Archive for the ‘Cloud’ Category

I am just coming out of 3 fantastic and super-intense days with the team that is working on the prototype for the Digital Asset Grid (DAG). The DAG is a SWIFT Innotribe’s incubation project; we are really in research mode. Acting as a catalyzer, putting a big bold vision on the radar-screen of our community. Our plan is to show the results of our work during the upcoming Sibos in Osaka. Our session is planned on 31 October 2012 at 4pm in Conference Room 3.

Just last week, there were a couple of really interesting articles in press about the Digital Asset Grid project:

Click on image to launch video

At the end of the video, Marc says:

“If you can give the consumer more control over day-to-day commerce and greater privacy, that would be a reason to actually like your bank, rather than being resigned to deal with your bank”

So it looks like the huge opportunity is in the apps. True, but there is more.

And that only became apparent last week when we were together with the FULL team:

  • We took stock of the draft presentations, demo-scripts and video material that we will be showcasing in Osaka
  • We had some great and very intense interactions with customers, management and staff
  • We completed the last bits of the video, and we taped the last video interviews that will lead to a mini documentary on the topic
  • We articulated the key messages to be used on our communications plan leading up to Sibos

But last but not least, we created a platform of intensity where ideas could flow freely, leading to the most formidable insights.

One of those insights came during the playful key-messages-exercise, where we nailed down our key concepts by imagining what would be printed on the imaginary “product box” of the Digital Asset Grid (thanks to Martine Deweirdt of the Innotribe team to facilitate this exercise).

It was the moment where the word “platform” was deeply debated.

Is “platform” like Windows (or for the sake of the argument any PC-era operating system), or did we mean something else?

The owner of the platform really owns 90% of the market. Not only the OS market but also the ecosystem of applications and application developers that create a business on top of the platform.

The platform that is most loved by developers and that gives most value for the business decision makers/owners of the application companies ultimately wins. But we have evolved quite a bit since the early PC days.

  • In the PC-era, we had really one dominant Operating System. But it was a siloed OS.
  • In the SmartPhone Era, Steve Jobs and Apple reinvented the space and created the Application Store, a disruptive channel for apps. But still built on top of a highly closed and proprietary OS and ecosystem
  • More or less same happens with clouds. They become more and more proprietary. iCloud, DropBox, G-Drive, Skydrive, etc All living in their own silo. All these examples are very consumer oriented, but usually B2B follows the slipstream of retail customer, and it can be expected the same happens with B2B cloud offerings.
  • Add to this mess the blurring lines and confusions between all sorts of clouds: private clouds, public clouds, hybrid clouds, community clouds, personal clouds, device clouds, etc, etc

In the end, every entity (people, business, device, program, etc) will have its own cloud and its own APIs

  • What has to come next in this evolution is an interoperability of clouds, a layer of almost Kernel level services, protocols and standards that let the Cambrian Explosion of Everything share data in real time, securely and with the appropriate governance and trust per interest-domain.
  • This is the bottom-layer in the diagram above
  • This is what the infrastructure-layer of the DAG is trying to address. We base ourselves on open standards XDI/XRI which are going through their approval process at OASIS.

Phil Windley described the vision of the Personal Cloud Operating system in his blog “The Layers and Components in a Cloud OS

Image courtesy Phil Windley

So far, we are thinking about companies (banks) hosting apps that run on top of this Customer Cloud Operating System. I use the more generic term “customer” in stead of “personal” Cloud Operation System, as the “customer” can be both the person, a corporate, or even a device or program.

In all our discussions, we have been so tempted to say that the value is in the apps (upper layer of this diagram). Whether that is in providing those apps as service providers (the bank as a data service provider), or as a consumer of data-services (in that case the bank acts as a “vendor” of financial services, trying to leverage the information from the direct channel with the customer (whether that customer is a retail or wholesale customer)

But that’s “only” the temptation.

The Holy Grail

is to be able to position your company

as the “platform”

on which others can build apps and create value.

Like Amazon (not the bookshop but Amazon Web Services). To make yourself so indispensable as a platform, that even your competitors start building on top of your company platform.

And suddenly the “gem” was there:


It is apparently a new meme (I Googled it, and did not get any hits ;-), and so I trademarked it 😉

Update: the meme “Bank as a Platform” is not new. Nicolas Debock (@ndebock) kindly pointed out to me that:

Anyway, “Bank(s) as a Platform” is what the DAG really enables. A new interoperability layer for people-, business- and device-clouds, creating a value and reputation system leveraging the existing KYC and digital slipstream information of customers with full respect of privacy and empowerment.

The real question is whether banks will see and grab this enormous opportunity, or whether they will satisfy themselves with copycats of outworn 20th century business models, and narrow down a great vision into adjacent banality.

Maybe we all can get inspired by two of my heroes:

Jeff Bezos (Founder and CEO of Amazon) said last week in an interview with @triciad in All Things Digital

“we don’t ask why do this, we ask why NOT do this?”

Click on image to launch video

And Buckminster Fuller said:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”


“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you its going to be a butterfly”.

The opportunity for banks is indeed to position themselves as data-platforms for value creation by a formidable ecosystem of third parties, so that every customer – from the Bottom of the Pyramid to the Top of the Pyramid and every customer in between – appreciates their bank as their own private wealth manager.

