Get Shouty

Creativity and the meaning of ‘now’
July 3, 2014, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience, Zeitgeist

Have been part of the Sydney Social Media week advisory board ( top geezers) on crafting how we can explore our theme of The Future of Now: Always On Always Connected.

For me creativity, and  the future are inextricably linked.  We just won’t make it unless we fully harness the limitless resource of our creative potential.

“As deep knowledge becomes a common asset, creativity will be the differentiating factor. Creativity is not a ‘nice-to-have’ attribute anymore, it’s a prerequisite for performance, development and growth—supporting us in our ability to innovate and drive change faster and better.” –Ben de Vries, Head of Brand Management, Ericsson

But we also won’t make unless we share, we collaborate and we inspire each other with our different perspectives. I believe that social technology and behaviors may well be one of the engines that will provide the forward momentum  to allow creativity to really be embraced.

The team I’m part of  have been doing some global research on this (on Slideshare here) talking  more than 7,000 people in 11 markets and we found that creative thought was  defined as: solutions to problems that are unexpected in any field of work, not just within traditionally creative fields such as writing, design or the performing arts.

Some of the key outtakes of the research (Collaboration, Play, Freedom to fail, Ego support, Space to think, and Idea Collection)  are helping me build my approach to the panel sessions I’m involved in, and these are the notions I’m looking at:

  • How can we achieve more through collaboration and co-creation?
  • How can we facilitate meaningful conversations, practices for devoting time to creative thinking and mindful contemplation?
  • How can we balance and preserve humanness — meaning the ability to listen, empathize, engage, focus and be present in the moment — despite the constant disruption that technology enables?

Would love to know if you find the research useful. Am looking forward to my own Eureka moment. All anecdotes welcome!

how do you value culture?
January 9, 2014, 6:42 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience, Get Friendly, Great Stuff, passion, Zeitgeist


It’s Festival time in Sydney. While I’m super excited about taking my inner child by the hand and having a bit of a frolic on Sacrilege, the true sized inflatable bouncy castle Stonehenge in Hyde Park’s Festival Village, I was interested to read this in The Australian

FESTIVAL organizers measure success in terms of ticket sales and economic impact, but a new cultural metric may be tweets and pictures on social media. Last year, an enormous yellow duck was a hit of the Sydney Festival, where 1.7 million people could not have missed seeing it at Darling Harbour. Some 14,000 images were posted on Instagram using festival hashtags.

Mmmm. ‘Cultural Metric’. Good notion. Loads of tension in it:

  • What is culture?
  • How might culture be measured?
  • How do we value it?

The NSW Government is investing more than $5 million to ensure the success of the 2014 Festival,

“Last year the Sydney Festival attracted more than 500,000 people with more than 120,000 tickets sold to paid events, including more than 33,000 people who attended events in Western Sydney. In 2012, it injected almost $57 million into our economy

From that perspective an arts investment looks like a pretty good return to the taxpayers hereabouts. I wonder how they’d value those tweets.

Early last year MoMA curator of Architecture and Design Paola Antonelli led a discussion about Culture and Metrics, (which I’ve entirely re cut below):

  • why bother?
    • the reality is that cultures come and go over time. If we don’t know what’s valuable about a particular culture, we run the risk of losing it forever.
    • not all art is concerned with culture, and not all culture is arts-based
    • it’s the best way to create a future that human beings want to inhabit.
    • MoMA has been one of the most important cathedrals of the imagination in my life since childhood, and envisioning it as a driver of R&D across society at large is extremely exciting.
  • measurement
    • Kate Levin, the Commissioner of The Department of Cultural Affairs for New York City: measuring culture, is mostly about objectives and outcomes. She used The Gates as an example of a valuable, measurable project funded by the Department for Cultural Affairs. Four million visitors to this 16-day installation created $254 million in revenue for NYC.
    • Measuring culture will require us to think of new ways to measure and share the story of a project’s insights and impact.
  • culture and value
    • “For me, The Gates was never about whether the saffron curtains and plastic frames were art. Some people argued that it was a hideous monstrosity while others loved it. Instead, I just felt lucky to be part of the flow of conversation and people as we passed together through The Gates on a beautiful blue and gold day. I felt lucky to be a New Yorker. And that’s the point of culture. It gives us a sense of place while at the same time evoking a deeply personal experience of the universal. “

As Rita observed, and who was at the MoMA talk, it brings to life one of Andy Warhol’s statements:

  • “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.”

