With well over 300 people attending CIO CITY, it becomes evident that this event is a major milestone on every digital leader’s agenda. The formal and informal networking opportunities are obviously a major attraction, and so is the program. Insightful keynotes, idea-generating workshops and peer testimonials are the strongholds of the program. Watch the interviews with some of the speakers, or read the account of the second day here under to see what you have missed, or to recollect some good memories!
CIOCITY 2016 day 2 – Hands on innovation with startups
After a day full of presentations, awards and drinks, day 2 of the CIOCITY 2016 conference started with an informal opening by Robin Raskin (Living in Digital Times). The whole day had this casual vibe while still being serious about business. Ergo: the combination of suits and hoodies. What topic to combine those two better than startups?
“’CIOCITY’? That sounds like a conference with a bunch of people trying to steal my password”, Raskin said jokingly. The tech journalist, who’s hosting the paralel NXTTCH conference that day, had a very modern outfit, from 3d-printed shoes, to a smart biking jacket to matching hoodie. The hoodie proved to be a recurring theme throughout the day.
The first keynote of the day started with a classic startup story. Dries Buytaert, founder and design lead of Drupal, created his open source CMS in his dorm room. He for one knows what digital and open source means for corporations.
For instance: if you want to succeed, it’s all about building contextual experiences, he pleaded. “It’s about figuring out what the next best experience will become, what the customer really wants. Now everyone just has the same content.” To give an example: if you already bought an airline ticket and visit the site again, the company is still trying to sell you tickets again. At that point, the user only might want to change his reservation.
One of the next big things in tech is of course the Internet of Things. According to Buytaert, this development will lead to innovation in business models. “B2C becomes B2ONE. It allows you to build a 1-on-1 relationship with the customer.”
Work with startups
Startups are more than a hype. Herman Kienhuis, managing director at KPN Ventures, gave the audience a corporate’s view on why you should work with a startup. He asked everyone in the room: “Who is actively engaging with startups to innovate?” The result bewildered him: only a couple of hands were raised.
He gave four compelling reasons to start collaborating with or investing in startups:
- Startups create access to real innovation. Without startups you might miss out.
- Startups increase the speed of business and at the same time reduce the cost of in-house experiments.
- Startups bring additional value to customers.
- Startups create value for your existing assets, resources and channels.
So if you want to work with startups, it might be a good idea to look at the successful examples from Silicon Valley, the startup mecca of the world. Mark Zawacki is a senior advisor at 650Labs and gave us learnings from his time in the Bay Area.
First, he would like to stress that there’s too much ’innovation theatre’ going on. It’s time to really do something innovative and disruptive. What he found out is that successful disruption isn’t about tech, but about organization: the top dogs from Silicon Valley like Uber and Airbnb simple have a competitive advantage. There are seven things they are particularly good at:
- They’re great at building platforms, not apps;
- They’re great at forming disruptive hypotheses ;
- They’re great at open innovation, meaning they’re talking very openly and are transparent;
- They’re great at UX / CX / design thinking;
- They’re great at decision making (for instance: the Dutch ’poldermodel’ just slows down innovation)
- They’re great at experimenting. Zawacki: “I’ve never seen Google do a pilot, they do an experiment.”
- They’re great at their motivation.
Think like a startup
After Linda Liukas (Digital Champion of Finland) gave away an amazing inspirational speech about the birth of her children’s book project Hello Ruby, which lets kids learn of the coding world, the parallel NXTTCH sessions started full with innovative companies and startups to learn from.
If someone knows how to think like a startup, it’s definitely serial entrepreneur Patrick de Zeeuw. He’s the founder of Startupbootcamp, which helps startups all over the world accelerate their business. He’s pleading corporates to engage more with startups to really get that innovative juice flowing. To be more like a startups, companies first should think about supporting and facilitating, instead of micromanagement. An entrepreneurial culture in the workplace is essential.
“Also, you could just start working with startups, for instance by becoming a mentor”, De Zeeuw said. Although big companies can learn a thing or two from startups, this is also true for the other way around of course. “And if you really want to know how to innovate? Have someone in the advisory board who knows how early stage companies work.”
Hooray for hoodies
Next were seven startups and innovative SMEs who pitched their companies. Maarten Verkoren, from 3d printing startup 3D Makers Zone, didn’t only told about his startup, but he was also explaining his business choices ’the hoodie way’, i.e. like a startup.
It proved to be a nice bridge to the closing act of the CIOCITY 2016 conference. Entrepreneur Quintin Schevernels wrote the book ’Suits & Hoodies’ about the success factors of startups. What CXOs should learn from his book is this: innovation should not always be disruptive, it are also small changes in a product that can have a big impact.
So if you want to be like a startup, that’s fine, but you don’t have to go ’full hoodie’ pursuing that dream. There is, luckily, still room for that tailor made suit.
Many thanks to the sponsors of CIO CITY’16: