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With massive open online courses, university is the latest facility to be overwhelmed by a digital tsunami. Online learning is not new. But MOOCs take it to a unprecedented extent, and it's for free. Is there a trick? Strategies, prospects, impact, one should have a look at the entire landscape to get an idea of what is going on.

Intention Economy: from the Fringes to Mainstream?

Business May 22nd, 2013, Doc Searls / Alumnus fellow with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University

Vendor relationship management is on the rise. Though for the last ten years a powerful trend has driven marketers to trap consumers and collect their personal data in order to anticipate their wishes to the point the very idea of choice was questioned, disruptive ways of managing this relationship are emerging. Will consumers recover their freedom?

As the recent successful campaign to fund a movie based on the television show Veronica Mars proves, crowdfunding is now recognized as a reliable funding avenue for both start-ups and established firms. But the growth of the sector also creates more regulatory challenges and raises questions about the risks that funders take when they put their money behind a project.

Big Data marked a break in the evolution of information systems from three points of view: the explosion of available data, the increasing variety of these data and their constant renewal. Processing these data demands more than just computing power. It requires a complete break from Cartesian logic. It calls for the non-scientific part of human thought: inductive reasoning.

They are between 15 and 34 years old. Nicknamed the “digital natives”, they are the first generation of individuals who have always lived with the new technologies. They eat, read, inform themselves differently, and their cultural practices are shaking up the media landscape. Between traditional media and emerging players, two models are competing. Will the latecomers displace older lions? What options do traditional media have to counter their decline?

Entrepreneurs, investors and gurus are on the lookout for the next Facebook, the next killer app that will draw in one billion users before anybody has even started to grasp its potential. It's difficult to foretell the name of the player who will hit the jackpot, but the playing field is almost certainly determined: the technologies of happiness and wellbeing.

Cloud computing is a much hyped but often misunderstood technology that is gaining traction in different industries around the world. Businesses are integrating the cloud into countless systems, from HR to finance. Full adoption and acceptance of cloud computing, however, are still far away. A recent global survey by [email protected] and SAP's Performance Benchmarking team reveals that while the hype and excitement surrounding cloud computing is reaching a fever pitch, many businesses are still expressing concerns over cloud security and IT integration issues. While many people agree that the cloud is revolutionizing business, they still do not fully understand how it works. How will these tensions be resolved? How will the cloud transform businesses in the future? What kinds of benefits will it bring, and is it worthy of the current hype? [email protected] discussed those questions and the survey results with David Spencer, vice president at SAP, and Don Huesman, managing director at the Wharton Innovation Group.

Think Big: Challenges and Debates over the Big Data

Society November 16th, 2012, Henri Verdier / Managing Director, Etalab

Big Data are all over the news. Some fear a new Big Brother, others celebrate new, astonishing possibilities in fields like marketing, epidemiology, city management, and Chris Anderson prophesies a science without theory. Obviously we are on the verge of a revolution. But, by the way, what are we talking about?

The Allure of Big Data

Society November 16th, 2012, Jannis Kallinikos / Professor of Information Systems, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

A vivid public interest has recently arisen over the issue of Big Data and its social and economic implications. Statesmen and politicians, economists, businessmen, activists, scientists, even artists declare the timely nature and relevance of the phenomenon. Is there anything of real importance, beyond the obvious buzz? And why now at this historical moment? The answer most probably lies in the distinct habitat of the contemporary digital communicative ecosystem of which the Internet is an important part and the data availability it affords.

The Economics of the Multitude

Society June 7th, 2012, Nicolas Colin et Henri Verdier / General Auditor, French Ministry of Economy & Director, Etalab

The digital revolution is not only a matter of technologies. The players involved can be described as radical innovators, whose work has a direct impact on social exchanges - from friendship to trade. The shock wave is gradually spilling out of our screens and hitting the rest of the economy. The concept of multitude helps us grasp what is at stake.

Does the Internet empower consumers? Or does it make them more vulnerable to manipulation? While both statements might be correct, the balance tilts definitely toward the latter, says Joseph Turow, a professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School. The advertising industry has launched one of history's most massive stealth efforts in social profiling. The result is an increase in intrusive practices that are eroding publishing ethics. Does the solution lie in greater self-regulation or more aggressive oversight by the government?

Digital Mutations and Cognitive Mutations, 1. The Writing Revolution

Society March 23rd, 2012, Jean-Louis Missika / Professor, chair of economy and management of digital industries and new media, CNAM (Paris)

The emergence of a cognitive technology disrupts and rearranges the deliberative processes that govern the practices of a given community or society. Such a disruption can have an impact on the architecture of deliberation networks, on the organizations and individuals who participate in deliberations, or on the standards and conventions that structure them. Or it can have an impact on all at once. As for the current digital revolution, one can understand it better considering the previous great historical mutations, paying a special attention to the debates and criticism they have ignited in their day.

Digital Mutations and Cognitive Mutations, 2. From Gutenberg to Social Networks

Society March 23rd, 2012, Jean-Louis Missika / Professor, chair of economy and management of digital industries and new media, CNAM (Paris)

After the crucial passage from orality to writing, the invention of the printing press brought about an unprecedented reconfiguration of the circulation of information. The construction of scientific knowledge and political discussion was thereby disrupted, with a progressive expansion of reflection circles. Is the Internet but a new stage?

The video game industry is full of paradoxes. The sector is booming and prospects have never been better. However, companies live in a state of constant stress. Faced with the extreme volatility of consumer habits, their competition is merciless. To wage these commercial wars, they are developing business strategies that are as inventive as their most popular games' scenarios.

Bringing the Internet up to Speed

Society February 23rd, 2012, Jean-Bernard Lévy / Chairman of the Management Board, Vivendi

How do we ensure that exponential increases in demand for bandwidth continue to be met both today and tomorrow? What hurdles must be overcome in the race to deploy ultra-high speed networks in the face of a less than favorable economic climate? Reflection on Europe provides fertile grounds for debate over some of the more delicate issues which, at their heart, revolve around new approaches toward network management and a more pragmatic idea of the network neutrality principle.

Companies like Amazon or Sprint are banking on customer lifetime value (CLV), a marketing formula based on the idea of spending money up front to gain customers whose loyalty will reap rewards over the long term. As many companies turn to subscription-based business models, CLV will become a larger issue.

Information is more abundant than ever. Day after day, the flood of data is growing at exponential rates. Barely ten years ago, the main issue for politics and industries, was to hold a firm grip on this daunting explosion. Today, the challenge consists in being able, in real-time, to take advantage and transform into value massive swaths of data.

Open-Source: Untangling a Web of Assumptions

Business October 19th, 2011, Nordine Benkeltoum / Lecturer at LM2O (Centrale Lille) and research associate at the Centre de Gestion Scientifique (Mines ParisTech)

The free software movement when viewed from afar remains poorly understood but on closer inspection reveals a web of surprises. Who knows that around half of all "volunteers" are actually being paid for their contributions? The frontier between commercial and non-commercial activity has become somewhat blurred and the idealized vision of a utopian community actually hides an extremely wide range of actors and entities.

The phenomenon of free has hit many businesses hard, particularly media businesses, argues Saul J. Berman, Global & Americas Leader for the IBM Strategy & Change Consulting Group. In 'Not for Free: Revenue Strategies for a New World', Berman offers lessons from successful business model innovations as well as from failures. Who pays for free content and why new models are essential for success?

The Global Grid

Business July 26th, 2011, McKinsey Quarterly / Editors

The global economy is becoming increasingly interconnected, and innovative businesses are harnessing the power of this network.

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