A quick feedback from Autonomy 2017 in Paris

Attending with some customers and partners the urban mobility summit in Paris right now, I feel a bit uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable actually.

Most of the things we are seeing or talking about during keynotes are quite nice and somehow crafty. How to unlock car sharing or green mobility in this town, or that other one? Are we are going to manage mobility data? After all the buzz with MaaS, how are we going to do it? Will Hyperloop bring peace and end hunger worldwide? Etc.

All that is cute, and sometimes even a bit exhilarating.

But right now OFO is ready to dump thousands and thousands of station-free bikes all other Europe. This is immediately cancelling our clumsy, step-by-step, let’s see what works here and there first, approaches. While we’re playing table tennis with dozens of ill-funded startups all other, reinventing the wheel (quite literally sometimes), massive operators have readied themselves already at scale to play global nuclear warfare.

If we want to have a say in the future or European mobility we need to stop thinking in terms of “Are people in this city going to use our solution?” but immediately “How do we scale our solution Europe-wide?” Everything else is DOA.

But I don’t feel any sense of urgency around me. Autonomy 2017 is like it was in 2016. Is this groundhog day?

This is key.

This is what we need to help solve with the FabMob initiative.

5 takeaways for innovators from NEXT17

Digital sucks was NEXT17 conf theme this year. Here’s my take on all keynotes and workshops I attended from where to innovate, looking to China and culture.

So I spent 2 days in Hamburg with a big bunch of nerds (self-declared) who are involved with digital and the business of the future at the Next17 Conference entitled “Digital Sucks!”. You may not have been able to join this year, or you are French and didn’t know about it (apparently I was the only French person in the room) so I would like to share with you my 5 take-aways:
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How the iPad Pro became our main work computer

After trying these last years to work with a first generation iPad and a year ago with a Surface Pro, I was not impressed — to say the least. But since a few months the iPad Pro has become my main computer. What has changed?

Three months ago I started to switch from my Mac desktop and laptop to an iPad. I was working in Shanghai giving classes and conferences thinking on how to have the most minimalist setup for this kind of interactions. When you focus on mobility and travel it’s difficult to beat a 9.7-inch iPad. And since the new ‘Pro’ version was readily available, there was the promise of removing past problems I encountered trying an iPad for work.

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My next keynote on the second coming of Cloud

My upcoming keynote for an undisclosed executive team will be trying to map out how businesses will be changed within the next three years by the next wave of cloud technologies.

Stéphanie and I are regularly delivering strategic keynotes for executive boards in various markets. They all address key issues at stake for specific industrial customers. They are also all wrapped under some form of NDA or another. While it’s always frustrating not to be able to share things, we try from time to time to afford some level of teasing…

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So what’s next in business agility?

Innovation fads are coming and going every two or three years. They express how most companies are troubled about technology acceleration and markets transformation. Fair enough. But shouldn’t you pause and actually leverage what you explored before jumping to the next trend?

So yes, we are going to the NEXT conference in Hamburg this year, whose theme is: Digital sucks! After years of excitement with everything digital, the time of disenchantment is upon us and the Next conference will ask / answer the question of what’s next? This triggered my thinking about what is next in business agility, now that all the corporate excitement about working with startups and being intrapreneurs is deflating like a souflé.

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What constitues a good startup problem

It seems deceptively simple to define what constitues a good market problem to work on as a startup. It is actually rather subtle and for some part very counter-intuitive.

Most of the startups participating in one of my trainings are initially shocked at the inordinate amount of time I spend working on ‘the problem’. I’m certainly not alone there. Everyone who is regularly dealing with startups gets eventually frustrated to see how they concentrate en masse on building a product and not focusing on what the market actually needs. And while anyone who ambitions to shake a market’s status quo shouldn’t be too pragmatic, as much rationality as possible should nevertheless prevail. But, very few are the startups committed from launch to tackle a clear-cut problem.

