In the morning, I was chairing a panel with an impressive line up of people talking about Social Software - Delivering value to 21st century organisation. Alex Bellinger, Ewan McIntosh, Rob Scoble and Ben Edwards were discussing pretty much anything related to that.
My intro was simply deconstruction the title of the panel. What does social software mean? What is a 21st century organisation? What kind of value are we talking about? And can it be ‘delivered’? Perhaps it is no longer about ‘delivering’ but about enabling, introducing, optimising, sharing, innovating and gasp, inspiring…
The main focus for me was value and the objective was to give the audience ideas of where to look for the value of social media/software within their organisations. It may be that the value they bring is not vague or hard to identify but that it is multi-dimensional. Perhaps it manifests itself in several areas which do not correspond to the silos so beloved of business structures.
How about the following framework for where to find the value social media and social software brings?
Individual empowerment - helps individual employees with their tasks and everyday job; easier information managenent via RSS, tagging, social bookmarking for example, awareness of people within the organisation via their blogs etc
Organisational empowerment - enables the organisation to do, connect, carry out functions that were not possible before; communications and information flow, exnternal engagement of markets, community, media, customers etc.
Specific level - projects that are easier and faster carried out, e.g. using a wiki to organise an event or collaboratively produce a manual, or using a blog to document a project etc.
Systemic level - processes that emerge as a result of extended use of social media/software. People making connections that speed up existing processes and/or give rise to new ones. Communication channels and networks that overlay the silos and dysfunctional processes. Innovation and creativity that would not manifest themselves otherwise.
There was another panel with the same people (plus Matt Locke who couldn’t join us in the morning), this time chaired by Phil Bradley. Phil was a lot more strict than I as the moderator, especially needed as there were two more people in the conversation. I do prefer ‘conversational’ panels to powerpoint and it was good to see people thinking on their feet. I hope to talk to them again, there seem to be more and more people around who understand what will drive the changes inside organisations.
In between the two panels at Online Information I rushed off to another conference, Click Forum 2006 (Creative Review’s 2nd Annual European Online Creative Advertising Forum). It was taking place in Parsons Green, not too far from Olympia. There I joined the panel about Blogs, online communities and interactive environments. I particularly enjoyed meeting Tim Ryan, director brand marketing at AOL. He very kindly gave me a lift back to Online Information, in the car we have frantically talked about the state of the media industry and the future of agencies and marketing. Suffice to say that we agreed, make of it what you will, dear reader.
After all the conferences, it was off to a London Girl Geek Dinner, where the Scobles were guests of honour. It was a long day with social media overload but well worth it.
cross-posted from Media Influencer]]>
...a National Australia Bank (NAB) Visa Mini - confoundingly counter-intuitively, this card’s most notable feature is that it’s about half the size of a conventional credit card. Apparently this distinction alone will irresistibly and relentlessly reel in the target demographic - fashion conscious twenty-somethings (I think that might include me!) - but NAB has other slick devices in store to simultaneously deliver a KO in the coolness heavyweight championship of the banking world whilst obfuscating the somewhat steep interest rate levied on any transactions billed.
Well, perhaps all could be forgiven if the cool level was sufficient. But not when combined with plain dumb.
Why not hang your Visa Mini on your mobile phone using the purpose-built attachment, o budding sophisticate? Does it look cool, and it is also great for the person who finds your misplaced Nokia; if they exhaust your mobile credit telephoning Siberian astrologers, they’ll be thanking their lucky stars because instant replenishment is quite literally on hand! Now that is convenience.
For the truly elite - the style aristocracy - why not subtly incorporate the Visa Mini into a piece of bespoke jewellery, like so? Yes, it probably would require less effort to don a prominent sign displaying “ROB ME” painted in large flourescent letters and then wander down the darkest, dodgiest backstreet alley in an effort to discover a smackhead suffering profound withdrawal symptoms so you can shove your Visa Mini between his chattering teeth. But that’s simply not how they do it in Europe, philistine.
or it just plain don’t work!
...what if the cardholder wishes to transact via an automatic teller machine or a manual imprint device or a vertical-loading swiper unsuited to such generation-NEXT Mini cards? Oh ye of little faith, those clever folk at NAB and Visa are one step ahead of the likes of you and I. If you are one of the select fashionistas who manages to successfully obtain a Visa Mini card, you will also receive a Visa Mini Companion Card, known in-house as Visa non-Mini Mini, which financially functions identically to your Mini card as it is linked to the same credit account. Instantly, it should be obvious to all that the inclusion of this extra card represents rare value - two cards from just one application! - but do not neglect to observe that the Companion Card has also been ingeniously designed to share the exact same dimensions of a conventional bank card!
Interestingly, there is a comment by a reader on one of the product review sites, which rings a bit, well, shall we say false. I just wonder to what extent Ms Caroline Liang’s summer job is related to marketing… But let’s not dwell on the detail. Let’s go for the big picture.
This is where marketers ‘lose it’. Blinded by the number of trends and deafened by the noise of the mouse-clicking, iPod-carrying, mobile-wielding Generation XYZ, their unerring instincts tell them that combining all that with a financial product AND accessories is a sure way to grab that desirable ‘demographic’. Based on their fundamental misunderstanding of who creates and ‘provides’ for a growing number of ‘consumers’, their fate is looking less inspiring than this accesorising suggestions for the Visa Mini.]]>
In something approaching real tragedy, many organisations go through a painful process of attracting and hiring people with a difference to make a difference; then spend forever driving the difference out of the person. Immensely frustrating for all concerned. Blogs can help prevent this.
We should stop thinking of blogs as just individual soapboxes, it may be the way we learnt about them, but it’s not the way we’re going to learn from them.
They’re very powerful conversation enablers; they help people express care and concern and dissent in non-threatening ways; they help avoid mutual-admiration-society selection bias; they build trust amongst teams; they exposes heresies and cancers; they prevent me (and people like me) from believing in our own propaganda.
Blogs are but one tool in helping us with those selections.
One tool. An important tool. One we did not have before.
Cass R. Sunstein in Why Societies Need Dissent
Eight O’Clock Coffee Co. is energizing coffee drinkers and its brand with a new blog that invites customers to share their gripes and thoughts about life, work and coffee.
The blog, called The Grind, follows the storyline of a working mother of two who writes about her daily life, and invites visitors to share their own experiences. The first blog entry begins with a quick recap of the weekend and talks about the blogger’s boss, nicknamed "Snobicus," and asks advice on how the blogger can break the ice with the chilly boss.
The goal is to connect consumers to the brand in an interactive format, said Jeff Maloy, Eight O’Clock senior brand manager. The blog will run for six to eight weeks.
This is so bad. How shall I count the ways?
Perhaps time to be constructive? A coffee blog I want to see tells me about coffee, its history, flavours, pictures, coffee-making tips (OK, there are some on the Grind blog buried at the bottom in small print), baristas, growers, geeky facts about espresso machines etc etc - themes and topics abound.
And then there is the Ristretto Roasters weblog, set up by Jackie Danicki and run by Nancy Rommelmann, the founder of Ristretto Roasters, an artisanal coffee roasting company with its own café in Portland, OR. I know which blog I’d rather read.
Update: Just noticed that the article in PROMO magazine says that Eight O’ Clock handles the Web site and blog in-house. I take a shot at the imaginary agency back. It still leaves plenty to gripe about…
cross-posted from Media Influencer]]>
-Ajaz Ahmed, AKQA, Red Herring article
First recognise that they are not ‘consumers’!]]>
The one and only Hugh MacLeod.]]>
One such example of this is the Rent an Expert event which BrainJams is staging at CNET HQ today in San Francisco.
The format will follow the laws of open space as the ‘how to classes*’ offered will be determined by the participants. We ask that a small fee (average is $5) be given for each ‘how to class’ you sign up for, and all the money collected during the evening will be donated to a charity that will be decided by those in the room (majority rules folks).
Check out the Rent an Expert wiki if you can attend and want to share your expertise and/or learn from the expertise of others in attendance. If you go, tell them that I sent you - and thank me sooner or later, because you won’t regret the experience or getting to know Kristie and Chris.]]>