#sketchnotes Brand Innovators Summit on Social Commerce #bisummit

Brand Innovators are at it again assembling an ever inspirational and fun group to share best practice, talk about the future and have great fun. Thanks Ted Rubin for inviting me to join the conversation. It was a great event with much to think on. The day was filled with creating new stories with Liza Sperling of Tongal, Judy Chan of Livescribe, Susie Weitzman, Kristin Kosglow of Chango and reconnecting with Brian Solis, Bryan Kramer and of course, Ted, to the sharing insight of B. Bonin Bough of Mondelez, Jennifer Sey of Levi’s and many more. I hope you enjoy my sketchnotes, they are more fun when one can share and continue to build on the stories they tell. I look forward to many more. I only wish my iPad battery had lasted the entire event, and that I had to leave before the real fun got started. Until next time!

Note: If viewing on an iOS device, here is the direct link to view on Flickr https://www.flickr.com//photos/forbesoste/sets/72157644489418614

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Creativity and Aging

Finishing up a great read, The Mature Mind, The Positive Power of the Aging Brain by Gene D Cohen. Cohen expanded on Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages that looked at human development up to around age 40. Cohen’s work looks at Midlife Re-evaluation => Liberation => Summing Up => Encore stages from 40 beyond. Integrating this type of thought and understanding of this kind of brain power and creative thinking shows the importance of leaders and team members in this age group. We cannot afford to lose their insight, wisdom and perspective when trying to innovate. I will no longer associate the senior moment with things forgotten. Let us look to them as moments of wisdom derived from experience and perspective.

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Great New Reads on Visual Practice

I have recently been asked to review a few books on and products for the visual practice, and each of them has been a delight to discover.  I thought I would take a moment here to make note as people often ask me for recommended reads and tools in this area.

In Visual Leaders: New Tools for Visioning, Management, and Organization Change, David Sibbet shows his strength in putting visual work to practice in change management and visioning.  Another great release to join his previous releases of visual meetings and visual teams. Great references and practice work for anyone in the field and others interested in putting visuals to practice.

Mike Rohde has produced a great Handbook to the art of Sketchnotes that provides an equally accessible resource for practitioners and those new to the art.  A piece of art in itself, the book practices what it preaches as he delivers his content in sketchnote format.  His invitation to others to share their styles and tips makes for both entertaining and enlightening perusal. Last but not least he invites you to play and learn within the pages.  Enjoy!

Sketching at work by Martin Eppler is a great guide to practical application of visual tools for strategic collaboration and communication in business.  He invites the reader to explore the world of visuals from diagrams to free hand drawing.  The newest book, coming soon is fully interactive.  We need to wait a bit for the English version, but it will be worth the wait if I know Martin.


Another brilliant release from the innovative mind of Jim Marggraff, the inventor behind Leapfrog educational tools.  I got hooked on using the Livescribe at SxSW last year, but this latest is what I have been waiting for, WiFi.  Livescribe 4 GB Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen (APX-00011)  Like freeing your heels when telemarking skiing, this pen frees us from the cables that bind us synching handwritten notes with our digital lives beautifully.

While I am at it, I will mention my favorite tools for digital sketchnoting:

Brushes3 App for iPad and my faithful Bamboo Stylus and extra tips (a must when doing events – always carry a spare!)


Bamboo_Stylus-2What are your favourite tools?  Any new reads?  There are some great books out there. Some are still in translation.


Keep an eye out for the English version of Mia Nillson’s Låt Bilden Göra Jobbet, coming soon with increased visuals in content.

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Social and Visual Leadership

The paradigm has shifted, and the learning curve is steep. Some will rise and some will fall. Social media marketing is only a small piece of the picture. Understanding that social is people, and people are not just our customers is a start to the journey.

Organizations are made up of people in many different roles. Their jobs require people both internally in the organization and externally in partners, product & service providers, new hires, investors, and so on. Relationships are what count whether business to business or business to consumer, it comes down to people.

Each person has a story that contains knowledge, experience, passions, interests, skills, and people.  Each individual is a unique part of the whole organizations and defines its collective story.  It is this story we share and grow in social technologies.  Leadership must take active part in the story for an organization to succeed in this new paradigm.

Social Optimization, the building and maintaining of MUTUALLY beneficial and effective relationships, is a key behavioral shift when mastering the Art of Social Strategy.  This does not come simply from balancing the gives and takes by counting interactions.  The behavior change must be a result of recognizing the value of all relationships as part of the whole.  It comes from understanding who we are (as individuals and organizations), what we have to offer and what/who we need and how to reach it/them.

Social technologies are tools that help us optimize this change in behavior when we learn how to best apply them.  They simplify our processes for supporting our networks and communities, receiving that support in return.  Sharing knowledge globally through different sensory stimulus has never been easier. It has evolved beyond text.  It is visual, interactive, musical and memorable. Language and time are no longer limitations for creating a global community of advocates.

Understanding who we are and who is part of our story is the first step of the journey.  How you apply social optimization is what will determine your success over the long haul.

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Social in Kosovo

Listen to this delightful local Swing band, Zig Zag, that played at the closing gala for The 1st International Conference on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Kosovo as you read.  I had the great honor and pleasure to be invited to speak on Social Entrepreneurship last week in Pristine by the Mirlinda Kusari of the She-Era organization. This conference was ten years in the making, and much needed boost for the Balkans and Eastern Europe. I came away from the experience both inspired and reminded of perspective.  This is the gift I receive whenever I participate in any capacity building programs in developing markets, that returns my social investment tenfold. Read More

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Authentic Leaders are the Future

I stumbled across this video as I was doing some research for our upcoming BOOST (Bolder Organizations Optimize Social Tools) program. BOOST is developed to train leaders in authentic leadership for the new social paradigm. Buzz words aside, we are talking about awareness, acceptance, passion, translated with clarity in a communicable format that works within the confines of social tools and is presented by the leader themselves. This short piece produced by Harvard in August is a beautiful validation of the efforts we are making. Listening to Charlene Li talk of Open Leadership again provided further affirmation of the need. Read More

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Video as a Game Changer

I was very inspired by watching this recent TED talk by founder Chris Anderson.  It speaks volumes to the importance of presence, awareness and the power of video sharing.  I have recently been working on a collaboration with two very talented individuals for leadership seminars to touch on just this.  With careful preparation, the delivery of complex messages can spread and grow.  Not everyone is comfortable in the spotlight, but many have stories to share.  Authenticity and Clarity in our stories, messages, word choice, objectives, and the impact of our non-verbal cues and as well as props usage can have an immense impact.  We can no longer hide in the corner office as leaders, founders and innovators.

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What is “Social” and why do I care?

Driven by the belief that knowledge is power and sharing is powerful, I dedicate my work to creating better understanding of the social tools that enable sharing of knowledge both in organizations and their stakeholders. The global benefit will be a greater use of knowledge resources to stimulate development and more effective and sustainable growth. Social begins with people.

The tools available today from new media to global networks and their events provide us with the ability to have far greater reach and impact with our social interactions. Handled wisely with strategic forethought, each one of us has the power to be a change-maker. With the right social strategy each organization has the power to make the world a better place, while improving their bottom line.

Social tools are not limited to new media or social media. They are the social interactions we have face to face that we support through online interactions. They are the communities we choose to support and participate it. They are the relationships that we develop and nurture over time that define us and the people that we interact with. They are the opportunities to interact with like minded people. When we understand how to use them more wisely.

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Don’t Waste Your Time on Social Media

Don’t waste your time on Social Media. Make your interactions count. Having a clear Social Strategy and policy for your employees (and yourself) means the difference between return on your investment and sunken cost and time. Before opening the floodgates consider these steps:

Create a clear policy on what type of social media interactions are within the professional area of your employees. For example, human resources, should be using Linkedin and Facebook to review potential new candidates. They should also ensure that the company listings are current and appropriate. A great example is Boston based recruiting company Hollister staffing, where they are also active in groups for seeking new candidates from the experts.

Divide time between monitoring, replying and feeding. Some of this can be automated, and the tools are improving for monitoring. Be careful to keep it authentic. Too much automation in reply and feeding can have a reverse effect. One company to watch that is doing some interesting things here is Stockholm based Springtime. They do the filtering and deliver to the appropriate expert within your organization.

Keep it professional: When on the company twitter account, posts should be relevant and of interest. Share articles of interest to show your keeping current. When posting news, always link back to company blog or website. Provide time constraints. Keep the talk clean, limit slang and avoid swearing. Jeff Bullas in Sydney has written several great blog entries about the importance of linking back.

Learn how to use social media as a resource for new information both pre-existing and that which comes from requests. Teach your employees to do the same. The more clarity you have in your policy for social media use in the workplace, the more effective your team will be. They will thank you for it and you will see the results.

It is helpful to always remember that social media and networks are tools for knowledge sharing in a dialog, not simply new media channels. The sooner you create a clear policy for use, the better off you and your organization will be.

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