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Enterprise Storytelling for Networks

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These are slides from a talk I gave on November 17, 2012 to students from NYU's Wagner School for Public Service, the School of Visual Arts and Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs as part of the 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp. Most slides require some notes.

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Enterprise Storytelling for Networks

  1. 1. Enterprise Storytelling for NetworksDesigning content and communications for the social enterprise 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  2. 2. My name is Ian Fitzpatrick.I come from Boston.I lead the research team at Almighty.I work with groups like MassChallenge.I used to work at places like Euro RSCG and Mattel.@ianfitzpatrick 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  3. 3. Before we get started: Thank You.Making things is what binds us to one another. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  4. 4. Storytelling for networks is not new.Things have just become a lot faster and cheaper. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  5. 5. Faster and cheaper are physical changes, notchemical changes.This is important because it means we’re not starting from scratch. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  6. 6. But, if networks inherently lend us scale andamplification, then our storytelling had better betight. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  7. 7. 5 provocations* for the social enterprise1. Let’s rethink the ways in which we view our organizations2. Design for networks3. Understand the value of currency4. Do awesome things, and then tell their stories5. Place a lot of small bets* tip of the hat to danah boyd for the inspiration here 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  8. 8. 1. Let’s rethink the ways in which we view ourorganizations 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  9. 9. Before we can effectively design for networks, we need to understand the implications of the ways we talk about ourselves.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  10. 10. How do you answer when someone asks you:‘what does your organization do?’ 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  11. 11. This is not a question about your brand.It’s not about positioning or differentiating, either. Networks are made of people, andpeople don’t talk like that. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  12. 12. DO THIS: Write down what your organization does. A. Use complete sentences B. Keep it to 2-3 sentences, max C. Write it as if you’re telling someone at a party2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  13. 13. Before we look at what you wrote down, let’s talkabout friction. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  14. 14. Friction means two things to us, and they’re bothimportant. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  15. 15. 1 Friction is a useful force because it gives us something to latch on to. When we tell stories, we want to maximize this kind of friction, because it’s what helps our audiences relate to them.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  16. 16. We can maximize this property of friction by makingour stories relevant, compelling and easy tounderstand. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  17. 17. 2 Friction can be troubling because it impedes our momentum. When we want to reach networks, we work to minimize this property.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  18. 18. To speed the flow of our stories through networks,we need to remove barriers to their re-telling. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  19. 19. DO THIS: Try revising your description to optimize for friction. A. Focus on amplifying the compelling parts B. Think about making it easier to re-tell2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  20. 20. You will find that road-testing your stories with usersis infinitely more-valuable than circulating it withinyour own community. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  21. 21. 2. Design for networks 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  22. 22. If your social enterprise serves as middleware in asupply chain, please ignore this next section.Also: you have the most unique business model ever. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  23. 23. “For over 80 years the adidas Group has been part of the world of sports on every level, delivering state-of- the-art sports footwear, apparel and accessories. Today, the adidas Group is a global leader in the sporting goods industry and offers a broad portfolio of products.” Is that a story you’d re-tell?2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  24. 24. “Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” This one is self-evident, right?2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  25. 25. It’s very difficult to tell stories to networks without first making them relevant to other people.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  26. 26. The constant pursuit of markets encourages us totalk about how we fit into them, not how we fit intopeople’s lives. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  27. 27. Consider the signal to noise ratio that the peoplewho will use your product or service are faced with. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  28. 28. Most of the things we make are for the benefit ofpeople or systems (or both). 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  29. 29. Why, then, are people so-often absent fromexplanations of what organizations do? 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  30. 30. The concurrent rise of the social enterprise andinterest in user experience is not coincidental.Social design is, by definition, Human Centered Design. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  31. 31. DO THIS: Try re-framing what you do in more-human terms. A. If you run into problems, try finding a spot for the phrase ‘for people’ in your description.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  32. 32. 3. Understand the value of currency 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  33. 33. Great storytellers understand that some stories travel better than others.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  34. 34. So let’s talk about baked goods. Specifically, let’s talk about fresh, hot baked goods.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  35. 35. This is the Albion Cafe in Shoreditch, London. When people ask me about organizations that design for networks well, this is where I start.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  36. 36. Stories designed for networks require currency.Like friction, currency comes in a few flavors:1. The value derived from access to content & information that people want.2. The value derived from the opportunity to propagate content and information 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  37. 