What will the workplace of the future look like? – webchat roundup

Here are the best insights from our online discussion on how next-gen tech will make a difference to our workplaces and working livesDarren Goldie, chief development officer, Havas MediaWe are in the middle of an enormous shift, but collaboration is more than technology-based. Tech will certainly impact outsourcing and multi-geographical workgroups. Continue reading

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Recent portfolio additions


After months of development following a long period of customer consultations we are happy to announce that WellClient has onboarded it’s first group of founding members!

Wellclient is the easy to use software that makes it easy to manage administrative tasks, increase engagement with clients and generate more revenue from a healthcare business.

New opportunities, new challenges

As I look back over the past 15+ years I have been working within the Internet space, I never could have predicted the changes that have come about as a result of this amazing technology. From the first early days of just trying to get connected using SLIP/PPP, to the birth of multimedia content and now the rise of the social web, I feel really blessed to have contributed, even in small way, to how the Internet has changed the world.

Over that time, I have learned a ton! From innovative product and service concepts, to how brands are engaging customers, the pace of change has been incredibly invigorating. In my practice, I have focused on Customer Experience and Innovation with a particular emphasis on the social web. I’ve tried to delve into not only social media tools, but how attitudes have changed within companies as they look at how their business fundamentally interacts with their customers.

I began my company with the goal of “bringing companies closer to customers.” And I like to think that I’ve been able to do that by understanding our clients’ objectives and constructing solutions that help them more effectively interact with their internal and external stakeholders.

But what do you do when you are given a fantastic opportunity to work with a terrifically talented and hard-working team at a great company? As hard as it is to leave what I am doing now, I feel the time is right for me to join the Corporate Development team at LoyaltyOne (AirMiles). This move makes perfect sense for me at this time; I don’t feel that I am leaving anything behind because I am taking all the skills and resources I’ve developed and applying them to a new set of challenges.

At this stage, I won’t be taking on additional clients or projects, but I will, of course, remain engaged in this industry and involved in all the pioneering groups that continue to move it forward. And, I promise to continue to learn and contribute with everyone who has made this medium the great, ongoing experiment in communication and interaction.

Brandsential pleased to announce Business Model construction and analysis

We are pleased to announce that Brandsential now offers business model construction and analysis services to its clients. “We realized that our clients were asking for this service to satisfy their internal and external objectives and ensure that resources were deployed in a cost-effective manner,” says Jeffrey Veffer, Partner.

With more and more companies starting to realize that product and service innovation is the way to sustained success, model construction and analysis is certainly part of the product innovation process. With Brandsential’s understanding of customer needs and the product development process, clear actionable steps are put in place as part this process.

Web3.0-How to take advantage of the semantic shift

I’ve just posted my latest presentation on opportunities that are starting arise for brands as we move from Web2.0 to Web3.0. OK, I know that “Web3.0” is a “contentious marketing term,” but seems to work for the time being until someone comes up with something better.

In a nutshell Web3.0 could simply mean “the Web knowing what I mean.” For instance if I say, “I want a 2-bedroom near the beach for $2500,” here’s what Google gives me:

Not bad, except I am nowhere near California or New York! The trick is knowing the “context;” where I am (“location”) and what I think is “near” (what I call “correctness”) and the “channel” (am I out on my mobile device?)

All this is difficult to say the least and startups like Primal Fusion, Siri and Twine are trying to solve the front end piece and slowly but surely web technologies and standards are being put in place to help structure the underlying data (or make relationships more relevant.)

For those brands that can understand the challenges and opportunities, there will be new leaders created in this next wave.

Siri (a Semantic) application launches

As mentioned in this video at SemTech Siri is a Virtual Personal Assistant that is launching soon (in the US only :<) that really picks up on the “Knowledge Navigator” video that Apple produced 20 years ago! Twenty years may not seem like much, but in 1987, Michael Jackson was still the King of Pop (he just released the album BAD), and the President was Ronald Regan. A lot has happened since then in the technology space but we are still not quite where this video would have us believe is the future of human computer interaction. (If you haven’t seen the original I encourage you to take a look at it.)

What Siri tries to do is make an interface that is as natural as talking with gestures that correspond to how you’d want to communicate not to suit the demands of a QWERTY interface or a desk-bound mouse. As Tom Gruber mentions the vision that Apple put forward in their video anticipated many of the technologies we are seeing today. It knows who is in your social network, it knows time (and the interconnection of events) and there was continuous speech recognition which is a bit different than voice commands. This is where the computer knows the context of what is being said and can “intuit” what is meant by the context, something that today’s systems still have trouble with.

But the big question which everyone wants to know remains: “Is the vision of Apple’s Knowledge Navigator here today?” Tom answers, “Unfortunately No. (But we’re getting there)” This highlights the promise (and reality) of Web 3.0 (or the Semantic Web, or Information Simplicity or…) It is really difficult to do all of these things that we take for granted in our daily lives interacting with other human beings. It takes children years to learn social cues, knowledge, basics on living in their environment and current systems are far from the complexity of the human brain.

But we do have some interfaces that point towards an easier way of interacting (besides the keyboard!)  The iPhone multi-touch interface is one approach. Voice-based applications are another, but as I’ve written about before, its not just voice which will be the silver bullet to all our interface problems. As with other problems, there are a multitude of different interfaces we use without thinking (voice, vision, touch etc.) that help us understand the world around us. We have for the past 20 years, confined ourselves to one or two of these because that was the simplest way that we could get information into the cloud and interact. Now we really need to put the multi-dimensional aspect back in to fully experience the richness of information.

(PS Siri looks really cool and I wish it were available now!)

Panel discussion – How To Acheive A Sustainable Social Media Ecosystem

I will be speaking as part of a panel on the topic of:

“How To Achieve A Sustainable Social Media Ecosystem”

Here are the event details:

Companies are increasingly tapping into Social Media.  What differentiates the champions from the flash in the pan are two things: Sustainability and an Ecosystem approach.

In this talk, you will first hear about the 4 pillars of achieving a sustainable Social Media strategy:

  • Thinking
  • Planning
  • Building
  • Managing

We will then dive deeper into the best practices and case studies of 3 popular Social Media tools – Blog, Facebook and Twitter – and how such an ecosystem, when done right, helps steer a company’s connection with their customers.

Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Time:    6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Location: Sutton Place Hotel, 955 Bay St., (Royal Sutton Salon A)

To register click here:

McKinsey analysis of sector timing in recession

McKinsey did an interesting analysis of which sectors either lead or lagged in both the decline and eventual recovery from a recession.

As you might imagine (especially with this current recession) the speed that companies declined going in was much faster than they experienced coming out during the recovery.

The report notes that history suggests some possible indicators of the beginning of a recovery. “In three of the four most recent recessions, higher consumer discretionary and IT spending led the way. When real EBITA growth resumes in these sectors, it may be a useful indication that the economy is turning around.” We will keep an eye on these sectors!