Napoleon Bonaparte : in retrospect, quite a “cool boss”


Engraving of Napoleon BonaparteI live at about 2km of Quatre Bras and 30km of Waterloo, both epicentres of  Napoleon’s last battle and one of Europe’s most epic battles of history  it was ! I have always enjoyed  reading about Napoleon and this summer took out some time to read  “Waterloo – the last 100 days” from Flemish writer Johan Op De Beek. 

There is no denying that Napoleon remains an enigma –  to some he was a hero and to  others a tyrant.  Fact is that overall, history remains particularly kind to his achievements in contrast with so many autocratic leaders history has born.

Even Wellington who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo turned out to be one of Napoleon’s biggest admirers. He has been instrumental at stopping the Prussians of wanting to execute Napoleon upon his capture after Waterloo. Wellington is claimed to have said :” we cannot be associated with executing one of histories’ most extra ordinary leaders”.

Colossal Leader Continue reading

Our new electronics revolution made of the top of your pencil

How “Graphene” will leap frog Mobility

Graphene is one the worlds best kept secrets. Especially as it is nothing short of becoming the most important enabler for a revolution in electronics but more particularly in mobility.

To summarise graphene has the capacity to turn consumer electronics into a world of flexible, paper thin, super light, unbreakable devices. “You could theoretically roll up your iPhone and stick it behind your ear like a pencil,” stated Professor James Tour, of Rice University. But beyond traditional electronic devices we know today it will enable many new fields of innovation just like “plastics” did in the 50ties.

No surprise that Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester who discovered graphene won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 “for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene”.[4] 

What is Graphene  ? Continue reading

What if your business model would be disrupted by a NETWORK effect !

…. and not a network of people but an intelligent network of things….

Many of us have or will get into first contact with the Internet of Things (IOT) through gadgets like Fitbit sports/ health bracelets. Yet all of us should think about how the Internet of Things will most likely radically change the industry we work in by fundamentally  affecting our business model.

I have posted below two articles that I think capture best the rapid evolution of digitalisation. Companies often see a digital transformation primarily behind an efficiency / cost driver. Digitalisation however can also introduce major innovation when one is ready to fundamentally rethink the business model.

Products as a service

Mike Kuniavsky recently posted network a good recap of how many of our industries will change due to digitalisation (read – From Selling Products to Managing Service) . I totally adhere to his view that the physical world slowly but surely erodes to become more digital, creating as he nicely says  “shadows in the cloud”.

By doing so it is allowing products to move away from being box moving / one shot sales to being sold “as a service”. This obviously brings along a totally new customer relationship.

There is however another advantage of the move to digitalisation. As more and more products will become digital we will start thinking more and more of products acting like elements of an (IT) network. Over time, the more diverse elements join the network the more intelligent the network will become and thus in turn the more intelligent the products can become. Continue reading

Get rid of the second TV’s in your organization !

How conflict avoidance creates complexity

Collaboration is becoming a rundown word. By now every manager read books about its importance and how to install it in it’s organisation. Yet, as organisations we have never been so unproductive and employees have never been so disengaged.

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This is the starting point of his must see TED talk of Yves Morieux (BCG). While I’m not sure that he comes with an easy to implement set of solutions (he calls it  “six ways to get people to solve problems with you“) , I do know that I have never heard such a brilliant analysis of the problem.

Companies, he says, organize their businesses around two management pillars : i) a hard approach around  structure, process , systems , metrics and ii) a soft approach around feeling, interpersonal, relationship, people traits and competences. These pillars however  taken alone or together are falling short of addressing the new exploding complexity.

Traditional collaboration

Intuitively we know that improving collaboration (he calls “interplay”) remains the proven driver for use of less resources and increased agility. However, a hard approach wants to work on collaboration by creating new boxes in the organisational skeleton – i.e. new functions (e.g. a role of “Mr Simplicity). This creates explosion of interfaces and coordination problems.

On the other hand, Continue reading

Providing Meaning is key to get Share of Mind

Engagement = “Motiv”-ation = “Meaning”-ation

In my previous post on Enterprise Agility I talked about the challenge of employee engagement. I came across an old Ted from Dan Ariely (watch his TED on What makes us feel good about our work ?)  who  always as passionate, scientific but bang on, really captures the essence on key drivers of engaging people. Enjoy watching the TEd and reading my views/recap.