37. This is BakerTweet. It lives in the kitchens at Albion, right next to the ovens.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  38. 38. It creates content with real currency for a small,highly-localized population.(__________ is fresh and hot right now, and if you get here quickly, you can have access toit.) 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  39. 39. If you think about it, BakerTweet also createscurrency for its followers, who get to be the ownersand distributors of this information through humannetworks (i.e. offices).Don’t ever under-estimate the value of that. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  40. 40. DO THIS: Start a quick list of things you make that have social currency. 1. Start with a list of things that you make that provide value in the form of access to information. 2. Move on to a list of things you make that provide currency in the form of opportunity to propagate information.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  41. 41. If 50% of Facebook users left the site tomorrow, twogroups of people would lose a ton of value:1. Facebook shareholders2. The remaining 50% of Facebook’s users 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  42. 42. This is called Metcalfe’s Law, and it’s really important to you.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  43. 43. It’s a big part of the reason that you’re hearing so much about Waze right now.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  44. 44. Adding scale to a network should create value foreach user, not just each shareholder. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  45. 45. DO THIS: Make a note of ways in which your customers & users would (meaningfully) benefit as your organization scales. A. This is really hard, but don’t give up. B. Great organizations might have only a handful of meaningful answers to this question.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  46. 46. 4. Do awesome things, and then tell their stories 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  47. 47. You started something because you thought youcould make something that people wanted.There’s a story there worth telling. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  48. 48. Stories of how we make things have resonancebecause they reveal decisions and intent.They’re proof that we don’t make arbitrary choices (and ask that our customers live withthem). 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  49. 49. Stories of how we make things are different fromstories of why we make things.Do not cross the streams. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  50. 50. “We have found the choices we make have a profound effect on creating the flatbread experience”2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  51. 51. DO THIS: Note a story behind something you’ve made that would reveal the decisions behind it. 1. Consider how resonant the story would be. 2. What would it reveal about your organization? 3. Who would you tell the story to? 4. Could they re-tell it?2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  52. 52. Make stuff people want > Making people want stuff.This might be the most important idea in the marketplace right now. Credit to JohnWillshire. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  53. 53. When you make something, you almost always makesomething else.We usually talk about byproducts as bad things. We’re usually wrong. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  54. 54. Uber makes it easier to get from point A to point B.They also make it easier for car operators to move‘distressed inventory’.That’s not all that the service does, though. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  55. 55. Uber users generate a ton of data about places thatwe are, and the places we want to get to.Through the proper lens, this data can be turned into highly-spreadable content. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  56. 56. “The parts of San Francisco that have the most prostitution, alcohol, theft and burglary also have the most Uber rides! Party hard but be safe, Uberites!”2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  57. 57. OK Cupid is a dating site. The data it generates isastonishing.Again, this data has inherent social currency. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  58. 58. “Beyond the words the interesting thing is how men’s and women’s preferences change with age.”2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  59. 59. In both cases, the data is well-suited to networks notbecause the stories are inherently compelling, butrather because they’re inherently about us. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  60. 60. DO THIS: Start a list of byproducts of the things you deliver. 1. This is hard, take your time 2. How are they about people — specifically the people you want to carry your story?2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  61. 61. 5. Place a lot of small bets 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  62. 62. Most of us have to make room in our lives for thethings that are important* to us.* Your organization, however amazing and unique, is probably not one of these things 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  63. 63. For a long time, communications were predicated onthe sequential consumption of messages, hence thephrase ‘communications stream’. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  64. 64. In an ecosystem defined increasingly by search andword of mouth (social), sequence is a lot less relevantto the way we process things. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  65. 65. Design communications around matrices, not linear timelines.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  66. 66. “Be useful, entertaining, interesting and playful in service of people” - Gareth Kay2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  67. 67. Does it matter where you jump in?2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  68. 68. What about here?2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  69. 69. An ongoing series of lightweight interactions is goingto be more effective than betting heavily on peopleengaging with rich experiences. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  70. 70. DO THIS: Start a list of small experiments that you could try. Pick one to do first. 1. These should be designed to express part of your story, not the totality of THE BRAND. 2. Pro tip: make them either useful or delightful to people. Even better, make them both.2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  71. 71. Did the provocations provoke?The point here is to ask questions that lead to a more-mindful approach to telling the storyof your organization. The mechanics of how and when and where you do things areimportant, but subordinate to an understanding and clear articulation of what you do andwhy people might care.I sincerely hope that this was helpful. 2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp
  72. 72. Question time bit.ly/ZNLHym @ianfitzpatrick2012 Social Enterprise Boot Camp

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