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After reading these posts and looking around Innovation Commission, some useful questions are:
  • What do knowledge, skills, co-creation and values have to do with innovation?
  • How can I look to the ‘core’ of innovation so I can plan for the future?

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Some theorists have tried to identify this ‘core’ by specifying ‘pillars of innovation’, so there are many views about what these pillars are:
In 2002 Douglas Watts identified 4 pillars (enabling pre-conditions), which have been applied to elementary schools in Canada (Pollack, 2008 “The Four Pillars of Innovation: An Elementary School Perspective“). These are:
2) culture and climate
4) leadership.
In a 2006 article, Larry Wendling at 3M identified 7 pillars (also pre-conditions):
1. From the chief executive on down, the company must be committed to innovation.
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2. The corporate culture must be actively maintained.
3. Innovation is impossible without a broad base of technology.
5. Set individual expectations and reward employees for outstanding work.
7. Research must be tied to the customer.
More recently Ali & Bull (2012 ) identified 5 principles for successful business innovation:
1. Leadership empowers innovation
2. Interest networks are leveraged
3. Ideation and development occur as close to the customer as possible
4. Rewards and measurement systems are aligned
5. Underpin creativity with a structured process
These are all useful for devising checklists to see if your organisation ‘measures up’ now. However, they do not give a framework for devising future strategy as organisations evolve or a lens through which to view everyday developments and allow them to be fitted into your own planning framework.
The next requirement is to identify the foundation concepts or themes of innovation. Don Tapscott has used a succession of books, papers, blogs and speeches over many years to identify and track these themes, which I will call the ‘pillars of innovation’. A sample of these references will be available in the resources area of the site.
Tapscott (2012)Winning with the Enterprise 2.0 has studied the impacts of preparing for innovation on many functional areas of business and has identified ten main areas or ‘themes’ which he calls the ’10 Dimensions of Change in Firms’.
Theme 2: Corporate Boundaries
Theme 4: Intellectual Property
Theme 6: Business Processes
Theme 8: Information Liquidity
Theme 10: Information Technology
Based on his book Wikinomics – How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, Tapscott appears to tie them back them back to just five ‘pillars’:
  • openness
  • collaboration
  • peering
  • sharing
  • acting globally
In Wikinomics he develops these, with many useful examples. There is an updated book entitled Macrowikinomics (2010). These pillars are very rich concepts which will be used repeatedly to analyse innovation strategies and innovation-related events. Simplified definitions are provided below:
A form of corporate transparency which can improve customer trust. It also summarises the increased likelihood, in this highly connected world, that companies doing the wrong thing will get ‘found out’. As Tapscott points out in the Huffington Post, compromise of individual privacy is not part of openness, which only relates to corporate entities.
Working with others to achieve outcomes not possible working alone. Collaboration can involve experts inside and outside companies for business as well as individuals pursuing social outcomes.
Collaborative production of innovative goods and services by self-organised groups who may gather for ideological reasons as well as economic gain. (eg Wikipedia as a competitor of Britannica).
A knowledge barter system which may involve knowingly trading corporate intellectual property for other business benefits.
An understanding that the sizes of entities and their geographical locations are less important than the synergies or benefits they can bring. As a business, your customers, suppliers and competitors (large and small) are global and the barriers to entry have never been lower.
Afterthought: What do knowledge, skills, co-creation and values have to do with innovation?
These three parameters are a helpful way to audit your success as you you confront your own task of learning what you need to know about innovation for the benefit of yourself and your organisation. Educators are accustomed to breaking every learning episode into the requisite knowledge, skills and values required by the end. Innovation Commission is an innovation learning resource site designed to help you develop of these three elements.

Introduction


Amsterdam has many small so-called casinos that feature only machines, with a big emphasis on electronic roulette. In addition, Amsterdam has only one large full-blown casino that offers table games as well as slot machines, titled the Holland Casino. There are actually 14 Holland Casinos, scattered around the Netherlands. The Holland Casino company has a legal monopoly on full-service casinos in the Netherlands.
This blog entry is about my visit to the Amsterdam branch of Holland Casinos on July 19, 2017.

Getting In


The legal age to enter a casino in the Netherlands is 18. A five Euro fee is required for each visit. However, when I asked about the location of the casino at the front desk clerk at my hotel , the clerk not only showed me on my map but produced a free entry voucher from a rack in the hotel lobby. I've read elsewhere that many hotels have plenty of these 'get in free' vouchers.
The casino is located along the outermost ring of canals. If you don't know what I mean, the canals in the historic center of Amsterdam are arranged like half of a wheel, with five concentric half-rings and four spokes (not counting the Amstel river as one of the spokes). As a bit of trivia, the name Amsterdam comes from the original dam on the Amstel river (the Amstel dam). The entrance is near the eastern-most edge of the Vondelpark and easy walking distance from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam's well-known art museum. That section of Amsterdam seems to attract an older crowd with its theaters, museums, and high-end shopping. The younger crowd is concentrated around the train station, Dam Square, and the Red Light District at the center of half-wheel of canals.
I wanted to go on the last day of my 2017 European vacation, which was a brutally hot and humid day. Not unlike a steamy July day in Baltimore. Normally I would have dressed up a bit for any European casino but it was in the late afternoon and so humid that I could hear thunder in the distance. In my five trips to Europe, I can easily say that Amsterdam is the most easy-going and relaxed place I have been anywhere on the continent. The feel of the country is entirely different from neighboring Belgium and Germany. So I hoped they would not be too strict on the dress code this hot muggy day.
Fortunately, the woman checking ID's to enter didn't seem to care that I was in cargo shorts, t-shirt, and running shoes. After presenting my free entrance voucher she gave me a player card and a voucher for a small soft drink or beer at the bar.
Past the gate keepers, the building is big, open, and modern. There are two floors, the lower one for slots only and the upper one mainly for table games but has more slots along the edges. Both floors were nicely done but the upper floor with the tables seemed much more elegant and fun.

Games


Following is a count of the table games, most of which were open:
  • Roulette: 12
  • Blackjack: 10
  • Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em: 3
  • Baccarat: 3
  • Caribbean Stud Poker: 2
  • Diceball: 1

Next, here are some comments on the rules followed by each game. In some of them I mention the bet amounts in Euros. At the time I was there one Euro equaled $1.18.

Roulette The liberal French rules were followed, meaning a single-zero wheel and the player loses only half on even money bets if the balls lands in zero. This results in a house edge of 1.35% on even money bets and 2.70% on all others.

Blackjack.


The rules were:
  • Six decks.
  • Dealer stands on soft 17.
  • No hole card -- player loses everything if dealer gets a blackjack.
  • Double on 9 to 11 only.
  • Double after split allowed.
  • Re-split anything (including aces) without limit.

As I recall, a continuous shuffler was used. According to my basic strategy calculator , this would result in a house edge of 0.55% with basic strategy, which follows.

Baccarat


The baccarat tables followed a rarely seen commission-free rule (/games/baccarat/appendix/6/) where a Banker win on a total of 5 pays 1 to 2. This is a better value compared to conventional baccarat, lowering the house edge on the Banker bet from 1.06% to 0.93%.

Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em


Standard rules were followed. Visit my Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em page for more information.

Caribbean Stud Poker


What we call Caribbean Stud Poker in the U.S., they call Multi Poker in Amsterdam. Sorry, I forgot to check the details. The Holland Casino does have a page on Multi Poker, but it doesn't address the pay table or side bets.

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Diceball


My visit was the first I've ever heard of this cross between craps and baseball. I explain all the rules and odds in my new page on Diceball.

