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Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Fundstücke category.

Enterprise 2.0 – Twitter & co to revolutionize business practice

A couple of days ago we started to think about introducing a management information system, some kind of a „cockpit“ tool, which provides management with news about projects, sales, and all other information on what’s going on in the company.

But then we visioned the picture of just another ERP tool, hardly fed with information from employees and therefore not very accurate. Another „off-the-shelf“ tool that needs to be individualized to our company needs, gulping thousands of euros and bearing the same project risks of never being fully implemented as so many ERP tools before. Another complex tool that only 10% of features are really used.

STOP: we are an INNOVATION company – we HAVE to find a better way. From my private experience with Twitter I know that it is a great tool to stay in touch with my folks – after receiving up to 20 short messages from a friend who lives in Amsterdam per day, I get a very good background noise and sense on what that person is up to, how she feels, even a clear picture of how the surrounding environment looks like. Why not use a communication tool like Twitter in a company context.

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After some research we discovered Yammer, a spin-off from Geni, founded by former executives and early employees of PayPal, eGroups, eBay, and Tribe. Yammer Inc. offers a free Yammer tool, basically an enterprise version of Twitter with some incredible features:

  • Brief, but frequent updates on what everybody is working on – n : n
  • Asking questions and posting new ideas in your virtual office – retrieving feedback instantly
  • Tagging option which allows search functionality on specific topics
  • Tag clouds and sorting functionality which allows analysis of the companies communication habits such as ‚who is most communicative?‘ ‚What are people talking about most?‘
  • Building of a strong knowledge base for later investigations in certain topics.
  • Yammer provides a web, desktop, iPhone, Blackberry, SMS and Instant Messaging interface – so users get the information onto their fingertips

We are going to introduce Yammer in our company – it serves best for groups up to 20-30 people. We will ask everybody to at least once a day post a short status update on what happened during the last couple hours and what the person is working on or planning to work on today. It will be exciting to see how this is going to help internal communication.

Yammer is a winner of the TechCrunch50 Conference 2008 – watch them explaining their service and going live.

By Bernhard Hoetzl

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Killer Startup: mygazines.com

1 month in (beta-)operations – 16.000 users!

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Mygazines is a site that allows you to browse through, collect, and personalize all of the magazine articles that interest you. The site is based on uploaded magazine articles, brochures, and pamphlets done by its users, and makes it possible for the community to check them out with a whole bunch of options. Magazines can be viewed in their entirety, or searched and read based on specific articles. When users find articles that they want to hold on to for later, they can save them, bookmark them, share them, or store them for later use. Once articles have been selected, a mygazine can be created, which is basically a magazine including all of your chosen articles organized according to your design. You could search for or upload various nutrition articles and recipes and then create a mygazine with all of those tidbits organized and browsable, so that you don’t have to go sorting through each different publication later on. When viewing the articles from the site, you can flip through the pages as if you were reading and checking out an actual physical publication. The difference is that this version doesn’t waste paper, can be tagged and saved without taking up space or wasting time, and can work as a scrapbook of sorts for all of your favorite articles.

Source: http://www.killerstartups.com/User-Gen-Content/mygazines-com-uploadsharearchive

Some thoughts:

  • Are we experiencing a digital déjà-vu from the music business?
  • Should information be free – at all?
  • Are illegal sites such as mygazines.com stealing intellectual property and about to kill an entire industry?
  • Will the iTunes business model work in the same way as it did in the music industry?
  • Are we looking at the future of journalism?

Legal competitors such as http://www.digi-zines.com, another online digital magazine aggregator, who also try to grasp the enormous user benefit, seem not to provide the same value of content.

Starting at step 1: the production of the content of a magazine, book, or newspaper is not possible without costs. If those costs will not be covered, this will have an impact on the production of the content. But before publisher associations and big media companies start suing mygazines.com, which provides a fantastic technical solution on meeting a clear user demand, they should reconsider their actions and rather ask whether premium content, even if production costs are involved, could not be for free? Will people really stop to buy and read paper magazines if they can access the content online for free? Or will even more users get in contact with magazines they never had a chance to buy in the store next door? Just think about the Austrian snowboarder being able to read Australian surfer’s magazines? Some time ago I read an interesting case about online publishing a book: for all kind of network, community and behavioral reasons – the sales of the paperback version increased after it was completely downloadable online.

I think the clash of old economy and new online business models will continue in different industries and there is only one way out of it:

1. Start re-inventing your business before others do!

2. Consider the opportunities of the online world rather than the threats!

Magazines should improve the quality of their online portals. Publications such as the Economist, a weekly business magazine, add value to their content which makes it worthwhile to pay for a subscriptions – and harder to copy the model. For example, I regularly download the complete read out mp3 articles onto my iPhone for later audio listening.

Further, publishers should consider the impact on sales if they find smart ways to provide content to a global rather than a local community, i.e. they could find other ways of making revenue such as cross-financing and advertising to cover production costs of content, their are even very successful in the real newspaper world – just consider all those daily free subway and train-station newspapers.

It will be interesting to watch if the industry has learned from the music business – in any way “when the wind of change is blowing, you can build walls or – windmills!” (old chinese saying).

