Andy Budd tells us to Stand Up!

I have a lot of passion for the end user experience, and (prior to this conference) met through email an excellent user experience person in IT at HP, Sarah Deane.  I’m so impressed with her that I have promised myself I’ll use her on any IT project I’m involved in.  Thankfully, she’s already being utilized with my current project: implementing Sharepoint 2010 for 300K+ end users within the HP ecosystem.

After the last presentation, I got to meet (in person) Dani Weinstein, who’s working hard setting the standard for HP customer support.  We had a tiny conversation about the customer experience before this session started, but it was a good precursor for an inquiry as to how we can actually design things so that people use them in a way that might actually be valuable.  I was in for a surprise with Andy Budd, though.

I’m not sure how much of Andy’s presentation I can actually share.  Some of it is not rated for this blog.  However, there’s standing room only in the Empire East room at the Web 2.0 Expo, all waiting to be entranced by this guy.

Who is Andy Budd?

… an interaction designer and web standards developer from Brighton, England. As the user experience lead at Clearleft (clearleft.com), Andy spends his time helping clients improve their customers online experience.

Andy is a regular speaker at international design events such as SXSW, An Event Apart and Web Design World. He also runs the popular dConstruct conference, which takes place in Brighton every year (dconstruct.org). Andy has helped judge several international design awards and currently sits on the advisory board for .Net magazine. Andy wrote the best selling book, CSS Mastery (cssmastery.com) and blogs at andybudd.com.

Never happier than when he’s diving some remote tropical atoll, Andy is a qualified PADI dive instructor and retired shark wrangler.

I can’t wait to meet him and talk about shark wrangling.  Anyway, the summary of the presentation is this:

Every day we make thousands of small decisions, be it which cereal to buy or which pension scheme to invest in. We like to think that these decisions are conscious and rational. However the latest advances in cognitive psychology, behavioural economics and neuroscience show that this is often not the case. We rely heavily on shortcuts and “cognitive biases” which make us highly susceptible to influence. By using the concept of “choice architecture”, smart designers can reduce cognitive load and nudge people in a direction of their choosing. A direction that is beneficial to both their users and their clients.

In this session Andy will look at some of the most common “cognitive biases” and how concepts of trust, reciprocity, social proof and liking are used by sales people and marketers around the world to persuade people to do their bidding. Using examples ranging from architecture to menu design, Andy will show how these time honoured techniques can be employed on the web. The result is not only a site that looks good and is free of usability errors; it’s a site that’s designed around the way we think and optimised for the maximum return on investment

So if you’re a designer looking to hone their skills or a business owner wanting to increase registrations and site loyalty, this session will teach you everything you need to know to become a master in online persuasion.

I’m a bit tired of hearing the phrase “tribe”, but there was some great discussion about how different companies utilize design to “persuade” their customers to do exactly what they want them to do.  Having pulled many slot machine levers, I understand how all the lights and action and timing can pull you in and keep you in.  But, I wasn’t yet clear on how this applied to me, as an IT person in end user services at a very large organization.

Then, he started talking about emotional pull and the whole world of persuasion, that makes us better (more intentional) designers, more efficient, and creating better experiences for our customers.  That struck a cord with me.

Unfortunately, his slides aren’t posted.  So, I’m off to the next session!

<Updated:  Andy Budd graciously shared his slideware in the comments.>

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Transforming Your Company to Embrace Empowered Employees and Customers

EmpoweredJosh Bernoff and Ted Schadler (Forrester Research) discuss some of the powerful ideas in their book Empowered.  Here’s the summary:

The challenge in embracing social technologies has moved beyond strategy to organization. Technology – mobile, social, video, and cloud – has empowered customers. Employees can use the same technologies to reach out and solve their problems. But companies aren’t set up for this. Based on case studies from over 25 different companies, this session will show how to manage a company so that employee problem-solvers can make these connections.

How can you make the employee problem-solvers in your organization effective? This session will show how to:

  1. Identify the most influential class of customers in your business. Based on Forrester Research survey data, 16% of online consumers account for more than 80% of the influence. Who are they? How does this ratio vary by product type? Learn a technique for identifying the mass influencers in a market.
  2. Turn the influencers to your advantage. Case studies on customer service, mobile, and word-of-mouth will reveal the best techniques and show how problem-solvers in organizations accomplished those successes.
  3. Use these same technologies make better collaboration possible in the enterprise.
  4. Run a business in which managers, IT, and employee problem-solvers work together effectively.

