IT Driven Interdisciplinary Exchange and Collaboration to Unlock Global Innovation (Part 2)

The Article in Brief:

  • A professional IT driven networking approach for beneficial exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration and global innovation is not manageable for single vendors.

  • It must be a living environment and virtual market for several complementary, but also competing participants that are providers and recipients likewise.

  • Proprietary systems are not the way to success in this matter, neither are inflexible payment models and fixed subscription runtimes or expensive packages, exceeding the users’ needs.

  • The platform is based on Open Source, open standards, runs on multiple devices and can be installed locally or on hosted servers or be used as part of a global network.

  • The developers’ community provides charged services and tailored enhancements.

  • Enhancing applications, moderated content, services and data can be monetised or traded inside that global solution.

  • A large toolset as well as defined processes enable the users to get their daily work done.

  • Alerts are showing where action is required.

  • Teams for research and problem solving can be created and managed and integrate fresh, unbiassed external views (like from “Citizen Scientists” and “Co-Developing Customers”).

  • Safety options can be changed individually and content can be private and invisible to others, open for certain individuals and groups or made completely public.

  • Staff and partners can be recruited, collaboration in common projects be planned and managed.

  • Knowledge bases and documentation provide needed information for the work.

  • Data, also from integrated external solutions, can be collected, processed and visualised appealingly, when accepted or requested by the participants.

  • The platform enables and encourages educational programmes.

  • Fair shares of revenue on the global platform finance administration, further development and running the infrastructure as well as free access to the basic solution package.

  • Surplus is payed out to the participants, based on earned points.

  • An example shows how interdisciplinary collaboration and global partnering in innovation can open up needed new resources for humanity.

  • The author searches for an environment in which this networking ecosphere as well as the future of collaboration and innovation come true. 

Contributions

Contributions, like application development, moderated content, valuable services, providing, processing, visualising and loading data can be offered for free, be sold or traded.

Networking for Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Global Innovation

As concluded in the first part of the article (You find it here.) it is a big challenge to create a trusted holistic and IT driven networking ecosphere for work- and business-related exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation on a global level.
It must empower the daily activities of diverse players like single professionals, companies, employers and employees, suppliers and customers, (non-)governmental, academic and educational, charity, environmental or other organisations, financers, branches, supply chains or groups of interest, associations, think tanks etc.

Platform Roles

It needs to connect all of them with each other, with all their stakeholders and their expertise, skills, potentials and approaches, on different hierarchical and functional levels.

This is THE basic necessity for getting future-proof, profitable and sustainable inspiration, creativity, productivity, change, progress as well as prolific partnerships and competition, like it is fundamental for supplying users from various fields and playing manyfold roles with a powerful toolset, enabling more efficient and effective outcome; all closed and private when needed but open and integrating whenever possible and beneficial.

Ecosphere

The above summary of requests lets a proper approach towards a reliable and lasting solution appear very complex.
Indeed, it most probably will not be manageable for a single vendor only, which would also lower trust and limit the solution’s reach significantly.
It rather will be a living environment and a virtual market for many complementary contributors that at the same time also can or must be competitors.
In such a “habitat” every participant potentially is provider and recipient, and therefore prior customers can become involved, rewarded partners at eye level with their suppliers and vice versa.
People with a background that is not an academic one can become so called Citizen Scientists when being equipped with the proper tools, knowledge and guidance. Vast potential can be brought to light that before was not even seen, let alone having been practically utilisable.

The Ecosphere’s Structure, Scalability and How to Generate Basic Income

A proprietary system comparable to classic operation or server systems, office suites or other specialised software cannot be the right approach. Neither can be an inflexible payment model with fixed subscription runtimes that allows proper usage only for participants who choose rather expensive packages, exceeding the users’ needs.

OpenSource

The basic solution’s platform follows the principle of Open Source and is free of charge for everyone.

Multiple Devices

It can be downloaded and installed on multiple devices for free. 

Developer Community

Its code can be changed and (re-)distributed for free by all members of the developer community.

Developers, technical consultants and the like offer (payed) help with rolling out and enhancing the solution e.g. as an inhouse platform or an external network with customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.

Ongoing support, help desks, telemetric monitoring, maintenance and in general administration are provided (and charged) as well.

Hosting

Users that do not have or do not want to run a server on their own are able to use a hosted platform instead:

  • either as a payed, individually tailored platform at a chosen provider

  • or as a free platform, open for a global community.

Developers follow defined and proven standards, create and customise enhancing (possibly priced) applications but also filters and interfaces to plug in their customers’ own solutions, no matter if into platforms on own servers, ones hosted individually or the global one.

Inhouse or hosted platforms can connect with each other as well as with the global network, either via own or hosted channels.

Valuable Features and Services Inside the Network

Platform

Inside the network participants are offered a variety of functions which they can use for their daily work, task, project or process management, exchange with others etc.

The user interface must be well-structured, easy to understand, adapting to usage and also appealing.