“Wealth” not necessarily exclusively expressed as “Money”, but as a richer an broader concept including social data capital for financial inclusion, reputation, trust, ethics, and integrity. Roger Hamilton nailed it when he said “Wealth is what you have left when you have lost all your money” 

This sort of wealth is enabling empowered customers with agency. The origin of the word “bank” was “bench”, a place where two people meet and create a relationship.

The deep meaning behind the DAG beyond its technical innovation is that it creates Relationship-as-a-Service (a term coined and trademarked by Respect Network). The realisation of this Relationship Economy will change the love/hate relationship with banks:  instead of being criticised for their past behaviorthey can be loved like the Googles, Amazons, and other great platform companies of this era.


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“The Cambrian explosion was the relatively rapid appearance of most major animal life forms, accompanied by major diversification of organisms. Before, most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organised into colonies. Over the following 70 or 80 million years the rate of evolution accelerated by an order of magnitude and the diversity of life began to resemble that of today.” (Adapted from Wikipedia )

I believe we are witnessing a similar “Cambrian Explosion of everything” in the information technology evolution of the recent years, and we see a relatively rapid appearance of new “life” forms, new building blocks for the way we do business in this hyper-connected economy.

This thought came into my mind when attending recently the Cloud Identity Summit in Vail, Colorado 16-19 July 2012.

Explosion of API’s

During the pre-conference workshops, I had already seen the explosion of a whole set of new authentication methods and digital identity concepts like SAML, OAuth 2.0, OpenID Connect, OIX, Facebook Connect, Google’s Accountholder.com initiative, etc, etc

And then came Craig Burton with a presentation announced as “The future of Authentication” but in essence a variation of his epic talk on “Identity and the API economy”. His full prezi presentation is here. (Disclosure: Craig has been advising us on our Digital Asset Grid research project)

  • If this evolution goes on, we’ll have 30K “open” APIs by 2016
  • But most enterprise API’s are not open, they are kept private, and their growth rate is 5 times that of open API’s. They are also referred to as “Dark API’s”, because you don’t see these species in the open.

Craig then showed some staggering stats of open API’s, the so-called “API Billionaires”

If you do the calculation, this means 150,000 API calls per second for Twitter!

Update: apparently most of these stats come from John Musser @johnmusser from The Programmable Web. Credits are made in Craig’s prezi, but not apparent in my post here. Sorry, John !

Craig believes – and I subscribe – that we will see a very fast evolution where

“everyone and everything will have its API”

And every API needs its identity. Leading to the staggering conclusion that we will need to provision more than 1,000 new identities per second.

In enterprise, one of the more accepted federated identity authentication and authorization standards is SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language). Craig created some consternation by stating, “SAML is dead”, because it is not made for the provisioning of this Cambrian explosion of identities. In essence the SAML model does not scale. For this type of scale, manual provisioning does not work anymore, we need high levels of automation, also at the provisioning level.

Explosion of Nodes

In his Cloud Identity Summit presentation, Craig was focusing on the explosion of number of API’s and the identities they will require.

Let me give another dimension, triggered by the research work we are doing on the Digital Asset Grid: when Craig talks about “everyone and everything will get an API”, I’d like to offer the dimension of “entities” aka “nodes in a grid” that need share data with each other. Those entities can be:

  • Humans
  • Group of humans – a good example is a Google “circle”, it’s a group of people without legal entity and therefore no liabilities associated
  • Companies – another type of groups of people – with legal entity and liability. Note that the liability of a non-profit is different from a commercial organization, from a educational institution, etc
  • But now we also add devices to the mix
  • And programs – pieces of software code – that act on our behalf or independently
  • Services and 3rd parties representing the seller, and 4th parties representing the buyer.
  • And personal and corporate clouds, where persons and corporations will keep the data they want to share in context with all the other entities in this grid of nodes.

And all these entities will get an API and will need to get an identity. It is leading to a “Catastrophic Complexity” unless we find a way to govern our communities differently, less manual, and highly automated.

It was very interesting to see that in the closing plenary of the Summit, Bob Blakley – now Global Head of Information Security at Citigroup – introduced the concept of the “Limited Liability Persona” that you could select as your identity to participate in certain data sharing use-cases. I’d like to emphasise he talks “personas” (plural of persona) and not “persons”. For example using your Limited Liability Persona “1” for getting a bank-account, and Persona “2” for your health transactions, etc.

This multiplication in personas will just add to the number of identities to deal with.

Explosion of Data

Big Data, Small Data, Real-Time Data, Fast Data, etc… I guess you are familiar with the buzzwords. I would like to share some insights that go beyond the generalities heard at most conferences.

Have a look at Avinash Kaushik – Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google – in his fascinating talk at Strata 2012 earlier this year. And especially pay attention as from minute 4:00 where he introduces Donald Rumsfeld as one of the “greatest philosophers when it comes to analytics”:

“Reports say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are the known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know”

And then there is this recent Future of Internet PEW report that opens with:

Big Data: Experts say new forms of information analysis are helping us be more nimble and adaptive, but they worry over humans’ capacity to understand and use new tools well

And in the opening para:

We swim in a sea of data … and the sea level is rising rapidly. Tens of millions of connected people, billions of sensors, trillions of transactions now work to create unimaginable amounts of information. An equivalent amount of data is generated by people simply going about their lives, creating what the McKinsey Global Institute calls “digital exhaust”—data given off as a byproduct of other activities such as their Internet browsing and searching or moving around with their smartphone in their pocket.

