Neil Williams with a refreshing take on the new Digital Engagment Tsar’s job description: “So no pressure then. It’s truly a cracking job ad, targeting the challenges faced by government’s digital pioneers with a laser-like precision.”
Drift. Nikki Pugh walk’s Digbeth to discover that GPS is a bit cronky: “As I walked, I noticed that the device in my right hand was consistently giving me more erratic readings for my position than the one in my left hand. At one point I left them both next to each other on a wall for a few minutes so that when I could tell if it was my body disrupting the signal, or if it was because the device in my right hand was closer to the buildings I was walking past.”
Melanie Hayes clarifies how 4iP ought not be as clear cut as critics (see comments here) argue: “I don’t want to encourage a box-ticking approach to submitting ideas to 4iP; we want ideas that reflect the spirit of our investment criteria not simply a list that tells us what you think we want to hear. Such an approach would never succeed anyway because it ignores the more intangible element of our process which is the exercise of professional judgement by a team that has been purposefully selected because of their diverse range of views, skills and expertise.”
Anecdote on the power of hobbies for building communities. “I noticed an animated discussion between two of the engineers talking about their love for motor bikes. They’d worked out they both had an interest in German classics and one was describing a fuel tank issue he was having. You could see that there was trust and respect in the conversation and this trust and respect was at least partially developed while discussing their hobby.”
Steve Jobs Logs Off? Jack Schofield reporting claims that Steve Jobs is not online. He adds a very useful reminder for any of us online: “I suggest you heed the immortal words of Shirdi Sai Baba: “Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary, does it improve upon the silence?”
If you’ve been keeping tabs on this blog recently you know that I do love my apple computer and that I’m curious about networks and how networks can accelerate innovation. This weeks cover story for The Economist is “What other companies can learn from Apple.”
The magazine sets out four ideas:
“The first is that innovation can come from without as well as within…its real skill lies in stitching together its own ideas with technologies from outside and then wrapping the results in elegant software and stylish design. The idea for the iPod, for example, was originally dreamt up by a consultant whom Apple hired to run the project. It was assembled by combining off-the-shelf parts with in-house ingredients such as its distinctive, easily used system of controls. Apple is, in short, an orchestrator and integrator of technologies, unafraid to bring in ideas from outside but always adding its own twists. Making network innovation work involves cultivating contacts with start-ups and academic researchers, constantly scouting for new ideas and ensuring that engineers do not fall prey to “not invented here” syndrome, which always values in-house ideas over those from outside.”
“Second, Apple illustrates the importance of designing new products around the needs of the user, not the demands of the technology. Too many technology firms think that clever innards are enough to sell their products, resulting in gizmos designed by engineers for engineers. Apple has consistently combined clever technology with simplicity and ease of use.”
“a third lesson from Apple is that smart companies should sometimes ignore what the market says it wants today. The iPod was ridiculed when it was launched in 2001, but Mr Jobs stuck by his instinct. Nintendo has done something similar with its popular motion-controlled video-game console, the Wii. Rather than designing a machine for existing gamers, it gambled that non-gamers represented an untapped market and devised a machine with far broader appeal.”
“The fourth lesson from Apple is to “fail wisely”. The Macintosh was born from the wreckage of the Lisa, an earlier product that flopped; the iPhone is a response to the failure of Apple’s original music phone, produced in conjunction with Motorola.”
It seems to me that these are all attributes which government could use well. Perhaps the hardest for government is the idea of ignoring what the market (voter) says it wants today – although one of the key functions of good government is to have an understanding of the future and make plans for it.
Greenpeace have just popped this up on Youtube to show how they are still using Apple technology to keep in touch with Steve Jobs over their Greenmyapple campaign. Tom Dowdall, the web editor at Greenpeace International, has just e-mailed me to say they borrowed a headline from an earlier post on Podnosh for this detailed explanation of how the camapign integrated a wide range of social software to apply pressure, share ideas and untap the innovation of mac users. Good read. Nice job.
The BBC reports on Apple’s plans to make “greener” products. Steve Jobs statement is a direct response to the almost perfectly pitched and pithily web 2.0 Greenmyapple campaign from Greenpeace (which also won the activism Webby on Tuesday). I wrote earlier this year about how it uses the weight of the brand to intensify the pressure.
What is interesting about this is also how it demonstrates lessons for combining online campaigning with face to face work. Greenmyapple harnessed the passion and creativity of apple customers to add pressure whilst also talking directly to the company. And they made the campaign personal both online and offline, (adding pressure to a particularly pertinent member of the Apple Board, Al Gore). Again the response was personal, directly from the man at the top. As campaign insider Brian Fitzgerald puts it
There aren’t many campaigns where the CEO of your target steps out and responds directly to your demands….This has been a tremendous confirmation of the power of consumer campaigning.
Reaction has been good for Apple, Macnn may have blunty said Apple Surrendered but approves of what’s happening, ecorazzi has it as one small step but a good one. But there has been grumbling about Greenpeace. Over at Ecogeek some comments suggest this is more to do with Apple’s competitors going green than the campaign, Slashdot grumpily dismissed the quality of the Greenpeace campaign and this translates the subtext of the Steve Jobs letter.
All that aside I’m impressed, and echo Green Business which writes realistically about the efforts companies will make to protect their brand by aligning with public opinion. And if you check the tags below you’ll see just how many individual and business brands were under pressure.
Good campaigning is about sensing these pressures and then applying your own – it’s also about being realistic and gracious in (half) “victory”. Congratulations Greenpeace.
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