The science of empowerment starts with the social technographics ladder, which shows the different groups:  inactives, spectators, joiners, collectors, critics, conversationalists, creators.  From 2007 to 2010, there is a surge in social participation that is probably the key thing making companies take notice.

There are four technologies that empower these consumers:

  • smart mobile devices
  • social technology
  • pervasive video
  • cloud computing services

Empowered is the next chapter in the story that goes like this:

  • In 1995, we saw the rise of  the Web where publishing was important.
  • In 1999, it was the beginning of the eCommerce era where transactions were important.
  • In 2004 began  the rise of social computing where sharing was the thing to do.
  • Now, in 2010, we are empowered (customers, employees, etc.) where engagement is how to do it.

The thesis of the book is that companies need to organize around the customer in a holistic way (across departments and up and down the organization).  ONLY EMPOWERED WORKERS CAN SERVE EMPOWERED CUSTOMERS.  They call these HEROes or Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives.

It is these HEROes who are coming up with answers to customer problems that are making our companies  succeed.  Without these HEROes, we fail.

Another acronym to remember is IDEA, which leads us through the four steps to build customer influence:

  • Identify your mass influencers. (That’s a small group that influences the most people.)
  • Deliver groundswell customer service. (Read about Best Buy’s TwelpForce.)
  • Empower with mobile information. (Move your product to other form factors.)
  • Amplify your fan activity. (See windows.com/social for an example.  I’m a PC!)

Every year in the US, we create 500 BILLION impressions on one another, where advertisers make 2 Trillion impressions.  Already, consumers make 1/4 of the impressions of advertisers.  And, the consumer impressions are influencing in a much stronger way, because they are influencing close peer groups and strong connections where there is already trust.

Our brains are wired for consumer apps and you can see that in the enterprise as a problem, an opportunity, or a mandate.  More than a third of employees are using unsanctioned technologies just to get their job done. (Source: North American Technographics Empowerment Online Survey, Q4 2009, US.)

The new HERO Compact

HEROes:

  • Know customer needs.
  • Use technology to serve customers.
  • Operate safely.

Managers:

  • Make innovation a priority.
  • Support HEROes.
  • Work with IT to manage risk.

IT (has to change most):

  • Support HEROes with technology.
  • Scale up solutions.
  • Provide tools to manage risk.

IT must no longer be the department of “NO”.  This doesn’t mean support everything.  It means, stop shutting everything down.  Stop being the police.  This deeply resonates with me.  Not only because I’m in IT now, but because I’ve worked so long in my career with customers, solving their problems.

There are lots of great examples in the slides, so check them out.  And, buy the book.  Hand it out to your staff and give it as a gift to your executives.

New York: subway, shopping, dinner, and breakfast

Lindy's breakfast
The Halle Berry

I feel like I belong in New York now.  I never have looked forward to a trip to the big city.  I’m a small town chick from Texas, you know?

But, last night, everything changed.  After a disappointing afternoon session, I searched the other sessions for a place to belong, to no avail.  After joining a couple of work meetings, I decided to try my luck on the subway.

The concierge helped me with some good advice, “Take the B or D to Broadway / Lafayette”.  Although I had learned the subway system the last time I visited New York, I hadn’t done it alone, so buying that MetroCard took some courage.

I decided upon the 4 trip ticket for 8 bucks and relearned the turnstile. As the train rumbled toward me, I confidently stepped inside.  The doors closed just as I discovered I was on the E train, not the B or D as the concierge had advised.

No worries.  I figured out my stop and knew my mistake had a cost:  a nine block walk.  What I didn’t know is that walk would be done mostly in the pouring rain, without an umbrella.

I was so excited about my destination (the John Fluevog store) that I didn’t mind rushing into the store dripping wet, and neither did those who worked there.  After perusing the inventory, I left with an awesome purchase: the Earl of Warwicks Coventry.  I love my Angels, but I had to have these boots.

Through some more rain and 3 blocks, I found a little tapas bar called Mercat.  After a lovely dinner of things I can’t pronounce or spell, I found another subway and took the correct train back to 7th and 53rd.  I have seen and I have conquered!

This morning, I avoided the long line at the Starbuck’s in the hotel, instead taking 10 steps across the street to Lindy’s, where the New York rush seemed non-existent.  That’s my breakfast you see above.  Thanks, Halle, for choosing all the things I like!

Now, on to the Web 2.0 Expo.  Lots of great stuff ahead!