“The realisation of dynamic and emergent systems as a natural order will cause people to realize the foolishness of trying to game systems to the Nth degree. We will see the rise of more algorithmic thinking among average people, and the application of increasingly sophisticated algorithms to make sense of large-scale financial, environmental, epidemiological, and other forms of data. Innovations will be lauded as long as they register a blip in the range of large-scale emergent phenomena.”

Explosion of Time

This leads me into one of the coolest presentations I have seen on big data, high frequency trading and the new algorithmic ecosystem by Sean Gourley from Quid.com at TEDxNewWallStreet

Especially watch the section as from minute 9:00 or so, where he lets us discover how machines are doing business in matter of nanoseconds: a world of machines where black-swans almost become the norm!

It is not so much that more time is created, but more some form or time “implosion”, where things happen in milli- and nano-seconds timeframes, an outer-space alien to human beings.

Btw: Sean Gourley will be with us at Innotribe@Sibos Osaka 2012 in the session about The Future of Big and Small Data

Explosion of Mobile

Also repeated over and over again at Cloud Identity Summit by different speakers. Whereas many of the suggested solutions consisted of some form of “identity bridges” or translators if you want, I start to believe we come at a point where also here the existing metaphors and techniques are not adapted to the new paradigm of super-scale.

I have seen so many statistics and data that mobile is big, I prefer to refer to the mother of all internet trends, Mary Meeker who moved last year from Morgan Stanley to Kleiner Perkins Caufield Beyers with her May 2012 update on Internet trends.

As from slide #29, she introduces  the “Re-Imagination of nearly everything”

And closes her presentation with

“This cycle of tech disruption

is materially faster & broader

then prior cycles…”

Explosion of Decentralization

With some delay, I found some time this week to watch Don Tapscott’s talk at  TEDGlobal 2012 where he gets into “the interest of the collective”

Tapscott points out that this is “Not an Information Age, but an Age of Networked Intelligence

And Don Tapscott nails it when he summarised the 4 principles for the open world:

  • Collaboration
  • Transparency
  • Sharing
  • Empowerment

The meta-story underpinning all this, is probably well reflected in the recent essay “The Democratization of Globalization” by Parag Khanna: We are not only moving into the age of Networked Intelligence, but we are also moving into Globalization 5.0 that is characterized by a high level of fragmentation and decentralization.

“Call it Globalization 5.0, the most decentralized form of the phenomenon in history. If succeeding in Globalization 5.0 comes down to exhibiting a single trait, it would be resilience—a decentralized, node-to-node way of doing business, where hundreds or thousands of points of interconnection form a giant web of commerce, information and social good. Those who can demonstrate resilience will adapt and thrive. Those who cling to the old, centralised paradigm do so at their own risk”

I am deeply convinced that the “Cambrian Explosion of Everything” is leading us very fast in a highly fragmented world of heterogeneous entities that are sharing and analysing data at warp speed.

It’s a new world

that will soon require new levels of

governance, security, identity

and community or commons management

Who could be the neutral trusted organisation for the financial industry to deliver us that resilience and trust for the next superfast and hyper-connected data-age?

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On March 11, 2012 Bruce Cahan and team organized TEDxNewWallStreet.

TEDxNewWallStreet was designed to explore moving banking into the Information Age.

In 2009, Marc Andreessen remarked “banking is just information science.” Inspired by Marc’s words, Bruce Cahan and the Team set out to organize TEDxNewWallStreet to explore the empowerment of the new reality – a banking system different than the Industrial Age system we inherited.

  • What if Silicon Valley/SanFrancisco/Pacific Northwest or other technology clusters grew New Wall Streets, on quite different terms than exist in New York?
  • How would they spearhead technology in faster, cheaper, more transparent and accountable ways that contrast with the recent (and recurring) issues of the game as defined and played on old Wall Street?

At that event i did a talk titled “FinOlympics”. We are in the Olympic year 2012 after all, right ?

The talk is a consolidation of my latest thinking on innovation. It is an 18 min story about babies as a metaphor for ideas, sandboxes for experimentation and incubation. The babies story is about the process of innovation. The process is complemented by the soul of innovation: the typical characteristics of innovators and disrupters. That section includes the basics of Corporate Rebels United. The inspiration for that section came at the Sandbox conference in Lisbon in January 2012. The Digital Asset Grid (DAG) is a salient example of a SWIFT Innotribe Incubation project. It is one of the more forward looking projects, where we not only look ahead in time, but also ahead in levels of abstraction and disruption. I condensed my latest thinking on DAG in a post titled “The Programmable Me: we are all nodes in the grid”. At the end of this talk, there is a call for creating an experimentation sandbox for Financial Services in Silicon Valley. You can also check-out the my different Prezi’s on each of these topics here. Enjoy!

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The title for this blog post comes from a 2010 talk by Mark Pesce. He adds to it:

it rarely arrives in the form that we expect

it is too hard to grasp, a bridge too far

the seeds of the future are always with us in the present

I have referred many times already to Mark Pesce in my previous posts:

He keeps inspiring me, by the challenging content and his oratory skills. And yes, I am trying very hard to get Mark to one or more of our main Innotribe events as core anchor/igniter of some of our conversations.

