“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all” – Oscar Wilde
Big data, co-creation of content, community management, real time and social conversations have become critical to the future of our organisations. The In2 Summit London was an opportunity to explore these trends and their consequences to innovation.
Throughout the event, speakers challenged the traditional way of communicating and demanded more creativity. We heard of cravery from Weber Shandwick’s Gabriela Lungu, a new term that stands for “creating bravery when communicating”. Plus, democreativity, a word from Prime’s Tom Beckman that links democracy to creativity. The key message here was that “democracy is the mother of creativity.” We need to blend different perspectives and insights and transform them into something meaningful for our audiences.
This process also involves accepting criticism and facing it as an opportunity to improve what we do while building stronger relationships. As Rocket Internet’s Andreas Winiarski put: “any feedback is better than no feedback. The worst thing that can happen to you is getting no attention. Criticism is a good thing.”
To think of better and more effective ways of communicating in a fast and networked society, we have to keep interested in all the possible answers to our problems, look for advice, share knowledge and be passionate. Those elements were considered crucial by Ruth Barnett. The VP of Global Communications at SwiftKey, also pointed out that “we focus a lot on technology when the real value and strength sit instead within the community.”
Technology is as good as the people who are using it
The second part of the event focused of tomorrow’s technology, and how big data and social media have been revolutionising the way we create and tell stories. A message that resonated the most was from Salesforce‘s Head EMEA Communications Stacey Torman: “technology gives us the scale and speed to deliver engaging communications. Yet, we shouldn’t forget that we still need the people to tell those stories through creative content. Technology is as good as the people who are using it.”
Xerox Europe’s Darrell Minards, Electrolux’s Mattias Radstrom and Waggener Edstrom’s Chris Talago all pitched in. Together, the panel gave the audience some food for thought; such as the urgent need to help our companies to adapt as fast as the technology. We cannot afford to leave our teams behind the curve. Often the main limitation relates to the organisational structure, yet, there is a way to get there even for more traditional institutions. It involves starting being more open, asking ourselves what the real purpose to use the tools is, using data to create credible and trusted stories as well as building connections to deliver behavioural change.
Talking of big data, the conversation touched the challenge around regulations, with the recently Google’s story of “the right to be forgotten” being mentioned. While a full conclusion wasn’t reached, – due to the complex issue requiring further investigation and understanding – transparency and value seemed to hold the key: in exchange of the two, people are more willing to give up to some of their privacy.
Be curious and creative. This is your time to shine
The theme of ‘leading tomorrow’s talent’ sparked high interest in the final part of the conference. From Jackie Brock-Doyle, Good Relations Group’s CEO, we heard of the challenges for the future workforce: “We need to go broader and deeper in our skills, be able to build trust and tap in the good of the business.” The latter is mission critical: “Good business matters and it will matter even more in the future.” With that said, advice was plenty, such as spending more time on helping our employees being better leaders, not just managers. Plus, empower them to be brave, take risks, and do things differently. “Be curious and creative. This is your time to shine,” concluded Brock-Doyle.
Leading this discussion forward was Sanofi Pasteur’s Celine Schillinger, who took part in a panel with TRACCS’s Mohamed Al Ayed, Capgemini UK’s Tom Barton and Tata Consulting Services’ Abhinav Kumar. “The biggest challenge is the culture,” emphasised Schillinger, talking of the need to integrate communications, break down internal silos, and develop flexible and agile organisations by thinking in terms of ecosystems. “We need to move from conversations to actions.”
After the conference, I had the pleasure to talk with Celine Schillinger more in depth about the topic. In this exclusive video interview, she shares her view on the benefits of social business and the challenges for more traditional institutions to become collaborative. She gives advice to internal communicators on how to help make the change.
Plus, as a proud Co-Founder of Change Agents Worldwide, Celine describes the vision and purpose of the movement.