World famous outside New Zealand

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When people ask me where I am from and I say “New Zealand”, a look of awe comes across their face.  I am proud to promote my country and everything that comes from there and I am not alone.  In a recent survey of over 12,000 expats (by Kea and Colmar Brunton), 98% actively promote New Zealand (NZ) and recommend it as a destination to their overseas networks. The story of the New Zealand brand and their advocates holds lessons for other countries and companies.

100%Pure

The tourism New Zealand campaign of 100% pure has done a lot for the image of New Zealand as a clean, green and adventure filled country.  The Lord of Rings trilogy and the adventure tourism promotions add to this. What may have seemed like a difficult market, being as far away as possible from anywhere, many New Zealand companies are taking this image to their advantage as they launch themselves in international markets.

The story of a premium vodka from NZ

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One company that pioneered a number of marketing initiatives (many controversial), was 42Below. Their quirky use of the New Zealand brand helped take their vodka global. At a time when New Zealand wine, fashion and movies were succeeding globally – vodka was not a product that came to mind when people thought of NZ. But Geoff Ross did not let that stop him, as he set out to create the purest vodka in the world – from the purest country in the world.  He understood that branding was what would differentiate his product from the established vodka brands and that the New Zealand brand would help him do that. Often described as “New Zealand in a bottle”, 42Below pitched itself as The premium vodka to the elite cocktail set. And it worked. 42Below became so popular that in 2006 it attracted an $138 million buyout from Bacardi.

World famous outside New Zealand

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Kiwis have a saying – “World famous in New Zealand“. Now associated with the L&P advertising campaign (a drink only well known within NZ), the phrase is used to describe individual products and ideas that could be famous, but have only managed to make it big in NZ. A disadvantage of size and distance for NZ has meant that historically this was a common occurrence, but in the connected and networked world of today it no longer has to be that way. Now, you can be world famous outside New Zealand.

The New Zealand Story

In 2012 the New Zealand government commissioned three government agencies to develop “The New Zealand Story“.  This initiative was put together to help local companies compete in the global marketplace by providing a consistent New Zealand narrative, a narrative not exclusively tied to a tourism campaign. Presented in three chapters – open spaces, open hearts and open minds, The New Zealand Story provides assets and story kits to help New Zealanders talk about our unique attributes in a consistent and meaningful way.

What more could we do?

We could stop at helping create a consistent brand for New Zealand to take our products globally – but we could also be braver and go further. Recently I discovered a presentation by Derek Handley’s  from 2011. Listening to his Big Idea for how we could come together as a nation and do something that would benefit both New Zealand and the world.  How we could be brave and take a leap as a collective to change our world and at the same time provide a platform for talented kiwis to bring their talents back home. This coming together to contribute to a collective action, whether that be to free us of a dependance on oil or something else entirely, is something I know many New Zealanders across the world crave. This talented pool of individuals with a connection to home, want to contribute and want to be a part of this New Zealand Story.

We all know that it is not just visuals and values that make up brand New Zealand.  It is the pull that comes from being from a place you are proud of.  For 42Below, it was the expats who proudly bought out a bottle of vodka at a dinner party, for Derek’s idea it is bringing together the people who could make a difference towards a common goal. By bringing together this network of connected individuals to share a New Zealand story and spirit, we can impact a change that goes beyond the Pacific and throughout the world.

The easier it is for New Zealanders everywhere to connect with New Zealand and with each other, the more they can act in a purposeful way towards a common goal. You then make it possible to develop more stories like 42 below, or Big Ideas like Derek’s.  You make it possible to become world famous outside New Zealand from within New Zealand.

Finding your purpose: A reflective practitioner works out loud

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Work Out Loud I was speaking to a friend the other week who wanted to start her blog. She had purchased a domain name, figured out her platform, created some graphics, but she was afraid because she didn’t know what to write about.

She told me, “I have so many ideas and interests that I don’t know which one to pick. I really need to find my purpose first.  I can’t blog until I know what I want to be and then I will have a central theme and then I can start. ”  How long do you think she had been searching for this elusive purpose?  A year!

Like my friend, it has taken me longer than it should to start blogging.  I made the same mistake of thinking I needed a purpose first. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that we should all know what our purpose is and luckily some of us do. But for those of us that don’t, don’t let that stop you like it stopped me. The trick is simply to start. Like I told my friend, “Take the pressure off yourself, it is only in the doing that you will find it”.

So what did I do?  As someone who works in collaboration, social media and community building – there is no one word that describes what I do, let alone blueprints to follow. The practice is constantly evolving. So I have learnt to reflect, learn, and adapt as I go along. One way to do this, is to use your blog as part of the reflective process.  This habit of reflection, processing, and articulation helps form my thinking and allows me to work in such a way as to solicit feedback and ideas.

The Reflective Practitioner:  Reflect on Action

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This concept is not new. In his 1983 textbook The Reflective Practitioner, Donald Schön explains to us in 300+ pages the importance of reflection in learning. This book used mainly by health professionals and teachers, guides practitioners to build up a collection of examples and actions they can draw upon in practice.

Schön defines reflective practice as the practice by which professionals become aware of their implicit knowledge base and learn from their experience. He talks about reflection in action and reflection on action. Reflection in action is to reflect on behaviour as it happens, whereas, Reflection on action reflecting after the event, to review, analyse, and evaluate the situation. And… “knowing in action” to describe tacit knowledge.  

http://graysreadinggroup.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/the-reflective-practitioner-by-donald-schon/

Reflective practice, though recognising the value of private reflection, opens up for public scrutiny our interpretations and evaluations of our plans and actions.  We subject our assumptions, be they personal or professional, to the review of others.  We do this not only before or after an event, but learn to inquire even in the heat of the moment.

http://www.global-leader.org/Reflective%20Practice%20Article.pdf

Learning is a conversation: Work Out Loud

mkhmarketingA more accessible way of looking at this, is to turn to the work of John Stepper or Jane Bozarth and say we should Work Out Loud.

Working Out Loud =  Narrating Your Work + Making it Observable

http://thebryceswrite.com/2010/11/29/when-will-we-work-out-loud-soon/

As professionals we are constantly learning from our experiences. By opening these experiences up for feedback, we not only build credibility and reputation, we increase our network and get better at what we do. Writing not only about what we did, but sharing why and how too. Helping not only ourselves, but those within our network.

Working Out Loud starts with making your work visible in such a way that it might help others. When you do that – when you work in a more open, connected way – you can build a purposeful network that makes you more effective and provides access to more opportunities.

http://johnstepper.com/2014/01/04/the-5-elements-of-working-out-loud/

These reflections help build a repertoire and evolve the practice. Start sharing your work and in the sharing the purpose will come.

It’s not just for people.

This is true not only for people, but for communities and organisations too. By offering our experiences we can learn, process and evolve on the journey. In a previous post I wrote about the KEA community. This community may already know their purpose, but by having meet-ups and network events, hosting online discussions and connecting like-minded people, KEA can evaluate where they are having the most impact. By writing about these experiences and involving the community in those learnings, they evolve and continue to get better. Every organisation can do this.

Rather than waiting for your purpose, like my and friend and I did, try blogging as a reflective practice. Simply Work Out Loud and invite feedback from your network. By working in this way you start to better understand yourself and what you do.  And you never know, you may just find your purpose along the way.

Corporate Communities: from offstage to centre stage

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Corporate Communities: from offstage to centre stage

What would your company be like if the customer community was at the heart of your business?

Instead of community management being an extra thing that you do, what if the company empowered the community and was core to everything you did? A small company from San Francisco does exactly that and their example holds lessons for companies of all sizes.

LyftCommunity

The Lyft Community

Lyft is a realtime ride-sharing service that’s grown its business via community building. According to Lyft co-founder John Zimmer:

Building community is what drives me and makes me so happy to work on this… We’ve really invested in this sense of community.

It is this community focus and the distinct characteristics within the community that is setting this company apart from its competitors.

As Director of Community Engagement, Emily Castor acts as the linchpin in the Lyft community. Reading through Lyft’s blog and social media channels, you’ll find the usual content: customer feedback, press articles, safety information. Mixed in though, are photos of people, fun games, and lots of visual links (pink is big and there are moustaches everywhere). These visual identifiers and overall sense of fun connect the community and create an identity that people want to be part of.

And their customers see it too as evidenced in this quote from Nithya Anantharaman.

I have both Lyft and Uberx installed on my phone but I think of Lyft first when I need a ride.

Lyft’s passionate and loyal customer base is also starting to be very handy.

Fending off the competition

The collaborative ridesharing industry is a competitive market and the company with the largest share is Uber. (NB Look out for Uber in NZ soon.)
With a current valuation of more than three times that of Lyft and backers such as Google Ventures and Jeff Bezos, Uber has the funds to take on Lyft and engage in competitive tactics. Tactics such as anti-fistbump Facebook campaignspoaching of drivers via mobile billboard ads and offering customers free rides.

