For two months this year, I travelled through Latin America on a speaking tour with Blackberry called, The Blackberry Collaboration Forum.
My topic, was how mobile communications could enable businesses to be more effective, more engaged, to work smarter and leaner. I was asked to share my insights, and perspectives on how organisations could adapt to a networked world and what that meant to them. Read the To Do List at the bottom of this post
The events took place in Sao Paulo, Santiago, Mexico City, Buenos Aries, Caracas and Bogota. The total audience was something like 9000 people, the biggest single audience was 2600 people in Mexico City. And even the Canadian Ambassador turned up. In Mexico I also had the pleasure of being invited by the British Consulate to talk about the No Straight Lines project, how we can build a more sustainable world by thinking how we go about designing solutions that are more lightweight, and consequently more humane. And I was invited to meet the Minister for education in Colombia to discuss hand-held learning.
To the entire RIM team, I want to thank you for giving me such a great opportunity and also I would like to say what an amazing team of people you are. As my friend Gerd would say “you totally rocked”. And what I took away from my travels was this… mobile communications, its platform, its eco-system is transformative, and Blackberry has developed for enterprise large and small capabilities that every organisation should look seriously at. From inter-organisational communications, inventory management, in-field training, as but a few examples, Blackberry provides a robust eco-system. Any organisation that does not take mobile seriously, that does not learn how to embed mobility into its day-to-day operations is simply not part of the 21st Century. Further whilst google is a highly adaptive platform it is a media company, and Apple has staked its claim to the consumer market. Education, Healthcare, Local government services, Enterprise – who is going to look after these industries? I think I saw a credible answer to that working with Blackberry.
I also got to meet some great people in each and every city. In Buenos Aries I met Antonio Pena of Altergaia, and Juan Ramiro Fernandez Senior Director; Digital Media MTV Networks. The lunch was fabulous as was the conversation. And also I met Frederico Mikaelian and his lovely girlfriend, via a friend in Amsterdam who saw my tweet and made the intro. We went to an amazing restaurant recommended by Matt Garlick of Vostu, The Cafe San Juan.
In Caracas, I had the good fortune to meet Nidal Barake Awar and his team at Tedexis and La Causa. Again great conversation, and great food, and finally in Bogota I hooked up with Carlos Sierra of Inalambria. These are contacts that will develop into lasting friendships, enabled initially by my friend Lars Cosh-Ishii in Japan as is the way of this networked world.
What else happened to me? Well you can feel Brazil’s economic heartbeat, and perhaps more importantly immersing myself for 2 months in Latin America, I realised that I was able to see the world and its context from a very different perspective – and that was very useful.
So the To Do List – my challenges to enterprise was
To Do List:
 Adapt to thinking like a network – a collaborative ecosystem = (strategic opportunity)
 Offer value to customers from day #1 (the Bill Bailey principle) Bill Bailey is a comedian and he is asked how he comes up with his jokes, he says, “I start with a laugh and Iwork backwards, what do I need to do to create that amount of laughter”. The point of where we start to imagine possible scenarios is not always that place that it should be.
 Start with basic things and increase complexity only step by step. Speed before perfection, you succeed quicker by failing faster and learning from those mistakes – but I also made the point Blackberry already has some potent tools avaialable for enterprise
 Organisational: where does mobile sit in your organisation? A silo in a silo or integrated into management and marketing. This is a key point to the life and death, success or failure of truly adapting mobile into the fabric of an organisation.
 Payment via mobile – a strategic opportunity – enabling payment mechanisms on the mobile is significant
 Identity protection – data / services / marketing = trust = $$ – and protection of data / peoples privacy whilst providing truly life enabling services is vital
 True Engagement in mobile – changing from an interruptive “PUSH” to a model of attraction and “PULL” is imperative
And lastly I pointed out that we had only just begun – therefore we needed to upgrade ourselves constantly in a process of evolution.