7 harsh realities in social media

March 20, 2010

Great presentation by Netlash on the reality of social media for most brands, asking some very important questions, such as whether anyone will read your blog, follow your twitterstream, join your Facebook fan page, use your community, spread your viral, generate content for you, or if you’ll even have the resource to support you, let alone get buy-in from your employees to help you join ‘the conversation’ (see here). Thanks to Mathias Bauer at Berens Bauer Belocassi


Talk is cheap and action speaks louder than words

March 3, 2010

Following on from my post about assessing the impact of social innovation, I though the following Michael Foot quote from The Guardian, summed up the sad truth about social innovation in the UK, and Web 2.0 commentators:

“Describe the challenges by all means,” he said, “but don’t confuse analysis with action. The one must lead to the other if it is to be useful to people.”

Crowdsourcing: too many cooks soil the plot

March 2, 2010

Bad pun, but was just trying to think of a headline for a bookmark or Wired piece about Penguin’s A Million Penguins crowdsourced novel ‘experiment’:

“The completed “A Million Penguins” features a banana version. Another group started a “Choose Your Own Adventure” sub-novel, inviting others to “…add to one of the stories, or start your own genre or story.” Both works, wildly creative in their own right, destroyed the dream of a one-plot oeuvre.”

Whoops, sounds like too many cooks spoiled the broth here rather than many hands made lighter work.

NESTA Connect to be spun off

March 1, 2010

Just heard from NESTA Connect’s head honcho Roland Harwood that they are going to be spun off. I’d been in touch about their Open for Business Conference and judging by the comments on their blog it seems like I was not the only one scratching my head as to why taxpayers money is being spent ‘educating’ senior managers from large private firms more than capable of doing this for themselves? Having worked with them I have to say that their funding decisions seem whimsical in general, and more than a little perplexing as far as their corporate innovation programme is concerned … and I’m not the only one to think this. Read the rest of this entry »

Enterprise 2.0: what a crock

March 1, 2010

I’m grateful to Bruce Lewin at Four Groups for pointing out Dennis Howlett’s Enterprise 2.0: what a crock rant on ZDNet:

“I’ve been following the so-called Enterprise 2.0 meme for some time and you know what? It’s a crock.”

I think he makes a number of interesting points, not least being that in this economic climate businesses have far more pressing problems, regardless of what you’re E2.0 mavens maybe saying. Maybe that’s why, case studies for the emergent enterprise are still thin in the ground. He also makes valid points about the transience of community members who have no allegiance to anything other than the community:

“Communities are driven by passionate community evangelists who, for the most part I see as driven people. They don’t have an allegiance to the company or brand but to the idea of community. There’s nothing wrong with that but I have to ask the question – what happens when they move on or become tired of batting their head against a brick wall? As someone engaged with community building as a stepping stone to transformation I understand the challenges.”

He ends by asking an important question about the problem that Enterprise 2.0 is trying to solve? Funny, as when I’ve asked that question and nobody has given me an answer, and it reminds me of an lecture in 1998 on Technology and Society given by the American author, media theorist and cultural critic, Neil Postman. He said the first question that need to be addressed when anyone tells us about a new technology was, ‘what is the problem to which this is technology is a solution?’

Collaborative Innovation, where’s the supporting data

March 1, 2010

As mentioned in my previous post about the social impact assessment of social innovation, I carried out some ‘collaborative’ research for NESTA Connect last year. What surprised me was that our initial thin-slice scoping work showed that the area of collaborative innovation is somewhat underdeveloped and scattered, lacking consensus on “proven” strategies, enablers/barriers, management implications, and most importantly empirical frameworks for the assessment of collaborative innovation effect. So I put this to a couple of eminent academics and their responses seemed to confirm our initial findings: Read the rest of this entry »

The possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right

March 1, 2010

I mentioned Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, in my initial Why debatorium? post. His point about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right seems very poignant now that Facebook has passed Google (Holy Crap! Facebook has passed Google).

The possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right

There’s great story board by Steve McMillen from last year which, illustrates the foreword to Postman’s thought provoking book and you can see it here.

Assessing the impact of Social Innovation

February 28, 2010

I carried out some pilot research last year for NESTA Connect on collaborative innovation with Dr Alain Samson at the LSE. One of the areas we looked at as part of our thin slice was Social Innovation 2.0 (e.g. where Web 2.0 meets Open Collaboration), which has captured the imagination of various funding bodies and institutions. Social Reporter David Wilcox had kindly mentioned a video about the social entrepreneur landscape from the 2gether08 gathering, and it was interesting to hear an admission that there’s a danger of a Fools’ Gold Rush where from time to time you get social entrepreneurs crowding in to do something that look goods at the time, but doesn’t turn out to exceed expectations. Read the rest of this entry »

Jaron Lanier talks about the failure of web 2.0

February 28, 2010

Great little podcast interview with ‘digital guru’ Jaron Lanier from The Guardian last week, which seems to reiterate some of the points made in the When the net’s wisdom of crowds turns into an online lynch mob article I mentioned in my earlier post (see here) – particularly as far as pack mentality and cyber-bulkanization are concerned. Read the rest of this entry »

When the net’s wisdom of crowds turns into an online lynch mob

February 28, 2010

Interesting article in The Observer today by James Harkin, author of the soon to be published Cyburbia: the Dangerous Idea That’s Changing How We Live and Who We Are. It discusses how the internet’s great advantages – speed, access and shared communication – can also have drawbacks, as Richard Dawkins found out last week. It’s not hugely surprising that James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds meme has a flipside as the title of his book was a nod to Charles Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds written over 160 years earlier. Since then there’s be a whole load of other popular delusions ending in tears, not least being the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the Dotbomb. Who knows perhaps the hype surrounding Web 2.0 will in time also be seen as just another bubble, with ironically Surowiecki being one of the principle cheerleaders. Read the rest of this entry »