Uber founder Travis Kalanick is happy to state he thrives on this competition:

Competition is fun…You have to be a fighter, you have to be a warrior, and if not, you should go do something that is a little less disruptive. I’m bringing it, I’m not sleeping.

Zimmer’s response?

By focusing on community, we’re able to attract the highest quality drivers. It makes sense that our competitors would try to recruit them as they try to catch up in peer-to-peer…What we are doing with community, the peer-to-peer model, and sitting up front is resonating.

To compete against companies that have more resources or more market share, you may need to do things a little differently. For Lyft that means promoting their secret weapon, their community.

Celebrating Lyft drivers

Lyft has recently launched the “Lyft Creatives” initiative that highlights the individuality of the Lyft drivers themselves. Meet some of the drivers in the video below to see the passion.

Organising for a purpose

It is not just other ride-sharing competitors that are threatening Lyft’s livelihood, regulations and the risk of being outlawed are serious concerns too.

In August 2012, the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) sent Lyft and other ride-sharing companies cease and desist letters. Emily Castor wrote to her community and asked for help and the community responded with community stories, campaigns and pep rallies. When things got really competitive, it was the community that fought back.

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As the battle with city officials continues for both Lyft and Uber, these loyal evangelists just get stronger.

Transparency and Safety

Aside from the competition and the threats, the community also helps with something more fundamental – promoting an element of trust and safety. At the core of the Lyft platform is a two-way review system which allows customers to choose the driver they want and drivers to choose their customers.

Thanks to our two-way rating system, our community stays safe and positive for everyone. Just as passengers are able to rate drivers, drivers are able to rate passengers at the end of every ride. You can give a five star rating to great passengers, and reserve the lower star ratings for passengers you want to flag in the system. If you rate someone three stars or lower, you’ll never be matched with them again.

With everyone accessing the service through their Facebook accounts and the transparency of the review system, people are able to decide for themselves how “safe” someone is. Add that to the very visible pink moustache on the front of the car and the breaking of the ice with a fistbump when entering the car, each of these elements and rituals add to a feeling of safety and one of belonging to the larger community. For a ridesharing company designed to connect strangers, this community vibe becomes vital to their survival.

These are just a few examples of how Lyft has embraced their community as the core of their company. While some companies view their customer community efforts as just another support channel, Lyft shows how a broader view of community is good for customers, good for employees, and good for business.

What would your company be like if the customer community was at the heart of your business?

Influencing your community to go from good to great

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In my previous blogpost, I wrote about KEA (the Kiwi Expat Assoc) and their mission to turn brain drain into “brain circulation”. It’s a group of 200,000 expatriates from New Zealand and I’m proud to be among them. But while I like the success stories and the sense of connections to home, I always thought such a group could do even more. Here are some examples.

Tapping into the 6 sources of influence
The book “Influencer” by Kerry Patterson, et al.  explains how, by focusing on 6 sources of influence it is possible to change specific vital behaviours in a way that scales.  This approach has been used in a number of very different applications, from eradicating Guinea worm to changing behaviour in prisons. And in the case of KEA, I believe it can be used to transform 200,000 expats into a powerful network of ambassadors that can help each other and the country as a whole.

Sources_Influence

Applying this to KEA
Each one of KEA’s members has the ability to “bring work home”, connecting their personal networks and skills to people and organisations in New Zealand. Whether that is promoting NZ people and products, assisting with the growth of NZ start-ups or partnering with NZ firms.  We want every member to connect their networks and skills to ties back in New Zealand.  By looking at these 6 sources of influence, we can start to create a strategy for linking members to contributions and increasing the brain circulation of New Zealand.

1. Source: Personal Motivation
Ask: Do I want to?
Action: Make the undesirable desirable.  How: Consciously connect to value

This is where we look at someone’s personal motivation for contributing.  Why would somebody want to connect their networks or skills back to New Zealand? What intrinsic motivators can be called upon to motivate people to do this?

The obvious motivation in this example, would be to tap into each members want to keeping their connection with New Zealand strong.  Linking this action with a person’s sense of self – of who they are and who they want to be.  A kiwi, a New Zealander.

2. Source: Personal Ability
Ask: Am I able?
Action: Surpass your limits.  How: Demand Deliberate Practice

Are Kiwi Expats able to link their networks and skills back to New Zealand? Have we made it easy in this network to connect these dots?  Often we assume that we just need to motivate members to connect, however we also need to ensure that members know how.  This involves breaking the behaviour down into smaller chunks and ensuring every member has the ability to contribute.

With an organisation like KEA this could mean breaking down the businesses/people to promote in easy to target chunks.  e.g. KEA could provide targets by industry.  Do you know people in small businesses?  Here are the top ten New Zealand products for small businesses. Then make it easy to share this knowledge within my network.  By providing members with a simple structured way to connect their network or expertise, you enable every member to contribute.

3. Source: Social Motivation
Ask:  Do others motivate?
Action: Harness Peer Pressure  How: Pave the way. Enlist the power of those who motivate. Seek the support of those who motivate

Are other members just like me doing this?  Who are those in my network that would encourage me to participate?  Highlight these people and recognise them.  Sharing stories of successful New Zealanders giving back to the network is a great start to modelling this behaviour, but we also want to show that every member has something to give back. Share stories of a range of expats and use peer comparisons. e.g 3 out of 10 expats like you do X.   People are more likely to change their behaviours if people in their peer group are doing the same, not necessarily their leaders and if people feel praised and encouraged by those around them they are more likely to contribute.

4. Source: Social Ability
Ask: Do others enable?
Action: Find strength in numbers. How: Pave the way. Enlist the power of those who motivate.  Seek the support of those who motivate

Where can members go to get support from their peers to contribute? We know that peer groups can help reinforce and guide people.  e.g. Lean-In circles or weight loss groups.

With KEA there are already networking events in each country, and these could be altered to more purposeful and focused on support for contribution. These gatherings can be a place where members are able to help each other and vital provide support mechanisms.

5. Source: Structural Motivation
Ask: Does the environment/Do “things” motivate?
Action: Design Rewards and Demand Accountability.  How: Link rewards third and in moderation.  Link rewards to vital behaviours. Use rewards that reward.

Using rewards is something that should be done in moderation. The focus instead should be on the intrinsic motivations.  If rewards are to be used, it is important that they are linked to the behaviours rather than the results.  This may seem strange, but the results will take care of themselves.

A shout-out from an influential New Zealander for a number of contributions from a member, or a free flight home for someone wanting to start a business or creating a successful connection are some example of rewards that could be used for KEA.

6. Source: Structural Ability
Ask: Does the environment/”things” enable?
Action: Change the environment. How: Use the power of space. Use the power of data and cues.  Use the power of tools.

Finally, does the environment help or hinder members? What is the physical environment like?  What reminders or visual cues are there?    Changes to the environment could be physical changes, online changes, policy or structural changes.

With KEA, this could involve changes to the online presence or community spaces, or changes to the structure of the organisation, or the networking events.  Look at the biggest barriers to expat contributions or to brain circulation and start from there.

Taking a successful organisation like KEA, that already has 200,000 members wanting to be a part of “home” and giving them purposeful things to do as a part of that community, creates a very powerful network of relationships and ambassadors.

But what applies to KEA applies to other communities too.  Whether that be your own community, organisation or alumni. Connecting your members together is a good first step, now what?

 
To read more about the Influencer model the following two blogs provide more indepth information.  

The journey to becoming the most globally connected nation in the world

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My social media feeds were all a buzz recently with the success of Lorde at the Grammys.  People I am connected with were proud to see another NZ success story. For such a small nation, I find that New Zealanders have a strong sense of belonging and pride.

In a recent survey it was found that expats are just as included in the pull of “brand New Zealand” as those back home. So how can New Zealand as a country benefit from this want from people across the world to be a part of the New Zealand success story?

KEA

One organisation that aims to help New Zealand become the “most globally connected nation in the world” is KEA (Kiwi Expat Association).  And with 1 million expats you can see why they would want to.   KEA was founded by Sir Stephen Tindall and Professor David Teece in 2001 and has quickly grown to be a vital link for expats to “home”.

 The vision we developed at KEA was for New Zealand to operate as a globally connected nation of 5 million people, rather than a geographically isolated country of 4 million.  It’s a vision that favours the “brain circulation” over the “brain drain” argument where expats are concerned; that an engaged network of expats could be part of the “soft infrastructure” on which New Zealand builds a globally competitive economy.  And there was always a belief that embracing our expats in this way would help bring many of them home sooner rather than later, with a good number of highly productive years left in the tank.

