Friday, October 31, 2008

University and Web 2.0

I was asked to provide some input to an article for a business magazine in Lithuania. I have included some clarification around my University 2.0

1. What is University 2.0 in general?

University 2.0 is a term that I (and others) have used to describe how the principles of Web 2.0 have or will effect the University / Education industry.

Maybe a quick look at what Web 2.0 is, from my perspective will help.

Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 is made up of three areas, Technology, Interaction styles, Solutions.

Technology would include those defined my O'Reilly e.g. RSS, REST, AJAX etc

Interaction Styles: define how a user's interactions with friends, colleagues, data and business processes has been effected through the implementation of the technology.

Solutions: Many web 2.0 solutions have been created that incorporate this new technology and the associated interaction styles e.g. Blogs, wikis, social networking

The sum of Web 2.0 is that is creates change. From an individuals perspective it increases their "participation" with digital media both in consumption (time- we watch a lot less TV these days) and content creation. From a businesses point of view it presents new disruptive business models e.g. social lending, eBay, Amazon, Reference Goldcorp, reference Lego and mindstorms.

Back to University 2.0, Web 2.0 has changed the way in which people want to consume information. All forms of information are now available on the web, this information is getting organised; isn't organised information presented in a manner conducive to learning the same as a University?

However, a Uni is primarily a research establishment. From someone who sits outside of academia it is very hard to easily access the latest research for free. It is also difficult to see what areas are being researched - there may be many people out on the web who can contribute to the latest research but Universities maintain their walls to the outside world...

University 2.0 is a way at looking how Web 2.0 is effecting and will effect academia from a teaching and a research perspective.

2. Is University 2.0 more university or IT business driven initiative? How did it all start?

University 2.0 is driven by people.

Web 2.0 is really about people and how it changes the way people work with data and communicate / collaborate with each other. This has a knock on effect to any industry where there are people working in that organisation, this includes Universities.

Technology is an enabler but you need people to actually use the technology. Using the technology to perform activities in new ways is what is causing the change.

3. Does University 2.0 mean a new technology used for teaching students or a new concept of knowledge management at the universities?

Students are encouraged to learn continuously and build a leaning network (people and resources) that enables them to achieve this. University 2.0 is a way for a university to get back some of the control of its students contributions and participation and to financially benefit from it.

At the moment students are using many different mechanisms for collaborative learning. e.g. Facebook, Wikihow, Notemesh, flickr etc (not sure if you have seen this preso as well

The Universities have no control of these learning mechanisms and they have no control or more importantly ownership over the content that their students are producing.

My understanding is that a University owns all the content a Student produces. If a student creates content for a University class, posts it somewhere and makes financial gain, is that financial gain owned by the university or the student or both? My interpretation of a University is that the university owns the content but they are not in a position to benefit - U2.0 addresses this.

U2.0 delivers a new way of accessing and interacting with Knowledge for the benefit of the Universities and the students.

4. What benefits does a using of Web 2.0 technologies in University environment reap?

It enhances the ability for Students to self-learn and co-create (team) with fellow students. The same apples to research students. The majority of Universities today still use email and attachments as the number 1 method for collaboration. Wikis are gaining ground but tend to be delivered in an ad-hoc manner and usually by a third party (the production environment is not managed by the University). The same applies to blogging and Instant Messaging infrastructures.

While on the surface this may be enough to enable a rich learning and research environment it does not address ownership of content and address ïs this the best way for students and researchers to interact?".

If Universities get better control of content creation and distribution they may be able to achieve financial and productivity gains.

5. You talk about universities paying students for content in your presentations. Does it work already? Are there any real world examples?

I am not aware of there being any live examples where Universities are paying students for content. But there are examples where content created by students is benefiting Universities, Ref iTunes.

This article shows that some Universities understand that the content produced by students is very valuable when they compete in a global market to attract the brightest students and researchers.

6. How Hollywood studio model is related to university in the web 2.0 world?

What does a Hollywood studio do? It creates content e.g. films, TV and then sells it to distributors e.g. Sky TV, satellite carriers who in turn receive revenue from the content consumers in the form of monthly charges for desktop boxes(decoders) and advertising that is mixed in with the content.

