About customer segmentation and understanding innovation…Take-aways after 1 day of trendseminar #TrendSemAMS (1/3)


1 Day trendseminar – 6 key take-aways on making your organisation future proof!

–disclaimer: Are this the only elements to make your organisation future proof? No, off course not! It’s all about detecting changes around you (and not only in your market), and adapting them to your organisation.–

Key 1 – Your customer is demographicaly undefined!

Today’s customers aren’t boxed in traditional demographics anymore (like age, gender, lifestage,…). You will find a lot of your customers outside of the traditional market segmentation areas. Lululemon, for instance, opened a dedicated male store in New York, because male yoga audience (and that’s not your average traditional demographic audience for yoga!) wanted it’s own store and collection. Yes, you still need to segment your audience, but in a different way based on joint needs and less on similar demographics. Understanding your customer needs, that your value is servicing is the most important element in your company strategie to target your customer. Look outside of your traditional market box for similar needs that want to be served!

Key 2 – Needs over behaviour, behaviour over technology

When most organisations start innovating, the start at the end of the innovation cycle….how can we implement new technology? Of course it’s better to start at the beginning, the (basic?) need that your customers want to be served. (Basic) needs haven’t changed over time, behaviour towards those needs has. For instance, we still are hungry for news. Instead of reading a newspaper, we read the (latest!) news on our connecte device. Our behaviour towards news has changed, not our need for news. After you understand your customers need, you can start by understanding his behaviour towards that need…and even so maybe changing that behaviour to meet that need. Technology enters the innovation model to facilitate the behaviour to meet the need.

Tomorrow key 3 & 4 on how your customers forces you to be in innovative!

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Uncertainty will rule the #labourmarket in #digital era, holding opportunity for those who can deal with it!


When we talk labour in the digital era, it’s either about destroying jobs or creating jobs. Digital empowers the labour market, but also has a lot of challenges for the same market. If we look back at the past (industrial) revolutions, we always see the same thing happening.  A revolution destroys a lot of jobs, look at how the primary sector evolved over the past decade, but creates a lot of new opportunities on the other hand, the growth of the secondary sector (in this case).

Since the 80-ies we seen a decline in the industrial sector in favor of the tertiary – service –  sector….what will be the next switch?  Digital technology and evolution has an impact on all sectors and is (apparently) replacing human jobs for digital ones. Cost efficiency, and for a better service! Look at how our bank service is hyper personalized, look at how our shopping habits have changed, … all thanks to digital. Steven Van Belleghem writes about this evolution in his book “When digital becomes human” declaring that in the end each company who can enhance its digital environment with a human value will be a winner in the digital era.  Humans still add over 6% off value to a digital process! Let’s embrace that idea, but the additional value must be delivered through high level output, where a human still can make a difference. Let’s be honest, humans don’t make a difference anymore in 80% of the traditional value creating. Thanks to (big) data a computer (of connected – digital – device) knows a lot more about you and is able to service you on a more personal base than most humans can.  Robots will take over customer service, computers will assist you with your shopping, real time data will assist your self driving car getting you everywhere …. Digital will be our first touch point delivering the value.  So what will happen than with human value and labour!
Human labour is still needed. Computers, robots, cars, digital devices… still need maintenance, need to be constructed, need to be developed. This will only be a small part of our actual labour force! What will happen with all the others? Within 10 years we will see new jobs popping up, jobs we didn’t think of today, or jobs we are not educating for! One thing, I’m quite sure of, is that these jobs will all be about personal contact and delivering personal value. A personal twist that is hard for a digital device to deliver (even in augmented or virtual mode)….like Cool Blue it’s strategy to put a smile on every customers face!

What these job descriptions look like, I can’t tell nor describe since they are all new. For youngsters or today’s workers future competences will all be about being creative, innovative and flexible, and less about knowledge! Adapting yourself to the present situation each 5 to 10 years will be the most rewarding attitude/competence for each and everyone. Today’s educational and training programs should be adapted in that way that people are being trained (educated) to deal with uncertainty! Those who deal with uncertainty the best, will be the winners of the labour market in the (near) future.

