How IBM and AusOpen Tennis are rethinking the “sportacular”


The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.
— Guy DeBord, Society of the Spectacle

One of the most transformative trends of the last decade has been the shift from inside-out to outside-in thinking. It can be applied to almost any industry or area of expertise. Think, for example, about technology innovation. Up until recently, new ideas and inventions were the province of internal business and technology teams. Research and development funds and resources would be sunk into various teams and programs – some official and others operating in the shadows. Eventually these ideas would emerge as new products. As innovation made flesh (or wires or software). But over the last decade this has shifted. With more open platforms like Salesforce1, the growth of developer communities for software platforms from SAP to Marketo, Jive to Atlassian, innovation has breached the firewall and has taken on a life of its own.

The combination of open-ish platforms and abundant data is creating new opportunities for businesses and their customers alike. But the benefits are not limited to an in-your-face direct-to-your-phone coupon or BOGOF offer. By combining technology and matching it to human behaviour, we are beginning to explore a whole new world of experiences. And the testing ground for this innovation is not a lab in the middle of the Nevada Desert, but right here, at one of Australia’s largest sporting events – the Australian Open Tennis.

IBM and the Australian Open Tennis have been partners for decades. Many years ago, my extended team worked on IBM’s large scale sports events like the Olympics, NBA, Super Bowl and the Australian Open – so I had the opportunity to see – from the inside – how the technology and services were brought together. There has been a lot of water under the bridge in that time, so when I was invited to go “behind the scenes” and learn how things had changed, I jumped at the chance.

As has always been the case, the technology and services that IBM provides are deeply embedded in the running of the event.  But it’s not just the outward facing systems and technology. These days, the technology and business process integration taps into the way that the grand slam tournament is run and reported – it’s “hard wired” or should I say “wirelessly” into the fabric of the business, event management and fan experience. This partnership stretches from the electronic impulses of the web to the real time provisioning of servers, to the deployment of onsite security personnel, management of player timetables and grand slam rules and the amplification of fan experiences via social media.

Big Data on the Centre Court

Ian Wong from IBM’s interactive experiences team stepped the technology through its paces, revealing court data for each of the games. There were enough high level statistics to excite the armchair observer – from fastest serve to win ratios and more. All of this data was being captured by a combination of on-court technology and human observation. The umpire’s scoring PDA  fed directly into the system, managing scoring, counting strokes and helping to keep the games moving to time. High up in the stands were also other observers who were cross-checking and monitoring the on-court action.

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The data capture sounds impressive – to a point – but the big data activity underlying is where it becomes fascinating. Each game, each point, each stroke is captured and stored. This information is then processed and analysed – and builds upon the same data going back over eight years. This massive data store allows the IBM team and Australian Open to profile players and particular matches and to use a matching algorithm to unlock the “keys to the match”.

For example, say Martina Hingis was playing Serena Williams. The system could pull all previous match data and reveal aspects of match play that each had to achieve in order to win. The “keys to the match” could be “successful first serve 76% of the time” or “serving to the opponent’s backhand 65% of the time for second serves” and so on. Interestingly, this information and analytics power is made available to coaches and players through interactive panels – though not to the general public.

From off-court big data to real world big data

While the spectacle of on-court action is the drawcard, in true “Society of the Spectacle” form, a just as important aspect of the Australian Open Tennis is the fan experience. Tennis Australia CIO, Samir Mahir, has put together a massive sense and respond network that not only connects fans – it responds to their needs – matching expectation and demand with services and resources just-in-time. As Samir explained, “it’s about getting more people to come to the Tennis”.

Ingeniously, providing free wifi for all attendees means that fans are always connected – with a fat pipe of data ready and available at all times. AusOpen have established “Selfie Zones” around the stadium where people are encouraged to take photos and share via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And when tagged, can be displayed on the big screens on the centre court for all to see.

But this is just the start of the big data story. As people move around the stadium, routers count the number of connections to wifi points of presence. This data is then fed in real time to the logistics engines which can determine whether there are sufficient security personnel, adequate ticketing booths open and available or enough food and drink vendors in the right location. If necessary, food and drink or security personnel are notified and redeployed to ensure levels of service and safety are maintained across the massive complex.

Similarly, social media is monitored for volume and velocity. This information is then crunched by IBM’s Watson natural language processor. Realising that an increase in social media activity creates increased demand on the AusOpen website, IBM is then able to use social media velocity to predict and trigger on-demand webserver provisioning.

From sport to sportacular

By placing the fan – the consumer of sport – at the centre of the tennis experience, IBM and the Australian Open are transforming what was once a spectator event to a “sportacular”. They are combining and showcasing the gladiatorial contest on court, the preparations on the practise courts and an experience for fans that connects the location and their own experience in an event that is part of a global grand slam series.

