Last week Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc, presented his 10 year plan for the company. With more that 1,55 billion active users, Facebook is by far the largest social media network and also the most far advanced network with different functionalities. The 10 year plan lays out the future of Facebook how to become the world’s dominant network by providing free access to the Internet around the globe and how facebook evolves to a fully developed ecosystem with focus now on video, augmented- and virtual realty, and messenger bots.
What do these developments contribute to innovation networks and is Facebook becoming the dominant innovation network platform?
To answer this question, I will use the upcoming article in June 2016 in the International Journal of Information Management about information management for innovation networks. In the article the major challenges are described to create new products and services where resources, processes and skill sets of others are needed. As one of the entrepreneurs in the study formulated:
“Right now – I am not completely sure what the start of this idea is – but I am sure that, with the possibility to build a network, it is possible to develop products and services, and the (participants)are really able to exchange all information without huge problems and staying fully informed in real time.”
In fact there are three main challenges in innovation networks where information systemens can assist.
- Building partnerships (“who”).
Finding the right partners “who” firms want to cooperate with as part of an innovation project.
- Integrating value contributions (“what”)
It is important to define “what” contributions are provided by each partner as part of the innovation network.
- Coordinating innovation processes (“how”)
Partnering firms need to coordinate “how” to integrate corporate documentation systems (technically and from a process point of view) and that offer the possibility to document R&D processes in detail.
Looking at the new 10 year strategy of Facebook it is important for innovators and innovation networks that there is a global platfrom that can help in finding the right partners (“who”) and to work in closed groups. With the possibilities of the new messaging facilities as well as video and virtual reality possibilities, it is possible to work together even on great distance also when prototypes are involved. Partners are able to define and contribute (“what”). Related to the coordination of innovation processes there is not much to conclude about this topic in the strategy of Facebook for the next ten years.
Based on the strategy of Facebook Inc., I think that the company is setting the stage of becoming the innovation platform of the future. I am curious how many people use Facebook as an innovation platform already?
Rehm, S. V., Goel, L., & Junglas, I. (2016). Information management for innovation networks—an empirical study on the “who, what and how” in networked innovation. International Journal of Information Management, 36(3), 348-359.
Gary Hamel: Open source is one of the greatest management innovations of the 21st century.