Meet me at BlendWebMix

I’ll be hosting the BlendWebMix conference in Lyon (France) on November 13 and 14. This year program is about “Tech for Good”. You’ve seen this central theme running with most of the tech conferences lately and it’s probably not going to stop anytime soon.

If you’re in Lyon (and speak French) you probably want to attend BlendWebMix. It’s a conference that does it’s best to keep it a sort of family thing with as much proximity with speakers as possible, open side events and a good mix of hands-on tech discussion (from development to design) and tech culture or business strategy. I usually enjoy my time there very much and I’m quite pleased to be the MC this year.

Also, on the last day, I’ll be giving a 40 min hot take / debrief of everything I saw and discussed at Blend. It’s an open session on the side of the main event, so there won’t be a lot of seats. Get in fast!

Emotionally healthy business cultures

coffee - innovation copilots

Since my TEDx talk “emotions at work” 4-5 years ago, I have been writing a few articles about how emotions can have a very useful place in companies and add value to innovation strategies. What I haven’t written about yet is what I’ve been doing these past few years in organisations to enable emotionally healthy cultures. In this “3-tips” article I am sharing the key messages I use in many workshops and trainings (whether at Airbus, Rotterdam School of Management, European Central Bank or TNO), some obvious reminders, some counter-intuitive notions and some challenging practices.

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A practical way to gauge your innovation mindset

changing mindsets - innovation copilots -

During my summer break from writing on the blog, I read a lot of articles on the innovation mindset. I am glad this became such an open topic lately. Stéphanie and I recognized that, years ago, as a cornerstone problem for most organizations getting serious about innovation. As with anything we work on, the way we speak of mindset is very practical: “It is an ensemble of patterns of thinking, assumptions that are made about self and the world that are illustrated or observable through its way of working: its behaviors.” (The Culture Framework).

But if the mindset is what shapes the organization itself and structures key processes (and biases), it’s easy to understand that it doesn’t solely stem from the organization exclusively. The personal culture of individuals, their education and former experiences have been critical in shaping their mindset way before they are introduced to the values of any company. At this point you can cue in a full discussion on how to recruit junior executives to change the culture. In this article though, I’ll just try to propose how you can gauge someone’s innovation mindset (yours maybe?).

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How to run a startup, a quick and dirty guide

What we do at Merkapt

I’ve read too many startup post-mortems lately. “If only we would have done X instead of Y and Z we would have wasted less time and money and maybe survived”. And yet, all these late epiphanies are just rediscovering what is explained over and over in the ecosystem. What goes wrong? Why doesn’t it stick? After discussing online with many of you, I’ve tried to get to the core of how to run a startup as a quick and dirty guide for first-timers.

As to be perfectly clear this “guide” only concerns early stage startups. Early stage means from pre-launch to 12 months post-launch. And startup means you intend to innovate (more on this afterward) AND you expect to get in exponential growth (widely forgotten in Europe).

In this exercise, I tried to distill everything that really matters into 5 core principles. These are the ones that I honestly believe anyone with a significative experience with startups, and no vested interested in selling whatever they do, will tell you.

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My perspectives on the future of digital economy in 42 bullet-points

the future of digital economy - innovation copilots

I have been doing a lot of work on the future of digital economy for various multinationals these last months. Part of the work is to map the key driving forces that are shaping the future of the markets.

It’s not about checking the latest technologies hype, because it’s essentially irrelevant and doesn’t really produce solid foresighting. Remember five years ago when everyone was focused on the emergence of the internet of things? After everyone tried to connect its fridge or spread bluetooth objects in retail spaces, what happened? Nothing much.

It’s also not so much about just checking where the internet is at the moment (in which case you should read the always remarquable Mary MEEKER’s report). But that again, is very tech oriented, and while Alibaba and a few others are discussed, it’s also eminently US-oriented. And this is a problem on so many levels.

That being said, if you’re in the business of seeing where the digital markets are going to shape the next five years, this is in 42 bullet points what I think you should consider as key events and drivers:

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Interview – Innovative Management at Worldline

Claire Déprez

I’m glad to be sharing this article about Claire Déprez, Innovative Management Programme Leader at Worldline, the youngest of the transformation leaders I’ve interviewed. I’ve met Claire in 2014 when she was a mentee in the mentoring pilot programme I designed for them. The year after, she became member of the voluntary mentoring coordination team. But this interview is not about mentoring even though the programme was the trigger for her career insight, her evolution in the company and the management culture transformations that followed.

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The US just forced China to commit to full digital sovereignty

trumpocalypse - innovation copilots

I’m in Vietnam right now and don’t have a lot of time to share my thoughts and a thorough analysis. I just want to pin that down for further reference:

China has spent nearly two decades building a digital wall between itself and the rest of the world, a one-way barrier designed to keep out foreign companies like Facebook and Google while allowing Chinese rivals to leave home and expand across the world. Now President Trump is sealing up that wall from the other side.

NYT, 2019, May 20 by Li Yuan

I can’t agree more.

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Innovate in Mumbai, Sell in San Francisco

innovate in mumbai sell in san francisco

Remember how since 2008 India was supposed to be an innovation force to be reckoned with? We had hundreds of keynotes on Jugaad innovation , bottom-up innovation, etc. Look it up, it’s fascinating that no one remembers that anymore. End result: not much, if anything really. This didn’t change anything in London, Paris or San Francisco, not even in Mumbai. But lo and behold, India seems to be back with a new idea on innovation: ride-sharing motorbikes.

Yes, I know what you’re probably thinking right now. What’s new?

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Why Startups Fail

why startup fail

You might not remember ANKI Robotics, an hardware and AI startup featured onstage at an Apple event in 2013. Well, this company folded yesterday and had to fire 200 employees after burning through $200 million in capital funding (including Index Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz). And ANKI was not idle in the market, it was generating around $100 million in revenue since 2017. This is not small potatoes!

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