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Month: September 2010

What is the job of management scholars and consultants in the participation economy ushered in by social media?

Alaska 2010 by keithusc via FlickrBen Cameron said at TED:

“everyone . .  . resonates to the words of  Adrienne Rich in Dream of  A Common Language wrote: We are out in a country that has no language, no laws.  Whatever we do together is pure intervention.  The maps they gave us is out of date by years.

Ben Cameron is a Canadian Arts Administrator.   At TED, he described the market for the arts in clear concrete detail.  Old markets are in ‘trouble’, or not, depending on how much you welcome the replacement of the  consumption model of business with the participative model ushered in by social media.

The  collaborative economy has arrived

I subscribe to Ben Cameron’s view.  We are long past the point that old models can be made to work in the old order.

Management scholars and practitioners in the participation economy

I am not in the Arts. I am just a management consultant and scholar.  My role on this earth is simply to describe how we organize ourselves in collective ventures and to provide advice.

That means it is my job to tell you that old methods of selection and training, employee contracts and management styles, salaries and promotions can not work, do not work.

The time has come to create new ways to bring people together, meld working teams  and keep ourselves fresh and relevant.

The vision of the participation economy

I endorse Ben Cameron’s view  that our common aim is to develop a “healthy vibrant society, to ameliorate suffering, to promote a more thoughtful substantive empathic society”.

The challenge for work and organizational psychologists in 2010 is to start writing down and sharing

  1. How people come together to discuss business and how their discussions lead to better ideas of what we can and will do together
  2. How our relationships change from wish to intent to habit and how we can promote relationships that promote the success of the enterprises we envisioned when we set off together
  3. How we remain fresh, thinking up news ways to meet challenges and if necessary disbanding to go onto  new ventures, all the better for having worked together.

That is our mission of management scholars and consultants in a

a country that has no language, no laws.  Whatever we do together is pure intervention.  The maps they gave us is out of date by years.

It is time to get started writing down who knows what and making it available for everyone who want to know.

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5 business uses for social media and 3 hacks to get them right

IMG_7838 by BekiPe via FlickrFacebook, Twitter, blogs and forums .  .  .

I live in a world when half my acquaintances live and breathe social media and other half  “stay out of that”.

ROI of social media

Three years, London was abuzz with talk of the ROI of social media.  As far as I could tell, this was just backwash from marketing departments who are challenged internally to account for the money they spend.  When other functions see a funnel that goes from 1000 to 100 to 10 to 1 or maybe none, they rightly want an explanation for all the parties and lunches. When the rest of us say we are going to do something, we do it.

Rewarding what is excellent in social media

So today, I was delighted to see some awards for social media in the airlines sector.  I want to be clear here.  I am a psychologist and we aren’t the touchy-feely types the public thinks we are. We spend most of time crunching numbers and we know more about metrics and ROI than you might dream even if exists.  Believe me, you don’t want to know how to do the things we know how to do and can prove with numbers.

What matters in ROI

But because we do know a lot about ROI, we also know what matters and what doesn’t.

  • We must specify a decent goal.
  • We musn’t get bogged down on the how.
  • We must
  1. Make sure we have a goal that captures our sense of “why” this work helps us
  2. Find measures that help us see if we are getting closer
  3. And when we are really clever, find measures that help us learn what matters and what doesn’t.

    But first the what and why in one sentence.   Without that, everything else is busy work.

    New awards in social media

    Simpliflying has four awards for social media.

    • Best social media marketing campaign
    • Best use of social media to drive revenue
    • Best use of social media in a crisis situation
    • SimpliFlying Hero of the Year

    I could imagine one more – Best use of social media to develop a community that would sustain a new revenue stream.

    But there you have it.  Four clear uses of social media: let the market know we are here, increase sales, deal with crises (even unexpected ones like Haiti); and simplify.

    Work psychologists using social media to connect up people

    Because I am a psychologist, not a marketer, I more interested in

    • How to bring people together who might find opportunities working together
    • How to create a space where people can develop working relationships that support sustained happy and profitable working relationships
    • How to keep the relationship brimming with ideas including a strong sense that when it is over it is over and we should all move on better for having worked with each other.

    That’s all we have to do to build great communities

    Set the direction and ask people:

    • Are we doing it?
    • What’s next?
    • What have we learned that we didn’t know yesterday?
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    Oh! The roots of postive organizational scholarship in Henry Thoreau and American transcendentalism

    Sept2010 by anjanettew via FlickrWalden Pond .   .   .

    I had to rummage around on Wikipedia to disentangle my memory traces.  Walden Pond is the home of Henry Thoreau, the American poet.   On Golden Pond is a Fonda movie.

