Thursday, 13 October 2016

Reinventing Standardisation - Highly interesting IEC Plenary in Frankfurt this week

I had the pleasure to attend the opening day of the IEC Plenary in Frankfurt this week. This plenary, organised by the German national committee DKE, runs under the motto of "Reinventing Standardisation".

In short: This has been a remarkable event - forward looking, disruptive presentations and thinking, innovative, challenging ... I am full of praise for the organisers.

Standardisation is certainly not the most thrilling of all topics. However, it is high on the political and business agenda, and it is an essential element for successful transformation to the digital age and for digitisation of industry. That's why it is so important to think about what is needed in standardisation to be future-ready, to cope with an agile and fast-moving business environment on a global scale.

IEC - and DKE as organisers - recognise that challenge and address it going beyond usual borders and limits. The reinvention lab at the IEC Plenary is a great arena - also laid out like one - for new, disruptive thinking.

About a decade ago I was closely connected to DIGISTAN whose objective has been to revolutionise standardisation, its processes and how openness is created. Much of the thinking from DIGISTAN has meanwhile found its ways into standards bodies - and IEC has put itself on the forefront now for driving innovative thinking for standardisation.

Worth taking a look at the recordings and outcome of the Plenary. Again, thanks for such a great event and congratulations to the organisers for their work and their courage to go that way.

Great News: Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Bob Dylan

This is fantastic news in my mind. Bob Dylan deserves it so much - and he is the first rock/pop singer-song-writer who is honoured that way.

This is some sort of breakthrough for the Nobel Prize on literature as well, given the fact that rock poets are the poets of our time. I would even dare to claim that probably never before did so many people and so many young people know so many lyrical text as nowadays thanks to rock and pop, to the grammophone, the disk, the radio, MP3, and nowadays streaming and the web. For sure there are good and less good lyrics, but that is just the same as with poetry in general.

Bob Dylan has certainly spear headed this for half a century. He is a great poet and it makes me happy that the Nobel Prize committee had the courage to take this decision. Simply fantastic.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Interesting news about the Rhine-Neckar region

Today I received the latest newsletter from the metropolitan region Rhine-Neckar, i.e. the area of and around Heidelberg-Mannheim-Ludwigshafen. What is very interesting is the introduction giving some facts about the region:
"Rhein-Neckar ist ein Innovationsmotor in Deutschland: 15,5 Prozent der Beschäftigten sind in Hightech-Branchen tätig. Im Vergleich der elf deutschen Metropolregionen bedeutet dies Rang zwei hinter Stuttgart. 3,9 Prozent aller Beschäftigten arbeiten in der Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft – Rang vier hinter München, Berlin und Hamburg. Mit 16,1 Promotionen je 1.000 Studierenden führt Rhein-Neckar das Feld der elf Metropolregionen an."
 The main facts in English:
  • 15.5% of all employees are working in high-tech which makes the region second in Germany after Stuttgart;
  • 3.9% are working in cultural and creative business - place four after Munich, Berlin, Hamburg;
  • 16.1 PhDs per 1000 students - place number 1 in Germany
The full newsletter (in German) is available on the metropolitan region's website.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Digital SummerSchool 2016 - again a superb programme

One of my personal pet projects is supporting the coordination of the Digital SummerSchool with its offerings of child summer camp courses combining the development of IT technologies with sports and fun.

This is going on in the Rhine-Neckar region in its 8th year this year. And again we have a fantastic programme - and for the first time also a great, stand-alone website.

Check out the Digital SummerSchool on the web.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Presentation at CEN-CENELEC Workshop "European Standards Supporting the Digital Transformation"

Wednesday last week I had the honour of giving a keynote speech on behalf of BusinessEurope at a workshop on European Standards Supporting the Digital Transformation organised by CEN-CENELEC.

First of all a big congratulations to the organisers -- this workshop was extremely well organised and very inspiring.

