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Goodbye – it’s been real (or should that be virtual)?

Photo: cjsimmons

After eight wonderful years, iKnowHow is calling it a day, kicking off its trainers and walking off into the sunset (while owner Jemima Gibbons looks forward to no longer having to talk about herself as a separate entity ☺).

It’s been a fabulous time. Made more so by the amazing people who I’ve met along the way. Thanks to all the particularly brilliant friends and mentors who’ve helped me out: Andy Bell, Anthony Mangion, Barbara Benedek, Charles Baden-Fuller, Clive Holtham, David Sims, David Wilcox, Dotun Adebayo, Gemma Lines, Joanne Jacobs, John Prescott (not that one!), Joseph Lampel, Karen McCarthy, Kate Kinninmont, Matthew Fairtlough, Nick Watt, Nick Witte-Vermeulen, Paul Richards, Ricardo da Sousa, Stowe Boyd, Zoe Black and, especially, Noam Sohachevsky.

The world has changed a lot since March 2002, when I set up iKH with Alison Linskey to “provide consultancy and training in digital media to film and TV production companies”. When we started television was still very much at the centre of the media universe and the early years were shaped by work with Women in Film & TV, BT (in its efforts to become a broadcaster), Skillset and the UK Film Council.

But things were shaken up so much more than we anticipated. While the web has gone stratospheric and mobile is truly ubiquitous, interactive TV has diverted up its own strange back alley. Instead of television becoming “all media”, the web has become the most powerful medium we have. To the point where we no longer see the boundaries (between us and “it”).

More recently, I’ve been working with Triarchy Press, Cass Business School and the RSA, the first two organisations focused very much on the future of business, the other focused on the future of society as a whole. And all three looking deeply at the impact interactive, digital and social media are having on our lives.

My 2009 book, Monkeys with Typewriters, was a stab at understanding this brave new world we’re in. It feels like I was only scratching the surface. Now, I want to focus more on my writing, and more on social business design. It seems like the time is ripe for a re-brand – this will be my final blog post at iKH.

If you’ve supported iKH over the years, thank you so much. If this is the first you’ve ever heard of it, feel free to read back through the blog for a re-cap. ☺

For the next three months, I’ll be based in Jaffa (Tel Aviv), exploring Israel from the grassroots up. Beach, sunset, here I come. See you on the other side!

In the meantime, you can always:

Join my Jaffa adventures on Twitter
Muse social business with me on the Monkeys with Typewriters blog
Follow the re-brand at

RSA Fellowship Council – live blog of fourth meeting

I’m at 8 John Adam Street, London, liveblogging from the fourth meeting of the RSA Fellowship Council. Please keep refreshing this page for updates.

13.08: Zena Martin and David Archer (Fellowship Council members and Trustees) are about to present their perspective on the Fellowship Council’s relationship with the RSA Board of Trustees.

13.10: RSA Trustee & Treasurer of the Board, Lord Best, gives short speech: I will give some background on what the board does. There’ll always be people who champion and cherish the organisation and people who champion but want to change things. It’s all about striking the balance between those two groups.

Issues include: lack of transparency about what the board does. We’ve now got Zena and David to transmit the sometimes dull aspects of board work back to you. I chair the audit and risk committee. (If you think the board minutes are dull, you should try those minutes!).

There is also a lack of clarity about your own role (as fellowship council). Some lack of clarity is good. Some tasks are set, eg: you’re going to look at the new charter and bring back new ideas to us. The review of the regions is also very important.

Thank you all very much for agreeing to take part.

1314: David: Zena and I now feel fully a part of the board and are grateful to them for welcoming us. As the fellowship council, we need to deliver on the fellowship charter, the regional development and projects work. If we can do that, we’ll gain even more trust and responsibility in future. It’s still early days.

Any questions?

Question from floor: What’s been the most interesting thing about joining the Board?

Zena: the board just has some amazing people on it; it’s great to get their perspective. The RSA has gone through lots of change in past few years and seems to have been flexible enough to, for the most part, embrace that change.

Question: in current economic climate, one issue is resourcing – how much has been set aside to fund the fellowship council?

Lord Best: Fortunately, The RSA is not in financial difficulty. But going forward we see our income from the house and restaurant to fall as people cut back. Fellows who are on pensions now, etc, might want to begin to put a line through something that costs £150 a year. But the money for the fellowship council is ring-fenced. Admittedly, RSA projects have taken a bit of a hit. Projects used to take the lions’ share of the money. I see ourselves as a centre that gets people talking, rather than having one or two big projects.

Question: when you’re talking about “regions”, what do you mean?

Lord Best: I think the global amount is going to be constant, but how we play that will be looked at.

Matthew Taylor [RSA CEO]: Over past three or four years, the House has maintained contribution to finances; is having another difficult year this year. Projects get some seed core funding but have had contribution cut. Nina has less staff here than she used to. Despite that, we’ve become a global brand. Fellowship has been going up, year on year on year. Fellowship management and Catalyst Fund have come in, so now much more money that comes from Fellowship has been reinvested back into Fellowship. Now we need to see key outputs: (1) numbers (2) fellowship activity in world. I need to see proof that our investment is getting results and then take that to the board.

Matthew: Most charitable organisations take money from their funders and use it to do charitable work. Our aim is to give that money back to our Fellowship so they can do the good work.

13.27: Tessy Britton (RSA Fellowship Council chair): the next hour will be the mini-review. Our strategy was very much an emergent model, to create working groups, to focus on specific activities. It’s been going on for seven months and we’d now like to review it. We’d like to create some concrete outcomes and get some new ideas, as well as appreciating what we’re doing right.

We’ve got six groups:

1. Fellowship Council remit: Andrew Chidgely and Alex Watson
2. Working Relationships: David Archer and Sarah Tucker
3. Roadshows: Andy Kirk, Helen Wostrop
4. Fellowship Engagement: Andy Gibson, Vivs Long-Ferguson
5. Encouraging Fellows’ projects: Rebecca Daddow and Graham Sprigg
6. 21st century enlightenment: Julian Thompson and Frances Gallagher

I’m going to try and liveblog a bit from each group.

