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General reflections on blogging after 14 years

After having written my post to relaunch this blog last week, I am now – in theory – back in blogging mode, so I should be writing blog posts.

Passing the thresohld of blogging

Which in itself comes to the nub of the experience of blogging, all the thresholds you have to cross to actually start and finish a blog post. What is compelling enough to say that you take the time to write it? How long or polished should pieces be? If I get started writing a post, how much time is it going to take to say what it is I want to say? When do I cut off a blog post and save the rest for the next post?
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Relaunch of my website and blog – time to get blogging again!

I am delighted to have finally relaunched my personal website and blog! The front page of this website provides an overview of my work, there are details on my keynote speaking and strategy advisory work, and now my blog has been incorporated into the same website.

I set up my blog Trends in the Living Networks in 2002 to accompany the launch of my book Living Networks. A bit later I set up rossdawson.com as my speaker website, and kept the blog on a separate domain, running the two sites in parallel for many years.
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Launch of Futurist Influence Rankings app

We have just launched a Futurist Influence Rankings tracker, you can see the original here and an embed of the app below.

It is certainly not intended to be rigorous, but simply to give an indication of how influential futurists are on social media and the web by combining a few key indicators such as Klout, web traffic and Twitter followers, using a simple algorithm.

No doubt we are missing quite a few futurists who should be included on the list. Just let us know if there’s anyone we should add to the list.

Feel free to embed it on your site if you wish.

Enjoy, and be sure not to take it too seriously! :-)

Collaboration and activation: the nub of the merger of physical and digital retail

Last week I visited Melbourne Spring Fashion Week as a guest of IBM and the City of Melbourne.

City of Melbourne’s over-arching vision for the annual Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is to position Melbourne as Australia’s premier fashion destination, and have a real economic impact by driving increased sales for retailers in the city.

MSFW

In partnering with IBM for the second year the intention was to extend the impact of the event beyond the week and to drive ticket sales and in turn sales by tapping the social currency of influencers.

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is unusual in fashion shows in that everything on the runways can be bought at stores in the city. This contrasts to the traditional role of fashion shows as breaking new fashion, which may not be available for many months after it is launched.

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week used IBM Social Media Analytics on Twitter and Instagram to uncover the top 50 relevant fashion influencers, used Watson Personality Insights to work out how best to approach them, and invited them to be MSFW “insiders”, asking them what content would be most useful to them.

Ticket sales have been considerably higher than last year, with 4 of the events sold out.

The initiative is particularly interesting in showing how social analytics and engagement can help drive shoppers into shopping centers and physical stores.

While individual stores can do a great deal to merge their digital, social and physical engagement, the real power comes in bringing people to a shopping center or area, or even an entire city center.

All shopping is becoming social. Retail strategies for merging physical and digital are best envisaged and implemented on a large scale, tapping collaboration and activating buyers.

Image credit: Eva Rinaldi

Launch of Creating the Future of PR – shaping an exceptional future for the industry

Advanced Human Technologies Group has just launched Creating the Future of PR, a publication that looks at how the Public Relations industry can create an exceptional future for itself and its clients in a fast-changing world.
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In my article Join Us in Creating the Future of PR I frame the context for the launch of the publication:

The fundamental capabilities of PR professionals are more relevant than ever in our intensely networked world. Arguably, PR should be at the center of the marketing universe, since it is better able than any other discipline to deal with a world driven by relationships, fueled by connectivity, social, mobile, and power shifting to the individual.

The big question is: will the PR industry seize the immense opportunity before it?

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Consumer expectations continue to rise: advocacy reduces, antagonism rises, but trust enables value creation

The latest results from IBM’s annual Smarter Consumer Study provide interesting insights.

If consumers are smarter, they are expressing it with not just increased expectations, but an increasingly active expression of their displeasure if expectations are not met.

The following chart, provided to me by IBM in response to a request for more detailed information, shows that in all major countries advocates – those who actively advocate for their primary retailer – have decreased, while antagonists – those who would actively discredit their retailer – have increased.

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Source: IBM
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The future of law firms: new structures, virtualization, fluid talent, social media-driven reputation

A little while ago an article The future for law firms: virtual law firms, legal outsourcing and the battle for talent appeared in Thomson Legal reporting on some of my thoughts on where the legal industry is headed.

The article opens:
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In a world of peer learning the opportunities flow to talent and those who share

I recently gave the closing keynote at the Lectora User Conference 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee, which brought together users from around the world of the Lectora e-learning authoring platform.

My keynote on Embracing the Future looked at the broad trends shaping our world, and how they were shaping the world of education in particular. Peer learning is a fundamentally important trend today, describing how people learn increasingly from their peers rather than formal teachers. Indeed, the leading edge of any domain of study is driven by peers who share what they discover on the edges of their discipline.

One of the stories I told in my keynote was how a young Mexican man has been amply rewarded for his talent and his propensity to share, rather than formal education.

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Image: Jordi Muñoz, Chris Anderson and Jon Callaghan of 3D Robotics Credit: Christopher Michel
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A taxonomy of branded content and its role in the future of media

Immediately after my opening keynote on Creating the Future of News at INMA World Congress in New York last week was a very interesting plenary session from Neil Zuckerman of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on branded content in the future of media, drawing on a recent multi-country study they have done. I had already emphasized the importance of branded content in my keynote, so it was a great segue into his detailed analysis.

Zuckerman began by running through the severe challenges for the news industry, going on to highlight branded content as the next source of growth for the industry. Below are a few slides from his excellent presenatation.

BCG sees branded content growing at a 21% rate over the next 5 years. I believe it is likely to grow faster than this.
Branded_content_BCG_1_500Source: Boston Consulting Group
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Applying platform strategy to Facebook Instant Articles

Probably the most reported aspect of my opening keynote at INMA World Congress in New York last week on Creating the Future of News was my response to an audience question about how publishers should think about Facebook’s new offer to publishers to host their articles for mobile viewing.

An article in Sydney Morning Herald today titled Beware Facebook creep, publishers warned opened by describing the new Facebook Instant Articles and went on to quote me:
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