- Digital Media
- digital strategy
- digital media marketing
- middle east
- Nadine Najla
- Nadine Abou-Elias
- public relations
Connected to the Real World?
I received this image from a friend a while ago when we were both sitting in a very boring lecture where nobody seemed to pay attention to what was going on. And looking at the image distracted me even more and made me think: What went wrong there? Did the speaker even notice that? Attendees glued to their smartphone screens but not to his slides, and definitely not his presentation.
What was missing was the connection to the real world, between speaker, audience and what the value of the information could be in our daily lives. Establishing this connection is something that is more important for businesses in all industries than ever before.
If you are looking at your screen all day you might forget that your actual audience is human. They are out there and they do not want pixels but the solution to a real life problem.I seriously believe that knowing your audience and connecting with it emotionally means everything. Danny Brown commented in a thought-provoking blogpost that we are the “connection generation” - and he is damn right about that. Is the product you are building only a bunch of pixels?
Think about it.
How to Avoid Information Pinballing
The speed and volume of information in the modern age can make us feel like our heads may physically blow clean off our necks.
In the world of marketing communications and ebusiness, both client-side and agency colleagues I’ve spoken share the same sentiment: it’s extremely difficult to effectively utilize the small bucket of time they have every week to read and synthesize information.
Metalife, a futurist/cultural insights agency, calls this struggle information pin-balling. In short, human minds are not programmed to handle the volume and interactivity of modern information. As a result, most of us bounce from content to content, barely absorbing the surface level information and over-relying on a cloud of information to supplement our inability to store and recall facts.
After witnessing and experiencing this phenomenon myself, I’ve isolated a few problems and some simple solutions that I believe help our minds recall and absorb information.
Four things you do that exasperates information pin-balling:
Do you read a whitepaper while answering emails and listening to music? If so, comprehension levels are probably going to be low. There are lots of good studies out there that establish that humans are very poor at multi-tasking.
2. Poor (or lack of) archiving system.
What do you do after you stumble into a great financial services campaign from Germany? If you don’t have a system to log articles, you are not going to be able to action insights and best practices when the time comes to use it.
3. Lack of rigorous evaluation
The democratization of information has led to an explosion of agencies and experts. There are now more people than ever tasked with analyzing information and making strategic decisions. Unfortunately; due to lack of time, skill and/or will, there seems to be a lack of critical evaluation taking place.
Even if you didn’t major in statistics and it’s been a while since your last research methods class, you ought to be capable of assessing methodology, assumptions, limitations and similarities at a high level.
4. Quantity over Quality
Rather than deeply evaluating one sub-topic of a larger theme, many of us seem to get a thrill out of exploring 100 different topics at a surface level.
- Find a quiet space, turn off all other applications and take notes while you read.
- Develop a knowledge bank database with a reliable tagging system and a search function that indexes tags and file text contents (Noise uses Zotero, an open source citation management application developed by George Mason University).
- Rather than trying to read 1,000 articles on 1,000 different topics, choose one topic per week or even month and find as many reliable sources as possible.
- Wherever possible, try to find on the root sources of information (press release, research study) rather than the chatter and commentary that are simply derivatives of that core information.
- Document each article’s argument, sources, methodology, findings, etc while you read.
- Compare and contrast notes for articles that address the same topic for common threads than you can turn into actionable insights down the road.
You Can’t Win with Yesterday’s Ideas
If the “eject” button was hit and took you out of the game today, would your business be missed? Does your company turn heads, stop people in their tracks and create buzz? Are you unforgettably distinct? Or, would a competitor happily step into the breach and serve your customers seamlessly?
These questions underline the central topics in Kevin & Jackie Freiberg and Dain Dunston’s terrific manifesto “Innovate or parish! What’s your strategy?“ that I just came across. This is a great document that helps organizations implement innovation in their schemes. Approaching it step by step, using the Tata Nano as an example -with $2100 a game changer in the car industry-, the authors give a systematic “how to” to develop the capacity to see what others can’t see and turn those insights into innovations faster that our competitors do.
Surely, there are thousands of “How to” guides out there but this one is different. I was touched because it grasps me by the collar and it encourages me to actually do something. That’s the stuff I like to read.
Read the full document here.
The 4 leadership strategies that accelerate innovation:
1. Be comfortable being uncomfortable.
2. Have guts to live dangerously
3. Shake it up! Hire some CRAZIES.
4. Be hungry for change.
Three quotes to encourage you to read the whole piece:
“If you want to lead innovation and inspire a team of nanovators you must notice, lead and disrupt to make the world better.”
“Innovators aren’t necessarily futurists, but they do pay close attention to the early warning signs that precede major cultural, societal, and market shifts. They tune in to the ways that seemingly unrelated patterns are shaping our world.”
“You can’t win with yesterday’s ideas, so what are the big, converging trends that are headed your way?”