As now seems to be an annual ritual, last week I headed over to the School of Engineering at Cardiff University for the annual BCS / IET Turing Lecture. This year was the turn of Robert Schukai MBE, Head of Applied Innovation at Thomson Reuters.
The 2016 Turing Lecture was entitled “The Internet of Me: It’s All About My Screens.” It promised a look at how smartphones have revolutionised life, and the information challenge of constantly processing so much data.
Isn’t it funny, how we don’t talk (on Twitter) anymore?.
Over in the US it is said that Twitter is struggling. It failed to add any new users for the second quarter in a row. At the end of September, Twitter had a core audience of 307 million active users, adding just 3 million worldwide during the three months since June. It seems mass market appeal is no longer there.
Conferences are all about ideas. They are about sharing experience, interpretations of experiences and new understanding. They’re about exchanges and transfers, inspiration and encouragement, networking and collaboration.
Conferences are about a whole bunch of things which are apparently hard to neatly summarise.
“Emperor’s New Clothes or the Way Forward? The Opportunities & Challenges of Clinical Innovation”. This was 2015’s teaser title for the Cardiff University Innovation Network event, held at the Heath Hospital in Cardiff.
While my professional links with clinical healthcare are limited, I continue to find the subject area compelling. In Wales it’s a perennial political football. Part of my problem in observing and digesting these events might be that I’m hankering for some BBC Question Time style debate, which is never likely to happen.
2013 – Innovation in healthcare
2014 – Dying to talk – an event on Healthcare In Wales
Having attended the previous two related events in 2013 and 2014, my trilogy would be completed with one more trip to north Cardiff, so I went see if this one would unearth anything new for the medical layman.
Last week I was offered the chance to attend a CIPR Cymru business breakfast meeting in Cardiff Bay. Speaking on the subject of crisis communications was Alex Singleton, former Telegraph journalist, former associate director of The Whitehouse Consultancy and author of the book ‘The PR Masterclass’.
Crisis communications is always an engaging PR topic. By its nature, we tend to be more aware of organisations which have badly handled crises, rather than those which have successfully evaded or deflected the threat of poisoned PR darts.
Major figures from the world of technology give lectures at UK universities around this time of year. For this we thank the annual Turing lecture series from the Institute of Engineering (IET) and the Chartered Institute of IT (BCS). This year’s was delivered by Dr. Robert Pepper, Cisco Vice President for Global Technology Policy.
In the previous two years I’ve scribbled less learned thoughts here after hearing the talks.
In 2013 we had Suranga Chandratillake, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of blinkx plc, who spoke about the video search engine he started in 2004, took public in 2007 and led as CEO until 2012; and about his time as CTO at Autonomy.
In 2014 Dr. Bernard Meyerson, Vice President for Innovation at IBM, gave a dizzying talk entitled “Beyond silicon: cognition and much, much more,” parts of which were indeed way beyond my cognition.
This year the BCS/IET Turing Lecture gave us Dr Robert Pepper, Vice President of Global Technology Policy at Cisco. The title of his talk was “The Internet Paradox: How bottom-up beat(s) command and control.”
As CEO, you’re confident that your social media and content marketing is sorted. Someone handles your Twitter and Facebook, your blogging strategy, press releases, brand awareness and the general public face of the company. Maybe you don’t totally understand it, but you trust them to do whatever they think is best.
There’s a growing climate of casual acceptance in content marketing, which borders on complacency. While the various facets of social marketing are rapidly maturing, acquiring some kind of critical mass and effectively integrating with more traditional digital marketing tools, it still appears enough for many to just know the box is ticked.
Most online social communities depend upon reciprocation, following the activity of others in order to be followed back; a sometimes blind and urgent focus on simply driving up those important numbers. This is a call to pause for thought.
Much of business today revolves around metrics, data, numbers. The mass of people online means a wealth of data, new job roles designed to exploit that data and professionals desperately scrambling to keep their skills up to date. It’s not hard to see why data has been dubbed the oil of this century.
This is largely for the good, for transparency and accountability, for conversions and web traffic, unambiguous black and white. Close measurement and analysis has become meaningful and arguably most meaningful where it’s most niche, where there is specifically developed software within a sector; where metrics are fluid and have serious value.
After attending the season’s launch earlier in the month, last week I took another trip to the salubrious surroundings of St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay for a Cardiff Business Club event.
Kicking off the season was Jackie Brock-Doyle OBE, CEO of Good Relations Group. When you’re credited with bringing the Olympics to London and having a large say in overseeing communications for the whole thing, as well as for the Paralympics, Commonwealth and Invictus Games: that deserves respect.
Some ducks, “going forward”.
Whether it’s ‘thinking outside the box’, ‘going forward’ or virtually any other oft-used term of business-speak, many people bristle at buzzwords. They should probably relax about it.
For marketers, communicators, PRs and most professionals addressing words all day long, those hackneyed and overused phrases of business language can become a grind.