October 31, 2003
How to Slay the RIAA...
The ever-eloquent Gary Lawrence Murphy showcases his plans to upset the dinosaurs of the Recording Industry.Links to this post
Nothing is more dangerous than a monster who fears for its lifeline, and in these escalating cases of legal attacks, propaganda campaigns and fear tactics, you and I all know the days of the beast are numbered.To find out more about (and, for 20 Canadian dollars, support) this public-spirited bit of mischief, read Gary's full posting. And weep, if you think the music industry is just fine as it is. permalink
Light and dark...
Thanks to Harry de Backer at the EU for pointing out this shocking picture from NASA, which shows the energy consumption of the world as points of light. See how much is being consumed in the US and the west... and how Africa is "the dark continent". If our consumerist brands carry on as they are, I don't see this picture changing much.Links to this post
Then again, on one night this year, the map of the states looked like this...
October 30, 2003
Going systemic and deep with CSR
VALUEtrue=Productivities (Know) * Demands (Value)=K1*K2*K3*K4*K5*V1*V2*V3*V4*V5
A year ago, my favourite American CSR campaigner, Marjory Kelly of business-ethics.com declared all previous CSR as froth, having no systemic influence on organisations - she had good reason with Enron PR campaigns imaging it to near the top of CSR league tables to near its final days
In light of this, the first truly good news out of America on CSR appears to be emerging at c4cr.org . This is a campaign to bring to law something systemically practical, in the way that Bush admin accounting reforms never simplified.
To transform the legal purpose of corporations to include responsibility to employees, communities and the environment.
C4CR envisions a world in which corporations work for a just, peaceful and sustainable global society.
Supporters of this campaign to restore dignity to the companies that represent American people include:
Senator Sandy Pappas & Senate. Representative Carlos Mariani
October 29, 2003
Design as everyone's business and conversation
Newsweek currently carries quite an open article on why great design is everyone's right to know and useLinks to this post
I missed this live debate they hosted in conjunction with the feature article, but here are some of the questions asked and click to see the answers
How would you compare the United States to Europe in terms of innovation in design? I feel that European design has an aesthetic quality that is missing in much of what we see today in the United States.
Why aren't more innovative and affordable homes on the market? Does no one place an emphasis on design anymore--or is it just deemed too costly among developers to try and come up with original designs for each home when you can use one of four models instead and cut costs?
When will interior design and fashion design meet? Is anybody in interior design considering how the room they are creating will look when the owners of the room are in it? Is anybody in fashion design considering how a wardrobe to be worn while entertaining will complement or detract from the interior design of the person's house?
Can you comment on the role of design in our contemporary throw-away culture---to what extent are we interested in the next best thing (it is more economical to replace even expensive items like digital cameras and other electronics than repair them and keep them) rather than good design intended to last in an instantly obsolete culture? What will be the classics like the Eames chairs etc from our moment?
October 28, 2003
Rap moguls taking the rap
Here's an example of a brand founded on attributes of arrogance, anger, status and power, brought to task in the same way as the biggest players. It's a mini-Nike scenario. I'm especially interested in their responses. In cases like these there are other agendas at play. It will be fascinating to learn who is backing the nationwide tour designed to discredit Sean John. The brand has been riding high for some time now, unchallenged. Rap culture often celebrates blatant materialistic statements, so this scenario of exploitation is clearly a moment ripe for self-examination by Mr. Diddy.Links to this post
P. Diddy Accused of Using Sweatshop Labor
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 28, 2003
Filed at 9:11 a.m. ET
NEW YORK (AP) -- Sean John, the clothing line of rap music mogul Sean ``P. Diddy'' Combs, is under scrutiny from a workers' rights group for allegedly using laborers from a Honduran sweatshop.
The director of the anti-sweatshop National Labor Committee, Charles Kernaghan, planned to release a report Tuesday detailing poor working conditions at the Southeast Textiles factory in Choloma, Honduras, where Sean John clothes are made.
Workers there are subjected to daily body searches, contaminated drinking water and 11- to 12-hour daily shifts, the report said. In exchange, they are paid 24 cents for each $50 Sean John sweat shirt they sew.
Officials with the clothing label said they were unaware of the conditions alleged by Kernaghan.
``We had absolutely no knowledge of the situation; however, we take these matters very seriously,'' said Jeff Tweedy, executive vice president of Sean John. ``We have a director of compliance who will be looking into this matter immediately.''
The study also found women were given mandatory pregnancy tests, and that those who tested positive were fired, Kernaghan said.
The abuses are violations of Honduran labor laws but are rarely enforced for fear of corporate divestment, Kernaghan said. His organization's repeated attempts to contact Sean John have gone without a response, he said.
Kernaghan was in New York to release the report with a worker from the factory, 19-year-old Lydda Eli Gonzalez. The two are embarking on a multi-city tour to expose what they say are harsh conditions at the factory.
According to the report, about 80 percent of the Southeast Textiles factory production is for the Sean John clothing line. The other 20 percent is for Rocawear, co-founded by rapper and producer Jay-Z and rap music producer Damon Dash.
CSR - can americans save their D o I?
The Declaration of Independence was the greatest system idenity for human ideals any nation ever shared. Read its first few lines. Its worth saving for reality and not just token imagery, and here's news of how this may happen.Links to this post
Links on model Code for Corporate Responsibility (which can be added to existing corporate laws of all 50 states): www.c4cr.org and http://www.citizenworks.org/enron/corp_code.php
Related article from October 2003 Change-Links http://www.change-links.org/Code.htm :
The Code For Corporate Responsibility (SB 917):
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
By Nichole Su
A Litmus Test For All Political Candidates?
