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[Updated] How to Protect Yourself from Pervasive Surveillance and Control

Privacy & Autonomy in the Digital Age: Protection & DefensesHow to Protect Yourself from Pervasive Surveillance and Control shows how you can act to protect yourself, your family and your community from the rise of digitally enabled surveillance and control.

Privacy and Autonomy in the Digital Age is a series I’m writing to share my insights into disruptive risks that we face, individually and collectively, due to the digitization of the world. As I wrote in Part1, my technology adoption crystal ball says that the convergence of pervasive digital data, smart devices and their centralized [cloud] control enables unprecedented surveillance and control of people at a very low cost. This post offers various suggestions for mitigating the risks, while Police State Scenarios (Part3), discusses ways that collective loss of autonomy may unfold. Continue reading Protect Yourself from Pervasive Surveillance

Healing Business [How to Rehumanize]

Healing Business - Experiential Social MediaIn Healing Business, I’ll share why I think business needs healing and how CSRA is doing it with experiential social media. Business is wounded from a human point of view because it’s become very impersonal; large organizations don’t mean to, but they treat employees and customers as numbers because they don’t know or trust them. Experiential is a practical way to change that.

If you’d like to watch this post instead of reading it, click the thumbnail button!
Continue reading Healing Business

Converging Trends and Technologies Enabling the Police State

Technologies Enabling the Police StateTechnologies Enabling the Police State describes the inevitability of pervasive surveillance, how it’s developing, and how we can act now to maintain the maximum degree of freedom. This is Part1 of a series on autonomy in the digital age. Personal and Collective Actions to Maintain Autonomy (Part2) is a how-to post, while Police State Scenarios (Part3) discusses ways that collective loss of autonomy may unfold.

Despite their grim titles, these posts are not intended as doomsday writings, and I don’t intend to say that I think a police state is being developed intentionally. My conclusion is rather that the technologies of mass control are developing rapidly, and the risk is significant that some group will seize control of them in the foreseeable future. I think you’ll find some of their points surprising, perhaps even breakthrough. Please let me know in comments!

I did not want to write this post, and I doubt that you want to read it; however, as I explain here, we’re at a pivotal point of human history. We are rapidly losing our individual and collective autonomy because digital technologies constantly produce data about our behavior, and if we do not act, our loss of autonomy (a.k.a freedom) could easily be irrevocable. In this post I’ll summarize the technologies that are enabling the totalitarian police state and how they’re developing right now. Continue reading Trends and Technologies Enabling the Police State

[Updated] CSRA 11th Year Celebration

11 Celebration: Ten years of Experiential social media & social business hightlights, mission & vision11 Celebration summarizes my reflections on CSRA’s first decade in business, and my vision for our next decade. We’ve been pioneering in experiential social media and social business transformation since I founded the firm in February 2006.

It’s difficult to encapsulate ten years of learnings, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying! This page will reprise some of my favorite posts, and it will feature a series of videos I’ve made in which I explain where we’ve been and where we’re going. This post will change frequently, so please consider it a work in progress. Continue reading 11celebration

How Do You Feel? On Human Experience

How do you feel? Human experienceOn human experience invites you to examine common marketing practices from a human experience perspective. It expands part of a presentation I gave at the University of Chicago Booth that the audience experienced as mind-bending based on their facial expressions.

Quite by accident I’ve happened on a rare view of humanity while practicing experiential social media during the last ten years. Experiential’s core research process involves conducting ethnographic research of thousands of people in specific situations. I analyze human behavior in communities in digital public, and it’s very rich, nuanced and complex. Ethnographic yields unparalleled qualitative and quantitative insights into behavior and human experience.

Experiential consistently reveals that many marketing practices repel people rather than attracting them because the environment in which marketing is practiced has completely changed from when these practices developed. Marketing creates mistrust and pushes people away, as I’ll show below. This post attempts to reveal this anachronism to you, so you can correct your practices and take the advantage from your competitors. Continue reading How Do You Feel? On Human Experience

Many Businesses Live In Fear—How to Break Free

Many Businesses Live In Fear: How Trust Drives Down Firms' Risk and Fear[Updated] Many businesses live in fear, and how to break free reveals how fear and risk can be sharply reduced by increasing trust among employees, customers and partners.