Creating a deeply personal experience of an enterprise, creating a real and vibrant culture, feels like a bit of an art, and has the same kind of challenge:

But, how do you measure that?

Answer: With great difficulty.

Then again…. people are the only metric that really counts.

It’s hard. Really hard. Most companies can’t do it. The ones that can, make a fortune. Life is unfair.

how long is the truth?
January 7, 2014, 12:40 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, The Rules, triangulation, Zeitgeist

triangulating favourite things

Had an interesting question about the triangulation exercise- how long should it be?

In a true form I’d have to say: How long is the truth?

I’ve put the challenge forward with ‘manifest the outcome how you like…’

I do know that the blank page is the hardest to start with and the that structure is a fine tool to get the ball rolling….

So to help actually answer the question I can put forward some options on process and practice:

  • I’m a big fan of visual thinking as a tool to explore intersection- to mine where commonality lies and to use it to find a singular point of truth
    • the above was a bit of a joke for a mate (if you’re not a Top Gun fan- it means that the absolute truth between his three favourite things is that they FVROOM/ Doppler effect/or can disappear out of sight in a second)
      • this was a while ago- today I’d say that the intersection could be brought to life by Archer
      • this might mean that you could structure a deck like this:
        • Demonstrate key learnings/ Identify themes: one chart each on the major themes of each of the articles
        • Explore intersections: commonalities between each article
        • The absolute truth- your key out take/ observation/ pov
  •  When I started doing these exercises myself as blog posts I tried to keep them around 300 words

I’d love to see a podcast, an interpretive dance, a cartoon if that can take us on a journey of your thinking.

I’m as interested in what you see along the way as the destination of your journey.

Anyhoo- good luck, and thanks for asking.

getting into the swing of things
November 26, 2013, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience

Trying out the lovely Haiku deck….

These are my notes from a breakfast meeting with the lovely Megan Brownlow from PwC.

She spoke about their interesting report: PwC’s NextGen: A global generational study, Millennial Workers Want Greater Flexibility, Work/Life Balance, Global Opportunities

This comprehensive and global generational study conducted by PwC, the University of Southern California and the London Business School looks into the aspirations, work styles and values of “Millennial”/”Generation Y” employees (those born between 1980 and 1995).

The study, which included more than 40,000 responses from Millennials and non-Millennials alike, captures the various forces at play that are influencing the experience of Millennials. These include: workplace culture, communication and work styles, compensation and career structure, career development and opportunities and work/life balance.

I followed with these notes on how the existing behaviors and first language of millennial employees can be harnessed to meet both their needs and that of their employers.

sweeping statements
September 6, 2012, 11:40 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience, Great Stuff

I love it when you come across a sweeping statement that just takes your breath away.

In Australia there’s been a doozy this week- which you can follow here, particularly if you think that humor is a good way of addressing misogyny….

Anyhoo…and before I get well distracted….

I came across a notion that UX didn’t exist before digital – that the spirit utility, interaction and participation was ‘invented’ by introducing digital to brands.


It might be surprising that the discipline of mapping out optimal interactions between humans, machines and contexts has been around since the 1940’s. Participatory design’s been around since the ’60s.

I can’t help but agree with Jon Steel’s refutation of the statement

…these days everything has changed, planning has to change because advertising has changed, nothing is the way it used to be, everything is digital now and if you propose anything other than digital solutions then you’re old-fashioned and generally hopeless…you should drag your sorry old ass out of the business and work somewhere else.

I believe that’s completely wrong, because in the end in an analogue world, in a digital world the key to success is understanding the basics of human communication.