Since when do Rabbi Michael Lerner and the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles agree? How about author Thom Hartmann and Loyola Law Professor Robert Benson, on the pro and con sides respectively, of abolishing corporate personhood as a corporate reform strategy? Throw into this mix Marjorie Kelley, editor of Business Ethics magazine, and commentator Jim Hightower, as well as the National Alliance for Democracy, California NOW, Santa Cruz Green Party and Southern California Americans for Democratic Action. All of these individuals and groups are amongst those who agree that the Code for Corporate Responsibility (introduced in California as Senate Bill 917 by Senator Richard Alarcon) is an idea whose time has come.
The Code requires corporate directors to ensure that profits do not come at the expense of five elements of the public interest: (i) the environment, (ii) human rights, (iii) public health and safety, (iv) the welfare of communities and (v) employee dignity. Corporate attorney Robert Hinkley wrote a Model Uniform Code so that the Code for Corporate Responsibility can be adopted into the existing corporate codes of all 50 states. The Code consists primarily of 28 words whose insertion into existing law changes the purpose of corporations from simply "making money" to "making money, but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, the public health or safety, the communities in which the corporation operates or the dignity of its employees."
The Code is proactive. Unlike most corporate reform measures, it goes beyond withholding, threatening or punitive actions that take place belatedly after corporate malfeasance has already injured the public interest. It provides corporations with a positive direction to go. At the same time, the Code imposes strict liability on corporations and their directors if they violate the Code. It provides exemptions for small business, and a transition period for compliance. The Code presents no constitutional issues; to become law, it only requires passage by the state legislature and the signature of the governor. Endorsement of the Code (SB 917) should become a litmus test for all 2004 election candidates.
On October 28th, the Onion Tuesday Night Forum will feature Maria Armoudian, Senator Alarcon's legislative aide, who will speak on the Code (SB 917). On November 25th, the Onion will feature call-in speaker and Model Uniform Code for Corporate Responsibility author Robert Hinkley, who will speak on "The Next Step In Corporate Evolution."
The new ad hoc California Corporate Reform Working Group (CalCORE) works with state and national activists to enact corporate reform legislation, including the Code for Corporate Responsibility (SB 917). CalCORE seeks additional endorsers and activists to lobby state legislators at their district offices during the current legislative recess. For info, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. See www.c4cr.org and http://www.citizenworks.org/enron/corp_code.php for more information about the Code.
the wages of sin - seller centric advertising
I was interested to read an article in the FT a few weeks ago about David Bell - the head of Interpublic - partly because he walked out of the interview with the journalist because he didn't like the line of questioning, but also because he was arguing that there ought to be a new method of agency remuneration. His view was that agencies should be rewarded by their contribution to business success. This would mean that rather than a fee, the agency would receive a share of the increased profits derived from advertising. His argument was that the contribution advertising made wasn't reflected in the rewards. Well I've seen this process in action (for a flotation) and it can work where the accountability is very specific, but I would question whether in most cases the role of advertising can be clearly identified. Also we might argue that although there are some high profile successes where advertising was strongly influential, (Orange springs to mind), with advertising achieving a 3% trust figure among the public, there are plenty of failures. To use Alan Mitchell's terminology this seems a blatant case of seller centricity. I would also hazard a guess that if the system were implemented in a buyer centric way, Interpublic would see a decline rather than a rise in their rewards.Links to this post
Recently I was conducting a master class and workshops at an international fundaising conference in Noordwijk in the Netherlands. With my beyond branding perspective I was arguing for an authentic approach to branding based on buyer-centricity. I sensed that most people came into the classes with an advertising/PR led view of branding and certainly some of the questions reflected that. While advertising can contribute to more effective fundraising (I'm always reminded of the man in the chair McGraw Hill ad that stresses the importance of selling before the salesman appears) it cannot do so by itself. There is also a danger that NGOs fall into many of the same traps that their commercial counterparts do: namely generating communications that diverge from organizational reality; in other words, inauthentic communications. This is something that the sector seems to be struggling with. Certainly fundraising communications often generate advertising that is designed to emotionally engage the audience, while having little relationship to the essence of the organization's activity. The motivations for this are understandable, but it does open NGOs to criticisms about their accountability if they are fundraising on one message and spending it in another way. The reassuring aspect of the conference was that at least some of the attendees seemed enthused by a less advertising, more authentic approach to brand building. permalinkLinks to this post
Our friends at CSRDatanetworks are organising a great CSR conference for next February...which I believe offers a real step forward for practical CSR implementation.Links to this post
They want to move beyond ideology to the practical benefits of mutual communication.
The fact is this... The purported return on investment of CSR depends entirely on stakeholders understanding and valuing its benefits...
Consumers must value more ethical products; suppliers must value better treatment; investors must value brand sustainability; partners must value better engagement; communities must value local investment.
We, as a society, must value more respectful, mutually sensitive relationships.
This is about placing a value on values. It's about re-education of our basic norms, from rampant individualism, so a sense of collective duty.
CSR is about building relationships that sustain brands.
Organisations that wish to build CSR into the fabric of a business organisation therefore face a very simple challenge - to exceed stakeholders' values expectations in dimensions that offer demonstrable mutual value.
Where values collude, value can be created - through the revenues and opportunities which flow from exceding motivational, behavioral and attitudinal expectations.
Where they collide, value will be destroyed - through the frictional costs and risks of weak trust, loss of belief and low commitment
CSR should concern itself with these exchanges of values - the processes of mutual learning which fits the organisation to its human context. It will come to nothing if the actions that expresses these values are not actually valued.
Often this value will come from revenues - charging a premium for peace of mind, or some higher order emotional benefit. But benefits of those deeper relationships will also come through more effective transactions - at lower environmental cost, lower time cost and lower financial cost.
Let's be blunt here. If your staff are happy and fulfilled, you can pay them less - or certainly differently!
In a very real sense then, CSR is stakeholder marketing - susceptible to the same rigour, research and planning disciplines of any other marketing effort.
The essence of this Marketing is dialogue...making an offer, matching it to the needs of stakeholders, delivering - and then, most crucially, checking that you've delivered to reinforce and protect the value that has been created.
