Info

A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

Posts from the Events Category

The link between connectivity of various sorts and social change is something that’s almost bound to interest me, given that I’ve spent over a decade of my life thinking about how the internet changes the way we communicate with each other. And so I took myself off to the RSA House in London to hear Parag Kahnna speak on the idea that connectivity is destiny – our layers of connection with one another are more important to the future than traditional political boundaries. Here’s what I took away from the talk:

Charlotte Alldritt introduces Parag Khanna at the RSA

The trigger for Parag’s talk is – perhaps inevitably – a new book. Connectography is a “new approach to cartography” – maps as art, sure, but also mapping global connectivity.

Liveblog

Maps, the world’s oldest infographics are misleading – they are political, and depict how we divide ourselves legally, not how e connect as people. We’re familiar with maps of geography, and political maps. What we don’t have is maps of functional geography.

There are, broadly, three main categories of connectivity:

  • Transport
  • Energy
  • Communications

In human body terms, these are equivalent to the:

  • Skeleton
  • Vascular system
  • Nervous system

The book is, by its nature, static, so there’s an online data set you can explore. It’s a map of how we are reshaping the world.

Our ratios of infrastructure spending to military spending is growing rapidly in infrastructure’s favour – especially in Asia. The city is our most fundamental and long-standing human unit, and then connectivity is next. Our mega-inforstructures will outlive many countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East. We know how long countries last – and railroads and other forms of connectivity often outlive them.

This means we’re moving towards a supply chain world. (more…)

Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and terrible, terrible crimes against grammar. This post will be improved over the next 24 hours

Lauri Feinsod

Lauri Feinsod uses the power of conscious business change to unleash people’s potential

20 years ago, Lauri was diagnosed with something very serious – life-threatening, in fact. And she was one of the three worst patients the doctor had ever seen. He recommended that she be flow to Texas and put in isolation so she could be studied – and maybe – maybe – helped.

But she recovered.

What happened?

Well, it was an opportunity to hit the reset button on the system called her body. She didn’t just get better – she got best. The symptoms of the disease went – but so did other things, she thought were inherent to her. She rebooted herself, and she’s used that experience to create a new kind of business.

Her invitation? For us to practice the four states of being that allowed her transformation:

1. Super Here

This is the state of being so present we connect much more widely with things around us. This can be cultivated. Just intend it. If you practice this, almost anything becomes an opportunity to become super here.

How do you call it forth in a business? The easiest way is to create spaces. It can be as mundane as a celebration, or as elaborate as an eight week training programme. They held a “birthday month” gathering, where staff who shared a birthday month gathered together. One member was worried about her ethnicity and its link with 9/11 – did people blame her for that? She’d carried that worry for six year – and that space allowed her to deal with it.

2. Living the question

The invitation is to live the question. What is the question that best describes your calling in the world?

What is the potential of corporate culture to be a positive force in the world? That’s the question they walk in their business. They’re within minutes of being a zero landfill organisation.

3. Being the field of potential

Think of anyone you admire – you can probably sense that they do some of this. They presence the potential of what they do far beyond what they do themselves. What is the facet of the diamond for you, that you will presence?

Caring survival

That comment is soft, yet ruthless.

4. Witnessing Brilliance

If you do the first three – you may unleash the Kraken. If you enable large groups to co-create a better future, that what was in the way before can tend to bubble up. In the face of residence or noise, Take in what you get from beauty or brilliance, and give it out in times of stress or resistance – and that enables you to keep forward momentum.

There’s no need of trauma, for dire illness to start playing like that. Support each other in hitting the reset button ourselves, our organisations and the world.

Joel & Michelle Levey

Joel and Michelle Levey build resilient lives and organisations through mindfulness

The Leveys work with the military in the US – for six months at a time. They work to allow soldiers to stop fighting a war inside, through their Jedi Warrior programme.

We live in the VUCA era:

  • Volatile
  • Uncertain
  • Complex
  • Ambiguous.

You need to train your brain to cope with this – and that’s what the Leveys help people do.

For example, they posit that people were created to be loved, and things to be used. We’ve got that the wrong way around, and that’s the cause of so much trouble in the world. Solutions are often inherent in problems. Plants that irritate grow next to those that will heal. The word “Vuca” means “wake up” in the Zulu language – and that’s what we need to do; wake up to the interconnectedness of everything.

The elements of mind fitness

Michelle Levey

There are three key elements of mind fitness:

  1. Intention
  2. Attention
  3. Attitude.

As you train your mind, you are changing your brain, and your ability to change the world. This is neuroplasticity – the idea that our brain changes in response to what happens around us, and in us. The more certain neural circuits are activated, the more they grow. What we pay Attention to changes us. We bring Intention to bear on that to push our Attention where we want it to be.

Attention

How often are you in a room with 300 people giving full Attention, as Meaning attendees are? (There are remarkably few open laptops, bar your humble liveblogger). How many times are we surrounded by Zombies, running around within attention? Google asked them to design a mindfulness and meditation laboratory – and then roll it out to 24 locations worldwide. That led to hubs elsewhere, linked via Hangouts to share and meditate. That led to gatherings and mindfulness sessions at various sites. They do “GPauses”. That pause is the space between stimulus and response – and the change to over-ride old, conditioned responses.

Intention

What is the Intention of people attending this conference? Is it about our own needs? Our colleagues? Our clients? Or all beings? Do we bring all the people touched by the decisions we make into the discussion?

Attitude

What Attitudes allow you to optimise you Attention and Intention? The Attitude of curiosity – openness and learning – for one, the beginner’s mind. Being caring, open and non-judgemental all help.

Working for the military was a heart-opener for them. The amount of compassion and openness they found was not quite what they expected. They encountered one leader who was most proud of the number of humanitarian operations they’d done.

The world’s first mindful organisation outside of Asia, was one division of HP, which had seen its GM poached. It was in disarray – but mindfulness brought it focus and business success.

Surfing the disruption wave

Joel Levey

How do we surf the waves of change?

  1. An eyes wide open acceptance of reality – embrace the reality of your situation, and embrace what you need to survive and thrive
  2. Accept that life is meaningful
  3. A creative spirit makes do with what is available to innovate, improvise and explore new possibilities

Your only real advantage is the brain power in your organisation. The more you practice Mindfulness, the more you change you brain – do it enough and you essentially rewire your operating system.

Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and terrible, terrible crimes against grammar. This post will be improved over the next 24 hours

Bob Doak

Bob Doak works for WL Gore & Associates – a global business whose products you’ve probably worn.

He’s a case study of a big, old organisation, but one that lives values that many assume are liberal or cultish. And yet, Gore don’t owe anyone money – so they’re probably destroying it. And Bob Doak is terrified to think what he’ll be like when he’s over 35

WL Gore & Associates was founded in 1958 and is privately held – and has over $3 billion in sales. Their staff – in 30 countries – are associates. It’s one of only five companies to be on every “100 best places to work” list since 1984. They’re written up as innovators all over the place. Bob Gore is their chairman – and he’s firm that the products must do what they say they do.

Their products are everywhere – clothes, aircraft, full cells. But most people know them for their consumer fabrics. Their medical products division is “growing like topsy”. Their products are used for minimally invasive procedure.

Divisions, lattices and slaying bureaucracy

They have four divisions:
* medical
* electronic
* industrial
* fabrics.

They keep the core technologies centrally, not in the divisions. The divisions are run by business people, so think to deadlines and targets. Held centrally, they can do long-term research. Their core products need to be hard to copy, and viable over time.

They’re a lattice-base organisation, and strive for minimal bureaucracy. You do need some with 10,000 people – but can minimise it. They’re keen on innovation and creativity in their internal systems – and leadership is defined by followership. Without it you’re a manager – and if you’re a manager you’re gone.

Their objective? Make money – and have fun while you’re doing it.

A presumption of trust

They work with a presumption of trust in people from the moment they hire them. They encourage self-direction. It allows people to grow and be more creative, and that leads to passionate champions. Nothing happens at Gore unless there is a passionate champion to drive it. You can’t have a good idea for someone else to do – if it’s such a good idea, do it yourself.

They organise into small, connected teams. There’s no hiding place in a small team – but it makes people feel empowered. They’re not a democracy – a leader makes a decision – but all people are able to have input, and all are in the same boat. All associates are shareholders. Individual shareholding grows year on year.

They buy companies – but for their technologies, not their revenues. They’re patient about getting products to market.

The Gore Principles

  1. Freedom – the most misunderstood principle. The freedom to help the enterprise and to grow in knowledge, scope of responsibility and skill.
  2. Fairness – they strive to be fair. That’s not the same as being the same. Fair is about fairness, not equality.
  3. Commitment – everyone makes their own commitments – and is responsible for keeping them.
  4. Waterline – we’ll always use others’ expertise when making decisions that might be “below the waterline” – that might risk the company. It’s a challenge getting people to take risks, but they encourage it in situations that aren’t below the waterline.

Feedback is a gift – but “a funny one when your bum is sore from being kicked”. Teams rank each other. Compensation is a secret between you and the enterprise. It’s not equal – but they strive to be fair, to match contribution to compensation. Credibility is earned.

Getting the right people is painful – it’s hard to find them.

(And with that, Bob evicts himself from the stage, as he notices Tom Dixon lurking…)

Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and terrible, terrible crimes against grammar. This post will be improved over the next 24 hours

Stefania Druga

Stefania Druga equips people to solve their own problems through making and play

Growing up as a girl in Transylvania, Stefania was conditioned – like most people – into the traditional play roles of boys and girls, with the proscribed toys for each. To counter this she created HacKIDemia – to encourage girls and boys to play together, make things together and – as she discovered they wanted to do – get involved in meaningful projects in local communities.

Affirmers – the project that emerged – wasn’t about making as a hobby, but as the heart of the communities in Africa they worked with. It was a necessity. They selected 10 teams around Africa to propose projects to aid the local community. Mentors from one project would move on to the next to share learning. Our desire to “go and help” isn’t always helping, because we lack the context of people living in similar conditions, and thus struggle to effect meaningful change. Local context and skills matter.

In some places they had challenges accessing electricity, or parts. All the projects – and their challenges – are documented on the website, and a book is coming.

Local makers, local lessons

What did Stefania learn form this? She had to learn to let go and trust the process. The people were more important than the outcomes, but you need systems. Don’t let challenges compromise your values. Humour is incredibly valuable when things get hard. Remember that there are “15 stones” – and you can never see all of them. And we need to be willing to learn from each other.

This is not as sexy as synthetic biology or artificial intelligence, but this is where real change is taking place. People have to find the courage to stand up to parents and governments to make their ideas happen and solve problems.

Western economies are complex. Nigeria’s economy is very simple – but complexity leads to GDP growth. Change comes from recognising local innovation and diversity – and promoting it.

In the face of all the challenges we face as people and a planet – we need to play together. We cannot afford to be arrogant, and impose our values on others. Instead, we need to invite people to a conversation about how to deal with these problems.

Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and terrible, terrible crimes against grammar. This post will be improved over the next 24 hours

Ben Dyson

Ben Dyson wants to make banking and money work positively for society.

Economists explain the world as if it’s made up of rational, calculating people. For example, the suggest that people will walk into a supermarket and buy the things that make you most happy, but that’s not true. You fall prey to impulse buys, and forget critical items. We’re not that rational. For our brains to work the way they think it does,. it would need to be heavier than the whole universe…

The book Grip of Death answered his question: where does money come from. Money is power – so what does it mean to have the power to make money?

Coins and paper money only make up 3% of money. The rest is electronic money, create by the banks. Banks have the ability to create money. The money in your account is not base don the Mint or the Bank of England. It’s created when people take out loans. Whenever anyone go into debt, new money is created.

In the run up to the financial crisis, the banks created vast sums of new money – that’s what create the boom. 51% of it went into money and commercial property. 31% went to financial markets. Only 8% went into businesses. And another 8% went to credit cards and debt.

When money and debt are the same thing

We all have the idea that money is good and debt is bad. The problem is that our system makes them the same thing. What would happen if everyone pays of their loans? The money disappears. Repaying bank loans destroys money. This is why personal debt has not fallen since the crisis.

The number of houses is growing faster than the population. So why do house prices rise so much? The growth of mortgage lending. This makes houses inaccessible to many – and the growth of inequality. The bottom 90% are paying interest to the top 10%.

If you can get on the housing ladder – you benefit. If you’re renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. At the worst end 5,000 people are made homeless every year. The worst off owe 4x their annual income.

Designing a banking sytem

The current banking system is an accident of history. It was not designed. In the 1840s, Banks were printing money that led to a financial crisis – and the government and to step in. The 1844 law to stop the creation of paper money has never been updated.

What do we need to do?

  1. Take the power away from the banks – but don’t pass it to politicians.
  2. Create a money creation committee – which would create money, and pas it to the government.
  3. The Government decides how to get that into the economy. Government spending? Tax cuts? Citizen dividend? Any would work.

