From machines to ecosystems

When we talk about thriving in the digital age, we tend to revert to discussing how to leverage social media, mobile and other cool channels. There’s nothing wrong with that (and I do it myself!), but it can be useful to consider the bigger picture now and then. The challenges we face in business are not related to technology, they’re related to human beings. The industrial revolution brought us machines; and with it linear, machine-age thinking, articulated in machine-age language that in turn makes us think more like machines. This... Read The Rest →

Brookside, postboxes & SaaS development

Loads of illuminating analogies have emerged in conversations with Andrew Missingham, but today there’s one in particular that popped up… You may remember when the soap Brookside launched on Channel 4. The storylines were based around folk living in a close of houses. They had some trouble at the outset however, in that script writers realised they hadn’t created enough ‘stock devices’ – places where people could meet that would fuel the dramatic unfolding of events. Their answer was to put a postbox on the street, so residents would accidentally... Read The Rest →

Humanity 2.0 on slideshare homepage

Nice one slideshare! “Hey ResonanceBlog! Your presentation Complexity & Humanity 2.0 has been selected amongst the ‘Top Presentations of the Day’ on the SlideShare homepage. Our editorial team would like to thank you for this awesome presentation, that has been chosen from amongst the thousands that are uploaded to SlideShare everday. Congratulations! Have a Great Day! - The SlideShare team p.s. Why not blog/twitter this and let the world know about the masterpiece you have created?”

The discovery of complexity

Networks are an essential ingredient in any complex adaptive system. In biology, molecules interact in cells, cells interact in organisms, organisms interact in ecosystems. As Eric D. Beinhocker points out in one of my favourite books, ‘The Origin of Wealth’: “The economic world likewise depends on networks. The earth is girdled by roads, sewers, water systems, electrical grids, railroad tracks, gas lines, radio waves, television signals and fiber-optic cables. These provide the highways and byways of the matter, energy and information flowing through the open system of the economy. The... Read The Rest →

Culture of participation

The ironic thing about the culture of participation brought about by our newly networked society and universal(ish) toolset, is the fact it could edge many of us into a life of non-participation – i.e. non-participation in traditional systems. Whether we like it or not, there are certain traditional systems ‘successful’ people are somewhat forced to tolerate, in order to be ‘successful’. How many rich people do you know who truly don’t care about the small things that frame the world of business, entrepreneurship, social media etc? As Marc Lewis once... Read The Rest →

Our biased brains

I had a fascinating chat with Ogilvy Group UK Vice-Chairman Rory Sutherland the other day. We talked about the need for advertising to understand psychology and behaviour, rather than focusing on proposition alone. On that note, it’s always useful to be reminded of how our heads really work; and how our biases affect belief formation and decision-making. Here are some examples: * Bandwagon effect — the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. Related to groupthink and herd behaviour. * Bias blind... Read The Rest →

Big lumpy clumpy balls of crap

Leading on from the previous post about the coolness of chaos…   Have you ever had to deal with a big lumpy piece of complex old software that was written years ago, then updated countless times, new bits added on, a new guy adding another bit, bolt-ons, sticking plasters and fixes… until it’s a big slow cumbersome piece of crap nobody can change or work with?   That’s pretty much industry as it stands – and other big systems for that matter (e.g. government, education). Since the industrial revolution, we’ve... Read The Rest →

Our world might be a giant hologram

Craig Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab’s Center for Particle Astrophysics, reckons “If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram.” For the past seven years, a team in Germany has been searching for gravitational waves – ripples in space-time thrown off by super-dense astronomical objects such as neutron stars and black holes. GEO600 hasn’t detected any gravitational waves so far, but it might inadvertently have made the most important discovery in physics for half a... Read The Rest →

Management is so last century

As David Weinberger said in The Cluetrain Manifesto, ‘Management is a powerful force, part of a larger life-scheme that promises us health, prosperity, calm and no surprises in every aspect of our lives, from health to wealth to good weather and moderately heated coffee from McDonald’s. We are all victims of this assault on voice, the attempt to get us to shut up and listen to the narrowest range of ideas imaginable.’ Here here. It’s bizarre, when you think about it, that we seek health, prosperity and calm in a... Read The Rest →

It’s happening (scrmblr style)…

Seth Godin’s recent post here hit the nail on the head. He says ‘TV advertisers are finally discovering that YouTube + viral imagination = free media… The biggest shift is going to be that organizations that could never have afforded a national campaign will suddenly have one. The same way that there’s very little correlation between popular websites and big companies, we’ll see that the most popular commercials get done by little shops that have nothing to lose.’ Funny he should say that. It’s exactly what we Scrmblrs (‘scramblers’) are... Read The Rest →

Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is central to many forms of persuasion; changing beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors. It’s a high-tension state between two opposing beliefs, often inducing confusion, then anger and finally an intense desire to correct the imbalance and rediscover consonance (RESONANCE). Rather than using cognitive dissonance by manipulating people into making decisions they wouldn’t normally make, e.g. by asking someone a daft question (e.g. (“Do you ever worry about your monthly outgoings and wonder how you could reduce them?”) before pitching… the new way involves turning the mundane on its... Read The Rest →

Sympathetic resonance

Sympathetic resonance is a harmonic phenomenon wherein a formerly passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness. In other words, if you have two similar tuning forks, whack one and the other will sing, despite the fact they’re not touching. In communication terms, brands are attempting to create sympathetic resonance… emanating vibrations in the hope that they’ll affect people. In fact the frequency of the vibrations is so high, it threatens to shatter everything: trust, auditory range (we won’t listen / can’t... Read The Rest →

Equilibrium and fractal business models

A fundamental law of physics (in one formulation) states that left to itself any closed system will always change towards a state of equilibrium from which no further change is possible. One example is swinging a pendulum… if you hold it up to one side it’ll be in a state of extreme disequilibrium, then as you let go and it swings back and forth, gradually losing energy, it’ll come to a standstill. Other examples include many media agencies and advertising agencies. You know why. Someone said to me today, ‘but... Read The Rest →

Things don’t resonate coz they’re dense, innit.

According to general advertising industry relativity, black hole budgets are entirely compressed into a region with zero meaningful volume and near-zero relevance, which means their density and gravitational pull towards the 30 second TV ad and print campaign are infinite; and so is the curvature of space-time and agency-time that they cause. These infinite values cause most physical equations – common sense, general relativity and good manners (i.e. not interrupting), to stop working at the centre of a broadcast industry black hole. So physicists, Resonance Jedis and every single one... Read The Rest →

Get out of the way

A few words on the publishing industry, inspired Alan Rusbridger’s [Editor in Chief, Guardian Media] recent comment that “These are the last printing presses we’ll ever buy”; and by an email I just received which included the quote “I would never read a book if I could talk half an hour with the person who wrote it”. Decline factors… - Inefficient many‐to‐many supply chain = high levels of wastage - Risk adverse publishers hamper the emergence of new authors - Entry to distribution channels is a fundamental barrier to new publishers setting up - Market data isn’t successfully harnessed to allow better decision making on which titles to produce - Publishers place more emphasis on fulfilling orders than on understanding customer needs - ICT adoption is... Read The Rest →

Out of the Silent Planet

Here’s a pertinent passage from C.S. Lewi’s ‘Out of the Silent Planet’… ‘Ransom, as time wore on, became aware of another and more spiritual cause for his progressive lightening and exultation of heart. A nightmare, long engendered in the modern mind by the mythology that follows in the wake of science, was falling off him. He had read of ‘Space’: at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal fancy of the black, cold vacuity, the utter deadness, which was supposed to separate the worlds. He had... Read The Rest →

The frequency of fear

In the early 80s, engineer Vic Tandy was working in a supposedly haunted lab when he broke into a cold sweat, hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed an ominous grey shape drifting slowly into view. Terrified, he went straight home. Tandy discovered that source of his discomfort was a 19hz standing wave, caused by an extractor fan. 19hz is in the range known as infrasound, below the range of human hearing (20hz). Low frequencies in this region... Read The Rest →

More on brand resonance

Everything has a natural frequency of vibration, i.e. its resonant frequency. For instance a glass smashes when a sound causes a vibration that matches its resonant frequency; or the millennium bridge sways like hell when the pedestrians wobble it at it’s resonance frequency. Brands are trying to find consumers’ resonant frequencies. So when a company gets it right, they really vibrate (?!) that individual and forge a powerful emotional connection (lovemark). BUT… we humans are surprising. We resonate at unexpected frequencies (for instance a middle aged business man might listen... Read The Rest →

Brand resonance

Just to explain a bit more about this Resonance thing I keep banging on about… Resonance applies to physics and planets (orbital resonance) and music (acoustic resonance) and temperature (heat being caused by movement) and oceanography (tidal resonance) and brands and you and me and pretty much everything. In physics, the definition of resonance is the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude at certain frequencies. Consider that in light of what marketing attempts to do in terms of emotional connections; moving and shaking us. A pleasant vibration... Read The Rest →

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