Blog  Elektroniker

A Hackathon to “Reinvent Business”

Can social technology enable companies and the people within them to make better decisions? Can it improve corporate behavior? Can it perhaps even help restore the social contract between business and society? These are just some of the questions to be tackled by the “Reinvent Business” hackathon – a collaborative, rapid ideation and programming workshop – to be held in San Francisco on June 9-10, Hosted by frog and LRN, in partnership with BSR, Carnegie Mellon University, Dachis Group, Net Impact, Silicon Valley Bank, Fast Company, and the World Economic Forum, the two-day event will bring together software developers, designers, gamers, film makers, writers, business leaders, and other creative minds to imagine, design, and build a more human and truly social enterprise. The goal is both simple and bold: to develop concepts and prototypes for innovative products and services that have the capacity to transform business from within.

Blog  Elektroniker

Embracing Openness

Rotman magazine, the print and online quarterly of the Rotman School of Management, has just released its new (Winter) issue, devoted to the theme “Open.” Openness has been a buzzword for a while, ever since Henry Chesbrough wrote his seminal book on Open Innovation, but, to apply Gartner’s Hype-Cycle terminology, now it seems as if Openness has finally reached a plateau of productivity after going through years of troughs of disillusion.

Blog  Elektroniker

Intimate Connections

Is it perverse that your boss might know more about your life than your best friends? That you spend more time with your desk neighbor at work than with your spouse? That your colleagues experience you in more emotionally extreme situations than most of your friends, in moments of utmost success and failure, triumph and defeat?

Blog  Elektroniker

Growth Ltd.

While in transit at the Munich airport, which is in many ways the epitome of civilization, I’m watching on one of the TV monitors the live footage of the street riots in Athens where Greek citizens are protesting against their government’s budget cuts after decades-long fiscal excesses. It’s like watching CNN blend with surveillance cameras. Greece, the birthplace of democracy, the mother of all civil societies, recently rejuvenated by new infrastructure for the 2004 Olympics, has fallen prey to greed, moral decay, and poor governance. It is ironic (another Greek invention) that what was once a flourishing empire is now a red number on a balance sheet and a black sheep in one of modern democracy’s most ambitious projects: the European Union. If America went straight from Barbary to decadence, skipping civilization, as the joke goes, then Greece might be on its way straight from civilization to decadence to Barbary. Two people dead, hundreds injured. Police units carrying sticks and tear gas marching on the main streets of Athens. One is familiar with these images, but not with seeing them against this backdrop. It’s like an atavism invading our civilized lives, as a stark reminder of how fragile they are.

Blog  Elektroniker

The Soft Power of Social

Over the course of the past twelve months, I wrote several blog posts and articles about the Chief Meaning Officer, a role which I envision as an innovative leader who employs the new social power of marketing – provisioned by Social as a governing principle of all business interactions – to transform his/her organization (Charlene Li also elaborates on this theme in her new book Open Leadership). I presented this concept at some conferences including next in Hamburg, mostly to fellow marketers or representatives from digital agencies, and you can also hear me riff on it in this podcast produced by Dutch brand agency Energize. I received a ton of feedback: encouragement, endorsements, and consent, but also skepticism suggesting that this model might just be another marketing fad. Invited by BIDC, the Beijing Industrial Design Center, I was extremely grateful to have the opportunity to introduce the idea to a group of Chinese designers at a workshop in Beijing a few weeks ago. It was the first time I shared the Chief Meaning Officer framework in a different cultural and professional context, and it was a welcome reality check.

Blog  Elektroniker

Meaning-Driven Brands

A list of visionaries, sense makers, disruptors, game changers and contrarians.

The-meaning-of-life
As the world slowly emerges from the economic gloom, and the “hyper-social real-time web” requires new organizational designs, it’s clear that business as usual will not be so usual anymore. Yet fundamental concerns remain, both for business leaders, who face the challenge of innovating in a hyper-transparent and always-on environment, and for consumers, who are increasingly searching for non-economic values amidst the shattered trust in business and the information overload. Smart companies recognize the historic opportunity to transform the way they do business and provide customers with more value-rich, sustainable, and meaningful products, services, and business models. From “un-entitlement” to “disruptive realism” to “for-profit activism” – here are some of the new paradigms that shape meaning-driven brands.

Blog  Elektroniker

Privacy Is Over. Here Comes Sociality.

As widely discussed by privacy advocates and blogs, Facebook recently changed some of its privacy settings. Users are no longer able to limit the viewing of their profile photos, home towns, and friends lists to only approved friends. Those are all public now by default. Moreover, Facebook’s new default settings “recommend” that dynamic content such as status messages and photos be made public. While the blogosphere still closely scrutinizes these changes and is aghast at Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘privacy is over’ claims made at the Crunchies awards (he didn’t actually say it verbatim but his statements more or less implied it), I have to admit I was surprised that all this stirred such an uproar. Facebook is only reacting to a larger social trend as it strives to become an asymmetrical and therefore more growth-enabled network (or communications platform) – like Twitter. Privacy, at least a more traditional notion thereof, is the collateral damage of this strategic agenda. With the value of reciprocity (narrowcasting) succumbing to the prospect of exponentiality (broadcasting), privacy is no longer commercially exploitable. “No one makes money off of creating private communities in an era of ‘free,’” writes social networking researcher Danah Boyd in a blog post in which she otherwise harshly criticizes Facebook’s move. The age of privacy as we know it might be over indeed. Is it worth fighting for?

Blog  Elektroniker

The Science of Re-tweeting

Hubspot viral marketing scientist Dan Zarrella has examined 5 million tweets and 40 million re-tweets over the course of nine months and just published his study on the factors of re-tweeting success: What does/does not get re-tweeted, and for what reasons?

Blog  Elektroniker

Design Trends 2008

Earlier this year, my colleague Paul Bradley, Executive Creative Director at frog, put together some slides about design trends for a German newspaper. I thought it might be interesting to revisit them as the year is coming to an end - which of these have "expired" and which are still relevant?

Blog  Elektroniker

Who's Your City?

Love this line from Clay Shirky: "Anyone who's predicting the decline of big cities has already met their spouse."

Ps. ...and check out Richard Florida's bestseller, from which I borrowed the title: http://creativeclass.com/whos_your_city/