In my presentation I tried to outline the basic strategic red-lines for industry when it comes to standardisation for the digital transformation. You can view the slide deck here:

The key message may be summarised as global - global - global. In addition, it is important to have clear understanding about which kind of standardisation deliverables we are talking. And we need to be aware that it will not be one single standards body delivering the standards that are needed but cooperation will be critical - including with global fora/consortia which contribute some of the most relevant global ICT specifications.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

RAMI everwhere....

I contributed to the DIN SPEC RAMI 4.0 - Reference Architecture Model Industrie 4.0. And isn't it funny that even for the French national football team RAMI 4 plays a leading role....

Picture sources:!httpImage/2199720511.jpg_gen/derivatives/d950x950/2199720511.jpg

Thursday, 16 June 2016

On how to manage best in a multi-dimensional world

I sit in many committees, you could say I spend a good deal of my working life in committees. Whenever someone starts a sentence with “I am confused...” you can in 99.5% be sure that this is not a real confusion but that there is politics going on. People don't like something and they claim to be confused by the mere existence of what they dislike.
Imagine you have in your house a washing machine and a tumble drier. I would bet, unless you are totally drunk, it is clear to you what to use the washing machine for, and what the tumble drier. Are you confused by the two machines which might look similar? No, you aren't.
Imagine you have a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom. Does it confuse you what to do in which room? No, it doesn't. And would you consider it an improvement having just one, single room instead? No, you wouldn't.
Ok, if you are completely new to something and have, for instance, different tools for doing things, you might at first feel confused. But is that real confusion or is it just the lack of familiarity with the tools, the typical learning curve which you face as a novice user in any new area you enter. And what's the remedy to this – you make yourself familiar with the tools and start learning how to use them. That is essential behaviour; in essence that is how mankind has evolved from stone age to the present times.
In other words: thank God that the homo erectus was not confused...
I also like things simple. Don't make things more complicated than they need to be. Strive for simplicity – do as much as necessary but as simple as possible. That's a perfect motto in life – including work. And be consistent. Don't talk about apples when you mean pears.
But consistency does not mean reduce everything to one – in order to avoid confusion or whatever. Singularity is not a value. On the contrary, it may be a curse.
If all you have is a sledge hammer, you may be able to fix small nails to the wall – but is that intelligent? Is that future proof? No, it isn't.
Now what's actually my point, you may wonder. I currently hear a lot of talking about the need for a single strategy. E.g. a single strategy for standardisation in Europe. And a single planning tool. But can you really have a single strategy for responding to all challenges, for addressing all complexities in an appropriate and effective way? I don't believe that.
The world is multi-dimensional – and so are the issues we want to address. One size doesn't fit all. What you want to be is coherent. Things need to be able to work together. But you don't want to have just one single strategy for everything, one single instrument for getting things done. And different areas have different complexities which require different experts to be involved, consulted, etc.
Your strategy needs to be to be well set up for managing well in this multi-dimensional world. But for sure you need different strategic approaches for different issues and objectives; you need different tools for effectively making progress; and you need to have the respective different experts available to support your strategies.
If you want to reduce all that to a single strategy, a single tool, a single group of experts you are at risk to ignore realities and and you are ready to reduce everything into an inflexible environment which lacks all dynamics to properly understand the complexities and to properly react to them, let alone taking leadership on them.
I have done a good deal of work on open innovation and on openness versus proprietary. The conclusion is that there is no either / or. There is no open or proprietary. It is always “and”. And those players play best who have found the proper balance between all the different options and approaches. That is the right strategy: Learn to play the claviature well, build your strategies accordingly so that you are in a good position to always strive for finding the right balance which brings most value to you.
A leviathan or single moloch will not help you on the long run. It is anti-Enlightenment, anti-innovation. Acknowledging the multi-dimensional world as it is, being set up to properly address the different dimensions, and bringing things into balance is the much more promising way.