Sifting Through Social Data

dataI attended an executive salon event hosted by one of the global marketing agencies in Minneapolis.  The theme of the presentations focused on the roles of aggregating social data for big data analysis.   Two concepts jumps out during the conversation that drove most of the post presentation discussions.

The first was the topic of cross linking social accounts with corporate CRM systems.    This was starting to expand a big data picture of the customer.   While this is common practice today,  they extended the concept to include cross liking with other identity sources such as LinkedIn or Public Tax Records.   This started to create a vastly larger profile set of individuals outside of your customer base.   These larger sets of profiles could be used to identify trends and patterns that could be leveraged for approach and enticing new customers to your brand or new offerings.

The second topic built on the first but was much more elaborate.   They had some guest speakers from new ISVs that where building tools for markets to access a massive big data pool that had been assembling.   Several years prior they had launched a backend platform that was constantly listening and recording many social media channels.   The platform would be analyzing the content and generating additional meta data and tagging of content to aid in ongoing analysis.  An elaborate architecture of meta tag hierarchies where defined to provide categorization of subject matters.  Even more impressive was the ontologies that where defined between the hierarchies to cross relate topics.   The end result in the analysis seemed to be an enormous multiplier in the ability to cross-relate cross channel data and inter-relate thematic trends and insights.   Since seeing this demo I’ve noticed several new companies building out these types of solutions.   While the science side of the platforms to do this is fairly straight forward it is the Art of creating the inter-relationships of the ontologies across the hierarchies that will define the state-of-the-art of competitive analysis.

Developing Innovation Centers In Minnesota

SOS IMG_0459I was able to collaborate with the Secretary of State by presenting the North Star Initiative.   This initiative is focused on developing innovation centers in the Minneapolis ecosystem as durable business assets to the corporate, academic, and entrepreneurial communities.  For some time we have been seeing these centers being created in cities across the USA and across the globe in major cities.   Some cities already have between 10 – 60 centers in existence and they usually have a area of focus that aligns to major industry clusters in a region.   The centers become a major activity hub for innovation and collaboration.   While similar in appearance to traditional incubators they are actually much larger in scope and services.   They are a nexus where corporations, venture capitalists, and startups all come together supported by experts, mentors, and academics to create a rich ecosystem of resources.  While most models are launched though some basic government funding,  they are built to be independent business that are in the business of business innovation.   At the heart of the model is actually corporate members.  They are providing the critical mass of financial investments to make the facilities, labs, services, and events possible.  With these assets in place,  the ability to attract and facilitate the acceleration and incubation of start-ups is possible and to create a large network of supporting partnerships across universities, research centers, and industry parks to be a part of an overall innovation ecosystem.   Start-ups benefit massively from the acceleration and incubation programs supported by all the expertise that exists in these ecosystems.   By having created these centers,  the corporate sponsors now have access to a massive funnel of new innovation ideas.   Though,  one shouldn’t be too quite to jump to the conclusion that this is only about corporation to start-up partnerships.   Many centers are producing as many corporation to corporate joint patents and innovations.   Corporation collaboration skyrockets around these centers and attracts more and more corporations to become members and have dedicated office space and staff within the facilities.   Industry parks spring up around the centers housing corporate labs, manufacturing, education and other facilities.  In addition,  venture capitalists are attracted to the high concentration of maturing innovations in these centers.   Many start-ups find connections to venture capitalists and secure funding directly.    As these centers thrive, they create a global gravity that has attracted foreign investment and new corporate members.   This starts to form international corridors between countries for the two way exchange and commercialization of innovations.    Taking a deeper look into the corporate sponsors we see that its not just large size companies that are benefiting.   For every major company,  there can be thousands of SMB sized business that support that brand and is a critical part of their ecosystem.   In many cases new innovations are perfectly suited to the SMB companies vs. the major brand.   Also,  if a major brand is innovating,  it can not only disrupt their competition,  it can disrupt their own ecosystem of SMBs supporting them.   Having them all collaborating together at these centers helps see the implications of disruptions from the beginning and opens the door to joint investments to share innovations across your own business ecosystem.

Much of the conversation with the SoS centered around the regional economic development planning that would play out with the hosting of the worlds fair.  If Minnesota is to invite the world to come visit our state and meet with our industries we would want to have many of these centers in existence and operating successfully to invite the world to come collaborate, innovation, and invest in Minnesota’s industries.

