Month: December 2008

Convergence culture and wealth production in Web 2.0

Convergence culture is the result of cultural behaviour shift enabled over time through the connectedness of many media and many technological integrations, not just one technological innovation.  A Collective intelligence community is held together by the search and desire for knowledge. Someone asks a question, someone else provides an answer, another builds on that, and so on. 

Zulu nicknames, Cats and Black Swans

My Zulu nickname since I was a little girl was “Madikatz”. It means “Mother of Cats”. So, its no surprise that I grew up as Director of Innovation then….I had great practice herding cats….69 of them in my lifetime- mostly foundlings and strays….just like disruptive ideas! Enjoy this video on the “Delights of herding cats” by my  my favourite convergence culture thinker, Prof Henry Jenkins of MIT. http://henryjenkins.org/2008/12/the_delights_of_herding_cats.html

Catalysing global magic via Imogen Heap and Nkosi sikelele America at Poptech

Imogen_heap_poptech

Imagine my surprise when @garyphayes sent me a twitter message about spotting me at 3:13 in a vblog on Youtube by the sensationally amazingly creative expansive musician, Imogen Heap, who performed at Pop!Tech in Camden Maine last month. Turns out Imogen was a student of Gary’s in a previous life of his in the UK.     

The context for this is as follows: I was attending PopTech in Maine in October 2008- only a week after drastic measures were announced to dramatically stem the GFC. The mood was sombre and uncertainty about the future was palpable in America. We had just finished listening to some of the heartbreaking stories of AIDS told by Community educator Zinhle Thabethe,  herself HIV Positive, and the work of Project Masiluleke which is about using mobile phone technology to help reverse South Africa’s crippling HIV/AIDSand TB crises by connecting millions to testing and care. This session was immediately followed by a very sombre outlook on the potential consequences of the economic meltdown by futurist Juan Enriquez. The energy in the room had changed into shock, horror and a sense of helplessness.

Sitting there in stunned reflective silence, the very wise Andrew Zolli, curator of Poptech, then asked Imogen Heap, who had performed this the previous day, if she’d like to return to the stage and do an improv musical piece, which was of course very much needed because as curator, it would have been bad karma to send 500 people away with a feeling of depression and despair!

Imogen came on stage and asked the audience for a tune to kick off the improvisation …..and, silence. No-one offered anything. Felt like 5 minutes went by (I’m sure it wasn’t that long) and my heart just went out to her. I thought…why not give her the song that carried many South Africans through the despair of the apartheid years, Nkosi Sikelele Africa ( meaning “God bless Africa”), and substitute America for Africa?  That was appropriate at that moment, and American folks through Poptech were the very people helping and funding the AIDS cause through Project Masiluleke- and the world will be a whole heap worse off if America collapses! 

So…I put my hand up and Imogen was visibly relieved and then of course I had to stand up and sing it for her so she could pick up the tune! In the Camden Opera House! In front of 500 people! And, I am no Susan Boyle!

But you have to be bold and courageous! So, from that point on, magic was catalysed and the energy in the room shifted in an instant when Imogen began creating the most amazing improvisation. Soon, the whole audience was singing “Nkosi sikele America!”  

Watch the video here where Imogen talks about this story, and how that unique event has inspired her to create an ongoing innovation movement. 

 

