COOL = Community, Open, Ownership, Local

David Cushman hass started running a ‘social business innovation’ competition every month over on his blog, you should really go on over and have a read of all the entries and vote

The one I’m going to vote for though is this, as suggested by Neil Perkin: Local Motors

…rather than me talk about it, you should watch CEO John Rogers talk about it for a few minutes:

Watched it?  Inspiring, huh?

I really like the Local Motors premise for making COOL cars…

…designed & developed by their Community…

…all out in the Open (they use Creative Commons licensing to develop open-source car design)…

…creating an Ownership experience that lets people really connect with their car…

…all delivered through Local microfactories that can connect to locally relevant to a community.

It’s exactly the sort of thing I referred to back in the Social Production presentation.

Sure, you can use social technologies to just change the marketing plan.

But the future for companies wanting to engage with people doesn’t lie in chattifying the brand and socialising the media plan…

…it’s in using social technologies to bring you together with your customers in everything that you do.


Guardian Activate Redux: Werner Vogels (Amazon)

I liveblogged the Guardian Activate Conference in July.  Now that the videos of the speeches are online, it’s a good time to revisit some of my favourite things from the day… I’ll post up one video every few days or so…

Werner Vogels, Amazon – “Your worst nightmare on the web… you throw a party, and a MILLION people come… how do you cope with that?”

The area of cloud computing is increasingly fascinating… people are creating things around computers that they may need a phenomenal amount of storage space and processing power… but only for a brief period of time.

For instance, the Google Monopoly game which launched over the last week needed a lot more server power than they expected it to… and as such crashed on and off for about a week.  They’ve just had to restart the whole thing all over again today…


I found Werner’s talk huge interesting, because of the comparison he draws between computing nowadays, and electricity in days of yore.

Companies in those days needed electricity to do whatever it is that they made money from.

Werner’s example is a brewer in Belgium, but we have our very own relic of this age in the Gym breakout area in our building…


(It’s a particularly rare example controlled by table football…)

Think how mad it would be nowadays to run your own generator for a resource that comes out the wall, on tap, whenever you want it.

That’s essentially the proposition for ‘cloud computing’… computing that becomes a resource to be scaled when needed, and switched off when it’s not.

It touches on a previous post about working spaces I wrote a while ago… when computing becomes as free and easy as electricity to access, it’ll be interesting to see how we all work together.


Guardian Activate Redux: Arianna Huffington

I liveblogged the Guardian Activate Conference in July.  Now that the videos of the speeches are online, it’s a good time to revisit some of my favourite things from the day… I’ll post up one video every few days or so…

Arianna Huffington – “Mainstream media suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder, and new media suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder…”

First of all it’s amazing that even though it’s just under 3 months ago, the things Arianna Huffington touches on as ‘happening now’ seem so long ago…

…the Iran elections, the very start of Healthcare reform in the US.  The speed with which ‘new news’ comes at us is astounding.

Which chimes excellently with the point mentioned above…

Mainstream media has ADD

It can’t focus on anything long enough to make it matter (the sole exception perhaps being the Telegraph’s expenses scandal).  Every day has to be about new news, new headlines, new ways to grab attention.

Meanwhile, new media has OCD

It keeps going with things, again and again, reinventing, adding to.  Look at how the Kanye West thing is over in ‘mainstream media’, yet continues to be remixed, shared, carried on across the web… the story doesn’t die.


I guess the power of new media, as it develops, will be to keep going not just at the memes and the fun silly stuff, but to start chipping away at the important stuff too.

Hopefully we’ll see a lot of it bubbling to the surface around Copenhagen later this year.  Because for the mainstream media, there will just be another big story along the following week



The coming earthquake and the third space of decision making

Guest puppy feeder… Jason Spencer

Jason is Managing Director of PHD North in Manchester, and is nicely fostering the ‘Feeding The Puppy’ spirit there… he recently attended the ‘Science of Success’ seminar in Manchester featuring Malcolm Gladwell & Daniel Goleman, and has come away with four main thoughts inspired by what he heard there…

…’can I share them on Feeding The Puppy?’ asks Jason.  You certainly can, Mr Spencer…


At the Science of Success seminar in Manchester on Tuesday this week, Daniel Goleman and Malcolm Gladwell talked extensively about what makes some people more successful than others.

Most of what they talked about related to the success of individuals and groups of people, but plenty of it is interesting food for thought for the world of media and brands.  It was fascinating stuff from really engaging speakers.

4 big themes emerged for me where their ideas can translate into how we think about media and brands… this is the first.

1. The coming earthquake and the third space of decision making

There’s a coming earthquake for commerce and industry…  it’s called “Ecological Intelligence” says Daniel Goleman.

Did you know there are 1,959 discrete industrial steps which can be analysed in a drinking glass?  Or how many times you have to use a stainless steel water bottle until its impact on the environment is less than a plastic disposable bottle?


The new measure of “junkness” (the extent to which brands and products impact on the world around them at every step of their life cycle) is set to revolutionise the way green is marketed.  It is also set to be the third space in which decision making happens – not just price and quality but now also eco quality will help us decide which product to buy.

How?  Here are 2 developments in the US set to take the UK by storm soon.

Firstly, Walmart last month ordered its 100,000 suppliers to reveal the ecological impact of their products on their label and are set to put this next to the price on shelf.  The message is comply or die.  

Talking to the packaging team from Diageo over lunch, they said it was already happening for their brand portfolio.  Once global brands like Unilever start doing this, it won’t be long before they roll out this packaging globally forcing other local competitors to fall in line.

Secondly, take a look at which rates the eco impact of over 75,000 products in the US.  Apparently it is an iPhone app too.  It aggregates data from over 200 databases and enables you to compare products based on their eco impact.  The new aggregators?  It is not over here yet but surely it can’t be far off.

Given the data still needs to be ratified and turned into easy to digest consumer speak, we are not there yet.  But companies will need to think long and hard about whether to go into this first or wait and see how the US developments impact on market share.  

Initially it may be painful, but the ethics of weighing up responsibility to the shareholder vs. responsibility to the environment, in the current climate, is about to be brought into sharp focus.  Has it happened to you yet?


(Read Goleman’s book Ecological Intelligence for more on all this.)