I help organisations work better, so how on Earth is that connected to the hi:project? Given I dedicate not a small fraction of my time to this non-profit endeavour, I'm asked on occasion to explain how the two are related.
The 'HI' of the hi:project stands for human interface. It's our way of describing the technology we think should and will largely supplant the user interface, the UI. Here's how I've begun to explain it of late ...
When we approach digital, we have a natural propensity to digitize the pre-digital; after all, that is all we know. That's how we ended up sticking an 'e' in front of mail for example, and went from having desktops, files and folders to, well, desktops, files and folders.
Yet digital has unprecedented qualities – it just takes us a while to discover and exploit them. It's only with the passing of decades for example that organisations can now explore alternatives to email. And filing stuff looks increasingly anachronistic with the power of near-instant search at our fingertips.
In the same way, the UI is attached to the digital machine / service today because pre-digital physical machines had a physical interface. Continue reading →
With this in mind, I have penned an open letter to Paul Polman and everyone with an interest in Unilever's success, if only because I love the company's vision, believe it is important in our world, and feel that the stuff we champion in the e2.0 / socbiz / futureofwork communities will be critical in its pursuit.
I was a victim of McVeillance in June this year. I was walking around a shopping mall under systematic surveillance – CCTV everywhere – when I was accosted by security upon taking out my own camera to photograph the mall. (FYI, the mall itself was the subject of my photography and not its customers per se.)
Professor Steve Mann coined the expression McVeillance after he was manhandled out of a McDonalds in Paris where he was eating with his family in 2012 for no other reason than for wearing a computer vision system. McDonalds was watching him. He was watching McDonalds. And 'they' didn't like it.
I wasn't ejected from the mall as I was actually undertaking a project for the mall's owners, unbeknownst to the security personnel. I was escorted to the security office for appropriate clearance – an act which, per Mann's definitions, officially made me a surveiller.
The word surveillance originates from French, from sur- ‘over’ + veiller ‘watch’ (from Latin vigilare ‘keep watch’). It invokes an authoritative orientation where one in authority, metaphorically if not physically above, watches those below. Mann had previously coined the word sousveillance. The French for 'below' is sous, hence the neologism for watching the watchers. Continue reading →
AMEC is the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, not "of Media"
I have taken that as the theme for my contribution to AMEC Measurement Week 2014, which kicks off Monday. Dr. Jon White is another influence who, in a recent exchange, pointed out that the problems of measurement in public relations are largely the result of the approach taken to management in public relations work.
This topic was one of the motivations for my writing The Business of Influence, although I can assure you Dr. White and others understood the problem way before me. I hope that the recommendations in the book contribute in some small way to putting this right.
For today and for Measurement Week, here are a dozen slides in substitute for the book.
The hi:project launches today. It's a synthesis of many of the things I care about, from the original decentralizing visions for the Internet and Web, the aspiration that digital technologies can help people relate to each other better and understand each other better, and the idea that we might connect to each other without wondering who's monitoring our every action.
I believe that making all variety of organization more agile, more valuable, more useful starts by empowering all the individuals that play a role in the organization's success. The creation of mutual value begins with acquiring self-knowledge and mutual understanding to effect mutual influence, and this is exemplified by the question that concludes Attenzi - a social business story:
Do you help all the individuals associated with your organization (employees, customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, etc.) build worthwhile relationships with each other and others, coalescing by need and desire, knowledge and capability and shared values, to create shared value?
Are we really going to answer this question satisfactorily by having everyone interface with the digital world similarly? By having them come to each machine in turn than have the machines come to them? I think not.
I've had a number of questions thrown at me by students in their dissertation deliberations these past weeks. I'm not going to post them all here as there is overlap as you can imagine, but this one complements nicely the Q&A with Phillip Casey (and here) at Newcastle University.
Here are the answers I offered to some of her questions, and I start with a relevant extract from Chapter 10 of The Business of Influence.
The Chief Influence Officer (CInflO)
The incumbent [of this role] is charged with making the art and science of influencing and being influenced a core organizational discipline – charged with executing the Influence Scorecard. They will be keen to network with peers in other organizations, to share best practice, to identify, refine and codify proven techniques, and to flag up unseen or unanticipated flaws in the processes described in this book [and others].
In my opinion, the role of Chief Influence Officer will be regarded as being on a par with the COO, as CEO-in-waiting.
Ideally, the Chief Influence Officer will have a varied background covering marketing, PR, customer service, HR, product development and operations – just the kind of trajectory frequently mapped out for ‘future leader’ types. They will probably have more experience in one or more of these over others of course, but will set out as a matter of urgency to orient themselves in the areas of the organization with which they have least experience, working hard to establish a thorough and lasting rapport with functional heads and all stakeholder groups. They will excel at interpersonal communication, inspire confidence and a can-do attitude, and know instinctively when to crack resistance one-on-one and when to draft in support from the CEO.
Given the not inconsiderable change management, collaboration and coordination challenges, boards will look in-house for candidates with extant strong organization-wide interpersonal relationships and a reputation for making change happen from both the hard and the soft side of things. Appropriate candidates will recognize that the task is not achievable alone, particularly without unanimous and unequivocal board support – which they will be intent on working hard to secure, if not already manifest by his or her appointment.
The candidates will be highly numerate, probably having taken a statistics or research methodologies component to their university degree.
They will be ‘digitally native’. They will be curious and indefatigable by nature, and able to identify and exploit opportunities as rapidly as they identify and learn from failure.
They will be comfortable living simultaneously in both the extreme, unrelenting real-time, and the future two to four quarters hence.
[...] They will particularly relish the harsh, unflattering light thrown on previously opaque and unconnected aspects of the organization, and the boardroom accountability this allows them to enjoy and demands they live up to. Continue reading →
Is influence harder to manage as an organisation grows in size?
As before, beware the idea that influence can be managed per se. I'll assume you're referring to the considered design and monitoring of process, culture and operations more widely, to increase the likelihood that stakeholders are influenced and appropriate reciprocation is encouraged, in ways more conducive than otherwise to the organization achieving its goals and living up to its purpose.
Complexity of the influence system does tend to increase with organization size from my observations, and possibly by definition. But I'd caveat that by asserting that such observation should demand a response in organization design terms. Continue reading →