Ross McConnell
http://www.kinfolk.co.nz/blog/a-battle-for-the-ages/

The organisation hopes to reach and motivate expatriate Kiwis to increase their contribution to New Zealand.  And why wouldn’t they?  Just as alumni of large Ivy League universities work together to benefit each other – why not a country?

The upside for New Zealand as an alumni network, as a country, if you like, is that there are hundreds of thousands of Kiwis that have done incredibly well overseas that really do want to help the country, want to help these folks that are trying to network into different parts of the world.  We really need to reach out to them more and do the Yale, Harvard thing and use the power of our networks.

Craig Donaldson (Current KEA Interim Global CEO)
The power of networks transcript

But how do you engage such a large community?

In the KEA report in 2009, it was interesting to see that initiatives such as mentorship and job boards did not have the impact that was anticipated.  What would influence people to move beyond passive participation in an online network, to active participation?

Since the report, KEA has been actively using the power of social networks to increase their membership. Increasing their numbers from 30,000 members in 2012 to over 200,000 in 2014.  And with the search for a new CEO, the focus of the organisation is shifting too; moving from adoption of members to more commercial outcomes.  It is all about the “possibilities of harnessing the strength of a globally connected New Zealand and achieving Kea’s greatest imaginable challenge: 1 million Kiwi advocates, champions and story-tellers by 2016.”

Having this expatriate advocate network connecting through storytelling is very powerful.

…storytelling is not just about the transfer of knowledge; it is also a movement designed to amplify the voice of a community (Burgess, 2006). Everyone can participate because everyone has a story to tell.  http://librarydigitalstorytelling.wordpress.com/what/

Celebrating success stories is one way to foster “brain circulation” and limit brain drain. But it’s just one small step. In the next post, I’ll suggest ways that KEA can connect and empower their huge network to do more than just celebrate from afar. By focusing on specific behaviours and tapping into all 6 sources of influence, KEA can turn expats into a powerful network of ambassadors that can help each other and the country as a whole.

How growing companies can (and should) feel small

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I’ve been looking at growing New Zealand companies recently – companies like Xero and Trademe, and they still show the positive signs of the best start-ups. They seem to have a purpose that unifies the people there and creates a positive culture and it resonates in their brand. They have a personality. Or, said another way, it feels like they’re a company made up of real human beings who treat their customers as real human beings.

As companies grow though, those traits can sometimes fade.  Big companies can feel like corporate machines. A place where competition beats collaboration and where personal agendas override a shared purpose.  By growing bigger, these companies risk losing the things that made them special in the first place.

But a few manage to avoid the traps of bigness.  And, In implementing an enterprise social strategy, I’ve seen 5 ways you can grow big and still feel small.  These are seen in the power of CLICK.

The power of CLICK

Be Connected

Be Connected
A sense of connectedness comes from an understanding of how your employees and your customers fit into your company.   As you grow – you want every employee to understand how their role is connected to the customer experience and to your products.  At Zappo’s (an online shoe company in America), every employee knows that their primary job is to keep their customer happy, and they are empowered to make this happen.  They don’t need permission.  Your employees should know what your company stands for – and should feel empowered to make this happen.

Be Learning

Be Learning
When you are a small company, you are continuously learning.  Asking questions and gaining skills.  As you grow, you want to maintain this culture of learning. Companies such as Google are well known for allowing employees time to develop ideas and innovations.  Everybody should always be asking questions.  As new people keep joining, you need to cater to onboarding them and providing a way for them to quickly understand who does what.  Your enterprise social network should be connecting these people to each other. It is the source for questions and answers and curated product information.  But don’t think it is  just for new people.  People who have worked with you for some time, will be upskilling and adapting, as will you.  Empower the entire company to learn and grow together.

Be Interactive


Be Interactive
Every entrepreneur has a personality that they bring to their company. This personality is easy to convey when they are a small team.  But as the company grows, you want this personality to scale.  Think of your Enterprise Social Network, as a virtual open door to your office.  If you want everyone to share and be a part of the company’s collective strategy, then you need to take everyone on the journey with you.  Share what you are doing and why.  Your employees should know your company success stories and be able to own these too.   By being open and allowing people to have a voice, you have the opportunity to open up real conversations.  By listening and interacting – you can respond, grow and adapt.

Be Creating

Be Creating
When a company grows beyond four walls – it is crucial to know what is happening.  With multiple teams, goals and agendas – working collaboratively can help connect the dots within the company.  By embedding a culture of content creation – where knowledge sharing is rewarded and encouraged – you can help people work out loud – and stop the silo mentality that begins to creep in.

Be Kind 

Be Kind.
It really is that simple.  A company is all about people.  Recognise those that are living the values – and sharing the personality that you want to maintain.  This way you can be sure to have the greatest people, and the greatest company.

What now?
Don’t be trapped into creating layers of hierarchy, complex processes and bureaucratic policy.  Prioritise the people in your company, the personality – and it may just all CLICK into place.   ;)

My great Kiwi influencers list

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As a kiwi living in London I naturally would like to move back there one day.  So I do what many of us do, follow everything that is happening back home.  This includes regular doses of nzherald.co.nz and stuff.co.nz, but also keeping up-to-date with a number of New Zealand influencers on social networks.

For a small country, there are a number of influencers and they have a wide reach.  I really enjoy reading these as they come through my stream.  The “No 8 wire” attitude comes through, as does the candid, friendliness I am used to from back home. When the rest of my stream goes to sleep, this part of my Twitterverse starts to wake up and come alive.

So where do you find these NZ Influencers?  You could start by looking at The NZ Herald Twitter Top 50, or searching through the top 100 followers in New Zealand.  If you do this, you will notice a lot of sports stars, media personalities and politicians.

But to be on my list – it takes something a little different…

  • It’s less about the number of followers they have – more about having an “active following”.  Real conversations – where they speak and people speak back.
  • These are people who create content – not just pass it on. I was mainly focused on Twitter and Blogs – things that were easily accessible to me.
  • And the ultimate criteria….  these are people I would like to emulate – I admire their work – they have the kind of “influence” I would like to have

So here they are…. Subscribe to my Twitter List for the latest update:  bit.ly/18QCGXR 

Top NZ Influencers for 2013 (according to @tolja)

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Rod Drury @roddrury
Always on Twitter.  Regularly answers queries.  Lighthearted.  And he blogs too.

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Simone McCallum @simonemccallum
Regularly on Twitter. Talks about Social Media, what is happening around her.  Funny.  And she blogs too.  (There could be a pattern here…)

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Dan Carter @dancarter
Dan I follow on Twitter and Facebook.  His updates are a great way to keep up with what the @allblacks are doing.  He is lighthearted, gives things away, shares lots of images – and genuinely seems like a nice guy.

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Anna Connell @AnnaGConnell
So it may just be that she is an online community manager for a financial firm, much like I am…   but it is not.  Her tweets are engaging, and she blogs every now and then – kind of like me.🙂

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Vaughan Davis @vaughndavis
Amusing.  Posts regularly.  Blogs here.

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Cate Owen @cateowen
Tweets regularly.  Makes me laugh. Writes things at http://cateowen.co.nz/.

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Ana Samways @anasamways
Sideswipe is so funny.  The one thing you must read when you go and read the paper. That she manages to pull this together every day is great.

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Marcus Lush @marcuslush
“Followed” Marcus before Twitter.  Posts Regularly.  Often makes me LOL.

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Helen Clark @HelenClarkUNDP
As NZ’s first woman Prime Minister and current Administrator for the UNDP – I have to follow Helen.  And it is a treat.  She recognises people when they do good work and talks about things she is passionate about.

Freshly added:
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John Campbell @johnjcampbell
Newly added to my list.  Looking for the lowdown on current events in New Zealand. Will keep you updated.

And there are some organisations that made my list too…

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All Blacks @allblacks
Not really much to say – a part of NZ culture.  The All Blacks are very active on social media.  And even if just for bragging rights – it is important to be up-to-date with what is happening.  I love that although this is all about rugby, you see the All Blacks supporting other kiwis in other codes.

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Xero @xero
With a real “start-up” feel, Xero is one NZ’s success stories.  Great to follow and feel like you are part of the journey.

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ASB @asbbank
As far as social media goes, ASB knows what they are doing.  Innovative and human.  Love to see what they do next.

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Air New Zealand @flyairnz
Good selection of tweets.  Feels like real humans tweeting. I like reading about people on their way home and celebrating all things NZ.

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Stuff.co.nz @NZStuffEditors
For keeping up with news in New Zealand, I read the nzherald using their app and stuff online – but I like to follow @NZStuffEditors for a selection of news to read.  The mix of news feels handpicked and relevant.

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Kea @keanewzealand
I follow Kea on both Twitter and Facebook.  They do a great job of celebrating great New Zealanders and helping us expats network.

