What does a person, who works for a supermarket, do when he or she has an idea?

At an interesting event a few weeks ago about the future of retail, I learned about some of the effects that digitization has on, for example, supermarkets. I was somewhat surprised to hear that when a person, who works for a Migros supermarket, has an idea, he or she goes to the store manager and communicates the idea to him or her. The store manager then decides what is going to happen with that idea. Being curious about how such an  innovation process works at COOP, I asked a person, who works for a COOP retail store. I was told that this particular innovation process works more or less in a similar way. When a person, who works for a certain COOP supermarket, has an idea, he or he communicates the idea to the store manager. The store manager then decides what is going to happen with that idea.

Reflecting on what I learned during the events mentioned above and reflecting on aspects related to retail innovation. two strategic dilemmas come into my mind: The strategic dilemma efficiency vs. creativity and the strategic dilemma planning vs. testing / trying ideas out.

Regarding the strategic dilemma efficiency vs. creativity, I understood that supermarket chains have a relatively strong focus on efficiency. For example, I learned that people, who work for a COOP supermarket on a certain day, meet for 5 minutes in the morning to bring up whatever they have on their mind, for example ideas to improve things. I understood that, for various reasons such as the focus being a lot more on eficiency than on creativity, few ideas are brought forward.  At this event I learned that at Migros things work somewhat similarly. Although anyone can communicate ideas through Migipedia and/or other social media, I understood that, traditionally, people often follow the hierarchical way when they have a wish to change things. And as the focus is a lot more on efficiency than on creativity, few ideas are brought forward.

When it comes to the strategic dilemma planning vs. testing / trying ideas out, I learned that supermarket chains have a relatively strong focus on planning. Also, I learned that most planning is mostly done centrally. And people, who work for a certain supermarket, hardly test / try out ideas they have, for example ideas that they think could improve the experience for people who use that particular retail store. Instead, they follow plans developed centrally.

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Virtual innovation summit

I look forward to participate in the virtual innovation summit later this month. It was through Paul Hobcraft that I learned about the crowdsourced virtual innovation summit, an event co-created by corporate innovators for corporate innovators.

Upon signing up to participate at the event, I immediately received a message with these two questions: What question do you want answers to? What challenge do you want to solve? Finding it innovative that organizers make the event demand-oriented and people centered by involving / asking questions to participants – and thereby helping participants find the right co-creation sessions – I went straight into creative thinking mode. Reflecting on interests / needs / goals, I have, I came to think of these 7 questions:

  1. How do we innovate democracies in countries around the world? In this regard, how can democracies in different countries get better at involving / including as many people as possible – including people who do not physically live in the country but simply love the country? It was not least due to this highly valuable event series about digital democracy that I came to think of this question.
  2. How do companies get better at involving anyone, who is interested in working for the purpose of respective companies and would like to participate in developing and testing ideas? In this regard, what do companies need help with to open up more / include people more / involve people more? How can we make more open organizations come to life, for example using digital platforms, social media and great moderation techniques?
  3. Which cities around the world are the best at involving people to develop, communicate and try out ideas? What do people, who work for these cities, do – both on the Internet and in various physical locations – to involve / include people in innovation work?
  4. How do people, who live with with a partner / in a relationship, go about innovating how they live together? What useful tools / methods can they use to increase the quality of life?
  5. At #DigitalDay I look forward to participating in a brainstorming about health / healthcare. Preparing for the brainstorming challenge, these are the ideas I came to think of. I would love to learn about other great ideas that people have to innovate healthcare. What ideas do you have?
  6. Reading the book Wonder I read on page 73 that Auggie wishes that everyday would be Halloween. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked liked under the masks. In this regard, my questions to you are these: To what extent can meetings / events, where people cannot see each other’s faces live, help people to get to know each other better – compared with meetings / events where people can see each other live? Why? How?
  7. What rules in the game of tennis would it make sense to change to create more value for both players and fans?

Gesundheit Brainstorming #DigitalDay

Am #DigitalDay freue ich mich sehr bei diesem  Gesundheit Brainstorming mitzumachen. Als ich mich zum kreativen Event vorbereitet habe, sind mir diese fünf Ideen in den Sinn gekommen:

  1. Soziale Medien wie beispielsweise WhatsApp, Skype, Twitter und Blogs nutzen um Menschen zu helfen. Warum? Beispielsweise weil es helfen kann Kooperation zwischen Menschen zu stärken.
  2. Das ada health app und/oder andere health companion apps anwenden. Das ada app habe ich ein paar Mal getestet – wegen einer gesundheitlichen Herausforderung von mir selber sowie von einer anderen Person. Beide Male wurde ich via das App gut geholfen.
  3. Gesundheitsversicherungsfirmen und Rückversicherungsfirmen investieren in  die Entwicklung von Infrastruktur in Städten, welche fördern kann, dass es für Menschen einfacher wird unsere Körper zu trainieren. Beispiele: Outdoor Fitness Tools.
  4. Ein Testspital machen, z.B. mit folgenden Zielen: A. Technologien wie z.B. Roboter testen. B. Patienten und Patientinnen weiterbilden. C. Gesundheitsfachpersonen weiterbilden.
  5. Einander helfen liebevoll miteinander umzugehen.

