Are You Ready to Race to the Future?


Palm Zire - Hotsync no more!Do you remember the Palm Pilot? Billed as a “PDA” – a personal digital assistant, it was a phone with an address book, could read your writing and translate it into text and it could even do basic emailing if you worked it hard enough. In many ways it was ahead of its time.

Since that time I have had all kinds of phones – from functional mobile phones to various BlackBerry devices and iPhones. And each device has been a marked improvement on its predecessor. These devices are not just add-ons to the way we live anymore – they are part and parcel of our lives. And when we leave them behind, lose them or find ourselves out of coverage, it’s as though we have lost a limb. A really useful, vital limb.

But the most amazing thing about these devices is not the technology. It’s the changes in behaviour that have seeped into our lives driven by the technology. Think about it:

When we discover a new place for a weekend away, we …

We don’t just absorb the ambience, take a moment to write a letter or postcard to send to family and friends and open a celebratory bottle of sparkling. We check-in or claim the space on Foursquare and Facebook. We take a photo of the view, capture the latitude and longitude on our GPS and share the image via Instagram. That then gets pushed to Twitter. We make an update via social networks, take another snap of that cold glass of sparkling wine and let our friends know that we wish they were with us. Then we wait for responses – Likes, tips from other friends who have checked-in nearby and suggestions for delicious nearby takeaway. Meanwhile the sun sets (more photos, skyburn this time, you know you love it), another glass is poured and we feel warm knowing that even when we’re on the edge of civilisation that we are still connected. Sometimes, shock horror, the wifi drops out causing a moment of anguish (hashtag #firstworldproblems). But a quick router reset puts the world to right.

The thing is, that we are not only always-connected, it is almost a precondition for pleasure. Our personal compass has become gamified, socialised and part of a connected, data-driven personal empire. It’s like slide night at Aunty Pat’s – just on a grand scale. The question is how far can you go? How close can we get to the edge of a digital network. And if we step beyond, is our authentic experience real if it is not reported?

We race ever faster towards the future, but are we prepared for it? Have we thought our participation through – from an environmental, economic and ethical point of view? Have we considered the energy required to power this lifestyle? And what education do we need and what should be delivered to the coming generations? And what role does entrepreneurship play?

These “Six Es” form the theme of the Creative Innovation 2013 Asia Pacific conference. Held in Melbourne, 27-29 November, it features over 40 global leaders, innovators and thinkers. It’s your chance to join big and small business, entrepreneurs, educators, creative and government leaders,
emerging talent and leading thinkers from around the World, Asia and Australia.

Book any early bird tickets for Ci2013 before 15 September and save up to $615. And be sure to use the code E6 to secure a further 10% discount.

Palm Zire - Hotsync no more!Creative Commons License Ian Lamont via Compfight

Get Along to the ADMA Global Forum


These days with the rapid changes in technology, new thinking in digital and social media and constant experimentation with both, every week seems to be a “big week”. But this week, the ADMA Global Forum is running – bringing marketers and technologists face to face.

There are some interesting masterclasses on branding, creativity, data/analytics and engagement strategy from some of the world’s leading marketers. There’s also a raft of local and international speakers bound to provide plenty of provocative juice to your 2014 marketing plans. Personally I am looking forward to the Ted Rubin keynote and Aden Forrest’s session on marketing automation.

There is also the “Innovation Zone” – a showcase of marketing and tech vendors, the Innovation Zone Party, breakfasts on big data and international leadership – and my favourite – Grill the Honcho – a chance for up-and-coming young marketers to get in front of CEOs, CMOs and GMs to ask the big career questions.

Let me know if you are going – it’d be great to catch up.

Vibewire’s #fastBREAK – Take Action


On the last Friday of every month, Vibewire in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum, hosts fastBREAK. Now in its third year, fastBREAK has become an essential part of the Australian creative industries scene – providing a vital showcase for young innovators, artists, creatives and entrepreneurs. The event attracts an eclectic audience, with artists mixing with business people, ballerinas rubbing shoulders with bankers and social entrepreneurs sharing breakfast with venture capitalists and investors. And most importantly of all, it is an event that encourages cross-generational conversations – where people of all ages are inspired to network and engage, fuelled by powerful ideas, great coffee and a creative breakfast from the Black Star Pastry.

Join us for fastBREAK: Technicolour

The next event is scheduled for 26 July and will have the theme “technicolour”. It promises to be provocative and stimulating:

Since the invention of Technicolor in 1916, the world of cinema and television have been brought to life with vivid contrasts and saturated colours, infusing both life and character into the film reel and captivating the imaginations of both adults and children around the world.