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The Icehouse @the_icehouse
Tweets every now and then.  I follow The Icehouse for information on what is happening in the start-up scene.  A number of people I admire are a part of this org, so it’s worth supporting.

Newly Added:
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Local Auckland @LocalAuckland
Just discovered this as they were posting lovely pictures of a New Zealand summer.  Enjoying following so far.  Will keep you updated.

It has taken a number of months to find these influencers, but the discovery has been fun.  In the process, I even managed to get a favourite from Helen Clark!

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I know there are more that I haven’t even come across yet.

Given the diverseness of New Zealand, I feel I am missing influencers in Food, Wine, Music, Comedy and more. So with a list of only 18 so far – I would like my next list to be at least 20.  What do you think of the list so far?  Who am I missing?

What’s your type?

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Most of us have undertaken a personality analysis at some point, whether it be as an questionaire assesment, at a work session or in a trashy magazine. Obviously not all of these are as helpful as others, but they do help us understand that we are all different and behave in different ways.

Knowing more about who we are and why we act the way we do, can help us grow as a person and develop. At the same time it can help us understand how we interact and network with others. All very useful when looking at how to influence change in our organisations. We know we all work differently and have different needs. Therefore it would seem logical, that one approach to enterprise social network adoption, will not work for all.

Social Networks are all about people and relationships. Each person has a different WIIFM (what’s in it for me) and will find value in different areas. But that does not mean all is lost when looking at an adoption strategy.

Borrowing heavily from the UX (User Experience) community, I have been thinking about the different personas that I have found within social networks. Looking at these “types”, or personas can really help when formulating your strategy. Whether it is a personal social strategy or one for your organisation.

What are some of the different types of social network users?

Lurker: Credit -http://artdesigner.lv/

The Lurker: AKA The watcher
These people simply observe what is happening around them, but they do not participate.
Online communities and networks are made up of a large number of lurkers – and this is typically where people start off before graduating into one of the other social types.
A Lurkers primary motivation is to see what is happening around them.

Social Butterfly:  Credit http://www.socialmediadigger.com/

The Social Butterfly: AKA The people person.
The life of the party. Nothing is really happening until this person turns up.
They are everywhere and everyone knows their avatar.
A Social Butterfly’s primary motivation is to connect with others and be seen.

The Giver: Credit http://artdesigner.lv/

The Sprinkler: AKA The giver.
Sprinklers love to share what they know. They are the communicators and social reporters of your network. They share nuggets of information to reach as many people as possible.
A Sprinkler’s primary motivation is to share information, any information.

The Influencer: Credit http://www.iconshock.com/

The Influencer: AKA The thought leader
Influencers can start movements on social networks. They are the trendsetters. People look to these experts for what to do next.
An Influencers primary motivation is lead.

The Digital Contrarian: Credit http://fasticon.com/

The Digital Contrarian: Otherwise known as the opposition.
Digital Contrarian’s like to “play devils advocate”. They much prefer the safety of what things were like before and are not afraid to express their opinion on this – whether that is email, or fax, snail mail – they like the “old way of doing things”.
A Digital Contrarian’s primary motivation is to oppose.

What type are you?
Have I missed anyone you have seen out there?

Five steps to Implementing a Collaboration Strategy

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I have been thinking about how a collaboration implementation plan aligns with user participation and how to link the two together to create a simple five step plan.

Participation Inequality

We know that in social networks, participation is not equal.   Jakob Neilsen first described Participation Inequality back in 2006, noting that most of the content contributed originated from a small majority of active users (1-10%).

Participation Inequality

Participation Inequality

Ross Mayfield describes the The Power law of Participation where users tend to start at the long tail and move their way up to being contributors and leaders.  He also composed the below graphic illustrating how increasing levels of effort can transforms participation from collective intelligence to collaborative intelligence.

Taking the Participation Inequality and the user path taken to contribution, I have aligned these to a simple 5 step implementation plan.

The Five Step Plan

The five step plan I have outlined allows us to focus our efforts and resources in the right places along the journey to collaborative intelligence.

1. Consumption:  Lead with content

  • Start with existing content

Knowing that a majority of your network will initially consume content, helps us to focus first on ensuring that there is relevant timely content there. 

Start with exisitng “publishers”/contributors within your organisation, leveraging content you already have and aggregating it with a social overlay.  Exisiting contributors gain vital feedback on their content and in addition are able to reach a wider audience as people being to self-subscribe to content that is relevant to them.

2. Conversation: Enable Dialogue

  • Build your curator network to share best practices on creating “social content”
  • Remember to recognise contributors

Through your collaboration platform, content consumers are now enabled to “give back”.  Content creators are able to get instant and public feedback on what they produce and start to adapt for their audience. They will adapt their content to be more “social”.  Asking questions to encourage commentary, expressing opinions and curating content that is more “conversational”.

As the content grows and relationships are formed with consumers, more of the consumers will start to want to express themselves as contributors.

The motivation of most contributors is the attention and appreciation of the content consumers.  Provide recognition to contributors to encourage them to continue and for others to emulate. Now is a good time to build a curator network.  Contributors can share best practices on creating content that encourages dialogue and conversation.

3. Connections: Create Relationships

  • Build an advocacy network

Collaboration platforms make it easier for people to find content, people and places that are relevant to them.  Encourage tagging, recommendations and shares to increase connections and discovery. 

As the culture evolves, and connections increase, discovery and recommendations based on popularity/trending and user networks  become more sophisticated and rich. Interconnecting content and people to enable more serendipitious collaboration.

4. Co-operation: Build Communities

  • Build Communities of Practice and Communities of Interest
  • Build a Community Leaders Network

As user engagement increases and they become further engaged, people will want to become more involved.  Connecting with groups and communities that they identify with.  New communities will form and merge. 

Start with existing communities/groups, such as communities of practices or affinity networks and encourage social groups and collective action groups to help build the community movement. 

Building your community leader network will be vital to the success of your communities.  The community managers and leaders will actively connect people to content and encourage participation and a sense of belonging.

Discouraging the recreation of the organisation structure at this stage, and focusing instead on groups and networks that do not change frequently will enable the collaborative culture to take root.  Instead encourge cross silo and/or cross regional, functional or role based networks.  Focus on things that remain constant in re-organisations.

5. Collaboration: Change the Culture

  • Change current processes and workflow

This is when the culture of the organisation starts to change, it becomes more open and transparent and people are able to work across silos and regions.

Exisiting workflows and processes will change.  They will be able to look at changing the way they perform meetings, or how they ask questions and find expertise.  This is the stage where users are able to create groups and work collaboratively together on collective actions and goals. 

More and more people will become contributors and start “working out loud” allowing for the transistion from collective intelligence to collaborative intelligence.

Lessons along the way

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Working in Social Business (insert your term in here Social Media/Enterprise 2.0/Collaborative Technologies/Social Strategy) over the past few years has been a continuously learning experience. And I love it. I love that every day I work with people within the field, with a hunger to learn and listen and share.

Here are some of my own lessons I have learned along the way.

Tell Stories
Working in a highly regulated environment, I have been in many meetings or conversations where I have found myself in the situation of starting to “defend” the benefits of building community within the enterprise, or proving that “social” technologies can show true monetary value.  Rather than take the defensive approach, or start explaining how “everyone else is doing it”, there is nothing more powerful than making it personal.  Tell stories that people can relate to.  Don’t speak of the benefits of “social”.  Speak about real people who are seeing value, particularly if they are people that they know.  Everyone likes to hear a story and more importantly people share stories.

Work with the way things are
Have you ever wondered how some structures, hierarchies and processes ever got as complex and inefficient as they are today?  When working with collaborative technologies, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wondering how everyone can possibly not see the benefits and just change the way they work.  But you can make a lot of traction, by embracing these structures.  Existing hierarchies can be useful in getting decisions made.  They can help institutionalise new practices and embed them into current processes.  “Bottom-up” approaches tend to have ceilings. hierarchies and processes help to embed collaboration into the way work gets done. Just don’t mistake this with thinking that you can’t change the way things are.

Spend time on your network
Social business is ultimately about people and the people in your network are your enablers.  Spend time on nurturing your network and building your community.
Share with your network.  Listen to your network. Connect your network.  And most importantly, thank your network.

Thank you to those who have:

– believed in what I am doing and building.
– shared their stories and wisdom with me (and given me constructive criticism when I have needed it.)
– listened to my story and let me help evolve theirs.
– joined my network.

Keep Learning
Reading and listening to others helps me develop and evolve my thoughts.  Taking time to learn from those around me.  Asking questions and really listening to what others are doing and saying helps me continuously evolve and adapt and apply these learnings to my own communities and work.  To push the boundaries and innovate we need to take time to question and learn.

What lessons are part of your story?