In order to most effectively influence a group of people “you don’t target them you engage them as willing accomplices”

I think the best brands have always inspired individuals to become willing accomplices…

Mr Steel also mentions the amazing work of Howard Gossage in the 1950s.

In short the example of Gossage has never been more possible to follow and more needed, particularly as dreary advertising drifts from our televisions to the places we spend time online, his idea that you should never confuse the product and the message becomes even more powerful. Howard would build his messages around something he thought would interest people and then weave the product into this story – the first international paper airplane competition for Scientific American being a brilliant example.

If you haven’t the slightest clue what all the fuss is about ….it would not be an exaggeration to say that Howard Gossage:

1) Invented interactive advertising (as opposed to direct response advertising) in which the audience is invited to get involved with the brand’s life and participate in its activities
2) Invented the idea of creating communities of interest around topics and then galvanizing those people into action through advertising
3) Invented the PR stunt as a marketing tool using advertising to catalyse and popularise the activity
4) Created the fee based remuneration model in place of the widely used but utterly discredited commission system
5) Invented the independent media planning agency with the Kick Back agency
6) Discovered Marshall McLuan and made him a household name in ‘60s America, a man who predicted the rise of the connected global village that we all live in today
7) Saved the Grand Canyon from flooding with advertising that changed the way that environmental campaigning forever
8) Helped create the modern environmental organisation and both named and housed the Friends of the Earth
9)Helped start the anti-globalisation movement
10) And almost won independence for Anguilla

And so to wrap up this rather long rant:

  • If a brand wants want people to play with (and they do)
  • Think
    • What do we need people to do?
    • Why would they do it?
    • What are we going to make or do that will enable them to do it?

the answer’s in the problem
August 29, 2012, 11:31 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

Over at Paul Mcenany’s blog this week

As many of you know, I’m a big believer that the better the problem, the more likely you are to get to work that works. Wrongheaded problems leave us in a ditch. Boring problems invite uninspired solutions. And when you only ask advertising questions, unsurprisingly – you get lots of advertising answers. The best of the best understand the value in taking the time to get the question right.

Love the thinking in Paul’s presentation I got a load of value. I wonder, though, if it’s always time that is the missing component in getting the problem right.

One of my favorite stories of getting the problem right is this one:

Sainsbury’s planned to grow revenue by £2.5 billion, a huge target made tangible by redefining it as an extra £1.14 per transaction. Previously, Sainsbury’s had been trying to create a big change in behaviour amongst a small number of high-spending customers of other supermarkets. Now it proposed a small change in behaviour amongst a big number of existing and potential customers. Research showed that people were ‘sleep shopping’ because they found supermarket shopping routine. The strategy centred around earning the required extra £1.14 per transaction by building the brand around simple food ideas. The slogan was ‘Try something new today’, but the idea behind it permeated Sainsbury’s business, informing management ethos, point-of-sale creative and advertising campaigns. The idea helped accelerate Sainsbury’s growth, attracting 1.5 million extra customers, increasing profit by 43% to £380 million and growing revenue by £1.8 billion over two years – ahead of the three-year target.

What I like about this case is that not only was the question about behavior change (what would we need to get people to do to grow by 2.5 billion), but the stimulus for the question was held within the value of the owned media of the brand- the amount of customer interactions inside their retail environment.

So to reimagine Paul’s statement:

The best of the best understand that getting the question right delivers value.

An Australian example of this:

In 1813 Governor Lachlan Macquarie overcame an acute currency shortage by purchasing Spanish silver dollars (then worth five shillings), punching out the centres and creating two new coins – the ‘Holey Dollar’ (valued at five shillings) and the Dump (valued at one shilling and three pence). This single move not only doubled the number of coins in circulation but increased their total worth by 25 per cent and prevented the coins from leaving the colony.

Last night a holey dollar was sold $for 410,000 and 1813 New South Wales Colonial Dump sold for $100,000.

A piece of the puzzle
December 15, 2011, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy

I’ve been working on this campaign for a client…while I don’t t usually do this, I’d love you all to help.

Piece by Piece is way to show our support for breast cancer sufferers by aiding research (through the National Breast Cancer foundation) to help solve the puzzle. The online mosaic is made up of the faces or chosen images of those committed and caring people who want to donate a dollar, or more to breast cancer research.

