“Holding up half the sky”

September 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Every day we sift through masses of media – digital, social and everything in between. It tells us about things we love, things we aspire for, things we comment about, things we scorn; in some ways it creates a world which allows us to express our likes and dislikes almost without impunity. But the knowledge that everything we express will be seen by others out there, colours our expression. Today, what we express panders to what we want other people to think about us. So essentially aren’t we building a self promoting bubble, quite insulated from the realities of the world?

Humans are social animals. Inherently we care for those around us. Then why do we make it a choice to ignore some of the biggest reasons for pain around us. Is it compassion fatigue? Is it the knowledge that there is so much pain out there that our reservoirs of compassion would never quench it all.
Or is it the knowledge that there is nothing we can do – and we can’t accept our weakness?

If that is the case, then know this. Maybe one person’s reservoir of resources is not enough – but put together, our resources can bring a world of change; sometimes to one person at a time. A hurricane is a million little particles spinning at the same time. All it takes is for all the particles to know when to spin together.

Hopefully social media can help us know when.

A Powerful Truth.

Clayton Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation : Summarized

September 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Credits to : Jeff Monday

Categories: Uncategorized

Emphatic Design in a socially connected world

September 16, 2011 1 comment

Empathic design is a user-centered design approach that pays attention to the user’s feelings toward a product.

Below is the latest creation from automotive design genius Ian Callum.

Ian Callum Jaguar CX16 - easyclicks.wordpress.com

That it looks like sex on wheels is undeniable. After all this is the man who began the Aston Martin DB9 and gave us the Jaguar XF and XJ.

No, what I want to focus on is how companies use emphatic design. i.e. the people standing around the car above and drooling. Their reactions matter.

Universally, the auto shows are one of the primary means of feedback for the car maker about their design direction. The concepts that get huge positive feedback at the autoshows are inevitably brought to production.

However, in today’s world what about emphatic design through social media? How must car makers read the reactions of the online audience – treat it as just random rants of people who are not their target audience? Or have a concentrated effort to capitalize on this media? In the event that they decide to do so, where would they draw the line? For example, if only online design reviews/comments were considered, the universally derided Porsche Cayenne would also never have been produced or become the money spinner that it is today.

The toughest aspect of feedback is to filter out the feedback related to aspects that the car maker is focussing on at the moment. For that they would need high fidelty online experiments to leverage the opinions and crystallize them to real user needs that can be articulated to the design team.

There could very well be agencies out there doing this work. I’ll be updating this post if I find any. Do feel free to comment if you know any.

How social media ensured that 2 million people saw a long forgotten message

September 3, 2011 Leave a comment

15 social media case studies

August 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Ever encountered a situation where you need a you need a social media case study to perfectly suit the context and you are stumped? Below are a compilation of 15 examples of companies that successfully used social media to achieve distinct objectives:

1. Narrow your focus to responding to customer complaints, as Comcast does on Twitter.

2. Build brand loyalty, as Bisnow does with e-newsletters, as Skittles does on Facebook, and as the Wine Library does with its podcasts.

3. Issue blog posts and tweets instead of news releases, as Google does with its blog, and as its now-former CEO did with Twitter.

4. Re-purpose your existing content, and thus enlarge your audience, as The New York Times does with Twitter, as the FBI does with Scribd, and as Dell does with SlideShare.

5. Manage your reputation, as countless companies do β€” or try to do β€” with Wikipedia.

6. Conduct crisis communications, as Johnson & Johnson does with its blog.

7. Hold contests to improve your technology, as Netflix did with the Netflix Prize.

8. Crowdsource your challenges, as the U.S. Army did with its field manuals.

9. Demonstrate thought leadership, as recruiter Lindsay Olson does with her blog.

10. Research free advertising opportunities, as Allstate does on YouTube.

11. Showcase your wares, as Zappos does with its blog, and boost your sales, as Dell does on Twitter.

12. Recruit employees, as Booz Allen does on LinkedIn.

For full article by Jonathan Rick, click here.

Networking: Its an art alright.

