Perspectives on Connected Innovation and Collaboration

Don Smith’s Sabbatical Insights

Archive for January 2009

Blogwell Chicago Recap

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In action at Blogwell

I had the opportunity to attend Blogwell in my home town of Chicago on January 22.  Hosted by Blog Council, Blogwell is a forum for industry practitioners of social media to share insights and stories. The audience was diverse and energetic. Actually, the crowd was downright passionate about social media.

Stan Joosten, Holistic Communications Manager at Proctor and Gamble, offered a succinct perspective defining why social media is an important growth strategy at P&G:

Social media allows P&G to reach more people, more intimately, at lower cost.

I enjoyed more stories from Home Depot, Allstate, and Molson with one main thread – “Try something, but make sure you have a specific objective.” Each presenter told a story about starting small with social media, maybe a corporate Twitter account or blog, demonstrating worthwhile interactions with consumers, and then scaling to reach broader audiences.

  • Home Depot (@thehomedepot)  uses Twitter as a communication channel to customers during significant weather events, like hurricanes. How else do you inform a hurricane threatened community that their local Home Depot will be open through the storm? Amazing idea.
  • Allstate employs an on-line community that allows their customers to interact, ask questions, and learn about insurance related life events.
  • Molson (@molsonmoffat) capitalized on the inherent social aspect of beer drinking by engaging with the consumers on-line.  Molson used social channels to engage with their consumers, ultimately inviting them to private events at their breweries.  This model smacks of consumer co-creation and is one I’ll be watching.

The best product placement of the day went to Molson, who kindly threw some Canadian on ice for the finale. It was my first Molson in years – they won me over. Kudos to Sharpie for the Barack Obama signed pens, but I didn’t make that presentation.



Written by Donald Smith

January 28, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Twitter ROI

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I recently quipped to close colleagues that my sabbatical would not have materialized if it wasn’t for the new networks I was able to build through Twitter.  During the last six months, Twitter connected me to leading interactive marketers, strategists, users, practitioners, and vendors in the New Media (Web 2.0) space for nothing but a little time invested. Recently, I stumbled upon a great Tweet that summarized, by comparison, the value of Twitter.

“Facebook is all about reconciling past relations, whereas Twitter is designed to make new ones. Quickly.” -@smashadv

Twitter opened new markets for my research and continues to turbo charge my thinking each day. For the most part, Twitter is a feeding ground for those who like to communicate, debate, connect and collaborate. It’s my broadcast channel, crowd-sourcing mechanism, and newspaper all-in-one.

Cisco Systems talks about leveraging the “network as platform” as a growth strategy for their business. I built a high value Twitter network in little time. Now it’s time to leverage my network for personal and organizational growth.

I leave you with a final thought from Matthew Christian, a friend of mine from the Arete Initiative at University of Chicago:

Collaboration should create synergies and change the way both collaborators think–creating innovation. That’s the power and potential.

Written by Donald Smith

January 28, 2009 at 9:19 pm

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