So here’s the idea….

  • I would like to give 10 of you 50 pieces for Christmas.
  • I’d love you to share your pieces with family and friends in a pay it forward style and we will their match donations (or yours!) dollar for dollar.
  • We’ve got $2000 to give away. And we need to give it away by the end of the year.
  • All your readers/followers/friends and family need to do is to include #payitforward with their message in the comments box when they donate.

Let me know if you’d like to be part of this and I’ll set you up.

How To Be More Interesting (In 10 Simple Steps)
December 7, 2011, 10:03 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy, The Rules

1.Go exploring.
Explore ideas, places, and opinions. The inside of the echo chamber is where are all the boring people hang out.

2. Share what you discover.
And be generous when you do. Not everybody went exploring with you. Let them live vicariously through your adventures.

3. Do something. Anything.
Dance. Talk. Build. Network. Play. Help. Create. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing it. Sitting around and complaining is not an acceptable form of ‘something,’ in case you were wondering.

4. Embrace your innate weirdness.
No one is normal. Everyone has quirks and insights unique to themselves. Don’t hide these things—they are what make you interesting.

5. Have a cause.
If you don’t give a damn about anything, no one will give a damn about you.

6. Minimize the swagger.
Egos get in the way of ideas. If your arrogance is more obvious than your expertise, you are someone other people avoid.

7. Give it a shot.
Try it out. Play around with a new idea. Do something strange. If you never leave your comfort zone, you won’t grow.

8. Hop off the bandwagon.
If everyone else is doing it, you’re already late to the party.  Do your own thing, and others will hop onto the spiffy wagon you built yourself. Besides, it’s more fun to drive than it is to get pulled around.

9. Grow a pair.
Bravery is needed to have contrary opinions and to take unexpected paths. If you’re not courageous, you’re going to be hanging around the water cooler, talking about the guy who actually is.

10. Ignore the scolds.
Boring is safe, and you will be told to behave yourself. The scolds could have, would have, should have. But they didn’t. And they resent you for your adventures.

So perfect. Love Jessica Hagy. From here

what if we could…..
October 24, 2011, 4:03 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience, passion

s written a piece on Creatives, strategists and music about the territory between strategy and creative and his journey away from being the kind of strategist that says ‘no’ and why an idea won’t work towards “looking at every single possibility to make it resonate.” I love that he draws on his experiences with some of own creative and crafty passtimes to find his ‘yes’.

I like to remind myself that one of  the roles of the Creative Strategist is to promote collaboration and innovation, to lead the improv disciplines of “what if’ and “yes and” (and make sure the creativity killing Nupski monster doesn’t get fed too much)

What if’s….

Sydney’s pretty full of ‘what if’s” right now. This year, Art & About Sydney put out a call, asking people across Australia to send their responses, in ten words or less, to that one simple question – what if? – two words that put the power of imagining back on the agenda, and inspire us all to think beyond the here and now.…(see the entire list here).

Yes, ands

When it comes to creative and development, improv is critical….

Here’s another way of looking at it: Improvisation is all about viewing your failures (“I don’t like it” or “it doesn’t work they way it should”) as positives that lead you in newer and better directions. The messy, circular paths we have to take in order to reach our goals oftentimes show us things we normally wouldn’t have seen before. And that makes us a lot better at doing our jobs.

Build improvisation into your thinking. Saying “Yes” makes everyone into the good guy and gives you a better chance of delivering what you hoped to. It’s also more fun

never stop learning
August 3, 2011, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy

  • Is the idea to inform your reader or making him feel like a fucking dunce?
  • “But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last. The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.”
  • The aim of the poet is to inform or delight, or to combine together, in what he says, both pleasure and applicability to life. In instructing, be brief in what you say in order that your readers may grasp it quickly and retain it faithfully. Superfluous words simply spill out when the mind is already full. Fiction invented in order to please should remain close to reality.”
    • Horace, “The Art of Poetry” (Ars Poetica) from his Epistles

Am loving catching up with Austin Kleon

‘Like’ baiting and hot triggers
January 12, 2011, 11:59 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

A lovely piece of work from the Soap Creative team.

