I expect lots of IoT experiments and hope to see several soldering irons.

For those of who participating, the agenda can be found here…  See you on Saturday morning!

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Office 365 FTW

Microsoft’s Office 365 is growing into becoming a very impressive cloud based solution platform. I’m kind of rediscovering Office these days.

Sure, we’re getting the relevant (and at times cool) “typical Office program” improvements. But mostly, we’re getting cloud based Enterprise class features for the digital workplace, which competes well with niche players across the board. It also, in most respects, compares favourably with Google’s G Suite…

Office 365 connects the dots between team collaboration (Sharepoint), file storage (OneDrive), real time communication (Skype, Yammer), analytics (Power BI), and so on. I’ve been a loyal user of Dropbox, Slack, Whatsapp, and our organization currently uses IBM Connections for team collaboration. The past couple of months, as we’re rolling out Office 365, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Microsoft has come a very long way on its transition into the clouds, and it’s time to re-calibrate my toolbox.

Office 365 is evolving rapidly as well. I recently discovered StaffHub, a new tool for team planning and scheduling. Free in the Office 365 license we have at work. And saving the best for last… more and more Office 365 APIs are getting published, making the platform excellent in terms of building custom built solutions that still integrates into core cloud features. On that note… if I were to add/integrate any features to Office 365 in anyway, it would be using the nifty collaboration platform Incentive.

So, this Sunday evening recommendation is to continue exploring the new side(s) of Office 365 and don’t forget to check out Incentive.

Shocked and surprised boy on the internet with laptop computer concept for amazement, astonishment, making a mistake, stunned and speechless or seeing something he shouldn't see

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US: Prepare to hand over your passwords

Recently the US government begun asking travellers entering into the country to disclose active social media accounts. The reason is said to be an effort to spot potential terrorist threats. Visitors filling out the online visa waiver application (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) are required to input account names on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.

Chances are that if you’ll be questioned, your passwords may be “confiscated”, as well. Check out Engadget’s article “The Border Patrol can take your password. Now what?” to learn more.

I don’t mind fighting terrorism but believe few of them, if any, will be caught after having disclosed accounts and passwords. The odds of that… Instead, I’m concerned where we’re heading regarding foundational democratic rights. What happens when a government goes from being good to being bad, and we’ve surrendered everything?

La Grulla, Texas, USA - September 21, 2015: A  Border Patrol agent searches a 14 year old Honduran boy he apprehended on the banks of the Rio Grande River attempting to enter the United States illegally.  There was a sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied Central American juveniles, most fleeing gang violence, trying to enter the U.S. illegally over the summer.

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Excellence is 3 raised to the power of (i*e)

The formula of success, in the coming few years, is “3 to the power of i”. If you get this formula, you will improve your organization’s shot at winning.

Digital transformation evolves around extreme focus on world class digital customer experiences, operational excellence, and business model transformation. That said, you can’t succeed in any of those domains without understanding the computing concepts defined in IDC’s model of the “third platform”. In short, the first model was the mainframe, the second model was the PC model, and today we’re building solutions on top of the third platform which is far more complex and stands on four pillars:

  • Cloud
  • Mobile
  • Analytics
  • Social

So, you need to use and relate your digital solutions design to these pillars, in your organization’s transformation. Unfortunately, winning is not as easy to do only this. The future takes this one step further and you now need add the dimensions of innovation capability and emerging technologies.

How you address the topic innovation has become critical. Aspects including “open vs closed innovation”, embracing chaos in ideation and incubation, and always quickly testing ideas in real user contexts, are vital to your innovation capability. (My advise is to pick up the book “The Innovator’s Method” (by Nathan Furr and  Jeff Dyer) for a practical guide to how to succeed.)

Innovation today has a crucial relationship to emerging technologies, such as AI, conversational UI, and robotics. Forrester Research recently published an excellent model, explaining how different emerging technologies relate to each other, and when to expect them to reach their full disruptive potential. See the illustrations below.

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If we now put the third platform’s “Cloud, Mobile, Analytics, and Social” next to innovation and emerging technologies, the road ahead appears. You need to look at all of the intersections and work out your approach to each of them. For example:

Cloud + Mobile + Innovation + AI
Cloud + Analytics + Innovation + IoT
Social + Innovation + Conversational UI

… it’s also a simple formula to remember, if you ever are asked to quickly explain what to focus on in the coming three years!

Rendering Power Circle Hologram on black background

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Things that matter

I got a text message from my brother, still in his forties, less than a week ago. The text said: “They say I need heart bypass surgery.”

I was in the middle of a meeting where we discussed pitch strategy for one of our customers. So I left the meeting, to call my brother. He’s been training to run the Stockholm Marathon and had experienced chest pain. At the hospital, doctor’s discovered the cause and that it needs immediate heart bypass surgery. We had a brief talk on the phone, mostly about what the doctors had said and what the plans were.

When we hung up, I couldn’t stop the tears. Just the thought of the risk of losing my brother had me terrified, fear radiated straight into my soul. I couldn’t just go back into the meeting, had to take a few minutes to collect myself.

The days and nights since then, my thoughts and prayers, have been with my brother and his family. I’ve visited, we’ve talked on the phone, and communicated electronically. Not just us, but the entire family. Tears, hope, trust, fear, anxiety, hope, reassurance, tears. Staying close to both my brother and all my loved ones.

Meanwhile at work, I’ve met prospective clients and presented. We completed and delivered the pitch. All the time, with my heart and mind with my brother. He’s now had to be transported to another hospital and surgery is finally scheduled for tomorrow.

I can take this post into a few directions from here. I can take it into the value of having an understanding manager and supporting colleagues. I could reflect on things I would like to have done better, generally, in my work-life balance. Or the post can go into just pausing for a second to contemplate on what’s really really important in life. Did you say and show to your loved ones that you love them?

… however, there’s only place I can take this post to: It’s to my brother and his closest family. I’m thinking of you, all the time, and I’ll be there when you wake up. And I look forward to taking walks with you in warm spring sun. I love you.

Respect and praying on nature background

Respect and praying on nature background

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