I also recommend my readers to have a look at some of his recent work, especially about “hypereconomics”, Flexible Futures, and last but not least his upcoming book “The Next Billion Seconds”. The chapters of the books are being released now on an almost weekly basis, and here are some of the catchy titles with associated content:

  • Initiation
  • Introduction
  • Articulation
  • Replication
  • Duration
  • Revelation
  • Revolution
  • Origin

It reads like an “Origin of Species”, looking back and projecting us in the future of the Next Billion Seconds, aka the next several ten thousand of years. A fascinating read indeed.

But I wanted to use his 2010 talk as guidance to some of the work our Innotribe team is doing in our incubation project called the “Digital Asset Grid” (DAG)

In this talk, Mark Pesce talks to  a group of Human Service folks and Health officials. Although it is about health, I encourage you to listen with holistic ears, as everything he says is applicable for any vertical.

The talk is titled “When I am 64” and is looking forward 17 years from 2010. The “64” is a wordplay on the famous Beatles song.

Here is the link to the first part of the talk. The talk was split into 3 separate videos.

I will avoid the temptation to do an ad-verbatim transcript, and will just use a couple of quotes to illustrate my own points.

Highlights first video

Somewhere half-way, Mark Pesce mentions how his team went open source with their 3D Mark Up language and how surprised they were with the amazing ideas people came up with on what they could do with it.

  • He mentions and Austrian project that made a 3D encyclopedia, like a tree of knowledge, and
  • a 3D visualization of NYSE stock data.

The latter one makes it possible to see 5,000 times more information than on could see with the standard flatlanders’ Bloomberg terminal. Mind you, this was in 1997, that now 15 years ago.

My lessons learned for DAG:

  • The DAG story is a story of value propositions. That is what the prototype we are building will focus on. It is NOT a technology showcase.
  • We play with the idea of an open source DAG server. There is some hesitation. We should not hesitate. We should look at it like IBM looked at Apache Server at the time. Our core competence is to operate a high-available, secure and resilient infrastructure. Probably less in building server software. We know more than me.
  • There is so much innovation in the ecosystem. Our current thinking is to bring the APIs of the infrastructure in a controlled open. So that Banks and other 3rd parties can be on the bleeding edge of innovation.
  • On the longer term, this whole concept of stream-servers makes me think a lot about the Metacurrency.org software project of Art Brock and Eric Harris-Braun. The idea is to build a basic communication later to be able to deal with stream-scapes.

I can assure you that “streams” and “scapes” will be commongood in some years time. Another very cool initiative in this space is Nova Spivack’s latest start-up BottleNose.

Highlights second video

It really gets interesting when Mark Pesce starts unfolding how the power of our communities shape our behavior. Somewhere at minute 09:10, Mark develops an extremely interesting banking scenario:

  • Imagine someone steals your identity, walks into bank, and takes a loan in your name (if they are able to present the proper documentation)
  • The problem is that once you present stolen proof documents at the entry of the process, the process usually kicks off perfectly and delivers the programmed results
  • Better would be to be proofed by others, by your community. “An identity that is confined and constrained by those you are connected to”, by your on-line context
  • At minute 10:35, Mark suggest

that you should be able to handing the bank your social graph!

You really would expect your bank to be able to write some piece of software which could confirm your identity

Bank validating your identity strength based on who vouched for you !!!

This really comes very-very close to some of the use cases we have in mind for DAG.

This would result in a system with greater resilience, much harder to fool, because:

  • Identity is a function of community
  • And not just identity > even TALENT is a function of and a recognized value of a community
  • The social graph is the foundation of identity

In my opinion, all this is leading towards “interest based connections”.

The relationship economy, the reason why REXpedition is so important, is the next battlefield of competition; after most organizations squeezed all the juice out of SixSigma, Lean, and similar programs for increasing productivity and efficiency.

  • The focus of these programs was on doing better what we already did (sometimes doing bad things better)
  • Now its’ about doing new things, the right things. And those right things have all to do with better managing our trustful relationships

Therefore, Mark’s thesis that “a group of well connected highly empowered individuals is a force to be reckoned with” is one of the biggest forces in place. It has always been, but now returning in force thanks to our hyper-connectivity and information abundance.

Highlights third video

This part, entitled “Senior Concessions” really got my attention when Mark Pesce starts talking about “Personal Broadcasting”, networks of trust and sharing of social graphs.

Sharing of social graphs will enable us to identify who brings real value, who brings insight, who bring wisdom. And also those who seek to confuse, who are confused, or who are self-seeking.

This smells very much like reputation and influence like:

  • the reputation score in eBay
  • the thinking of Andreas Weigend’s from the Stanford Social Data Lab
  • Doc Searls VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) thinking
  • Drummond Reed’s Social Vouching start-up connect.me with its underlying Respect Trust Framework.

Mark continues how boundaries of expertise are becoming more and more fuzzy. The patient now often knows more than the specialist. The student knows more than the teacher. It reminded me to one of the first books I read about fuzzy logic by Bart Kosko in 1994. “The new science of fuzzy logic

Reading that book so very early in my career was probably meant to be part of my life and my purpose.

Anyway, Pesce puts the patient in the center, like Doc Searls put the user in the center of his user-centric intention economy.

In my opinion, banks have a similar huge opportunity to put the customer back in the center and offer unprecedented high-quality data services.

