This week in an approach to broaden my problem-solving skills and just after having subscribed to ROTMAN Magazine, I came across this highly interesting Business Week Feedroom interview with Roger Martin, the dean of Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto (thus more often than not named “Dean Martin” by the incident… ;-)), who coined and trademarked the term of Integrated Thinking, promoting a "Design" approach towards solving of complex problems. This essentially is based on the assumption, that it may be hard to solve new and complex problems by simply applying already existing "models" derived from challenges successfully managed in the past without having to face significant trade-offs caused by the obvious contradictory nature of these pre-existing solutions. What to do, if you are in a highly competitive market (and who isn’t these days…) ? Cut costs or drive innovation by further increasing them ? In his ROTMAN magazine article Choices, Conflict and the Creative Spark [PDF, 385 KB] Roger Martin discusses how a more holistic way of addressing an issue can lead out of the dilemma of having first to choose between and then to act upon one of seemingly contradictory models by instead drawing from all of them to create a completely new approach.
So integrated thinking people are those, who…
…the capacity to hold two diametrically-opposed ideas in their heads. And then, without panicking or simply settling for one alternative or the other, they are able to produce a synthesis that is superior to either opposing idea.
Integrative Thinking shows us a way past the binary limits of ‘either/or.’ It shows us that there is a way to integrate the advantages of one solution without canceling out the advantages of an alternative solution, affording us, in the words of the poet Wallace Stevens, “the choice not between, but of.”
And despite the common believe, that this integrated way of working on complex issues likely was unique to people mostly considered "geniuses" of their time, Martin argues, that the capability of creating new successful and elegant ideas from (at least by "proven" measures…) opposable concepts indeed may possibly be trained and learned by many of us. This would lead to the de-facto conclusion, that Integrative Thinking is largely a tacit skill in the heads of people who have cultivated their opposable mind.
And at this very point of time Dean Roger Martin and his students are working on a proof of the assumption…
At the year’s end mostly everybody seems to have some sort of outlook and “best wishes” on their blog, website, paper, newsletter — or whatever one sends to customers to make sure they stay well and buy again from you within the next 12 months coming.
While there can be huge differences between, what some "important" people think, may or may not "hit" next year, I’ll leave you into 2007 with an – as I think – really straight-to-the-point videocast of Richard St. John‘s presentation at the 2005 TED Conference. There the brightest minds of their kind meet to present their key findings first to the $ 4,000 paying attendees and now, finally, to the "public" rest of us.
The 3 minute presentation (which I can completely agree upon) delivers solid answers on how to be successful — independently from what you are going for in a particular case.
There also is a directly playable embedded version of the movie inside the German section of this post. QuickTime is required in order to view the movie.
Now it’s the politicians. After the corporations having struggled with the two-way nature of blogging and even podcasting, it’s now on the politicians to realize that (though their propaganda-experts probably told them otherwise) traditional media send messages, blogs start conversations (thanks, Loïc !) — and react with frustration if no-one is there to listen.
So, being a professional podcaster myself, this is my Hints and Tips section for politicians to avoid common mistakes.
Respect the Blog/Podcast as a personal two-way Medium
This is a huge difference from the way most of you have been told about dealing with media, since (as you may readily have experienced… 😉 ) these ones are going to hit back. So if you decide to use blogging/podcasting as part of your communication arsenal, be sure to assign the budget, your own time and some workforce to care about the backchannels. Yes, that’s right, you have to open your very holy homepage for open-minded political exchange. To blog or not to blog means either publishing your opinion for discussion or letting the discussion go on without you. If you are not willing to accept (or "risk") other opinions on your site (and don’t even think of censoring !!!), just quit it. Or the audience will do that for you.
To interact with your readers there are basically two ways provided by traditional blogging software (please see below for details). If you would prefer to use you existing CMS instead, this is fine, as long as you have someone implementing the back-channel features which ship with conventional blogging software; as there are:
A functionality which enables other blogs’ writers to notify you, that they dealt with a certain article’s issue on their own blog.
These enable your visitors to directly leave a note below a certain Article you published.
