Doh! Can we have another think about this Brexit thing please?

ISS-46_Italy,_Alps_and_Mediterranean_at_night_Tim_Peake

On June 23rd 2016, 51.9% of UK voters opted to leave the European Union. I’m writing here to say:

  1. We made a mistake
  2. We should have another think about it, and
  3. The Liberal Democrats might hold the key and not realise it.

_________

UPDATE: Approximately eight hours after my post here, Liberal Democrats pledge to keep Britain in the EU after next election. This is great news. We now just need to persuade the party that they need to run at it on a single-issue basis. By doing so, pro-EU voters can cast a clear vote without other policies clouding the matter, and there can then be no ambiguity in interpreting the vote. This could make the difference between  winning and not, and winning by a massive margin. As I write in conclusion to this post, I’m sure the electorate would then thank them in the follow-on election.

_________

Winston Churchill, considered one of the Founding Fathers of the EU, noted that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. It’s wonderful to live in a democracy, and I find it exciting and exasperating, fascinating and frustrating, to be part of the European union of democracies.

A democracy cannot be perfect. The people can make mistakes — of course— and I believe we just made one. A really really big one. Whereas we might change our minds every five years with general elections, leaving the EU is the sort of thing that impacts for generations. Continue reading

The EU Referendum campaigns should learn from Aristotle

Aristotle

An email sent to all my friends and family.

There's no doubting Aristotle was a rare genius. Encyclopædia Britannica calls him the first genuine scientist. And it's amazing that here I am in the 21st Century emailing you (and in fact just about everyone I know with an email address) about the insights of a man born exactly 2400 years ago.

(That's equivalent to someone doing the same for you or me in the 44th Century CE, and I think we can agree on the likelihood of that!)

I read this article on Aristotelian rhetoric / persuasive powers in 2012, and I was so enamoured that I wrote a short blog post on it at the time. In summary, Aristotle concluded that the three most powerful tools of persuasion are:

  • Ethos – argument by character
  • Logos – argument by logic
  • Pathos – appealing to the emotions.

Continue reading

Defining Sovereign Technology, so we can build it, and so we know it when we see it

head

Agency refers not to the intentions people have in doing things but to their capability of doing those things in the first place.

To be able to ‘act otherwise’ means being able to intervene in the world, or to refrain from such intervention, with the effect of influencing a specific process or state of affairs.

(Giddens 1986)

Technology must always be a component of agency as tools change our capacity to ‘act otherwise’. And it’s a component that’s all the more pervading and penetrating as the delineation of the analogue and digital dissolves, as ‘the device’ assumes an exo-brain role and as sensory ‘things’ form our exo-nervous system.

Simultaneously, I have a digital self and a self with digital presence.

Simultaneously, this is me and it is my representative, my agent.

Simultaneously, it is core to my agency and must be subject to it. Continue reading

Q&A with CIPR Influence magazine

CIPR Influence magazine

I was interviewed by Rob Smith, Editor, Influence magazine. Published in two parts, May 2016.


What does Influence mean to the public relations business currently? Is it more important since the rise of digital or has it always been at the heart of what it is to be a public relations professional?

You have been influenced when you think in a way you wouldn’t otherwise have thought or do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done. Unfortunately, the English language also has us using the word ‘influence’ in terms of something someone might possess.

I always prefer to work with the first meaning here for two reasons: first, the changing of hearts, minds and deeds is the actual object of interest to public relations professionals (reciprocally of course, more on which later); second, we might quantify the former better than the latter, and indeed many of the better attempts to score influence as something someone might possess rely to a certain extent on that capacity being demonstrated (ie, the former again).

What does this mean to PR practice right now? Well that depends on your flavour of practice, characterised rather usefully at this juncture by Andy Green as simply old school and new school. Continue reading

Workfront and the future of work

 

I'm in Orlando Florida this week with the Workfront team and their partners and customers for their annual Leap conference. It's my privilege to participate in a panel session on the future of work, and to deliver a session with the more grounded title – making work suck less!

As you can see from the stack here, the first too common affront I identify and tackle is what I generally call the 'X steps to heaven' crowd. Those authors and companies proffering clickbait that teases with some relatively short sequence of steps needed to take you from zero to hero – in this context, going from a dysfunctional to awesome organization.

Bullshit. Life is complex and society is complex and all organization is complex, and authors of this sort of crap are either ignorant at best or disingenuous at worst. Complexity is a natural product that cannot be simplified – we can only aspire in this digital age to navigate it more simply.

I then go on to identify the lessons we might learn from Mother Nature, the necessity to sustain mutual value for all stakeholders, and some of the hazards we must avoid along the way, not least corporate surveillance.

Last night we were at the Magic Kingdom, and this evening we're dining at Epcot. Who said work has to suck?! :-)

Thanks for having me Workfront.

Barking a top-down command to be bottom-up

dog barking
According to The Onion earlier this year:

Warning of severe consequences if he didn’t see results, Pantheon Digital Consulting COO Daniel Abelson, 59, told employees Monday he wants a relaxed, friendly company culture implemented by the end of the week ...

Interesting approach.

Organisational culture is a notoriously tricky thing to pin down. My favoured definition is simply – how things get done round here. And if you're tempted by new forms of organisation that retire command and control and emphasise self-organisation, how on Earth do you get that process started?

Can you use that command and control authority one last time to instruct people to dismantle command and control? Continue reading

Why can’t Deezer answer simple questions about privacy?

Deezer website screenshot

I've just bought an Onkyo TX-8150 network receiver. Lovely. Especially because it can drive two pairs of speakers, eats so-called hi-res music (24/192 with a 32/384 Hi-Grade DAC), and comes ready to play nice with the likes of Spotify, Airplay and Deezer.

Spotify tarnished its reputation somewhat with its privacy cock-up last year, and doesn't yet entertain hi-res. Apple's Airplay looks neat but doesn't do hi-res either, and totally ignores Android. Hmm. So let's check out Deezer I thought to myself. A rare European Unicorn. And while it describes lossless CD quality as hi-res when that's not really what the term means, I'm not sure my 'listening environment' is that sensitive! Lossless CD quality will do me. Continue reading