Contributions

Contributions, like application development, moderated content, valuable services, providing, processing, visualising and loading data can be offered for free, be sold or traded.

The basic feature set is free to use, but every participant is also able to create and share, sell or trade function enhancements, presets, services, products, thoughts and insights, content, documents and media, team access and much more as the ecosphere is also meant as a market place.

The following aspects show possible areas and assets for generating income.

Value Creation

Everybody can find an individual niche, create and monetise different kinds of value, offer ideas, concepts, designs, specific input, innovative approaches for requested solutions and so on.

Inside the global community participants can get in contact with everybody else, socialise with people from other departments, organisations, inside the own or other areas and branches, depending on interests or particular tasks and so forth.

When connecting with others, participants can choose how close the connections are allowed to be and what access rights they have.

The safety options can be changed individually and content can be made private and invisible to others, opened for certain individuals and groups or made completely public. 

Staff & Partners

Functionality for recruiting employees or finding partners and commiting to or arranging collaboration is a major asset for planning and managing projects. 

Participants with journalistic background or experts can act as influencers and moderate at every level, by providing valuable insights and information, match making in form of introducing people or organisations to others, wiring complementary competences, accompanying projects and processes, also as “advocates” in professional relationships, reporting about achievements, commenting on results and more.

Processes

Individual processes can be set up and followed, being equivalents to ones in the real world. To monitor e.g. the running production external process data (tracking via RFID could be an option) can be connected with every single process step.

Inhouse or external projects with customers, suppliers or others can be managed, activities be initiated and assigned to persons or teams responsible, who document the project’s or task’s progress.

Alerts are informing about aspects to handle in real time, depending on importance and/or urgency. This way users easily and quickly see what to focus on, what needs to be remembered and must be controlled.

To quickly act, whenever necessary, the platform is providing automatic procedures which send requests to defined decision makers.
Alerts and decision processes are documented, e.g. for quality assurance, legal reasons or other.

Regulations

Legal information can be implemented to automatically brief or warn users – i.e. also sellers and buyers – about regulations and to ask for particular confirmation or permission. Lawyers can offer their expertise and set up the regulations.

Teams can be build for collaboration, with participants from different fields and even persons that bring in external, independent, fresh, unbiassed views.
That could be “Citizen Scientists” and “Co-Developing Customers” with individual, complementary skills, knowledge, own need perspectives, tools etc. that in combination lead to innovative ideas, approaches and solutions or products and services.

Knowledge bases and documentation of progress in research and development projects can be established and maintained.

The platform is helping to solve different kinds of problems, may they have a minor or larger scope.
As teams can consist of interdisciplinary actors, solutions are possible which could not be imagined while thinking inside the box.

Data can be collected and processed:

  • when, for instance, participants agreed to it in case of closed and public evaluations or surveys

  • when participants want to evaluate data inside their own processes

  • when participants use features that are clearly flagged as supporting data mining e.g. for scientific or market or product research.

Vivid, partly animated and interactive graphics and charts are used for real-time visualisation of processed data and enable quicker understanding, better overview and higher perception comfort.
Visualisations are created automatically via templates that are offered by designers.

Data coming from external solutions that are connected to the platform can be included in calculations.

Education

The platform enables educational programmes and activities.
Therefore it includes supportive functionality (learning plans, step-by-step tutorials, interactive and intuitive learning, progress control, tests and more) that corresponds with the other features mentioned.

Finance

Finance

Whenever additional functions or applications, content delivery, services or data get charged, a financial share is being collected for the network’s “warchest”.
This is needed to empower the organisation behind, to secure necessary investments in and administration as well as further development of the platform, for communication campaigns or the like and free access to the network’s basic feature package.

When a defined quota is reached, the surplus can be payed out to all participants, according to points that have been awarded to them for their valuable contributions. This would be an incentive, motivating further dedication and contribution.

An Example: How Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Global Partnering in Innovation Can Open Up Needed New Resources for Humanity

Generally the networking approach that is being characterised in this article will be an empowering ecosystem for innumerable areas of operation.

The following pictures, coming from an early interactive prototype (working title: “PixelPromenade”), show a small selection of branches or fields of interest that a future network must or might address.

These and other operational areas have got overlaps that are the base for global and interdisciplinary exchange, collaboration and innovation, providing vast potential for value creation and stakeholder benefit.

For this article I pick up a field that meanwhile became a very hot topic for serious academic research all around the globe, for entrepreneurs and investors, suppliers and people like me, who for a long time already dreamed of this all becoming reality.
I speak about extraterrestrial ventures and in particular: reaching out for precious resources in space that would not only solve many of our today’s environmental problems but that would also unlock positive and revolutionary change for our worldwide societies on their way into a promising future.
I speak about space mining.

When you google it you can find lots of articles in the media and also vivid discussions in social networks that clearly show the importance of seizing the chances behind that development.
Silicon Valley is not just a paradise for computer and technology companies but meanwhile also one for space related start-ups.

Why I pick up that example? Because it is a perfect one showing how global networking is already boosting progress and innovation. Many players in this field have strong ties with the online world as well as with social networks and they know how they can benefit from wiring themselves virtually with people and organisations all over our planet.

  • NASA just opened its wonderful technologies at Marblar.com (“Use any of these technologies to inspire your next product idea”). It also initiated “one of the galaxy’s largest mass collaborations ever” – The International Space Apps Challenge.

  • SpaceX, the leading private company for empowering rocket-propelled transport to space, was founded by Elon Musk, the person behind the online payment system PayPal and also Tesla Motors. Besides, he started an initiative to build an interplanetary economy and space commerce system – PayPal Galactic.

  • Sir Richard Branson, one of the most followed influencers at LinkedIn and a well-known name in the world of Twitter, Google+, Facebook and generally the World Wide Web, founded Virgin Galactic, which will soon bring many financially strong and also famous adventurers into space, from the first commercial spaceport.

  • Since 1999 SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is providing a platform for globally distributed computing of enormous amounts of signal data, which can be seen as one major nucleus for today’s “Citizen Science” movement, as the same platform is also used for other projects, e.g. for genetic sequencing.

Interdisciplinary

To mine the Moon, asteroids or other celestial bodies in or outside of our solar system you need much input from various professions.

  • You need scientific expertise in research and development, for finding practical strategies and best procedures towards success.

  • You need technology for travelling to other heavenly bodies, for setting up industrial capability on them; machines and specialised robotic devices with innovative tools, electronics and automated controlling systems.

  • The value of resources in space must be identified by prospecting. Legal questions, e.g. regarding property rights, have to be answered.

  • National interests must be taken into account, beneficial knowledge and skills from other non-related fields need to be integrated and much more.

  • The approaches to all this are not to be found at one place. They are spread over all continents and they should get the best of environments to develop. They need to be combined, so collaboration is a must.

  • To make this collaboration possible, effective and efficient, all involved parties need proper and cutting-edge tools, which not any longer are allowed to be single solutions, battling each other in a way that restricts innovation.

  • Participants should neither be forced to handle several login credentials, user interfaces and processes, more complex than necessary.

Only then humanity is able to stop pollution and environmental destruction and getting highly needed resources that are rare or limited on Earth, but available in large masses in space.

If you should be interested in learning more about space mining you can find a good start on the personal website and blog by Dr. Philip Metzger, senior research physicist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, who founded and leads the “Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Laboratory” – see http://www.philipmetzger.com.

The Author’s Background and Aim

Space mining is one aspect that will benefit immensely from IT driven exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation on a global base.
Based on my own professional experience I see that this is true for most other cases as well, even for very traditional industries.

For many years I was – amongst other duties – responsible for a platform that started as an advanced CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution and that quickly turned into a fundament for business related communities for exchange, teamwork, process and value/equity oriented project management – and this already since 2003.

One important field for our daily activities was the international minting community, which belongs to the oldest industries existing, as it is a few thousand years old.
Working like a kind of large family and at the same time as a highly competitive environment, tradition was a never-ending challenge for providing a solution that unlocked the potential of virtual cooperation and business, while it respected and took into account the special principles and necessities in and around minting.
After developing a proprietary platform with our technical partner first, we later changed to an Open Source model as we built a totally new platform, based on LifeRay.
Until today this virtual “Minting Community” brings together different players and disciplines, beginning with international mints, their associations like the Mint Directors Committee (MDC) and MDC Technical Committee, their specialised events like Mint Directors Conference, Technical Meeting of Mints in ASEAN (TEMAN), World Money Fair etc., industrial suppliers like for machinery and equipment, for feedstock and pre-products, service and trading companies, (central) banks, up to governmental institutions and several others.
Concerted market approaches – also against the true competition with other payment methods (banknotes, debit/credit cards, online and mobile payments and digital currencies) – by complementary providers and partnership regarding sales and service are encouraged and lead to higher customer satisfaction, customer closeness and customer binding as well as to sustainable success.

As a freelance, consulting designer for communication and media/IT solutions I work with companies that also see much value in setting up networks for collaboration with their customers, suppliers and branches. And again it is possible to reach traditional fields because “old” values can be preserved and be used beneficially with the help from the introduced approach.

One of my iterative projects is one with a very innovative and progressive company, specialised in spherulitic graphite cast iron, which convinced me even more of the large value by bringing together different kinds of people and organisations, involving customers and suppliers in the development of new products and giving processes a virtual equivalent, while employees and partners experience a new kind of empowerment for their daily work.

Now I am searching for the right inspired, creative and dedicated environment, in which this wonderful networking ecosphere for professional exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration and global innovation comes true.

“PixelPromenade – An early interactive prototype”

If you are interested in learning more about myself and about how I would like to team up with you for the future of IT driven professional networking, please have a look on my profile at LinkedIn and feel free to contact me. I am looking forward to it.

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