Hello robot

I look forward to participating at #DigitalDay on November 21st. One of the topics I find fascinating about the time we live in is the use of robots.

On page 65 of this report, I learned that an increasing number of people will be helped / served by robots. And reading this article, I learned about 3 classes of robots: Class 1 robots replace humans at work in dirty, hazardous environments and tedious operations. Class 2 robots operate closely with humans to alleviate incommodity or to increase comfort, such as entertainment, assisting the elderly or carrying patients. Class 3 robots operate humans. Examples are medical robots robots for diagnosis surgery, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Regarding class 1 robots, I look forward to seeing this cleaning robot at work at Zürich main station. Concerning class 2 robots, I look forward to chat with Pepper during #DigitalDay.  On this thread with Daniela Lozza and Clare Thomson, I was happy to be able to prepare a little for the #DigitalDay event. I learned, for example, that Pepper is just 1.20 metres tall, weighs only 28 kilograms and can move at up to 3 kilometres per hour. Also, I read that Pepper’s creators hope that independent developers will create new content and uses for Pepper.

Watching this video, I learned that Pepper can help us in our daily lives, for example by helping us feel welcome at a place and answering questions we have. Thinking about questions I would like to ask Pepper, the 10 questions below popped into my mind. As I think it will be quite busy during #DigitalDay, I will probably not have the possibility to ask Pepper all of them. But anyway, these are the questions I came to think of.

Question # 1: Hi Pepper, how are you feeling today?

Question # 2: Pepper, are you a man or a woman?

Question # 3: Pepper, I am curious to know in which country you were born and  in which places you grew up. Can you tell me please?

Question # 4: If you wanted to become even more like a human being, what do you think you need?

Question # 5: Pepper, I am curious to know how you learn something new. Can you give some examples of how you learn well, please?

Question # 6: Can you please tell me a little about who programmed you and how you were programmed?

Question # 7: I read that some people are afraid to lose their jobs to robots. How can you help people who have this fear in their hearts and minds?

Question # 8: If you were asked to help people discover values they have, what questions would you ask?

Question # 9: I would like to participate in brainstorming about the future of health . Can you please tell me where this brainstorming is taking place?

Question # 10: Pepper, do you think I can smile but still feel negative emotions such as sadness, fear, or anger?

Learning about digital democracy

Earlier this year, I participated – along with many other people from across the world – in the very interesting and highly interactive learning initiative The active citizen in a digital age. Finding the topic strongly relevant for increasing the quality of our lives, I searched for possibilities to learn more about how digitization changes democracies.

Participating at this event, for example, I learned more about the growth of open organizations. As I understood it, the growth of open organizations is being fueled by several exciting technologies – including social media and other platforms on which people can learn from each other. At this event, I discovered that there is a large potential to involve more people to develop and communicate ideas on all kinds of topics as well as vote for / select which ideas to test / try out. In this regard, I learned by participating at this event that Internet voting has a high approval rate among people, and that pilot tests are being done.

Reflecting on the events / learning challenges mentioned above, there are more initiatives which I find very useful. For example, I experience it as a value adding initiative that learning events are open for everyone – meaning that external people have the possibility to participate / get involved / contribute. Also, I find it helpful that social media are being put into service, for example by using hashtags such as this one. I experience that using hashtags can help people to learn from / with each other.

Thinking about other initiatives that could be beneficial for involving people more before, during and/or after a learning event – and thereby strengthen the learning experience – I came to think of these three ideas:

Idea # 1
What about making Internet access open to everyone? In several spaces, I experience it is uncomplicated for people to access the Internet. At facilities of the Zürich University of Teacher Education, for example, I experienced that to get access to the Internet, you simply enter your mobile phone number on the start page and then enter the code you receive via sms. And at train stations across Switzerland, I experienced that getting access to the Internet is even more uncomplicated. Once you connect to the relevant wi-fi network under settings / connections / wi-fi on your mobile electronic device, you are online.

Idea # 2
What about using the poll functionality on Twitter to ask event participants to vote on various topics related to the particular learning event?

Idea # 3 
During a learning event, what if the moderator facilitates / moderates one or more exercises among event participants? Here is an example of a short 2-person exercise example that the moderator could initiate when an invited expert has spoken for about 20 minutes: “Please turn to the person sitting next to you. During the next 3 minutes, please share with each other what is important to each of you in what has just been presented.” After this 3 minute chat exercise in 2-person groups, the expert continues her / his presentation.

Additional event exercises: