Vibewire’s 6 Under 26 – Australia’s Hottest Young Innovators

When we think and talk about innovation our attention naturally tends towards a vision for the future.

But more often than not, that vision of the future is being set by middle aged women and men. Leaders of political parties, “captains of industry”, and community leaders of every size and shape tend to achieve their status not only through their commitment and enterprise but also due to their age. And often, I wonder, where is the voice of youth? Where is the perspective of those young people who will have to live with the decisions made now?

That’s why I am excited to share the great work of Sydney, Australia-based not-for-profit, Vibewire. Today they have announced the 6 under 26 – Australia’s hottest young innovators to watch in the year ahead.

The young innovators tipped to make the world a better place come from a broad range of backgrounds, from indigenous youth empowerment initiatives, sustainable food movements to programs that foster social entrepreneurship in high schools to organisations that encourage young women to take up engineering and technology.

Over the last 12 years, Vibewire has helped launch over 90 startups and kickstarted the careers of hundreds of young people. But this type of innovation does not occur in a vacuum. It requires incubation and support.

You can help Vibewire support more young change makers by joining this crowdfunding campaign. With a one-off donation from as little as $10, you will be contributing to a vision of the future that young people have a hand in creating. Support this great organisation here.

Yammer’s Community Management Playbook

As a boy I can remember my Nanna holding court at a friend’s house. We were sitting at a 50s laminex kitchen table (you know the kind with the fake marbling and the shiny metal edging) and there were copious cups of tea, home made cakes, scones and biscuits carefully laid out. But no one was eating. The conversation was coming thick and fast – with this coterie of grandmothers exchanging tips, sharing stories and laughing at each others’ family stories. It was a community gathering firmly held together by the will of these formidable women.

Even as a child I could sense the power of connection that was taking place. I could feel the energy. And I knew, almost instinctively, that there were rules to be followed.

Many years later, when I began to get involved in corporate “communities of practice”, I noticed many of these same rules applied. Well, not necessarily applied – but were vital for the health of a community.

With the massive shift to digital and social media, online communities – and community management – has emerged as a discipline in its own right. And while it is largely viewed by business as a “fluffy” or “touchy feely” role, organisations such as Yammerare connecting communities to hard numbers and strategic outcomes. In many cases, having an active and engaged community manager is becoming a strategic advantage.

But for those organisations who remain skeptical of the business benefit of social media, concepts such as community management can feel as removed from business reality as fairy stories. This is where the Yammer Community Management Playbook comes in handy. It’s a step by step primer on the establishment and maintenance of communities. Take a read. It may just save the future of your business.


Lend Jai Some Muscle for the Cole Classic

The Cole Classic is Australia’s largest ocean swim, covering about 9km from Sydney’s Dee Why beach to the iconic sands of Manly. In this, it’s 30th year, the Cole Classic has attracted thousands of swimmers from around the world who each commit to raising funds for local charities. But this year’s competitors won’t just be made up of seasoned athletes and competitive swimmers.

This year, 15 year old Jai will be taking on the challenge of the Cole Classic, but he does so with an agenda. As a sufferer of Friedreich’s Ataxia, a so far incurable disease of the central nervous system, he is raising funds for ongoing medical research. He knows he can’t do it alone – so he’s asking for others to lend him some muscle. You can support Jai’s swim here.

Organic Search Remains King in B2B

If you are looking for marketing advice, you don’t need to look very far. There are literally hundreds of marketing blogs, websites and platform vendors who offer up various levels of expertise and advice. So no matter whether you are an enterprise marketer or running your own business, you’ll easily find some ideas, strategies and systems that will help you activate your plans. BUT the question remains – with an abundance of information, who do you trust?

It’s often tempting to look beyond your usual marketing consultants or agencies for new ideas. But facts can be skewed or reported from a number of angles, and the grass really can appear greener when pitched the right way.

The challenge for marketers is to look beyond the facts and figures to understand the shifts and movements that are taking place. We need to look for the underlying behaviours that explain the facts and map this to our own businesses in a meaningful way.

Now, I have believed for some time that quality content is a fundamental requirement for successful marketing programs. But in the shift to digital, this need has been amplified – after all, we are know for what we produce. No content = no presence.

So in many ways this infographic from inbound marketing platform vendor Optify confirms my thinking – that organic search (and therefore content) is the most powerful driver of traffic to B2B websites. They analysed 62 million website visits, 215 million page views and over 350,000 leads from small and mid-sized US businesses to identify the trends in B2B marketing in 2012.

BUT the question remains? Does this ring true for your business? Does it match to your experience? And what are the movements that you are observing in your customer base? That’s where you should be looking.

