Walking a Mile in the Shoes of an Old(er) Person

At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet
— Plato

One of the great challenges of age is empathy. As a child, I viewed my father not as the young, vigorous man that he was, but as an old man. A keeper of knowledge and secrets.

As a young man I saw my elders as fixed barriers. As red traffic lights that would never turn green.

But as many of us do, I was using the lens of my youth to view the world. I saw slowness where there was none. I wore my impatience like a badge of honour. And I favoured action over strategy.

But worse.

I reined in my imagination. I conformed thought to structure. I shrank at the point that I should have expanded. And I did so out of a paucity of love.

But it was in my impoverishment that I received the greatest gift. Time and attention was bestowed upon me without expectation of return. And I learned, to my surprise, that my learning was far from at an end. And that the road ahead was built on the generosity and efforts of my elders and my peers.

To this day I seek mentorship and insight not only from my elders but the young people I come in contact with, my peers – and even strangers. It doesn’t always make for an easy path, but the rewards cannot be measured.

Find and give love in any and all its forms today. You’ll amaze someone (and it may be yourself).

It’s Time for an #EqualFuture

Facts and figures only tell part of the story. They ignore our sense of justice, the emotional impact of our daily realities and the aspirations parents hold for the next generations.

But there are things that we can do. And should do. Ask yourself:

  • What have you committed to changing today?
  • What did you achieve?
  • What will be different tomorrow?

I love this from ANZ. I hope it catches on across the financial services sector and builds to a blaze that changes all our futures.

Lufthansa Takes You on a Virtual Journey

One of the key marketing challenges that we face in the customer journey is moving from awareness to trial. That is, we want potential customers to “try out” our products or services.

This can be particularly challenging when your product or service has a substantial price tag attached.

Think of travel.

There are a whole series of steps that we go through when we are on a travel journey:

  • Ideas and inspiration: We seek out amazing stories, pictures and reviews of places, people and experiences so that we can plan our own adventures
  • Planning and projection: We start to actively curate our activities, destinations and journeys, connecting the dots and figuring out our itineraries and (gasp, horror) budget. In this stage we are not just planning our activities – but actively imagining what it will be like to BE there
  • Lock and load: When we’ve checked, double and triple checked, confirmed our budget and dates, now we wade neck deep into the process of locking dates to a loaded credit card. Yes, it’s commitment time and the pressure is on (so many websites, so many things that can go wrong)
  • See ya, see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya: Wave goodbye to your friends and family and take the leap into the unknown
  • Wish you were here: Well, we say this to be kind, but if the planning and projection phase was well done, you’ll be taking hundreds of selfies all around the world and using them to induce raging envy across your social graph
  • Reflection and longing: Planes aren’t the only things that land with a BUMP. So too does our travel ego. Coming back to “reality” can be a confronting experience. To cope, we return to our #RunningWithTheBulls selfies to remind ourselves just what the travel rush was all about and how we really are #travelheroes.

In amongst each of these steps, there are hardly any that an airline can directly impact. They can inspire us with their media activities, advertising and profile. And they may even help us to plan – albeit in a small way. A good airline will make locking and loading a breeze and but it’s really when you are in the plane that they can make a huge impact.

But experiencing airline travel is expensive, right? And price alone is a barrier.

This virtual travel experience from Lufthansa by 3Spin is a very interesting innovation that I expect will see plenty of others follow.

Lufthansa have touched on many aspects of the travel journey – turning a largely imaginative process into something that is more tangible. More experiential. In fact, it’s not just the destination that is inspirational, it’s the experience of the virtual reality itself. And with a clever mix of digital, analog and old fashioned customer service, they’ve created something far more than just a 360 degree virtual experience. They have created an EVENT – a point in time and space that will create memories. Stories. And hopefully for Lufthansa, bookings.

It makes me think there may be something to this VR lark after all.

The Industrial Internet, Accelerator in a Box and Retail Disruption on #DisrupTV

Each week, Vala Afshar and R “Ray” Wang host a web series DisrupTV. It’s a 30 minute deep dive into the world of digital transformation featuring the people and organizations that are leading that change.

