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These past few years, I have done a fair amount of work with resource companies. This work mostly entailed setting up online dialogue projects to bring these companies into discussion with citizens and activists (in contexts where the latter were making life difficult for the former). While doing this work I had hoped that, through dialogue, mutual understanding and compromises could be arrived at. In the process, I was expecting forward movement on the social and environmental aspects of resource extraction.

But as time passes, I am coming to realize that resource companies may be simply unable to make the shifts required of them in a world rapidly approaching the hard walls of runaway climate change, resource scarcity and global inequalities. In fact, it seems likely that the vast majority of players in this sector will confront new realities the hard way, when citizens and governments storm their gates in the near future. Continue Reading…

As global climate, resource and economic issues continue to grow in complexity, I see a source of hope in what is otherwise viewed as a nuisance by many of my clients. The empowerment of networked individuals using social media has created unprecedented movements, like the 300 000+ person strong People’s Climate March in NYC this past September. Continue Reading…

For those who read business literature, you will have noticed that the term ‘disruptive’ has recently attained the same heights as ‘synergy’ and other great buzzwords of yore. There is a reason for this, of course. In business to consumer markets (B2C), rapid adoption of new technologies has revolutionized the brand-customer relationship and wiped out entire industries in a matter of years. Brian Solis, prophet and leading light of digital business theory, has written a lot about this new constantly disruptive marketplace. To clearly outline the price of not adapting, he coined the term ‘Digital Darwinism’. In his own words, it implies: “…a kind of natural market selection that favors innovative companies at a time when technology and society are evolving faster than the ability of many organizations to adapt. It is this dynamic (along with a myriad of other problems of course) that in fact killed Borders, Blockbuster, Polaroid, Kodak, and the like.

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When asked to accurately describe the ‘core innovation’ I champion in the crowded world of digital public relations and issue management, I define it as follows: A system that leverages social media channels towards large-scale engagement of stakeholders in debates around controversial projects or policies. Now, let me explain… Continue Reading…

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Waddington over breakfast in London. Currently the Digital and Social Media Director of Ketchum Europe, he is a leading light on the emerging discourse around reputation management and a driving force for change in the PR industry through his role as President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). Stephen is also the co-author of two excellent books on the emerging dynamics around online reputation attacks and defensive strategies. For those who have not come across these titles yet, I highly recommend looking up Brand Anarchy and Brand Vandals. Continue Reading…