By injecting their own character and perspective into real life scenarios, some have been able to bring more colour into the lives of others. Now, that same passion and imagination is being brought back to life through the efforts of this month’s fastBREAK speakers.

You can pick up your tickets here – it’s the best $10 you’ll spend in Sydney.

Adobe Symposium Sydney – Sets the Eagles Amongst the Clouds


Over the last few years, Adobe has been quietly acquiring companies, building and extending their enterprise focused suite of products and – to some surprise – integrating and consolidating their marketing software into a powerful “marketing cloud”.

At today’s digital marketing symposium, Adobe showcased much of this hard work – with products that are focused around their four pillars:

  • Listen
  • Predict
  • Assemble
  • Deliver

They have done the hard work of consolidating the various platforms into a cohesive and comprehensive offering built around marketing roles and functions. But of course, recent acquisitions like marketing automation platform Neolane takes all this to a new level. I fully expect to see a new pillar – “automate” – being added to the pillars in the next 12-18 months.

I will look to take a deeper dive into each of the aspects of the marketing cloud, but this Storify captures the events of the conference – from presentations to case studies and demos. I even tried out Vine as a way of capturing some of the demos.

But one thing is clear in amongst all the hype of the day and the power of the presentations – Adobe’s marketing cloud takes enterprise software to a new UI level. And the promise of the integrated offerings will have traditional marketers wanting to go digital and digital marketers needing to know more about traditional approaches.

The Participatory Revolution

Zen (Version 3)

As part of the Vivid Ideas Festival, innovator, Michelle Williams (founder of Ideaction) curated a knock out event designed to transform the thinking of business, creative and innovation professionals. The resulting one day conference brought together an eclectic mix of speakers, audience members and yes, active participants. If you were like me and could not make it in person, this Storify stream is the next best thing. And Michelle promises a video stream some time in the future.

Zen (Version 3) Little Zoker via Compfight

SuccessConnect – Where Talent and Social Collide at the SuccessFactors Conference


Content Marketing in Australia Needs a Wakeup Call

Happy Saint (St.) Valentine's Day Heart ? - MCA - heart of gold - Chicago - fluid still video image

The Content Marketing Institute’s new report on Content Marketing in Australia is timed nicely for the upcoming Content Marketing Conference (4-6 March 2013). The report contrasts the content marketing approaches taken by marketers in Australia vs the USA and reinforces much that we already know:

  • Over 60% of marketers expect to increase or significantly increase their expenditure on content marketing in 2013
  • Australian B2B marketers prefer LinkedIn as a social channel while B2C prefer Facebook
  • B2B marketers allocate higher proportions of their budget to content marketing activities than their B2C counterparts
  • A large proportion of marketers outsource content creation (B2C 74% // B2B 54%)

These findings, however, should raise alarm bells for CMOs across Australia.

  • Poor digital capabilities inhibit success. While 96% of Australian marketers use content marketing, the tactical choices favour traditional marketing channels with much lower levels of investment in experimentation and digital engagement. Marketers should set aside greater levels of budget to experiment and innovate around digital and social media. Training and workshop/conference attendance  should be provided to help more traditional marketers to transition their skills.
  • Weak digital strategy delivers weak outcomes. Weakness in digital strategy is seeing a misalignment between content marketing objectives/focus and measures of success. Marketers should draw upon skilled digital practitioners beyond their organisation (and even their industry), to begin to correctly align their business and marketing strategies.
  • Conservative channel choice cripples engagement. Marketers the world over are challenged to create engaging content, yet continue to focus on non-digital channels which produce high-levels of engagement. Again, experimentation is vital. Also, look to pure-play agencies to bolster internal skills for particular marketing programs – for example, work with a social media agency on a social media project, bring in a digital experience expert to reinvigorate the online customer experience.
  • Lack of effectiveness is undermining confidence. Content marketing effectiveness levels remain abysmally low, undermining confidence in marketers and the work produced by their agencies and suppliers. After correctly aligning strategy (as noted above), marketers should build metrics and analytics dashboards to report on effectiveness. Investigate options from companies like Anametrix.
  • Executive buy-in to content marketing needs to be revitalised: Connecting results with effort will give marketers the tools to gain buy-in from their Boards and from senior executives. Investments in analytics and reporting software that aggregates multi-channel data should be prioritised.

The detailed report appears below.  Remember to check out the Content Marketing Conference, using the code CMI200 will save you $200 when registering.