This change the equation – we can now have more money with less debt. Banks would revert to lending the money from savers, as we assume they do work.

This new money needs to go straight into the real economy, not financial products. We need more people with money in their pockets, rather than more bank lending. Martin Wolf, the chief financial commentator of the Financial Times, has written in support of this idea.

Money is power. Who do we want to have that power?

On Monday we’ll see the first parliamentary debate on this subject in 170 years.

Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and terrible, terrible crimes against grammar. This post will be improved over the next 24 hours

Mark Stevenson

Mark Stevenson is a cultural change consultant.

Douglas Adams said that there were three types of technology:

  • The tech that was invented before you were born – and it’s just there
  • The tech that’s invented when you’re young, which is exciting
  • The tech that’s invented after you hit middle age – which makes you furious

Most people leading companies are in the last group – which leads to institutional bewilderment.

Institutional genetic racism

Mark had a genetic test done – he’s at double the risk of prostate cancer of the average white man. The NHS won’t let him have screening – because he’s not black. Is the NHS institutionally racists? Or is it just failing to keep up with technology?

We live in a period of accelerating technological change – but we are not surprised about that. 10 years ago the idea of a car that’d rove itself was impossible. Now? It’s here. It’ll be in legislation by the beginning of 2015.

Insurance companies are fretting about this. How do they insure cars without drivers? On the other hand, humans are shit at driving – so maybe this will reduce the cost of claims. The costs of sequencing the human genome has dropped from $100,000,00 to $1,000 in less than 15 years. It’ll be $1 by the end of the decade.

We’re just beginning to create genetically-targeted cancer drugs, individual to the patient. There are organisms being developed that eat CO2 and water and shit crude oil.

Can we take CO2 – pollution – from the sky and sue it as fuel? Can we create artificial photsynthesis? These things are coming.

Power too cheap to meter

We spend billions on the Iraq War – could we have spent that money better? Solar power’s price is dropping exponentially. Use of solar power is doubling – we’re 6 and a half doublings form 100% of power coming from it.

The Green Tea Coalition is a bizarre alliance of sandal-wearing hippies and right wing evangelists in the US, to fight corporate America… We don’t have an energy crisis, we have an energy conversion crisis.

3D printing? Car parts? Sure? Makeup? Sure – it’s just coloured pastes. 3D printed dresses, and organs are coming. And printing is being done at the nano scale by nano scribe. Soon, 3D printers will be able to print 3D printers. The whole basis of the industrial economy is changing.

Our phones will have batteries that last forever – because they use solar panels. By the time our children grow up, they’ll be printing their own drugs. There’s a parenting challenge.

The threat to the power of money

The whole balance of power is going to change, when electricity gets too cheap to meter, and 3D printers can print pretty much anything. If the billionaires want to stay relevant , they need to take moral leadership instead. The existing institutions are on their way out – and thank god, because they’re a bit shit.

People are disengaged from politics. The financial system is incredibly exposed to risk. Most people are disengaged from their work. Hospitals are more dangerous than bungee jumping. Our education systems teaches kids about the past, not the future they will live in.

Phillip K. Dick said that reality is that which, when you stop thinking about it, doesn’t go away. It doesn’t matter how little you like this – it’s happening. If you ignore it – you end up like Detroit – rotting away.

Everyone says they want to innovate. They don’t. They want innovation wash – the appearance of innovation. Most people don’t like change. PayPal wasn’t invented by a bank. Skype wasn’t invented by BT. The world is Darwinian – it’s not the fittest that survive, but the most agile.

The B Team is a group of public companies coming round to the idea that they can’t withdraw from the environement forever.

We’re about to go through a massive, messy cultureal change. Digital was just the cocktail sausage at the beginning of the meal. We’re about to get mass power, and as Spider-Man almost said “with mass power comes mass responsibility”.

You cannot predict the fourth or fifth order of change of technology. Technology is just a mirror – asking us what sort of world we want.

NEXT Up!

For the next 48 hours I’m in Berlin, working for the good people at NEXT Berlin. #NEXT14 is in full swing, exploring the New Normal – the post-digital world we’re navigating our way through right now.