In an instant these messages, are captured, multiplied, beamed around the world and brought back to the individual one selfie at a time.

The basically tautological character of the spectacle flows from the simple fact that its means are simultaneously its ends. It is the sun which never sets over the empire of modern passivity. It covers the entire surface of the world and bathes endlessly in its own glory.
— De Bord, Society of the Spectacle.

Note: travel and accommodation were courtesy of IBM.


Do CMOs Like to Play the Field?


CMOs are a funny breed. They work with a constant tension – half living in the shadow of the former incumbent and half looking towards their own future vision. And with a tenure that lasts about 45 months, that means that there is about two years’ worth of clean air for the marketing chief to make their stamp on a business. It’s precious little when you think about it.

So, from an agency point of view, working with a CMO also has challenging ramifications. Is there alignment between the agency and the CMO? Is there a long term partnership? Or is there a whole new agenda at play?

The Agency Management Institute has released a study that looks under the hood at what truly drives the agency partnership by interviewing CMOs from across the US. It reveals three main style of CMO:

  • Looking for love: these are the CMOs who are in it for the long haul. They are looking for the one-stop-shop and see the agency as a partner in the business and brand building process
  • Playing the field: this is the CMO who hires best of breed. They want the expert know-how and will shake up the agency relationship to keep the blood pumping
  • Single and satisfied: these CMOs are firmly in control of their own destiny – they’ve got strong in-house teams and use agencies on a project by project basis.

Understanding the CMO you are dealing with can help you plan ahead. But there are some things that all the CMOs agreed upon – agencies need to stop being pushy and need to work on building trust levels. Easy to say, hard to do.



Marketing the First Step for Retailers Matrix Commerce


Australian retailers have lost a decade on their US-based rivals. Since the early 2000s, many of the US retailers have been actively gathering and analysing the mountains of behaviour-oriented data generated by web traffic and putting it to work. Sites like eBay and Amazon use this information to transform their business from the outside-in – taking the data, extracting the insight and taking action.

However, as Michael Wu, Lithium’s principal scientist of analytics points out, information does NOT equal insights. He identifies three elements that transform information to insight:

  1. Interpretability – the hformation must be able to be interpreted. For example, unstructured data can float by in a sea of big data but unless it can be interpreted, its value is nil
  2. Relevance – if the information is not relevant – if it has no context, then again, it has limited value
  3. Novelty – the data must yield some insight that we do not already know. Otherwise it is reinforcing or validating an already available insight

The recent ClickFrenzy campaign run by Australian retailers would have yielded a tremendous amount of clickstream data. I presume, however, that this data was aggregated by the ClickFrenzy affiliate program and not the retailers themselves. In effect, local retailers have provided a significant boost to the ClickFrenzy business, allowing them to rapidly build a contact list, understand buying preferences of identified (and traceable) customers and creating a brand that is, itself, capable of disrupting the entire retail industry. This is the true power of big data.

This infographic from Monetate shows that while big data is available to retailers, many are unprepared or unable to leverage this data to gain insight or act.  And yet, US retailers also indicate that the highest priority for investment in big data is in the field of marketing.

The shift to a matrix commerce focus for retailers is occurring now

The explosion of structured and unstructured data over the last two years has levelled the retail playing field. Bricks and mortar businesses can no longer rely on their business models or supply chains to attract and retain customers. New entrants are flooding the digital marketplace with compelling, relevant and novel offerings that are attracting connected consumers. Matrix commerce sees the convergence of demand signals and supply chains in an ever increasingly complex world where connected consumers are seeking frictionless buying experiences.

  • Is your retail marketing ready for that world?
  • Is your technology up for the challenge?
  • Do your teams have the skill to deliver?

You know that a disruptive competitor is already only a click away.


#PMdigital–The Australian Prime Minister’s Digital Forum

On Friday, October 5, the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, hosted a forum on the digital economy. Streamed via the web it brought together business leaders, academics, politicians and small business owners. Through out the day, speakers returned to the themes that are driving change in our lives – what we refer to as the five forces of the consumerisation of IT. PLUS the need for skills and training – ways to impact the culture of business, drive change in our workforces and prepare our teams for the future of work.

This storify captures and curates the topics from the day.

Forum on the Digital Economy

The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, hosted a forum on the digital economy. It brought together more than 30 senior business representatives, entrepreneurs and industry bodies to discuss how Australia can best maintain an edge in growing the digital economy.