2012 B2B Marketing Trends

I Love Dick

On Australia Day a wave of patriotism spreads across the nation like vegemite on hot, buttered toast. Australian flags appear on cars and clothes. Australian songs dominate the airwaves (or should I say the playlists) and we celebrate one exemplary individual as Australian of the Year (yes, I know, it’s likely to be a sports “hero” again).

On Australia Day, it’s a celebration of Australian-ness in all it’s gory beauty. It’s a celebration of shared values with more than a touch of larrikin humour.

But sometimes what we THINK of as Australian is less than true blue. Vegemite is one. But there are many others.

Dick Smith’s products have always called this out. In the 80s he was famous for “Dick jokes” – using his name to send a nod and a wink to the mums and dads at home in TV land while cleverly entrenching himself as “one of us”. After all, he was using that great Australian value – Larrikin humour – to differentiate himself from everyone else. You’d hardly imagine Tandy Electronics using the tag line “electronic dick” in their advertising, would you?

But Dick Smith’s latest campaign for his home grown products has sailed into troubled waters.  Falling foul of regulators, the 60 second spot received a PG rather than G rating. This means that the ad can’t be shown in the peak slots around the 6pm news bulletins.

Take a look at the ad. While times have changed and we are certainly a more conservative nation than we once were, it’s not a patch on the ads that used to run when I was a kid. And it’s almost un-Australian to not like a dick joke.

I don’t know about you, but I love Dick.

End Fat Wallet Syndrome with NU Lifestyle

I love gadgets. Sometimes they are things I will use for work, sometimes it is software. Sometimes it’s just something fun – or that I “always wanted”. But rather than keeping it to myself, I thought I’d share it with you – as part of my Gadget Weekend posts.

At the beginning of each year I investigate my wallet. After 12 months of action it’s usually inches thick, bursting with paper, cards, receipts and so on (I’d like to say cash). At new year, I pull out the receipts, cards and extraneous bits of paper. I get rid of the credit or membership cards that I never use and begin the process of replacing the cards that have been damaged or cracked from constant use/wallet wear.

I am always amazed at how much more comfortable it is to carry my slimmer, more manageable wallet.

But these days, our credit, debit and membership cards are “smart” cards – storing personal information in the chips embedded into the fabric of the cards. And while this is convenient, it also represents a security risk. Advanced card skimmers can tap into the RFID information contained in your card and the details revealed.

One solution to these problems is the NU Lifestyle card holder with RFID blocking protection. An Indiegogo project, it’s been designed to simplify the most complex wallet – trimming it down to the most essential of cards and a bit of cash. It has some other cool features:

  • RFID blocking through the creation of a Faraday Cage (yep, it’s a real thing)
  • Aircraft grade aluminium for strength (and to reduce drag during hot eBay bidding)
  • Ass-hugging design (believe it or not, it fits very nicely into your rear pocket)

As usual with Indiegogo projects, there are a range of options. You can support the project by pre-purchasing:

  • Nu Chroma: the non-RFID blocking card holder for $25
  • Nu DuoChroma: the base level RFID blocking card holder for $40
  • Nu Persona: the premium aircraft grade aluminium RFID blocking card holder for $90

There are also personal editions, limited editions, gift packs and and a promo pack which may be perfect for your next customer swag bag.

With an estimated delivery date of May 2013, it could make it just in time for my birthday.

The Rise of the Social Prescription

For decades, many industries have resisted the shift to digital. Retail, pharmaceutical, financial services, healthcare and even the media have fortified themselves against the changes taking place in the global consumer marketplaces. But one-by-one, all industries must, sooner or later, engage with those customers who have already made the digital transformation or risk losing businesses to more nimble and digitally focused competitors.

Over the last half dozen years, social media has been the more publicly acceptable face of the digital revolution. And while it is wrapped in positive terminology (friends, likes, hearts), these mask a deeper and more profound shift – the shift from analog to digital. It is this shift that is sweeping all before it, impacting all aspects of business.

In the healthcare industry, peer-to-peer recommendation is giving rise to social health – and what I am increasingly calling the social prescription – diagnosis and product recommendation via social networks. For better or worse, the social prescription is a reality that healthcare specialists now must also contend with. People are now consuming health information, content and services like they do any other product – and have expectations more in line with retail experience than the traditional doctor-patient relationship.

This infographic from the alliedhealthworld site shows how this plays out:

  • More than 75% of consumers expect a response within a day after requesting an appointment through social media (note the use of the word “consumers” rather than “patients”)
  • 20% of consumers join online health forums
  • 25% of internet users watch health related videos

But the real challenge is not in understanding the shift, it is in applying that understanding to the strategy of your business. How do you:

  • Transform your healthcare or pharmaceutical business while navigating government regulation?
  • Combat misinformation and uninformed recommendation?
  • Compete for the mindshare of the connected consumer?
  • Integrate your business strategy with the demands for a digital future?

Contact me to learn how I can help.