I’ll be principally liveblogging the event on their site, but you’ll also see contributions from me on their Facebook page, like this quick behind-the-scenes video from yesterday:

Katy-b2bhuddle.jpg

Katy Howell, CEO, Immediate Future

How do you concentrate your content? It’s pretty clear we need to think about social content with purpose. Social media is a business channel – but there are some big players in this. 80% of business buyers network online for work, 91% research for work – and 70% are promoting themselves. We don’t talk about brands, we talk through them… 

Decision maker sand senior decisions makers are rarely lurkers – they’re an active group. 67.9% of B2B content marketing is targeted at lead generation. There are some challenges – the deluge of crap, it’s resource intensive and how do you know you’re capturing the quality of people you want?

If you’re  a planner, you can’t help but put things in boxes. It helps you get your head around them. How can you make sure your content works hard for clients? Well, you target. Everyone talks about being personal. How many people present are creating content for an individual? Very few. 

She’s so excited by Google planning tools. People don’t buy in a linear way, and B2B purchasing is not all digital yet (we need chips in people’s head (is that what Google Glass is?)) Thee tools don’t give you your journey – but they give you a benchmark. It helps you understand the journey. 

IBM makes millions from “snaffling it” – just looking for requests on social media and having conversations on the fly. They don’t just sell – they send them things like a best practice guide for writing RFPs – content marketing. It jumps outside the funnel. On the other hand 66% of buyers use LinkedIn for identifying buyers, but 55% used Twitter for identifying the final supplier. (Again, your customers might be different).

Think about behaviours – but also think what they do before and after. Where do they go from LinkedIn? How do you follow up a capture form? Should you integrate this with your wide campaigns? Search support is important – it’s not all about search, but you can’t miss a trick. And – in lead generation – you have to work with the people around you: sales, social media, the board, your content resources – you have to know the structure. You have worked hard, and paid for great content. Make sure the flow fits, because you can’t measure unless you get to the end goal. 

Bloody Strong Content Plans

Have a bloody strong content plan. It took us six weeks top plan customer magazines – it should be the same for social content. Think about publication date, search tersm, calls to action, trackable links, distribution and monitoring/KPIs.

BUT – content for lead generation has a different purpose. You need killer calls to action. There are calls to action on social media that you wouldn’t get away with on social media. You need to be disruptive to get noticed. How do you deal with conservative clients? Stealth and lying. You have to be a little on the edge – she doesn’t mind running around in her bra and knickers if it gets the job done. You can often find a change agent client-side. Euan Semple calls them trojan mice projects. Make sure the in-house person gets the glory. We live and breathe social media – our clients often don’t. 

It’s hard to find content which has a clear purpose like lead generation right now. It’s about small tweaks – knowing behaviours, clearer calls to action. 

Katy Howell at #b2bhuddle

There’s repercussions for poor content. We are seeing drops in the number of people downloading whitepapers, ebooks and webinars. 4.8% drop for whitepapers, 5.1% for ebooks and 21.6% for webinars. If a whitepaper is just an extended blog post, people get annoyed quickly. Spammy approaches to content have consequences – search engines won’t put up with it forever.

So, make things easy and clean, and use social proof. If it’s relevant, you’ll capture more of the people you want. Ensure bit.ly links have your brand in them in some way – makes them more trusted. Keep capture forms short. Use all relevant advertising tools: Facebook Exchange (jury still out), SlideShare capture (part of Pro), Twitter lead gen (14% rate), LinkedIn ads (not great) InMails (amazing). 

People don’t sharpen their tools well. They don’t test and learn. Start with benchmarks. 46% of buyers find whitepapers useful for defining what they actually need. 44% find videos, webinars and podcasts for identifying suppliers. 51% use supplier e-mail for final selection. Document everything you do – short links, campaign codes and the like allow you to track effect.

You want to know performance by platform, but also by subsection of the platform. Not just LinkedIn, but groups, or news feeds, or company pages.  Details. Track the actions, like Likes, clicks and comments. How is each content toe performing. What times of day work best? What topics work best? How about headline experiments – one of their clients saw a 40% uplink in traffics by putting what they would get through the link in brackets. Bundle all of this into a performance framework. 

Test and dump. Rest things that aren’t working. Do A/B tests. Know what your hottest lead source is. 

Feed all of this information into the purchase loop. Know what content contributes best at what point in the purchase cycle. It’s hard. Katy is not there yet. But she’s working on it. 

Question & Answer

Are you doing analysis on costs per lead on social? Yes. Two clients have been doing cost per lead – it’s lower than DM, but higher than e-mail. And it wavers all over the place, because the content isn’t right yet. Month on month things change. The industry’s in churn, so it’s difficult to think about pay per lead.