This isn’t the holy grail; but rather a road-tested ’cheat sheet‘ for quick wins on your Facebook page

Click on any of the images to link directly to the Fan pages they’re referencing.

It reminds me of the work of Dr. BJ Fogg of Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab.

They infer that to change human behavior you must merge three factors into one moment: motivation, ability, and triggers—e.g., prompts and calls to action. Essentially:

”Put hot triggers in the path of motivated people”.

Defining a hot trigger as something one can take immediate action on, this concept easily translates to the world of online marketing tactics such as “Click this link, hit this button to share, or enter your information here.”

Or “like” bait.

The trigger is characterized as hot because you can take this action now, versus cold triggers, which are calls to actions you can’t act upon immediately.


social demographics of twitter to facebook 2010
December 22, 2010, 11:08 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

click through to Visual Loop for full size

makes it simple
October 6, 2010, 12:46 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy

Last night at Digital Citizens I asked the panelists who presented three responses to briefs:

#digicitz with respect my q to all is: what is the difference between a list of tactics and a strategy

Check out the live stream to find the responses

My call is (in this context)

a list of tactics is what could be done, the strategy is what should be done

there is no spoon
October 5, 2010, 2:22 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy

Jye has asked me to recreate a Coffee Morning rant. I’ll do my best….

We were talking about ‘social media experts’.

Now I no opinion on what people to choose to call themselves  in the workplace. I’m no big fan of titles or labels but  do agree that  it would be very nice if people would curtsy when they’re introduced to you…anyhoo.

The notion I want to explore here is: “Is it possible to be an expert in social media?’

We’re trying to talk about an emergent discipline. We’re all still making up the language as we go. This means there’s a lot of new nonsense, heaps of obscure semantics, and quite a bit of confusion as our taxonomy is not set, we haven’t agreed on the discourse…we’re all still a bit muddled and unordered in our thinking because what (I think) we’re doing is in the Complex and Chaotic realms.

In the light of this my answer on the possibility of expertise is: No.

To add to the verbiage mentioned above, here’s my supporting case. I’m a huge fan of Dave Snowdon’s Cynefin framework which puts forward some really interesting thinking on how to make sense of complex environments

  • It would seem to me that you could only be an expert in systems that are ordered, where cause and effect are repeatable and the relationship between cause and effect can be known
  • This is better explained by Dave himself in his story about how expert fought against the idea of Longitude
  • It would further seem to me that social media sits in the unordered realm, where cause and effect are coherent only in retrospect and where results are unpredictable
  • You couldn’t be an expert in a Complex environment as no good or best practice documentation can be handed over to another practitioner with the guarantee that they will get the same results for any tactic/experiment
  • What I believe you can be is a ‘practitioner with experience’, someone who understands the ‘probe-sense-respond’ agility that is required in this non-linear unpredictable (superfun!) environment
  • There is no frickin’ spoon- try it it will make your life quite a bit easier.

pity vs fool
September 23, 2010, 6:22 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy

from i love charts- mmm daily goodness

seeking tasty treats
September 15, 2010, 12:39 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Great Stuff

Was reading William Gibson Talks Zero History, Paranoia and the Awesome Power of Twitter over at Wired and loved this…

Gibson: Well, I discovered Twitter while I was writing the novel, and I immediately saw its odd potential for being a tiny, private darknet that no one else can access. I’m always interested in the spooky repurposing of everyday things. After a few days on Twitter, what was most evident to me is that, if you set it up right, it’s probably the most powerful novelty aggregator that has ever existed. Magazines have always been novelty aggregators, and people who work for them find and assemble new and interesting stuff, and people like me buy them. Or used to buy them, when magazines were the most efficient way to find novel things.

But now with Twitter, after following people who have proven themselves to be extremely adroit and active novelty aggregators, I get more random novelty every day that I can actually use. A lot of it just slides by, but a lot of it is stuff that I used to have to go through considerable trouble to find. And a lot of it is so beyond the stuff I used to be able to find, which is good.