13.37: Sitting in on Working Relationships with David Archer and Sarah Tucker:

Sarah Tucker: from RSA point of view, a big issue is knowing there is lots of talent on the Fellowship Council but trying to extract all that talent as effectively as possible; especially as the FC are all volunteers.

Comments: might be good to do a skills audit, a time audit and know people’s communication preferences.

Comment: We all need more online profiling.

Comment: perhaps a buddy system?

13.48: Roadshows: Andy Kirk, Helen Wostrop
Helen: So far we’ve three main issues/ objections: awareness, confusion (what are they?) and re-commitment.

Comment: don’t make this seem like a public relationship exercise. People need a place to congregate and deal with issues. You’ve got the RSA objectives but why do people want to come together. it should be about reciprocity and not about marketing.

Comment: don’t want them all to be the same – choose different venues, different formats, different timescales, eg: Pecha Kucha?

Comment: Open Space event in Manchester was very boring. Topic was: how fellowship should network.

Comment: need to be participatory.

14.00: Engagement: Vivs and Andy
Andy: let’s be positive to start, in what ways in the RSA engaging with its fellowship effectively?

Comment: love the events programme – great way to get to know other fellows and connect with those you already know who are also attending the event (via Twitter as well as drinks afterwards)

Comment: don’t live in London so difficult to attend events but Twitter and the Ning have been a useful way to connect.

Comment: maybe we need to have more focused FRSA engagment; the region I’m in, it’s just a few dreary meetings in a dreary local pub. Not very exciting.

14.14: 21st century enlightenment: Julian Thompson and Frances Gallagher
How does the RSA contribute to 21st century enlightenment?

Julian: how does the RSA actively contribute? What can the RSA do to actively contribute?

Comment: again, the talks programme is really crucial. It should be something like TED. At the same global level as TED; the same level of brand recognition. Debate; promoting debate is really important.

Comment: if people are going to be unemployed and not having any self-worth – how can value be added outside of a job title? Social entrpreneurship?

Comment: The fellowship council itself, and the way the RSA is trying to become more networked, more open, more tranpsarent (live blogging!) is hopefully setting an example.

Comment: everyone on the council should be digitally engaged, they should be engaging with other fellows.

Comment: micro-contributions and co-learning should be encouraged; it’s not all about experts participating.

14.26: Fellowship Council remit: Andrew Chidgely and Alex Watson

Andrew Chidgely: so far, this seems to be first, relaying what the Fellowship wants to the Trustees and secondly, going out to the Fellowship and talking more about what’s going on within the RSA itself (ie: staff).

Alex Watson: digital engagement important.

Comment: I can’t find any way to act as the ears and eyes for my region because I don’t know how to connect with them. The ones I might want to connect with don’t go to the regional meetings and the ones that do, aren’t the sort of people I feel like connecting with.

Comment: The new Fellows’ directory should help with that. You can search for Fellows by region and interest. You can search within a specific radius (eg: five miles).

Comment: are the channels people can use to get in touch with each other, easy to identify and use? I’m sure each of us as fellows aren’t engaged on a regular basis with very many other fellows. Can you move people up the chain in terms of involvement? If 1.7 million people are watching an RSA lecture, then how can we use those people? Rather than having a surgery here and there that 5 people turn up to?

14.38: Encouraging new fellows: Rebecca Daddow and Graham Sprigg
Graham: feedback so far has shown that we need to have more project case studies: not only projects that have worked but projects that haven’t worked. We’ve had a lot about maximising RSA brand. Money’s a big issue – do RSA projects always need funding? Although simply having some funding can often be a motivation to help move a project forward.

Comment: how about an annual projects award ceremony?

Comment: the Ning (RSA Fellowship) and new Fellows Directory should be useful tools to motivating new fellows – if they sign up they’ll be able to see the conversations that are happening.

Comment: how about a mentoring/ buddy scheme for new fellows so they can have an experienced fellow to go to for more info, to answer questions etc.

[This last mini-review session was cut short because we've run out of time - lots to get through in the agenda today!]

14.43: Coffee break – facilitators and scribes get a chance to write up their notes.

14.57: Back from coffee. Tessy: We’re running 30 mins late but somehow we’ll make up time!

Improving relationships (David Archer): some people say, best relationships I’ve had anywhere I’m working as a volunteer with staff. Others say they find it a bit distant, bit controlling. Those that have been actively working on working groups seem to have had the best experience. Main issues/ goals

- transparency of roles, eg: all members of staff and regional committees having their profiles on the Fellows directory
- keeping momentum between meetings by using technology eg: existing social networks, Skype calls. Tech not very good at present.
- buddy scheme: for each FC member, could there be a member of staff who was able to help them with ways in/ contacts etc. Developing personal relationships with a presumption of positive intent.
- finding out where FC members expertise is best placed? Perhaps having that on new ellowship directory?
- we’ll know relationships are really good when deliverables from the council are all joint deliverables (council and staff)

15.03: RSA Roadshows (Helen Wostrop): the biggest issue of all is over what these roadshows are and what they are trying to achieve. The very name “roadshow” seems to polarise views – what does it mean? There’s a need for awareness – raising awareness about roadshows, what they are. A need to raise enthusiasm.
Charles: is it a recruitment objective, is it about engaging existing fellows, is it marketing etc? The broad message of the RSA should be there, as well as examples of RSA activity, but there should definitely be a local focus.
Helen: also, we don’t want it to look like the RSA coming in like a great big bus and stepping on the toes of local committee activity.

Comment: if we’re going to use roadshows to acquire new fellows, there has to be a percentage who’s not going to make it, then those people will be left disappointed. Surely it’s much better to use the facilities we’ve got to deal with new fellows.