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Goodbye teaching, welcome coaching! #futureofeducation #onderwijs #education #sxswedu

Schermafbeelding 2015-04-16 om 13.45.00

Media, people, CEO’s and so many others have their mouth full on the future of education. Belgian newspaper “De Standaard” had an opinion on the future of academic education today…one that struck me!
“(Academic) Education will be digital or won’t be!” was the bottom line of Robert Stouthuysen (Former VOKA and Janssen Pharmaceutica). Yes, I’m a believer, but academic education is the last educational phase, and our primary and secundary education isn’t preparing our children to learn in a digital environment….It’s like running a marathon without any training. Digital academic education will fail if we don’t change our “training” towards academic (of higher) education. I urge all educational stakeholders to take education (in a digital environment) to the next level!

What’s wrong with our system?!
Nothing! Our students have good scores in Pisa testings, our education system is honoured worldwide, …. and so on! This strenghtens educational dino’s, politicians, …. to hold on to our knowledge based educational system.  Yes, we’re switching more into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)-education, but STEM is not the only switch we need to make. STEM is important for our economy, but when we teach STEM according to old education principales we won’t arm our future generation for what’s next.  Our educational system is a ‘teacher’ (lecturer, or professor) based system. The teacher is the students guide into the knowledge area. The teacher hold’s the knowledge key, supported by textbooks, coursereaders …. but seldom our students are challenged on a personnal level to take their education/learing into their own hands. The dino’s will argue that they are not ready, …. but that’s a false argument. We don’t prepare them to be ready!

Digital enables learning, if you let it!
Instead of feeding them knowledge, we need to feed them the attitude for curiosity and exploration into different fields of interests. Together with the attitude to adapt to changing circumstances, this will create students who will be eager to learn where they want and whenever they want. Digital enables this! Digital gives today students access to more information than ever, but we never challenge them to work or deal with that amount of information.
For 10 years we’re talking about digital literacy of our students. To be all honest, our students (still) are digital illiterate (due to our traditional education system). Why? We give them search tasks, we let them browse the web, ….and in the end the teacher will give the (one and only) right answer….and that’s where we go wrong!! Our students create a laid-back attitude knowing that their teacher will tell them in the end what’s right and what’s wrong…
Students need to be challenged and need to challenge each other. Teacher take on a new rol of guide or coach instead of ‘god of the right answer’. If a students goes wrong, you send him back to work instead of giving him the right answer. Let students work together to reach results. They can handle teamwork, if you coach them!

A new role for our teacher!? So a new teacher-educational program!?
I believe that our teacher educational program should focus on those attitudes and how to stimulate students to take on their own learning process. Forming coaches instead of teachers! A teacher holds the connotation of knowledge, while in the (near) future knowledge (probably) will be uploaded. So teachers will become obsolete…And that’s where I agree with Robert Stouthuysen! In the future learning will be done everywhere. Students will learn, not only behind a screen, but from each other, will learn from digital sources, will learn by doing, …. (Virtual?) coaches will coach them on their exploration! Are we ready?
A 5 year plan for the universities to change into a digital university won’t do! We need to change our educational system bottom up, and universities are the last phase! Let’s hope we get there in 5 years?!

imagesource: http://danwin.com/2013/03/learning-to-code-is-digital-literacy/

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When knowledge becomes chargeable, #education becomes valuable #webtomorrow

Handsome man inserting a SD Card into his head

It will not take long before we will be able to up- and download knowledge (=data) from and to our brain. This is the logical next step in the digital evolution and will take place within the next 5 to 10 years! After we were able to store data into machines, known as computers,  the machines evolved from mainframes and desktops, to portable laptops, smartphones and tablets, to wearable devices like glasses, watches, … Data is comming closer to our body than we think.