The Future of Collaboration with Don Tapscott

I joined a webinar this morning, curious about the topic and what else Don Tapscott would say.  Twitter was communicated as the visible backchannel, so a few tweets in I commented “You don’t hear the word ‘oligopoly’ very often.”  Don communicates in a visual, psychological, visceral, and very unique way.

His bio goes something like this:

Don Tapscott is one of the world’s leading authorities on business strategy and was recently named one of the 50 most influential living management thinkers in the world by Thinkers50. As Chairman of nGenera Insight, Don also leads research and education programs.  Tapscott is the author of 13 widely-read books about information technology in business and society, including 2007’s bestselling business book in the US, Wikinomics (co-authored with Anthony Williams), as well as Paradigm Shift, The Digital Economy, and The Naked Corporation. His most recent book, Grown Up Digital, is a sequel to his 1997 bestseller Growing Up Digital. Coming in September 2010, Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World.

He’s kind of a big deal.

Not only that, but he thinks and articulates that thinking in a way I would love to imitate; drawing the audience into a one-way conversation, stimulating their imagination, and turning it into conversation and collective intelligence.

Tapscott began by taking us through a multitude of visuals of murmuration of starlings.  This phenomenon is magical, but methodical.  The starlings never bump into each other, but a tiny change for one results in a huge change for the social mass.  They do this for survival, for safety, and to share collective intelligence.  Tapscott used this to punctuate the point that we are in the early days of some profound changes in the way that organizations work.  Neural nodes of human connection are all around us and we are re-wired, with the quality of connections becoming more important than ever.  My thought:  the enterprise systems we use to work aren’t designed for our rewired brains.

He shared the 5 Principles for Innovation, Wealth, and Sustainability:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Openness
  3. Sharing
  4. Interdependence
  5. Integrity

The enterprise must look at intellectual property in a different way:  some IP needs to be protected and some IP needs to be shared.  The industrial economy is losing gas fast, and the internet economy is gaining strength.  What was mass production is now mass collaboration.

Hybrid thought:  Part of the solution for enterprises is how to figure out how to connect with self-organizing communities and how to enable self-organizing communities within the firewall.

We’re at a turning point in our history, where our institutions are fundamentally rebooting.  This includes financial systems, government, universities, newspapers, media & entertainment, healthcare, science, energy, etc.  Wait for the replay to be posted to see how far he gets into 20th century institutionalized models vs. 21st century networks.  

Don paused, then stated an idea that I very much agree with:  we need business platforms based on people, not documents, or sites, and etc.  People are at the core of a new business operating system, where a new generation of knowledge management exists that isn’t containerized.  It’s infinite:

  1. Personal Profiles
  2. Industrial Strength Social Networking
  3. Blogging and Microblogging
  4. Wikis and Document Co-creation
  5. Ideastorms
  6. Team Project Tools
  7. Deliberation-Decision Making
  8. New Generation Knowledge Management
  9. IT Integration and Administration

Of course, he proclaimed a Crisis of Leadership:

Paradigm shifts involve dislocation, conflict, confusion, uncertainty.  New paradigms are nearly always received with coolness, even mockery or hostility.  Those with vested interests fight the change.  The shift demands such a different view of things that established leaders are often last to be won over, if not at all.

This is not new.  And, it’s a bit outdated at HP, where I’m surrounded by a bunch of people who want to lead in this area.  But, his question was:  “What is your role going to be?”  I answered in the Twitter backchannel that mine was to “integrate, redesign, retrofit, and come out with something collaborative and successful on the other side.”  There are few enterprises that exist today that can take a green field approach to collaboration.  Tell me how to solve that problem…

The Definition of Human Cloud

I can’t comment about anything related to Oracle’s proposed buyout of Sun. But, I can be transparent and say that many things are up in the air right now. This blog, for instance, which Ingrid Van Den Hoogen asked me to start writing last year, might change. I simply don’t know if it will transition or how or if it will end entirely. So, that leads me to believe that I must ensure my readers understand what I mean by Human Cloud. It’s how I want to leave it, just in case I have to leave it.  It makes me feel more prepared for change.

Is It About Social Media? Continue reading “The Definition of Human Cloud”

Cloud Links for Valentine’s Day

~John M. Willis does a nice interview with a man from Cloud Camp Toronto about his exploration of different cloud providers for his Web video service startup.  There are pros and cons with RightScale, 3tera, Elastra, Mosso, Amazon Cloudfront, etc.  I think he said his name is Mark Bobson, but Willis doesn’t tag it.  Hope I got the spelling right!

(By the way, John, I enjoyed this interview, but I think Continue reading “Cloud Links for Valentine’s Day”