Archive for April, 2009

New Brunswick Securities Commission’s Fullsail Summit

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Taking place at the Delta Hotel in Fredericton, New Brunswick on May 11 – 12, 2009, Fullsail is an initiative of the New Brunswick Securities Commission aimed at encouraging and increasing equity capital opportunities and entrepreneurship in New Brunswick. As a panelist Rahaf will inform delegates about online technologies that can help advance business goals and transmit messages in new and innovative ways.

Back in February of this year Brett Bundale of the Telegraph Journal interviewed The Foush about her participation in the panel. You can read the full text here.

Yes We Did!

Yes We Did!

The count down is on for the launch of Rahaf’s new book “YES WE DID: An Inside Look at How Social Media Built the Obama Brand” on June 4th in the Fleck Atrium (ground floor), Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, 105 St. George St., Toronto. Registration Fee: $29.99 per person plus GST (includes the session, 1 copy of ““Yes We Did!”, and refreshments). To register online click here then scroll down and select Innovation in Business Speakers Series.

Voices that Matter 2009 Conference

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Continuing her North American blitz tour The Foush will be speaking at the Voices that Matter 2009 conference in San Fransisco, California. Her keynote on April 28, 2009 at the Grand Hyatt’s Ballroom West is titled “Marketing Obama: Social Media Gets a Seat at the Table”. Leveraging curiosity about the inner workings of the Obama campaign, Rahaf is continuing to communicate the lessons learned and the importance of the fundamental principles validated by that campaign for the successful use of social media.

Yes We Did!

Available June 4th

The count down is on for the launch of Rahaf’s new book “YES WE DID: An Inside Look at How Social Media Built the Obama Brand” on June 4th in the Fleck Atrium (ground floor), Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, 105 St. George St., Toronto. Registration Fee: $29.99 per person plus GST (includes the session, 1 copy of “Yes We Did!”, and refreshments). To register online click here then scroll down and select Innvation in Business Speaker Series.

The Foush at InnoTech Conference

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The Foush will be speaking at the InnoTech Keynote Lunch April 23rd, 2009 in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Last year the fifth InnoTech conference was attended by over 2000 business and technology professionals. The conference and expo have emerged as the region’s premier Business & Innovation event.

Rick Turoczi of the Silicon Florist interviewed the Foush about her keynote. Details here.

MySpace’s The Social

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

I was the keynote speaker at “The Social,” MySpace Canada’s industry event. It was held in Toronto.


The Foush In Marketing Magazine

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Yes She Did!

Publish at Scribd or explore others: Magazines & Newspape rahaf harfoush

I have emerged! – Foushy Updates-

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009


Ok that is the last time I dissapear for three weeks without so much as a mini-blog post – PROMISE. But I have exciting news: the book is finished! After months of researching, writing, and battling writer’s block it is finally all coming together in something that can actually be sold in respectable establishments!

Honestly, this book has been the most challenging and rewarding work I have ever done. I struggled. I fretted. I doubted. I tossed and turned. I battled writer’s block and insecurity. But I held true to the philosphy of “just show up,” and little by little chapters were formed. There were days when it seemed that stringing together coherent sentences was beyond my grasp, and there were magical days when the words just seemed to write themselves.

I aplogize for falling of the face of the planet, but between the World Economic Forum and copy-editing after work there was very little time for anything else.

So some news:

I am speaking at the 2009 Innotech Conference in beautiful Portland, Oregon. I am joined by some excellent company.I am so excited to be here especially since I can finally use my Kindle the way that Jeff Bezos intended it. Rick Turoczy, the smart mind behind Silicon Florist asked me a few questions about my keynote.

Next week I am speaking at the Voices that Matter 2009 conference in San Francisco. I’ll be posting more about that as soon as I get there.

I’ll be uploading a special book section on this site shortly that will have pictures, videos and the first chapter for your reading pleasure!

Of Permaculture and the Second Renaissance

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Through a tweet by my friend Mat Milan (@mmilan) I got to read Robert Paterson’s interesting post “Is this the time for a New Renaissance and Reformation“, in which he discusses Permaculture vs. industrial food production and extrapolates to other areas of human civilization.

While I agree with Paterson’s analysis on how we got ourselves into this mess and was thrilled to learn about Permaculture as an alternative, his post triggered a number of questions in my mind, mostly about why we developed industrial production methods and if the transition to a Permaculture society is reasonably possible.

Root Causes

Let’s consider the first question. Yes, human ego is still at the center of the universe and we still largely subscribe to the notion that we are masters of nature and we can form it to our will with our technology. But the continuous drive of labor division and specialization had started long before medieval times and is still going strong. One of it’s roots is the consumerist culture that has become the expression of this iteration of human civilization. Another is the unchecked growth of population, which demands ever higher productivity in goods and services, and particularly in food production. This in turn leads to industrial-type agricultural and animal production with high-yield single-crop/animal multiple harvests requiring high levels of energy input (fertilizers, machinery etc.). This need for continuous productivity improvements drives the necessity for specialization in knowledge and skills.

As the population and consumerism pressures continued unabated, further productivity gains could only be achieved by expanding the level of specialization from local to national, to regional, and ultimately to global scale; hence what we refer to as Globalization. The structures that developed for this labor division and specialization were mostly hierarchical in nature with the unavoidable centers of wealth and power that are integral to hierarchies. As Ronald Wright describes in his book “A short History of Progress” these civilization structures emerged in a particular location of Earth, grew rapidly until their natural resources were exhausted and then faltered or moved to a different location.