And Mark Pesce goes on:

  • This is about user centric “social” graph
  • Knowledge will pass from one user to another (similar to John Hagel’s knowledge flows)
  • As knowledge is passed on to the community, the community empowers itself
  • Person as agency of his own data, deciding who gets access
  • Privacy of medical data is about making these data freely available to those who need it in context, but make them secret to those who do not need those data
  • Only if person has agency for his data and authorizing access to his (medical) records, and tools to track that access (and give/release access)
  • Without those tools we will loose track of who owns what etc and becomes easier for those who shouldn’t to have a look in
  • As our medical records spread through our networks of medical expertise, we will feel less fear, and more to surrender our privacy
  • There is power in releasing our privacy because we gain connections

It’s almost going back to Doc Searls (and others’) 1999 ClueTrain Manifesto where the authors declare in one of their 95 thesis that “Markets are Conversations”.

It’s also going back to Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, where the each element is weak, but where the combined structure is stable.

As a matter of fact, the 3D space of the geodesic dome perfectly illustrates what the DAG is all about. Look at it as a certified map of where the data are located with their associated usage rights. Sharing as utility. P2P sharing with certified pointing infrastructure. It’s moving us from a Flatlanders 2D thinking of the physical world to a 3D thinking of the graph. That is what the DAG is really all about.

I put this blog together during one of my weeks off, weeks that are completely un-planned and un-structured. For me these are weeks where I refresh my brain, new ideas pop-up during moments of organized boredom. You could call it my Boredom Weeks.

It can therefore not be a co-incidence that Mark Pesce ends with a referral to Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow and director of the Interaction and Experience Research Group within the Intel Labs. Just on that same day, I received a tweet from one of my followers referring to Genevieve Bell’s TEDxSydney 2011 talk on boredom.

The video basically illustrates that ideas come in moments you don’t expect, when you are not focused, when you have this blissful moments of boredom. Its back to the start and title of this blog post: “The future rarely arrives when planned and it rarely arrives in the form that we expect”

I can already see now how DAG will take off from and into un-expected directions. And we are just at the start of the prototype phase. Exciting times

@petervan from the #innotribe team

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This post is a third in a series on personal digital identity. Part-1 “The unpolished diamond was published here in August 2010 and Part-2 ‘The Digital Identity Tuner” was published here in September 2010.

Today’s post is not reporting about the tour we did in June 2010, but rather some reflections based on a number of serendipitous encounters during the last two months.


I am a strong believer in serendipity or the power of encounters by accident and the resulting idea shifts that can be generated during such meeting of different expertise.

My first encounter was with Azeem Azhar, CEO of Peerindex.

One day I was at a conference, and one of the speakers asked the audience “I would like to know what sort of application you guys want me to built”. It was one of those conferences where folks twitter a lot during the sessions, and I posted a tweet saying: “I would like you to develop my Digital Identity Tuner”.

It got re-tweeted, and in the end got picked-up by Sean Park from Nauiokaspark (he was one of the Innotribe Leaders at Sibos Amsterdam, and he is also an investor in Peerindex), who introduced me to Azeem.

Peerindex helps you understand and benefit from your social and reputation capital online. How much is your online reputation worth ? PeerIndex is a web technology company that is algorithmically mapping out the social web.

The way we see it, the social web now allows everyone endless possibilities in discovering new information on people, places, and subjects. We believe that the traditional established authorities and experts – journalists, academics, are now joined by a range of interested and capable amateurs and professionals. As this locus of authority shifts, many new authorities emerge. PeerIndex wants to become the standard that identifies, ranks, and scores these authorities — and help them benefit from the social capital they have built up

Btw, my Peerindex is 60. That’s based on my digital footprint on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my blogging activities. It is obvious to see that this number “60” may one day translate into some virtual social currency.


There are similar services like this: Klout is well known. Same principle. Some trend toward social currency of your personal platform. It’s also obvious that this capital will become very important for recruiters to find the people who have real on-line influence and reputation.


Like Peerindex, Klout also offers some more drill-down features, showing you influence “style” for example:


As you start drilling down in these data, this starts to smell quite a lot like some of the zooming in/out ideas I elaborated on in “Digital Identity Tuner”.

Azeem and I will continue talking about this. What Azeem liked in the “Tuner” were the ideas of control of what pieces of my profile I want to share with whom in what context.


My dream is that we have a prototype/mockup

ready by Sibos Toronto in September 2011,

where we probably will have

an Innotribe theme on Digital Identity

My second encounter was with Phil Windley, CTO and Co-Founder of Kynetx

One day – it was a day after a conference has ended – I was going to have breakfast just before checking out from the hotel and flying back home. At the table next to me, I see a guy working on his PC. I see a big sticker “Kynetx” on the PC. I had heard the name of the company several times before, so I said “good morning” and quickly introduced myself. It happened to be Phil Windley.




Kynetx is a private company that provides the first Context Automation Development Platform. This platform, powered by Kynetx Network Services (KNS), provides easy-to-use development tools to create context-sensitive, cross-platform apps that help build relationships between app owners and users.

I would describe it as

an event based integration engine

in the cloud


So we made contact, and once back home we arranged a Webex demo session.

Boy! What I saw really blew me away from my socks ! I saw a demo with a credit card vendor who used Kynetx to establish a new direct channel with the credit card holder, completely disintermediating the banks. I saw another demo with really very deep integration of DBS360 into Salesforce.com

I knew he had something to do with identity, and back home I found out that Phil Windley also co-founded and co-produces the Internet Identity Workshop with “identity woman” Kaliya & VRM-guru Doc Searls.

