“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself”
- Sören Kirkegaard
Mobile and handheld applications development has exploded in recent years. Today we have a vast number of apps that users can customize their own phones with that we could only dream about five years ago.
Although the telecommunications industry has been saying that apps would be the wave of the future for over 15 years, it has been unable to drive this development. Instead they pursued—especially the operators—a so-called “walled garden” strategy where the idea of growth was to restrict their own platform. And when business opportunities for developers were less than favorable, it’s easy to understand in retrospect why so little happened in all these years.
An obsolete structure
Many companies and organizations, especially the large ones, are stuck in an industrial structure in which they are absolutely convinced that they know what their customers want and demand. This approach curbs the company’s own creative abilities, and prevents development of new products and services. It is very similar to the mobile operators’ old “walled garden” strategy. Just imagine the new customer-oriented services that could be created by companies like MTG, Bonnier, EON, ICA and H&M, if only they took a new and leading role in opening up their content!
Authorities and public organizations have the same potential. Their vast, exciting content could be placed in the hands of service developers and converted into creative innovative services that would benefit the organizations’ customers and users. Only imagination sets limits on what services we would see if, for example, SVT, Svenska Spel, the Civil Aviation Administration and municipalities opened up their content, and took a leading role in this development.
Opportunity for large organizations
One way to speed up this development is to open up the technical interfaces (APIs) and create favorable business models for the company, the organization, and application developers. Give away the necessary tools, train the development companies in the company’s core values and strategy, but most of all, establish favorable business models.
One brilliant example is the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, which created openaid.se to show what Swedish foreign aid is used for and allow others to build services based on the data.
It’s all about allowing external developers to build on what has already been created – new services that the company would hardly have been able to come up with in the boardroom or executive offices. This approach releases a tenfold or hundredfold surge in creativity completely in the company’s direction. It is open innovation at its best.
I am convinced that this kind of development will benefit all parties, especially NGOs and corporate clients. We therefore encourage all companies and organizations to contact us at Media Evolution to see how we can help make this trend your reality.