Storified by Gavin Heaton · Sat, Oct 06 2012 22:28:30

In Sydney today. Meeting with teaching students at UNSW then Forum on the Digital Economy. Ask questions on #pmdigital before 12. JGJulia Gillard
@servantofchaos so far, i see too many men, too many old men, and too many suits #pmdigitalforum /@FLTBTGalan jones
RT @thefetch: RT @thefetch: For those following the #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum check out what’s going on in digital in Australia on …Nicole Matejic
@bigyahu & same group of old male suits are throwing out ideas "guaranteed" to get more interest in STEM subjects from girls #pmdigitalforumJennifer Macdonald
POV: It’s about the 5 forces of consumerisation of IT – from transactions to engagement #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
RT @techAU: RT @techAU: Wow.. 70% of Australia Post parcel shipping is generated from online sales #PMDigitalForummygivee
@tuna Yep – it looks like an intro for Gov/Big Business to what’s been going on for years #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: If someone’s going to cannibalise our business, it should be us: @australiapost #pmdigitalforumGionest Greene
Prime Minister’s Forum on the Digital Economy (with images, tweets) Storify by @yawcrc #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum ^BTConnecting Up
RT @geeksrulz: RT @geeksrulz: PM held the forward looking #pmdigitalforum today about the digital economy while Abbott played navel gazing narcissistic …j4gypsy
RT @MissLaurenMoss: RT @MissLaurenMoss: No young representation. How is this still happening?!! #pmdigitalforumNurse Whitebeard
RT @jalbinag: RT @jalbinag: many pens, not many ipads/tablets on the #pmdigitalforum table :)Antonio Tirado
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: Way more than $1 trillion at stake in the workplace of the future #pmdigitalforum #futureofwork Rasquilha
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: Really? Young people shouldn’t be represented at #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum? I see that oversight as a major failKathy Magee
RT @MissLaurenMoss: RT @MissLaurenMoss: No young representation. How is this still happening?!! #pmdigitalforumMarie Bismark
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: Hearing a lot about leadership, culture and change #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum Like to hear these leaders actually co …Alfred Fuhr
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: POV: Still not a fan of "fail fast". We need to fail + learn = #flearn #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumAlfred Fuhr
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: "The digital economy is like a train that we can’t stop". All aboard! #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumAlfred Fuhr
Brilliant – thanks! MT @mattner_d: Stats on #pmdigital & #pmdigitalforum at & @yawcrc Storify at Leong
For those following the #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum check out what’s going on in digital in Australia on @JuliaGillardThe Fetch
RT @mattner_d: RT @mattner_d: For the data curious, stats on #pmdigital and #pmdigitalforum at and a Storify from @yawcrc at http: …David Pecotic
Enterprises are continuing to watch the startup sector – seeking emergent and best practices, new ways of working and opportunities to outcompete their competitors. 
RT @servantofchaos: "we have to educate our managers … to work in flatter hierarchies" #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum Yep – agreeNiki Gallo Hammond
RT @bhowarth In the digital world being clever is not enough – we need infrastructure, education, awareness & a sense of urgency #pmdigitalSam Searle
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: Heh – Love that Dell talk about "how can we be like @atlassian": @kiwilark #pmdigitalforumEO San Francisco
RT @yawcrc: RT @yawcrc: Tony Shepherd arguing for NBN "most powerful utility AU has ever seen" #pmdigital watch now: Whitebeard
ok here is the #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum theme song..#nbnconnection "the dreamers, the doers & the dollars"
Absolutely. RT @servantofchaos "Technical skills are not enough – we need boundary crossing skills" – excellent #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumChristopher Hewett
Andrew Stevens, CEO of IBM Australia brought up the topic of remote working or “teleworking” – something that has been widespread in the tech community for years. Wider adoption of this alternative way of working taps into the #futureofwork as a business theme.
Andrew form IBM notes that the 20th century is the first century where people ‘go’ to work #pmdigitalAlan Cockerill
Oh and by the way, when Andrew Stevens says "telework" he doesn’t mean watching Oprah #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Love it! Andrew Stevens taking the work/life balance as a 20th century concept to #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumKristyNapier
The C20 was the only century where people left home to go to work. #pmdigital #IBMNarelle
technologically competence isn’t enough we need boundary crossing skills , integrating skilling , leadership and collaboration #pmdigitalJeffrey Rufino
POV: All those micro-managers that we have created will freak over teleworking #futureofwork #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Doing a little dance of fandom of the teleworking (sitting at home, running team meetings, watching #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum)KristyNapier
I really like Andrew Steven’s comment on 20th Century was the last century where people had to leave home to work #pmdigitalKarina Silva
Can we rebrand Telework? Sounds like working on the phone #CallCentre #PMDigitalForumJason Cartwright
"The digital economy is like a train that we can’t stop". All aboard! #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
larger orgs harder to digital-morph due to lack of people with exp. dealing with the corporate beast as well as tech skill #pmdigitalforumjorge albinagorta