Just as organisations build maps of their customers value experience, so they should map their stakeholders values experiences. Just as they research customers to identify unmet value demands, so they should research stakeholders to identify unmet values-needs.
CSR is the attempt to build brand-consistent, mutually beneficial, values-based relationships for human beings - whichever stakeholder role they happen to be occupying at a particular moment in time.
October 27, 2003
The ENRON PENTAGON
You know the world is reaching an end game of almighty proportions where Washington's senior economics institute's newsletter includes a link to an article title The ENRON PENTAGONLinks to this post
we have a distortion of the free market that would shock Adam Smith, an interface between business and government that would awe the Founding Fathers, and a shift in the military-industrial complex that must have President Eisenhower rolling in his grave. Without change, this is a recipe for bad policy, and bad business.
When our soldiers were still eating field rations and lacked running water, months after the president's infamous aircraft carrier landing, the blame fell on an overreliance on contractors. Contractors are not within the chain of command and thus cannot be ordered into combat zones.
The same problems cross over into the Enron-like attitude toward financial costs. While one of the rationales for outsourcing military functions is cost savings, the evidence is either absent or limited. Even as we set greater goals for future outsourcing, we do not know if we are actually saving money.However, we do know that contracts have often been awarded with limited or no free-market competition, and frequently to politically connected firms.
Private firms now play an even more stunning variety of roles in the Iraq occupation. One example is the controversial Dyncorp firm, a Virginia-based company whose employees were implicated in sex crimes in the Balkans; they are now training the post-Saddam police force. Other firms are training the new Iraqi army and paramilitary forces and guarding critical facilities.
Brand USA has never been in such a non-transparent mess, at least not in my living recall. permalink
October 26, 2003
Currently at www.valuetrue.com, we're openly cataloguing everyone's best ideas to take on the v5 challenge of trust-flow - is an organisation doing enough to be valued by local societies worldwide? Incidentally, I must say that one of the greatest sentences to have appeared in my inbox for many a long while appeared today from Harrison Owen creator of Open Space and author of The Practice of Peace: "I would guess that anybody who actually thinks they control a network has never worked effectively in one."Links to this post
V5: What approaches do you know for ensuring that organisations suitably respond to the needs of local societies and diversity of human needs`worldwide?
Approaches may be classified either as technical or educational (including stories that capture the democratic imagination).
George Orwell was one of the first authors to predict that technology's connectivity worldwide would be used by boss classes to suppress the creativity and service of human needs rather than to multiply the value of learning and accomplishment worldwide.
When my father (Deputy Editor of The Economist) revisited Orwell's story in our 1984 forecasts for the future of economics and society in a globalising and networking world, we suggested that Orwell had made 2 mistakes.
First, of timing. His Big Brother outcome was forty years too early. Yet the denoument -in terms of which way networking technology would be systemised woul come in the next few years. As our chapter 6 timeline opined: By 2005, the gaps in incomes and expectations between rich and poor nations will be recognised as man's most dangerous challenge.
Second, globalisation and networking technology could -if open sourced - have the alternative outcome of empowering self-organsiation and productive learning from the grassroots up. In which case we might see humankind's most progressive area not just in terms of more money for the rich but resolving all the greatest human divides at every coordinate of our globe.
As a mathematician and reader of systems theory, I believe that everything to do with humanity's future is 'in play' in the next few years. If I am right, that makes open human Knowledge Management, a song we need to sing until everyone participates. We should be teaching 12 year olds why networking matters and the responsibilities of globalisation and behaving in openly trustworthy ways. Are we up to that challenge? I dunno...opentrustaudit.ppt permalink
October 23, 2003
Why transparency will require democracies to repeal monopoly rule by global accountants' maths
It sometimes seems to me that most of management's and economics' top gurus have not yet crossed the divide between classical accounting and future intangibles mathematics - for the human reformation ahead, see... 1 2Links to this post
Here is a conversation I gossip with to see whose time I want to teamwork with:
Ever since the Intangible Crisis reports issued in year 2000 by Brookings (eg Unseen Wealth) and the EU, I have been interviewing these report editors and other intangible experts
With my mathematician’s hat, I have concluded that accounting maths –and all that the business case and performance metrics that follows its train of numbers – will never be sufficient to model intangibles in a whole system way. For example, I don’t see how it would have enabled Andersen to model its value destruction, whilst if you start with a clean mathematical sheet and assume that organisations are connected relationship infrastructures you come to very different maths very quickly. In Andersen’s case, whilst an over-simplification, the key equation as we could have modelled it in the year 2000 becomes
So your value to business stakeholders (customers, owners, employees, channel partners) is compounding billions of dollars and growing
But your value to society is plummeting toward zero
So the multibillion dollar question of dynamic valuation is do you use add or multiply
Ie Andersen future value will be:
1) billions plus zero = billions
2) billions times zero= zero
we now know the answer is 2)
and according to the way I do intangibles dynamic valuation, multiplication as an operand that compounds whole system connections is much safer to lead your company with than add which assumes separation and something a lot less than a transparently connected system of relationships
There are, of course, other little inhumanities in accounting’s machine age assumptions such as it is right to book in machines as investments and people as costs? – this is not in my view an assumption that can make for better organisations for people. Another 'technicality' on which humanitarian democracy stands or falls is whether spreadsheeting lowest cost assumptions of the last quarter enables you to see either systemic interactions or how different the model might be if you had demanded lowest responsibility costing (something that might save your whole reputation whilst the lowest costing may be the final straw that ruins it as you compound that logic –and its increasing human conflicts in with particular localities of the globe - period after period)
Next week the European Union hosts a workshop on Knowledge Management for NGOs. Let's hope that NGO's and humanitarian networks will have the communal confidence to rip up what the BBC 2002 Reith Lecturer on trust called the inhumane monopoly of "Herculean Micromanagement"
PS Regarding John's last post, I remember an AHA story. A year ago I was in Brussels at a knowledge society conference and recall a talk by an European banker. The trouble, he said, is by constitution we must invest a third of our money in knowledge businesses but all we know to date is that all the criteria we habitually use for selecting to invest in tangible businesses are disastrous whenever we apply them to screen knowledge networking businesses. I wonder if any bank out there has yet tuned their investment model towards the success critieria linking 'open sourcing as more valuable than copyrighting' wherever your market's service is a true 'communal learning one' that depends on customers multiplying value for themselves with the standard you offer to connect them with.
