The relentless generation of digital content

We can’t stop the creation of digital content. The Internet is full of content – and garbage. People do not read; they scan pictures. People are busy, pretending to consume more and more information. Along these lines, this post is short and includes a picture.

content

Image: Erik Fitzpatrick licensed CC BY 2.0

By creating good stories we can make our voice stronger and publish more content. Good storytelling has always been a valuable skill. Storytelling applies to everyone who interacts with other people: in business, research, education and in family life.

Digital storytelling brings together digital content, including images, sound and video, to create a short movie, including a strong emotional component.

Today, everyone is a storyteller. Everyone can create content using a smartphone or tablet. The vast number of non-professionals armed with their mobile devices, sharing pictures with friends; these people are not trying to make money.

In “the content noise” era, there is a significant growth in demand for high quality content.  For professionals it is  important to  provide  the  right  content,  to  the  right  people  in  the  right moment. And it is important to support users who are at the same time content creators and content consumers. We can’t stop the creation of digital content, but we can manage it. Undoubtedly content management is becoming a lucrative business opportunity.

Joanna Bubala, writing from i3D, inspired by NEM SUMMIT 2016

NEM (New European Media) nem-initiative.org is an initiative to support Europe’s activities on the Future Internet and Future Media Internet as major innovation area.

A good business model should make your organization antifragile

Just like a living organism must be able to cope with external stresses, such as extreme temperatures, attacking microbes, annoying neighbors, and mindless politicians, an organization faces its challenges too and it must cope with them. We can easily guess what they are: extreme macro-economic conditions, attacking competitors, annoying union officials, and… mindless politicians.

In his phenomenally insightful and deservedly bestselling 2012 book “Antifragile. Things that gain from disorder” Nassim Nicholas Taleb argues that coping by being totally rigid and unresponsive to shocks is not the right strategy. It is much better to be resistant by virtue of being flexible and adaptable. But the ability to tolerate stress is not enough. The true power lies in being able to thrive and capitalize on stresses, using them as stimuli for our own improvement. This is what Taleb means by “antifragile”.

While antifragility as the concept introduced to our current management language may be new for managers and management theorists, this way of thinking about the entities that exist in the world is familiar to biologists. When exposed to microbes in childhood, the immune system of the adult organism works better; allergies are becoming widespread because children grow up in overly germ-free environments. Similarly, when facing competition, companies work better. Without such stimulation, they become lazy, then sluggish, and may easily slip into oblivion.

Since business model describes the entire “metabolism” of the organization, it is sensible to explore the relationships between the business model’s structure and the organization’s fragility and antifragility. Importantly, antifragility should reside in each and every building block of the business model, from the financial aspects to relationships with partners, customers, and employees.

Business model reinvention should be the process through which organizations become antifragile. Only after we have managed to rethink and reshape our business model, does the old adage from Friedrich Nietzsche “if it does not kill you, it will make you stronger” become true. In the context of business and management, “stronger” means more innovative, more competitive and more profitable.

Michal Jasienski (jasienski@post.harvard.edu), writing from the Center for Innovatics, Nowy Sacz Business School – National-Louis University, Poland

Virtual reality and the future

The VR European Congress 2016 was held at the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw on 3-4 November. This was the first event of this scale organised in Poland, dedicated to the rapidly developing virtual reality (VR) technology. For more information about the congress, see here: http://vrcongress.pl/o-kongresie/?lang=en.

Among the presenters was Marcin Wisniewski, Director of Sales at the Reinvent partner i3D. In his presentation he emphasized that VR is more than games and entertainment. VR makes it possible to realistically represent places that are difficult to access or unsafe, e.g. for employee training. Businesses are increasingly using VR for training, sales, simulations and prototyping. Marcin presented some interesting case studies including from the oil industry, education and heavy industry.

 

Joanna Bubala, writing from i3D, Gliwice, Poland

 

 

Reinventing place – The story of one city’s transformation

Horsens is a small city (pop. 55000) tucked away in a less-travelled corner of Jutland in Denmark. The city has an inauspicious history – a grim legacy created by the prison that used to be the city’s main landmark. The result was a predictably poor self-image:

If there was a town that couldn’t do anything, it was Horsens. The big, the strong, the spectacular – we left that to other towns.

Henning Nörbæk

Unlike most other Danish cities, Horsens has a few hills, and the old prison sits atop the highest of these, casting it’s menacing eye over its surrounding environment.

How then can Horsens have become the city that attracts the most people moving to or within Jutland? There is an inspiring story of transformation here; the story of Horsens’ transformation from being a prison city to being an experience city. And every Horsensite knows this and is proud of it.

The prison is still there – having been transformed into a museum – and houses a rich collection of stories and myths. One of the most famous stories is the story of Carl August Lorentzen, who escaped from the prison in 1949 by digging a tunnel. Over the tunnel’s entry, he wrote these words „hvor der er en vilje, er der også en vej” (where there’s a will, there is a way). This echoes the „can do“ attitude that has become part of Horsens’ DNA.

Today Horsens is an “up and coming”, vibrant, fun city, that still relies on its old industries centered around the Horsens harbour – but also new creative industries driven by entrepreneurial spirit.

How did this happen? It certainly wasn’t just luck. The following are some factors that we believe contributed to this reinvention of place:

  1. Shared history: Horsensites are Danish, quintessentially so – but not only are they Danish, they are also Horsensites. They know their country’s and their city’s history, and are proud of both.
  2. Politicians who put their money where their mouths are: The City Council has worked actively and tirelessly to reinvent Horsens as an experience city, including investing substantially in urban renewal.
  3. Football: This may sound strange and non-intuitive, but few things bring a community together like the local team. Swap in any popular sport – there is nothing magic about football per se. Horsens’ interest in their local football team led to the building of an impressive sports arena, which not only hosts sporting events, but also concerts, drawing crowds from all over.
  4. Clear vision: When Horsens decided to reinvent itself, the end goal was clearly defined. Horsens wasn’t just going to improve itself, Horsens was going to become an experience city. A place where locals and visitors could enjoy fantastic experiences, ranging from the staged experiences in the arena, to the semi-staged experiences in the glass cube strategically positioned in the center of Horsens’ pedestrian street, to the quiet friendly experiences of the renovated urban landscape.
  5. Marketing around one simple theme: The experience theme was defined 25 years ago; the results started to come about 10 years ago, and are still being realized.
  6. Population „buy-in“: Strike up a conversation with any Horsensite and the odds are they will tell you about Horsens and its impressive reinvention. Everyone knows the history and everyone knows the course on which the city is headed. One of the slogans Horsensites love is „at løfte i flok“, or „to pull together“. Horsens’ reinvention would never had happened without full commitment and tangible involvement by all major players in the community, such as businesses, the city council and other public organizations.

Did you notice? It’s not about attracting tourists – who would only come for a few days, leave a bit of money and then leave – it’s about attracting people to move to Horsens.

And it seems to be working.

 
Pia Schildknecht and Marina Candi, writing from Stormsalen in Horsens, Denmark