This week’s episode featured GE’s Chief Digital Officer, Ganesh Bell, Constellation Research Principal Analyst, Guy Courtin and myself.

Setting a cracking pace, GE have become the poster child for the world of digital transformation, coining the term “industrial internet”, establishing startups in Silicon Valley and setting a vision to be a top 10 software company by 2020. In the episode, Ganesh talks about the challenges of transformation – of moving from an industrial company to a digital company and what it takes. It’s well worth watching the replay to learn more about the tangible impact of digital transformation that GE is making not just within their business but well beyond it.

Joining Ray and Vala, about 25 minutes in, I shared some insight into the world of enterprise innovation in Australia:

Guy Courtin joined around 45 minutes in and brought amazing insight into the changing world of retail. From showrooming to the internet of things, he covered a vast terrain of disruption and opportunity, suggesting that bricks and mortar stores still have plenty of advantages over their digital only counterparts, and explaining that to be truly transformative, we need to stop thinking about “e” commerce and connect the dots around the customer’s commercial experience.

While the show ran for just over an hour, it’s jam packed with insight and energy. And DisrupTV is fast becoming an authoritative, must watch series for all those who are serious about the business of disruption and transformation in business. Check out recordings of past episodes here. And watch this week’s episode replay from Blab below.

Marketers as Innovators – Join the DisrupTV Live Stream

This weekend – at 5am Australian daylight time – I will be joining the hosts of DisrupTV, R “Ray” Wang and Valar Afshar to talk marketing-led innovation, and provide a snapshot of the Australian innovation landscape. This weekly web series is streamed live on Blab.im and is focused on leadership, innovation and disruption in the enterprise and brings together A-list guests, the latest enterprise news, hot startups, insight from influencers, and much more. And when I say “A-list guests”, I’m not talking about celebrities. I’m talking about business and technology leaders who are changing the way that we do, think about and create value in business.

The show has featured:

The discussion with Alex Osterwalder is eye opening and full of insight for those seeking to change the way businesses organise themselves, create value and operate in the world. It’s well worth tuning in (embedded below).

This week’s interview features GE’s Chief Digital Officer, Ganesh Bell. He leads digital innovation and transformation, and is responsible for the digital solutions business and digital engagement to drive business growth. I will be discussing the nature of corporate innovation, how a market-product fit wins over a product-market fit in the enterprise, and will touch on some of the initiatives arising from the Australian Government’s #IdeasBoom. We’ll also be joined in the “Influencer’s Corner” by Guy Courtin, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research.

Be sure to tune in at 11 a.m. PT/ 2 p.m. ET and remember to tweet your questions using the #DisrupTV hashtag.

DisrupTV: Featuring Alex Osterwalder, CEO at Strategyzer 3.4.16

This week on DisrupTV, we interviewed Alex Osterwalder, CEO at Strategyzer. We also caught up with Tradeshift’s CEO Christian Lanng and Constellation Research’s Chris Kanaracus. DisrupTV is a weekly Web series with hosts R “Ray” Wang and Vala Afshar. The 30-minute show airs live at 11:00 a.m. PT/ 2:00 p.m.

Forget Data. Let’s Talk Revelation

I love data. I love the way that it can be collected, crushed, crunched and reported. I love its beautiful, malleable nature and the way that it sticks incongruously to information.

I particularly love the way that data can be wrestled into shape to yield an answer. Years ago, I was able to accurately predict a corporate takeover through the harvesting of different types of web data, analytics and a spot of digital snooping. But what I found was not data – or even a series of data points. What I found was a revelation.

These days I am constantly reminded of the gulf that exists between data and analysis, analysis and insight and insight and revelation. We have “fact checking” websites, big data repositories and infographics proclaiming the best practices for everything from walking dogs to the time to send emails. We are swimming in a sea of data without an insight to save us.

We think – as marketers, or business people more generally – that data will give us the answers. But this is incorrect. It will only point us towards more questions that need to be asked. This is why switched on marketers are adapting the techniques of “growth hackers” from the startup world. Growth hackers have learned that you can use data to test, experiment and improve your marketing – and that this is a never ending cycle. A constant irritation and challenge. It’s also a necessary part of proving value to your customers.