October 21, 2003
Has the Royal Bank of Canada heard of transparency?
Gary Lawrence Murphy has highlighted this IT Business coverage of a decision by RBC:Links to this post
Canada’s open source community is outraged over a decision by the Royal Bank of Canada to contribute towards a US$50-million investment in SCO Group. (SCO being the business desperately trying to gouge money out of the Open Source software by making claims to "intellectual property" in the source code.)Gary comments:
When approached for comment, Royal Bank spokescreature Chris Pepper gave only the tacit, “We have a policy of not commenting on anything we do for clients”—which makes me wonder what other wholesome investments the RBC crew might be propping …And I agree with Gary. It seems pretty bizarre that this corporation won't even comment on its investment strategy. What kind of stakeholder relationships do they think they're building? Surely any mature investor needs to take seriously the consquences of their investment on the wider world. Or does RBC really just think that Greed is Good? permalink
October 16, 2003
Early praise for Beyond BrandingLinks to this post
October 15, 2003
Identifying with future of knowledge for NGOs and humanitarian networks & youth movements
I need some help.Links to this post
How to speak on this immense (earth-make or break) topic in 15 minutes at an European Union gathering.
I think the first clue is that the open collaborative tools we need for these sorts of organsiational system of systems will be nothing like what global businesses use.
I am told that of the 4 main value exchnages , global corporates sometimes never get beyond money in how tey measure success whereas perhaps humanitarian networks never really need to go beyond spirit and social respect if their main measurements relate to The Practice of Peace http://www.practiceofpeace.com
This wonderful label came to me by reading Harrison Owen's book of the same title and he makes it clear that both the immensity of visions needed by Peace Movements and their real and virtual practices of networking go beyond any collaboration or spiritual competences global corporates have ever yet needed to evolve. Sustained peace systemisation needs to deeply explore the 3 most valuable human C's - Conflict, Confusion & Chaos. These C's need open planning to evolve healthy human outcomes with; every time some power tries to command & control them from top value destruction compounds over time. We are too culturally located at our grassroots to need to expect global solutions as good enough for every desperately needed peoples on our earth.
Harrison Owen invented Open Space http://www.openspaceworld.org/ for getting a thousand people to join up during an 8-hour meeting in such a way that therir networking around a huge challenged is sustained from that day on. It is clear too that we are in these spheres aiming to dynamise the spirit and the social value not the monetary or the tangible; another reason why we should expect the KM of NGOs and humanitarian networks to require wholly different support tools than those most consulted to big business organisations.
I should admit a bias of passion. Whilst never seeking to have the competence to facilitate 1000 people open spaces - I am a supporter of Britain's Breakthrough Uni that pioneers around the UK every format of O.Space challenge we can imagine - see eg http://www.valuetrue.com/home/GetPDF.cfm?filename=ACFC78.doc
October 14, 2003
Sustainability and stockholders
Paul Goodison picked up this extract from The Business of Sustainability by David Marks:Links to this post
At a recent stockholders’ meeting of a major oil company, a move to adopt environmentally sustainable practices was voted down on the grounds that the company ’s responsibility was to stockholders, not to any kind of “social experiment." This is a laughably shortsighted view. In fact, capitalism itself is a social experiment, and not a very old one. Its continued health depends on a developing global system that produces not only goods but customers: healthy, secure, and cash-bearing customers with the means and capacity to make choices. They will not flourish in depleted, polluted, and desperate conditions.Paul comments:
I think that says it all. We live in a web; fail to maintain it and the whole structure may fall.Amen to that.
Just spotted an article in New Zealand Marketing Magazine, edited by Brit expat Ruth La Pla.Links to this post
There's a wonderful albeit brief story on what makes a Kiwi brand, based on a survey. The ingredients, from memory, are:
Some examples of the brands given include Fisher & Paykel (innovative) and Karen Walker (global), plus usual suspects (at least down here) of Mainland Cheese (rural).
October 13, 2003
Beyond Hatred: Thought for the day.
"Oh Master, grant that I may never seekLinks to this post
So much to be consoled, as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love, with all my soul"
Translated from a prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi. permalink
October 12, 2003
Peace, and Open Space Practice
Open Space is the number 1 method I recommend for getting up to 1000 people to convene for a day, and network totally differently everafter. Imagine if we could get a few world leaders, youth's superheros and the most authentic conflict resolution and ethical people networked around deep contextual challenges - what might that space and network evolve to be?Links to this post
Harrison Owen originated Open Space. Here's an extract from his latest book : The Practice of Peace.
"Peace. It is a wonderful word in any language. And strangely it seems most commonly used in that part of the world where there is no Peace, virtually all parties greet each other with "Peace". Shalom in Hebrew and Salaam in Arabic. At time of meeting and again at departure, both Jew and Muslim invoke peace. And they are not alone in the practcie. Christians know the kiss of Peace, and politicians run on Platforms of Peace. And people everywhere have gone to war in search of Peace.
Obviously the word, and what it connotes, has great importance in our lives, but its meaning at least in common usage is a little elusive.
