New Transportation Study Says Urban Sprawl Causes Congestion

Driven Apart For years now, The Urban Mobility Report, issued every two years by the Texas Transportation Institute, has been regarded by many transportation and urban planning experts as the ‘bible’ on traffic congestion issues.   The report has been used to justify large road improvement projects throughout the country in an attempt to solve major metropolitan traffic congestion problems.

However, a new report from CEOs for Cities offers a dramatic critique of the 25 year old industry standard created by the Texas Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Report (UMR).  The report provides a new look at traffic congestion and suggests there are additional reasons why  Americans spend so much time in traffic.  The report

The new report titled Driven Apart: How sprawl is lengthening our commutes and why misleading mobility measures are making things worse says the solution to the congestion problem has much more to do with how we build our cities than how we build our roads.  The report says that we need new metrics like 'total trip distance’ and ‘total travel time’, metrics that are not currently in the The Urban Mobility Report.

The report ranks how long residents in the nation’s largest 51 metropolitan areas spend in peak hour traffic, and in some cases the rankings are almost the opposite of those listed in the 2009
Urban Mobility Report.  Here’s a list from the report of the 10 cities (out of the 51 studied) where commuters spend the most time getting to work every day. 

Cities Avg. hours per year in traffic
Detroit – Warren – Livonia 179
Indianapolis – Carmel 166
Louisville / Jefferson County 165
Raleigh – Cary 161
Birmingham – Hoover 159
Oklahoma City 154
St. Louis 153
Memphis 152
Richmond 147
Kansas City 142

The report says that compact cities are the real answer to reducing traffic delays.  The key is to have land use patterns and transportation systems that enable their residents to take
shorter trips and minimize the burden of peak hour travel.   These conclusions are very different than those of the UMR, which has long been used to measure traffic congestion and has been used to justify road improvement projects costing millions of dollars.

It’s nice to have a fresh look at the traffic congestion issue.  Thanks CEO for Cities!

For more information, you can access the report (exec summary AND the detailed report) and supporting press release, graphics, etc. by heading over to http://www.ceosforcities.org/work/driven-apart

CIOs: Social Computing Is The Most Risky Emerging Technology

IBM recently published it’s 2010 Global Risk Study and the findings confirm that IT leaders today are very concerned about IT security and business resiliency.  The report found that 88% of those surveyed say that their company’s approach to risk is less than expert.  This comes at a time when there are increasing demands on IT leaders to accelerate their implementation of emerging technologies like cloud computing and social computing.

IBM surveyed 560 IT managers and CIOs from all types of companies located all over the world to talk in order to understand issues surrounding IT risks from the perspective of IT leaders.  IBM wanted to understand what their biggest obstacles are, where their biggest challenges lie, where they see the greatest potential for adding business value.

What caught my eye was a couple of questions in the survey that dealt with the risk involved with implementing emerging technologies.  Respondents to the survey were asked how their organization is positioned to acquire and deploy five emerging technologies

  1. Social computing/networking tools
  2. Mobile platforms
  3. Cloud computing
  4. Virtualization
  5. Service-oriented architecture (SOA)

Of these five technologies, social networking, mobile platforms and cloud computing were rated the most risky emerging technologies.    Social networking tools (64% respondents) came out on top as the technology that posed the greatest risk.  Second was mobile platforms (54%) followed by cloud computing (43%).  See the graph of the survey results below.

IBM Risk Study 2010  

According to the survey report, IT leaders say that the risks of these emerging technologies include issues related to accessibility, use and control of data (especially regarding social computing/networking), and the danger of having unauthorized access to confidential, proprietary information.

It’s not surprising that social networking/computing technologies is perceived as a risky emerging technology.   Most enterprises are still trying to figure out how to leverage social computing and extract business value.  There needs to be a greater focus by IT and Business leaders on establishing social computing processes, methods, and professional roles.   Once this is done, the risks can be minimized and social networking tools can be fully integrated into the IT infrastructure and business process workflow.

For More Information

Get the report  The evolving role of IT managers and CIOs Findings from the 2010 IBM Global IT Risk Study

Browse for more related information at the IBM Smarter Security & Resilience website.

Successful Social Media Marketing Requires A Dedicated Community Leader

The social media marketing trend is an important trend for businesses of all sizes.  Business leaders and marketing managers are realizing it can be used to help strengthen relationships and perceptions people have with a company, a brand, a product.

Most social media marketing efforts today need to apply the basics of community marketing and management.  Because at the heart of it, social media marketing efforts should be launched to strengthen relationships the target audience has with the topics and people that are important to your company’s success.  A successful community can accomplish that and more.

91955 I see many social media and community marketing efforts fail because of lack of funding for community management resources.  Many of these social sites and community efforts are developed to support a product launch and then a few months down the road the blog posts dwindle to a few posts a month, the tweets slow down, and the conversation stops.

To be highly successful, communities need to be funded for and supported by dedicated professionals fulfilling certain functions. There are four key functions that can help result in a successful community.

