It is that time again to review my favorite author and share a specifc article of his works. This also marks the fourth full year of posting on this blog.
This year I have selected Emerson's first book "Nature" as this years reading. As with all of his works I find his writing inspiring and more topical today. Nature does not disappoint. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009
It is that time again to review my favorite author and share a specifc article of his works. This also marks the fourth full year of posting on this blog.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
We are in the middle of a comprehensive review of Professor's Carliss Baldwin and Eric von Hipple new working paper "Modelling a Paradigm Shift: From Producer Innovation to User and Open Collaborative Innovation". In the last post we learned that innovation within the community of People, Ideas & Objects is considered "a non-rival good: each participant in a collaborative effort gets the value of the whole design, but incurs only a fraction of the design cost." Music to my ears and a definitive benefit when a user considers their potential involvement in this community.
In a related document, Professor Paul Romer's October 1990 "Endogenous Technical Change" discusses the impact of these non-rival goods impact on economic growth.
Growth in this model is driven by technological change that arises from international investment decisions made by profit-maximizing agents. The distinguishing feature of the technology as an input it that it is neither a conventional good nor a public good; it is a non-rival, partiallyexcludable good.These non-rival goods are being codified in the Draft Specification and developed by this community in the Preliminary Specification. The community will also develop their value adding service offerings, to be used with the People, Ideas & Objects software applications they've developed, in providing their producer clients with the most profitable means of oil and gas operations. I'd like to see Oracle compete with that.
What I want to highlight is Professor Romer's note that mankind's progress was constrained for a long period of time. Not until we were able to rise above the grind of working for our basic needs did we move forward.
This result offers one possible way to explain the wide variation in growth rates observed among countries and the fact that in some countries growth in income percapita has been close to zero. This explanation is reminiscent of the explanation for the absence of growth in prehistoric time that is offered by some historians and anthropologists: civilization, and hence growth, could not begin until human capital could be spared from the production of goods for immediate consumption.Taken in this context it is clear to me that the community and these software applications have the capacity to significantly increase the productivity of the oil and gas producer. Our way of economic organizations have brought us to the point where we are today. To move forward in the future we need to revisit the ways in which we conduct business. And that is my desire for the oil and gas industry with this blog, software and communities development. What Romer has to state on this point is clearly beneficial for all concerned.
The most interesting positive implication of the model is that an economy with a large stock of human capital will experience faster growth. This finding suggests that free international trade can act to speed up growth. It also suggests a way to understand what it is about developed economies in the twentieth century that permitted rates of growth of income percapita that are unprecedented in history.We stand on the shoulders of giants and begin a process of such great potential. Please join me here in 2010.
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Monday, December 21, 2009
I can not reflect on the past four years on this blog without closing out the year by noting the significant contribution that McKinsey Consulting have provided us. This is the 64th article that I have written about here on this blog. And more then just the numbers, the topical nature and focus on the changing business times that we find ourselves in. They have done a great service to their clients and I think they have established themselves as the number one consulting firm for the twenty-first century.
This article is a brief eight minute video that summarizes everything that we stand for here at People, Ideas & Objects. The opportunities, turmoil and change are all themes that underlie the research and system specifications. It is of Professor Don Sull of the London Business School. Who talks clearly about the times we face. He also has a new book that I would recommend putting on your reading list as well. Enjoy!
(Embedded video may not render, please see the original McKinsey site.)
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Thursday, December 17, 2009
People, Ideas & Objects have define a Technical Vision that identifies and works to mitigate a technical issue that all areas of society need to address. The issue is the ballooning of data. Noted in National Defence Magazine an article entitled "Military Swimming in Sensors and Drowing in Data" it is stated “The appetite never seems to slow down.” As the energy industry is mostly based on the science of physics, chemistry and biology, it is believed this data growth will fuel innovative use and application in the industry. Those firms that have the capacity and ability to deal with this volume of data will have competitive and financial benefits arise from this capability, but only if this software development and community are funded.
The Community of Independent Service Providers and People, Ideas & Objects - Technical Vision suggests four cornerstone technologies enable this data explosion. At the same time, these technologies provide the ability to deal with the problem / opportunity. The four technologies are;
- Object based technologies, and particularly Java.
- Asynchronous Process Management.
Further information on the Technical Vision can be found here.
Today's blog of Richard Fernandez notes this issue is affecting the U.S. Military. And of particular concern, is today's Wall Street Journal video of how Predator Drones have been monitored by insurgents. (If that specific URL doesn't work, search WSJ's video site for Predator Drones.) This issue of the Predator Drones is also noted in Fernandez's second blog post.
Some may note "This explosion of data has occurred for the better part of the last 40 years. Computers have always presented this difficulty and the energy industry will address this problem as it has before." I hope not, because the volume of data and the ability to use that data are something that will have to be purpose built and dynamic. What can be monitored can also be controlled.
People, Ideas & Objects has listed this Technical Vision as the manner in which this community will approach the problem. By exploiting the advantages and having the commercial benefits accrue to those that have a handle on them, I think, will be the difference between success and failure in the oil and gas industry. Critical to the success of the oil and gas producer will be this change oriented and innovation supporting community and application.
The Draft Specification considers a scenario where the use of this type of data and the ability to manage it is possible in a fundamentally more profitable way. The example is the manner in which energy prices can dictate, on a pre-determined and agreed too basis, at what price level would trigger the production was scaled back. If prices were to drop a predetermined percentage, then the production would be autonomously scaled back by X%. And these decisions could be executed on an iterative basis to fully exploit the reserves of the specific Joint Operating Committee (JOC).