For many of us the word Peace is defined by the absence of opposites such as chaos, confusion, conflict. Absent any, or all, of these and we have Peace, and the way of Peace would obviously be the elimination of this unholy trinity. But what sort of Peace would we have? Unfortunately, I think the answer would be pretty boring, and quite dead. Peace in these terms would amount to some static, frozen, idealized state. In the hot moments of living we might look at such a state with envy, but as a long term reality, we might just have thrown the baby out with the bath water. In the name of preserving life, we have removed precisely the elements that make life possible. ...The truth of the matter is that chaos, confusion and conflict are integral to te process of living, without which life in the fullest sense of the word is scarely worth living. Let us look more closely at each... permalink
October 10, 2003
World's First Trillion Dollar Brand Architecture Owned by Everyone
Contact me at email@example.com if you've truly got the resources and humanitarian spirit to want to participate in this. Expect rigorous examination of relevant constructs (eg 10-win valuation transparency) through this web log will be part of our selection procedure. Cheers, Chris Macrae permalinkLinks to this post
October 09, 2003
How close did Virgin get to 10-win value multiplication?
10-win value multiplication is the benchmark for transparent leadership in service and knowledge-networking economies. The aim is to multiply 5 primary sources of productivity and 5 of value demands by stakeholders so that the whole value dynamics of the human relationship system grows in each others’ interests. Such an organisational network is designed with sufficient communal trust and interpersonal learning to compound the most human value for everybody over time. This is a natural state whenever organisations grow fast and in a sustainable way, but one that also gets harder to achieve the longer and the bigger an organisation gets.Links to this post
Finding a well known organisation that has lived up to 10-win multiplication over many years can be quite hard (please send in nominations for us to co-publish in our case library of world’s most inspiring organisations). Meanwhile, because Richard Branson’s Virgin company is quite openly known –and a company I have never consulted to - I will attempt to demonstrate how close Virgin got to 10-win multiplication
Let’s start with the 5-win of value demands:
V1) Employees. There seems little doubt Virgin employees value their airline more than any other international carrier. This is achieved through such human identification as careful employee brand selection procedures and strong conversational support by Branson -employee suggestion correspondence is always priority 1 for management communications.
V2) Customers. Over 20 years, I can testify to the fact that the employee-customer service interface has been more memorably enjoyable than any comparable service organisation.
V3) Owners. One of Branson’s biggest mistakes was to take Virgin public for a short time. He quickly learnt from the conflicts that short-term ownership demands started to make and took the company private again. Consequently, for most of Virgin Atlantic’s existence, the investment interests of Virgin have been wholly in tune with every other stakeholder.
V4) Business Partners. Branson has described his model as a sort of Western Keiretsu (the Japanese name for networks of organisations). Doubtless, we can imagine that Branson has infuriated some prospective partners who did not plan value in the same way that he did, but his model has always been attract others who have a greater value-delivering competence than the fat guys.
V5) Society. For most of the last 20 years, British society has rated Virgin as one of its 10 favourite and most responsible businesses
K1) Knowledge Worker. The individual is encouraged to make a difference within the purpose and values walked and talked by Virgin.
K2) Workgroups. One of Branson’s greatest open secrets is that his organisation is primarily run as a team based model. He has specifically said that he tries to ensure that no manager is ever responsible for more than 60 employees in any part of the organisation. Overall, this makes 360 degree learning appraisals relatively natural and we can be sure that the whole organisational design of Virgin would fall apart if it wasn’t excellent and multiplying learnings and behaviours across teams.
K3) Organisation. Virgin corporate identity is designed around the values of fun, youthful spirit of inquiry, service accomplishment and let’s sustain something better on cost and quality than less innovative companies. This make for an open culture which is both value transparent with stakeholder demands and emotionally intelligent in multiplying each productivity level.
K4) Network of organisations. Clearly partners fairly quickly find they have to match the Virgin pattern of values or look for a different network to participate in because this is a values set that is authenticated by doing. At the same time, Branson has enjoyed extending his bon viveur personality to allying with some niche brands (eg as partners in the top customer award schemes) of unusual individual dedication in their own right.
K5) Society’s Productivity. I know that modesty is a charge that is rarely made of Richard, yet I am not aware of him fully beating the drum on how much a great airline impacts the societies that it most intimately connects. At least he has been as vociferous on this recently as the CEOs of South West Airlines and RyanAir have done to name but two of the other airlines that have made my working day a little bit better. The productivity of modern society does depend hugely on safe, friendly, low cost transport systems - Virgin has played an honourable role in this enhancer of social and economic productivity.
October 07, 2003
Beyond in Other Disclipines : 1 Knowledge Management
We'd love to see all human disciplines travel beyond to identifying the same living systems value servant-leadership and global standards of humanitarian trust-flows as our book advances. And to see why this value multiplies for owners too, much more than today's chronic speculator value anlaysis could beigin to imagine.Links to this post
In KM, four of the people going most beyond are:
Leaders in this race keep changing, in close cooperative tandem of cousre, but currently start with the Allee link
It's All about Relationships
The value network perspective makes it abundantly clear that success today is all about relationships. We sometimes are dazzled by technologies and what they can enable us to do. But the bottom line is that business is about exchanges and transactions that happen between real people. Even when people never see each other or speak directly, only real people can make decisions and initiate action. Technologies may fill the role of decision-makers at times, but only based on what a real person would do.
When business is viewed as a linear process, a set of functions, or simply material transactions, it not only diminishes the role of people - it makes invisible the all-important human relationships. The value network focus puts people back into the business model in such a way that every individual can see who they need to be in relationship with, and what their responsibility is in that relationship.
The value network view demonstrates that knowledge and intangibles build the critical business relationships and create the environment for business success. We do not so much build a business but rather grow or "weave" a web of trusted relationships.
Once intangibles become visible, people can easily define their importance in building good relationships, and are more willing to invest resources in producing and delivering them.
Integrity Is not an Option
One of the hallmarks of systems thinking is respect. Whole-system awareness brings humility and genuine respect for the system we are working with, and for the limitations of our own understanding. It is easy to assume we know more that we do and that we are smarter than we really are.
October 06, 2003
Critical thinking about Social Responsibility and branding
I just wanted to flag up Olaf Brugman's thoughts on Corporate Social Responsibility. He writes:Links to this post
In debates about sustainable development, corporate social responsibility etc, the 'humanity' of business and social life has become a key issue... Many of the community initiatives undertaken by companies to earn a higher CSR rating look superficial and detached to me.Olaf goes on to argue for finding ways to create more value in these relationships through organisational design.