World famous outside New Zealand

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When people ask me where I am from and I say “New Zealand”, a look of awe comes across their face.  I am proud to promote my country and everything that comes from there and I am not alone.  In a recent survey of over 12,000 expats (by Kea and Colmar Brunton), 98% actively promote New Zealand (NZ) and recommend it as a destination to their overseas networks. The story of the New Zealand brand and their advocates holds lessons for other countries and companies.

100%Pure

The tourism New Zealand campaign of 100% pure has done a lot for the image of New Zealand as a clean, green and adventure filled country.  The Lord of Rings trilogy and the adventure tourism promotions add to this. What may have seemed like a difficult market, being as far away as possible from anywhere, many New Zealand companies are taking this image to their advantage as they launch themselves in international markets.

The story of a premium vodka from NZ

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One company that pioneered a number of marketing initiatives (many controversial), was 42Below. Their quirky use of the New Zealand brand helped take their vodka global. At a time when New Zealand wine, fashion and movies were succeeding globally – vodka was not a product that came to mind when people thought of NZ. But Geoff Ross did not let that stop him, as he set out to create the purest vodka in the world – from the purest country in the world.  He understood that branding was what would differentiate his product from the established vodka brands and that the New Zealand brand would help him do that. Often described as “New Zealand in a bottle”, 42Below pitched itself as The premium vodka to the elite cocktail set. And it worked. 42Below became so popular that in 2006 it attracted an $138 million buyout from Bacardi.

World famous outside New Zealand

worldfamous

Kiwis have a saying – “World famous in New Zealand“. Now associated with the L&P advertising campaign (a drink only well known within NZ), the phrase is used to describe individual products and ideas that could be famous, but have only managed to make it big in NZ. A disadvantage of size and distance for NZ has meant that historically this was a common occurrence, but in the connected and networked world of today it no longer has to be that way. Now, you can be world famous outside New Zealand.

The New Zealand Story

In 2012 the New Zealand government commissioned three government agencies to develop “The New Zealand Story“.  This initiative was put together to help local companies compete in the global marketplace by providing a consistent New Zealand narrative, a narrative not exclusively tied to a tourism campaign. Presented in three chapters – open spaces, open hearts and open minds, The New Zealand Story provides assets and story kits to help New Zealanders talk about our unique attributes in a consistent and meaningful way.

What more could we do?

We could stop at helping create a consistent brand for New Zealand to take our products globally – but we could also be braver and go further. Recently I discovered a presentation by Derek Handley’s  from 2011. Listening to his Big Idea for how we could come together as a nation and do something that would benefit both New Zealand and the world.  How we could be brave and take a leap as a collective to change our world and at the same time provide a platform for talented kiwis to bring their talents back home. This coming together to contribute to a collective action, whether that be to free us of a dependance on oil or something else entirely, is something I know many New Zealanders across the world crave. This talented pool of individuals with a connection to home, want to contribute and want to be a part of this New Zealand Story.

We all know that it is not just visuals and values that make up brand New Zealand.  It is the pull that comes from being from a place you are proud of.  For 42Below, it was the expats who proudly bought out a bottle of vodka at a dinner party, for Derek’s idea it is bringing together the people who could make a difference towards a common goal. By bringing together this network of connected individuals to share a New Zealand story and spirit, we can impact a change that goes beyond the Pacific and throughout the world.

The easier it is for New Zealanders everywhere to connect with New Zealand and with each other, the more they can act in a purposeful way towards a common goal. You then make it possible to develop more stories like 42 below, or Big Ideas like Derek’s.  You make it possible to become world famous outside New Zealand from within New Zealand.

Finding your purpose: A reflective practitioner works out loud

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Work Out Loud I was speaking to a friend the other week who wanted to start her blog. She had purchased a domain name, figured out her platform, created some graphics, but she was afraid because she didn’t know what to write about.

She told me, “I have so many ideas and interests that I don’t know which one to pick. I really need to find my purpose first.  I can’t blog until I know what I want to be and then I will have a central theme and then I can start. ”  How long do you think she had been searching for this elusive purpose?  A year!

Like my friend, it has taken me longer than it should to start blogging.  I made the same mistake of thinking I needed a purpose first. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that we should all know what our purpose is and luckily some of us do. But for those of us that don’t, don’t let that stop you like it stopped me. The trick is simply to start. Like I told my friend, “Take the pressure off yourself, it is only in the doing that you will find it”.

So what did I do?  As someone who works in collaboration, social media and community building – there is no one word that describes what I do, let alone blueprints to follow. The practice is constantly evolving. So I have learnt to reflect, learn, and adapt as I go along. One way to do this, is to use your blog as part of the reflective process.  This habit of reflection, processing, and articulation helps form my thinking and allows me to work in such a way as to solicit feedback and ideas.

The Reflective Practitioner:  Reflect on Action

The-Reflective-Practitioner-9780465068784

This concept is not new. In his 1983 textbook The Reflective Practitioner, Donald Schön explains to us in 300+ pages the importance of reflection in learning. This book used mainly by health professionals and teachers, guides practitioners to build up a collection of examples and actions they can draw upon in practice.

Schön defines reflective practice as the practice by which professionals become aware of their implicit knowledge base and learn from their experience. He talks about reflection in action and reflection on action. Reflection in action is to reflect on behaviour as it happens, whereas, Reflection on action reflecting after the event, to review, analyse, and evaluate the situation. And… “knowing in action” to describe tacit knowledge.  

http://graysreadinggroup.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/the-reflective-practitioner-by-donald-schon/

Reflective practice, though recognising the value of private reflection, opens up for public scrutiny our interpretations and evaluations of our plans and actions.  We subject our assumptions, be they personal or professional, to the review of others.  We do this not only before or after an event, but learn to inquire even in the heat of the moment.

http://www.global-leader.org/Reflective%20Practice%20Article.pdf

Learning is a conversation: Work Out Loud

mkhmarketingA more accessible way of looking at this, is to turn to the work of John Stepper or Jane Bozarth and say we should Work Out Loud.

Working Out Loud =  Narrating Your Work + Making it Observable

http://thebryceswrite.com/2010/11/29/when-will-we-work-out-loud-soon/

As professionals we are constantly learning from our experiences. By opening these experiences up for feedback, we not only build credibility and reputation, we increase our network and get better at what we do. Writing not only about what we did, but sharing why and how too. Helping not only ourselves, but those within our network.

Working Out Loud starts with making your work visible in such a way that it might help others. When you do that – when you work in a more open, connected way – you can build a purposeful network that makes you more effective and provides access to more opportunities.

http://johnstepper.com/2014/01/04/the-5-elements-of-working-out-loud/

These reflections help build a repertoire and evolve the practice. Start sharing your work and in the sharing the purpose will come.

It’s not just for people.

This is true not only for people, but for communities and organisations too. By offering our experiences we can learn, process and evolve on the journey. In a previous post I wrote about the KEA community. This community may already know their purpose, but by having meet-ups and network events, hosting online discussions and connecting like-minded people, KEA can evaluate where they are having the most impact. By writing about these experiences and involving the community in those learnings, they evolve and continue to get better. Every organisation can do this.

Rather than waiting for your purpose, like my and friend and I did, try blogging as a reflective practice. Simply Work Out Loud and invite feedback from your network. By working in this way you start to better understand yourself and what you do.  And you never know, you may just find your purpose along the way.

Corporate Communities: from offstage to centre stage

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Corporate Communities: from offstage to centre stage

What would your company be like if the customer community was at the heart of your business?

Instead of community management being an extra thing that you do, what if the company empowered the community and was core to everything you did? A small company from San Francisco does exactly that and their example holds lessons for companies of all sizes.

LyftCommunity

The Lyft Community

Lyft is a realtime ride-sharing service that’s grown its business via community building. According to Lyft co-founder John Zimmer:

Building community is what drives me and makes me so happy to work on this… We’ve really invested in this sense of community.

It is this community focus and the distinct characteristics within the community that is setting this company apart from its competitors.

As Director of Community Engagement, Emily Castor acts as the linchpin in the Lyft community. Reading through Lyft’s blog and social media channels, you’ll find the usual content: customer feedback, press articles, safety information. Mixed in though, are photos of people, fun games, and lots of visual links (pink is big and there are moustaches everywhere). These visual identifiers and overall sense of fun connect the community and create an identity that people want to be part of.

And their customers see it too as evidenced in this quote from Nithya Anantharaman.

I have both Lyft and Uberx installed on my phone but I think of Lyft first when I need a ride.

Lyft’s passionate and loyal customer base is also starting to be very handy.

Fending off the competition

The collaborative ridesharing industry is a competitive market and the company with the largest share is Uber. (NB Look out for Uber in NZ soon.)
With a current valuation of more than three times that of Lyft and backers such as Google Ventures and Jeff Bezos, Uber has the funds to take on Lyft and engage in competitive tactics. Tactics such as anti-fistbump Facebook campaignspoaching of drivers via mobile billboard ads and offering customers free rides.

