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If you are, just like us, interested in digital innovations, such as blockchain or AI, chances are that you were in Amsterdam last week. On May 24 and 25, Amsterdam was the stage for “The Next Web” (TNW) conference, where business, innovators and academics came together to discuss the latest trends. We witnessed some of the latest innovations in the field of the future of work, developments with artificial intelligence, and great ideas on how to use blockchain in practice. Particularly energizing was the talk by Jason Silva, who talked about the future of biotechnology, the entanglement of humans and technology, and how rapid developments will change how we think about our health and lives. Beside Jason Silva’s talk, many others presented their ideas on what our future will look like, how new technologies will change how we live, think, interact, and work. Read about how other visitors experience TNW2018 here.

KIN Present at TNW2018 as Visitors & Speakers
As researchers, we at KIN are of course interested to find out if all these expectations will become true, and what they mean for how we live, work, and organize. We visited many of the inspiring keynotes and pitches, and two of our PhDs hosted round table sessions: Jovana Karanovic and Julia Schlegelmilch.

Jovana – Disrupting the giants: The birth of decentralised platforms
Jovana’s session focused on the sharing economy: she went beyond Uber and Airbnb to explore how new technologies such as blockchain can allow peer-to-peer platforms to prosper. While platforms like Uber, Amazon Mechanical Turk, and UpWork have leveraged digital technologies to arrive at completely new solutions for matching two parties (e.g. Uber drivers to passengers), they have also been heavily criticized for capturing a bulk of the created value. These companies have been accused of unfair work practices and for possessing an enormous power over workers’ identity through the data they collect. One can even argue that these companies essentially “own” labor as they can decide to open or close the platform at any time, as well as increase their commissions. But blockchain is offering a revolutionary solution – a possibility to create a digital marketplace that can be run by the crowds – no hierarchy and fair distribution of profits. How would these decentralized platform organizations look like? How would they be managed? And can they compete with the industry giants? These are the questions that were discussed during Jovana’s “Engage” session at TNW.

Julia – Working anywhere, anytime: Beyond the corporate office
Julia took a deep dive into the topic of the future of work. For this session, she built on her research about digital nomads as these individuals use digital technology to achieve location-independence and, to varying extents, combine working and traveling. As digital technologies enable many knowledge workers to flexibly choose and change workplaces, they are also faced with additional organization before actually getting to work. Questions, such ‘Where can I do focused work?’ or ‘Where do I find stable and fast internet?’ are practical challenges amongst mobile workers without a designated workspace. During the session, Julia examined the tools to solve these issues with the participants and reflect on their space requirements for different types of work, such as calls or focused work.The discussion also covered how remote work policies in bigger companies potentially create an information-inequality between the workers taking part in them and the workers remaining in the office.

All in all, the diverse talks, summer weather and festival-inspired setup of the conference at the Westergasfabriek area created an inspiring atmosphere that already made us curious to see see what next year’s conference is going to be like.

On June 8th, the KIN Center for Digital Innovation will organize the Masterclass Open Banking. This Masterclass will offer insights into regulatory changes of PSD2, the emergence of new platform and innovation ecosystems, and the transformational processes that are necessary to successfully capture the potential that Open Banking can offer. But what is it that makes this such a hard process?

Changing times in banking
The role of the banking industry is increasingly challenged in recent times. The increasing digitalization and the popularity of FinTech companies entering the market are forcing banks to search for relevance while facing disruptive innovations. This force of play is strengthened by the introduction of two important regulatory frameworks, the Second Payments Service Directive (PSD2) across the EU and the Open Banking Working Group (OPWG) in the UK. These frameworks are designed to facilitate competition in the banking industry in favor of customers. Through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), the banks are required to grant Third Party Providers (TPPs) access to a customer’s account if that customer gives his or her consent (Zachariadis et al., 2017). These recent events require banks to adopt the model of Open Banking, where banks are able to offer new products and services with the help of TPPs.

First steps towards Open Banking
The first steps in this direction have already been taken, with the nine largest banks in the UK being mandated to comply with the PSD2 regulations. Three of which have managed to do so in time, which emphasizes the effort it takes for banks to successfully comply. The first FinTech that successfully collaborated with one of these nine banks was Yolt, an ING-owned smart money app. This has been a very successful integration, and functions as a proof of concept for the Open Banking ecosystem, which serves banks, TPPs, and end users. In the Netherlands, ABN AMRO has launched the Developer Portal, which allows TPPs to develop applications that are able to connect with some APIs. The bank claims that through this portal, they are able to accelerate innovation and further improve the services to their customers. Through the Developer Portal, ABN AMRO is prepared for regulatory frameworks while also able to explore the future of banking (ABN AMRO, 2017).

The challenge
Despite this success, it is a challenging move for most banks, since they are not used to the concept of modularity, and have always valued security over service speed. Therefore, both existing banks and FinTech companies will have to find common ground to work on. Markos Zachariadis, associate professor of Information Systems at Warwick Business School, suggests that banks can take on a leadership role in this process by opening up their business, and establish Banking as a Platform (BaaP). This allows banks to perform a mediating role in the added value for their customers, by offering new products and services.