Growth hacking puts data in its proper place. As yet another point to consider when trying to deliver commercial or social outcomes for a brand. But it’s not the only one. It’s not even the most important one.

This great video featuring Richard Huntington, Director of Strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi makes the point that what we are seeking is not data. It’s revelation. And in too many instances we stop at data. Or thread-bare insight. Falling short of revelation. And that is doing no one any favours.

As Richard says at the end of the presentation – we have to remember which business we are in. I will leave him to remind you which that is.

When Your Dev is the Centre of Your Universe

I like to think that when I ran a digital agency that my team loved me. I like to think that my demands were, for the most part, not unreasonable. Or that my scoping and project planning came close enough to achievable. But I also know that my expectations would sometimes be unreasonable. Or that “going above and beyond” really did mean going to the CEO’s house.

The thing is, marketing without IT is almost impossible now. Imagine if you had to revert to faxes (what are they?). Or hand drawn mock-ups. Or “camera ready art”.

This is why marketers and technical teams need to work on better relations. We need better ways to communicate. And even just respect some professional boundaries.

Will it happen? It can. And it needs to. Because your dev is the centre of your universe.

MediaScope Blab: Australian Ad and Media Industry Round-Up

The rise of streaming social media continues to produce surprising results. We have Meerkat and Periscope putting powerful, real time streaming capabilities into our hands at the touch of a button, we have Facebook Live Video in selected release – and now, one of my new favourites, Blab.im offering a virtual, live streaming app for panel and group discussions.

But if you have tuned into a Meerkat or Periscope stream, you’re likely to find them largely one dimensional. To host and hold a stream of people, you really do need to have a level of comfort in front of the camera. Add to this the difficulty with storage and replay, then the utility value of the stream can be quite minimal.

The group format of Blab, however, has a number of benefits over the single live stream offered by Meerkat and Periscope:

  • The panel format means that the performance pressure is shared by three other participants
  • Real time discussion can take place directly rather than via text/messaging
  • Discussions can be opened out through the platform, via Twitter or messaging.

But the best thing to do is to watch a Blab in action. Here, MediaScope’s Denise Shrivell does a wrap-up of the Australian Ad and Media Industry with Jules Lund, Charlotte Valente and Seb Rennie – along with contributions from others. Usually this kind of production would take coordination, equipment, scheduling and so on – but with Blab, participants beamed in (and out) without leaving their offices. It’s fantastic to see where this may go.

Watch live conversations about topics that matter most to you

How to Make a Privacy Complaint

When Disruptor’s Handbook and Constellation Research hosted an evening meetup recently for the Australian launch of Ray Wang’s Disrupting Digital Business book, we were hoping to get some conversation going amongst the audience. We talked all manner of disruption – from innovation to technology, big data to marketing – and everywhere in between. But it wasn’t until we hit the topic of Privacy that debate really kicked off.

It was all in. Twenty or thirty of Australia’s leading business innovators held forth in open debate. And after an hour or so, we realised we’d only scratched the surface. There was plenty more work to be done.

And while there were contrasting views and concerns, one thing was clear. We are all now subject to much greater openness – and therefore at risk of some part of our privacy being compromised. So what are we to do?

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has created a great video to explain.

Live a Rewarding Life – Pay it Forward with Annie Parker

“We rise by lifting others”

Do you ever wonder what you want to be when you grow up? Have you asked this at age 20? 30? 40? 50? Beyond?

Do you look at your career, your choices and your reflection in the mirror and wonder how you have arrived where you have found yourself?

Too often we find that our choices are made for us and that we find ourselves swept along on the path of someone else’s life. How do we change this? Regain our sense of purpose? Annie Parker, co-founder of Telstra incubator, Muru-D shares her story of what it takes to live a rewarding life. It’s a talk given as part of the Do Lectures and she suggests there are four things you can do:

  1. Say no to something as a catalysing decision for a new awesome beginning
  2. Pay it forward by helping others

You’ll need to watch the video to learn the other two insights. It’s 16 minutes well spent on changing your life.