Issue V

October 08 Cover

Innovation driven by ICT Users

Volume: 2008, No. V

Date: October 2008

Guest Editors: Alfons Cornella-Solans, Teresa Turiera-Puigbò and Mads Thimmer

Contents: Download full issue (2.2MB)

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Is the Online Volunteer the New Capitalism?

A new model of production is making its mark on the global economy. Thousands of volunteers form a digital network to collaborate on a complex project. And who would believe that these online volunteers could outperform the biggest and wealthiest companies in the world? But that is precisely what is happening. This model of production is not only a wealth driver in the digital world. It is also a laboratory for experimenting with more lightweight forms of collaborating, with more flexible infrastructures, and with a degree of generosity and idea sharing that might serve as an example for many other economic sectors. Will the online volunteer form the basis of the capitalism of the future? Download

The IT Role In Innovation

Innovation nowadays seems better described as the result of multiple interacting actors and in terms of a complex system where innovation is an emergent result. Innovation can also be portrayed as a product of the confluence of three spaces. One corresponds to the technological capabilities of a given moment. The second one comprises the business models that enable instrumenting and capturing value from these possibilities. And the third one describes the societal value, hence consumer acceptance of the product of the last two. The confluence of these three spaces will determine the value of a certain proposition. Because interaction is progressively global and mediated through Information Technologies (IT), because companies are rapidly embracing Open Innovation and because new forms of connecting and socializing are invading our social life, the locus of innovation is poisoned to change from the Research and Development (R&D) departments to open organizations with diffuse boundaries and ultimately the Internet. Download

From the Physical U-Biquity of Networks to the Virtual I-Biquity of Information Provided by the Users Themselves

In the very near future time will be, if not already, one of the most treasured elements. In a complex world which presents us with a plethora of choices at every turn, anything that saves time and reduces the number of decisions we need to make will be swiftly embraced by citizens, regardless of age or social profile. Institutions should pay special attention to this factor when designing services for citizens, since the problem of our modern day cities is not whether or not we have access to the information we need, but rather the need to access very precise information exactly when we require it. We need intuitive, ambient and up-to-date information so that, rather than having to rely exclusively on "official" information channels or channels set up by the public administrations themselves, we can also make use of an entire "digital territory" fed by the citizens themselves as a result of the growing use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Download

Five Practical Cases of Content Generated by the Consumer, for the Consumer

The article describes five practical cases of new products and services of varying sizes developed thanks to the collaboration of the following information technology users: 1) A micro enterprise (travel agency) which will offer its customers a blog where they can write about the trips they have made with the idea of retaining their loyalty and generating opportunities. 2) A Small/Medium Enterprise (SME), Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector, which delivers free specialized courses via an online learning platform in order to build networks and attract future customers, employees and collaborators. 3) A well-established T-shirt selling company with a major online presence which uses its Web portal as its main way of contacting its customers. 4) A citizen information and relations system in a village of 300 inhabitants. 5) A personal freelance blog running on a home server and an ADSL connection. Download

The New ICT Driven Doctor-Patient Relationship

Web2.0 tools and the increasingly more widespread use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) among the general populace is bringing about a major change in the traditional communication flows between the healthcare system and patients. The possibility for patients to exchange information, consult, check, compare and even influence the decisions of a healthcare centre is also helping change the way such centres are managed, as well as their strategies for the future. This article describes in detail two success cases (PatientsLikeMe and Patient Opinion) which combine the use of ICT, social networks and health information exchange. Download

The Importance of Users as a Source of Information When Designing Interfaces

To ensure that a product or service meets pre-established targets, we need to focus its design on the end user so that the user’s experience of that product or service will involve a minimum of stress and a maximum of efficiency. An experience in which usability and visual ergonomics will play a very important role in producing emotional results in the user that will make for a satisfactory user experience. One of the most commonly used techniques today is Kansei engineering (KES), a term derived from the two Japanese words Kan meaning sensitivity and Sei meaning sensibility, which is used to denote the ability that an object has to produce pleasurable feelings when used. Other methodologies help to achieve maximum alignment between the expectations of the end user and those of the product’s designer/developer. Everything, absolutely everything, is information; we need to be able to order and manage it optimally to make it our ally in the development of a product or service. Today information management is one of the cornerstones of technological progress, in both design and engineering. Download

Inno-this and Inno-that

How do we get from radical rethinking clichés to business? Companies have to close their eyes and leave apart for a while all the structures that do not enable them to think in a full freedom context, and go ahead with real innovation. In the author’s view expressed in this article, companies’ strategists and CEOs should avoid completion, employ the wrong people, forget about the business concept, give away their products, use their money on hot air, never think about the future, never abide by the management theories, define a diffuse strategy, never invent new products and, last but not least, share all their secrets. Download

When Products Communicate

This article describes the so-called user-driven innovation focussing on the testing of families’ attitude to the use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) solutions. We know very little about how consumers will receive the extra information services made possible when RFID is applied throughout, for example, the food chain, and not only just as a new technology focused on optimizing the production value chain. The increasing use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by average citizens allows users and consumers to have a high degree of control of the outcome of the product as well as the methods and principles under which they are produced. Download

In the Knowledge Society, Knowledge is Losing its Value

In the knowledge society, knowledge will cease to have any value. Ten years ago a highly knowledgeable person was greatly valued, but nowadays we can access all the knowledge in the world with a simple mouse-click. What will be valued is collective wisdom. We will need to learn how to manage collective intelligence and arrive at a new definition of the concept of innovation. It all boils down to a problem of ego management. The answer is to turn enterprises into flat and open ecosystems in which knowledge can flow freely. Download

Urban Computing: How Technology Applications Can Help to Improve Urban Life

Urban computing refers to technologies which can be used to track how citizens use some services in order to update or improve them. The widespread use of mobile phones and the Internet highly increases the chances of tracking consumer habits of using citizen services, thus obtaining valuable information to improve public and private service offers. Download

The Future of Geographical Information Systems

The most outstanding change in the last couple of years in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has been the large numbers of the general public that have started using it on a day to day basis, especially through the use of tools such as Google Maps. More and more people will be interacting with geographic information to create their own information. The ordinary user will replace governments and other agencies as the main information providers. Another important factor is the move that GIS has made from computers to mobile phones. Companies like Nokia or Google itself are becoming increasingly interested in offering users the information they need, where they need it: local restaurants, weather or traffic reports, etc. Download