Industrial world versus knowledge world : Efficiency versus Share of mind
Dan puts it really well that in an industrial worldview, engagement really only used to be measured by physical output : how many bolts per minute do you bolt on. In other words it is all about efficiency. In a knowledge worldview it is really hard to measure “efficiency” : Continue reading

A causerie on Enterprise Agility, the new corporate discipline

I had the pleasure this week of being part of a panel organised by Executive Circle on the topic of Organisational Agility : the new corporate discipline.

Throughout the two hour debate we had a really rich discussion which I found worth recapping. Any reaction is welcome !

In summary we discussed that Organisational Agility needs to mimic Business model agility. Technology is becoming a key enabler for creating more and more agile organisations. However the soft framework of Trust and Value strongly influences the speed of agility and how well team members engage. Engagement is key for collaboration which is the ultimate goal of an agile organisation. Finally, in a changing environment, individuals need to engage in self started individual learning in order to constantly adapt.

For more details, please read further

  1. Organizational agility needs to mimic Business model agility : the group was Continue reading

Our driving experience re-invented through connectivity

Leapfrog in Machine to Machine : the Automotive case

IMG_00000357Every year I have the pleasure of hosting a Mobistar/Orange Machine 2 Machine (M2M) event where we invite roughly 500 customers, Suppliers and Mobistar/Orange employees to do the state of the union of the M2M industry. Supporting the good functioning of the M2M ecosystem over the last 10 years has been key to foster an open innovation culture and secure our market leader position.

This year,  in the historical setting of Val Duchesse, I opened the plenary session with an analysis on the key dynamics seen over the  last 12 months in the M2M market and how well we are doing in getting ready to achieve the famous 50Bn connected devices all analyst have been talking about.

Summarising, I believe that the last 12 month has shown what an exponential growth looks like when we see what happened in the Auto industry. This is an industry that has turned a Government enforced connectivity (starting with E-call) into a real opportunity to change its market dynamics and redefine the driving experience. As such, each M2M initiative is re-enforcing the next one creating a real “multiplier” effect. The Automotive case is a good illustration on how M2M will affect other verticals (Utilities, health care, enterprise mobility)

I have posted below the longer version of my notes during my introductory presentation

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What if animals could communicate through the internet ?

1373703069395What if animals could communicate through the internet ?

Actually the question is not “what if” but rather “when”…

I recently saw this TED talk entitled “Interspecies internet .. an idea in progress.” This is a combined initiative of four people — cognitive psychologist Diana Reiss (who works with Dolphins), musician Peter Gabriel, computer engineer Neil Gershenfeld (MIT professor) and Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet. Their core message is that we basically totally forgot to think about how to integrate the “bio mass’ (animals) in how we think of the future of internet.

Vince Cerf reminded us that  the internet was intially intended to be a platform to connect machines (i.e. “internet of things avant la lettre”). Very quickly however it became an “internet of people” with more than 10billion people connected. It is only recently that we have come to retalk  of  the “internet of things” also called M2M (Machine to Machine) where we expect to have 50bn connected devices. Examples are connected cars, appliances personal health devices etc…

Introducing the Interspecies Internet  (I 2 I) 

In the last 40 years tons of experiments illustrated how we have learned to communicate / talk with (certain) animals. The most famous experiment is probably the KoKo Gorilla (the 8 Continue reading

Teaching of self-awareness to young future business leaders – simple yet visionary idea

philippe_naert_276x160Teaching of self-awareness to young future business leaders – simple yet visionairy idea from Professor Naert (Dean of AMS)

At a recent Procter & Gamble Alumni event Professor Naert shared his vision on how to develop young talent. Professor Naert has been called a serial Dean with amongst other, being the Dean of INSEAD for 4 year. He has developed a unique business driven vision on what future leadership should aspire to and more importantly how it can be installed in young promising talent.

Professor Naert is now Dean of the Antwerp Management School (AMS). He shared the Mission (here below) of the full time executive management program that has been developed three years ago . Continue reading

How to develop a transversal Digital Strategy.

the-digital-edgeThis Gartner book perfectly outlines what major business transformation opportunity companies have ahead of them by implementing a true Digital Edge strateg. The book  particularly points out how a transversal Digital Edge strategy, ideally run by a Chief Digital Officer, is instrumental to roll out a Mobility strategy of people and machines. It illustrates that Mobility is bringing a “context feedback loop” (called Extraction loop) that only Mobility can enable. It is the recent evolution in Mobility that are making  recent Digital strategies  so disruptive.

An absolute must read (short 120p) !

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