Video Poker


I saw only one bank of video poker machines, which were totally ignored. Both had a 0.1 € denomination and took bets from 1 to 100 credits. Both were progressive and required a maximum 100 credit bet, or 10 Euros, to win the progressive. At the time I was there, the progressive was at 9,613.21 €.
One game available was 8/5 Double Joker Poker. This game has a base return of 98.10%. With a full bet of 10 Euros, every additional 1000 Euros in the meter above 8000 increases the return by 0.22%. Assuming no changes in strategy, compared to optimal for non-progressive 8-5 Double Joker, the meter would need to reach 16,534.48 Euros to reach breakeven.
The other available game was 8/5 Jacks or Better. This game has a base return of 97.30%. With a full bet of 10 Euros, every additional 1000 Euros in the meter above 8,000 increases the return by 0.25%. Assuming no changes in strategy, compared to optimal for non-progressive 8-5 Jacks or Better, the meter would need to reach 18,852.12 € to reach breakeven.

Video Keno


There were a few video keno games in the smoking section on the first floor only. They were Extra Draw Keno but gave only two extra balls for the extra bet. All things considered, I calculate the return for the posted pay tables from 90.19% for the pick 2 to 97.21% for the pick 6. More information can be found in my page on Extra Draw Keno (two extra balls).

Slot Machines


According to the Holland Casino web site, the 'slot machine' pay an average of 92% of money bet. It doesn't say how a 'slot machine' is defined, but within the industry a slot machine is pretty much anything with an electrical plug, as opposed to table game with a live dealer.

My Visit


After a rather unpleasant visit to the casino in Brussels a few days earlier, which I write about in my previous blog entry, I was apprehensive to play again in another casino only about 100 miles away. However, Amsterdam is in another world compared to Brussels. This was evidenced everywhere, including the casino.
Unlike in Brussels, it was not difficult finding a seat at an affordable blackjack table. I quickly found one in the middle spot of a 10 Euro minimum table. I'm not sure whether the other players were locals or tourists but they were a happy group who seemed happy to play and celebrate in a table win. As in Brussels, there was a lot of back betting. Fortunately, there was no side bet to fight over, so the back betting caused no problems.
The caliber of play of the other players was, not surprisingly, poor. Normally to recreational players like these the basic strategy is the work of a lunatic who wants to throw his money away. However, never once was I chastised for how I played. There was nicely no negativity at the table at all.
Language was not a problem either. There was certainly none of the French elitism I encountered in Brussels. I got the impression that while Dutch was the official language they were used to hearing plenty of English, French, and German. Whatever worked seemed to be the order of the day and there was absolutely no stigma to not speaking Dutch. While none of the other players seemed to speak English, I had a good rapport with the dealer and nobody objected to not being in on the conversation.
As mentioned above, there was another table game, which was closed at the time, called Diceball. I didn't want to slow down the game with a lot of questions about it, so I got up to ask a supervisor for a copy of the rules. At first she said she could only provide them in Dutch, which I said I would be fine (thank goodness for Google Translate sometimes). I didn't want to rush the supervisor so I suggested she find me at my blackjack table after she found them.
A few minutes later, she did much better than a copy of the rules in Dutch, she introduced me to a dealer who sometimes deals the game. I then excused myself from the table and the dealer walked me over to the table and gave me a personal explanation of the game. This must have taken at least five minutes but the dealer was very patient with me as I endeavored to understand every rule of every bet.
After that, I played a little more blackjack and then headed back to the central part of Amsterdam for my final evening in Europe.

Drinking and Smoking


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As usual for a casino in Europe, or anywhere outside the U.S., there was not a strong correlation between drinking and gambling that you find in Las Vegas. I'm pretty sure that the policy is that if you want a drink, you have to pay for it. A cocktail waitress may come by once in a while but don't count on it. There are bars around the casino if you don't want to wait.
Smoking was not allowed except for a smoking section on the first floor enclosed on all four sides with glass walls. The appeared to have separate ventilation as the air in the main casino seemed nice and clean. I did have to brave the smoking room to get the details on the Extra Draw Keno game and the air in that room of shame was disgusting.

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Conclusion


I'd like to compliment the Holland Casino for the good experience I had there. The building was very open and modern. The employees were all friendly and professional. The other players were pleasant and non-confrontational. All things considered, I left impressed and happy.

Links


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  • Wikipedia entry.