Archive for the ‘Mobile apps’ Category

What I consider to be one of the key benefits of social media in organizations is this: It takes communications and collaboration into a whole new era.

But what if we’re not ready to take that plunge? Do we first need to declutter in order to reap the benefits of social media? I’m afraid yes. I have previously written about email being one of the biggest productivity barriers of our time. Well, how did email go from being the biggest thing since sliced bread (just 10-15 years ago) to becoming a real addictive nuisance to a lot of people? Well, like so many other addictions it’s difficult to deal with it rationally – simply because it’s all about brain chemistry. It’s not that we don’t understand the addictive nature of it, we just can’t help ourselves because we neeeed that dopamine rush.

So what’s the effect of adding a whole series of new social tools into the picture? Judging by consumer web 2.0 tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube things are probably not getting any simpler. My experience is that this generation of social tools is every bit as addictive as email (which can be both good and bad).

Life hacks

This is where life hacks will save you. According to Wikipedia “life hack refers to productivity tricks that programmers devise and employ to cut through information overload and organize their data”, however today “anything that solves an everyday problem in a clever or non-obvious way might be called a life hack”.

One of my favourite life hacks is still the one presented in Merlin Mann’s speech at the Google Tech Talks in 2007. It’s very very simple and yet not that many people actually do it. The clip takes almost an hour, but I tell you, it’s gonna be one of the best hours you’ve spent in a long time.

But I want to go one step further. I want companies to life-hack their inboxes and make room for some of the productivity-enhancing, joy-spreading and innovation-creating Enterprise 2.0 tools. And then I want them to life-hack their Enterprise 2.0 tools. I call it Digital Habits 2.0.

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I just discovered a great little iPhone app called Redlaser. It scans barcodes and in a split second it returns a long list of online price comparisons, a bit like Pricerunner, only this brings online price comparisons into the offline world.

I spotted Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the bookstore at Dublin Airport at the ”special price of €13.99” and decided to give it a quick try. A Redlaser scan of the barcode revealed that Douglas Adams’ classic could be purchased online at biblio.com for $9.98 (€6.70). Now – that’s less than half price. Would I buy that book from Hughes & Hughes at Dublin Airport given that information at hand? Definitely not.

The app is very simple, but obviously leverages a powerful search engine (TheFind), which hooks up with a rapidly growing number of online shops and its ramifications are astounding. It will put far more pressure on retailers to coordinate online and offline offerings minutely and realtime to ensure that customers don’t abandon their shop purchase in favour of buying it online (which I would have done in my example).

I’ll be following this little red devil closely to see how and to what extent it might change customer retail behaviour in 2010 – and, oh, I’ll be sure to develop some cool strategies for retailers to not only cope with this new “thing”, but also take seriously advantage of it.