Labs blog
VINT updates

New Digital Competition & Platform Disruption

D2D2_headerNew digital competitors form the heart of what we call the platform economy. These disruptors are the main focus of our second design to disrupt report. We define platforms as:

Building blocks serving as a foundation on which a variety of companies or business ecosystems can develop supplementary services, technologies and services.

Have a look at a slidedeck we created on our second Design to Disrupt report.  [Read more…]

Go Digital: Usher in a Paperless Society

Image credit:

Image credit:

The technology to establish and maintain a paperless society does exist today, yet the leading external vendors in this area have only a bit more than 200,000 customers worldwide. It sounds like a lot, but if we consider the total number of companies in the entire world, the figure is indeed miniscule (In the United States alone, there are more than 1.3 million companies).

Regardless of what technology you use today, there is a digital solution for each one of you. Email, Microsoft Office and Cloud based solutions have gone a long way to reduce the number of letters and papers. The last step in this process involves digitalizing the legally binding information, exchanged between two parties – this can either be between the customer and the supplier or between two internal departments that need a legally binding signature by an employee. So, the technology is there. [Read more…]

Organizations should join the API Economy

D2D2_headerThe well-known platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Maps and Instagram, Uber and Airbnb, all have APIs available to the public to use the platform as a basis for other applications. It is clear that only very few organizations are in a position to become a platform themselves. Taking our departure from the idea that only a limited number can actually be directive, the inference is that one should look at the part an organization plays in an ecosystem of product, companies and services. This is something you can prepare yourself for. If you intend to join the platform economy, then join the API economy as well. Its time for the business community and the IT department to devise a thorough-going API strategy.

[Read more…]

Coming up: My webinar on “Cloud Migration Strategies”


I will speak on “Cloud Migration Strategies” on Monday, March 30 from 5:00 – 6:00 PM CET.

About the topic and the session

There are many ways to migrate applications to the Cloud, from doing a lift-and-shift to Cloud infrastructure to completely rebuilding applications to fully leverage the capabilities of the Cloud. In this session on Cloud Migration Strategies, Michiel will discuss the different options and how to assess which option is best for a specific application (portfolio). To provide a basis on which applications can be assessed, Michiel will also discuss how Cloud impacts application architecture and application development; and what this means, when migrating existing applications to the Cloud. [Read more…]

5 Platform Disruption Design Lessons


We are witnessing the rise of platform disruption. Companies that redefine the relationship between producer, consumer and employee. These companies, the new digital competitors, form the heart of the platform economy. They derive their success from the network effect.Platform Market

It is clear that very few organizations are in a position to become a platform themselves. They can, however, embed themselves in existing ecosystems or just connect a specific part of the organization to a network. This takes us to the important question regarding the design principles for digital platform organizations. I wanted to share 5 of the 10 we present in our second Design to Disrupt report in this post. [Read more…]

Watch my webinar on “Digitecture”

Click here to download the presentation.


New Design to Disrupt report on New Digital Competition

D2D2_headerOnly few organizations wise up to new digital competitors, as they usually come from outside their own sector and are not taken seriously at first. Their allegedly inferior propositions confuse prominent players, who should in fact be the very first to be fully aware of potentially disruptive innovation.

To swing into action rapidly, existing organizations would be well advised to properly analyze anything resembling digital competition. Evidently, there are clear patterns behind the startup success marking a new techno-economic reality. Ecosystems, APIs, and platforms characterize this New Normal where customers have more freedom of choice and better service at lower costs. [Read more…]

Google Cars to cause a Paradigm Shift in the Automotive Industry?

google carAt the last CES held in Las Vegas, Google introduced solutions that could revolutionize all industries related to mobility.

Google has a huge lead over other automakers with its Google car. First, the reliability of a driving-related software / technology can only be established after it covers millions of kilometers. And, in 2013, Google had already covered a million miles on American roads with its fleet of 25 autonomous cars, much before all other constructors. The second key advantage and differentiator, in addition to embedded sensors, is Google’s ability to provide a system of mapping in 3D, allowing a very accurate identification of car position (with GPS 2D, the uncertainty is 7 meters, which is insufficient in terms of secure driving). Google Maps has, now, mapped one third of the paved roads in the world, against about 7% for Nokia Here, its first competitor! Finally, facing Google, automotive industry advances in a dispersed order. [Read more…]

Design to Disrupt: Ecosystems declare war

D2D2_headerInvolving everyone in a new service or product is a perfectly feasible venture nowadays. Simply because internet is invariably within arm’s reach and there is always some app available to make contact. More often than not this is the starting point for a new provision of services between producer, consumer and employee. Such digital competitors form the heart of what we call the platform economy. They derive their success from the network effect. We define platforms as:

Building blocks serving as a foundation on which a variety of companies or business ecosystems can develop supplementary services, technologies and services. [Read more…]

Why not use Data as a currency?

Image credit:

Image credit:

The media consistently warn us about sharing our data; warn us about organizations using our data. Even sharing data with your own Government is considered bad. But why?

Of course organizations need to safeguard our data and use it responsibly. We also need these organizations to be upfront about how they will use our data. However, nobody ever points out the advantages; and we just hear about the drawbacks and the problems.

Some years ago, I started my own company and the Irish Government saw enough potential to give us some small grants to help us on our way. To apply for the grant, we had to write letters, giving permission to other government departments to share my records with the government department, which would give us the grant (to verify that I was not in receipt of any other grants, social welfare or similar). Think of the inefficiency, cost, delays, etc… because of this process. This kind of government inefficiency costs me money, because it comes from the income tax that I pay.