Comment: roadshows per se are a very good idea. A good way to make the fellowship more diverse.

Comment: do you get fellows in their own region to decide what to do, or do you have a toolbox to help people?

Comment: people who do enquire locally about becoming a fellow should be pointed to a local fellow who can advise them what to do.

Comment: we need to run a few pilots.

Comment: we could set up a Fellowship Council working group to take this forward.

15.13: Fellowship Council relationships: (Alex and Andrew):
Alex: on one hand the FC were champions of what the RSA and Trustees are all about, on the other hand, they should relay what fellows want back to the “central” RSA [at John Adam Street]. Everyone accepted that nine years down the line the FC was still growing into its role. The worry is less on the council side but more on how difficult it is to access fellows and what they want – how difficult it is for them to get out there and champion the fellowship experience.

Andrew: concern that the pool of people in this room (approx 40) is not that diverse or that representative of the 28,000 Fellows out there. A big question over whether Ning is best way to connect fellows. If at one point 2.7million people are watching a lecture, how do we spin off from that? Another big question is, does the Fellowship really understand what the Fellowship council is? Could we do more work individually and collectively to let people know we’re here? Eg, more ways to let people come to us, eg: MP style surgeries?

Comment: what a terrible idea! Who said that?!

Andrew: I think the main message from this discussion is about scale: how do we scale up the communication we have?

Comment: This language of surgeries and representation is slightly wierd: I think we’re here to “lead” the Fellowship in service.

15.22: Encouraging Fellows’ projects: Rebecca Daddow and Graham Sprigg
Graham: it was unclear to several people what a project might consist of. Access? There was a polarised view on the application process to RSA Catalyst: from let’s scrap the whole idea to the best thing since sliced bread. Money was also an issue: is it always necessary? But at least it encourages people to apply for projects.

Secondly, the RSA brand. How does that interact? What does that mean to a project?

Thirdly, a buddying/ mentoring scheme to help new fellows get involved with projects.

Fourth, the idea of “non-projects” – good to see some projects that didn’t make the grade. Part of what we can do as the RSA machine is provide opportunities for the Fellows to talk to each other, eg: at a regional level. Idea generation doesn’t necessarily ahve to equal a project.

Fifth, output: case studies very useful here: database of best practice (and worst practice maybe?!). Another idea was the ideas annual – each year publish a yearbook showing all the ideas that had been through the system. And the possibility of an annual awards maybe?

Comment: this issue of brand is very important. The RSA brand needs to be much stronger locally.

15.29: 21st Century Englightenment (Julian and Eileen):
Julian: five points came out of our discussion:

1. There seems to be a really strong consensus about what this means, ie: realising human potential through the RSA. We looked at not just wealth creation but happiness and sustainability. That’s good. We’ve got a good base to work from.

2. Matthew’s speech: there’s a danger we look at this argument specifically from a western paradigm: the human as central, linear idea of progress etc.

3. How do we apply those principles of autonomy, humanism, universalism etc? RSA fellows should be the change they want to see in the world: ask difficult questions, lead by example, raise our own game. If we are to extend our capacity for empathy, we have to experience the “other” in a much more visceral way than we are already doing, eg: what it’s like to be homeless, be drug-addicted etc, rather than spend time with people who think like us, act like us. Be wary of being pious, too much paternalistic lecturing – we don’t want to wear this too heavily.

4. Underlying principles across all activity, eg: lectures: need to be more interactive; have a range of people from all walks and backgrounds; avoid groupthink.

5. Activity: raise importance of micro-acts: a tiny contribution, eg: a single tweet – to have a stake in what’s happening. Public engagement: fellows need to be more involved in their local community/ otherwise the RSA is elitist and divorced from reality.

1539: Fellowship engagement (Andy and Vivs):
Andy: staff collaboration: it’s easy for us as council members to get to know staff but harder for wider fellowship. Also, the directory came through as something that would be really important in helping fellows connect. From a digital engagement side, simplification and clearer signposting on website. On the plus side, lectures, 21st century enlightenment vision, the journal and RSA animate have been a great way to spread the word about what RSA is doing.

15.43: Tessy: I think that was really worthwhile and I’m sure the facilitators will be able to write up some great reports for the next meeting.

15.45: Bob Porrer: update on review of the regions:
We’ll be starting our formal consultation soon (July). Aim will be to collect as much information as possible. We’re going to try to reach as many fellows as possible, including those who are less active. We need to challenge our preconceptions. Not sure if we’ll have complete report in time for AGM in October.

15.48: Jemima and Vivs to present on digital engagement: follow #rsade on Twitter for updates!

[Update: obviously I couldn’t live blog my own presentation, but the slides are here for anyone who’s interested]

16.03: Nominations Committee: feedback from Irene:
We’ve had four resignations. We’d like to re-fill those places. As it happens, the four people who’ve stood down are all trustee-elected. We will go ahead now and start the re-election process (trustee elections).

16.06: Fellowship Charter (2nd draft): update from Laura Billings:
We’ve had ten meetings with 150 fellows, we’ve sent emails; I’ve had 53 direct emails or phone calls. The biggest chunk of comments/ emails were supportive. The second biggest chunk was suggested changes. I got back to everyone individually. A small amount of suggestions were negative. The positive comments we got back were mostly about the consultative process. Suggestions for change were mainly that the version was still too long; that the language/tone was too arrogant, jargony and marketing-y. But in comparison with September, when we did the first draft, the majority of comments were around language being used, rather than content.

We did another sweep for plain English and ways to shorten, we’ve rejigged the introduction to clarify about shared ethos and aims, not altering founding principles. “Confidence in ability to effect change’ and ‘willing to lead by example’ seen as arrogant. ‘Harnesses the power of many minds’ seen as too marketing-speak. ‘Projects’ too limiting.

Many wanted to remove the process of ‘signing up’ individually – could be signed by tri-partate of the Executive, the trustees and the Fellowship Council. We can’t list all the things the RSA does in the charter, but we can reference them visually in the accompanying illustrations.

