Notes from the Services Research & Innovation Initiative Symposium
Yesterday I attended the Services Research & Innovation Initiative (SRII) Symposium, held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. As one of the founding partners, the SSPA is in good company with our sister association TPSA, as well as IBM and Oracle. Around 200 attendees met for a day of presentations and discussions about the current and future role of services in our businesses and the economy, and the importance of funding services research for our future success.
As someone who attends a lot of conferences, I can say with some authority that the content at the event was very impressive. Speakers included John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist of Xerox; our local US Representative Mike Honda; VP of Technical Strategy and Innovation for IBM, Irving Wladawsky-Berger; my former colleague from Forrester and the originator of the concept of Innovation Networks, Navi Radjou; even a lunchtime presentation by Geoffrey Moore, and several others. Check out this link for full details on speakers and presentation abstracts.
Here are some of the highlights from my notes:
Web 2.0 was a popular topic, with speakers talking about the importance of identifying experts and influencers outside the walls of your company. According to John Seely Brown, here are the 6 steps of embracing Web 2.0 to enhance services:
- Identify and locate experts
- Create effective collaboration environments
- Mobilize relevant resources and tools
- Document exception handling procedures in detail
- Provide pattern recognition and analysis tools
On the topic of Web 2.0 and collaboration, Irving Wladawsky-Berger made the point that being a client-focused company means shifting from a ‘do it yourself’ mentality to a ‘best from anywhere’ model, acknowledging that there are experts and useful content about your products outside your sphere of influence, and finding ways to leverage them. I know this is a bitter pill for some enterprise companies to swallow, but we have to get beyond thinking that companies are the only experts on their technology.
Another interesting area for me were discussions on the role of education in innovation. The SRII advisory board includes Wharton Business School, UC Santa Cruz, UCLA and the University of Maryland, so clearly the SRII team understands the importance of education. But driving that point home to me were these comments:
- From Wladawsky-Berger: Today’s technology education curriculum is focused solely on preparing students from back office jobs (developers, testing, docs), all of which are being outsourced. Few schools or universities have curriculum focused on technology services, though the lion’s share of graduates will enter a services role.
- From Mike Honda (who had a great line about Silicon Valley not being a place, but rather a state of mind): Education must better prepare students to think creatively and innovatively, and ‘teaching to the test’ is not accomplishing this. Representative Honda has authored legislation which is “in the hopper” waiting for approval and funding to create programs in grade schools to emphasize these skills.
Tom Pridham, Executive Director for SRII, also announced the launch of SRIINet: Services Innovation Community. Check it out to see discussion threads on symposium presentations, and join in on the discussions that interest you! The actual presentations from yesterday are all being loaded as well, so please don’t miss a chance to see this great content. Access to the community and all content is free to all for the time being.
There is a lot of momentum around SRII, and the whole concept of services innovation, and it was great to see such an enthusiastic group of service executives, technology partners, members of academia, and even government representatives, coming together to face this incredible opportunity for our industry.
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