Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A special day in the life of this blog

Spot the book: Foyles in Charing Cross - via Wikipedia
Today is a big day for this blog - and for me. Today sees the launch (UK at least) of my book The 10 Principles of Open Business.

The book is the culmination of a journey in thought and in practice that dates back to the beginning of this blog - in September 2006.

During that time (primarily driven by my blogging and curiosity) I've been lucky enough to connect with many brilliant minds; from Alan Moore & Tomi Ahonen, through Clay Shirky and Seth Godin, JP Rangaswami and Doc Searls, Mark Earls and Hugh MacLeod, Alan Rusbridger and Tom Watson - the list continues in the acknowledgements and those interviewed or quoted in the book.

But I've had more than just thought experiments to perform. I've been faced with plenty of real world challenges - from creating change at Bauer Media (formerly emap plc) through to working with a very diverse range of clients in my senior roles at Brando Social, 90:10 Group, The Social Partners and as a freelance consultant.

During these past six years (since going agency and consultancy side) I've been working with, often brave, sometimes fearful representatives of organisations ranging from Sony Mobile, The Edge, City & Guilds, The Guardian, Tesco, Honda Europe, SEAT, First Capital Connect, Bupa, Avis-Budget Group (EMEA), Microsoft, Citrix, 3M, Gatwick Airport, Carlsson Wagonlit, The Co-operative, The UK Borders Authority, Department of Transport, Cabinet Office, Expedia, Tate Modern, to name just a handful.

It was the process of putting theory into practice with paying customers that helped Jamie Burke and I shape the 10 Principles and make them the blueprint for success in today's networked economy that they have become. The result is the book that launches today.

A word about Jamie at this point. He is very much the co-author of the principles - but could contribute very little to the writing of the book itself due to business commitments; hence the book is credited to myself as author with Jamie.

I hope many of you who have found value from this blog over the many years may want to pick up a copy for in many ways your contributions have helped to shape this outcome.

Click here to add it to your amazon shopping cart right now. Thank you.

Oh - and if you spot one on a shelf in a book store anywhere, please do send me a pic (email address is at the top of the dekstop- version of the blog. If you share that pic on twitter too (with the hashtag #openbusiness) I'll send the first three to do so a signed copy in return. (Hint, Foyles in Charing Cross, London, should have them by the end of the week.)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Win a copy of the 10 Principles of Open Business

To mark the UK launch date of the 10 Principles of Open Business I have another batch of copies to give away.
Here's how you can get your hands on one:

1. Two will go at random to anyone who has retweeted the following by 1am GMT on January 28, 2014:

"RT this for a chance to win The 10 Principles of #OpenBusiness - http://amzn.to/1eyDweN"

Two winners will be selected at random and sent physical copies of the book - worth £19.99 each. To qualify the amazon link must be included in the tweet, and the user of the twitter handle must be demonstrably human (bots need not apply). Qualifying tweets must be shared by 1 am GMT on January 28, 2014.

2. One copy will go to the person who gives the best reason for getting a freebie by commenting on this post, below.
The catch here is that you have to commit to writing a review (creating a video one if you prefer) for your own social channels AND add a review to amazon. Naturally you are free to publish what ever you like, you just have to commit to doing a review, good, bad or indifferent.

3. The final copy in this batch will go to someone who is prepared to read it, then hand it on to someone else who they think will get value from it. 
Ideally you'll make that a condition of giving it to the person you pass it on to (as will they, and so on). Just drop me your details and postal address to the gmail address you'll find at the top of the desktop version of this blog.

The deadline for 2 and 3 is February 24, 2014.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My bit for Davos: Rethinking IP in the Digital Age

I'm linking to this from  the WEF site. Principle 6?
Over the past six to nine months I've been one of "100 experts from media and technology industry, government, civil society and thought leaders, including innovators and artists" gathered from all around the world to contribute to the World Economic Forum's Seven Principles for Adapting to the New Digital World.

Today the principles are being launched at the WEF's 2014 meeting in Davos.

As is inevitable with so many voices to consider, the outputs are broad.

What they aren't is a How-To guide. How they are implemented by organisations and businesses raises a whole world of new questions and challenges.

The principles do at least provide a framework to ask the right questions within. For example -
" inform users about ownership and rights. "
This in itself can trigger a wide-ranging debate including new definitions of ownership and new measures of return on contribution. The Co-Ip model, considered in my chapter on Open Innovation in The 10 Principles of Open Business springs to mind.

The seven principles - in the words of the WEF

“The way we create, consume and share content and information has changed dramatically in the digital era,” said Diana El-Azar, Senior Director of Media, Entertainment and Information Industries at the World Economic Forum. “The principles lay out a vision for the way we want our online culture to evolve.”

Developed by over 100 experts in workshops and interviews in 2013, the Principles for the Creative and Information Economy in the Digital Age encourage governments, policy-makers, the private sector, civil society groups and individuals to:
  • Foster and reward creativity
  • Build an ecosystem for innovation
  • Expand access to content
  • Inform users about ownership and rights
  • Give creators and rights owners control and choice
  • Enable people to be creators
  • Strengthen global collaboration
The Norms and Values in Digital Media: Rethinking Intellectual Property in the Digital Age present a shared set of goals to help adapt business practices and policy-making to changing norms and values in a hyperconnected world. The principles are part of a World Economic Forum initiative which examines digital issues related to privacy, freedom of expression and intellectual property.

 Full release and supporting information,

Monday, January 20, 2014

Edelman trust barometer results align with Open Business approach

Edelman's 2014 Trust barometer survey is out and with it vindication of a key trend we've been observing in Open Business.
The clear majority of respondents to the annual survey (84 percent) believe that business can pursue its self-interest while doing good work for society.