We are hoping to get an A4 printed version (which can go out in new fellows packages) and an RSA Animate video. The charter is part of a package: website navigation, welcome and orientation to new fellows etc.

The charter was designed to reaffirm common aims and values across fellowship and organisation, has it made a difference? Examples include the NCVO Future of membership project, regions working group mapping and social impact report.

Comment: I really recommend everyone looks on the website to see the changes that have been made, and how the whole consultation process has worked.

Comment: Just want to say that was a great presentation and thanks for all your work in the process of reviewing the charter!

Comment: unless anyone has lodged an overwhelming objection to any wording on the charter by the end of this week, I would propose through the chair that we endorse the charter and the work that’s been done to date.

Tessy [asks for show of hands].

The vast majority of hands are raised.

Tessy: great, motion passed!

16.25: Tessy: Let’s wait for full notes from discussion to come in before we agree goals. It was agreed that we should have a process for chair and deputy chair. We need to start that process in advance of October. Please think about standing for either of those roles and let me or Paul know. I get a lot of emails across a lot of working groups and I’m so impressed with the amount of dedication and the amount of work that’s been going on. If you feel you’ve been slightly on the edge of actitvities, please give me a call and let’s see how we can redress that. With regard to Catalyst Fund, I’ve been so impressed with way in which it’s been managed. It’s becoming a really open process. The amount of detail and care that’s been taken is incredible. I’d also like to thank RSA staff because there’s a real, genuine wish to co-design. Co-designing is new for all of us. The climate we’ve created through council has been really fertile ground for all of that.

Paul: I’d just like to thank Tessy for all her hard work. If it wasn’t for her, we’d probably still be wondering what to do at the next meeting.

[Everyone thanks Tessy]

16.32: Meeting closed – just two mins over :)

[Please do let me know if you've found this liveblog interesting and/or useful and of course, if you have any comments and/or questions - it'd be great to be able to pass any comments on to help with the RSA's digital engagement process - many thanks]

The Moses Method (not)

I’m back from the break at Social Media Influence 2010 and this’ll be a blog of the last few sessions of the day.

Adam Brown, Director of Interactive Marketing Communications, DELL, is on stage, talking about storytelling (not directly connected to the London 2012 presentation, but stories seem to be a popular theme here).

15.45: Adam: Some stats I pulled on the airplane yesterday: mobile web will be bigger than desktop web by 2015; The UK spent 65% more time onljne in April 2010 than they did in April 2007, more time on social sites than on search; 79% say they rarely click on display ad; 25% of search results for top 20 brands are user-generated content. All this tells us we must get our stories into the social stream.

This is why authenticity, transparency and disclosure are so important. Example, every blog post should begin with: “Hi my name is [Adam] and I work for DELL”. This is not the Moses Method (Moses didn’t conduct focus groups when he was revealing the 10 commandments).

Through the eyes of our audience, our home page isn’t, it’s The primary source for people looking for information about Dell is Google (I said this two years ago). Today you could add Facebook, Twitter etc to that.

15.55: There are four steps to social media outreach: Review what’s being said, respond appropriately, record your message (1bn videos are being served up every day online) and redirect your audience.

16.00: “Fish were the fish are” is the mantra I have on my office wall: look for opportunities in the communities where people are already talking about you – these may not be in communities you control or communities that you own. We have to realise that we are not the key keepers of the brand – the brand is in the eye of the consumer. Social media is not a broadcast medium. It’s a narrowcast medium.

16.05: How do we get management buy-in? The holy grail is attributed sales. We can now attribute over $6m worth of sales to our Twitter handle. (We were able to include cookies and codes in our 140 character Twitter messages.) Net promoter score (?), brand value, sentiment and cost avoidance (in other parts of the organisation) also matter. Cost avoidance is probably the one that’s easiest to implement.

Sentiment? We ran two days at Dell: one when we invited in 15 people who ranted about how they hated DELL; another when we invited in people who raved about us. Some things came from both our ranters (detractors) and our ravers, so when you hear an issue coming from both camps, you know you need to do something about it.

Be a data junkie: there’s a lot of data out there and you just have to learn to track it.

[Note: After Adam’s slides there was a talk by Jeff Dachis and a brief closing discussion about social business, but I’m afraid I was flagging by that point – as I think were most people – and although Jeff gave a great pep talk I’ve heard him speak before on this topic a few times – as compensation for the lack of live blog, here’s a taster of Jeff’s ideas on social business design.]

Story-telling at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Alex Balfour, Head of New Media, London 2012, is talking about how his organisation is preparing to use social media in the run-up to the London Olympics.

14:40: London 2012′s digital mission is to create products and services that:

1. Help the business meet its objectives efficiently and cost effectively
2. Aspire to be best in class
3. Are engaging
4. Are robust
5. Fully exploit potential of social and mobile media; aim to generate positive cash flow.

What we do online? Generic communications platforms including, a ‘virtual agent’ tool and three official “channels” (YouTube, Facebook and Twitter). Email is still the most important and responsive digital tool, but social becoming more critical.

Our major learning from Vancouver Games is that social media has to be fun. People use social media in their procrastination time, down time and fun time.

A lot of the stuff we do now is effectively team-building.
291m visits (Beijing 2008: 105m)
83m unique visitors (Beijing: 70m; Yahoo 32m; NBC 20m)
50% of all Canadians visited

14:55: My London 2012: a digital platform that will help deliver our promise to connect young people to sport and the values that Olympic an dParalympic sport represent by givein a voice to the inspiring stories that represent those values helping people share those stories with each other.