Like Olaf, I feel sceptical of badge-wearing corporate responsibility, offered as a bolt-on to the operation. For too many brands, this is just an artful pose and a distraction from focussing on creating real win:wins for their stakeholders. permalink
October 05, 2003
Human Knowledge Management
Tim- good to see your human values paper reference the KM evolutionary picture of Debra Amidon. Here you can see that she is one of the world's most human navigators including this network map of 100 KM's greatest human inquirers.Links to this post
Thanks to Debra I've had the chance to interview about 30 of her KM friends and they would all concur with the urgency of your mutuality message - indeed many would make their core human progress definition of KM - to systemise human relationships as well as transactions in the way we design organisations.
We now have a databank of over 100 corporate implosion cases (NASA, Railtrack, Ahold, Andersen.., let alone those cited at "Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America"
) demonstrating that evolutionary survival in the mutuality age of relationship value requires different mathematical auditing with systemically open cultural intelligence governance than the monopoly by transactional measurement. It should surprise nobody that the most human goals like safety require relentless consistency over time sustaining open interdisciplinary ways of sharing understanding and doing. So companies without any context-patterning metrics are now not only leading nowhere worth any intelligent human's time but tracking towards 100% value destruction. Its interesting how lawyers and professional mediators in London are becoming very supportive of the idea to benchmark a 10 billion audit human system for understanding the 5-year forward contextual prospects of large organisations beginning with those that call temselves the global 5000. This is a diametrically opposite demand from Delaware lawyers' dictation of short-term shareholder value. Fortunately, for human ethics, it is already systemically transparent who will win-win the great valuation games now afoot. Chris Brand at EU Knowledgeboard. permalink
On being human: Learning to manage the values chain
The paper which accompanies this entry is a well-intentioned attempt to squeeze 5 years of learning about brands, stakeholders and relationships and markets into a single article.Links to this post
1. CRM and CSR strategy are intrinsically linked - through a process of values management - mediated by the brand.
2. Relationships and transactions must work in harmony to create and protect intangible assets
3. Values strategy should exist in harmony with value strategy
4. Acknowledgement of mutualism must replace the ethos of 'us' and 'them'
5. Brands are a crucial tool for creating shared value - but it is the reality of those brands that matters; not the perception.
I hope it offers some practical guidance to brand stewards and stakeholders alike to create more satisfying relationships...
On being Human. Values Delivery in the Relationship Age..doc permalink
October 04, 2003
Cases for partnership in responsibility
Interesting report.Links to this post
Ken Caplan, Director of the London-based Building Partnerships for Development’s Water and Sanitation Cluster, shares his thoughts on the need for more rigorous use of language in discussing partnerships.
Christiana Atako examines the public sector rationale for partnerships in Nigeria through research in the Niger Delta community of Akassa. Her findings show that although the
government has a role to play in partnerships for sustainable development they have not fulfilled this potential and a number of recommendations are made for encouraging them to engage more deeply in such collaboration.
Building on the idea of a ‘licenceto operate’, Joerg Hartmann, explores the idea of a company’s“licence to co-operate” as the business case for engagement cross-sector partnerships and social reporting. This licence, he asserts, involves a company’s ability to co-operate with all sorts of stakeholders, something that is crucial as competitiveness increases in the age of globalisation.
Kishan Khoday suggests that partnerships have emerged as a form of “negotiated rule-making”. A partnership approach has developed, he argues, in order to manage
conflicts between the mandates of public agencies, the interests of business and the values of civil society groups in defining the rules and boundaries of the new global economy.
The capacity for a strategic bodiversity partnership btween Rio Tinto, a ultinational mining company, and BirdLife International, a global network of environmental non-governmental organisations, is assessed by Jonathan Stacey. He provides a sample of an experimental Strategy Matrix as a tool to identify and rate existing and potential partnerships in order to give broad indications of where the partnership programme should concentrate time and funding resources. Rio Tinto have already expressed an interest in the matrix and discussions
October 02, 2003
Simon - lets unite brands doing good
For me the point of Beyond-Branding was to provide practical creative blueprints of how to achieve so much more for humanity, rather than feel bound to citing what relatively traditional approaches have yet managed.Links to this post
So let's go for it:
Attached are 2 wonderful half-brands - Britain's newest superstar looking for a cause- and the greatest cause network I've seen built out of Australia
Links: the cause network's next step is planned as a youth movement , starting with sponsorship from the state of Victoria; and the pop music world's most unusually authentic superstar could do with the exact opposite from the normal pop agent mentoring her next steps
the missing link: how about Aunty, who'll probably miss the time and the moment but could take herself to a whole new place too if she had wanted to action this recent FT comment:
in Financial Times of 4 October 2003: What is at stake is the preservation of a notion of public-service journalism. This is a much less obvious public good now than it was when the BBC was created by John Reith eight decades ago. Yet the principles remain the same. Public-service journalism is primarily concerned with one "output": better informed citizens. In an organisation as rich as the BBC, this could be done by deploying journalists to report on the complexity of the world. The broadcaster could underpin, not seek to replace, democratic politics. It should assume that all power, including political power, can tend to corruption and it should investigate any possible abuses. But it must also do what the British media does not do: recognise that the media has become one of the largest powers in the world, and thus needs investigation itself. In that way lies some hope of trust, even in a cynical world.
I never thought brand architecture could be so potentially interesting when Gary Hamel and I helped coin the term back in 1994 but then the trouble is brand architecture is the least understood creative practice on planet branding - dont you think?realbrands.ppt permalink
Brands doing good - but where?
