Tag: complexity (page 2 of 2)

You have to deal with both complication and complexity, so you’d better know the difference

The Economist, Schumpeter, Complicated, 23 Nov 13

The Schumpeter column in The Economist got it wrong: "It's complicated. Management thinkers disagree on how to manage complexity." The column comments on the recent 5th Global Drucker Forum – Managing Complexity and describes organizations as having two choices, deal with complexity or simplify.

Those that deal with complexity "may look complex and unwieldy but they have an inner logic and powers of self-organisation." In contrast, "the second, rival solution to dealing with complexity is to impose simplicity."

But to present the situation as 'either / or' is simply misleading, and I think it comes down to a failure to appreciate the critical difference between complexity and complication, a difference that must be well understood when redesigning the way your organisation works. Read more

Setting the standards for influence

I'm a special advisor to AMEC (the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication), wearing a CIPR hat as and when. I'm part of a working group assembling recommendations on the topic of influence for deliberation at the AMEC European Summit in Madrid this June. We have input from IPR, PRSA, Womma, SNCR, IAB and other groups, associations and institutes.

I took an action to create "something to shoot at", and I distributed the following over the weekend. On the basis that we're an open and transparent working group, I thought I'd post it here too. Do get in touch if you'd like to tell me what you think. Now's the time for dialogue – particularly if you can't attend the Madrid summit – ahead of the standards setting. Read more

Q&A with Influencer Marketing Review

Influencer Marketing Review

[Originally published by Influencer Marketing Review.]

This is the third installment of our ‘Q&A with the Review’ series in which we talk with prominent members of the influencer marketing community about their work and thoughts on the industry. Amanda Maksymiw and Duncan Brown helped us get the series started, and now we’re grateful that Philip Sheldrake, author of The Business of Influence, is joining us for our third Q&A. 

IMR: Thanks so much for joining us, Philip. And congratulations on the book. We know that’s no easy feat.

Philip: Thanks for the invitation to chat here. And thanks for having my book cover on IMR’s homepage :-)

IMR: Oh yeah. It’s probably about time we change the image, huh.  

You’ve stated in the book and elsewhere that “the business of influence is broken.” What do you mean by that exactly? Some might think there wasn’t much of a “business of influence” in the first place. 

Philip: A definition of influence: you have been influenced when you do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done, or think something you wouldn’t otherwise have thought. There’s influence in everything an organization does, and sometimes in what it doesn’t do, and yet despite this we often apportion responsibility for influence to marketing and PR departments. The 2012 organization looks incredibly similar to the 1992 organization, which is crazy when you consider the impact of social media and related information technologies.

Read more

The complexity of influence is a challenge – and an opportunity

[Originally written for The Guardian Media Network.]

Guardian Media Network

If media is interesting because it facilitates communication, whether that communication is mediated or disintermediated, then communication is most interesting when it facilitates influence.

You have been influenced when you think something you wouldn't otherwise have thought, or do something you wouldn't otherwise have done. Simple as, although you wouldn't think it now that influence is the hot word.

The capacity to change hearts, minds and deeds is considered the mark of the great communicator, the compelling personality, the charismatic politician, and ultimately no one wants to communicate without influence; that wouldn't be a good use of the communicator's time and energy, or indeed that of those on the receiving end.

The focus on making sure you're influenced back is vital too. Individuals (and organisations) that best absorb the zeitgeist are heuristically more able to respond in ways their audiences (stakeholders) might well appreciate.

Influence is complex, and I mean that in the full "complexity science" sense of the word. Complexity is the phenomena that emerge from a collection of interacting objects. The interacting objects could be molecules of air and the phenomenon the weather. It could be vehicles and the phenomenon the traffic. Read more

Influence… it's a numbers game

Andrew Smith tickled my fractal with his post yesterday "Where are the PR Numerati?" (and here on MarCom Professional). Why? Because he's right and I'm numerate and I'm in PR. His post was prompted by the August 2008 book "The Numerati" by senior Business Week writer Stephen Baker.

Public relations had been boiled down to a very simple process by the end of the 1990s. Journalists write the papers and magazines the public reads. The PRs know the journalists. The clients retain the PR professionals.

That simple world is no more. I don't mean that traditional media relations no longer exists, only that it is now just a sub-set of a far more complex map of exerting influence.  The best PR professionals will: Read more

You're in IT

Marketing communications has arrived at its complexity inflexion, and that complexity needs IT. Period. From now on, when you say "I'm a marketing communications consultant", you'll also be saying "I'm in IT".

Computers 'do' numbers, and they can 'do' numbers pretty well. Accounting is about numbers, and so is much of science and engineering, so computers were rapidly deployed in these disciplines in their early days. They helped crunch complexity, and this same capability drove complexity. IT advances have driven today's advanced stock trading platforms and other financial systems. It has underpinned our analysis and knowledge of genetics. It has driven finite element analysis, fluid dynamics and other engineering modelling technologies. These are just a few examples, but however you cut it, modern accounting, science and engineering is entirely reliant on IT.

In the 70s, manufacturing was about turning out millions of identical products repetitively, cheaply. Retail was about piling them high. By the 90s, mass production had become mass customisation, as IT enabled complex yet efficient supply chains. Each and every car gliding through production can now be any one of a thousand permutations. The number of Zara's annual product lines exceeds the volume made of each; all at affordable prices. Retail analytics informs every decision we make in retail design. However you cut it, modern manufacturing and retail is entirely reliant on IT.

These professions, and others, reached their complexity inflexion. You could say that IT was both a cause and the saviour, and now it's time for marketing communications. Let's look at some numbers. Read more