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.

Screenshot 2017-03-03 14.26.27

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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The window for “digital”

Digital strategy, digital transformation, digital innovation… How much longer will the use of the word “digital” still be relevant? For example, is it possible, in 2017, to have a business strategy which is not “digital”? Is it time to drop the word?

Today, most organizations, have come a long way on the journey to becoming truly a digital enterprise. Radically improving customer experience through context relevant, omnichannel solutions, digital twins of products and services, accelerating their workforce with realtime analytics driven decision making, and innovating business models using platform economy principles… they use digital to drive intensified customer obsession.

However, the fact is that still many organizations have yet to take even their first steps. Still stuck in old, physical-only, ways of doing business, some seem to believe it’s enough to have a static “home page”.

I believe that in times when companies win or lose depending mostly due to their ability to excel digitally, the window for the word “digital” is still open. But we are in twilight times. The window is closing quickly. Those that didn’t get it, will be gone, and for the rest, “digital” will be just “business as usual”.

I’m giving “digital” a best before 2018. Ten months to go.

man hands touching smartphone, closeup, double exposure with modern city skyline

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Open letter to Schiphol airport

Dear Schiphol airport,

I’m writing this open letter to you both as a manager in the IT-industry and as a father. I’m humbly asking for your assistance in one of our (as in everyones) most critical challenges. I’m asking you since I am frequently a customer of yours. I’ve travelled through your airport more than fifty times the past couple of years.

In our company, we work hard every day trying to recruit new female IT-talent and we actively work on improving gender diversity in leadership positions. There are many reasons why this is difficult and I believe in addressing all of them, always, and as soon as we see them.

One of the reasons why it’s difficult to solve the gender diversity challenges is most likely found in how we shape our young ones. This is what happens every day, also at Schiphol airport. In one of your stores, you are allowing/making an unfortunate distinction between boys and girls. See the photos below. Note the sign saying “Girls”. (Not long ago there was also a sign saying “Boys” hanging over the building/robotics section.)

By allowing/making this distinction, you help shape the unfair and unfortunate norm that girls should play with dolls and boys should build and learn about electronics/robotics. This is where the IT-industry’s challenge starts. This is where girls are told to stay away from robotics and where boys are told that playing with dolls is not OK.

I would love to see, when I return back to Schiphol, that this store makes no more such gender distinctions. I would be very happy to see you/the store owner arrange the products in other categories, instead. There are many other to choose from (age, interests, brands, arts, craft), without using stereotypical and polarising characteristics (blue/pink or doll/action).

Thank you!

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