I love that! Novelty aggregators (and prehaps aggravators)……
And over at Bobulates -The curse of reason, or beware of confabulation

Jonah Lehrer reports why thinking too much causes us to focus on variables that don’t matter:

When it comes to judging jam [the focus of the studies], we are all natural experts. We can automatically pick out the products that provide us with the most pleasure.

When researchers added extra analysis to the study, asking participants to explain the why of their jam preference and justify their decisions, the “extra analysis seriously warped their jam judgment:”

“[T]hinking too much” about strawberry jam causes us to focus on all sorts of variables that don’t actually matter. Instead of just listening to our instinctive preferences, we start searching for reasons to prefer one jam over another.

And it’s not just jam:The new science of morality

[The researchers] have since demonstrated that the same effect can interfere with our choice of posters, jelly beans, cars, IKEA couches and apartments. We assume that more rational analysis leads to better choices but, in many instances, that assumption is exactly backwards.

The larger moral:

[O]ur metaphors for reasoning are all wrong. We like to believe that the gift of human reason lets us think like scientists, so that our conscious thoughts lead us closer to the truth. But here’s the paradox: all that reasoning and confabulation can often lead us astray, so that we end up knowing less about what jams/cars/jelly beans we actually prefer. So here’s my new metaphor for human reason: our rational faculty isn’t a scientist — it’s a talk radio host.

As Howard Moskowitz, expert researcher on Prego spaghetti sauce and other foodstuffs once declared, “The mind knows not what the tongue wants.”

I’m liking the space in between novelty aggregator and “extra analysis seriously warped their jam judgment”. We don’t know why we like what we do, or even what we’ll like but tasty new stuff is what we’re after….

intern: work life balance
August 13, 2010, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Great Stuff

Facebook Myth-takes
July 16, 2010, 1:19 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy

Love the Soap guys:

After the success of the 6 Principles of Digital Creative and our 2010 Predictions for Digital we now bring you 10 Facebook Myths Busted.

Paul? Julian? Heather? Jye? anything to add?

an idea worth promoting
July 15, 2010, 11:03 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Great Stuff

Mel Exon shared this fab presentation over at BBH LAbs

“… my presentation focused primarily on what brands and their agencies are learning about integration, interaction and new partnerships in the hypersocial environment we find ourselves in. I also attempted to explain why brands may be reticent about taking a step further into building deep, immersive, narrative worlds.  Along the way, telling the story of a (failed) BBH Labs joint venture and what we took from it… and finally, ending with a proposal.

That proposal was simply this: that producers should look beyond viewing brands as “promoters” (cf the current raft of Toy Story 3 and The A-Team tie-ups) and consider them as partners instead. Develop stories together that add value to the overarching narrative (think Jeep for Lost Experience) AND stay open-minded to the idea of engaging audiences through collective creativity.

human energy
July 3, 2010, 3:54 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience

Love the thinking here:

  • Thinking about it, the one thing I feel like we’re tasked with daily is to ‘change behaviour’. To get people to ‘do something that they’re currently not doing’.
    • Organisations spend a lot of energy trying to get people to spend their energy differently.
  • Let’s look at consumer energy first
    • Is it worth it? Is what they’re getting out of it worth the effort needed to participate?
  • That’s what it all comes down to… Reward vs effort what are we giving what do they have them? To do to get it?
  • Every day, billions of people do things whether you ask them to or not
    • How do you take advantage of the waves of human energy already out there
  • Eco-systems re-channeling existing energy
    • “When millions of people are tapping away at computers every day: filling in forms, clicking links, forwarding emails, there is energy and effort that can easily be re-used if we’re smart about it.”
  • Why fight against the current?
  • You shouldn’t have to… Persuade people to do things they don’t want to do waste energy when you can borrow it invest in something temporary, when you can build things that run themselves
  • Disrupt. Persuade. Help
  • It’s getting easier… To help people do the things they already love to help people see the relevance and value of new ideas to match products and experiences to the people that want them


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