Finally, I’ve started a podcast! In this first episode my co-host Adrian Pedrin, Film Producer and Director, and I talk about virtual reality versus reality. In other words, what happens when people will prefer virtual experiences over reality?…
Here’s an interesting question, does the internet threaten creativity or nurture it?,
It depends on how you look at it. When we think about the internet, we think of many things: websites, blogs, social networks, social media, etc..
All these components of the internet let us express ourselves in one way or another, connect with people we know, meet strangers, learn from others and create with others. But, while all this is great, the other side of what makes us human also makes it onto the internet.
Really, the internet both inspires and stifles creativity, here’s how…
How the Internet threatens creativity
Creativity, by it’s nature, is about bravery. So, to think creatively is to challenge the status-quo. Great!
One of the common benefits of having access to so much information and people is that we can find answers rather quickly. But this benefit has immediate consequences when we stop paying attention to human nature, for people will congregate around the same ideas on social networks which eventually leads to group-think.
What does that mean?
A few years ago I wrote a piece on how social media is group-think on steroids because it puts critical thinking to sleep. Critical thinking and creativity go hand in hand, but the megaphone that is social media turns people into lambs drinking the same kool-aid; making critical thinking irrelevant.
Where all think alike nobody thinks very much, and thus the status-quo stops being challenged.
See, the internet doesn’t make us more stupid because, in general terms, we’re stupid and shallow to begin with. But it may help some of us to become dumber and more shallow faster and more efficiently.
Simply put, the internet (if we let it) doesn’t eliminate human bias; it amplifies it.
How the Internet nurtures creativity
Not all is gray, for many great things happen because of the internet. I, like others, have used the internet to solve problems by collaborating with people from around the world. These connections came about because of serendipitous exchanges on Twitter and other mediums; the type that fuels innovation.
The advantage of the internet is open communication, so the simple act of sharing a thought on Twitter can become a conversation. Same goes with blogging, it brings like minds together. This is a good example of how the internet nurtures creativity. Beyond my immediate family, I’ve met all the most valuable people that I know through the internet.
My take is that just like innovative businesses understand that group-think is an enemy of innovation and thus create mechanisms to counter it, if we understand how this dynamic applies on the internet, we can counter it.
It’s important that we do because the future of work will be much more digital and collaborative than it is today; I guarantee it.
Bottom line: The Internet has the power to both bring out the best and worst in us. I foresee we’ll be debating whether or not technology make us stupid well into the future, but let’s put it to rest right now: Technology doesn’t make us stupid, it makes us smarter.
WhatsApp has succeeded because it is focused on creating a great product, not another social network. What will make your business unique is what you deliberately choose not to do.
After almost two years of chit-chat, WhatsApp sold to Facebook for $19 billion yesterday. For a moment, let’s ignore whatever we think about the valuation, and whether in the larger economic picture this is something to be concerned about.
Here I won’t get into the whole strategic thinking behind why this deal makes or doesn’t make sense. What I will do is talk about the picture below:…
Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats. – Howard Aiken
If there’s one things that rarely gets talked about innovation, it’s that you will have to work hard to get people to adopt your ideas. Two weeks ago I was talking to a few of the participants of Startup Weekend Tijuana. Among other things, we talked about the hard part about innovation.
Mainly I told them about my own experience, and how coming up with ideas isn’t a problem. The key, is influencing people to adopt your ideas. And as far as I’m concerned, this is where the rubber meets the road
People and organizations rarely understand, just like I did a few years back, that ideas by themselves are worthless. Just because your ideas sounds cool, and everyone tells you the same, it doesn’t mean it will be adopted. You have to nudge people to adopt your ideas.
There just isn’t any way around it.
Being the guy or company that changes the game is really being the one who gets people to change the behavior.
Case in point: Facebook.…
Last week I gave a workshop on how to mine social networks for insights. I used Facebook’s Fan Pages as a use case. Many of the participants were surprised as they didn’t visit Fan Pages and thought most were spammy. They also said they didn’t like it when brands suddenly went off topic because businesses should be serious, not fun (dominant assumption calling to be turned upside down).
And boy were they surprised with what I told them next……
One of the main benefits of social media is to provide instant customer service. While this might be true, I think we’re seeing it from the wrong angle. Companies are looking at it as a way to put out fires, to delay an customers eventual frustration.
Sure, we should be exploring how social technologies might change customer service. But first, we should look at how we actually conduct customer service away from social media.
A few weeks ago, as soon as Google+ was unleashed, Michael Dell asked people if they would like to connect with Dell Service teams via Google Hangout. Lots of people thought it was a great idea, but one comment in particular caught my attention:
No +Michael DellI don’t want to use Hangouts to connect with Dell customer service. What I want, from you or any company, is to ensure I actually get the best customer service experience possible when I actually use your “normal” customer service channels.Eventually, I’ll finish my long-planned blog post on how every customer service “success” on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ is really a customer service failure. In short, consider this.If I walked into a store and started yelling about how bad the store was, to get my problem resolved, who would consider that a successful customer service model? But that’s basically what we are encouraged to do through social media, yell there as an attempt to get problems solved as a last resort.OK, it’s more nuanced than that. I have have great respect for the people who do perform huge customer service through social media channels. But these shouldn’t be end runs your customers need to use because your regular customer service channels are so convoluted and so often backed by people who aren’t enabled to just solve problems.That’s where I’d like to see you or any company put your energies, before we get more social media candy.
And that (in bold), is the point.
People are using social media as a last resort to vent their frustrations. And businesses are reacting to it by asking customers to post positive reviews online to counter the hate. Sure, businesses will react positively after an unhappy customer (who is well connected) posts his frustrations on Twitter and Facebook. It’s common sense. But this doesn’t help things, it just creates a never ending loop of reaction.
They’re not delighting customers, they’re merely delaying frustration.
What we really need to do is look at social media as another way to win the hearts of customers. To delight them. Not as a way to put out fires.
While you may see Zappos using social media for customer service, they don’t really see it that way. For them it’s another way to connect with their customers and as an opportunity to win their hearts. One more way to ‘Deliver Happiness’.
Problems will arise no doubt because no company worth mentioning never makes a mistake. Just don’t keep on making the same ones over and over again because that is what frustrates customers.
Bottom line is delivering customers service through social channels should not be seen as a silver bullet solution, simply adding more touch points to your mix but not solving the customers problem isn’t going to to save you. The customer doesn’t care if you experiment on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or Google+, what they care about is being treated with respect and getting their issues resolved.
And lastly, don’t ignore them. I repeat, don’t ignore them. If you’re on these channels, they expect you to be there for them.
P.S. I’ll leave with a few more comments to reinforce the point:
- Is social media marketing causing you to lose money? (smartblogs.com)
- Yes, Customers Are Willing to Use Social Media for Customer Service [Infographic] (readwriteweb.com)
- How social media can save your business from a customer riot (smartblogs.com)
It all starts with the question: How can I make this better?
Framing is important and when talking about innovation that usually means deciding between incremental and radical change. Yet for most businesses, they don’t want to hear about change. They want the world they exist in just the way it is, especially if they’ve had some level of success.
But which is the more practical approach? Better or different?…