Phil has a great blog called Technometria


He has a great perspective on the key differentiator between today’s social networks and Personal Data Ecosystem the emergence of the personal data store where individuals control their own data.

This is of course very relevant to our eMe winner project of Sibos 2009. As I mentioned already many times before, with hindsight the eMe premise of a single or even distributed Personal Data “Store” or “Locker” is flawed. On Windley’s blog I finally found a good discourse on why it is flowed.

Check out the following two posts:

Like always, there is nothing such convincing like a demo.

The video below shows a conceptual demo illustrating the opportunities that are available for automating the contextual activities that people undertake every day. At the heart of the demo is a personal data store and Kynetx. The interactions are all done using real Kynetx applications that are plumbed in a realistic manner. The scenario uses 5 different APIs and a dozen individual rulesets in the Kynetx system.

In the scenario, Scott Phillips gets bad news from his radiologist: he needs surgery. You’ll see that a personal data store and a collection of loosely coupled Kynetx apps automate the frustratingly disjointed activities associated with Scott’s bad news and focused his attention so he can complete the tasks with the least amount of effort.


Kynetx and Personal Data Services from Phil Windley on Vimeo.


My third encounter was with nobody less than Esther Dyson.

She was talking at the last Defrag conference. She was doing a fantastic talk “On Exploration”. It was about “exploring yourself”, “discovering yourself”. With my Leading by Being background, I was super concentrated.

As part of her talk, she showed her personal DNA generated by 23andMe, one of the companies she is investing in.


Btw, one of the other investors in 23andMe is Anne Wojcicki, who is married to Sergey Brin of Google. She has an active interest in health information, and together she and Brin are developing new ways to improve access to it. As part of their efforts, they have brainstormed with leading researchers about the human genome project. "Brin instinctively regards genetics as a database and computing problem. In a recent announcement at Google’s Zeitgeist conference, Sergey Brin said he hoped that some day everyone would learn their genetic code in order to help doctors, patients, and researchers analyze the data and try to repair bugs.

23andMe indeed offers a genetic testing service that provides information and tools to understand your DNA. With a simple saliva sample they’ll help you gain insight into your traits, from baldness to muscle performance. Discover risk factors for 92 diseases. Know your predicted response to drugs, from blood thinners to coffee. And uncover your ancestral origins. These days the promotional rate for such service is 99 USD !

Here is how it works:



The system generates personalized reports on your health status, your disease carrier status, your disease risk, your drug response and your traits. In other words,


there is no place to hide anymore


You see the impact of your lifestyle on your DNA. You can change something to your lifestyle, or you can continue to live in a state of denial. As Esther was explaining “its all about motivation” albeit a different motivation than the one meant in Daniel Pink’s latest book “Drive”.

What Esther Dyson was describing was a DNA-version of the Quantified Self, a movement of people who measure all sorts of things about themselves such as heartbeat, blood pressure, time usage, sleep patterns, etc and who put all that information in the cloud.


Obviously, it would be great if also these folks would have a Digital Identity Tuner so that they could control in a more granular what what aspect of their identity/footprint they want to share with whom in what context.

For example, you may want to share your heartbeat with your insurance company to get better insurance policy and rates, but maybe you do not want to share this with your bank.

At the end of Esther’s talk, I observed that what she was describing were actually body listeners, sensors about your human “engine”, “machine”. I wonder if there are no similar implementations about the other side of “me”, namely about my mind, my consciousness, my feelings.

I asked Esther Dyson if she was aware of any such consciousness-as-a-service in the cloud thing. She thought it was an interesting question, but that she did not feel ready yet to share all that with the world.

I love the “Know Yourself” theme:

  • From the one hand it takes quantified measurements from the human body, the “engine”
  • On the other hand, it could take quantified (?) measurements from the human mind, the “capabilities” such as social cognition, or capability to be happy, etc


Both will drive status

Both in place and time


Status is all what it is about these days. And being able to share it. And participate to it. And engage with it. What Clay Shirky called “Cognitive Surplus”. What Stowe Boyd calls “Social Cognition”.

So many reasons to start thinking of a Digital Identity Tuner that lets you control status.

Digital Identity, Digital Status, and Digital Footprint start to converge into a personal data “something”. Some started calling the “something” a “store” or a “locker”. Others think more of a “service”.

Others are aware that our vocabulary is very real-world inspired, often based on physical concepts like “storing”, or “location”, or “posting”, etc… They prefer to wait until an appropriate terms pops up and call it “Personal Digital x” with the “x” standing for “something”. I called it Digital Identity Tuner.




It is clear that this sort of identity is much more than a card, token or PKI certificate.

There is a role for a

neutral, non-for-profit, trustworthy

organization to offer

an identity and trust service

for the financial industry

Who could that be ?


Sean Park’s presentation at next week’s SOFE (SWIFT Operational Forum EMEA) will introduce you to a financial services framework, with trust and identity as foundational services. That’s on 14 December 2010 at 9am in Conference Centre Dolce, close to Brussels.

A number of the above ideas should be part of a Digital Identity Research incubation project that we will probably kick-off at SWIFT in the second half of 2011.

Let the comments flow.

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UPDATE: the Prezi version of the SOFA presentation mentioned at the end of this post is now available here.