Uber founder Travis Kalanick is happy to state he thrives on this competition:

Competition is fun…You have to be a fighter, you have to be a warrior, and if not, you should go do something that is a little less disruptive. I’m bringing it, I’m not sleeping.

Zimmer’s response?

By focusing on community, we’re able to attract the highest quality drivers. It makes sense that our competitors would try to recruit them as they try to catch up in peer-to-peer…What we are doing with community, the peer-to-peer model, and sitting up front is resonating.

To compete against companies that have more resources or more market share, you may need to do things a little differently. For Lyft that means promoting their secret weapon, their community.

Celebrating Lyft drivers

Lyft has recently launched the “Lyft Creatives” initiative that highlights the individuality of the Lyft drivers themselves. Meet some of the drivers in the video below to see the passion.

Organising for a purpose

It is not just other ride-sharing competitors that are threatening Lyft’s livelihood, regulations and the risk of being outlawed are serious concerns too.

In August 2012, the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) sent Lyft and other ride-sharing companies cease and desist letters. Emily Castor wrote to her community and asked for help and the community responded with community stories, campaigns and pep rallies. When things got really competitive, it was the community that fought back.

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As the battle with city officials continues for both Lyft and Uber, these loyal evangelists just get stronger.

Transparency and Safety

Aside from the competition and the threats, the community also helps with something more fundamental – promoting an element of trust and safety. At the core of the Lyft platform is a two-way review system which allows customers to choose the driver they want and drivers to choose their customers.

Thanks to our two-way rating system, our community stays safe and positive for everyone. Just as passengers are able to rate drivers, drivers are able to rate passengers at the end of every ride. You can give a five star rating to great passengers, and reserve the lower star ratings for passengers you want to flag in the system. If you rate someone three stars or lower, you’ll never be matched with them again.

With everyone accessing the service through their Facebook accounts and the transparency of the review system, people are able to decide for themselves how “safe” someone is. Add that to the very visible pink moustache on the front of the car and the breaking of the ice with a fistbump when entering the car, each of these elements and rituals add to a feeling of safety and one of belonging to the larger community. For a ridesharing company designed to connect strangers, this community vibe becomes vital to their survival.

These are just a few examples of how Lyft has embraced their community as the core of their company. While some companies view their customer community efforts as just another support channel, Lyft shows how a broader view of community is good for customers, good for employees, and good for business.

What would your company be like if the customer community was at the heart of your business?

Influencing your community to go from good to great

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In my previous blogpost, I wrote about KEA (the Kiwi Expat Assoc) and their mission to turn brain drain into “brain circulation”. It’s a group of 200,000 expatriates from New Zealand and I’m proud to be among them. But while I like the success stories and the sense of connections to home, I always thought such a group could do even more. Here are some examples.

Tapping into the 6 sources of influence
The book “Influencer” by Kerry Patterson, et al.  explains how, by focusing on 6 sources of influence it is possible to change specific vital behaviours in a way that scales.  This approach has been used in a number of very different applications, from eradicating Guinea worm to changing behaviour in prisons. And in the case of KEA, I believe it can be used to transform 200,000 expats into a powerful network of ambassadors that can help each other and the country as a whole.

Sources_Influence

Applying this to KEA
Each one of KEA’s members has the ability to “bring work home”, connecting their personal networks and skills to people and organisations in New Zealand. Whether that is promoting NZ people and products, assisting with the growth of NZ start-ups or partnering with NZ firms.  We want every member to connect their networks and skills to ties back in New Zealand.  By looking at these 6 sources of influence, we can start to create a strategy for linking members to contributions and increasing the brain circulation of New Zealand.

1. Source: Personal Motivation
Ask: Do I want to?
Action: Make the undesirable desirable.  How: Consciously connect to value

This is where we look at someone’s personal motivation for contributing.  Why would somebody want to connect their networks or skills back to New Zealand? What intrinsic motivators can be called upon to motivate people to do this?

The obvious motivation in this example, would be to tap into each members want to keeping their connection with New Zealand strong.  Linking this action with a person’s sense of self – of who they are and who they want to be.  A kiwi, a New Zealander.

2. Source: Personal Ability
Ask: Am I able?
Action: Surpass your limits.  How: Demand Deliberate Practice

Are Kiwi Expats able to link their networks and skills back to New Zealand? Have we made it easy in this network to connect these dots?  Often we assume that we just need to motivate members to connect, however we also need to ensure that members know how.  This involves breaking the behaviour down into smaller chunks and ensuring every member has the ability to contribute.

With an organisation like KEA this could mean breaking down the businesses/people to promote in easy to target chunks.  e.g. KEA could provide targets by industry.  Do you know people in small businesses?  Here are the top ten New Zealand products for small businesses. Then make it easy to share this knowledge within my network.  By providing members with a simple structured way to connect their network or expertise, you enable every member to contribute.

3. Source: Social Motivation
Ask:  Do others motivate?
Action: Harness Peer Pressure  How: Pave the way. Enlist the power of those who motivate. Seek the support of those who motivate

Are other members just like me doing this?  Who are those in my network that would encourage me to participate?  Highlight these people and recognise them.  Sharing stories of successful New Zealanders giving back to the network is a great start to modelling this behaviour, but we also want to show that every member has something to give back. Share stories of a range of expats and use peer comparisons. e.g 3 out of 10 expats like you do X.   People are more likely to change their behaviours if people in their peer group are doing the same, not necessarily their leaders and if people feel praised and encouraged by those around them they are more likely to contribute.

4. Source: Social Ability
Ask: Do others enable?
Action: Find strength in numbers. How: Pave the way. Enlist the power of those who motivate.  Seek the support of those who motivate

Where can members go to get support from their peers to contribute? We know that peer groups can help reinforce and guide people.  e.g. Lean-In circles or weight loss groups.

With KEA there are already networking events in each country, and these could be altered to more purposeful and focused on support for contribution. These gatherings can be a place where members are able to help each other and vital provide support mechanisms.

5. Source: Structural Motivation
Ask: Does the environment/Do “things” motivate?
Action: Design Rewards and Demand Accountability.  How: Link rewards third and in moderation.  Link rewards to vital behaviours. Use rewards that reward.

Using rewards is something that should be done in moderation. The focus instead should be on the intrinsic motivations.  If rewards are to be used, it is important that they are linked to the behaviours rather than the results.  This may seem strange, but the results will take care of themselves.

A shout-out from an influential New Zealander for a number of contributions from a member, or a free flight home for someone wanting to start a business or creating a successful connection are some example of rewards that could be used for KEA.

6. Source: Structural Ability
Ask: Does the environment/”things” enable?
Action: Change the environment. How: Use the power of space. Use the power of data and cues.  Use the power of tools.

Finally, does the environment help or hinder members? What is the physical environment like?  What reminders or visual cues are there?    Changes to the environment could be physical changes, online changes, policy or structural changes.

With KEA, this could involve changes to the online presence or community spaces, or changes to the structure of the organisation, or the networking events.  Look at the biggest barriers to expat contributions or to brain circulation and start from there.

Taking a successful organisation like KEA, that already has 200,000 members wanting to be a part of “home” and giving them purposeful things to do as a part of that community, creates a very powerful network of relationships and ambassadors.

But what applies to KEA applies to other communities too.  Whether that be your own community, organisation or alumni. Connecting your members together is a good first step, now what?

 
To read more about the Influencer model the following two blogs provide more indepth information.  

The journey to becoming the most globally connected nation in the world

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My social media feeds were all a buzz recently with the success of Lorde at the Grammys.  People I am connected with were proud to see another NZ success story. For such a small nation, I find that New Zealanders have a strong sense of belonging and pride.

In a recent survey it was found that expats are just as included in the pull of “brand New Zealand” as those back home. So how can New Zealand as a country benefit from this want from people across the world to be a part of the New Zealand success story?

KEA

One organisation that aims to help New Zealand become the “most globally connected nation in the world” is KEA (Kiwi Expat Association).  And with 1 million expats you can see why they would want to.   KEA was founded by Sir Stephen Tindall and Professor David Teece in 2001 and has quickly grown to be a vital link for expats to “home”.

 The vision we developed at KEA was for New Zealand to operate as a globally connected nation of 5 million people, rather than a geographically isolated country of 4 million.  It’s a vision that favours the “brain circulation” over the “brain drain” argument where expats are concerned; that an engaged network of expats could be part of the “soft infrastructure” on which New Zealand builds a globally competitive economy.  And there was always a belief that embracing our expats in this way would help bring many of them home sooner rather than later, with a good number of highly productive years left in the tank.

