Insights of an innovation enthusiast, PhD candidate, efficiency junkie, and technology optimist. Or, things I find interesting.

Posts in category disruptive innovation

2013: The year of uptick in enterpris...

2013: The year of uptick in enterprise crowdsourcing?

Those who work with IT are accustomed to hearing about outsourcing arrangements and cloud computing. Put these concepts together and you get what has been coined the “human cloud.” The Human Cloud is a sourcing ecosystem that engages a pool of online workers, or suppliers, that can be tapped on-demand to provide a wide range of services to any interested buyer. Buyers contract suppliers or workers through one of dozens of online platforms.

2012 saw the consolidation of several platforms, a sign of a maturing industry. Lionbridge bought Virtual Solutions and Freelancer bought vWorker (parent company of RentaCoder).

Even microsoft is excited about the human cloud. See this video. Meanwhile, lionbridge has a great explanatory video.

2013 will see a shift from small business buyers to adoption by large enterprises as well as a shift from outsourcing of one-off projects to the outsourcing of processes where streams of activities in workflows are performed by “cloud” workers. Large enterprises will continue to develop internal human clouds composed of unassigned workers who may engage in modular work. As information and communication technology advances, outsourcing to the Human Cloud will eventually disrupt the multi-billion dollar business process outsourcing industry. Off-shoring becomes every-shoring, then the world is truly flat.

Teaching Business Process Management ...

Teaching Business Process Management with RunMyProcess
During my studies at Georgia State, I have had the privilege of developing and teaching courses on Business Process Management. When this comes up in conversation followed by blank stares. I typically explain it as model driven execution:
  1. Model your business process.  (like the one to right, created by one of “my” students)
  2. Press a button — code is generated –you have just created an application (and automated a process).

Sounds too good to be true right? Well, you do also have to create forms and route the data around. But, this is all fairly straight forward. It is important to note what is doing all the heavy lifting — what makes this all possible: the Business Process Management System (BPMS).

There are many BPMS systems available see: Gartner’s magic quadrant. We started using TIBCO, which is a fantastic product, but proved too taxing on student (budget) laptops. Then we used a lightweight product called BizAgi, which has a fantastic modeler and a great backend BPMS system which we deployed on AWS. Recently, I have been fascinated by RunMyProcess a BPMS which runs entirely in the cloud. Here are some of its advantages from my perspective:

  • No install necessary (a huge plus for students)
  • Integrates with any webservice. Want to send text messages, send invoices, read or store information into a database of google spreadsheet, call someone with a pre-recorded statement, check exchange rates, the weather, or micro-outsource some work to mechanical turk as part of your process? No problem, there are thousands of connectors to fabulous RESTful webservices waiting for you(e.g. Twilio, Zoho, Google Spreadsheets, Freshbooks, mTurk).
  • Email just works. Setting up email notifications can be a hassle on other BPMS systems when you have them hosted yourself. RMP also has email receptors (i.e. start a process by sending an email to a specific email address… nifty).
  • No hosting required.

I was showing this system at a recent conference and a chief scientist at Google described it as Mash-ups (or MashApps) for the enterprise. Like other BPMS systems you also get the Business Intelligence insight through process monitoring and measuring tools. There are similar platforms-as-a-service out there, but it has been very rewarding to see many light bulbs turn on as students catch the vision that BPM purports. This usually starts to happen when they design a process which sends themselves a text (SMS) message with stock exchange rates, or a customized haiku poem written by turkers.

Is education improvement the new R...

Is education improvement the new “Green”?

time-cover2I saw this post on Gartner’s Hype Cycle Blog. It points to several news sources which talk about how Time’s Earth Day issue was the third lowest selling of 2008, and how people are tired of hearing about Green issues.

As I read Clayton Christensen‘s Disrupting Class book, and saw Rob Preston‘s reaction to it here and again here — I can’t help but think that educational improvement issues are replacing “Green issues” in the press, and thus on their way up the hype cycle.

I recently ran across a disruptive university education technique — the unCourse or Open Studies class which is outlined here. It has been put into practice at BYU already… look at the unclass website.

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