A University is essentially the same. It produces content, (i) teaching materials (ii) research and then distributes it to (i) students (ii) Corporations. The manner in which it does this is by using traditional methods of a walled access environment (slide 10).

Web 2.0 has opened up the methods of distribution. If we look at FOX we can see that as a Hollywood studio that produces content they also distribute via their own channels and more recently via the internet. Delivering content via the internet directly competes with those Satellite and cable distributors.

Lets look at Educational Content, there is a growing body of information on the web that allows you to learn for free about a whole range of subjects e.g. learnThat and A point may be reached overtime (we are not there ywt) when we compare the productive learning of a student at a university and a student at a free educational social networking site is the same.

Reference Slide 6.

If universities continue to produce students that do not meet the needs of industry then what value do they deliver and perhaps more importantly, what is the value of a university degree? A degree is little more than a "brand" and proof of a certain level achieved.

As educational social networking sites mature the only thing missing is validation of their students achievement by an independent body. If this hurdle can be addressed then The universities Brand becomes almost irrelevant...although I think the top Universities brands such as Oxford and Harvard will remain.

7. Does it all mean that universities are becoming (or should become) business organizations?

Universities are already businesses. I think they will struggle to maintain their grasp / control on education and research if they continue to follow their existing models.

8. How a traditional research in universities is affected by the new web 2.0 technologies?

As above, (I think!)

9. If universities engage with business model in University 2.0 how are they different from and the like? Or can InnoCentive be called an University 2.0?

InnoCentive is a public arena where people meet to collaborate and solve problems. IBM delivers a solution called innovation jam which looks at key areas across Business and the community to seek answers and ideas from IBM staff and IBM customers and business partners.

I have a vision for what Web 2.0 can deliver to Universities and the world. Web 2.0 has the potential to flatten the world and make the ability to learn and contribute to the solving the problems of the day open to anyone. Ref Goldcorp model

I believe that Universities as we know them have reached the end of the road. In order to evolve to the next level of education and research it will require change in the ways that this is undertaken. As discussed there are free web sites where students can learn and where individuals or teams can solve business problems ref: IBM's innovation Jam but the real challenge is bringing this all together. I believe that universities can lead the way.

The first step would be to deliver all their content both, teaching courses and research in a creative commons license with a mechanism for a single point of contact and webservice access (to enable mashups - see Lotus Mashups). Combine this information with a best of breed collaboration environment such as Innovation Jam we can bring together people who are interested in solving the problems of the day.

Let the focus of learning and research not be about getting access to information but be about innovating because innovation is the highest value return from learning and research.

**to answer your question, the InnoCentive model is part of the picture but behind this InnovationJam model needs to sit a rich pool of supporting information (University Research) that is accessible to all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blogosphere and the Virus

I was talking to an IT business partner (BP) this morning about the expansion of their business to include a couple of Microsoft products. We had a really good conversation about why they are doing this and the risks involved.

We also touched on how a small company can make a bigger impact in the marketplace. The BP has an in-house developed solution for managing multiple email signatures which is doing really well globally but there isn't much viral marketing going on, its all direct with resellers. The BP was thinking about creating a few YouTube videos and Slideshare presentations but that was it! I suggested that blogging and twitter might be something they could consider but this suggestion fell on deaf ears.

So two thoughts came out of the conversation

1. Does the blogosphere correlate to market share?
2. What sort of template would I use to help a small company viral market themselves?


Using Blogpulse I set up a search to compare the number of blog entries which contains Jabber and Lotus Sametime in blog entries over a six month period. The results are shown in the table.

As you can see there is a huge amount of difference between the number of Jabber and Sametime blog entries. There are more people blogging about Jabber than Sametime. I guess this is as you would expect as Jabber can be used by anyone and there are free jabber services at Lotus Sametime has been sold for use by 100 Million employees. Most of these employees reside inside an organisation *1. My assumption is that employees of these companies don't go home and use Lotus Sametime to communicate at home with friends and family.

*1 Lotus Sametime provides extensive security and encryption, performance and high avaialbility for secure instant messaging.

Based on this result from Blogpulse I think it tells us that more people use Jabber at home than they do Lotus Sametime.

So maybe that test is the wrong one to perform using Blogpulse. Perhaps we should only use blogpulse to compare end user products, lets try the chocolate bars Snickers and Twix which are manufactured by Mars.