This very much aligns with what we explore in The 10 Principles of Open Business - particularly in the chapters on Purpose and Open Capital. Indeed - The 10 Principles argues that doing good for society offers a competitive advantage in our connected world.

More evidence that 2014 really could be the year of Open Business, perhaps?

From the chapter on Purpose:

There have never been greater drivers for businesses to become Purpose-led.

Apart from anything else, it will reconnect you with the world, re-tying those strands cut loose when CEOs first decided that shareholders mattered more than anyone or anything else.

“It’s a reversal back to the old days,” says Mark (Earls), “when corporations felt part of the world and felt a responsibility to it."

And from the chapter on Open Capital:

Peer-funded partnerships also offer the opportunity to create value beyond the back slap in the boardroom and the bottom line on the balance sheet; value creation which acknowledges resources are finite, that people, communities, societies and ecologies are connected and matter to each other.

And this in itself provides a genuine competitive advantage that the wisest global entrepreneurs are quick to identify. As Sir Richard Branson puts it: “…the boundaries between work and higher purpose are merging into one – where doing good really is good for business.”

In a connected world, where to win is to work together with ever greater numbers of people who care about the same things you do, few are going to sign up to support businesses which are damaging the ecosystem in which they exist – let alone support those organisations with their own money. Open Capital will therefore be a key driver of ‘doing good is good for business’.

Friday, January 17, 2014

My appearance on CrossTalk on Jan 17, 2014

Today the CrossTalk show I'm on is being broadcast four times on the RT channel.
But if you don't catch it, here's a YouTube version you can watch at your leisure.
All comments very welcome.
Glad to be intro'd as the author of The 10 Principles of Open Business - naturally.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

CrossTalk: Join the debate on social media and the news

I'm taking part in the latest recording of CrossTalk today - Russia Today's flarogram.
For those unfamiliar, RT (as it's now know) is an English language rolling news channel. In fact its the third most viewed rolling news channel in the UK (after the BBC and Sky) with around 2.5m viewers in the second half of last year.

The show I'm joining brings together "politicians, journalists, scientists and decision-makers of all sorts – anyone who influences the decisions changing our world or plays a key role in forming public opinion" for American journalist Peter Lavelle to challenge with the days hard questions.

The theme (I'm told) is social media and the news agenda - and is likely to look at the challenge of validation in a world in which we all get to publish.
It's a challenge we also consider in The 10 Principles of Open Business in an interview with the editor of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger.

So this should prove timely since the book is due out in just a few days now (January 28, 2014).
If you're interested in watching, you'll find RT on Freeview, Sky and BT Vision (in the UK).

It is currently due for broadcast on FRIDAY 17 January 2014 at UK times) 7:30am, 1:30pm, 7:30pm and 10:30pm .

This link will tell you where to watch where-ever you are in the world: http://rt.com/where-to-watch/
I'll also have video links to share once its been broadcast. Hope you'll try to catch it and join in the discussion after either here or by commenting on the RT.com site.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

The role of Open Business in emerging holacracies

How Holacracy works - image from http://holacracy.org/how-it-works
With Ev Williams’ Medium and now Zappos going the Holacracy route, it’s no surprise this ‘new’ management model is getting attention from the likes of mashable
Its Flattened/No job titles/Goal-rather-than-management-led approach is an enviable fit with the more open business philosophy companies of this kind are comfortable and familiar with.
In many ways it’s simply putting a name to and combining many of the learnings those pursuing the 10 Principles of Open Business have already acquired. - but it may also provide a useful additional toolkit for the internal development of some Open Businesses.

The following brief extracts from my new book (out on January 28) The 10 Principles of Open Business, illustrate the point:

South African entrepreneur Arthur Attwell – found similar effectiveness from following the principle of Transparency:
“... you get a productivity boost from people who properly understand their importance to the company and the role they play. So many people – even unconsciously – think that they are just a tiny cog in a big machine.”
 “They feel an alienation from the products of their work,” says Arthur.
Without transparency it’s difficult for people to find meaning in their work. And without meaning there is little ambition and even less joy.
The job descriptions he offers people are just three lines long. There is no task-by-task list of things to do every day.
Everyone must have the ambition to own their space in his company.
“That’s why we don’t have job descriptions in the conventional sense. We have a maximum three bullet-points of functional responsibility. Some people have just one or two,” says Arthur.
“What that means is the things in those bullet points are your problem. It means people have to engage with more than just a narrow task list defined by key performance indicators,” adds Arthur.
“Make your people the boss of what they do.”
This will sound familiar to those trialling holocracy.

As will the impact of Principle 4: Shareability:
Definition: Packaging knowledge for easy and open sharing both internally and externally
Sharing is the cultural key to collaboration. It is where the organisational design principles of collaboration reside.
It is a principle which has the powerful benefit of flattening hierarchies, distributing responsibility and making the organisation more strategy and goal-led than management and task directed.
Shareability provides the tools for a radical re-organisation of resource. Deployed effectively it means people gravitate to what they care most about and can do most about. It can allocate people to work with their passions – generating a giant leap in effectiveness and productivity – not to mention morale.

And from the chapter on Principle 1: Purpose...
If every employee is clear about the Purpose of the org, if they express this in what they do and it is expressed in what they see of the behaviours of the business and of their colleagues, then they will be better able to make decisions which are truly aligned to the Purpose...
The decisions your people make are what drives the success of your business. Ensuring those decisions are made towards your shared goal (Purpose) is... more critical than ever.

Since we have seen that telling teams is not enough (and even less likely to succeed in distributed structures), ensuring they know the Purpose, through belief and behaviours, becomes even more essential.


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?