In future posts I’ll dig into the centers models that we have been studying from around the world.

Economic dev galleries:

Gallery 1

Gallery 2

2014 Women’s Leadership Summit & Career Path Offerings

CSOM logo

The annual Women’s Leadership Summit was hosted at the Carlson School of Management.  This large event is well attended and a great community building opportunity for women to connect and network.    Behind the scenes the school is exploring new offerings to support women in both their careers and networks.   There is not one career path that fits all and many scenarios are being examined to study what the needs are for each situation.    A key element that seems to cross all the paths is the need for both a strong peer network, in addition to, a strong mentorship network.   Given the diversity of career paths,  you run into interesting situations where women have taken ten or more years out of their professional careers to pursue a family.   Returning to the workforce as obvious needs like education and connections, but of equal interest is what offerings could be put in place to keep them engaged during their time out of the office.   Could they be still plugged into current trends, technology, and global market developments through digital media.   Could there be online sessions that keep them up to speed on business and market advancements.   Could their be social events to help them maintain their networks and listen to the challenges their peers are still facing in corporate america.   Could there be entrepreneurial clubs to help them launch businesses that better fit their new lifestyles.  The answer to these and many other compelling ideas is yes!
While this discussion began centered around women’s careers and very interesting trend has happened to both genders in the past decade.   Both men and women have been serving in the military and have been going through repeated deployments that disrupt their traditional career paths.   Both individuals and organizations have had to learn to adapt to the deployments and return integration of veteran’s into the workforce.   While challenging for both genders and their organizations,  this has created a much higher degree of awareness across corporate america and their human resource departments to address these concerns.   The opportunity that this could afford our society is exciting if we can move issues like these into the main stream.   By recognizing both men and women need to be able to accommodate a variety of career paths and career disruptions helps us all move past stereotypical definitions of success being a single ladder we are all progressing on.
I encourage all to get involved in you local education programs to help define future offerings that society needs to create a more vibrant workforce and offerings to enable everyone to continue to develop their careers even during life’s detours.

Expo 2023 Worlds Fair April 2014 Planning Event

Expo_2023_Logo_Tagline11The April 2014 event was held at the Union Depot Station in St. Paul Minnesota.  Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.   He explained the international bid process for securing the fair through the International Bureau of Expos (IBE) that is headquartered in Paris France.   The process takes several years requiring studies and proposals of feasibility and potential impact and investment into the region.   The overall goal of the expo is regional development and global integration of the host cities.   These efforts are extensive and funding is required via cross community sponsors of corporations, government, NGOs, academics, and the community in general.   Fund raising efforts are already underway at this time and plans for crowd sourcing campaigns are being designed to seed the early stage team putting the bid together.Union Station.

(Union Station in St. Paul Minnesota)

The event also recapped recent impact of Worlds Fairs including:

2010 Shanghai:  80M+ visitors

2012 Yosef, Korea – 8M visitors

2015 Milan, Italy – Next year

2017 Astana, Kazakistan – in bid process

2020 Dubai, United Arab Emirates – in bid process

The competition for the 5 year intervals is much larger than for the off years.   Usually the event on the 5 year intervals are much larger in size and length and overall investment.   Several large cities in the USA have already begun the bid process and have been collaborating with Minnesota as they are farther down the process and much larger in scale.  This has helped Minnesota target 2023 as an optimal year to via for in the bidding process.

The Q&A section of the event saw active dialogue across the attendees.  Some insights into the discussion included:

  • The USA had pulled out of the IBE due to international politics of the past.   It will require the Federal Office of Secretary of State to reestablish of membership in the global expo community.   The USA is already committed to participating in the 2015 Milan event, but has not rejoined as a potential host.
  • The USA ran many of the largest and most successful World’s Fairs in the 20th century.  It had established us as a global leader and where showcase of technology and social development.  There where people in the room that had attended these events as children and talked about the impact and impress it had made on them and the historical significance those events held for the country.
  • There where a few examples of smaller fairs that had financially failed and had a negative impact to the region.   Those fairs where not regionally supported and had low investment overall.   They also failed to have a strong plan of investments in infrastructure that would benefit the region ongoing.   Lastly,  global marketing and collaboration to have other countries as direct participants is also a critical success factor in driving overall attendance and international significance.

The next event is schedule for May 2015 – Get involved and stay connected at:

See the image galleries of economic development events:

Gallery 1

Gallery 2