There will be 15,000 athletes at the games; 15% get a medal; 5% will be the estimated number of athletes with a medal who make a career out of having won that medal. The Olympics very different from the (football) World Cup in that the athletes don’t necessarily have a professional career to go to after the Games. Many of athletes have an amazing story behind them and if we can just tell some of those amazing stories, it would be fantastic. [True: this is one great way of harnessing the power of social media - not sure quite how they're going to do it on My London2012 but will check it out]

15:03: We have 28 key performance indicators, including: key moments and highlights, engagement, reach, revenue and Tweetdeck (monitoring buzz).

15:10: Tea time – come back for more liveblogging after the break!

“It used to be Revenge of The Nerds, now it’s The Brady Bunch”

Revenge of the Nerds

Back from lunch at Social Media Influence and I’m live-blogging here for the rest of the afternoon. The streams have merged for the next two sessions so we’re not just focusing on external or internal social comms, but across the two. Next up: performance with purpose: the promise of pepsico. (Please refresh the page for updates.)

13.48: Bonin Bough, Global Director of Social Media, PepsiCo: runs through the history of social media in newspaper headlines: from “Is Google making us Stoopid”? (Time) to “Is Google making us smarter?” (Atlantic). As Bough puts it, social media is so persuasive, because it’s so pervasive – everyone can use it: “it used to be Revenge of The Nerds, now it’s The Brady Bunch.”

13:57: Pepsico has been attending social media events (SXSWi etc) since the get-go. From these events, has developed the PepisiCo Zeitgeist. Another innovation strand is PepsiCo10: an open call to the public to become one of PepsiCo’s partners.

14:00: Gatorade Mission Control: this is the largest pool of unaided conversation we’ve ever had, why don’t we use it to do something really cool and innovative in the marketplace? Mission Control aims to be the adrenaline that transforms Gatorade’s digital engagement. There’s a ton of conversations out there about Gatorade and hangovers, but we dont’ reallly want to focus on that. We’re focusing on the conversations that matter: eg: mums and sports coaches.

14:05: The Juice: co-created with BlogHer and TropicanaTrop50 – the brand is hardly mentioned but increased awareness among bloghers from 20% pre launch to 67% at week 13.

DEWmocracy: a completely user-generated drink: used an avid community to co-create product and break sales records.

Pepsi Loot: partnership with FourSquare: check into popspots on FourSquare and get drinks tokens.

Pepsi Refresh Challenge: giving away $20m to “ideas that move the world forward”: how do we support the passions of our consumers and give them an enabling platform. Campaign has generated over 1 billion page impressions on Pepsi’s media. Changing the conversation from “I love Pepsi” to “I love Pepsi because it’s helping me realise my ambitions”. Even if they, didn’t win, consumers were grateful because they said they’d learnt to use social media, or they’d learnt the power of their networks, or they’d received a grant for their project from elsewhere.

14:16: The question we’re asking ourselves [at PepsiCo] is: How do we build the most collaborative, social, global business ever? We believe we’re changing the way that companies behave, causing them to behave in a more sustainable fashion.

Be the change you want to see

Continuing my live blog from Social Media Influence at the Marriott Hotel, London. Lee Bryant is up, talking about “Social business inside and outside”.

12.17: If you take the ideas of Christakis and Fowler’s book, Connected, and look at how individuals are impacted by their personal networks and the people attached to the people they know, then you will realise how powerful social networks are in a business. Zappos is a great example of a company which appreciates this (a shoe seller recently bought by Amazon for around $1bn)!

12.24: What if internal practice just can’t change? This acts against talent and initiative: Tall poppy syndrome + the Peter Principle = talent dampener.

12.27: questions for oubound social initiatives:

1. How does customer feedback really change the product?
2. Who actions market intelligence?
3. Can you respond to issues in close to real time?
4. Do marcomms, operations and IT collaborate?
5. Who acts on listening data? Just marketing?
6. How vibrant is your wider ecosystem? (look at what happened when BP forgot that!)

“As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product” – Jef Raskin.

12.30: Some useful social business accelerants:

1. Healthy internal, external social networks
2. Super-simple collaboration tools
3. Open data and knowledge flows
4. Sharing as a byproduct of doing work
5. A culture of getting things done together

Why the inside needs the outside:
1. Social customer, market intelligence
2. Create a place to co-ordinate action
3. Expose employees to the fresh air of real time customer feedback

Why the outside needs the inside:
1. A staging post for external campaigns
2. Plan and monitor comms actiivty
3. Connect customers with real sources of internal value deep in the business (people crave authenticity)

Uses a nice image of a made-up pig (“lipstick on a pig”) to show the danger of just using social media as a sticking plaster – of course, social media needs to be all the way through a company, (rather like a stick of seaside rock).

Customers don’t ♥ campaigns

I’ve moved over to the other stream at the Social Media Influence conference in London and continuing my live blog: this is the main conference stream (entitled “Social Media Influence”) – focusing on marketing. It’s not necessarily my main area of interest (nor that of this blog) but I’m interested in the crossover between external and internal comms, especially when it comes to management behaviour. Also, I really want to hear Anthony Mayfield talk as we were meant to meet up yonks ago when we were both writing our books, and didn’t manage to get it together.

12pm: Antony Mayfield and Ruth Speakman are on stage talking about “Beyond Campaigns”. This session is structured more as an informal chat than a panel discussion with presentations. The theme is down to the fact that while advertisers and marketeers might see their work in terms of campaigns, customers don’t see their relationship with a brand that way. Anthony: more people turn up to the M&S fan page on Facebook because they love the brand rather than down to one particular campaign.

12.05: Antony: The sound of an industry that is dying is when it keeps saying “we’re not dead”. You look at the cost of one TV spot and think what else you could do with that money.

12.14: Antony: social media is natural, human and a good way to experiment. It’s very unambitious.

[Close of session - sorry I only got the last few minutes of that one!]

It’s not ROI, it’s ROA!

Continuing my live blog from Social Media Influence in London. We’re back after the morning coffee break and I’m back in the Social Business Design stream. Up on stage is Julien Le Nestour, formerly of Schlumberger. He is going to tell us all about his idea of ROA (Return on Attention).