ive been surprised in moving from netherlands to nz, then oz at the very low levels of #telework support here #networkedpractice #pmdigitalJoyce Seitzinger
technical skills are not enough, we need boundary-crossing skills to build the digital economy. Its not just technical competence #pmdigitalDigital Sydney
"we have to educate our managers … to work in flatter hierarchies" #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum Yep – agreeGavin Heaton
We need to test the connections between education, business and innovation #pmdigitalforumChete
Many speakers called attention to Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN). A hot political football in public debate, business leaders made it clear that they saw the NBN as a vital base for future innovation.
Lots of support for NBN at the #pmdigitalforum and its essential role as strategic web infrastructureGavin Heaton
“@techAU: NBN is NOT an expensive investment #PMDigitalForum” NO the necessary investment is being done very expensively!Rohan J Gre
RT @jeffreyrufino: RT @jeffreyrufino: NBN isnt expensive. we need better PR. Overcome the ignorance . NBN is a great invesment. #pmdigitalScott
"The most powerful utility the world has ever seen" #NBN #PMDigitalForumJason Cartwright
RT @DBCDEgov: RT @DBCDEgov: PM: Need to get #NBN out there because of how it will change our economy, service delivery and productivity #pmdigitalRoger Woodward FCA
"We’ve got to overcome the ignorance around NBN" #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
POV: We don’t need a vision. We need some commitment and support for what’s already happening #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
The conversation shifted to demographics. On the forum were representatives from the Baby Boomer and Gen X demographics – but Gen Y – the so-called “digital natives” or “net generation” were conspicuously absent. It appears that they were not invited.
Quote #pmdigitalforum "the net generation aren’t even represented here, not that they should be, don’t get me wrong.." er, why?? #pmdigitalJennifer Macdonald
Really? Young people shouldn’t be represented at #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum? I see that oversight as a major failGavin Heaton
@servantofchaos maybe we are living in some alternate universe and it’s not actually 2012? #pmdigitalLauren Moss
RT @craigthomler: RT @craigthomler: @MissLaurenMoss @servantofchaos excluding population aged under 30 from #pmdigital is an oversight. Includes over 8 mi …Lauren Moss
RT @yawcrc: RT @yawcrc: “The net generation are now 25% of the population and will overtake baby boomers by end of this decade.” #pmdigital http://t …Kathy Magee
When @vibewire created #electionwire with Google’s help it changed the nature of participation in digital democracy #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: If we are talking about the "future", why aren’t there more (any) young people at #pmdigitalforum cc @vibewirewilldonovan
POV: Digital is not just taking what we already do and going online. We need to rethink the nature of what we do #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
RT @yawcrc: RT @yawcrc: “Young ppl: freest living ppl ever in history, most educated, astonishing. Better start to understand them.” #pmdigital http …TheDeafGuy
RT @Edmonton_Biz: RT @Edmonton_Biz: @servantofchaos @vibewire #pmdigitalforum could it be young people just do it?
@NickosKitchen discussed the opportunity for innovative content producers.
Love the comment from @NickosKitchen: "I export content and import views." Social media & small business at the #PMdigitalforumBen Leong
lol – treat your audience like your girlfriend #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Was that a quote?! RT @servantofchaos: lol – treat your audience like your girlfriend #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumwilldonovan
Oh god, not more people saying digital & social media marketing is free!? IT’S NOT, nothing is free, especially this!! #pmdigitalforumMartin Walsh
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: The PM is doing a good job in her role as Tony Jones #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum #qandaTim Fawcett
RT @DigitalHume: RT @DigitalHume: Good commentary from Bill Scott on opportunities for agriculture & the #digitaleconomy on the #PMdigitalforum http: …Cisco ANZ
One of the recurring themes of the day was on the topic of education and skilling. A great deal of attention was paid to the topic of technology skills – but this was also seen as just one element. Business culture, innovation and social learning was also on the agenda.
Skills don’t happen in isolation. You need communities and spaces too. That’s what’s been going on at @vibewire #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
A good example of self-organising skills/training is #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
We also need the cultural transformation to match the skilling needs #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
RT @techAU: What about making programming part of the curriculum Prime Miniter? #PMdigitalforum #FutureEd <- that’s what the UK are doingchieftech
"Priorise ICT in schools" says CSIRO #PMDigitalForumJason Cartwright
Hearing a lot about leadership, culture and change #pmdigital #pmdigitalforum Like to hear these leaders actually committing to it tooGavin Heaton
POV: Vertical hierarchies may be breaking down but we’re a long way from seeing this in most workplaces #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: Way more than $1 trillion at stake in the workplace of the future #pmdigitalforum #futureofwork Johnson
@chieftech #pmdigitalforum @servantofchaos this relevant Lessons for Enterprise from Facebook and its 1 billion users Adamson
RT @techAU: RT @techAU: Wow.. 70% of Australia Post parcel shipping is generated from online sales #PMDigitalForumCarolina Timm
"Being cloud first" is essential for business innovation. #PMDigitalForumAlana Fisher