Ross McConnell
http://www.kinfolk.co.nz/blog/a-battle-for-the-ages/

The organisation hopes to reach and motivate expatriate Kiwis to increase their contribution to New Zealand.  And why wouldn’t they?  Just as alumni of large Ivy League universities work together to benefit each other – why not a country?

The upside for New Zealand as an alumni network, as a country, if you like, is that there are hundreds of thousands of Kiwis that have done incredibly well overseas that really do want to help the country, want to help these folks that are trying to network into different parts of the world.  We really need to reach out to them more and do the Yale, Harvard thing and use the power of our networks.

Craig Donaldson (Current KEA Interim Global CEO)
The power of networks transcript

But how do you engage such a large community?

In the KEA report in 2009, it was interesting to see that initiatives such as mentorship and job boards did not have the impact that was anticipated.  What would influence people to move beyond passive participation in an online network, to active participation?

Since the report, KEA has been actively using the power of social networks to increase their membership. Increasing their numbers from 30,000 members in 2012 to over 200,000 in 2014.  And with the search for a new CEO, the focus of the organisation is shifting too; moving from adoption of members to more commercial outcomes.  It is all about the “possibilities of harnessing the strength of a globally connected New Zealand and achieving Kea’s greatest imaginable challenge: 1 million Kiwi advocates, champions and story-tellers by 2016.”

Having this expatriate advocate network connecting through storytelling is very powerful.

…storytelling is not just about the transfer of knowledge; it is also a movement designed to amplify the voice of a community (Burgess, 2006). Everyone can participate because everyone has a story to tell.  http://librarydigitalstorytelling.wordpress.com/what/

Celebrating success stories is one way to foster “brain circulation” and limit brain drain. But it’s just one small step. In the next post, I’ll suggest ways that KEA can connect and empower their huge network to do more than just celebrate from afar. By focusing on specific behaviours and tapping into all 6 sources of influence, KEA can turn expats into a powerful network of ambassadors that can help each other and the country as a whole.

How growing companies can (and should) feel small

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I’ve been looking at growing New Zealand companies recently – companies like Xero and Trademe, and they still show the positive signs of the best start-ups. They seem to have a purpose that unifies the people there and creates a positive culture and it resonates in their brand. They have a personality. Or, said another way, it feels like they’re a company made up of real human beings who treat their customers as real human beings.

As companies grow though, those traits can sometimes fade.  Big companies can feel like corporate machines. A place where competition beats collaboration and where personal agendas override a shared purpose.  By growing bigger, these companies risk losing the things that made them special in the first place.

But a few manage to avoid the traps of bigness.  And, In implementing an enterprise social strategy, I’ve seen 5 ways you can grow big and still feel small.  These are seen in the power of CLICK.

The power of CLICK

Be Connected

Be Connected
A sense of connectedness comes from an understanding of how your employees and your customers fit into your company.   As you grow – you want every employee to understand how their role is connected to the customer experience and to your products.  At Zappo’s (an online shoe company in America), every employee knows that their primary job is to keep their customer happy, and they are empowered to make this happen.  They don’t need permission.  Your employees should know what your company stands for – and should feel empowered to make this happen.

Be Learning

Be Learning
When you are a small company, you are continuously learning.  Asking questions and gaining skills.  As you grow, you want to maintain this culture of learning. Companies such as Google are well known for allowing employees time to develop ideas and innovations.  Everybody should always be asking questions.  As new people keep joining, you need to cater to onboarding them and providing a way for them to quickly understand who does what.  Your enterprise social network should be connecting these people to each other. It is the source for questions and answers and curated product information.  But don’t think it is  just for new people.  People who have worked with you for some time, will be upskilling and adapting, as will you.  Empower the entire company to learn and grow together.

Be Interactive


Be Interactive
Every entrepreneur has a personality that they bring to their company. This personality is easy to convey when they are a small team.  But as the company grows, you want this personality to scale.  Think of your Enterprise Social Network, as a virtual open door to your office.  If you want everyone to share and be a part of the company’s collective strategy, then you need to take everyone on the journey with you.  Share what you are doing and why.  Your employees should know your company success stories and be able to own these too.   By being open and allowing people to have a voice, you have the opportunity to open up real conversations.  By listening and interacting – you can respond, grow and adapt.

Be Creating

Be Creating
When a company grows beyond four walls – it is crucial to know what is happening.  With multiple teams, goals and agendas – working collaboratively can help connect the dots within the company.  By embedding a culture of content creation – where knowledge sharing is rewarded and encouraged – you can help people work out loud – and stop the silo mentality that begins to creep in.

Be Kind 

Be Kind.
It really is that simple.  A company is all about people.  Recognise those that are living the values – and sharing the personality that you want to maintain.  This way you can be sure to have the greatest people, and the greatest company.

What now?
Don’t be trapped into creating layers of hierarchy, complex processes and bureaucratic policy.  Prioritise the people in your company, the personality – and it may just all CLICK into place.   ;)

My great Kiwi influencers list

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As a kiwi living in London I naturally would like to move back there one day.  So I do what many of us do, follow everything that is happening back home.  This includes regular doses of nzherald.co.nz and stuff.co.nz, but also keeping up-to-date with a number of New Zealand influencers on social networks.

For a small country, there are a number of influencers and they have a wide reach.  I really enjoy reading these as they come through my stream.  The “No 8 wire” attitude comes through, as does the candid, friendliness I am used to from back home. When the rest of my stream goes to sleep, this part of my Twitterverse starts to wake up and come alive.

So where do you find these NZ Influencers?  You could start by looking at The NZ Herald Twitter Top 50, or searching through the top 100 followers in New Zealand.  If you do this, you will notice a lot of sports stars, media personalities and politicians.

But to be on my list – it takes something a little different…

  • It’s less about the number of followers they have – more about having an “active following”.  Real conversations – where they speak and people speak back.
  • These are people who create content – not just pass it on. I was mainly focused on Twitter and Blogs – things that were easily accessible to me.
  • And the ultimate criteria….  these are people I would like to emulate – I admire their work – they have the kind of “influence” I would like to have

So here they are…. Subscribe to my Twitter List for the latest update:  bit.ly/18QCGXR 

Top NZ Influencers for 2013 (according to @tolja)

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Rod Drury @roddrury
Always on Twitter.  Regularly answers queries.  Lighthearted.  And he blogs too.

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Simone McCallum @simonemccallum
Regularly on Twitter. Talks about Social Media, what is happening around her.  Funny.  And she blogs too.  (There could be a pattern here…)

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Dan Carter @dancarter
Dan I follow on Twitter and Facebook.  His updates are a great way to keep up with what the @allblacks are doing.  He is lighthearted, gives things away, shares lots of images – and genuinely seems like a nice guy.

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Anna Connell @AnnaGConnell
So it may just be that she is an online community manager for a financial firm, much like I am…   but it is not.  Her tweets are engaging, and she blogs every now and then – kind of like me.🙂

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Vaughan Davis @vaughndavis
Amusing.  Posts regularly.  Blogs here.

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Cate Owen @cateowen
Tweets regularly.  Makes me laugh. Writes things at http://cateowen.co.nz/.

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Ana Samways @anasamways
Sideswipe is so funny.  The one thing you must read when you go and read the paper. That she manages to pull this together every day is great.

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Marcus Lush @marcuslush
“Followed” Marcus before Twitter.  Posts Regularly.  Often makes me LOL.

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Helen Clark @HelenClarkUNDP
As NZ’s first woman Prime Minister and current Administrator for the UNDP – I have to follow Helen.  And it is a treat.  She recognises people when they do good work and talks about things she is passionate about.

Freshly added:
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John Campbell @johnjcampbell
Newly added to my list.  Looking for the lowdown on current events in New Zealand. Will keep you updated.

And there are some organisations that made my list too…

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All Blacks @allblacks
Not really much to say – a part of NZ culture.  The All Blacks are very active on social media.  And even if just for bragging rights – it is important to be up-to-date with what is happening.  I love that although this is all about rugby, you see the All Blacks supporting other kiwis in other codes.

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Xero @xero
With a real “start-up” feel, Xero is one NZ’s success stories.  Great to follow and feel like you are part of the journey.

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ASB @asbbank
As far as social media goes, ASB knows what they are doing.  Innovative and human.  Love to see what they do next.

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Air New Zealand @flyairnz
Good selection of tweets.  Feels like real humans tweeting. I like reading about people on their way home and celebrating all things NZ.

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Stuff.co.nz @NZStuffEditors
For keeping up with news in New Zealand, I read the nzherald using their app and stuff online – but I like to follow @NZStuffEditors for a selection of news to read.  The mix of news feels handpicked and relevant.

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Kea @keanewzealand
I follow Kea on both Twitter and Facebook.  They do a great job of celebrating great New Zealanders and helping us expats network.