As long as these structures operated at the local level they had a possibility to move to a different location. As the structures became global in scope they had less and less options to relocate. hence the current global crisis. The central hierarchical system is reaching its limits because it cannot consolidate to less than one center!

The Emerging New Structures

As the old system reaches it limits a new system with a fundamentally different structure must emerge, which most probably will not be hierarchical. Recent events seem to confirm this trend: traditional global systems are failing while decentralized, peer-to-peer, and local systems seem to succeed overnight: Skype, Twitter, Craig’s List, micro financing, eat local, open source concepts, creative commons, community initiatives etc.

The catalyst in this transformation seems to be the Internet. At the recent Toronto Planners Unite 2009 event Mark Earls author of “Herd” spoke about the crucial role of copying in human behavior. Copying requires seeing what’s to be copied; and if nothing else, the Internet is making all sorts of new ideas and initiatives visible to a global audience. The flock behavior can only accelerate and the importance of communities will explode.

Values Convergence

Interestingly, the values embodied in these emerging new structures seem to be converging. In a recent Twitter conversation with Alexander Osterwalder, Peter Jones and others about how a sustainable business model can be defined, we converged that it is the sustainable value that an organization provides to its “stakeholders, the community at large, and the environment”. I was pleasantly surprised while reading about Permaculture to find out that its core values are “Earthcare, Peoplecare, and Fairshare”. Do you recognize a pattern?

We could be at the cusp of a major transformational step in our evolution, which we usually call a revolution. The changes coming are going to be radical and difficult, possibly violent. I hope they will lead to a New Renaissance and Reformation!

Our Media Maverick Profiled in Marketing Magazine

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

In its issue of April 2006 Marketing Magazine has profiled Rahaf Harfoush, our very own New Media Maverick in residence. The article is written by Brendan Howley, an editor at Redwood Custom Communications and author of The Witness Tree. We appreciated Brendan’s thorough research and balanced reporting. Interestingly enough, for reasons unknown the print copies of Marketing Magazine were kept behind the check-out counter at Chapters Indigo!

You can read the full article online here.

Of Business Models & Innovative Projects

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Hard to admit but empirical evidence shows that I haven’t blogged in March at all! Don’t ask me why. Let’s just say that I am becoming more convinced that time is not linear and runs exponentially on occasion, like this past March?

In that exponentially elapsed period I have been mostly in a learning and thinking mode developing my knowledge and my ideas about innovative business models and what is needed to develop radically different ones. I will be writing more about some of the stops along my journey in the past few weeks. But for now I’d like to report on one project that I came across with an intriguing business model.


The vision of this project is helping developing world artisans bridge the markets divide by providing world-class “micro marketing” enabling global e-commerce for the branded artisans. The business plan is based on a three-way partnership between a for-profit operation, the BRANDAID Project, a non-profit operation, the BRANDAID Foundation, and an international culture organization, UNESCO.

The combination of these three distinct elements is somewhat of a novelty in the public-private partnerships arena.

The Concept

In a recent event at the Spokes club in Toronto on April 9th, Tony Piggot, CEO of JWT Canada and co-founder of BRANDAID Project explained the concept of the venture. Leveraging UNESCO’s Award of Excellence for Handicrafts (previously knows as Seal of Excellence) for identifying artisans of the highest quality, BRANDAID Project supplies a complete branding service including a micro-site and e-commerce platform, to such artisans. The project purchases selected artisan collections at asking price. It offers them with healthy mark-up in select North American markets appreciative of the artistic value and developmental objectives of the project. 35% of the profits flow back to the artisans community: 25% directly to the producing artisans and 10% to the BRANDAID Foundation, who invests back into the artisans communities

Where is it at now

The first brand “Croix des Bouquets” is from Haiti and the first collection has already been purchased. BRANDAID has already been launched in California with sponsorship from Dior and Vanity Fair magazine in an event attended by Director Paul Haggis (an early investor in the project), Hollywood stars Diane Lane and Josh Brolin (who are patrons of the project), and many film celebrities including Charlize Theron. Apparently, all displayed pieces were sold out in less than three hours.

BRANDAID Project is continuing to raise investments, in order to expand its activities to other countries in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. As of the Toronto event of April 9th there were only 4 investment units of US$ 25,000 each left. The project is looking into some gallery space in New York

My Take

I liked the premise of this project, so I have been advising BRANDAID on its web site development and hosting contracts as well as on the operational logistics (e-commerce platform, order management, and fulfillment). What I find promising is the potential for expanding the vision of the project to create a complete ecosystem around each of the branded artisans in the developing country by engaging and where necessary training graphics designers, web developers, hosting companies etc. If this can be scaled properly, it could not only become a sustainable venture, but also achieve some of the things that my friends in the Toronto betterment movement aspire to achieve.


Planners Unite Event in Toronto

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

In what is hoped to be the first of a series of regular events for the strategic planning community in Toronto and the GTA this event will feature as keynote speaker Mark Earls author of HERD, and other speakers active in Toronto’s innovation scene such as Michael Dila, Matthew Milan, and Sean Howard. The intent is to inspire and cross pollinate across the many emerging streams of strategic planning and innovation. Manara will be there.

The event will take place on Thursday April 9, 2009 from 2:00 to 6:00 pm in the Jackman Hall at the AGO.

More details can be found here.