So we have all heard of the term. Networking, the secret ingredient to success. Any business development expert, career counsellor and social “guru” prescribes it as the panache to every problem.

I have always felt that word to be so cold, impersonal and opportunistic. It doesn’t necessarily have to be.

Now we have all tried it, to varying levels of success. I personally didn’t have much success. Untill I kept trying, tweaking the methods… and failing, till I got better.

Below are a few pointers that I would recommend to make your networking endeavours much for fruitful and learning curve much steeper.

1. Know the purpose

It is best not to network for the sake of it or for the fear of missing out. Don’t be the person who sees others making contacts and thus randomly tries to strike up non-existent conversations with people at inappropriate instances. Your intentions for networking (developing business, getting a job, getting an interview or means to connect to someone else) will define your approach.

2. Know the person

Knowing the purpose leads to the next step of knowing whom to network with. Research the organization you want to associate with and filter down to the person who want to build the relationship with. The filtering usually depends on two factors:
a. Person who has the maximum influence on your requirement.
b. Person to whom you have the path of least resistance.
Once you have the person, read up and/or find out a little about the person, his or her role in the organization, views/stance on the aspect that you need assistance with and the person’s general demeanor.

3. Know your plan to engage that person

Knowing the person helps you plan exactly how to engage him/her. Utilize your existing resources to reach the person. I would say people are most responsive if contacted through an alumni network or if you are recommended by someone they know. Meeting people at conferences or business events of mutual interest and/or relevance can be helpful, as long as you can make an impression – and that depends a lot on what you have to say.

Which comes to the next important point in the engagement – preparing your questions. It has helped me to write down the questions I would like to ask the person. Focus on questions whose answers you can’t get off the internet or a simple phone call to the company. Then remove the most non-essential ones, since you often get very little time with the person. If you have the possibility of a longer conversation, arrange the questions in order of most generic building up to the most specific. It usually facilitates the conversation to build up and make the conversation engaging. It also gives you enough opportunities to structure your train of thought and lead the conversation to the topic you want to discuss or know more about.

4. Ask for recommendations

I’ve found most people to be generally forthcoming and helpful. And particularly helpful at suggesting way forward. So ask for recommendations from people you network about the best next steps. Who else would they suggest that you talk to? Would they care to put an introduction for you? Can you meet them again in a professional setting (e.g.in office) or for a longer period (e.g. coffee chat) to further discuss the matter? Is there any other source of information that they would suggest?

5. Keep in touch/follow up

Always drop a note of gratitude. A letter/email of thanks can help remind the person about your conversation and recall you the next time you make contact. It would also be wise to keep the person in the loop about the progress of your endeavour – if you got the job you were looking for or the business, let the person know. It is often satisfying for people to know that they could be of help.

6. Make friends

Be sincere in your approach. I would advice to make friends. Build relationships that will last and for that always be open to reciprocate. Offer your assistance or suggestion if you feel that it can help the person you are trying to reach out to. If not immediately, let them know your domain of expertise or influence and that you would be happy to help if the need arose.

Over my various attempts at reaching out and making new connections, the above steps have held me in good stead. In addition, I would recommend investing in making an impression. Be dressed appropriately and courteous when you are meeting someone. If you have invited the person for a drink/lunch, be gracious enough to pick up the tab. Being sensitive to the other person’s time and willingness to help can go a long way in ensuring that he or she will he happy to help you in the future.

At the end of the day, there is no absolute right way of networking. So take the plunge and learn from every encounter. Best of luck!πŸ™‚

Calling all entrepreneurs: Designing effective business models

I find this presentation by Ouke Arts extremely well articulated about the key aspects to focus on when launching/running a company. The business models explained, though in no means exhaustive, cover the most common formats of enterprises today.

As an entrepreneur I found myself often flummoxed by the range of decisions to be made and identifying the most critical issues, the quick wins and the long term essentials. Looking back at past instances through the prism of the canvas presented by Ouke Arts, I feel I would have done things differently today. I guess that is learning.πŸ™‚