It's funny how 99% of conversations in the UK/US etc about brands, and whether they are ethical or not, only refer to UK/US-based businesses. But of course this is a tiny part of the picture. Where it's far easier to find the good in branding is in developing countries - cases like the fashion brand BeBeBushh in Thailand or Urvashi perfume in India - clearly showing that once producers in poorer countries manage to graduate from producing unbranded commodities (or manufacturing on behalf of rich-country brands), the sustainability, profitability and stability of their businesses increases dramatically. With all the rich-country investors frantic to find good businesses in developing countries, global brands from emerging markets is a trend that's really worth watching. And the prospect of branding reinventing itself as an instrument of wealth redistribution is pretty interesting, too! permalinkLinks to this post
Are there Any People in the Abbey?
I have been much struck by the absence of the recognition of the role of employees in creating and sustaining brands in all of the recent media comment about the rebranding of Abbey National into Abbey. The great and the good in branding have been lining up to share their views and prejudices about the recent rebrandings that have not worked and those with more than an ounce of common sense have concluded that unless there is a parallel or preceeding change in strategy then rebranding is unlikely to succeed. No one has yet commented that both the leadership of organisations and the role played by their people have a crucial role to play in any change of brand strategy. Leaders who live the values of their organisation, who behave in line with them, who say things that reinforce them, can have a significant impact on the perception of the brand. Similarly, the people who work for an organisation, if they are in alignment with the new brand strategy and believe in it, are one of the greatest sources of communication about and reinforcement of the brand. permalinkLinks to this post
Another brand that works for humans
Ok, so my next nomination for a good human brand (if we can allow such a phrase) is Movable Type. I love the simplicity of their story... a husband-and-wife team develop blogging software in their back bedroom and stumble on unexpected success.Links to this post
What I love about MT is that it's not just a brand, it's a community. The package is free to non-commercial users (and quite cheap to commercial ones); so the Trotts don't offer oodles of tech support; instead, they host a forum where support comes from good-hearted fellow users. I use MT for my own blog and have been impressed at how quickly my questions were answered, with no money changing hands.
And MT also qualifies as a product that supports something very human - the creation of witty (well, sometimes!) insightful, personal journals online. MT didn't invent blogging but it certainly makes it work better.
Want to suggest a brand that works for us humans? Email me. permalink
October 01, 2003
Collapsing World Part 2 - the Japanese Professor from Iran
Reporting this conference is probably the most difficult challenge I have encountered (how can one do justice to over 30 deeply different testimonies on what local cultural crises means in the deepest human senses?) but here's my attempt at a postcard from Mojtaba Sadria, now a Professor at Chuo Univeristy in Japan, a man born in Iran,Links to this post
a leading authority on 3rd generation Knowledge Management.
Extract based on (Mojtaba Sadria, Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University Japan) & Others
Gaps (of understanding between peoples) are the main cause of the Collapsing World around us
We are living in a growing gap between our might (technology) and our wisdom, (and this is aggravated wherever there is a surplus of power)
Value creation that could control might is falling apart, with ruptures being exacerbated by:
3) Neo-liberal theories of free-trade which exclude humanity as a variable
One of the great ruptures these 3 factors lead to is monopolising policy/decision-making time.
Another system rupture is quality decision-making defined as how truly local are its contextual inputs and how diverse is the participation in decision-making
We need to prevent that definition of radicalism which is: the capacity for exclusion, including excluding the majority
Our increased connectivity means that every system can be disrupted by a sadly small number of incidents such as the behaviours of a few CEOs and the activities of a few terrorists
Globalisation endangers us all if it becomes a self-legitimised radicalism by a few that justifies exclusion of the majority
We need to renew Knowledge of Democracy championing:
Power-sharing, indeed open participation by all
Drawing boundaries to any power-base whether in the name of a country, industry or other identity
Making a number 1 agenda for change, at ever local party election, knowing why globalisation policy should never be permitted to leave out humanity because those kinds of valuation variables are too messy to be able to computing numerical plans in precise-looking ways.
If we ever devise schemes in which knowledge production fails to invite local participation with systemic openness and energy, then we will have begun a vicious spiral of organising people that we may fail ever to rise out of.
Detailed Notes on why culture is such a rich area of study and how human values are our best chance of mutual understanding
For present purposes, I would like to define confusion as a sense of perplexity that leaves one uncertain as to what to think or to do. Theoretically perplexity may be of an emotional, an intellectual, or an existential kind. Emotional confusion occurs when one has to choose between two or more good things or between varieties of the same thing. This is confusion of feelings or moods. Intellectual perplexity tends to occur when one cannot decide what criteria should be given priority in the case of choice, when something baffles our understanding or when confronting sheer complexity. This sort of confusion occurs on the level of thought. Finally, existential confusion I take to refer to a perplexity in both heart and mind in feelings and in thought. Most perplexities in real life may fall into this category because things are complex and because humans are endowed with both emotional and intellectual abilities that do not function separately on different tracks or in separate channels.
Confusion in the Arena of Heart and Mind
Few will deny the fact that the world of religion and non-religion, seen concretely or taken as a whole, is one of utter confusion. If one were able to codify the beliefs of all existing religious groups this, no doubt, would amount to quite a collection. The main fare of religious beliefs concerns the ultimate nature of man and the universe, man's search for happiness and the ways to realize it. To the extent that various religious groups envision many ways in which a spiritual reality bears on earthly life, their beliefs, if not mutually contradictory are quite contrary to one another. This is not all. If one would add to this collection folk beliefs and secular views on the same matters, the amount of our compilation would probably double and so would the extent of variance and discord. Whereas religious beliefs assume the existence of a super-empirical, transcendental reality (Robertson 1970:47), secular views reject anything for which empirical evidence is lacking. These two categories, therefore, are not merely divergent but worlds apart. Aside from the cleavage between the religious and the non-religious, all views, which are fundamentally different, tend to be wary of one another and to hinder mutual recognition. One fundamental reason for this incoherence in matters of heart and mind may be found in the fact that they are not only intellectually but also emotionally adhered to. In other words, every view of life tends to bolster itself with a strong sense of subjective certainty or truth. Confronted with the inherent uncertainty of life and its uncertain outcome, or confronted with the large variety of its meanings, humans tend to absolutize certain positions in order to avoid existential confusion or to offset the relativity of it all. Therefore, it is not only religion that formulates â€œconceptions of a general order of existence, clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic. (Geertz 1973:90)
Thus, the cultural area of heart and mind seen objectively, is an arena of latent conflict, controversy, and mutual dislike which eventually comes into the open as overt conflict -- often disastrous in its consequences.