11.40: Julien asks us to solve a problem: the issues are framed slightly differently in two differently worded questions – they are essentially the same problem and the same choice of solution. Our reaction to the two questions shows us that “choices involving gains are often risk averse and choices involving losses are often risk taking”.

11.43: Macro-trend: attention is an increasingly-scarce resource. An organisation is not like “Care Bears” community – some people are going to hate you.

We need to understand ROA at individual level: Employees are putting up their own goals, based on their perception of the organisation. People are going to pursue their own goals, whatever they are. “The physical effect on the individual of the idea of death suggested by the collectivity”.

Usage, adoption, value creation through social media is simple: the employee will use it if he gets return on attention (as part of a defined workflow or not). In a lot of organisations, the hardware is often the weakest link. The ROA for the employee checking emails with Microsoft browser is worse than for those using Blackberry and iphone. In terms of management, what we should use is the aggregated and weighted ROA.

We should base the business case for social media on ROA not ROI.

Social Media Influence – live blog

I’m live-blogging from the fifth annual Social Media Influence conference at The Marriott Hotel, London. There are two tracks: “Social Media Influence” and “Social Business Design” – I’m starting out in the second track but aim to move between the two. Keep refreshing this page for updates.

9.15am: Headshift’s Lee Bryant kicks off with an intro – we’re told we’re in the serious track – “far more intelligent than the fluffy bunnies next door (but please don’t tell them I said that)!”. Poor Lee. I guess he has to say something as there are only about 20 of us in here – the rest have been lured by the bright lights of the larger ballroom.

9.19: JP Rangaswami: the business value social media creates for the enterprise – the assets. (2) the business models themselves, rather than just talking about the ROI. (3) the context in which we operate. What a social network actually is within the enterprise. (4) The dimensions. The A, B, C and the D!

9.25: Social media starts with the address book. The telephone companies were sitting on these assets for ages – they had the directory, the classification and the modality for communication. Why did it take somebody like Microsoft to see that if you had everyone’s contact details on your database, you can enable them to schedule events between them? Why did it take companies like Microsoft and Bloomberg to add the ability to schedule?

9.29: the reason wikis and blogs worked when the original intranet didn’t is because intranets were put together by a limited number of people with already out of date information. Who knows my address or my condition better than I do? Who knows better than me than to describe my status as “it’s complicated”? It’s taken a long time for us to realise that this type of descriptor is useful in an enterprise context.

9.38: Expert systems and KM failed because they were all good ideas, but we always focused on the “where is the value” argument – this deflected from the fact that they were simply every day work. You can’t use terms like Yammer and Jabbr and Twitter – they don’t sound businessy. They don’t have the gravitas of Microsoft Powerpoint. Your first response when trying to design for value in the enterprise is: this is not anything new.

9.40: Business models: I hate the phrase ‘business model’. Peter Drucker used to say, “people make shoes, not money”. There is always a market for what you are good at. Do what you’re good at. A lot of business models are “pay per drink”; others are “eat all you can”; the third model is “somebody else pays”. Generally, either a transaction model or a subscription model.

9.46: How many of you remember using internet when there was only ISDN? Tendency was to get on there, do something very quickly then get out. Human beings dont’ like the concept of leaving the taxi meter running. In late 1990s UK and Europe were held back because we had ‘pay per drink’ internet and not ‘eat all you can’ (like the US).

9.49: we are building these [social business] services every day, we just don’t realise it. It wasn’t that look ago, when finding the email you wanted was impossible. We’ve got better because our kinds are more likely to be online than offline; storage is so cheap. The relationship we have with data is so much better.

9.51: Terms like ‘cost centres’ and ‘profit centres’ are all lies: the only revenue is when someone outside the firm pays money for something within the firm. Someone like [Facebook's] Mark Zuckerberg really understood that the thing that we value as we move into the 21st century is: RELATIONSHIPS.

9.53: All business is about conversations (not just marketing). I’m glad Euan is here because the first time we met on stage was when we were discussing the impact of the Cluetrain Manifesto [update: you can watch that conversation here]. It’s the way we always did business: directory, modality, record changes, means of scheduling…the tools we used were the same, it’s just they’ve got better. Thanks to Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law etcetera. We must each remember: I’m not doing anything new. If we do that, we get rid of so much of the noise that holds all this up.

10am: Now up, it’s a panel discussion chaired by Euan Semple. Panellists: Steve Perry, Sonia Carter and David Christopher.

Euan: I’m a bit uncomfortable with the word “design” because it doesn’t convey all the messiness and guerilla activity that is really driving social media in business.

Steve Perry (Knowledge and IM advisor): I was working with (leading London-based law firm) Freshfields focusing on improving collaboration. We had an ‘aha’ moment when we realised that the Confluence wiki could be the intranet, because the intranet is simply a series of community spaces – the previous intranet was very static, very dry and boring. We wanted partners, everyone to start working ‘in the flow’ and contributing comments, insights as they were working. If you can do that, the end result is much more shared collective intelligence and knowledge.

10.04: I came up with an approach called ‘tight/ loose’ – we used standard branding: company name etc, but the feature I really wanted them to use was ‘latest news’ – gives it a blogging feel.

10.07: I wanted to get people out of the habit of using email, and revising documents using email. We got people to start creating their documents in the wiki. Getting them out of email and into the wiki was the crucial thing. The other thing was getting them to use the discussion forums. I got the US partners to start using these for strategy work.

10.08: A couple of things we would have done differently: (1) build a coalition: get other departments on board: risk, finance etc. We had budget approval but we came up with a lot of objections from other depts that I should have dealt with at the beginning. (2) initiated more two-way communication between users and the central team. I should have done more work running workshops, spending face time with other users. (3) identified more busines processes which would benefit from the wiki. (4) agreed earlier how to measure and monitor usage. (3) planned content migration in more detail.

