As part of my job, I sometimes get invited to speak at events, webinars and / or conferences, and over the years I’ve found the following steps very useful in preparing and delivering a successful talk. These steps are equally applicable to organising events or moderating panel sessions:
- Agree the Topic – Hopefully, this will be based on your speaking proposal. However, some conferences (e.g. The Open Group Conference) have a pretty well informed audience which sometimes make it a mutual learning experience, especially in ‘hands-on’ style workshop sessions. Whatever you do, try to avoid overt product pitches as these can be a major turn off for audiences & organisers.
- Session Formats – This depends on what you’ve been allocated. Session formats are typically proposed ahead of time by the event organiser. Some common event session formats include: Keynote Address / Multi-speaker & panel sessions / Hands-on workshops / informal networking (including with vendor stands and/or exhibitions)
- Presentation Format / Q&A – This is typically based on personal preference. I normally use PowerPoint slides, and often split the session 70/30 between presentation and Q&A. If you’re more comfortable doing both simultaneously then let the audience know either way. Some more adventurous souls may also include live demos and / or just straight ‘chalk and talk’.
- Audience – Obviously, try to modulate your message to match the audience. Attendees at IT conferences typically work in IT (or related fields/industries), and can be a little tough to impress, but I find asking questions and facilitating exchanges usually helps to keep them engaged.
- Timing & Logistics – This needs to be agreed beforehand with organiser – Time and duration are crucial to overall presentation flows, hence organizers can get a bit miffed at overly long sessions.
- Marketing & Comms – Suggest giving a heads up to your marketing and comms teams for any relevant marketing support / steers. They may even provide promotional materials, but do check with the event organiser that it’s ok to bring and share such items. Furthermore, your marketing team can also help promote the event via their usual channels and via social media e.g. blogs / Twitter / LinkedIn etc.
- Feedback & follow up (post event) – This can often be overlooked, but it’s very useful to bear in mind when networking. LinkedIn is a useful tool for managing contacts / follow-ups / promoting your participation at the event. Some organisers also provide session feedback post event – a glowing recommendation helps to keep the speaking engagements flowing!
In conclusion, if like me you have a masochistic yen for public speaking, then the above tips and guidelines should help make it a little easier (but not necessarily any less painful) to do do. In any case, good luck, and remember to have fun!
- The copyright yin and technology yang – Copyright has always had to change and adapt to new and disruptive technologies (which typically impact the extant business models of the content industry) and each time it usually comes out even stronger and more flexible – the age of digital disruption is no exception. As my 5 year old would say, “that glass is half full AND half empty”
- UK Copyright Hub – “Simplify and facilitate” is a recurring mantra on the role of copyright in the digital economy. The UK Copyright Hub provides an exchange that is predicated on usage rights. It is a closely watched example of what is required for digital copyright and could easily become a template for the rest of the world.
- Copyright frictions still a challenge – “Lawyers love arguing with each other”, but they and the excruciatingly slow process of policy making, have introduced a particular friction to copyright’s digital evolution. The pace of digital change has increased but policy has slowed down, perhaps because there are now more people to the party.
- Time for some new stuff – Copyright takes the blame for many things (e.g. even the normal complexity of cross border commerce). Various initiatives including: SOPA & PIPA / Digital Economy Act / Hadopi / 3 strikes NZ have stalled or been drastically cut back. It really is time for new stuff.
- Delaying the “time to street” – Fox describe their anti-piracy efforts in relation to film release windows, in an effort to delay the “time to street” (aka pervasive piracy). These and other developments such as fast changing piracy business models, or the balance between privacy vs. piracy and technologies (e.g. popcorn time, annonymising proxies, cyberlockers etc.) have added more fuel to the fire.
- Rights Languages & Machine-to-Machine communication – Somewhat reminiscent of efforts to use big data and analytics mechanisms to provide insight from structured and unstructured data sources. Think Hadoop based rights translation and execution engines.
- The future of private copying – The UK’s copyright exceptions now allow for individual private copies of owned content. Although this may seem obvious, but it has provoked fresh comments from content industries types and other observers e.g.: When will technology replace the need for people making private copies? Also, what about issues around keeping private copies in the cloud or in cyber lockers?
The role of Chief Innovation Officer, or Head of Innovation, is fast gaining traction and attention within various organisations and industries, but why is this happening now, what does it entail and who is best suited to fulfill the role? These were some of the questions I had in mind when I got an opportunity to spend the afternoon at a recent Chief Innovation Office Summit in London, UK.
The 2 day summit featured a host of speakers and topics related to innovation, including networking and hands-on workshops – because, after-all innovation is about deeds, not just words and ideas. The attendees list read like a who is who of Innovation leadership from new and established organisations. Some key takeaways include:
- The right Culture for Innovation – many more companies and individuals have recognised and are making tangible efforts to identify and address the need for innovation leadership in their industry. This will help nurture and promote desired behaviours to create and benefit from an innovation culture.