Finally when you implement these functions, make sure they appear as they are supposed to on the page:
While Mrs. Merkel’s page shows-off the traditional one-way propaganda approach ("open minds not appreciated here"), which is not considered very appealing by many readers, the former French Prime Minister, Mr. Raffarin, not only takes full advantage of the blogs’ communication potential, but also shows this to his readers by appropriately coloring the links to interactive features below each article.
We all know you sit in the ivory tower…
…you really don’t need to remind us all the time. 😉
Weblogs and podcasts live by their honesty. So the absolutely worst thing you can do for a podcast, is put yourself into a dark TV studio and read a text someone else has written for you from a teleprompter.
If you are really keen on using podcasting to get your views and opinions closer to the people, you will have to face reality and get out of your office, come down to the real world, talking to real people about real issues. Yes, it costs time and money, but aren’t the people who voted for you in the last election worth it, to address them in an appropriate way ?
Choosing the right Producers for your Weblog/Podcast
As they will have tremendous influence on your public appearance, select the people to build your new window to the world with the most appropriate care. Don’t just ask your default web-agency to do it. Nor will traditional TV production companies necessarily be able to deal with the special demands of interactive online presentation. Do a public invitation to tender and meticulously review the applicants’ references. Don’t just give the order to the production-firm of some fellow party member’s son-in-law. So you may also have to watch out, that if an Autobahn is running right through your head, you don’t accidentally adjust your face accordingly… 😉
Good Value has hardly ever been for free
I’m not aware, how much Mr. Raffarin’s podcasts actually cost, but there has been public protest in Germany, due to the fact that Mrs. Merkel’s obviously cost € 6.500 — way too much, isn’t it ? After I heard this I did a quick re-calculation of how much we would have needed to charge the chancellor for a comparable production. I came out at somewhere between € 5.800 to € 6.200. Only marginally lower than the amount originally published. I don’t know, if the difference has been a "chancellor-surcharge" or additional editorial expenses.
Fact is, that if you will want such thing done right, it will cost its money one way or the other — or electorate’s goodwill.
Don’t oppress a Politician’s natural Character
There are several kinds of people in this world. Mr. Raffarin is a great actor, Mrs. Merkel isn’t. Even though reading his speech from teleprompter, Raffarin has lively mimics, regardless of the superfluous "on-topic" book someone has put on his chest. Chancellor Merkel (who is known to be great at dealing with real people, as known from her public appearances) just seems to be bored by always reading preformulated stuff into a camera.
It’s a shame her producers do not pay care to the fact that not all politicians are to be presented equal. Give her the chance to explain her concepts in natural language and to real humans, and her on-screen performances will improve immediately. As will the public acceptance. Because Merkel’s natural way to act is presumably one of the key factors her voters appreciate.
Hopefully these guides can help anyone producing political podcasts or weblogs to make them more successfull — especially as these are becoming increasingly popular on the local level, even in my hometown Mainz.
Late as always, though nevertheless fairly interesting, come the podcasts of Web Montag 3 at Frankfurt’s Brotfabrik.
Web2.0 (In)Security with Björn Schotte
is all about security issues you get for
free with contemporary Web 2.0 webpages — focus of this presentation is on risks
inside AJAX applications. MP3 6,73MB M4A 4,54MB Video 94,2 MB
eTesting: Austausch von eLearning-
und Test-Elementen Martin Seibert tells us about current practices in web-based e-learning applications. Finally adding his own suggestions. MP3 4,1MB M4A 2,76MB Video 55,5 MB
Hitflip: Medien-Tauschplattform 2.0 André Alpar of Hitflip reports on the state of Web 2.0 features at the media-exchange platform, discussing
the user-perception of these concepts. MP3 4,92MB M4A 3,3MB Video 66 MB
Medienmix mit Tumbleblogs is where Ralf Graf has a look at a new kind of weblog design, which centers around
the presentational affordances of various types of media. MP3 8,09MB M4A 5,45MB Video 103 MB
At more than 200miles/h onboard of a highspeed-train to Madrid and on their way home to the US, Guidewire Goup‘s official podcaster Cathy Brooks has a conversation with Chris Shipley about the European approach how business is being practiced (and the work-life-balance resulting therefrom) as opposed to the American traditions — both while looking at the obviously impressive Spanish countryside passing by outside.