Having put my two penn'orth out there over the years I'm occasionally approached by students at this dissertation time of year. This week, Phillip Casey and I struck up conversation on Twitter. Phillip is a post-graduate student undertaking the MA in Media and Public Relations at Newcastle University (pictured) and his dissertation is titled Brand Image: PR in the UK non-profit healthcare sector.
I enjoyed responding to Phillip's questions, so, with his permission, I thought I'd make our Q&A public here. (It migrated to email in case you were wondering about a 140 character count.)
1) Is a strong brand image important for a non-profit organisation? Why?
A brand used to convey ownership of livestock. Then it was an "our name's on it" quality assurance. This century, with product quality (defined as fitness-for-purpose) increasingly a given, a brand represents a nexus of values. If our values align with a brand, then I'm part of that brand. If they don't, I look to take my time, attention and money elsewhere. [Attenzi]
Organisations need to communicate their purpose and values in order to attract and assemble the right mix of people and resources to live up to its mission and pursue its vision. So brand, defined like this, lies at the heart of things. Continue reading →
Bitcoin is the most famous cryptocurrency with the highest capitalization. As you can see from this screenshot from the "block reader" blockr, the capitalization at the time of writing is over eight billion dollars. According to citations of an IMF report on Wikipedia, that places it just above Moldova's GDP.
This post isn't about bitcoin but the cryptographic foundation of Bitcoin. (The community prefers to capitalize the word when referring to the system, and lower case when referring to the currency.) This post doesn't explain Bitcoin or the blockchain in detail – I recommend this series of presentations courtesy of the Khan Academy for those who want to learn more – but rather it's about the technology's wider application and its emergence and growth beyond the early adopters.
Get this into your block
So why am I interested in Bitcoin specifically, and its blockchain foundation more broadly? What does this have to do with social business?
We are contemplating blockchain platforms to enable decentralized consensus in the not too distant future, allowing us to codify, decentralize, secure and trade many things that historically have demanded some centralized facility. This is akin to the bitcoin currency functioning without the need for a central bank, and the vista includes voting, domain names, financial exchanges, crowd funding, organizational governance, intellectual property, contracts and agreements of most kinds. The landscape even extends to so-called smart property with appropriate hardware integration.
Sometimes I wish I was more of a wordsmith, but this word will have to suffice – wowzers! Continue reading →
I've been trying to reconcile the apparent tensions between the deliberate and emergent strategy schools of thought. After all, it's a fundamental question at the heart of organizational life today.
Defining deliberate and emergent strategy
The deliberate strategy process is the one with which most people are most familiar if only because it dominated 20th Century organizational life and still does. A senior team reviews the market, the trends, the SWOT, the fruits of R&D, etc., and formulates strategy – where to play and how to win – that the wider organization is then charged with executing. And based on nothing more than atavistic agricultural habits that are now largely irrelevant, we exhibit a predilection for going through this process with a calendar based drumbeat.
Emergent strategy adherents on the other hand insist that such practice is pure fancy. It's divination beyond the realm of even the most cogent, gifted and able senior leadership team. The deliberate strategy process supports C-title egos and little else. Rather, we're better off making the organization sensitive to even the slightest changes, the weakest of signals, and developing an organizational fabric with the agility to react appropriately, to exploit opportunity and close down risk. Continue reading →
The controversyUber is causing right now prompted me to delve into the archives. Way back. Back to March 2000 when I was pitching a proposition called Peoplestaxi to the likes of 3i and Avis. It got selected for First Tuesday's "Wireless Matchmaking" events too. Here's a quick extract:
Peoplestaxi leverages the latest technologies and customer-centric e-business philosophy to deliver the ubiquitous, convenient and intelligent taxi management service for business and consumers.
... Bookings are accurate and quality is assured. Punctuality, customer relationship management, personal safety, event critical booking, full account management, multi-payment methods and community grouping are all delivered automatically, seamlessly and brilliantly.
... As Peoplestaxi restructures the taxi market, existing taxi firms will have to affiliate, find some niche or eventually die.
I'm chuffed that I managed to reference the future collaborative / sharing economy in there – "community grouping" – but perhaps that last sentence was the choicest bit of crystal ball gazing.
So how come this didn't become Uber? In short order:
Smartphones hadn't been invented
GPS units still cost a thousand US
Oh, and the dotcom bubble burst just then, spectacularly.
I learned that the first aren't always first. The timing of disruption is a function of the disruption.
The Internet has transformed the world. Period. I think it's important then to help everyone understand what it is exactly. I'm not talking degree-level understanding of computer networking, but a feel for the kind of thing going on 'under the hood'.
This post explains the new numbering system for the Internet – fundamental for the continued health and prosperity of the Internet this century – and does so without the reader needing any prior technical understanding. There's an executive summary if you only have two minutes. And then more detail if you fancy. It describes what your organization needs to be doing and why.
Most of the post is based on a document I wrote under the auspices of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
So let's get stuck in. Firstly, allow me to differentiate between two terms too often and erroneously used interchangeably.
The Internet and the World Wide Web are different things
The Internet emerged in the concluding months of the 1960s. The World Wide Web on the other hand, like many other protocols, 'runs' on top of the Internet, and first twinkled in the eye of Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. Continue reading →
The AMEC International Summit on Measurement played out in Amsterdam last week, and I tuned in from afar. On 18th June 2013 I published my thoughts on last year's events in Madrid, and I'll do the same now exactly one year on. Gladly. Gladly because I love the direction the AMEC community is going.
I don't intend to repeat any of the substance and lengthy and valuable commentary to my post last year – which I just enjoyed rereading, thank you. But I have taken the opportunity to append here the Slideshare that accompanied my assertions and that has accrued over three thousand views would you believe.
Perhaps one of my responses to the comments on last year's post is worth noting quickly, a response to Don Bartholomew:
I don't think of myself as a member of the measurement industry for the simple reason that I'm not! Rather, my company is a management consultancy helping organisations benefit from social media and related technologies. Our purview is very much about business performance, about organisational alignment for brilliant execution.
It's not about media
I believe the focus on outcomes in recent years is getting people to look up from media. AMEC is the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, not "of Media", and I'd go further than that. Here are some of my core assertions of recent years: Continue reading →
Inspired by the analogy of organization-as-software, and indeed the reality of organization-as-software, what might it look like to take a manifesto about software and digital networks and apply it to human networks and organization?
In my recent presentation, The Future of Organization, I took the majority of the Mozilla manifesto and replaced references to the Internet with references to organization. I liked the result so much I thought I'd post it separately here for ease of reference. Continue reading →