Event Report:’s Social Media Forum



Connecting Up is a not for profit organisation that provides vital products, resources and programs designed to make the Australian not for profit and community sector stronger and more resilient. As part of this charter, Connecting Up recently held a social media forum in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, showcasing the work of local organisations and sharing approaches and best practices.

In each of the locations I delivered a keynote address designed to set the scene – “Signs on the Road Ahead”. Rather than covering the basics of digital strategy and planning, many not for profits have moved beyond the social media basics and are looking for more targeted information. The aim was to provide communicators with a heads up on some of the trends and disruptions taking place in the world of digital communications. From this starting point, the participants then heard case studies from innovators working with not for profit organisations based in each city – rounding out a fantastic day with Q+A and an inspirational wrap up from Connecting Up’s Ben Teoh.

Adelaide – the hotbed of social media innovation

I am always amazed at the vibrance and innovation that emanates from the social media scene in Adelaide. The evening before the forum I was able to spend some time with some of the speakers and some of the energetic people who drive much of the online creativity coming out of Adelaide. It was clear that social media is maturing as a business discipline and Adelaide businesses are fortunate to be able to call upon professionals like Michelle Prak and Mal Chia.

During the presentation from Ben Osborne (University of Adelaide), many around the room were hastily taking notes and jotting down tips for handling challenging and sometimes volatile communities. His communications and crisis management flow chart was a huge hit and showed just how much planning and thought had gone into not only handling issues, but generating engagement and activating students across the campus.

Petra Durvocinova from RiAus sent all the geeks in the audience into paroxysms of bliss talking about science, story telling and community building. Linking curiosity, emotion, imagination and research together, Petra explained how storytelling can help audiences discover the wonders of science. The use of Livestreaming was a great opportunity to test and learn for RiAus, but the identification and nurturing of those passionate science communicators within the community was seen as essential to the long term success of their social media efforts.

Noriko Wynn from Conservation Council SA shared an in-depth dive into the world of Facebook ads and campaigns. Working not only in social media but across a range of communications and media, Noriko explained that the challenge was that sometimes there was too much to say. Social can accordingly, plan an important role in creating relevant and target communications.


Sydney – the niche and the scale

I was still a little jetlagged for the Sydney event, but a jolt of strong coffee soon had me ready for a full audience.

Rafi Cooper from WSPA delved into the narrative structure of digital storytelling. Using public narrative to focus and drive change and action (self->us->now), Rafi showed how WSPA campaigns were able to achieve impact at scale via social media. He did hint that WSPA have an advantage thanks to plenty of good stories and cute images of animals.

Yves Calamette from ACON shared a great – but niche case study on the power of social media to engage men on the topic of HIV prevention. While there was a niche focus for the campaign, Yves was able to show specific impact, ROI and best practices that are now being extended for an upcoming campaign.

Dae Levine from Republic of Everyone showcased how social media can help connect policy, planning and persuasion, presenting a case study on the Say Yes campaign. Integrated planning and digital strategy, events, installations, social proof and widespread educative communications were all used to influence the public debate around climate change and carbon pricing. While not all not for profit organisations can work on such a scale, Dae explained how various elements slotted together to create an overall impact. (And yes, the campaign was successful – with a carbon tax now in effect in Australia)

Treassa Joseph hit to podium like a dynamo. Armed with data analytics and a geek’s passion for statistics, Treassa introduced the audience to Twitter, Tweetups and Twitter festivals and showed how social media can mobilise a community to come together and take action around a cause. Expect to see more non profit tweetups in the near future!

Melbourne – from grass root to the oak tree

Cate Lawrence talked through the Green Renters experience – cultivating a niche community with style and grace on a shoestring budget. Many in the room marvelled at Cate’s grasp of social media and the impact that a very small team (see the presentation) can have when focused on the most important channels.

Chris Roberts from the Brotherhood of St Lawrence provided a great case study on how social media can be integrated into advocacy programs. Their efforts focused on a dental care initiative – and required audience education, influencer management, leveraging of existing marketing and integration of all channels towards very specific objectives. Again, this campaign was considered a success with dental now covered as part of the government’s Medicare scheme.

Daniel Lewis-Toakley from the Oaktree Foundation stepped through the Live Below the Line campaign that challenged Australians to live on $2 a day and share their experience via social media. The approach again followed the public narrative storytelling arc to create champions, engage a community and track engagement towards success. Another great not for profit success, the campaign showed the power of enabling a community not just corralling it.