What worked well? The “tight/loose approach”. the fact it was a clear business need and part of firms’ strategy. Did not over promise (so we exceeded expectations). Earlier with KPMG we pitched a project very high, so perception was that it didn’t deliver.

10.13: overall result: increased intranet use and particpation. One example: The Frankfurt based Porshe team: they were wrestling with a legal issue with Porshe. Someone in London added a point [to the query posted up on the wiki], someone in New York built on it later that day, the guys in Frankfurt woke up the next morning with two or three real nuggets of good ideas that they could take back to Porshe. This was a job worth 100s of 1000s of £ to Freshfields.

10.16: Sonia Carter, AXA UK: if we can make these things succeed in a company that’s very conservative with lots of employees very demotivated (in current climate), then its a great example of social media. How do we do things? Sometimes by stealth. Also, sometimes we’ve been able to piggy-back on a big project. Where we’ve hit challenges is in the huge amount of process being involved – this can drive costs up exponentially. Security, IT, procurement, legal etc can add months and months on. Bigger projects where we’ve taken waterfall approach and crossed every T and dotted every i take months and months. The agile approach works better.

10.20: employee engagement is quite fluffy in the nicest sense: no-one’s too interested in measurement, people have a gut-feeling as to whether it’s improved or not. There have been a few projects in AXA that have focused on employee engagement and we’ve piggy-backed on the back of them.

A lot of our innovation has started internally – we’re still rather nervous about engaging directly with customers, mainly because of compliance and legal shackles. We have a lot more free rein within the firewall.

Our journey using social tools for employee engagement started 2 and a half years ago. Huge employee engagement initiative getting employees to understand importance of customer. We do act in a very silo’ed way – not great for customer. They talk to someone about pensions and want to talk to that same person about healthcare. After this initiative had run a few months, people were coming back from training very engaged, but we didn’t have anythign to facilitate that. There wasn’t any forum, just email and clunky old directory all very top down. People were coming back very fired up and nowhere to channel that excitement. For a few hundred pounds we built a system called “Ourspace” – incorporated Dell’s Idea Storm – a while back, not too many people had these internal ideation systems. Used WordPress and a load of plugins to build it. We rolled it out in six weeks. Only people who’d come back off the customer-centric training could get a log-in. We were very light touch, with an acceptable use policy which we tied into other workplace policies. In two years we’ve only removed four or five posts. If people post using their own name, you don’t need to give people reams and reams of usage guidelines. These forums have now become an intrinsic part of the business. Example: the news broke that a buyer was interested in buying the company, within 24 hours we had the CEO of the business concerned on the forum answering everyone’s questions. Everyone felt unhappy they hadn’t known about this but this turned the situation around.

10.28: Something called “Red button” – we got users to put up a red flag to mark anything that was confusing or hindering the customers. Now brokers let us know what’s not working in the sort of policies we offer them. Also “Blue button” – in insurance we have a very engaged CEO who really loves social tools so makes pushing anything forward there very easy. Something with Headshift: “You Prove” – we got employees to make videos about how they were fulfilling various corporate values – in a much more engaging way, eg: “When was last time you made customer smile?” This has worked very well.

10.35: David Christopher, Oracle / Founder, stop!thinksocial: shows Slideshare presentation Social Media In Business: it’s just a bunch of tools, right?. His mantra is simple: It’s not about the tools, it’s about the people!

He advocates the POST process designed by Forrester analysts (as recommended in the book, Groundswell).

David finishes with his five top tips:

1. Find the hook (eg: I can reduce your email by 50%)
2. Start small: quick win, big impact
3. Be creative – use social media to demonstrate the power of social media
4. Be passionate
5. Stop!thinksocial – before you send off that big attachment, stop and think is there are more social way of doing this?

11am: Break for coffee.

In pursuit of happiness

I loved the opener to Matthew Taylor’s annual lecture at the RSA last night: “At the heart of our public debates about the future of the human race is the [Reggie Perrin-like] question ‘can we go on like this?’”

That set the tone for an hour of deep, communal, navel-gazing. But, as Matthew himself points out, we need it! This sort of analysis is all too often lacking.

Matthew has been a while writing his lecture (now available as a pamphlet). Its core idea of 21st Century Enlightenment was first discussed in a blog post a few months ago. Since then the essay text has been debated and challenged, pulled apart and added to, not only on Matthew’s blog, but also on a wiki.

The result appeared to be a triumph of collaboration (although it wasn’t necessarily presented as such, and I’ve no idea how many of the final words were down to Matthew and how many to his many invisible co-authors). The lecture was, overall, seamlessly structured and imaginatively argued.

Matthew’s proposition is that it’s time to complete the Enlightenment project begun in the Eighteenth Century: he sees the RSA is the ideal vehicle to take this forward (“21st Century Englightenment” is the RSA’s new strapline).

Certainly, following on from Arie de Geus’ idea that organisations need to reflect the environment around them if they are to flourish, Matthew is orchestrating the structural changes necessary to make his vision a reality. As he himself admits, “the re-imagining of the RSA Fellowship itself is in pursuit of a new ethic of collaboration … the RSA is looking to develop a model of innovative social activism. The hierarchical, bureaucratic model of membership organisations is bust.”

As a member of the new(ish) RSA Fellowship Council, I’m pretty involved in this process. So that makes all that Matthew has to say doubly interesting.

His argument of 21st Century Englightenment is based on the three ideas which the philosopher Tzvetan Todorov (In Defence of the Englightment) suggests were at the core of the original Enlightenment: autonomy, universalism and humanism.

In his lecture, Matthew updates these principles to become “self-aware autonomy”, “empathic universalism” and “the new humanism”. (I’ll outline them a bit here to save you reading the pamphlet)!

Self-aware Autonomy

Autonomy is defined as the idea “that every individual should be able to make their own choices about their own life free from overbearing religious and political authority”. According to Matthew, “we need to aim for a [more] self-aware form of autonomy, informed by a deeper appreciation of the foundations, possibilities and frailties of human nature.”