Sibos 2010 is over! It was one of the best ever. After that week I felt completely exhausted. Empty. Because I gave my full self. Went deep. Gave and received loads of energy.

This week, it’s time for reflection. For chilling-out. Took some days off: late breakfast, some power naps. A walk here and there. Still lots of reading. Lots of tinkering. Some up-moments, some down-moments. Flowing.

And the future starts to emerge again.

Soon we have to go back to the salt-mine. Soon the treadmill starts all over again. But it does not have to be a copy-cat.

Soon we have SOFE (SWIFT’s Operations Forum Europe), running from 13-15 December 2010 in Conference Center “Dolce” in our home town La Hulpe (close to Brussels).

I have been asked to organize the Innovation Plenary on 14 December. So, here we go again!

Sean Park from the Anthemis Group will be there as well.

He was one of our VC-coaches and Innotribe Leaders for Cloud at Sibos. He will do a keynote during the plenary (a great Prezi presentation on “Platforms, Markets, and Bytes”) and a viewing of his trailer video on “Financial Reformation”. And he will help us run an Innotribe Lab on Cloud computing. Yammy !

Also for me it’s a great opportunity to refresh/reboot. I will do the second part of the innovation plenary armed with


a brand new presentation titled

 “How to make babies”


It will be one of those presentations that have been breeding in my head from some while, and suddenly materialize. Like a painting on a canvas. Like poetry on a sheet of paper. Like joy and harmony in music. Suddenly, it’s there!




“How to make babies” will bring together numerous thoughts collected during many conferences visited this year and ideas distilled from the books I have been reading recently. If you are interested in the books I am reading, I am inviting you to subscribe to my GoodReads.

In essence my story will start with the collision of two ideas.

The first idea was seeded in my brain by Geoffrey West (Distinguished Professor at the The Santa Fe Institute) in a presentation titled “The Secrets of Scale” delivered during the Techonomy conference in June of this year.



Geoffrey West is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests include elementary particles and their cosmological implications; the theory of companies, cities and global sustainability; and biology, including metabolism, aging and sleep. He served as the Santa Fe Institute’s (SFI) President from 2005 to 2009.

It happens that the folks at Techonomy just put up all the videos, including Geoffrey West’s presentation:

It also happens to be the story that opens chapter one of one of the latest books that made a great impression on me: “Where Good Ideas Come From” by Steven Johnston.


At Sibos, we reflected on the Long Now. In the first chapter of “where ideas come from”, Steven Johnson talks about that vantage point the long zoom.

It can be imagined as a kind of hourglass:



Several years ago, the theoretical physicist Geoffrey West decided to investigate whether Kleiber’s law applied to one of life’s largest creations: the superorganisms of human-built cities


the quarter-power law governing innovation was positive, not negative. A city that was ten times larger than its neighbor wasn’t ten times more innovative; it was seventeen times more innovative. A metropolis fifty times bigger than a town was 130 times more innovative.

The essence of Geoffrey West’s story is that cities are intensities. That cities never die. That cities are the ideal womb for idea generation, incubation and execution. That innovation scales differently than the size of the city.



the information and the ideas

flow freely and in high intensity.


But how does one create a culture of intensity, of innovation? How does one create the vibrancies of cities within the walls of a castle?

Here is some additional video material featuring Steven Johnson’s ‘”Where do ideas come from”.

And a TED talk on the same subject:


It brings me to the second idea in the collision: the one of incubators.


Incubators at the Maternity Hospital, Port Royal, Paris (Maternité de Paris, Port-Royal). An engraving by Eugene Froment (1844-1900) from the Illustrated London News, 1884.

Incubators were invented by Stéphane Tarnier in 1880, and documented by Auvard in the historic 1883 article De La Couveuse Pour Enfants. Incubators help us grow babies. Physical babies. What I am talking about are ideas. Baby ideas that need to be prototyped. And then incubated. Many incubator models for ideas and start-ups exist.

Probably one of the more famous ones is MIT Building 20. Building 20 was designed differently. With flexibility in mind. A bit like the Value Web walls that allow you to create spaces of intensities. And when the job is done, you disperse and build new spaces, new teams. Disperse and re-group. A different composition for each new project. Get rid of the one size fits all.



Old Building 20, Vassar Street facade, 1997.


New Building 20 at MIT

The point I am trying to make here is that physical environment is equally important to have a free flow ideas. Ideas will not flow in a castle with long corridors and closed offices.

Once incubated, you need to scale. Which brings us back to Geoffrey West and “The Secrets of Scale”. You need to create intensities. As I already mentioned in a previous post:

Intensities and intentions. City intensities. Platforms of intensities. Physical or virtual. Almost requires an architectural purism and surroundings to make it work. Has to be physical.

I want to create these environments. Where small groups of intense people can meet. Can radiate. Can nurture and inspire each other. Where one hunch leads to another, and ideas cross-fertilize. Where we play the Medici-Effect for 100%.

We need to build some sort of city, some platform of intensities, some sort of campus. Not a “chalet” next to the castle.


Think big

Think scale

Think city

Embedded in the social and economic fabric of our industry. Where experts can meet and weave the next generation solutions.

Where we not only have a fertile environment for funding “only”, but where we also thought about physical housing, novel resourcing models like dedicated teams combined with shared staff from the castle. Or in-residence programs as another way to resource and bring fresh blood.

