Posts from the “Communication” Category

Setting a Frequency

Posted on February 15, 2014


The email options pictured below leave more questions than answers. Not as often means 100+ emails a year? How special are these offers? What’s the more frequent timing – daily? This is from an office supply business? Even perishable-food grocers typically limit ads to once a week. The critical (and more generally applicable) question is: does the communication timing drive the content, or does the content drive the communication timing? Prioritizing meaningful content over frequency is usually the better decision. *

Open Collaboration in Corporate Environments

Posted on November 9, 2013


Don’t blame the technology. As many organizations add internal social networks and open collaboration tools to their work environments, the general expectation is that a broad-based internal user community will make new connections, generate new content, share information widely and provide robust feedback that elevates the best material in the organization. It’s not working. Most new collaboration tools introduced into organizations are either ignored or used in unproductive ways. To increase acceptance, organizations can start by avoiding redundancy. If most knowledge workers use multiple external networking tools (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook), an internal networking tool may not provide much incremental value. Either skip it or find a way to align with what people are already using. If a new tool is vastly superior to…

Framing the Solution

Posted on November 2, 2013


Once a client goes to RFP, the solution is already framed. Most of the subsequent conversations revolve around meeting the RFP requirements rather than why the request was written in the first place. It’s similar to framing a question through a hypothesis. The array of options narrows depending on how the questions or potential outcomes are structured. This concept applies across domains. Transforming a business is different than implementing a technology. In investing, avoiding losses may be different than seeking gains. Providing health care is different than maintaining health insurance. (This is commonly missed in the ongoing U.S. health care discussions – think of it as the difference between getting across town and possessing a vehicle with an extended warranty. There’s a big difference.). In childcare,…

On Ants and Networks

Posted on October 19, 2013


Interpreting an ant’s behavior can be quite difficult, especially without the accompaniment of a confident young relative. What an ant is doing at any given moment is often just as vague as why the ant is doing it. We do know, however, that behaviors of individual ants are heavily influenced by ongoing interaction patterns within the colony network, which in many ways is similar to the way we navigate our networked world. Ant Interactions First, some background on ant interactions drawn from the work of Stanford’s Deborah Gordon: Ant colony behavior arises from dynamical networks of interactions among ants. The pattern of interaction is more important than content in influencing behavior. Ants react to two kinds of external information: changes in the outside world…

Control the Sequence

Posted on May 28, 2013


A film director can control an audience’s sequence of experience better than a photographer. If you want to create a shared context and an anchored outcome, act more like a director. If you want wider variability in interpretation and a less bounded outcome, act more like a photographer. The ability to control the sequence (or intentionally not control the sequence) has application to information messaging, activity scheduling, architecture planning, etc. Thanks to Brad Lapin via Whitespace Gallery for the original thought. *

A Hackcrash of Reality

Posted on May 18, 2013


On April 23, 2013 a fake tweet from a hacked Associated Press account stated that explosions at the White House had injured Barack Obama. Stock prices immediately dropped, wiping more than $130 billion off the value of the S&P 500, and market liquidity dramatically declined: In addition to raising further concerns about high-frequency trading algorithms, the hackcrash provides an opportunity to rethink how reality is created, framed and reported. Creating Reality In The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, Daniel Boorstin writes that in contemporary culture the fabricated, the inauthentic, and the theatrical have displaced the natural, the genuine, and the spontaneous, until reality itself has been converted into stagecraft. This concept of pseudo-events is quite powerful if we can differentiate between what is meaningful and…

The Distrust of Advertising

Posted on May 12, 2013


What’s to trust?

Most advertising lacks context, and most advertisers no longer assume that potential buyers are literate, rational or analytical (See Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business). There’s little room for trust in the modern advertiser’s vocabulary when attention is the first order of business. Add in an overstimulated consumer, and it’s no wonder the most trusted forms of advertising are recommendations from people already known and (potentially) unbiased reviewers.

“Whereas many persons are so unfortunate as to lose their foreteeth by accident, and other ways, to their great detriment, not only in looks, but speaking both in public and private: this is to inform all such, that they may have them replaced with false ones, that look as well as the natural, and answers the end of speaking to all intents, by Paul Revere, Goldsmith, near the Head of Dr. Clarke’s Wharf, Boston.”  -Advertisement in the Boston Gazette, 1768