RT @techAU: RT @techAU: @kwebb @chieftech – We need both, but not everybody needs nursing skills in 2050. #pmdigitalforumDart Wooden
yet we do have the tools & the skills to facilitate knowledge transfer at "cloud" speed, but its needs support #pmdigitalforumchieftech
now @scottfarkas is sharing his @atlassian experience – talking about the impact of globalisation #pmdigitalforumchieftech
Small businesses were seen as major beneficiaries in the shift to digital, yet many lack the skills and experience needed to take advantage of the opportunities.
Interesting @servantofchaos 46% of GDP comes from small business – we see SMB move to the cloud to support that growth @xero #pmdigitalforummaryella hatfield
Most studies show ~65%+ AU #smallbiz have no website. Driving Biz Online program is good start, but what is govt doing? #PMDigitalForumAlana Fisher
"There’s an education gap in small business for [digital] retail" #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Catch Of The Day initially set out to sell 60 items/day on eBay. What a great digital success story from @pookiman #PMDigitalForumAlana Fisher
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: SMB want the simplification of IT that cloud delivers: @xero #pmdigitalforumbigwags
RT @techAU: RT @techAU: This year, 25% of PayPal’s transactions in Australia are done on mobile, projections of up to 70% #PMDigitalForumBen Teoh
Australia Post straddles the enterprise and small business market. 
"Get with the [digital] program" says @australiapost #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Technology is not driving change. Consumers are driving change. It’s obligation to serve our customers: @australiapost #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
We need to win the early scale challenges says @australiapost #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
“@servantofchaos: Amazon now sell half of the nappies sold in the US: Stephen Conroy #pmdigitalforum” #retail #CloudJames Gorry
If someone’s going to cannibalise our business, it should be us: @australiapost #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
If we don’t want to end up like Kodak, what are we going to do to adapt? @australiapost #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: POV: Lots of talk about disruptive technology at #pmdigitalforum – but it’s driven by peopleTatiana Tosi
Xero – SaaS accounting software platform – bring cloud computing to the small business sector – but are also finding that as a business theme, mobility is having a massive impact on the way small businesses perform.
"business owners are truly mobile": @xero #pmdigitalforumGavin Heat
46% of GDP comes from small business – we see SMB move to the cloud to support that growth: @xero #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Aussie businesses aren’t making effective use of IT, missing 12% productivity benefit #pmdigitalforumchieftech
Yep – big data, mobility, social, unified comms and cloud converge #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Conroy joins in the conversation to discuss the #NBN #PMDigitalForum – Cartwright
POV: Would have liked to have seen more digital ways to participate #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Agile and Scrum dev get a mention #Amazing #developerDeveloperDeveloper #PMDigitalForumJason Cartwright
Andy Lark, CMO of the Commonwealth Bank spoke of the need to build digital skills into the workforce.
"If we don’t grow a digital savvy workforce, we will lag the world fast": @kiwilark #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
POV: @aussiefarmersd are a good example of the on and offline / omni channel strategy is ascendant #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
POV: Education should NOT follow the #retail sector – but there does need to be a new education experience #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Exactly – online drives off – we may learn online but we need to connect IRL #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
When we can enrol in a course in < 2minutes it changes the way we think of the future #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Digital pioneer, Steve Vamos brought up the topic of failure, learning and the importance of continuous innovation.
If I wasn’t prepared to learn then I would suffer. If I wasn’t prepared to fail, then I wouldn’t learn: @stevevamos #flearn #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
POV: Still not a fan of "fail fast". We need to fail + learn = #flearn #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Management practices in the digital era are significantly different: @stevevamos #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
@megabowman Puffles says lots of boards of directors tend to only hear the risks associated with social media, not benefits #pmdigitalThe Dragon Fairy
many pens, not many ipads/tablets on the #pmdigitalforum table :)jorge albinagorta
digital transformation is more cultural than technological #pmdigitalforumjorge albinagorta
RT @servantofchaos: "It’s the obligation of every CEO to bring your staff along with you on this digital transformation" #pmdigitalforumStephen Ellis
POV: While Virgin think "access" is the important aspect. I think it’s more about engagement #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
RT @kellysaysthat: RT @kellysaysthat: #pmdigital Big business gets way too much credit for doing a moderate job in Social. #pmdigitalMartina
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: Great point from @bhowarth – need to bring startup culture and thinking to the big end of town too #pmdigitalforumIBMAus_news
"It’s the obligation of every CEO to bring your staff along with you on this digital transformation" #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
CommBank and @kiwilark get a mention re innovation and tech for enterprise #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
And more happening with @digital_sydney, @pollenizer etc #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
