How to Build a Connected Company Beyond Branded Content
It’s been predicted that by 2020 we’re going to evolve from a world with 2 billion Internet users and 5 billion mobile devices, to a world with over 50 billion devices on the grid. To put that number into perspective, if we were to add one device to the grid every second, it’d take 1,600 years to get to 50 billion devices. Everything from clothes, to animals, to clothes hangers and Fitbits are going to be Internet connected creating what some call a $32 trillion dollar opportunity, all in less than seven years.
Like nodes on a network, the companies that are going to win the most market share in the always-connected world are those that are closer to the center of their networks. By being closer to clients, customers and employees, companies will be able to change direction and innovate more quickly against the information they receive from their connections.
There’ve been plenty of conversations about brands as media companies needing to create adaptive everywhere experiences: content with context across multiple platforms. Many of the world’s biggest brands are already doing this successfully, especially in the digital space. However, many of the same brands have not adapted their organization to move at the speed of digital in real life.
In a world where information is freer than ever before, the pace in which ideas spread and innovation occurs is only accelerating. While baby boomers value function, Gen Y values connection. This not only applies to connecting digitally, but also in the workplace. Entire companies are implementing practices to harness the collective thought leadership of their organizations.
Over the past year a debate has been brewing about the benefits of an open office environment and whether a more open design actually leads to more collaborative work and innovation. Both Google and Pixar are known for designing offices that use pathways to allow more random connections to occur amongst employees. Global architecture and design firm Gensler recently released a report determining that the optimal workplace, while focusing on collaboration with an open design, also balances openness with spaces that help workers focus. The workplace itself needs to be as dynamic with space as knowledge workers are as people. This allows for random connections, rapid dissemination of information, and creative work to flourish.
Learn How to Build a Collaborative Office Space like Pixar and Google:
Just as companies are working to become more connected internally, they are also implementing initiatives that work to build relationships with and source ideas both from their backyards and from cities around the world..
Intel Capital, one of the world’s largest and most successful venture capital firms, hosts Intel Capital Technology Days in cities around the world. The day serves to bring its portfolio companies face to face with key executives from Global 2000 companies, many of which are existing Intel clients. Intel Capital not only serves as an on-ramp for Intel to source and invest in global innovation, but through Intel Capital Technology Days, they are able to feed this value back to their partner ecosystem.
Similarly, Telefonica has developed an ecosystem of its own through its WAYRA initiative, a startup accelerator operating in 12 countries across Europe and Latin America. The initiative provides Telefonica with a direct pipeline to innovative ideas at global scale and allows the company to push value back into the ecosystems in which it already invests.
In the connected age, the companies that win are those like Pixar and Google, Intel and Telefonica, who go beyond simply investing in content, likes, followers, and ad impressions, but also assign value to information flow amongst internal team members and external communities. After all, there are 32 trillion reasons why these investments should be made now.