- Connecting people and ideas – It takes a combination of business, social and technology innovations to really make an impact – for example, a clean tech solution provider described how it’s solar power product creates income streams (business innovation) for roof owners who chose their aerodynamic solar panels (tech innovation) which can be installed without risky invasive fastenings onto rooftops. Also, they’re the biggest distributor of solar powered lamps in Africa (social innovation).
- Communication is key – the summit presentations provided a balanced a mix of vendors / service providers and end user organisations with real case studies to provide a fertile ground for sharing progressive thinking about innovation. Some of the presentations, innovative products, services and initiatives described or demo’ed at the event were indeed amazing to behold.
- Seeing is believing – For example, one of the sponsors demonstrated a 2 sided innovation approach with a workshop designed to allow participants to appreciate the need to address both external (your customers) and internal (your organisation) requirements for innovation. This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of innovation efforts, in my opinion. The question of ROI, aka what’s in it for your firm, will always trump even the most innovative customer solutions.
- The cool tech factor – Of course, the usual collection of toys and gadgets were on display from sponsors, vendors and attendees – e.g. I even had a photo op with Google Glass at lunch, courtesy of a fellow attendee – it seems wearable computing devices are de rigeur for every tech innovation conversation these days.
In conclusion, and to answer some of my initial questions, it is obvious that more people and organisations are looking to innovate in order to survive and thrive in today’s business environment, and this event highlighted the continuous need for dialogue and cross-fertilization of ideas between all stakeholder. Therefore the role of a Chief Innovation Officer is suited to someone who understands the need to nurture the culture, make connections and communicate with all stakeholders about innovation. In Capgemini, our innovation groups understand the triple need to nurture, connect and communicate innovation across an ecosystem of partners, clients, employees, suppliers, and even competitors, in order to realise the full benefits from innovation.
Full marks out of ten for the summit organisers and I certainly look forward to participating, and perhaps even presenting, at another one of their excellent series of events.
Over the past few months, I had several opportunities to engage in the conversation about the role of Intellectual Property (IP) in the new world of Digital, and in so doing, I’ve managed to tease out certain key questions and concerns surrounding this topic, e.g.: What challenges and opportunities does IP bring to the Digital feast? How does the ‘sharing’ economy affect established notions of IP, and how effective are current efforts to update and harmonise IP in the digital age? The answers are slowly revealing themselves, but the following observation points will hopefully highlight the way.
What is Digital?
The term “Digital” means different things to different people, (including those that consider it an extremely irritating term for something old repackaged as a new ‘buzzword’). In my opinion, the term Digital can be used to describe various new and emerging products / services / processes / user behaviours etc., that are enabled by digital technology. It works equally well in describing innovative, disruptive trends (e.g. big data and predictive analytics) and / or re-imagination of pre-existing technologies (e.g. Cloud).
How does IP figure into it?
Intellectual property is the concept and mechanism through which creators and owners of “works of the mind” may derive economic benefits from their works (e.g.: inventions, designs, works of art, and trademarks). By its very nature, IP is constantly challenged by those self same things for which it was designed – e.g. printing press, audio-visual capture, playback and distribution technologies, and even this new fangled 3D printing. The Digital world merely amplifies an age old problem which reappears with alarming regularity with each new shift or breakthrough in technology. However, this particular incarnation also begs the question of whether the concept of IP is intrinsically flawed in a digital universe
Key Trends in society / technology / business
In any discussion on this topic (i.e. IP and the digital economy), you’ll invariably pick upon certain trends as key catalysts for change, which typically fall into any of following groups: socio-economic trends, technology trends and business trends. If you don’t believe me, then go ahead and give it a try with any of the following trends e.g.: social media, aging population, real-time dynamic pricing, predictive analytics, digital transformation, 3D printing, and even “sharing economy”. Such trends are redefining how we live and do business in a digital world, but are they all merely symptoms of the same phenomenon?
How will law and regulation keep up?
Not very well, I’m afraid. How can we best apply governance to emerging phenomena such as Digital? To say it is very difficult would be an understatement, considering that these changes also affect the law, and law makers, too. This is a perfect example of what city planners and business school professors consider to be a “wicked problem”. Existing rules of society and international law struggle to encompass the global reach and impact of digital technologies whereby information can spread, at the speed of light, to all corners of the world heralding the lofty dawn of unified global thought, sentiment and action, or anarchy. In order to remain relevant and useful, the concept of IP needs a major rethink and rework to align with a dynamic digital landscape. However, this is not the preserve of a few sovereign governments, and more needs to be done (at an international, collaborative level) to even begin nursing any hope of having an impact on Digital and human cultural evolution.