AMPLIFY 09 Convergence and emergence: NODULAR LEADERSHIP

Stream videos at UstreamWatching live stream from LeWeb08 in Paris. Really enjoyed the David Weinberger talk about the decline of old style top-of-the-pyramid lone hero figure of organisational leadership (think conductor of orchestra, think Jack Welch) that co-incides with the end of the information age, and the emergence of abundant leadership through the nodes of multiple connected networks, giving rise to reputational democracy in the sphere of government, and in the corporation? I have coined a new phrase….I call this NODULAR LEADERSHIP. If anyone else uses this henceforth…..you read it here first. Loll! attributions please! ;-))) But how will the reward and hierarchical systems cope with highly networked, highly influential thought leaders distributed at the edges of the organisation- a subject my work team and I ponder frequently?I have a personal curiosity in this subject and for some time now, have been seeking out thinkers to address this topic of convergence between technology and leadership, and the emergence of new leadership models and insights, at AMPLIFY 09. I have been searching for examples from guild organisers in World of Warcraft, like http://sophtopia.blogspot.com/2008/07/warcraft-reputation-and-democracy.html to seriously heavy-duty uber-connected dudes like Joi Ito. In many ways, networked collaboration has been my natural style of operating since I was in kindergarten, but I always attributed it to being more ambitious than my resources/ time/ budget could ever cope with- and to date, I have built a career on the back of creating successes that way. Its the very structure of how AMPLIFY is organised, through a network of distributed leaders throughout our business and extended networks- and the consequence is a much richer event, delivered at a fraction of the cost of a traditional execution through a professional event manager. Wonder though which nodes will emerge to voluntarily clean the toilets in a self-organising environment? maybe those will become the really expensive highly paid tasks in the future or maybe people should simply clean for themselves as they go….On that note….have a kitchen full of groceries to pack away, where my distributed leadership of relying on teenagers missed the deadline!

AMPLIFY 09 Convergence and emergence: NODULAR LEADERSHIP

Stream videos at Ustream

Watching live stream from LeWeb08 in Paris.

Really enjoyed the David Weinberger talk about the decline of old style top-of-the-pyramid lone hero figure of organisational leadership (think conductor of orchestra, think Jack Welch) that co-incides with the end of the information age, and the emergence of abundant leadership through the nodes of multiple connected networks, giving rise to reputational democracy in the sphere of government, and in the corporation? I have coined a new phrase….I call this NODULAR LEADERSHIP. If anyone else uses this henceforth…..you read it here first. Loll! attributions please! ;-)))

But how will the reward and hierarchical systems cope with highly networked, highly influential thought leaders distributed at the edges of the organisation- a subject my work team and I ponder frequently?

I have a personal curiosity in this subject and for some time now, have been seeking out thinkers to address this topic of convergence between technology and leadership, and the emergence of new leadership models and insights, at AMPLIFY 09. I have been searching for examples from guild organisers in World of Warcraft, like http://sophtopia.blogspot.com/2008/07/warcraft-reputation-and-democracy.html to seriously heavy-duty uber-connected dudes like Joi Ito.

In many ways, networked collaboration has been my natural style of operating since I was in kindergarten, but I always attributed it to being more ambitious than my resources/ time/ budget could ever cope with- and to date, I have built a career on the back of creating successes that way.

Its the very structure of how AMPLIFY is organised, through a network of distributed leaders throughout our business and extended networks- and the consequence is a much richer event, delivered at a fraction of the cost of a traditional execution through a professional event manager.

Wonder though which nodes will emerge to voluntarily clean the toilets in a self-organising environment? maybe those will become the really expensive highly paid tasks in the future or maybe people should simply clean for themselves as they go….

On that note….have a kitchen full of groceries to pack away, where my distributed leadership of relying on teenagers missed the deadline!

Music of our times- our boat is leaking!

Tom Waits’ 2002 song, ever so true in current financial undoing of our world….There’s a leak in the boat….it played at the end of the movie, ” ENRON: The Smartest guys in the room” which I watched tonight for the first time, and just can’t help having this crazy de ja vous experience! Haven’t we all been there before?   If you haven’t watched it yet, get it- and then see the similarities with the causes of the GFC. Then read Nassim Taleb‘s The Black Swan also….although he doesn’t call this financial crisis a Black Swan, simply a ship full of drunken sailors knowingly sailing into treacherous waters…with crowds of bankers lining up to buy tickets!

Is the youth market lucrative and profitable to financial brands?