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When Star Wars will be shot on iPhone

Most of companies just trudge in the future of their market very passively. With a poor strategic grasp on technology they usually wake up when their customers have no reason to speak to them anymore. They all know it. So why is it still so difficult to wake them up? Why?

As much as we are lead to believe, innovation is rarely straightforward and understandable. We think we get it from a TED talk or a trendy book, but it’s essentially the same as learning paragliding through YouTube. No one serious would recommend that. When I need people to understand innovation there are tricks and shortcuts. I use them to try to spark a ‘A-HA’ moment —a symptom that you can shift away from your usual canned understanding of the matter to something entirely different. One such shortcut is asking « When will the next Star Wars be shot on iPhone? »

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You might need a Company Culture VP

Having an Innovation or Digital VP in is always a good sign that the company doesn’t care enough to invest deeply the subject. Someone eventually ends up in charge because the board passed the hot potatoe to her. But for corporate culture, that might actually be a good idea…

In the past year or so, with so many media scandals about various company culture dysfunctions, many other corporate cultures being dissected, scrutinised and analysed, and the many advice published online, it seems about time to hire Company Culture VPs to ensure the culture is supporting and not hindering your strategy and image. In this short article, I’m presenting the three key missions of the company culture VP.

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How to deal with startup fever in your company, part 1

Most corporations that have missed the so-called digital revolution, try to medicate with startups. In many cases this is both silly and dangerous. Let’s try to be smarter about this widespread startup fever…

While the first wave of the digital revolution is now well over, most corporations are victims of some level of rude awakening. Surprisingly enough for me, the sovereign cure for their lack of strategic vision has been isolated: startups. As it seems, six-month-old post-internet companies without cash-flow are deemed better than multi-billion global businesses are figuring out the market. Even if you might be very lucid about this foolishness, some of your executive committee is already victim of such startup fever. Let me offer one of the many ways to deal with that issue. And then maybe, you’ll find realreasons to work with startups.

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Building corporate incubation with Monty Hall

Running a corporate incubation program is not like operation a product pipeline. It’s an uncertain, probabilistic endeavor. Can you wrap your mind around it or do would just prefer to go through the motions blindly?

A few days ago, I was discussing how wrapping your head around the Monty Hall problem could help you better understand the importance of failure in innovation. If you take it a step further today, we could argue that most corporate incubation programs should be build around this probabilistic calculation.

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35 Ways self-driving vehicles are happening before 2020

A majority of automotive industry incumbents still bet on the (very) slow maturation of self-driving vehicles. Of course they can only think about personal cars…

The key argument of doubters on how fast the self-driving vehicles will go live is risk and the social acceptability (or the lack thereof) of deaths from vehicles making choices on their own. Truth to be told, yes, social acceptability is a steep barrier to entry for adopting technologies at large scale. You should nonetheless remember that innovation is not a clean decisive strike either, its death of the status quo by a thousand cuts.

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Emotions powered innovation

Leveraging emotions to get more powered innovation is like being able to harness an underestimated and sustainable source of energy. What is stopping you?

When we talk about innovation we say it is motion. Until there is movement or change in the market, you cannot call your invention or idea an innovation. Emotions at work can either support or hinder innovation. They can be strong drivers for action, change and movement, and keep people alert and aware of signals in their environment or become uncontrollable, completely unproductive or even freeze creativity. Finding the “right” level of emotions or as I call it “emotional sweet spot” is key to powered innovation.

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Dealing with failure in innovation and the Monty Hall problem

Failure when you innovate is totally acceptable. At least in books and on the internet. In real life, within your business this is a widely different story. Risk is only acceptable when you end up successful… Very successful. This usually demonstrates how poorly we manage risk…

Innovation literature is flooded with various arguments on why and how you should take risk as a company. As someone who’s depending on the success of the companies I work with (sometimes I even presume much more than their own management), I can’t avoid being one of these risk evangelist. The problem essentially is always the same. Risk is waved on principles as a good thing supported by plethoras of well-thinking weak sauce arguments. Inevitably, all these arguments are swiftly shelved when real work needs to be done.

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