    Henry Thoreau .   .  .

    I am sure that all well brought up Americans have read Thoreau in the original. The rest of us come to him by the way of quotations.

    Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows .  .  .

    Henry Thoreau was an “transcendentalist”, which Wikipedia informs me was a New England movement in reaction to the intellectualism of Harvard and the utilitarian church.  To my naïve ears, this sounds like the basic thrust of the French Revolution that rejected the supremacy of priests and their dictates,.  Once we have rejected the priests as the authority in all things, we needed a way to think about secular authority         and social sciences and psychology arose as formalized ways of describing how we each discover our own truth (Remember the Pope anyone?  Not surprisingly, he is not enthused by this venture.)

    Transcendentalism underpins much of contemporary positive organizational scholarship

    This is an important read.  We see here the essence of dominant aspects of American culture and at least part of the foundations of positive psychology.

    Ralph Emerson, I believe, was one of the early proponents.

    “So shall we come to look at the world with new eyes.

    It shall answer the endless inquiry of the intellect, — What is truth?

    And of the affections, — What is good?

    By yielding itself passive to the educated Will. .  .

    Build, therefore, your own world.

    As fast as you conform your life to the pure idea in your mind, that will unfold its great proportions.

    A correspondent revolution in things will attend the influx of the spirit.”

    As fast as you conform your life to the pure idea in your mind, that will unfold its great proportions.

    A correspondent revolution in things will attend the influx of the spirit.

    We bring about the world by what we attend to and value.  The world blossoms under the attention of what we value and love.  Whatever situation we are in (like it or not), we move in the direction of the questions we ask and so does it.

    This is more appreciative inquiry (Case Western) than positive psychology (Pennsylvania).

    It is the start point and as you read the now not so young Thoreau describing his life at Walden Pond, you hear the same complaints that we have about life today.  You hear the echoes of Joseph Campbell who followed a similar experiment with life. You hear British poet David Whyte who reconciled his life a marine biologist and NGO worker with is poetry.  You hear Gen Y Tim Ferris and The Four Hour Work Week.

    I am enjoying this!

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    Blogging and the Web1.0 world: never the two shall meet

    Is blogging still relevant?

    A few weeks ago, Darren Tay of Social Media Breakfast in Singapore asked: Are blogs still relevant?

    Like many others, when I am swamped with another project, my blogging suffers.  More than most activities, 90% of success in blogging is showing up.  Indeed, blogging technology rewards showing up.

    A blog is less an act of writing and more a particular web format that allows easy updating.  More than that, Google ranks new material more highly than old and helps us find an audience, provided we show up.

    Why sometimes I stop blogging

    Nonetheless, sometimes I don’t show up.

    At first I thought I had no time.  But when you are used to blogging, it takes little time.

    Then I thought that other projects that require writing compete for the same psychological energy.

    Hmm, I wonder about that too.  Writing for a blog is more carefree and energizing than most writing.  Well, possibly that is the reason. Much professional writing sucks the life and soul out of you (and your readers).

    Another possibility is that there are whole swathes of the UK who only know vaguely what a blog is. They certainly don’t understand the technical point that a blog is just easy to update.

    They don’t use RSS feeds and they don’t know what a feed reader is.

    Broadband is wasted on the rich

    Those who are uneducated about the internet are not the indigent or poor either.  People who don’t understand blogging have broadband. They just don’t use it.   We might argue that the government has wasted a lot of money giving broadband to people who are never likely ever to use it.

    These are people who live in institutions.  They get up and tread the same path every day.  They talk to the same people.   And they watch the same TV programmes.   They are paid a lot of money to ignore the rest of the world.

    They do bump into the real world sometimes.  They experience serendipity occasionally but so infrequently they actually remember!  Despite being moneyed members of the chattering classes, they have never heard of TED.

    Blogging and institutionalized life: never the twain shall meet

    I think that’s why I stop blogging.  I get sucked into that world.

    I’ve always known that I have a poor kinesthetic memory.  When I step off a plane in Instanbul, or Nairobi or Singapore, I always blink and exclaim “It’s light!”.  I can remember that I will be surprised, but living in UK, I forget what it feels like to be in bright sunlight.

    When I am fumbling my way through old institutions and groping around their murkier unswept cobwebby corners, I remember there are blogs.   But the feeling of blogging recedes.

    Maybe that’s why we stop blogging. We’ve gone through Platform Nine and Three Quarters and we are in Muggles world.

    Well, I’ve come back the other way.  Let’s see how long I can stay.

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