  • Exec Sponsor(s): Serves as the group’s champion, internally and externally. Is able to envision the value of the community over time to both the members as well as the organization.
  • Community Leader(s): Plays the most critical role in the community's success by energizing the sharing process and providing continuous nourishment for the community. Communicates a sense of passion and guides the community towards its goals through consulting, connecting, facilitating, helping, guiding
  • Community Council Members: Advises community leader in launching and sustaining the community. Frequently takes on additional roles as listed below.
  • Community Members: Without these there is no community; the essence of a community is its members. Contributes and extracts value via content, programs, and social/professional network

The community leadership is the most important function. My experience tells me that many in management think that communities 'can run themselves' without dedicated community leadership. Without dedicated community leadership, communities are subject to the momentary whims of the members, relying on the members’ discretionary willingness to perform such functions. In most cases, leaving the community to the membership results in a decline in activity. It is a rare community that can continue to survive without dedicated support.

Forrester says that there are four key tenets of a community leader: 

  • Community Advocate:  The community manager’s primary role is to represent the members of the community. They must listen, monitor, and respond to requests and conversations, both within the community platform and in email.
  • Brand Evangelist:  Community manager promotes events, products, and upgrades using traditional marketing tactics as well as being part of conversations within the community. The community manager must first earn and maintain trust.
  • Facilitator:  Defines, plans, and executes content strategy. Uses forums, blogs, podcasts, and other tools to create content. Mediates disputes: Encourages advocates and deals with — or when necessary removes — detractors. Works with corporate stakeholders to identify content, plan updates, publish, and follow-up.
  • Research and Development Contributor:  Gathers the requirements of the community and presents to product teams. Plans and analyzes results of surveys or focus groups. Facilitates relationships between product teams and customers.

To Forrester's list I'd add the following tasks that many community leaders end up performing themselves:

  • Social Media Manager:  Manages the communities presence in the social media and collaboration sites
  • Meeting Facilitation:  Schedules and facilitates meetings. Ensures meetings stay focused on goals of the community.
  • Subject Matter Expertise:  Shares knowledge and experience.  Ensures the community continues to seek out new and innovative solutions and methods.
  • Relationship Management:  Builds relationships between the members to strengthen the overall community.
  • Knowledge Management:  Gathers, posts and organizes the community knowledge.  Ensures all members have access to content created or referenced by the community.
  • Analyst:  Analyzes the community content and membership network to identify and extract value.
  • Technology Management:  Ensures that the community platform and tools supports the goals and objectives of the community.

These responsibilities do not have to be managed by a single individual. Many times there is more than one community leader.  Also, a good community leader has a good group of council members and one or more of the council members may be accountable for multiple responsibilities, which is likely in the early stages of community development.

So what type of skills are needed by the Community Leader? 

  • Strong online communication skills
  • Approachable and conversational
  • Has the ability to relate to members online and offline
  • Comfortable with Web 2.0, social media, and collaboration tools

Two other important requirements.    The community leader must 

  1. Have a passion for the community domain (topic area)
  2. Have a passion for helping others learn and collaborate. They must experience job satisfaction from helping others.

McKinsey: Ten Tech Trends That Business Leaders Should Watch

McKinsey Ten Trends Aug2010 About three years ago, McKinsey published Eight business technology trends to watch, which summarized it’s view of important tech trends for businesses.   About a month ago, the firm updated their list in the article “Clouds, big data, and smart assets: Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch”.  

McKinsey has always been an interesting source for business trends for me and so I was interested to take a look at their latest list.  And recently the firm has been increasing its research and content on IT and technology related to solving business issues, so I was interested in reading it’s latest list of business trends.

I’ve summarized the list below (based on my own understanding of the stated trends) and have provided my own perspectives. 

  1. Distributed Cocreation move Mainstream: Web 2.0 has evolved into a Social Media and Social Networking trend and there are significant implications for businesses and how they maintain relationships with all stakeholders.
  2. Making the Network Organization:  The Networked Organization is not a new concept, but with the advent of Social Networking, it’s importance is magnified.  All the social tools, platforms, and capabilities now play an important role in “Making the Network Organization”.
  3. Collaboration at Scale – This trend is related to the fact that technology alone does not drive greater collaboration.  There needs to be a better understanding of how collaboration is enabled, how knowledge is obtained as a result, and how to manage that knowledge once obtained.
  4. The Growing “Internet of Things”:  We are in a new phase in the evolution of IT systems where there are billions of devices and everyday objects will become interconnected and networked via the Internet.  More on this trend here The Internet of Things.
  5. Experimentation and Big Data:  All those devices that will be connected and networked (via #4 above) will lead to mountains of data.  Businesses will need advanced analytic capabilities in order to make sense of all the data.  Successful businesses will use that capability in order to experiment and drive innovation across enterprise processes.
  6. Wiring for a Sustainable World:  Business leaders need to figure out how to use technology for sustainable growth.  IT can be a means to increase sustainability through things like smart grids, smarter buildings, smarter transportation, etc.
  7. Imagining Anything as a Service:  Cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) are undeniable trends in IT today and will drive new business models we have not even thought of today.
  8. The Age of the Multisided Business Model:  This trend is directly related to trends 2 and 3 above.  As networked collaboration evolves, companies will increasingly find that they are playing multiple roles in multiple networks.
  9. Innovation at the Bottom of the Pyramid:  As emerging markets are the growth engine of the global economy, we should expect innovation to come from those markets.  Successful business leaders will incubate and nurture efforts to look for growth outside of their home markets and customer segments.
  10. Producing Public Good on the Grid:  Technology has an important part to play in creating and providing public goods and making this world a better, safer, and more productive place.  For examples of how technology can enable these benefits, see IBM’s Smarter Cities initiatives.

To read the complete McKinsey article and/or check out a wealth of other resources, please click here to sign up for a free online subscription to The McKinsey Quarterly.