Although the next step, inside our body, seems part of a bad episode of stars wars, data driver devices are already part of our lifes (pacemakers, cochlear implants, …) and are tech companies establishing connections between human brains and microchips. Once this connection is optimized, we’re ready to embark on the next step. Data up- and downloading from and to our brain.

The introduction of this technology will have a huge impact on the way we learn and teach, and therefore on our educational system. For the moment our educational system is shaped around knowledge, attitude and skills, with a (strong?!) focus on knowledge. When knowledge becomes instant (uploadable), we need to rethink our educational system to stay relevant…and yes education still is needed, but needs to refocus around attitude and skills. The educational value will be about how people can use this (exponential amount) of knowledge in their benefit, instead of teaching this knowledge. A true paradigm shift, if you ask me…where we need coaches instead of teachers. Coaches who are flexibel, who can motivate, who reach results! In this new educational paradigm skill – oriented programs will become more relevant than theoretical programs.

A new type of teacher needs to be shaped, and educated…are we ready to take this step? Universities and university colleges should prepare for this step with new teacher course programs focussing on coaching skillsets that are relevant in this new society! The next generation of teachers (and lecturers) is all about people oriented skills and creating (innovative) context environments where students can apply and practice their knowledge (instead of learning it). Are they up for the challenge?

Image: http://media.vocativ.com/photos/2015/01/D5EFKM627942891.jpg

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Making things better….it’s not Philips, but Apple! How a first mover probably won’t be the gamechanger! #apple #gamechanger


Apple’s live event exploded my twitter tuesday-evening. While the livestream took off on a false note, Tim Cook was already on the verge of announcing the new iPhone 6(+) with bigger (full) high resolution screens. Finally Apple follows the Samsung’s path and brings larger screens to it’s smartphone range. Besides this new iPhone and ApplePay there was one more thing they wanted to talk about…and then Tim Cook introduced the AppleWatch. Not the first brand to introduce this tech item, but it seems that again the Apple philosophy scored….don’t be first mover, but be the game-changer!

Since the Apple band was born, we know Apple for what seem to be new products, technology, services, …. but even up until now, 2014, with the launch of their new products and services Apple (still) is not the inventor, but the innovator. Apple has it’s own strategy to understand and learn from the market, stimulate the hype (so competitors want to move in first), but then enters the market with a (slightly?) enhanced better product or (integrated) service, in combination with John Ive’s (behavioural) design.
This was the case with the first Macintosh (where it combined hard- and software in one combined device), the first iPhone and now again with their AppleWatch. Smartwatches were introduced by LG and Samsung more than a year ago, but never reached a public beyond tech-nerds (same counts for Google-glass by the way). With the introduction of AppleWatch (available in 2015) we will probably see the smartwatch pop-up more than before! Apple has the ability to be ‘that’ game-changer. Thanks to enhanced insights in user behaviour of the smartwatch, not only a ‘3d’-touch screen, but a combination of a touch screen and a sidebutton, makes the user experience better than the existing smartwatches. The browsing of the apps becomes organic again, instead of a copy-paste experience from the touch experience on your smartphone…Apple again took it up one notch! (like they always do….not the invention, but the innovation, making things better)

And off-course the design….yes the Apple watch is also big , bold and looks like it’s competitors, but the wristband isn’t! The collection of (non-tech) wristbands let’s you stick-out, like you stick out with your iPhone.

A same insight on the ApplyPay service, NFC has been around for a couple of years to enhance easy payment (and was incorporated into a lot of competitor devices), but never realy took off. Even the GoogleWallet wasn’t capable to be that gamechanger. Will Apple succeed? They, at least, gone the extra mile to make deals with major stores, brands and banks to enhance the customer (payment) experience. There is no fun when a service isn’t accepted by major stores, brands and banks…and they are heavily investing to do a similar roll out world wide next year! (Let’s hope they succeed!)

Again Apple is not the first mover, but it doesn’t follow the crowd. Why did they wait to incorporate NFC until know? Probably to even take down more payment barriers, because even when you have to take out your phone to pay. It’s one step to many…Now Apple lets you pay with the NFC-enabled Apple Watch, just by swiping your watch!

