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My Favorite Readings in April: Crowd Innovation, Some Research Findings & Strong Runners

30 April 2014

Click on this photo to read another of my favorite reads of April

Click on this photo to read another of my favorite reads of April

Last month, I started sharing some links that I thought were particularly interesting. I hope you enjoyed the readings about crowds, the academic discussions and some of the videos. Today,  here are some articles and links I have enjoyed in April, or tweets I’d like to share again with you.

In February, I blogged about the upcoming launch of Open Oxylane –  well here it is. The above video shows Vincent Textoris, the project manager, introducing the concept with a charming French accent 🙂 In a very interesting follow-up intrview, which appeared on the French La Revue Du Digital website on April 10th, he explains that the company is learning about co-creation along the way (“la co-création, on apprend en marchant“). Oxylane has indeed launched other co-creation platforms (see here) and projects (see here), and Open Oxylane is yet another attempt to make open innovation work. Keep pushing.

A sunny Tuesday morning in Paris, the sun is illuminating the Opéra Garnier, one of Paris’ most beautiful buildings. A couple of days before I had seen Diplomatie, a French movie which tells how, in the night of August 24, 1944, the fate of Paris is in the hands of General von Choltitz, governor of Grand Paris, who was preparing to blow up the French capital on Hitler’s orders (see the trailer with English sub-titles). In that night, Swedish consul Raoul Nordling takes the secret staircase that leads to General von Choltitz’s suite at the Hôtel Meurice and – armed with all the weapons of diplomacy – tries to convince the general not to follow Hitler’s order of destruction. The movie is not 100% accurate in historical terms, but it’s true that the Opéra Garnier was Hitler’s preferred monument, and that he wanted it to be destroyed in case the Germans lost the war.

An interesting blog post by Panos Ipeirotis (Associate Professor and George A. Kellner Faculty Fellow at the Department of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences at Leonard N. Stern School of Business of New York University – that’s a long title!) anout the limitations of online-based work. Ipeirotis, who is working with the online labor platform oDesk, feels that online work will not expode as long as workers won’t progress in their work: “The market should allow sellers to grow, without an obvious ceiling.”

Labeling products as “user-designed” might be an advantage in some sectors, like FMCG or household products, but not in luxury. That’s what a study, published in the Journal of Marketing in 2013, found. The paper, called All That Is Users Might Not Be Gold: How Labeling Products as User Designed Backfires in the Context of Luxury Fashion Brands, explains how “four studies conducted in the context of the luxury fashion industry uncover an important conceptual boundary condition of this positive user-design effect [showing that] being “close” to users does not help but rather harms luxury fashion brands.

Scientific journal The Lancet published a study about a pateint being diagnised “bilateral wrist pain” which the doctor called WhatsAppitis. Similar diagnoses have need made in the past about Nintendinitis, Tenosynovitis (too much texting) and even the Wii fracture have also been diagnosed in the past. I guess we’ll soon have Googleglassis for people switching focus too much?

That’s a very cool rebranding by Indiegogo. As part of a bigger rebrand that includes a completely redesigned webpage, the logo will randomly feature campaigns that have been completed on the site, regardless of whether or not they hit their funding goal. I just tried 3 times, and got 3 different logos:

indiegogo logos

It’s just a shame that you can’t find out about the projects that appear.

This is just a hilarious photo, I love it!

That’s what GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt, said when Steve Liguori, GE’s Executive Director of Global Innovation & New Models, presented him the results of the “Jet Engine Bracket” Challenge on GrabCAD. Among more than 1,000 entries, the winning design came fromy M Arie Kurniawan, a young Indonesian engineer who reduced the weight by a whopping 84 percent, to .72 pounds. “It was a triumph of crowdsourcing—for a nominal price, GE used the knowledge of someone they would have never otherwise met to innovate its way out a design problem,” Wired reports.

A very good, critical article about the fact that increasingly it is corporations, not people, who own inventions. Companies ask their employees, from low-level manufacturing positions to design engineers and creative workers, to sign away all their innovations and refrain from competing with their employer post-employment. “This loss of creative fire is not only costly for individuals. In a world in which economic growth depends on innovation, we simply cannot afford such limitations on creativity,” Orly Lobel (professor at the University of San Diego School of Law and a founding faculty member of the Center for Intellectual Property and Markets) concludes.

This is where the 13th E-Marketing Research Conference will take place, in September 2014 at the Sorbonne. Do you want to join? Read my post about the call for papers.

eYeka, one of the leading creative crowdsourcing platforms today (disclaimer: I am Research Fellow at eYeka) has evolved since its creation in 2006. that’s what Doug Williams, former Forrester Research analyst, recognized in this tweet that links to a 2007 article about the company (screenshot & article). eYeka was originally built to be a platform for mobile users: “Eyeka’s goal is to take photos and video’s and give the creator a platform and a chance to sell and distribute and deliver that content (also) to mobile phones,” Ruud Hein explained back in 2007, and he was right. Since then, eYeka does 100% crowdsourcing for brands; it’s not a platform à la Flickr or iStockphoto anymore. #adapt

Nike laid off a big chunk of its FuelBand team recently. This article by re/code has a couple of interesting thoughts and reactions about this event, and cites an anonymous source: “They are getting a lot of data and just do not know what to do with it. They could not exploit the market.” It’s certainly an issue, but I’m surprised that the smart people at Nike don’t have a clue what to do with the data. I have a FuelBand SE, I’m quite happy with it even thoug it has some fundamental design flaws (like the conversion into “Fuel” – a unit that doesn’t make sense). But I don’t get why Nike stops the initiative in the midst of the hype. Maybe just a matter of low ROI?

Meb Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon (one day I want to run that one!) and this article nicely analyzes the US runners’ tactics behind the win. Actually it’s more of a recognition of Meb’s absolute superiority compared to Kenyans and the other US runners (and not really “American Teamwork” as the title says), but it gives an interesting look behind the scenes of these damn fast runners. And – let’s be honest – it’s amazing that an American runner won this prestigious race a year after the bombing on the finish line. Great article, really.

French ultra runner François d’Haene won the Ultra trail Mt. Fuji (168km, cumulative altitude gain of 9,500m, time limit of 46 hours) last sunday. He crossed the line after 19 hours and 9 minutes (19:09:13) – that’s 1 hour and 7 minutes per 10k. I just thought this was quite insane, no? See a complete race report here.

After finding out about Selfie City mast month, which compares the style of selfies in five cities across the world, I found out that someone did something similar a year before. The paper Zooming into an Instagram City: Reading the local through social media, published in the online peer-reviewed journal First Monday (open access), looks at Instagram activity to study social and cultural patterns. I would have loved a less methodological approach (Hey, that’s what we can do with Instagram!) and more findings about cross-cultural differences (Hey, that’s how people across the globe use Instagram!) but it’s a very useful first step towards better understanding cross-cultural differences of social media usage. And Selfie City has some cool findings about that.

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