There is an app for that…

I have the spreadsheet…

Let me get my laptop…

I will set a date for a conference call…

Can you meet tomorrow…

I will take it to the committee…

These are all places where great ideas go to be stripped down from their natural state.

Pick-up pen and paper.  Jot down the brillant idea.  Sketch madly to detail your interpretation.  The thought is elusive.  The act of embracing it is an artform.  The idea opens itself to you for a brief moment and then rides the breezes of time to land again in unknown destinations.  You have a few precious seconds together, so celebrate!

Free Space

I walked into a Barnes & Noble and was amazed to see the transformation that has taken place.  Missing were the bookshelves with best sellers that had greeted me upon entering.  New shelves with greeting cards, writing supplies and toys filled one corner of the store.  Lego roams where classic literature once held court.  A couple of tables that appeared similar to an Apple Store displayed a hands-on area to test the Nook e-reader.  A Starbucks in the middle was clearly the busiest portion of the enterprise.  As I departed through the movie and music section, I was wondering how the Redbox across the street was impacting sales.  On one side, Barnes & Noble was embracing the e-reader with a commitment to the online delivery format.  On the other side the company was holding firm to the traditional sales approach to selling CD and DVD.

In the social sector, we have been quick to adopt social media and ‘donate now’ buttons on our homepages.  We have been more reticent to leave some methodologies.  For example, I often hear how labor intensive and exhausting an organization’s last strategic planning process turned out.  I will offer new models and encourage a more inspired and engaging approach.  Many times the initial reaction from the enterprise is to reluctantly suggest they should stick with the tried and true, no matter that it means torture by boredom.

Is it change we resist or is it our loyalty to the known?  What leaps of faith have you made that have reaped great rewards?  What is the least amount of change you could take that would have the greatest impact?

Combining Two Services

Peanut butter and jelly, fork and spoon (into the spork), and a car and GPS navigation. All are examples of existing entities that decided to merge to create a new service or product. Now your cellphone camera and online search engines are teaming-up. I just watched this Google advertisement and will not think of my smart phone the same way.

What partnerships might you consider that combine two established features or programs? What models exist as templates? Who and what do you need to expedite such a merger?

Mistakes Were Made

My kids occasionally watch a Nick cartoon TV program, “The Penguins Madagascar.” In one episode the penguins believe they have traveled to the moon only to find out at the end of the show that they only flew in a rocket to the top of an adjacent building and then back to their enclosure at the Central Park Zoo. When the penguins question one another about the failed mission, one replies, “I forgot to carry the two.”

Yesterday, I incorrectly tweeted that Four Seasons Hotels use Twitter effectively and Hyatt Hotels does not. I ‘follow’ both Four Seasons and Hyatt on Twitter. I receive numerous daily updates from the Four Seasons but none from what appears to be the official Hyatt profile. Best I have learned, Hyatt leaves it up to each property to set-up and maintain their own Twitter profile. Since I am staying at one of their properties this week (one of my favorite) I immediately began following the particular property on Twitter. There is a lot of useful information and specials posted.

Four Seasons has the same arrangement where each property sets-up a Twitter profile. In addition they uses their corporate profile of @Four_Seasons to share information about each property and tweet about the company in general.

It is a complicated decision. Does the ‘brand’ maintain the relationship with the customer or is it the individual properties? Or does some hybrid method work better? I patronize both companies but more often Hyatt for a variety of reasons. There are particular properties that I am especially fond of and will follow on Twitter. As a frequent guest I also wonder how I should keep undated with specials and events at properties that I may not follow. On the other hand, there are days when I feel like the I heard enough from the Four Seasons because none of the tweets peak my interest.

So I apologize to Hyatt for my incorrect tweet. I wonder who you follow on Twitter? Why? What makes them worth following? What is effective tweeting?

Data On Which Age Groups Use Specific Social Media

Clients who are later adopters of technology are always telling me that they need to get on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. They need a great social media presence. I ask them who they are trying to reach with these forms of media. One group’s core audience is women between 40-70 years old. Another group serves young teens but raises 80% of its donations from the generation that would qualify as grandparents to these teens. Twitter may not be the right source to invest in for either of these groups (at least as they think it will be applied). I have mostly relied on anecdotal evidence but this recent study is truly helpful to quantify which generations are using which forms of social media.

What has worked well for your organization? Who are you trying to reach? What feedback to you get?