Quotable quote:

“Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity”
Michael Porter

During the CeBIT 2012 opening speech, Jackie Taranto, MD of Hannover Fairs Australia, highlighted the three big trends that are driving innovation and impacting the way we do business.

The three are:

  • Movement to mobile
  • The rise of big data
  • Social Enterprise

These themes were expanded in the conference program, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to chair both the Mobile Conference and the Social Enterprise Conference.

Following are some of the themes and takeaways:

There has been a shift in the way we share, communicate and collaborate – and in particular, these elements are feeding off each other to make the challenges and opportunities more significant.

Move to Social Everything

There are two sides to the social story. The first, highly publicised, is the use of social media to share what we are doing, what we are seeing, and who we are chatting with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and more. A means of being closer to celebrities thought leaders and world events.

Early adopters are experiencing social media fatigue. Late adopters are overwhelmed by the options (add Google+, Yelp, Foursquare and many many more to the above list) and new alternatives that are springing up on a daily basis.

Company directors are generationally trained to use the phone and email as the primary communications methods – and as non-users of social media frequently don’t understand the impacts or how to keep on top of it, so ignore it as irrelevant.

As these platforms change and evolve we see new features and functions, and new innovations emerging. Innovation is terrific for those of us who are early adopters and love playing with the latest new thing, however, most of the world isn’t like that. For those trying to manage a corporate social presence, and in turn, create cultural change inside the customer-facing side of the enterprise, that is a real challenge.

Changing World of Collaboration

The other side of the coin is about how we collaborate and share with co-workers and business partners – both in and outside of the enterprise. The business case for collaboration is simple – a more engaged workforce, better outcomes through better information sharing, being able to get to the right people and the right knowledge at the right time.

Yet, it is frequently difficult to tie a number to the “aha” breakthrough moments or the loss experienced by a staff member searching for information and just giving up because they can’t find it.

Big data is melding and mashing with social – and mobile. A classic example is the Social customer relationship management (CRM) tools – that allow you to know the latest on job promotion on LinkedIn, a status update on Twitter, holiday mention on Facebook, location patterns from Foursquare  – to help understand your customers better and build more personal relationships.

Or the implementation of social tools like Yammer – that help all within a business understand and break down the barriers between production and sales, management and the teams, front of house versus the back of the house. Yammer will experience massive growth in coming years – next to no cost to establish – and frequently takes off like a bushfire. However, like all communications needs some guidance and policy – as well as the right environment and encouragement.

Social Activism vs Slacktivism

Amongst the positive, there is the rise of social activism to contend with. Social provides the means of harvesting and influencing group opinion rapidly. It is a potentially dangerous whip against brands.

Then there is the negative cousin – social slacktivism – click to like, therefore you have done your bit for a cause. However, a click is – albeit small – a step to actually doing something such as telling others, making a donation, getting involved. It provides social proof that it is ok to believe in a cause…

The Rise of Big Data

Adding to the enormous amount of information that people are now publishing about social media, we have access to vast amounts of customer data. We can use analytics to deeply understand viewing habits, target communications based upon interests, identify the predictive customer defection and staff dissatisfaction.


Mobile is the next marketing landscape. Our media consumption habits are changing and marketers need to determine how they can take advantage. Search Google GoMo to check how your site stacks up for mobile devices.

The Casualties

Retailers aren’t the only ones finding the internet incredibly disruptive.  Traditional media are finding it hard to compete – witness some 2000 jobs that will go from Fairfax and News in coming years announced just this week.

I hope that having to pay for the information contained in papers to be sent digitally will ensure the quality is high. It will also see the emergence of online alternatives that are not affiliated and are commanding big audiences with high-quality journalism such as The Business Spectator and Crikey, and the independence and mobile strength of the ABC.

I believe this change is really exciting. It has the potential to help us build better more responsive companies. and the cloud-driven social space means we can iterate and test much faster at a lower cost.

Here are links to photos from the conferences:
Mobile Conference
Social Enterprise
CeBIT Presentations on Slideshare

It is the competitive edge that all will need to strive for, and worth getting a sense of it by noting Cebit 2013 in your calendar for May next year.


Emergination also provides briefings to organisations on technology and how it will affect their organisation, as well as developing strategies to apply emerging technologies for competitive advantage.