Agencies must adapt to a marketing world based on open systems

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John Winsor, CEO of crowdsourcing-based advertising agency Victors & Spoils and Chief Innovation Officer at global marketing conglomerate Havas, has long been an innovator and provocateur in agency world.

He gave the keynote at the Future of Crowdsourcing Summit I ran in San Francisco and Sydney in 2010, and his agency was featured as a case study of crowd business models in my book Getting Results From Crowds.

John has just published an excellent article on HBR Blogs titled The Future of Marketing, as Seen at Cannes Lions.
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Will the Respect Network enable us to take back control of our data and our lives?

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Yesterday I attended the Sydney launch event of the Respect Network, an initiative designed to allow individuals to own and take control of their data.

They played this video, narrated by John Hurt, who starred in the film 1984. Apparently American audiences have thought this clip to be highly controversial, however it seems to provide a reasonable view of how things are.

Take Back Control from Respect Network on Vimeo.

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Professional services relationships as the primary portal to value creation

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A week ago I gave a keynote to a relatively small but rapidly growing professional services firm on the occasion of their 10th birthday celebration, to help them think about their next decade of business.

My presentation began with macro trends, then drilled into shifts in the professional services landscape, and finally onto the leadership required to create the future of professional services.

The theme that the group picked up on the most which drove our ensuing conversation was how they could tap external experts to generate value for clients.
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Civic crowdfunding and the future of government and taxation

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Crowdfunding is central to my interests in understanding the future. My background in capital markets and long-standing perspective of the living networks has made it a natural space for me, in looking at new ways our collective financial resources can yield the greatest economic and social benefit.

I was recently named one of the top 30 influential thought leaders in crowdfunding in the world (of which there are only 2 outside the US). I think it’s fair to say that’s an exaggeration of my prominence, however as I am increasingly focusing on the future of crowdfunding I hope the insights and perspectives I am currently developing will have a significant reach.

One of the most obvious ways in which crowdfunding can have a far broader impact than it does today is in playing a role alongside government, by allocating funds to benefit citizens. The “civic crowdfunding” space, focused on funding local community projects such parks, community centers, festivals, and education, has thrived, with platforms such as Spacehive and Neighborly doing well, and strong enthusiasm from cities such as Bristol.
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Using social network analysis to uncover authority and centrality

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As reflected by the title of this blog, networks have long been at the heart of how I see the world.

I have applied the tools and approaches of network analysis to a wide variety of domains, including organizational analysis, industry analysis, client relationship analysis, influence networks, sales and innovation networks, high-performance personal networks, and far more.

Much of my work today is helping organizations and senior executives to think effectively about the future, so as to set and implement effective strategies for success. However network analysis is an invaluable complement to that work, applying it as a tool to help improve performance.

In a networked world, we must understand the networks in which we are embedded.

On RossDawson.com I have just published a brief piece Futurists on Twitter: An analysis of network centrality and authority.

The chart showing the network analysis is shown below, uncovering authority and centrality among futurists on Twitter. Zoom in by clicking on the image.

Read the article for full details on the analysis.

Presentacion: Creando un Futuro Excepcional para su Negocio

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A couple of weeks ago I gave the keynote at sCRM-CEM y Redes Sociales conference in Bogota, Colombia, on the topic of Creando un Futuro Excepcional para su Negocio (Creating an Exceptional Future for your Organization).

Below are my slides translated into Spanish. I used these slides and presented in English with simultaneous translation. I was very pleased to get to Colombia and Peru on this trip as it helped me to begin to revive my rather rusty Spanish, but I’m still quite a way from being able to do a presentation in Spanish. I will work at it, and hopefully get more opportunities to get back to Latin America before long.

Many thanks to Rafael Rodriguez for the excellent translation and all his help for the conference!

More Spanish content coming soon…

Trying hard to be genuine: the only viable path is transparency

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ABC News recently ran a segment Social media forces companies to change their marketing strategies or risk being left behind.

The piece, which included quotes from Mark Zuckerberg, Guy Kawasaki, and myself, among others, looked at how companies are changing how they are connecting to their customers and communities.

One excerpt from my interview noted:

ROSS DAWSON: People can very quickly see when something is false or has a false tone. Indeed, companies now do have to find those that are genuinely engaged to be able to help them to spread their messages. So in a world which is becoming more transparent, being genuine – not trying to pull the swift one on your consumers – is in fact the only way to success.

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The top 30 Thought Leaders in crowdfunding

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There is no doubt that crowdfunding has been one of the major trends evolving over the last couple of years in particular. It has caught the imagination of the public, and already had a large impact on how artists, startup ventures, and many others consider their funding options. The trend of crowdfunding has a long, long way further to go.

Israeli-based equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd has just launched a list of the top 30 influential thought leaders in crowdfunding, those who have shaped how the industry is seen and understood.

They commissioned Evolve Inc to do the study, which took into account “a variety of factors including social footprint, popularity among industry insiders, engagement frequency, citations by influential writers in venture finance and other factors” to create a ranked list of the top 30 influencers from a pool of 800 people studied.

The top 5 are Perry Chen of Kickstarter, Naval Ravikant of AngelList, Slava Rubin of IndieGogo, Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, followed by a variety of entrepreneurs, regulators, politicians, media commentators, academics, and others.

I made the list (just!) at #29, probably mainly due to the success of my book Getting Results From Crowds and the crowdsourcing workshops I’ve been running around the world over the last couple of years.
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Why children (and adults) need to be on social media or get left behind

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Yesterday the West Australian newspaper began a five-part series on children and social media, beginning with a feature article introducing the topic.

The article’s title, Get online or ‘be left behind’ quotes an interview with me. It is very easy for journalists to focus on the negative when covering children and social media, so I’m very glad they took a more balanced stance.

The article began with an introduction to the issue, to the point of mentioning that English secondary school Eton has banned Snapchat. It goes on:

Sydney-based Ross Dawson, founder of think tank Future Exploration Network, said social networking was still in its early days. “We’re still fairly early on into what will become simply communication – life as we know it,” he said.

“Rather than logging on to Facebook and sharing some messages we are going to be in a world where we are sharing vast degrees (of information) with those who are close to us and to the world at large, and this communication will be intrinsic to life, our personal life and our work life.”

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Why predictions are dangerous and organizations must be well networked

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AFR_Boss_Dec13_300wToday’s BOSS magazine in the Australian Financial Review includes a feature on my work.

The article focuses on my thoughts on the value of predictions. I’ve written before about why predictions usually have negative value, as an important way of framing how we think about the future.

I am quoted in the article:
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