Mojtaba applies his extraordinary lens on humanity to explaining Iran's wonderful cultural origins here.You can google the extraordinary diversity of human perspectives Mojtaba has studied here.
Knowledge of religion as a fan that starts or ends wars
Extraordinary insights come from theis topic of inquiry.Links to this post
see this conference held in Thailand
Most violent conflicts today occur between groups within national boundaries, making them inter-group in character and intra-national in scope. With the end of the proxy-based wars during the Cold War era, the rapid proliferation of smaller scale, more localised armed conflicts ensued.
BRAVO JOOST Thanks for this wonderful beyond analysis:>People on the eliteworld have only one goal, safeguarding the interests of the persons around them, the inhabitants of the eliteworld.
Will there be any change than the elite has to come into contact with people that live on the massworld. And because the elite will never take up contact with masspeople, masspeople must penetrate in the eliteworld
and make the decision-makers clear that there are also other people.
But that does not happen. Stiglitz writes on the third page of his book: "International bureaucrats – the faceless symbols of the world economic order – are under attack everywhere". But alas, bureaucrats are only attacked on their work place while their decisions penetrate in the living
sphere of masspeople. Demonstrators only protest in their own world and never intrude the world of people that take decisions that influence their living space.
As long as the masses do not enter the eliteworld to make elitepeople clear that they are also human, organisations as the IMF will continue to promote the well-being of a small part of humanity, the elite.
Yours sincerely, Joost van Steenis
New ways to break the power of the elite
Joost's remarks remind me of the best news I've heard this century - the State of Victoria are sponsoring a youth movement to bring the reconciliation demands of the massworld to the eliteworld. I'll hazard a bet of a few dwindling dollars that this will become one of the most fashionable worldiwde movements of the next 5 years - we'll know that once the people's brands start sponsoring the youth to bring responsibility back to every needs corner of our world. permalink
Brand Leadership in Ukraine
In 2 weeks time, I'm looking forward to the new experience of talking about branding to the Ukraine's primary professional associationLinks to this post
In the 30 countries, where I have talked about brand leadership, I have always found countries that are new to me most exhilarating and often most humanly inquisitive.
If you have any ideas on what I should be emphasising most in the Ukraine, do drop me a line. Meanwhile, this is the short conference preview I drafted.
Brand Trust & Value Multiplication
After 25 years working on company brands in over 30 countries, value and trust are two very important words for me.
I believe marketing people and leaders should be aiming to multiply value for everyone they communicate with. An organisation’s people should connect their knowledge and activities to earn the trust communally across everyone they serve.
All of these should be connected through every discipline and professional expertise which helps to make organisations human : Inside (all across employees), Outside (all across customers) , and through Leadership (investments and other big organisational decisions made which govern culture, values, purpose). The whole system should evolve so that everyone is maximising the use of their time. This should be directed in a way that enjoys openly addressing the essential question of branding: what would different uniquely people miss if our brand ceased to exist tomorrow?
Branding has a duty to earn trust over time by keeping its promises and being valued because it produces its offers at a good of mix of high quality, low cost, and communal participation of all involved.
Increasingly we need to understand such changing contexts of marketing as:
More than advertising a product
Providing a great service in which both employees and customers need to win-win from the human exchanges delivered
Knowledge markets where a customer actually wants to multiply value through the brand offered.
Traditionally many brand books were written by Americans and by advertising agencies. They may suggest that advertising is the most important activity of brand leadership. I disagree. What matters most varies by context but unless the whole organisation feels that they openly participate in making the brand more and more valuable for everyone, then the company’s whole investment in branding is becoming wasteful. And once that happens, many conflicts can multiply all across the organisation until it quickly runs out of trust. Andersen, and many other case studies in recent years, have shown that if a brand runs out of trust, that is even more deadly to a company’s life than running out of cash.
Branding is like a big living jigsaw puzzle and the more ways you can enjoy of looking transparently through these connections the better your brand should be.
My talk will look at 3 main triangles of value multiplying a brand’s trust that I have written about and practised over the last 15 years:
Brand Architecture: connect the company brand, and global and local
Living the Brand Charter: connect the brand outside and inside, and with leadership
The Nature of Value Multiplication: connect openness of knowledge-sharing, and win-win demands by different stakeholders, and the way a company involves all people in auditing brand trust and preventing risks.
Chris Macrae, London, 1 October 2003
Co-Chair Chief Brand Officer Association
Help us watch transparency's battlegrounds
Tell us of a sitingLinks to this post
Esquel, Argentina versus Meridian & BSR: reporter
Promises from Bush Country
1) President Bush's chief spokesman said yesterday that the allegation that administration officials leaked the name of a CIA operative is "a very serious matter" and vowed that Bush would fire anybody responsible for such actions.
2) "Reform should begin with accountability, and reform should start at the top," "Business people must answer not just to the demands of the market or self-interest, but to the demands of conscience."
3) Anyone who would try to infect other people with anthrax is guilty of an act of terror. We will solve these crimes, and we will punish those responsible. 3a
The world's 50 most urgent crises in sustainability and racial reconciliation challenges are beyond any single organisation's remit to systematically resolve. So we must openly facilitate collaboration in responsibility between networks of people who care about deep human knowledge at the grassroots of our world and the largest organisations -including global corporates, governments and NGO's. They who employ specifically expert knowledge workers and whose organsiational identities should be multiplying the greatest human values people have ever needed.
Here are some of the grassroots people networks that are racing to inform millions of which organisations must play which collaborative leadership roles. permalink
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