@servantofchaos its really funny there is a ground swell, but it takes govt/big business 5 years to notice… #tooslow #PMDigitalForumGary Barber
The discussion shifted to the importance of physical spaces – and the emergence of digital precincts as hubs for startups and innovators.
Great to hear talk of the innovation precincts that are emerging in Australia – eg UTS, Vibewire and Fishburners in Ultimo #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
@shoesofprey talks about the disappointment with IIF grants ending #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: "There’s an education gap in small business for [digital] retail" #pmdigitalforumDigital Newcastle
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: As Tony Faure says we need to encourage experimentation #pmdigitalforum – time to "#FLEARN"Matt Jones
Love that Angel and VC funding are being dicussed at this level in Australia, it’s been a long time coming #PMdigitalforumJason Cartwright
RT @constructivco: Check out @pollenizer for more information. Great contributions at #PMDigitalForumGavin Heaton
Tony Faure from incubator, Pollenizer, discussed the legislative and regulation challenges that governments have put in place and how they inhibit innovation in the startup sector. A key element of this is the taxation implications around employee share options.
@glengyron Grants are available but often not taken up through lack of awareness #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
RT @servantofchaos: Lots of support for NBN at the #pmdigitalforum and its essential role as strategic web infrastructureConstellation RG
"Our current regulations around employee share options … need to change" #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
As Tony Faure says we need to encourage experimentation #pmdigitalforum – time to "#FLEARN"Gavin Heaton
Various grants are available to help support Australian startups – but many are just not aware of the support available.
Less than half of Australian startups have received a grant. Need more help here #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
Why would that be good? RT @servantofchaos: Less than half of Australian startups have received a grant. Need more help here #pmdigitalforumGlengyron
Bill Shorten discussed social media, suggesting that “empowered individuals” had not translated to the workplace.
RT @megabowman: RT @megabowman: Social media as empowered individuals but this hasn’t translated to workplaces – Bill Shorten #pmdigitalJosé M Villanueva
RT @yawcrc: RT @yawcrc: Technologies can enable marginalised and vulnerable young people’s participation in supportive online spaces #pmdigital http …Pantallas Sanas
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard began to close down the discussion – summarising the day’s proceedings and main themes – and bringing up the Governments “cyber whitepaper”.
Ha! "Cyber white paper" … that’s so last century #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumGavin Heaton
@JuliaGillard please note there is a cloud strategy for your government see: #pmdigital #gov2auCraigThomler
cloud computing is one of the major discussions #pmdigital a cyber white paper is being released soon. asian century of growth, security.Jeffrey Rufino
Confusion between the aims of the cyber whitepaper and the national digital economy strategy doesn’t seem to be resolved #pmdigitalReid Elliott
RT @craigthomler: RT @craigthomler: @JuliaGillard please note there is a cloud strategy for your government see: #pmdigital #gov2auJeffrey Rufino
Exactly my thought RT @craigthomler @JuliaGillard please note there is cloud strategy for your gov #pmdigital #gov2auPia Waugh
PM summing u 4 issues for follow-up: tech skills, telework education, cloud strategy & broad cyber/digital whitepaper #pmdigitalBrad Howarth
#pmdigital outcomes 1) PM is asking Chris Evans to meet with a breakout number from the #pmdigital attendees to talk. 2) telework importantPia Waugh
#pmdigital outcomes 2 cont’d) telework goals for Aus workforce. Second breakout group of attendees to meet with Secretaries on teleworkingPia Waugh
#pmdigital outcomes 3) cloud: need to spread what can mean for SMEs, Minister Conroy to bring ppl together to disc
uss it & create strategyPia Waugh
#pmdigital outcomes 4) Cyber Whitepaper soon to come and expanded to Digital Whitepaper. Also Asian Century of Growth whitepaper comingPia Waugh
#pmdigital outcomes 4 cont’d) they will get people in room to contribute to Digital Whitepaper too. Personal note: how about the rest of us?Pia Waugh
As the conversation wound down, many suggested that this should be the first step in an ongoing conversation – not the end of the story.
Tremendous discussions today at #pmdigital at UNSWCisco ANZ
Online privacy and safety hugely important but not on agenda at #pmdigital. Nice to talk about potential and positives for a little while!Young and Well CRC
Sounds like an interesting day at the Digital Forum today – thanks for all the tweets #pmdigitalJessica Fell
RT @DBCDEgov: RT @DBCDEgov: PM: we need to work together to seize opportunities – bring together the dreamers the doers and the dollars #pmdigitalBrendan Brooks
"We’ve got the best and the brightest". Actually, loads of expertise out here in digital land that could contribute to #pmdigital…Pia Waugh
Enjoyed following #pmdigital all afternoon – great complement to the webcast.clairemcfarland
.@DBCDEgov Hey guys, will there be a report or anything from today? Be great to collate perspectives and get some peer review :) #pmdigitalPia Waugh
RT @DBCDEgov: RT @DBCDEgov: Want to get involved in #telework? sign up for National Telework Week #pmdigital #NTWaudavidelliot
Talkfest at #pmdigital but where is the tweetstream… where are the online notes for each speaker, where is the real time voting +1…Richard Ferrers
RT @servantofchaos: RT @servantofchaos: POV: We don’t need a vision. We need some commitment and support for what’s already happening #pmdigital #pmdigitalforumJavier Gallego
Where next? How do we get involved? RT @craigthomler: What will be the outcomes of the #pmdigital forum?Gavin Heaton

