Archive for March, 2010

Design with Dialogue – Bodystorming

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Design with Dialogue (DwD) is a community of practitioners of facilitation and collaboration methods that meets monthly at the Strategic Innovation Lab at OCAD. DwD members were recently involved in facilitating collaborative design events at ChangeCamp and the XCLINIC‘s XCAMP.

DwD is inviting all who are interested in designing user experiences to a special session (additional to the monthly DwD meeting) welcoming Dennis Schleicher, Director of User Experience for Sears, to Toronto Tuesday, March 23 from 7-9 pm at OCAD’s sLab, room 600.

Dennis’ workshop will provide an introduction to the practice of Bodystorming as a method for engaging people in simulating experiences and processes by designing them through joint acting and improvisation of envisioned situations. Dennis has written about three forms of Bodystorming on his noteworthy blog site Tibetan Tailor. Guess which one he will do, and come prepared to play!

Attendance is free but you have to register here.

Well Played: Ikea Facebook Campaign

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

I recently saw this video of a Facebook campaign created around the launch of a new store in Malmo, Sweden in late 2009.  What Ikea did was very simple, easy, and smart. They created a Facebook photo album with 12 showroom pictures. Whoever tagged the product first got to keep it. The campaign quickly went viral as the online enthusiasm spread to users’ facebook profiles and newsfeeds.

Watch them explain the campaign in their own words:

Why I love this campaign:

1) Use what you have:

There was no need to develop a fancy application or create a complicated web presence. They used two existing features that most users were already familiar with: tagging pictures and the sharing functionality.

2) Clear strategic objectives:

They knew what they wanted to accomplish: get people talking about the launch of the store and spread the news to their online network. The entry barrier to participate was very low. Anyone could easily and quickly be a part of the campaign.

3) A realistic campaign life cycle:

They set a clear deadline (12 days) and the end point for the campaign was clearly communicated to all  members. As more organizations execute social media strategies our attention spans will continue to shrink. I think many organizations have a misguided notion that they have to build a long lasting community of people who will remain engaged with the brand for months.

I can see where this perspective comes from considering building an online community of active members take a lot of time and effort and companies want to see some bang for their buck. However, as Ikea proves you can have an effective campaign with a shorter life cycle that is just as effective in getting the job done. I do want to point out that I am referring to specifically branded campaigns and not Ikea’s overall web presence.

4) They incented the right actions:

It really makes me laugh. People love getting things for free. Whatever it is, if it’s free someone will happily take it. AND they’ll tell their friends about it. Ikea was able to move the online discussion beyond the boundaries of one photo album and into the digital common space by counting on the fact that people will gloat about their free loot. And it worked like a charm.Whether it was announcing that they won something, or encouraging their friends to take part it made sense for people to talk about the campaign.

Well done Ikea!!

Many thanks to my friend Kimmo Kuortti, Director of International Relations at the University of Oulu in Finland for sharing this wonderful video with me!

How to conquer your social media fears and avoid common mistakes

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog about business strategies for social media and my book “Yes We Did.”  I also speak about the common mistakes businesses make when it comes to their digital strategy and how to conquer your fear when evaluating these tools.

A small highlight:

In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes businesses and organizations make when it comes to social media and branding?

The most common mistake I see are businesses who think they need to be doing every new thing. They are all over the place simply because they feel like they should be without necessarily considering how much value it’s adding to their overall strategic objectives.

Your best bet is to really sit down and think your strategy through. Where are your consumers naturally congregating online? What are they doing there? How would you like to engage with them?

These thoughts have to be carefully considered before entering this space, otherwise you end up wasting valuable time and money, not to mention potentially irritating potential customers as well.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

The Canadian Business Leadership Forum

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

An interview with Canadian Business about corporate social media strategies.

From Post-Copenhagen to Post-xCAMP

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Natalie Jeremijenko, the founder of the xCLINIC was in Toronto to attend xCAMP. She was invited by OCAD’s  Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) to present her current research in the context of sLab’s Exploration series. She titled her talk “Post Copenhagen: What Strategies Now?” She argued that with the failure of the  super-conference format of the Copenhagen negotiations, the emphasis now falls on other strategies and technological opportunities to raise the standard of evidence and coordinate a more diverse response to environmental challenges. She asked how can distributed sensing and public sharing of data reveal this evidence? How can it support and enable local organization and actions?And how can social networking be used in collective sense-making and life-style experiments to localize responsibility for environmental health?

Regardless how familiar you are with Jeremijenko’s work, you are guaranteed to discover something new and fascinating every time she speaks about her research. This well attended Explorations event was no exception and the ensuing discussion was the perfect preamble to xCAMP that immediately followed.

As organizers of xCAMP we were overwhelmed by and grateful for the interest and support extended to us. Participants brought an amazing scope of knowledge and experience to bear on the issues discussed at xCAMP. The agenda consisted of 3 main segments. In the first segment Natalie presented the xCLINIC concept and showed examples of her related activities. Then Carla Gould from the core organizing group presented a storyboard illustrating the “impatient’s” experience. She was followed by Nabil Harfoush, who took participants through xCLINIC’s foundational elements, their strengths and weaknesses, and proposed a framework for xCLINIC 2.0 aiming at establishing a movement around many xCLINICs.

Open Circle

Open Circle

The second segment consisted of an open circle discussion of the proposed concept followed by 5 break-out sessions that handled:

  • The Starter Kit
  • Creative Engagement
  • Collaboration & Communications
  • Alliances & Central Resources
  • Benchmarks & Impact Measurements

The break-out sessions were facilitated by a wonderful team: Pam Purves, Greg Judelman, Ryan Coleman, Dan Rose, and Magda Wesolkowska, all of whom are colleagues and friends from the Design with Dialogue collective. We are grateful for their assistance and dedication.

The final segment (called Harvest) consisted of a “market place” type of exchange, where participants circulated among the displayed findings of the 5 break-out groups and added their thoughts and comments, a brief presentations by each group, and a general discussion about findings.

xCAMP generated a significant volume of ideas, solutions and activities road map, which were captured in a variety of ways including flip charts, sticky-note collections, photos and video recording.We have started the arduous task of processing all these outcomes and will be reporting on progress regularly.

Our plans call for establishing 5 permanent working groups to continue working on this project. If you are interested in participating send an email to with a description of your interest areas and degree of availability for participating in any one of these groups.