I have learned many surprising things while practicing experiential social media, but one of the most astounding is the realization that most business practices, especially those that concern people, are grounded in fear and mistrust. This ties businesses in knots, but few people realize it because it’s accepted as normal. This post aims to open your eyes, so you can start noticing how fear and mistrust operate in your firm. Then I’ll offer numerous ideas that can help you to reduce fear and risk by increasing trust. Continue reading Many Businesses Live In Fear And How to Break Free

Ethnographic Research for Design

Ethnographic Research for Design: IxD Service Design UX Strategy Interaction Customer ExperienceEthnographic research for design explains how to use advances in ethnographic research of social media to design products, services, experiences… anything—while getting better results at lower risk. Ethnographic research of social media is breakthrough for designers in the “design stack” in which I’ve includedArchitecture/Interior Design, Product Design, User Experience Design/Interaction Design, UX Strategy, Service Design and Customer Experience Design.

Designers in all fields lament clients’ resistance to funding robust research. Traditional design research methods are often grounded in asking proposed users explicit questions, and self-reported responses vary significantly from actual behavior despite respondents’ best intentions. Similarly, shadowing, service safaris, “a day in the life,” and other analog research methods are costly and slow. Sample sizes are necessarily small because scaling analog methods greatly multiplies the budget and length of the research phase. Ethnographic research of social media changes the game because it studies proposed users’ actual behavior in digital public when they’re having heated discussions about the outcomes they want when the proposed product, service, or process is useful to them. It enables deep, broad understanding of users, at a much lower cost and time commitment than any other research method.

Even more interesting, ethnographic/social combines deep qualitative results with quantitative findings.

Continue reading Ethnographic Research for Design

Behavioral Economics, Autonomy and Ethical Land Mines

Overview: Behavioral Economics Autonomy and Ethics user experience designBehavioral economics autonomy and ethics is a thought experiment on how to approach “doing good” when applying the emerging practice of behavioral economics. Along with big data analytics and cognitive science, behavioral economics affords businesses, governments and other organizations unprecedented impact on individuals’ behavior, even without their consent or awareness. This arouses serious ethical and social dilemmas.

Every behavioral economics practitioner I’ve met has emphasized the importance of using its practice “for good” in order to help people. Like all other human endeavors, however, “for good” is open to interpretation, so I’ll apply my experience with ethnographic and behavioral analysis of social media to reflect on what “for good” might mean in light of individual and group autonomy.

I also hope this Noodle will be food for thought for executives who hire behavioral economics firms as well as all of us who are invariably its subject. In a similar vein, most designers I know are committed to using design principles to improve user experience, and there’s considerable overlap between design and behavioral economics.

Behavioral economics is as old as mankind, but its importance is rapidly growing for two reasons.

Continue reading Behavioral Economics Autonomy and Ethics Land Mines

Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media

Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media: de-risk innovationEthnographic research for business innovation shows how to apply ethnographic research of social media to managing controlled disruption within organizations. Ethnographic research of social media can transform the entire innovation process because it’s a very efficient way to study the behavior and motivations of the people that the innovation proposes to serve. Unlike traditional innovation and ethnographic research methods, which are relatively slow, costly and qualitative, ethnographic research of social media combines qualitative richness with quantitative analysis. It’s faster and less costly, too.

Ethnographic research for business innovation can dramatically improve the depth and breadth of business and corporate strategy, business design and service design research since it allows teams to consider more users and to assess their behavior and motivations, which can improve the value of more costly research.

This post outlines the business innovation use case of ethnographic research of social media, and it includes examples in banking, professional services, consumer products, and B2B marketing. For more on ethnographic research, see More Resources below. Continue reading Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation

Social Media Strategy Lessons Learned

Social media strategy lessons learned summarizes eleven golden rules I’ve learned while leading strategy and its execution for global firms. Some of them might surprise you: I’ve come to learn that I have a different perspective on social media strategy since I advised global firms and startups in their corporate strategies before founding CSRA in 2006.

Social Media Strategy Lessons Learned

Before diving into lessons learned, let’s specify what we mean by social media strategy. “Strategy” itself is an overused work that denotes some mixture of research and planning. The strategy trade-off is simple: the more research and analysis you do upfront, the more risks you can foresee and account for in your plan. When you put your plan into action, you make fewer mistakes and execute more efficiently. Conversely, “minimum viable”/lean strategy does less research upfront, so the team learns while doing. Neither approach is universally “right,” and both work best for certain situations and firms. Continue reading Social Media Strategy Lessons Learned