These are business decisions that can be made by the Joint Operating Committee as it holds the legal and operational decision making control of the reserves underlying the property in question. (And something today's bureaucracies can not even begin to consider.) If the JOC has the authority, and the legal agreements consider this opportunity, then the industry can move from a price-taker to a price-maker position. This last point should be coming more evident as a necessity in the industry. Leaving everything to produce at 100% and then watch the prices drop year after year must get a little tiring. Only a fool would continue to sell his resources at a price less then its cost. And in an escalating cost environment, we have many managers who know they do not have the tools to deal with this problem, and yet will not support this software development project and associated community.
If it is generally agreed by the producers that an additional $20 trillion will be spent on oil and gas operations in the next 20 years. I would suggest the producers attain these types of capabilities so that they can prove to their shareholders they have the capabilities to address these difficulties and profit from them. Or is it really assumed that the bureaucracies can exist in that prospective environment, and provide returns to those outside of their own management team. Please join me here.
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Monday, December 14, 2009
When taken together, the findings of all these empirical studies make it very clear that users have long been and are doing a lot of commercially-significant process development and product modification in many fields.
Users, as we define the term, are firms or individual consumers that expect to benefit from using a design, a product or a service. In contrast, producers expect to benefit from selling a design, a product, or a service. Innovation user and innovation producer are thus two general "functional" relationships between innovator and innovation. Users are unique in that they alone benefit directly from innovation. Producers must sell innovation-related products or services to users, hence the value of innovation to producers is derived from users willingness to pay. Thus, in order to profit, inventors must sell or license knowledge related to their new design, manufacture and sell goods embodying the innovations; or deliver and sell services incorporating complementing the innovations.
The users then earn their fees in providing the services and software to oil and gas producers. Users are licensed to access this information based on their own skills and provide those services to their oil and gas producer clients at no charge for the software or the access to the underlying IP. (Users bill their clients for their services.) Clearly the involvement of a user within this community is critical to the success of the project, as we discussed yesterday. And this success provides the users with a means to pursue their career in the most effective manner that they see fit. Why do we do this.
Reexaminations of traditional economic arguments triggered by evidence of free revealing show that innovators generally freely reveal for two economically rational reasons. First, it is in practice difficult to effectively protect most innovations via secrecy or intellectual property rights. Second, significant private benefits often accrue to innovators that do freely reveal their innovations.
Modularity is important for collaboration in design because separate modules can be worked on independently and in parallel, without intense ongoing communication across modules. Designers working on different modules in a large system do not have to be colocated, but can still create a system in which the parts can be integrated and will function together as a whole. In small projects or within modules, designers can utilize “actionable transparency” rather than modularity to achieve coordination. When projects are small, each designer’s activities are “transparent” to his or her collaborators. In open collaborative projects, modularity and actionable transparency generally go hand in hand, with both factors contributing to the divisibility of tasks (Colfer, 2009).
Building on arguments of Ghosh (1998), Raymond (1999), and von Hippel and von Krogh (2003), Baldwin and Clark (2006 b) showed formally that, if communication costs are low relative to design costs, then any degree of modularity suffices to cause rational innovators that do not compete with respect to the design being developed to prefer collaborative innovation over independent innovation. This result hinges on the fact that the innovative design itself is a non-rival good: each participant in a collaborative effort gets the value of the whole design, but incurs only a fraction of the design cost.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Our analysis will lead us to conclude that innovation by individual users and also open collaborative innovation are modes of innovating that increasingly compete with and may displace producer innovation in may parts of the economy.
We will argue that when it is technologically feasible, the transition from closed producer or single user innovation to open single user or collaborative innovation is also desirable in terms of social welfare, hence worthy of support by policy-makers. This is due to the free dissemination of innovation designs associated with the open model. Open innovation generates innovation without exclusivity or monopoly, and so should improve social welfare other things equal.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
The research program on which I and others have been working has been variously described as the "economics of governance," the "economics of organization," and "transaction cost economics." Whereas governance is the overarching concept, appeal to organization theory provides vital support, and transaction cost economics is the means by which to breathe operational content into governance and organization. For economists, organization is important if and as it is made susceptible to analysis.
Or--most fundamentally--why there are firms at all--why all economic activity isn't carried on by contracts among individuals. Ronald Coase asked that question in a paper entitled "The Nature of the Firm," published in the 1930s. His answer was that a producer has a choice between contracting with independent contractors for the output of the various inputs into this production of the finished product, and contracting with individual workers--employees--not for their output but for the right to direct their work--and that the employer would choose between forms of contract--the contract with the independent producers or the employment contract--on the basis of which was more efficient, given the nature of his business.
One of the most compelling observations from highly competitive environments is that many different organizational structures sometimes survive in the same industry.
Both the inter country and within country evidence indicate that no single organizational form is always the most profitable even in a particular sector of the economy. Different combinations of scale economies, principle-agent problems, compensation practices, thickness of the span of control, and many other variables highlighted in the organizational literature often produce outcomes that are about equally efficient and profitable. The outcome of strong competition is the only really decisive way to determine which are the possibly quite different but about equally efficient combinations of all these different variables.
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Tuesday, December 08, 2009
In this paper we assess the economic viability of innovation by producers relative to two increasingly important alternative models: innovations by single user individuals or firms, and open collaborative innovation projects. We analyze the design costs and architectures and communication costs associated with each model. We conclude that innovation by individual users and also open collaborative innovation increasingly compete with - and may displace – producer innovation in many parts of the economy. We argue that a transition from producer innovation to open single user and open collaborative innovation is desirable in terms of social welfare, and so worthy of support by policymakers.
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