In 2006 at the Creativity World Forum held in the gorgeous medieval trading town of Ghent in Belgium, I met Maarten Leyts, CEO and founder of the amazing “Trendwolves” company that specializes in researching European youth needs, desires and trends, and publishes an annual report called on the key insights and statistics.  Maarten will be speaking at Youthwatching 09, and you can watch current insights in this 60 sec clip. 

http://youthwatching.com/2008/12/02/european-youth-trends-in-60-seconds/ 

One of the biggest trends supported by this research is how young people are formally “befriending” brands and adding them like their regular friends to their social networks in Twitter , Facebook and MySpace.  Zappos would have to be an outstanding example of this as represented by the very socially-active CEO, Tony Hsieh who tweets under the profile of @zappos on Twitter. ( I also met Tony at Business Innovation Factory 4 in Providence earlier this year and he works very hard at building a friend brand, and is deserving of these accolades) 

Having grown up in another era where I’d rather be dead than be seen in a branded anything ( and to this day, I am a lone salmon who hates the trends of the masses, enjoying being counter-culture instead), I find this phenomenon very interesting and can see huge business value in it. For one, having people befriend you vs your main competitor would be enormously useful for consumer insights and behaviours, loyalty and so on. I am really interested to learn more about this subject, particularly to see how financial services companies are benefitting from it.  

Many financial services institutions don’t actively target the youth market because its supposedly not highly profitable, but I have a hunch its a long-term play and a “capture the hearts and minds” strategy, and when these people accumulate wealth, you will retain them – or will you?   Would love to hear any perspectives you might have based on real world results as opposed to hunches?  

Who in Australia does this well…or does it at all? Who is our equivalent of Youthwatching…or are we simply too small a market?

Music of our times

Tom Waits 2002 song, ever so true in current financial undoing of our world….there’s a leak in the boat….it played at the end of the movie, ” ENRON: The Smartest guys in the room” which I watched tonight for the first time, and just can’t help having this crazy de ja vous experience!

If you haven’t watched it, get it and read Nassim Taleb‘s The Black Swan also….although he doesn’t call this financial crisis a Black Swan, simply a ship full of drunken sailors knowingly sailing into treacherous waters…with crowds of bankers lining up to buy tickets!

Befriending brands: 60 secs look into Youth Trends

Youthwatching ’09 from youthwatching on Vimeo.”>

In 2006 at the Creativity World Forum held in the gorgeous medieval trading town of Ghent in Belgium, I met Maarten Leyts, CEO and founder of the amazing “Trendwolves” company that specializes in researching European youth needs, desires and trends, and publishes an annual report called on the key insights and statistics.  Maarten will be speaking at Youthwatching 09, and on this sit you can see a 60 second clip of the current key insights.  

One of the biggest trends supported by this research is how young people are formally “befriending” brands and adding them like their regular friends to their social networks in Twitter , Facebook and MySpace.  Zappos would have to be an outstanding example of this as represented by the very socially-active CEO, Tony Hsieh who tweets under the profile of @zappos on Twitter. ( I also met Tony at Business Innovation Factory 4 in Providence earlier this year and he works very hard at building a friend brand, and is deserving of these accolades) 

Having grown up in another era where I’d rather be dead than be seen in a branded anything ( and to this day, I am a lone salmon who hates the trends of the masses, enjoying being counter-culture instead), I find this phenomenon very interesting and can see huge business value in it. For one, having people befriend you vs your main competitor would be enormously useful for consumer insights and behaviours, loyalty and so on.

I am really interested to learn more about this subject, particularly to see how financial services companies are benefitting from it.  Many financial services institutions dont actively target the youth market because its supposedly not highly profitable, but I have a hunch its a long-term play and a “capture the hearts and minds” strategy, and when these people accumulate wealth, you will retain them – or will they? 

Would love to hear any perspectives you might have based on real world results as opposed to hunches?  Who in Australia does this well…or does it at all? Who is our equivalent of Youthwatching…or are we simply too small a market?