By Bernhard Hoetzl


Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise: McKinsey Global Survey Results

McKinsey, a business consultancy, released it’s second annual survey on the business use of Web 2.0 technologies – including wikis, blogs, social networks, and mash-ups.

Some of the most interesting findings include:

Business are now shifting from using them experimentally to adopting them as part of broader business practice – to forge tighter links with customers and suppliers and to engage employee more successfully.

Still, under a lot of dissatisfaction.

Satisfied companies, however, are starting to leverage tools to change management practice and organizational structures, encouraging customers to join them in developing products (cocreation) and to tap into distributed knowledge.

Companies in all regions perceive wikis and blogs as fairly important, and the use of both tools has increased over the past year.

As Web 2.0 gains traction, it could transform the way companies organize and manage themselves, leading to what some have dubbed Enterprise 2.0.

There are few differences in size, region, or even tool use between companies that are satisfied with their Web 2.0 experience and those that are not. This suggests that today’s seemingly insurmountable barriers could overcome through the adaption of managerial methods that satisfied companies use.

Successful companies already use Web 2.0 for business applications such as communication with customers and suppliers; soon they may use it to drive innovation.

By Bernhard Hoetzl


USA 2008: Google Visit

In our recent research we were focusing on companies that have successfully implemented management innovation- one of these companies is google.

We were spending one day at the googleplex in Mountain View and had the chance to deep dive into the culture, leadership approach and human capital management…

Google’s founders have often stated that the company is not serious about anything but search. They built a company around the idea that work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun. To that end, Google’s culture is unlike any in corporate America (and the rest of the world), and it’s not because of the ubiquitous lava lamps and large rubber balls, or the fact that the company’s chef used to cook for the Grateful Dead. In the same way Google puts users first when it comes to our online service, Google Inc. puts employees first when it comes to daily life in our Googleplex headquarters. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to the company’s overall success. Ideas are traded, tested and put into practice with an alacrity that can be dizzying. Meetings that would take hours elsewhere are frequently little more than a conversation in line for lunch and few walls separate those who write the code from those who write the checks. This highly communicative environment fosters a productivity and camaraderie fueled by the realization that millions of people rely on Google results. Give the proper tools to a group of people who like to make a difference, and they will.

Ten things Google has found to be true

We are impressed and we see what an organization can reach if it fully supports the management innovation approach!

by Florian M. Stieger


Thoughts on Management Innovation

The entire concept of Strategic Planning has to undergo a FUNDAMENTAL change, from focusing on what is visible to focusing on what is invisible, instead of focusing on visible opportunities, a firm has to focus on OPPORTUNITIES THAT HAS NOT ARISEN YET, BUT WILL ARISE TOMORROW, Given the pace of change today, TOMORROW WILL ARRIVE SOONER THAN WE ANTICIPATE, hence : LET US BUILD OUR TOMORROW TODAY BECAUSE TOMORROW ARRIVES SOONER THAN WE THINK.“

Posted by S Dasgupta, a researcher in strategy from India, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Pilani. (BITS-Pilani), on June 2, 2008, at HBSP Discussion Leader.

By Bernhard Hoetzl


Prof. Helmut Karner on Austria’s Role in Global Competition

Prof. Helmut F. Karner, a Management Consultant and Portfolio Worker as well as mentor and network partner of FUNKENSPRUNG had a remarkable discussion with Reginald Benisch, a chief editor, about Austria’s role in global competition. Published in „Goldener Trend„, an Austrian business magazine, in June 2008.

Article as .pdf.

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Picture: Trend.at


Management Innovation at Whole Foods Market

To be honest: looking at the food retailing industry in general at a first glance, one would hardly imagine much of innovation. Usually it is high-tech companies such as Apple or Google that lead the attribute “Most Innovative”.

Nonetheless, Whole Foods Market, an American retailer, impressively proves that innovation, especially strategic and management innovation can be successfully implemented in any company of any industry:

“Founded in 1980 as one small store in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market® is now the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, with more than 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. To date Whole Foods Market remains uniquely mission driven: We’re highly selective about what we sell, dedicated to stringent Quality Standards, and committed to sustainable agriculture.

We believe in a virtuous circle entwining the food chain, human beings and Mother Earth: each is reliant upon the others through a beautiful and delicate symbiosis.” (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com)


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What we find innovative about Whole Foods Market? The management’s lateral and out of the box style of organising and running the business.

Curious about their unique way to manage the stores – i.e. teams are fully responsible and autonomous to decide about their area, for example the seafood department in the store – I decided to check out one of their view markets in Europe, the one on High Street Kensington in London.

What I found was amazing – a gigantic super market for organic food and specialities, most aesthetically presented in a tremendous variety and appealing environment. I had the choice to pick out of ten (!) different types of tomatoes, some of them I have never seen before in my life, or more than 100 different types of cheese from seven continents.

Whole Foods Market is well known for it’s unique management innovation approach and has been highly successful by doing so – a visit to one of their stores will make this clear to you immediately and should get you to thinking about the potentials of management innovation in your company.

by Bernhard Hoetzl


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