In reaching this more self-aware state, we need to accept our limitations: “Whatever happens in the future, we will still have to find a way of negotiating a modern world with brains that evolved in prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies.”

We must learn to be more mindful, especially of our own inconsistencies. For example, “in many policy areas the preferences people express in opinion polls are systematically different to those which they reach after a process of deliberation”

We need to accept that “our capacity for reason does rely on emotion” (rather than some, cold, disassociation), as well as the fact that we are heavily influenced by our networks and “context” (something explored brilliantly in Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler’s Connected).

Above all, says Matthew, we need “to distinguish our needs from our appetites and our amazing human potential from our often self-defeating aspirations.”

And he cites David Halpern who discovered that “the Danes are the happiest people in the world not only because of their material circumstances but because they say what matters most
in life is good relationships. In contrast, the most miserable nationality, the Bulgarians, say money is the key to happiness.” (This was probably one of the most tweeted quotes of the evening).

Empathic Universalism

Universalism is described by Matthew as “the idea that all people are deserving of dignity and share fundamental rights.” He sees this principle, now, as having its greatest potential if it is enhanced by empathy: “We need to pay more attention to our innate capacity for empathy”.

Matthew observes that, “despite major departures from the trend, most terribly in the twentieth century, the history of the human race has been one of diminishing person-to-person violence.”

He points out that “before the Enlightenment era, for example, mutilation and torture were conventional punishments for minor misdemeanours that would today receive a fine”. In addition, an analysis of medieval records by the criminologist Manuel Eisner, “found that the rate of killing has subsided from one in a thousand a year in the Middle Ages to one in one hundred thousand in modern Europe”.

We have seen “a revolution in social attitudes towards race, gender and sexuality” and “the emergence of global state and philanthropic agencies now committed to the ambitious Millennium Goals.”

However, there are many drawbacks: levels of inequality have started rising again, tensions between ethnic groups have “taken on new dimensions”, anti-immigrant sentiment has grown in richer countries, violent gang culture exists in poorer areas, a minute proportion of the rich world’s wealth is devoted to tackling global poverty and national interests still dominate global concerns (we have weaker global governance than we used to, apparently).

Like many of his (my?) generation, Matthew is concerned about video games: “If we are concerned about the factors shaping the empathic capacity of future generations we should be willing, at least, to ask searching questions about the social experiment now taking place in the bedrooms of millions of young people.”

He cites a June 2010 paper to the American Association of Psychological Science which combined studies from 14,000 college students and identified “a marked and growing decline in empathy in comparison to the late 1970s”.

One solution lies in design: “A stronger recognition of empathic capacity as a core capability for modern citizens would also influence the design of institutions – public, commercial and civic – and public places, including the online world. It would provide a case for public investment in art and culture which might transcend the sterile debate between art’s intrinsic and instrumental benefits.”

The new humanism

Todorov described his third Enlightenment principle as “the human end purpose of our acts”. Humanism, says Matthew, is the idea that “we should organise the world according to what is best for human beings.” And through “the new humanism”, he suggests that we “more often ask what is progress and acknowledge the fundamentally ethical nature of this question.”

Our society is currently dominated by three logics, says Matthew: of scientific and technological progress, of markets, and of bureaucracy:

“The limitation of the logic of science and of markets lies in an indifference to a substantive concern for the general good. If something can be discovered and developed it should be discovered and developed. If something sells then it should be sold. The problem with the logic of bureaucracy, as Max Weber spotted over a hundred years ago, is its tendency to privilege procedural rationality (the rationality of rules) over substantive rationality (the rationality of ends).”

We should reformat our ultimate aim to be “maximising human happiness”.

Ethics is a key part of this because ethical thinking is also part of human nature. Matthew cites recent research from the Yale University Infant Cognition Center which found that “even before they have developed speech, infants make rudimentary moral judgements. In one experiment babies between six and twelve months old watched a simple coloured geometric shape – for example, a red circle with eyes – try to climb a slope. When other shapes intervened, apparently either helping or blocking the circle, the children’s responses showed a clear preference for
the helping shapes.”

Ah. Bless ‘em.

Matthew goes on to compares sexual repression in the late Victorian era to the suppression of ethical discourse today: “Just as sexual repression spawned hypocrisy and vice in the nineteenth century, so the suppression of ethical discourse leads to the strange coincidence, remarked on by Edward Skidelsky, of an era which combines social tolerance and cultural relativism alongside an almost continuous drum beat of public indignation against everyone from bankers and celebrities to welfare cheats and immigrants.”

And he moves onto his conclusion by incorporating Michael Thompson’s ideas around Cultural Theory:

“Superficially, ethical differences may look like a threat to social harmony or organisational coherence. In fact, recognition and respect for difference is the foundation for an enduringly cohesive society and a strong basis for innovative thinking. [In some circumstances] Resolution is impossible, but the recognition of difference can enable ‘clumsy’ but creative solutions.”

In conclusion

There are several signs that we are moving towards a more self-aware society, says Matthew: the recognition of the importance of the earliest years of a child’s life, the increased interest in mental health issues, the multidisciplinary focus on human motivation and behaviour in universities, the growth of “social businesses”, the fostering of inter-faith dialogue, the upsurge in collective forms of recreation (music festivals, art exhibitions, lectures and debates) and the greater willingness of government and the OECD to question conventional measures of economic growth.

Despite these developments, and no doubt to encourage them, we desperately “need to see a more reflective public discourse; a revival of a public sphere in which we might debate who we are as social beings.”

The RSA, Matthew feels, is well-placed to spearhead this revival.

Good on him!

PS: The liveblogging of RSA Fellowship Council meetings is just part of the process of opening up debate, making the RSA more accessible and putting its ideas and challenges more at the centre of public life. I’ll be liveblogging the next meeting here from 1pm on Tuesday 29 May, so do come back then!

Photo: strollerdos