A second item that struck me, is that the i-era seems to be over….it’s not the iWatch or the iPay (witch where the expected names)! Apple apparently chooses to (re-)build its brand no around the ‘i’ –person (or the end-user) but just around the brand itself. This small change opens up new possibilities regarding brand identity and personality since the ‘i’-era is ending. With the apple-era Apple opens up a new connected vision who connects people around the brand, and not the brand around the end-user. Let’s see where they takes this

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Old school entrepeurship is back! #shinola #entrepreneur #SXSWV2V


What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas or goes out on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, ….especially when it talk about SxSWV2V! This isn’t contained to Las Vegas, but is being spread out all over the world via social and digital media.
Let the so-called social graph and wor(l)d-of-mounth do it’s work, but content wise this V2V version had a huge message regarding digital and online media/business! Get out there and be real, be appealing or don’t be!

Both yesterday and today keynotes addressed the fact that building a website never sold a real problem! It’s the value offer regarding that problem that is appealing for customers. And those customer live in a real (off-line) world, with real problems they want to get solved.
The Shinola story is a true example of this off-line revamping era. Shinola is re-introducing industrialized manufacturing into the US (supported with online sales tools), but from the bottom build as a manufacturing company. This is quite the opposite of what silicon valley service-minded start-ups are doing, but holds enormous possibilities for (local) communities. Instead of being in front of your screen, go out, and connect with that customer through unique flag-ship stores which bundles every (brand or product) experience you want for your local customer/community.
Making industrial manufacturing appealing for workers might seem hard, but Shinola choose Detroit as their home base due to the easy fact that building watches is also about building engines (only on a smaller scale). This meant local Detroit community was eager to welcome Shinola in Detroit and started working for and cooperating with them. Eventually they did a cross over with College of Creative Studies where they host the manufacturing plant. This creates a vibrant atmosphere both for students, and Shinola (workers) to be part of.
Although Shinola started there 2.0 version with manufacturing and selling classy watches, they did not want become a one-shot brand. So they invested in product differentiation and the diversification of the Shinola brand, with the introduction of leather balls (produced in New York) and bicycles. All within the design and the storytelling ideology which Shinola wants to transfer both to its customer, and it’s workers. High design, with high quality (life-time warranty) glued together by a story of openness, honesty and transparency!

Thank you Brian Solis fort his great interview with Jacques Panis showing that entrepreneurship in 2014 is not only about digital or online, but can also be about – let me call this with a lot of respect – old school secondary economy products and services (glued with a digital sauce).

Posted in Flat Business

Leave behind little extra’s so people remember you! #entrepreneur #startup #sxswV2V


The big South by South West show landed in Las Vegas for a much more intimite version on entrepreneurship, startups and innovation! Although I like the Austin version, because it’s bigger then life and just seems endless, this version in Las Vegas is more spot-on and cosier. Easer to meet up with other participants, speakers, joint lunches, …. all this makes this event already a succes only after a couple of hours!

But let’s get on topic and into the theme of the SxSwV2V conference: Entrepreneurship, startups and innovation.
Arie Horie (CEO Women’s StartUp Lab) took the first keynote stage inspiring us with already know insights on how to succeed as an entrepreneur. Going on stage and explaining how to succeed, might be easy, but realy succeeding is something different!
Nevertheless, it all comes down to start walking, step by step. You don’t have to jump into the deep right away, but you have to de persistant, aim high and remain creative because you never know what’s going to happen on your way to succes!

Another nice aspect in your road to understanding entrepreneurial succes is the fact that an entrepreneur is a litte extra – ordinary. As an entrepreneur you should embrace the fact you stick out, and you are a little extra-ordinary in striving for your entrepreneurial succes! This means that you’ll experience failure, from which you can learn and show your creativity (which will then again make you a little more extra-ordinary). So it’s not about your results, but from the lessons you learn(ed) from your failures!
Key element in this road to succes is “hiro,” a critical friend which you can reach out to support you!


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