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The Icehouse @the_icehouse
Tweets every now and then.  I follow The Icehouse for information on what is happening in the start-up scene.  A number of people I admire are a part of this org, so it’s worth supporting.

Newly Added:
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Local Auckland @LocalAuckland
Just discovered this as they were posting lovely pictures of a New Zealand summer.  Enjoying following so far.  Will keep you updated.

It has taken a number of months to find these influencers, but the discovery has been fun.  In the process, I even managed to get a favourite from Helen Clark!

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I know there are more that I haven’t even come across yet.

Given the diverseness of New Zealand, I feel I am missing influencers in Food, Wine, Music, Comedy and more. So with a list of only 18 so far – I would like my next list to be at least 20.  What do you think of the list so far?  Who am I missing?

What’s your type?

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Most of us have undertaken a personality analysis at some point, whether it be as an questionaire assesment, at a work session or in a trashy magazine. Obviously not all of these are as helpful as others, but they do help us understand that we are all different and behave in different ways.

Knowing more about who we are and why we act the way we do, can help us grow as a person and develop. At the same time it can help us understand how we interact and network with others. All very useful when looking at how to influence change in our organisations. We know we all work differently and have different needs. Therefore it would seem logical, that one approach to enterprise social network adoption, will not work for all.

Social Networks are all about people and relationships. Each person has a different WIIFM (what’s in it for me) and will find value in different areas. But that does not mean all is lost when looking at an adoption strategy.

Borrowing heavily from the UX (User Experience) community, I have been thinking about the different personas that I have found within social networks. Looking at these “types”, or personas can really help when formulating your strategy. Whether it is a personal social strategy or one for your organisation.

What are some of the different types of social network users?

Lurker: Credit -http://artdesigner.lv/

The Lurker: AKA The watcher
These people simply observe what is happening around them, but they do not participate.
Online communities and networks are made up of a large number of lurkers – and this is typically where people start off before graduating into one of the other social types.
A Lurkers primary motivation is to see what is happening around them.

Social Butterfly:  Credit http://www.socialmediadigger.com/

The Social Butterfly: AKA The people person.
The life of the party. Nothing is really happening until this person turns up.
They are everywhere and everyone knows their avatar.
A Social Butterfly’s primary motivation is to connect with others and be seen.

The Giver: Credit http://artdesigner.lv/

The Sprinkler: AKA The giver.
Sprinklers love to share what they know. They are the communicators and social reporters of your network. They share nuggets of information to reach as many people as possible.
A Sprinkler’s primary motivation is to share information, any information.

The Influencer: Credit http://www.iconshock.com/

The Influencer: AKA The thought leader
Influencers can start movements on social networks. They are the trendsetters. People look to these experts for what to do next.
An Influencers primary motivation is lead.

The Digital Contrarian: Credit http://fasticon.com/

The Digital Contrarian: Otherwise known as the opposition.
Digital Contrarian’s like to “play devils advocate”. They much prefer the safety of what things were like before and are not afraid to express their opinion on this – whether that is email, or fax, snail mail – they like the “old way of doing things”.
A Digital Contrarian’s primary motivation is to oppose.

What type are you?
Have I missed anyone you have seen out there?

Five steps to Implementing a Collaboration Strategy

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I have been thinking about how a collaboration implementation plan aligns with user participation and how to link the two together to create a simple five step plan.

Participation Inequality

We know that in social networks, participation is not equal.   Jakob Neilsen first described Participation Inequality back in 2006, noting that most of the content contributed originated from a small majority of active users (1-10%).

Participation Inequality

Participation Inequality

Ross Mayfield describes the The Power law of Participation where users tend to start at the long tail and move their way up to being contributors and leaders.  He also composed the below graphic illustrating how increasing levels of effort can transforms participation from collective intelligence to collaborative intelligence.

Taking the Participation Inequality and the user path taken to contribution, I have aligned these to a simple 5 step implementation plan.

The Five Step Plan

The five step plan I have outlined allows us to focus our efforts and resources in the right places along the journey to collaborative intelligence.

1. Consumption:  Lead with content

  • Start with existing content

Knowing that a majority of your network will initially consume content, helps us to focus first on ensuring that there is relevant timely content there. 

Start with exisitng “publishers”/contributors within your organisation, leveraging content you already have and aggregating it with a social overlay.  Exisiting contributors gain vital feedback on their content and in addition are able to reach a wider audience as people being to self-subscribe to content that is relevant to them.

2. Conversation: Enable Dialogue

  • Build your curator network to share best practices on creating “social content”
  • Remember to recognise contributors

Through your collaboration platform, content consumers are now enabled to “give back”.  Content creators are able to get instant and public feedback on what they produce and start to adapt for their audience. They will adapt their content to be more “social”.  Asking questions to encourage commentary, expressing opinions and curating content that is more “conversational”.

As the content grows and relationships are formed with consumers, more of the consumers will start to want to express themselves as contributors.

The motivation of most contributors is the attention and appreciation of the content consumers.  Provide recognition to contributors to encourage them to continue and for others to emulate. Now is a good time to build a curator network.  Contributors can share best practices on creating content that encourages dialogue and conversation.

3. Connections: Create Relationships

  • Build an advocacy network

Collaboration platforms make it easier for people to find content, people and places that are relevant to them.  Encourage tagging, recommendations and shares to increase connections and discovery. 

As the culture evolves, and connections increase, discovery and recommendations based on popularity/trending and user networks  become more sophisticated and rich. Interconnecting content and people to enable more serendipitious collaboration.

4. Co-operation: Build Communities

  • Build Communities of Practice and Communities of Interest
  • Build a Community Leaders Network

As user engagement increases and they become further engaged, people will want to become more involved.  Connecting with groups and communities that they identify with.  New communities will form and merge. 

Start with existing communities/groups, such as communities of practices or affinity networks and encourage social groups and collective action groups to help build the community movement. 

Building your community leader network will be vital to the success of your communities.  The community managers and leaders will actively connect people to content and encourage participation and a sense of belonging.

Discouraging the recreation of the organisation structure at this stage, and focusing instead on groups and networks that do not change frequently will enable the collaborative culture to take root.  Instead encourge cross silo and/or cross regional, functional or role based networks.  Focus on things that remain constant in re-organisations.

5. Collaboration: Change the Culture

  • Change current processes and workflow

This is when the culture of the organisation starts to change, it becomes more open and transparent and people are able to work across silos and regions.

Exisiting workflows and processes will change.  They will be able to look at changing the way they perform meetings, or how they ask questions and find expertise.  This is the stage where users are able to create groups and work collaboratively together on collective actions and goals. 

More and more people will become contributors and start “working out loud” allowing for the transistion from collective intelligence to collaborative intelligence.

Lessons along the way

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Working in Social Business (insert your term in here Social Media/Enterprise 2.0/Collaborative Technologies/Social Strategy) over the past few years has been a continuously learning experience. And I love it. I love that every day I work with people within the field, with a hunger to learn and listen and share.

Here are some of my own lessons I have learned along the way.

Tell Stories
Working in a highly regulated environment, I have been in many meetings or conversations where I have found myself in the situation of starting to “defend” the benefits of building community within the enterprise, or proving that “social” technologies can show true monetary value.  Rather than take the defensive approach, or start explaining how “everyone else is doing it”, there is nothing more powerful than making it personal.  Tell stories that people can relate to.  Don’t speak of the benefits of “social”.  Speak about real people who are seeing value, particularly if they are people that they know.  Everyone likes to hear a story and more importantly people share stories.

Work with the way things are
Have you ever wondered how some structures, hierarchies and processes ever got as complex and inefficient as they are today?  When working with collaborative technologies, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wondering how everyone can possibly not see the benefits and just change the way they work.  But you can make a lot of traction, by embracing these structures.  Existing hierarchies can be useful in getting decisions made.  They can help institutionalise new practices and embed them into current processes.  “Bottom-up” approaches tend to have ceilings. hierarchies and processes help to embed collaboration into the way work gets done. Just don’t mistake this with thinking that you can’t change the way things are.

Spend time on your network
Social business is ultimately about people and the people in your network are your enablers.  Spend time on nurturing your network and building your community.
Share with your network.  Listen to your network. Connect your network.  And most importantly, thank your network.

Thank you to those who have:

– believed in what I am doing and building.
– shared their stories and wisdom with me (and given me constructive criticism when I have needed it.)
– listened to my story and let me help evolve theirs.
– joined my network.

Keep Learning
Reading and listening to others helps me develop and evolve my thoughts.  Taking time to learn from those around me.  Asking questions and really listening to what others are doing and saying helps me continuously evolve and adapt and apply these learnings to my own communities and work.  To push the boundaries and innovate we need to take time to question and learn.

What lessons are part of your story?