Richenda Vermuelen from ntegrity provided a deep dive into the social media activation of a blogger program for World Vision. From the detailed selection process, storytelling approaches and on-the-ground management, Richenda stepped through the pitfalls and benefits that come from working with bloggers. It was a great presentation for any not for profit wanting to tap into the social media space.

Event Report: Constellation Research Connected Enterprise



At some events, all eyes are turned towards the shining stars on the stage, but at Connected Enterprise, Constellation Research’s annual conference, the lines are blurred. This weekend long conference is an intimate innovation event for senior business leaders who not only have an interest in disruptive technology – they’re putting it to work within their businesses.

Keynotes and sessions centered around the Constellation business themes:

  • Future of work
  • Next generation customer experience
  • Data to decisions (big data and analytics)
  • Matrix commerce
  • The new C-suite and consumerization of IT

The keynotes and panels ran from the high energy of Endeavor Global’s Linda Rottenberg to the explosive quirkiness of IDEO’s Tom Kelley. Private equity investor, Love Goel set forth a digital vision for emerging and established companies.The Gabriel Institute’s Dr Janice Presser challenged business leaders to understand the nature of teaming and its link to high performance, sharing frameworks and practical examples of her Teamability process in action.


Anne Lise Kjaer provided a glimpse into the near future through the Kjaer Global trend atlas – calling out a new vision of the 4 Ps of marketing – people, planet, pleasure and profit. SAP’s Vishal Sikka revealed the human creativity behind the global company’s technology success. And R “Ray” Wang fired some hard questions at Microsoft’s Mike Ehrenberg provoking a great fireside discussion.’s Aaron Levie sparked some controversy with his comments about the ugliness of enterprise software and Adam Pisoni from Microsoft’s newly acquired Yammer suggested that the enterprise was ripe for disruption.

Interspersed across the jam packed weekend were one-on-one discussions between attendees and Constellation’s team of analysts. This allowed for focused discussion around particular business challenges – with a great deal of passion and insight often exploding from one table or another and rolling, contagiously across the room.

Live Quarks – short case studies from FanAppz and Metaio’s Trak Lord – kept the audience engaged and interacting not just with ideas but with live demonstrations of technology “in the wild”.


But it wasn’t all work and ideas. There were social events like golf, cooking and a spot of geo-caching designed to take the conference in a different direction – deeper, more personal, interactive.

The panel sessions provided case studies and deep dives into emerging technology and business impact. Talking with GetSatisfaction’s Jeff Nolan, Informatica’s Dennis Moore and Badgeville’s Kevin Akeroyd, we touched on the changing shape of customer experience and the power of big data to transform marketing and our customer relationships.

Fellow Aussie, Ben Haines, CIO with Pabst Brewing joined Leerom Segal from Klick Health, Ben Doyle from Enterasys and Lawrence Housel from Industrial Mold and Machine to discuss the changing nature of the C-suite and the impact of the consumerization of IT. Already many businesses are seeing clear value from this global trend – with panelists able to free up resources to deliver more strategic capability across their companies.

Shellie Molina from First Solar, Richie Etwaru from UBS and Meagen Eisenberg from DocuSign explained how their organizations were transforming business process through technology – linking demand and supply chains with matrix commerce strategies. It’s still early days for many companies, but these disruptive leaders were providing hard facts and figures to back their initiatives and drive further innovation.

A culmination of the event was the announcement of the 2012 SuperNova Award winners. Drawn from literally hundreds of entries entered into the business themed categories, a wide swathe of businesses competed to showcase their use of disruptive technology in a business context. The winners were:

The tight focus on topics and the restricted audience created a pressure cooker of ideas and innovation in a very short time. Those in the audience could easily have been featured on stage – and this made the non-conference program particularly valuable. Constellation’s Connected Enterprise 2013 promises more of the same – and will be a must-attend event for disruptive business leaders everywhere.

Re-invent Your Organisation


ci2012v2 Almost every day we are reminded of the constant onslaught of change. Our customers are outflanking our businesses – challenging us to be more connected, transparent in our dealings and impact not only shareholder value but the world at large. These expectations have permeated our employee cultures, partner ecosystems and business networks. Taken together, they represent a complex problem that many organisations are unable to address.

What we need is to re-invent the organisation. And to do this, we need creative innovation.

The Creative Innovation Asia Pacific conference runs from 28 to 30 November in Melbourne, Australia. It brings together over 40 innovators, thinkers and business leaders who will present strategies, stories and insights to help you address “wicked problems”. Take a look at the full program here.

When you register for the event – use the code wicked to receive a 10% discount. It may be the best investment you make in your business’ future.