There was some talk of Snickers advertising being considered homophobic by some bloggers which may account for some additional interest in the brand.

I will go out on a limb and say that Mars globally sells more Snickers than Twix. If anyone from a could let me kow the sales figures that would be great!! I will also say that consumers of Snickers have a greater affiliation and affinity to the brand than Twix consumers. I believe this is the case as there is a greater degree of fluctuation in the number of blog entries. Perhaps Mars, spends more advertising on Snickers which might also explain the difference in blog entries.

Viral Marketing Template

The other question which arose from my discussion this morning was, is there a template I could apply to a small (or large) company to enable them to perform viral marketing? Note that I have not read a book on viral marketing so this is completely "off the cuff"

1. Identify the community
  • happy customers
  • unhappy customers
  • customers friends
  • unknown potential customers
2. Articulate the reasons for engaging with the community
  • How does the community benefit?
  • How does the vendor benefit?
3. Categorize community
  • A/S/L
  • Demographic
  • Internet usage
  • Estimated new media participation
4. Identify Communication solutions
  • Traditional: print, radio, tv, trade shows, telephone etc
  • New Media: txt, email, web page, portal, blog, twitter, wiki, Facebook, instant messaging etc
4a. Identify Advertising Solutions
  • Traditional: print, radio, tv,
  • New Media: web page, portal, blog, twitter,

5. Map Solutions to demographic

6. Create Communication Hub (portal - Web page)
  • All communications track back to the Hub
7. Encourage Feedback
  • "Jams"
8. Measure Feedback
  • Participation
  • Viewing
  • Commenting
  • Blogging
  • Purchasing
  • Portal hits and product conversions (stickieness)
  • Community activity
  • Number new member
  • Number of new connections between members (potential for message re-enforcement)
9. Create a funky little company to advise clients.
  • stickEness
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: stickeness give)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lotus Forms

Here I am in sunny Wellington at our Lotus Forms - Proof of Technology.  We are using the classrooms at the excellent Allfields on Courtenay Place.  The PoT is an opportunity to take existing and future customers through our technology by providing a mix of presentation and lab exercises.

The class was delivered by Johnny Teoh a Lotus Forms specialist for Asia Pacific. Johnny is a very knowledgeable technical consultant with a range of experiences implementing this product at IBM customers. Questions were answered along with interesting discussions around strategy, implementation and deployment.

This was a really informative session and IBM New Zealand will plan to run more Proof Of Technology sessions in the months to come. What should we do next?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why do we want to engage with our customers?

I have a meeting with a local marketing company and a corporate marketing team to discuss how to generate more impact within the marketplace using new media rather than email and print.

There are a bunch of technical solutions to assist and the embedded presentation talks about one of those Twitter. The presentation has some great examples of the effect that twitter is having and does give us some food for thought in this area.

I will certainly be talking to the marketing teams about twitter and other solutions but actually the real question is not how we can penetrate the market better but "why do we want to engage our customers".

If we can answer that question clearly the technical solutions become clear.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Profile 2.0

Profile 2.0 is a definition of an individuals digital profile.

Information about an individual can be categorised in the following five areas:

1. Basic Profile
2. Activity
3. Participation
4. Relationships
5. Data

If this Profile data is aggregated by corporations then this gives those businesses influence over consumers as our electronic activities touch every aspect of our lives. If we look at Retail and Telco industries their ability to understand and influence their customers is a core part of their business model.

The profile 2.0 provides the lowest common denominator for web based / electronic transactions. I can see a time where we have a single client that connects to the "Universal Shop" (amazon?). The Universal shop understands all aspects of our Profile 2.0 and can present information, content and business processes to satisfy our needs.

Another area of interest is ownership of content and data, I believe that I own all the content I produce (e.g. blog) or initiate (e.g. a shop purchase). How we manage the ownership and access to that data is a key component of Profile 2.0, I have included a high level architecture to address this.

I am happy to take you through the presentation if you have a need. My main interests in this area is the Enterprise Architecture and the change that profile 2.0 will have on our society and culture.

I would also like to perform some speaking engagements around this area so give me a shout if this is of interest to you.