Where we have a shared infrastructure for support, project management and IT. And where we nurture a culture of experimentation. Where we have reverse-mentorship of our bankers BY the Gen-Y generation.

Venessa Miemis hit us all hard in the face at Sibos:

There is a class of young, intelligent, creative people who are disillusioned with the debt-based monetary system, and are busy building the infrastructures for a commons-based economy, which is emerging, right now, in parallel to what currently exists. The foundation of this economy is built on trust… and transparency…. and the ability of distributed networks to self organize. And using the Web as a grounds for experimentation, we’re learning more effective ways to link unmet needs with unused resources, innovate, generate wealth, and build resilient communities.

This is the prototype of the future. This is where the opportunities are.

I hope that during the Innotribe sessions the remainder of the week, we can explore ways to create bridges between these two worlds and ways of thinking, and co-evolve the next global economy.”

Venessa & friends already followed up post-Sibos with the idea of an in-residence program for bankers. To understand and connect with the new class of young, intelligent, creative people. To learn their language and adapt their values. Yes, you got it right: the bankers get mentored by Gen-Y.

I think it’s a fantastic idea. To think wealth instead of money.


With trust as the currency

of the 21st century


Where we create bridges in a strengths-based society instead of a problem mindset.


We are in a different Zeitgeist,

and most of our bankers

haven’t noticed yet.

The realization that most senior executives in finance (or elsewhere for that matter) would be completely at a loss – “sans moyens” – faced with an articulate and intelligent Gen-Y as personified by Venessa.

Things like this residence program idea: that’s the sort of babies we need to create. That’s the sort of family harbor we want for our children. And when babies become adolescents and adults, when those ideas have matured into successful companies in their own strength, keep thinking about our off-spring. As it never stops.

And despite big hopes from the singularity movement, there is a fair chance that all who read this in 2010 will die sometime. But as Geoffrey West pointed out and proved mathematically:


Biological beings die

Cities never die


The big “contours” of my SOFE presentation are drawn. This post-Sibos holiday & chilling season is ideal to let it mature. To perfect the visuals. To come to the essence. To get to its full purity. To be different by less not more. So that you can feel the full intensity. So that each of you can realize his full potential.

Let’s practice making babies !

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As you know by now, Thursday 28 October 2010 is our Innotribe Grand Finale day where everything comes together!


Make sure to be in the Interactive Workspace from 9-10:30am on Thursday 28 Oct 2010 when we run the “Pitch your Lab” session .

This session is the culminating point of the all the work that will have happened in the Innotribe Labs throughout the Sibos week.

  • We will open with a 20 min update and reflections on the Long Now Lab by Paul Saffo, who will also be the keynote speaker in the Sibos closing plenary later that day.
  • After that, we’ll have a “Pitch your Lab” competition. The best ideas from the cloud, mobile, and smart data labs will be pitched to a jury who will select the winner of this year’s SWIFT Innovation Awards.

Listen to Kosta Peric who explains what this "Pitch your Lab" session is all about. It is your chance to win the SWIFT 2010 Innovation Award !



Here are the members of our extraordinary jury, also referred as our Buyer’s Panel:

  • Paul Saffo, Professor, Stanford University
  • Jo Van de Velde, Managing Director, Head of Product Management, Euroclear SA/NV
  • Wilco Dado, Head of Global Payments, Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Gary Greenwald, Chief Innovation Officer, Global Transaction Services, Citi
  • Lázaro Campos, CEO, SWIFT
  • Ian Johnston, Chief Executive, Asia Pacific, SWIFT
  • Gottfried Leibbrandt, Head of Marketing, SWIFT
  • Alain Raes, Chief Executive EMEA, SWIFT
  • Kosta Peric, Head of Innovation, SWIFT

The jury will be assisted and advised by a VC (Venture Capitalist) Advisor’s Panel. These VC’s were part of the Innotribe Labs during the week. Here are the members of the VC Advisor’s Panel:

  • Oren Michels, CEO, Mashery (Cloud Lab)
  • Sean Park, Managing Director & Founder, Anthemis Group (Cloud Lab)
  • Eghosa D. Omoigui, Founder & Managing Partner, EchoVC (Smart Data Lab)
  • Nova Spivack, CEO, Lucid Ventures (Smart Data Lab)
  • Jennifer L. Schenker, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Informilo (Mobile Lab)
  • Matthaus Krzykowski, Mobile Expert, VentureBeat (Mobile Lab)

Each team will have 5 minutes to pitch their Lab-idea to the jury. After each pitch, we will ask the advice of the VC’s.

Then there will be a short Q&A with the judges, and a voice-of-the-public using our latest “high-tech” applause meter.

The winner of this “Pitch your Lab” competition will be announced during the Sibos Closing Plenary at 16:00 later that day.

We run this competition for the second time this year. Last year this session was referred to as “the best session of Sibos 2009”. We have done everything to match last year’s success. We have invested heavily in a solid design of the labs, and have armed the teams with fantastic facilitators from The Value Web, Innotribe Leaders from the business and the technology eco-systems, and matter expert VC’s.

In the true spirit of less push and more pull, we encourage you to engage in a true dialogue with the Innotribe team and the Pitch your Lab finalists. We look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam.

The Innotribe team

Twitter: http://twitter.com/innotribe
Hash tags: #innotribe and #sibos

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