Generating success in Open Banking
According to Louise Beaumont, co-chair of the OPWG, there are four characteristics that can generate success in Open Banking. First, banks need to be able to accommodate new customers, products and services and display a certain level of agility, or stretchiness. It further needs to adopt a style of communication to the customer that shows understanding and resonation. Also, banks need to be able to design and deliver services that work in an ecosystem, in order to attract talent that can help build better services. Finally, they should develop the ability to collect and interpret data. It is important to be able to use the data to effectively introduce new products and services based on customer demand (The Banker, 2018). In our Masterclass Open Banking, Markos Zachariadis and Hans Berends, Professor of Innovation & Organization at the KIN Center for Digital Innovation, will discuss in detail how the role of banks is changing, and what the recent regulatory frameworks include. Also, we will look at the strategic implications of open banking, both towards others in the industry, as well as towards the customer. Read more about our full day Masterclass on Open Banking.

In the past years, data and analytics have become increasingly important on management agenda’s. With the increasing digitalization of work and organizing, it becomes vital to understand the (im)possibilities, chances, and consequences of data and analytics.

On the 5th of April, we organized the interactive professional workshop Data-driven business model innovation. In this workshop, professor Frans Feldberg discussed the “Why, What, and How” of big data and data-driven business model innovation. How did the world, in terms of data, change in the past years? Why are big data and analytics an important digital innovation that is listed high on many management agenda’s? Why are organizations investing so much in big data and data science? How can organizations create value with data by improving existing business models, as well as by developing new data-driven business models? These and other questions were addressed during this workshop. By using a variety of examples, and combining them findings from top-tier academic research, this workshop showed how and why big data is a “disruptive innovation” that can have big consequences for many organizations. In the workshop participants also gained hands on experience with the Business Model Canvas to see where potential chances and opportunities lie, to create value with data and analytics.

One of the core learning points of this workshop was to learn the special skills in storytelling with data and analytics. You can find the original information page here.

Data is everywhere
In the first part of the workshop, professor Frans Feldberg talked about the ways in which data have become the new oil, and how proper analytics is key to actually create profitable value propositions with data. Thanks to the vast technological developments in the past years, more and more data is being gathered. And while the field of “big data” exists for quite some time now, the actual implications for organizations are still very much developing. Consider for example the images that are taken in MRI scanners. Doctors use the images to determine the conditions of a patient. What if we could bring together all images of all MRI machines from all over the world, and then let an algorithm detect whether there are anomalies? This could potentially bring enormous benefits in the accuracy of diagnostics. There are of course very serious privacy-concerns that would need to be dealt with first, but this thought experiment helps us understand that there are many opportunities with data that reach further than most people realize. The example also shows that the emergence of data and analytics has unintended consequences, as data & analytics may also affect the role of the hospital. Who owns the data? The hospital, the MRI manufacturer, the patient? This is merely one of the examples that was used to spur debate and get the participants thinking about the ways that the collection and analysis of data may change their current role and/or organization.

Business Model Innovation
What became clear in the first part is that organizations need to know how to deal with data, to either improve their current business model or come up with new business models to survive. So how do you develop new business models? Emphasizing that there of course are different approaches to business model innovation, Frans Feldberg focused on the Business Model Canvas. Participants gained hands on experience with understanding and using the different parts of the Business Model Canvas. By focusing on the importance of elements such as the value proposition, customer segments, and key resources, participants experienced the complexity of designing new business models.

Data-driven Business Model Innovation
In the second half of this full day workshop, participants were first fueled with a variety of both theories on innovation and cases to show how the use of data can radically change any organization. For example by digitizing existing assets, or by combining data within and across industries. After the participants were fully charged with ideas for innovative data-driven business models, they continued to work in teams. In groups of four people the participants picked an organization and started to think and develop the business model canvas. To spur additional interaction, the teams were asked to present their ideas at the end of the day. During these presentations a lot of discussions emerged both on the feasibility and refinements of original ideas.

Participants of this workshop on Data-Driven Business Model Innovation not only learned the ins-and-outs of data & analytics, but also gained thorough hands-on experience on what it means to really think about the possibilities and challenges of data & analytics for their organization.

Jovana Karanovic, a PhD candidate at KIN, frequently reaches out to others to share her thoughts and views on the platform economy.
On Sunday April 1st an article of her was posted on the popular technology-news website The Next Web. In the past months a lot of debate has been going on about the ways in which platforms such as Uber, Deliveroo, and Airbnb operate.
While these platforms have a lot of pros for the public, they also have an important downside: low salaries and job insecurity.
“But blockchain is coming to the rescue. It’s promising to make trust, reputation, and coordination possible without the need for centralized authority.
So I wonder, how would the sharing economy world look if it was run by the users, for the users?” Read more about Jovana Karanovic’s thoughts on the use of blockchain in the sharing economy in her recent article on The Next Web.