Monday, October 20, 2008


This week I am focusing on the Health sector looking at Health 2.0 and e-Health. I thinking about how Primary and secondary health providers interact with each other also, how patients suffering from similar conditions interact with each other and the communities that exist to support these interactions.

I stumbled upon Me-trics.

It is currently in private beta but it looks like an interesting service. Providing an aggregation of your health from manual data entry and automated sources - lots of mobile phone access I assume a.k.a twitter?

If I think about our personal health and how we manage and maintain there is a need to understand where we fit in the scheme of things such as BMI, blood sugar, resting heart rate etc. A site that starts to pull this together has got to be of interest. With Google health in Beta the ability to provide supporting information to your personal health record might appeal to many of us. The challenge remains how much data we are prepared to manually enter into a central repository about our health history and how much data we are prepared to update on a daily basis.

I guess the jury is out and if the Gen Yers want to update and share more personal information it might just have legs.

Personal view is that when devices are more "embedded" in our clothes then this will be huge!

The drivers for these types of sites originate from the rapidly increasing cost of health care across the world. The Boomers are sucking up all the money for their health care and the rest of us in full time employment are being encouraged to not be ill by taking preventative measures.

I hope me-trics delivers some good function beyond the usual health aggregation / social networking sites - which I find bit dull.

Here is the video from the CTO and co-founder of me-trics James Vreeland.

More to come on Health topics....

Friday, October 17, 2008


I was trying to find a creative commons photo I had used in a presentation for a colleague of mine Alexandra Thurel in Italy.  Unfortunately I couldn't find the original so I sent a few links to a few possible alternatives.

Alexandra then sent me through a cool little tool for search tags in flickr called taggalaxy.  I have enclosed a youtube video to give you an example - go check it out, I thought it was pretty good!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Measuring the success of Social Networking

I am engaged with a number of businesses around New Zealand helping them understand, implement and prove the value of Social Networking and collaboration for their organisations.

When we look at providing metrics which prove the value we are limited to a few possible areas:

1. Critical Business Process
2. Collaboration Business Process
3. Measuring Contribution

1. Critical Business Process (ROI)
An identified business process is measurable in terms of time to execute, resources and costs. By implementing social networking tools we are looking to modify the business process to make it execute faster, with less errors, and less cost.

2. Collaboration Business Process (Time and effort)
We identify a business process that is not effective. An example of this would be where a team of 6 remotely dispersed colleagues are working on a document. In this scenario the only collaboration available to them is email. As a team member makes a change on the document it is emailed around the team. Then one of the other colleagues makes a change and the document is again emailed around the team. etc etc The team has to employ the services of an office admin to compile the changes at the end of the day and send the compiled list of changes to the team.

lots of email and lots of wasted time!!

Social Networking and Collaboration tools can address this problem and so improve collaborative business processes.

3. Measuring Contribution (RoC)
measuring Contribution is the focus of a presentation I have shared on slideshare. I have included the show below.
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: value business)
This summarises my three ways of proving the value of Social networking and collaboration tools.

Friday, October 10, 2008

3D Chat - Virtual Worlds

I have an interest in virtual worlds SecondLife, OpenSIM etc and I came across IMVU. Its essentially a 3D Chat environment that has the tag line "Live the lifestyle you have always dreamed of". Like most virtual worlds the avatars are attractive and let you have access to the lifestyle accessories that are often out of reach for the normal person.

I have added a short promo video below showing IMVU.

The usage model is around people meeting and communicating in a cartoon environment and usage is driven through the use of credits that can be earned from chatting and accessing the system. The aim is to get users interested enough to start purchasing credits with real $$. It is quite immersive but not in the same way as SL as it has limitations.

I have included a quick Slideshow of the environment to give you more of a feel for the UI.

3D Chat
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: 3d chat)

Future of the body

I have been looking at e-health of late and I stumbled upon this Discovery program about the future of the body and how we interact with technology in 2057. The Video was made in Jan 2007 but it still as some thought provoking topics.

The video starts looking at devices in clothes and how these devices will be able to monitor every aspect of your life. That in the future we wont have any privacy the only part of us that can't be monitored are our thoughts although the phsiological responses to our thoughts will be monitored.

Its a long video (40+ minutes) but pretty interesting if you have time.