Παρασκευή, 29 Ιανουαρίου 2010

Temperatures Run High in Davos

Μάθετε τα νέα από το Davos από πρώτο χέρι, από τον Rob Flaherty, Senior Partner και Πρόεδρο της Ketchum:

In contrast to the snow-shrouded ski village outside, the temperature in the meeting rooms in Davos is hot today - and not just because every room was standing-room only. The first ful...l day at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland has a different tone than the other years I have attended since 2006. Reflecting the state of the economy and the world this year, people are more willing to ask the provocative questions and demand answers. As Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics, said at a session on the rising influence of social media, "Davos this year is framed around the idea that the world is busted. The old model in which nation states solve problems is being questioned and we're here to see if multi-stakeholder networks can solve problems."


At the same session, George Colony, CEO of Forrester, cited such a model and its ability to solve problems and innovate inside and outside companies. It immediately seemed relevant to those of us in communications. He said Forrester coined the term Social Sigma to describe the increasing phenomenon of companies using social media to listen to customers to improve products. Just as Six Sigma seeks to continuously improve processes, he sees an unprecedented opportunity to use social media to constantly hear what's being said about products and update them to satisfy customers. Tapscott agreed saying that he is seeing social production fully come in to its own as the next wave after social networking and cited Best Buy's Twelpforce, a Twitter-enabled advice feed, and Procter & Gamble's Innocentive technology for its open innovation marketplace as examples. (I should mention that both are clients of Ketchum.)

In the session on social media it was widely confirmed that open innovation has gained such wide adoption that someone asked what constitutes and drives competitive advantage now that open sourcing and sharing of ideas is displacing legally protected intellectual property? A few of us offered that "relationship capital" may become a respected measure of value at a company. As other intangibles, like brand valuation, have gained respect, so too might a company's relationships gain respect as a measure of how well that company taps the wisdom of the crowd inside and out.

There was a lot of emotion around the decline of mainstream journalism. Calvin Chin, CEO of Quifang, a social venture company that connects students with lenders in China, offered the interesting opinion that until now journalism has monetized the wrong thing, namely "constraint and tightly-controlled distribution," when it should be monetizing judgement and wisdom. As major media outlets increasingly reveal their plans to offer paid or metered online content, they will clearly be gauging the value of that wisdom and judgement.

Another subject that raised the temperature is censorship. In the wake of Google's decision in China, Eric Hippeau the CEO of The Huffington Post and a former technology investor from Softbank Capital credited U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for calling for an open Internet last week. He offered the view that regardless of what happens in the near-term, "You can't put the genie back in the bottle. Through hacks and work-arounds it's only a matter of time" before people get the information they want.

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