Back in the MVP program!

I’m back in the Microsoft MVP Award community! No, I wasn’t awarded another MVP award – instead, I joined the recently launched MVP Reconnect-program!

Some of my first projects and online contributions related to Microsoft mobile technologies, and I was awarded several MVP-awards by Microsoft for my work. I made many friends through my years in the MVP-program, some I still engage with frequently. Therefore, I am glad to be onboard the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Program again!

The MVP Reconnect-program is originated from Microsoft executives and former MVPs joining in comments like:

Several former MVPs grew in their careers and today, they are CTOs and decision makers. I have a lot of respect for these peers and I listen when they talk. Their experience is king and I would love to see them get involved with the community again! … I am missing the MVP networking and the people…. That energy is unique.

The program is now “a new venture designed to keep MVPs connected with Microsoft and with key professional communities”. The MVP Reconnect-program management writes:

The idea behind the program can be best described with an analogy from another industry: The Oscars are one of the most well recognized and prestigious awards in the film industry. From the moment someone wins their first Oscar, they become part of a very special community – that of Academy Award Winners – and they belong to this community forever, even if they don’t win an award every year. There is a very similar concept in our MVP community that we are helping to formalize: once an MVP, always part of the MVP community! … still deserve recognition for being a valuable part of the Microsoft ecosystem! We are very happy to announce MVP Reconnect!

MVP Reconnect is thus new a channel for me, and my team, to stay connected to other community leaders and Microsoft. As Capgemini Scandinavia CTO, engaging with partners – Microsoft and others (the list is long) – is of outmost importance.

And on a personal level: I am so looking forward to re-engaging with fellow MVPs where ever their careers may have taken them!

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Tuesday thoughts

Tuesday thoughts… My journey into applied innovation started many years ago. In a sense, it started in Paris, 1998. My first meeting with a handheld device. I knew instantly that mobile would be a fundamental change driver. I didn’t know exactly where that insight would take me, but I remember thinking that I KNEW something about the future that not many more knew at the time.

I decided, on my own, to make applying mobile technologies to drive great customer experiences my “apple tree”. Plant it, care for it, and see it bear fruit. It did.

Building teams, seven global Microsoft MVP awards (Mobile Devices and Device Application Development), two co-authored books, 100+ columns and technical articles, significant global mobile projects, meeting C-level executives across all industries, a global delivery center in India, and so on.

Today, still on fire for applying innovation that drive real value (“Value in the making”): organizational innovation capabilities, platform-driven business, agile transformation, and emerging technologies such as machine learning, AI, data driven decision making, and automation.

I constantly find new reasons to be thrilled working with this team and with our customers! Learning and working for impactful applied innovation every day.

I love apples.

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Artificial intelligence and consciousness (video interview with professor Peter Århem)

Artificial intelligence trends have some bold and inherent ambitions. Are they too bold, too unrealistic? What do we really know about intelligence and human consciousness, and how does that translate to how close we are to general AI.

I recently met and interviewed professor Peter Århem, Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, to find out. We met at his home and he generously shared his thoughts and reflections on questions like:

  • What is intelligence?
  • What is consciousness and from where does it originate?
  • Reflections on artificial intelligence.
  • Is it possible to build a machine so that consciousness “appears”?
  • Connections between today’s AI-implementations and intelligence?
  • Tips on the road to AI!

Note: The video is in Swedish.

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NFC chip implants are a bad idea

In the video below I outline five reasons why I think NFC chip implants are a bad idea.

As a quick background: I had an NFC chip implanted and used it as a boarding pass when traveling. I recorded a video showing what it looked like when I had the chip implanted and also when I used at the airport. I did this to find out whether or not it’s a feasible usage of NFC technology. My conclusion is that it is not. (Check out the original video here…). However, I did learn a lot from a general innovation and experimentation perspective. I’ll come back to that in a later post.

In summary, the five reasons why NFC chip implants are a bad idea include:

  • Solves no real problem
  • Doesn’t work well
  • Takes more time (compared with using tags not implanted, or in the case of boarding passes – the old kind, paper or device)
  • Not possible to use the NFC chip for more than one thing at the time (in the majority of solutions)
  • Serious health risks

Note: The list does not include irrational fear relating to integrity and privacy, since NFC chips cannot be remotely monitored or controlled. The “NF” stands for Near Field. Also, the list does not either include any irrational pseudo-Christian criticism. I have commented on this already in the Comments-section in the original video and won’t engage any further on that topic here.

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We need a chatbot! Now what?

1998: “We need a homepage!”
2008: “We need an app!”
2018: “We need a chatbot!”

Most know it’s inevitable. Few really know why. Fewer know how.

Every ten years, we seem to leverage new technology driven curiosity. We iterate through discover, pilot, learn. Eventually we end up in sustainable business impact.

My advise is to not oversell the first few projects. Believe in them and enjoy the ride of piloting, but don’t overspend. Don’t kill the bot baby, instead evolve it. Try with real users, real customers, real people.

As with the first homepages (1998) and apps (2008), some won’t see any use and some will even mock. Don’t be the latter. Focus on usefulness and push on.

Some bots today are obviously just simple IF-statements, just as some of the first homepages just were static brochures. Other bots are just a simplified menu system, exactly as some of the first apps. Eventually and if you sincerely focus on making this happen, your bot will deliver on the true cognitive promises of being:

  • really understanding both what you say and mean, in context
  • really learning from its conversations
  • really being able to connect to unstructured and unknown data sources on its own

My advise for the initial few phases:

  • Start with a narrow but business relevant scope
  • Identify what is new and what is not; for example natural language processing is new (compared with apps), context relevance is not. Learn and/recruit for the new.
  • Involve real users / customers
  • Understand the importance of architecture
    • Master data management
    • Omnichannel enabled digital platform, APIs
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with multiple AI/ML/cognitive platforms at the same time
    • IBM Watson, Microsoft Cortana and Azure Bot Service, Google Cloud AI and Prediction, Dialogflow,, Amazon Lex, to name a few leading alternatives

… and most importantly, have fun. Life’s too short to not enjoy the ride.

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