[Read more…]

Just another day in the office at Magic Leap

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to TED, but we wanted to share one of the things that we’d planned to share at the talk. This is a game we’re playing around the office right now (no robots were harmed in the making of this video).”

Measuring performance in Scrum teams is an act of sabotage!

focus-and-performance[1]Lately, I’ve been asked a lot of questions by managers and teams alike about the organizational need to measure performance of Scrum teams. Of course, most people refer to the Development team within the Scrum team… but that is where Scrum creates confusion.

The Product Owner and the Scrum Master, together with the Development team, form the Scrum team. The idea is to include all the roles in a nice package called Scrum. The Development team, however, is often called the ‘Team,’ because that is how the Product Owner and the Scrum Master address people who create the product. [Read more…]

Robots will take your bullshit job

GreaberBefore I would like to talk about David Graeber, his essay “On the phenomenon of bullshit jobs” and his recently published book “The Utopia of rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy“, we should first remember what robots and AI are doing. They are eating our jobs. And that’s good; it’s why we have automation in the first place. Machines in, people out. For years it has been like this. The anxiety nowadays is about the speed at which computers take over. Just as reminder, this chart shows the likability of a robot taking over any kind of job in the next two decades. Based on the famous Oxford study The Future of unemployment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation? [Read more…]

Revenge of the Spaghetti Monster

The software that was created in the beginning of the computing era wasn’t really structured and built under architecture. There were no guiding principles and everything was very tightly integrated. Data, logic, interaction and view – all were running on one machine. It’s, typically, the Classic Spaghetti recipe that we see a lot from the 1st platform of Mainframe and Terminal.

Spaghetti architecture pic 1

From the Spaghetti ‘un-architecture,’ as we would call it nowadays, we went to the layered n-tier architecture. This matched the 2nd platform of Client and Server very well and was called Lasagna, with reference and respect to the first paradigm. A nice separation between persistent storage centrally on the server, with some business logic on top, was interacting with the client view and manipulation. It’s a clear separation of functionalities and focus, but still often too tightly integrated for real remixing, cross channel. [Read more…]

9 graphs on how businesses are using the Internet of Things

Schermafbeelding 2015-01-12 om 09.29.09At VINT wrote extensively about the internet of things. We did four research reports and a lot of blogposts on this topic. The internet of things is also a numbers game; predictions on data volume, connected devices, estimated revenue etc. In this post I want to highlight the business potential for IoT. So have a look at these graph with data from Business Intelligence, the research service from Business Insider.

So what’s on the business agenda when it comes to the internet of things? Early adopters show a clear focus on customer services, followed by increasing single product revenue and efficiency optimization. [Read more…]

Live Long and Prosper: Apply Four Simple Programming Principles

Vulcan saluteAny application that is critical to running the mainstream operation of a business can be considered a mission critical application. These applications should be sustainable, maintainable, flexible and adaptable to keep up with the pace of today’s evolving nature of business. “Change is the essential process of all existence.” — As aptly stated by Mr. Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series.

As architects or developers involved in these types of software projects, it’s important to realize that software design and development often ends up following one of these two extremes: over-engineering or under-engineering.

Over the years, I’ve designed, developed and reviewed many software projects and have always found areas or specific pieces where the software was either too complex or such, where simplicity, bad habits, business rush or developer turnover had led to a messy situation.

If you can’t explain your code to someone else in a minute or two, then you have made the code too complex. [Read more…]

Robert Downey Jr. Delivers a Real Bionic Arm

Robert Downey Jr. and Albert Manero, a #CollectiveProject student who founded Limbitless, surprised a very special child with a new bionic 3D printed arm at no cost to the family. To learn more about Albert and the #CollectiveProject visit:

Top 5 inspiring clean energy innovation initiatives sponsored by crowd funding

Clean energy with crowd sourcing pic 1Traditional, non-renewable energy sources are being rapidly depleted. Besides, these forms of energy pollute the environment, and are often hazardous to extract and difficult to transport / distribute.

On the other hand, projects and initiatives to discover, provide and use clean and renewable energy are usually quite expensive. To be successful in such projects, a lot of investment is needed for research and development, implementation of infrastructure, storage or distribution facilities, and for the actual production of these high-tech initiatives. Unfortunately, such large amounts of money can only be provided by the governments or big investment funds; and with extensive funding and support comes high dependency. Therefore, only few small, private and local initiatives get noticed, let alone having any chance to grow into something that can actually make any major impact.

[Read more…]

Apple Engineer talks about new Macbook and Watch

Of course it is a spoof. But it’s a briljant one. I couldn’t resist the temptation to post these two videos. Enjoy!!!

Skipping Functional Requirements in Projects is a Costly Mistake

skipping requirementsRunning a project with Agile or Scrum methodologies does not mean that it’s ‘OK’ to skip functional requirements. Once, there was a company that gave application mockups to its developers without providing any details about what the application was supposed to do. It was left to the developers to guess what actions the application should perform, based on the mockups. As expected, this led to a lot of iterations and unnecessary exchanges between the business and the developer. Days (of work) were wasted, as the changing functional requirements were communicated verbally to the developer. When the application was ready to be tested, the requirements changed again, because there were former business users in the QA department.

Essentially, application requirements should consist of mockups (also known as wireframes), business rules, a functional description of what each button/link does, and a list of the fields with their types and lengths. Requirements should be completed and signed off by the business before development begins. It is best if requirements are completed in related screens, so that the architect gets a broad view of things and is able to guide the developers accordingly. [Read more…]