Customer Experience is the Future of Retail

One of the things that interests me about retail is the potential for performance – for art, drama and transformational customer experiences. But so few retailers deliver this. In almost every case, I am underwhelmed by the retail experience. The range on offer is limited, understocked or difficult to find. Customer service – should you actually be able to find someone to serve you – tends to be cursory and uninformed. Sure there are exceptions … but these tend to be localised – known and loved in pockets across the city.

One of my favourites are the jovial, knowledgeable and friendly “grandpas” at Bunnings Warehouse who are not only helpful but willing to share a lifetime of home maintenance experience. When I bought my first lawn mower years ago, I was guided through the different options and brands by a man who might have been my own grandfather. He not only sold me the option he thought was best for my needs, he also gave me tips on mowing – time of day, technique and even suggestions to get the right kind of edge close to the vege patch. This high touch customer service humanises the vast spaces of the hardware warehouses that have become weekend Meccas for Australian home owners with more than a passing interest in DIY.

My local salon, MGs for Men, also takes a very different approach to customer experience. It’s neither a bare bones barber shop nor a relaxing pseudo-day spa, it’s closer to a testosterone laden workout. Staffed by a team of edgy, tattooed young men, it feels closer to a gym with squads of buff personal trainers prowling the tiles whipping their charges into physical shape.

But fewer of the larger retailers can claim anything like this sense of brand personality. In fact, I often feel awash in a sea of beige.

Going online is no better. Australia’s major retailers ignored eCommerce for decades – insisting that it was a fad and that shoppers would eventually return to the bricks and mortar experience for the convenience of immediate delivery, sizing in-store and handling returns. Harvey Norman and David Jones have recently revamped their sites – which is a welcome improvement – but still falls far short of a “transformational experience” with limited or no thought given to the online customer’s buying process. The sites are designed around the way that the retailers categorise their range rather than helping customer discover or browse – there are no sizing charts to give the customer a sense of confidence and there is no help or customer support to be found. The visual clutter sends confusing signals to the online shopper and – and there is scant regard to the social dimension of shopping with a basic nod to Facebook here and a review tab or two there.

Compare all this with the trends and opportunities presented in PSFK’s Future of Retail report for 2012 – the “new brand champion” and “retail on-demand”:

  • The new brand champion acts as not only an advocate, but an affiliate to your retail business. They use their social-savvy connections to advocate and sell on your behalf and profit themselves in the process. They also provide vital input into the product rage, design offers (think “crowdsourced buyers”) and deliver shopper-to-shopper customer service.
  • Retail on-demand is the fully digital experience – delivered by ANY connected device. Shoppers trade their data for better, more tailored options and service – from auto-curated shopping to “fit with a click” technology that takes the guess work out of online purchases.

Clearly, Australian retail is some distance away from this type of experience. But it’s not the trend or distance from the trend to the reality that most concerns me. It’s the lack of vision. The trends point in a fundamentally different direction from that followed by Australian retailers. The trends are focused on the customer experience and are centred on the customer journey. For the most part, Australian retail barely acknowledges the existence of the customer. We won’t be able to fix Retail until we fix retail. It’s time to get back to the customer experience.

PSFK presents Future of Retail Report 2012

View more presentations from PSFK

SOAP Creative’s 2012 Predictions

Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of predictions (even if I do like a good horoscope). But this one from the team at Soap Creative not only opens the door for conversations with their clients (and potential clients), it also showcases their design skills, approach and track record (six out of ten for last year’s predictions) with a funky sense of humour.

2012 Digital Predictions
View more presentations from Soap Creative

But out of the predictions shown here – what do you think resonates? What do YOU think will change the way you do business in 2012?

We’re All Talking, But Who Is Listening?

Social media can be amazing – bringing people together from all parts of the world, opening conversations and creating lasting relationships. Just look at Twitter – we can have thousands of followers and can also follow thousands back. We are told that there are 200 million tweets published per day. That’s a lot of talk.