Digital transformation and business model innovation
In my opinion, the future of business lies in the ability to reinvent itself and take best advantage of the constantly emerging game-changing technologies, products, services, and usage paradigms. One such avenue is via business model innovation – a technique that makes use of a simple business model canvas to articulate any business model, in a fast and dynamic way. Technology is no longer a barrier to entry, therefore the true measure of fitness must have to do with a business model’s flexibility and adaptability (for competitive advantage) in the digital universe.
In summary, and regardless of where I’ve held these conversations (e.g. at the Copyright and Technology Conference, or Digital Economy and Law Conference, and even at the BCS, Chartered Institute for IT), these same questions and concerns have become a recurring theme.
Ps. I will look to delve into these topics at my next speaking event, on the 22nd of January 2014, and hope to provide further insight and provocative questions on digital economy and IP. Also, we’ll get to hear a speaker from one of the world’s foremost organisations at the forefront of Digital. Don’t miss it (or at least come by and say hello), if you happen to be in London on that day.
The last Open Group Conference in London provided an opportunity to hear about latest developments in Health, Finance and eGovernment. It also featured major milestones for the Open Group, e.g. the successful conclusion of the Jericho forum (on de-perimeterised security), and the rise of Platform 3.0 (aka Digital). Read on for some highlights and headlines from the event
eGovernment – According to one keynote speaker, the transition towards egovernment is reflected in growing demand for the IT industry to help implement or enable such major initiatives as: open data, global tax information exchange, as well as an enterprise architecture plus supporting data structures to cover all human endeavour. The Global Risks 2013 report illustrates pressing issues to be addressed by world leaders, particularly in the G8 and G20 countries which together represent 50% – 95% of the global economy. Some IT enabled scenarios, such as massive disinformation and the dangers of starting “Digital wildfires in a hyperconnected world”, illustrate the hurdles that need to be overcome with vital input from the IT industry. According to one attendee, “…government is just the back office for the global citizen”. Overall, these initiatives are aimed at connecting governments, by enabling better information exchange, and providing much needed support for an emerging global citizen.
Platform 3.0 – The conference provided updates on Platform 3.0, (aka the Open Group’s approach to Digital). Andy Mulholland (Ex Global CTO at Capgemini) set the scene in his keynote speech, by discussing the real drivers for change and their implications, plus the emerging role of business architecture and innovation, as well as the Platform 3.0 approach to Digital. Subsequent sessions provided a summary of activities outlining key Principles (and requirements) for Platform 3.0, including: the role of the IT organisation in managing digital (i.e. brokering anywhere / anytime transactions), Inside Out vs. Outside In approach to interaction, and the challenge for Enterprise Architects to acquire key skills in organisational change & behaviours, in order to remain relevant.
eHealth – Several sessions were dedicated to the trends and impact of technology on healthcare. Topics discussed include: Big Data in healthcare and the growth in Smartphone or smart device capabilities for health care. Also discussed were:
- Shrinking R&D budgets leading to collaborative efforts (e.g. Pistoiaalliance.org ),
- Explosion of health monitoring related services and offerings e.g. self help health websites, bio telemetry wristbands etc.
- Personalized Ambient Monitoring (PAM) of mentally ill patients, using multiple devices and algorithms. apparently 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some kind of mental illness within the year.
- Unobtrusive Smart Environment for Independent Living (USEFIL) aimed at senior citizens
- Trends in life logging (e.g. quantified self and life slices), heading towards embedded or implanted devices (e.g. digestible RFID chips)
- IPv6 and ubiquity of information points – ID management for tomorrow will include a surfeit of personal data.
However, key challenges discussed include privacy issues regarding the collection, storage and access to personal / health information. Also, who will monitor all that data gathered from sensors, monitoring and activation from the Internet of things for healthcare?
Innovation – These sessions focused on various aspects of future technology trends and innovation. It featured speakers from KPN, IBM, Inspired and Capgemini (i.e. yours truly), discussing:
- Smart technologies (e.g. SMART Grid) and interoperability constraints, plus the convergence of business and technology and fuzzy boundaries of “outside in” versus “inside out” thinking
- New technology architecture opportunities to leverage world changing developments such as: Semantics, nano technology, 3D printing, Robotics and the Internet-of-things, overlaid with exponential technologies (e.g. storage / processing power / bandwidth) and the network effect
- Effects of Mobile and Social vs. traditional MDM, plus emerging trends for incorporating new dynamic data (sentiment analysis / IoT sensors plus deep / dark data).
- Use of big data to enable the Social enterprise, via smarter workforce, innovation and gamification.
- Case study of Capgemini internal architecture and innovation work stream – illustrating key organisational trends and cross sector innovation, plus challenges for internal innovation, and the emerging role of business model innovation and architecture
As you can probably surmise from the above, this multi-day conference was jam-packed with information, networking and learning opportunities. Also the Open Group’s tradition of holding events in the great cities of the world, (e.g. this one took place just across the road from the UK Houses of Parliament), effectively brings the latest industry thinking / developments to your doorstep, and is highly commendable. Long may it continue!