But add this into Facebook where we can be “friends” with many that are close and also with many that we have not seen in years. There are over 750 million active users and we each have, on average 130 friends. We spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the platform with the big blue top bar. But with all this connection are we missing something?

Clearly, social media has a powerful impact on our lives. It can be used to bring us closer to people we care about, allowing us to connect, send messages, updates and so on. But while we may read these updates, that reading is often done in silence. Without acknowledgement. Occasionally we may “like” an update or retweet someone’s message. If pushed we may leave a comment on a blog. But even “participating” in social media can be a lonely business.

That’s why I am such an advocate of #coffeemornings. It’s a chance to leave the technology behind and to get up close and personal with those who we are slowly transforming from “Friends” to friends. You see, while I enjoy social media, I also see that it can also be a way to push people away – to keep others at a distance.

This morning I was shocked to hear of the death of Trey Pennington, well-known marketer and social media advocate. And while we had not met, the shock waves sped around the planet and hit hard. What could have happened? I wondered if it was a car accident. As Kris Colvin explains, it wasn’t. It was, however, a tragedy.

TreyPenningtonGoodbye Depression is a powerful illness. My friends taking the Black Dog Ride across Australia aim to raise awareness of depression and its impact. My own efforts with The Perfect Gift for a Man – a book and ebook with 30 stories about reinventing manhood – and Ehon Chan’s Soften the Fck Up both seek to amplify alternatives. And we have Movember starting up soon.

But while raising funds is important, we need to go beyond this too. We need to check in on our friends. Even the ones that seem fine. We need to make the time for a phone call or a coffee. Share the link to The Perfect Gift for a Man free ebook – or better yet, buy a copy for someone you love – after all, research shows us that sharing these stories has a significant impact on people.

I’m saddened to hear of Trey’s death. I’m sad for his family and friends. And I am sad that while we can be surrounded by thousands, we can still feel isolated and alone. It seems that we’re all talking – but please, do take time to listen. Carefully. Someone’s life could depend on it.

Rest in peace, Trey Pennington.

If you feel you aren’t coping – in Australia – you can Call Lifeline’s 24 hour crisis line on 13 11 14 for support or dial 000 if life is in danger.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

In the past, December has been a month of frantic activity that lasts a week or so, and then it’s a matter of wrapping up loose ends, presents and extra surprise, last minute gifts. This year, it seems that we are all running frantically towards the end of the year with no stop point on the tinsel covered horizon. It’s been busy, busy, busy.

But no matter whether we like it or not, a stop point will come. A New Year will dawn. And there will be work to do, ideas to hatch and projects to kick along.

And just to prove this busyness out, here are five great posts that sound like they have the volume set to 11 on the awesomeness scale. Rock on.

  1. Andy Wibbels over at Get Satisfaction shares The Evolution of CRM Infographic. Or more precisely, it’s the evolution of Social CRM. Not bad. It’s very much focused on the Get Satisfaction model, but does get you thinking. Does it apply to your business?
  2. Because, no doubt, early next year you’ll be asking for the top Australian memes or virals for 2010, be sure to check Julian Cole’s collection.
  3. Ever wondered how Groupon happens to sound so quirky and engaging all the time? Well, here’s the Groupon Secret Copywriting Guide. Some nice tips for us all to remember!
  4. Edward Boches explains, in the context of Frank Rose’s new book, that the story of storytelling is shifting. So what is the future of stories? Yes, it’s the internet. No surprise – right? Wrong. The surprise is in the “why”.
  5. Stefano Maggi rounds out the five must-reads with a gem – reminding us that CRM is in Your Product.

Social Media People on the Move (Australia)

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If so, please let me know by filling in this form (or use the full screen version here). I will publish updates every few months – or as required.

The Future of the Book According to IDEO

I have always loved books. As a small child I was driven to learn to read and had, midway through Year 2, read everything available in my school library. From there I moved onto more advanced topics – history, exploration and geography. I read it all like a great unfolding story – and it expanded my world.

When I took my first post-university role as an editor at a legal publisher, it wasn’t the law that interested me – it was the publishing. During orientation it was clear that I was becoming part of a tradition stretching back centuries. I met people who had had the mythical “job for life” – starting as apprentice typesetters at 16 and working their way through the printing and publishing business with the same employer through to their retirement. But that was another age.

You see, things were shifting.

I was fascinated in the connectedness of things. History and study had shown me how ideas attract and connections form. And already the opportunities to connect data with knowledge appeared as a huge opportunity.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and we are finally seeing the realisation of these early promises. Web publishing was an enormous first step – but favoured the technically literate. Blogging was its democratisation. And I have no doubt that the social overlay that followed in its wake will take another 20 years to manifest.

But what MIGHT it look like? Courtesy of Armando Alves, here are some thoughts from design firm IDEO (who look like they are moving into the hardware business).

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.