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C&binet Forum: your ideas please

The C&binet Forum is taking place this week from Monday evening through to Wednesday (26-29 October 2009). The forum aims to “debate access to finance for creative industries, new business models for online content, developing talent and securing creative rights” and is gathering business leaders from across the creative and finance industries.

The idea for C&binet came out of the 2008 UK government strategy paper Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy and also follows on from the Digital Britain Report earlier this year.

Possibly as a result of the Digital Britain Unconferences I’ve been invited to attend. And so I’m opening things up to you all for your ideas and thoughts – in true unconference fashion.


Follow the conference on twitter and the official blog:

Send in your ideas below:

  • Take a really good look at the agenda for the event – each session has details if you click on the link
  • Consider what positive contribution/idea or question you may have
  • Post your ideas/questions below together with the session it relates to – try to be as concise as possible, a few sentences or a paragraph at most

Whilst I can’t guarantee that I will put your thoughts forward I will do my best, and I will also link to this post and your ideas via twitter and to others during the conference, so that they can be seen.

Event: Technology in a Cold Climate

The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) are holding a symposium tomorrow (26 October 2009) entitled Technology in a Cold Climate. It’s the culmination of a few months work of commissioned research examining the social applications of a selection of technologies and aims to answer the question:

“How can technology help meet some of the challenges that the UK is facing?”

The results are four papers which will be delivered at the event on the 26 October 2009:

  • technology’s application to delivering better and more cost-effective public services
  • the benefits of greater digital connectivity
  • the potential of technology to transform society towards a more sustainable form
  • the innovative behaviour that is essential to developing the kind of entrepreneurial action needed

8:30-9:00, registration and breakfast
9:00-9:30, keynote speech from Stephen Timms MP, Minister for Digital Britain
9:30-11:00, seminars on “Sustainable Technology” and “Interconnected Society”
11:00-12:30, seminars on “Public Services” and “Supporting Innovation”
12:30-1:00, lunch
1:00-2:00, panel discussion with Ben Hammersley, William Heath, Luke Johnson, and Kevin Smith, chaired by Matthew Taylor

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The Interconnected Society
I’ve been asked by Jamie Young to chair the seminar that focuses on the Interconnected Society which will be based on a paper written by Professor John Farrington, with responses from Graham Walker, Director of Strategy at the Office of the Champion for Digital Inclusion and Julian David of IBM UK. The conversation will then be opened up to everyone in the room (and those online if possible), where we will aim together to try to come to a set of priorities/recommendations.

Following the conversation online
The day is going to be live blogged and the overall details for the day can be found here. Also see:
Liveblog for Interconnected Society session
Twitter hashtag – #techcold
The RSA on Twitter

Investor Relations speaking notes and links

These are the rough notes I used and links to the websites I mentioned for the panel on Social Media at the Investor Relations Conference at the London Stock Exchange, 23 September 2009:


The internet is inherently social.
Social media has been with us for some time – email (late 1960s), message boards (1979), first blogs (mid 1990s), first online social networks (late 1990s).
It’s about conversation and two way communication – many to one, one to one, one to many, many to many.
It can be used in many business contexts: communicating, networking, marketing, PR, HR, R&D, customer service, customer relations, internal communications (collaboration, knowledge management, project management, information sharing, networking) reputation management.

Some examples
HR – A large percentage of companies are now using the business social network LinkedIn for recruitment purposes.
Dell have been very active in using social media for a number of purposes including sales, customer service, community building, CSR and R&D. They have numerous Twitter channels for their activities that can be found here, run several blogs and have a presence on Facebook and Flickr.
The BBC’s editors blog, where BBC editors share their issues and dilemmas, is just one example of how corporations are using blogs to make their organisations more transparent.
Reuters is using blogs, and experimenting with other forms of social media reporting, to stay in touch with their audience.

Note: Fellow panellist Giuliano Gasparini also explained some of the social media work that he has been heading up at the engineering consultancy WSP Group, where about a year ago they started using blogs on their intranet, and encouraged their CEO to blog once a month.

How to start?
Identify your objectives and what you want to achieve, aim to align them with the company’s overall business objectives.
Identify who and which departments these objectives might affect – HR, IT, marketing, new business, corporate comms. Aim to get senior management on board.
Start small and be willing to experiment to find out what works best for your organisation
Consider creating a social media policy for staff so that they understand their responsibilities and boundaries when talking about the company (or not) on the web. For example policies see:

How to start measuring what’s being said about you?
The simplest thing is to set up a Google Alert or two, which will notify you via email of keywords or website URLs you’ve entered get mentioned on the web.
For a more comprehensive view there are a number of free tools that are worth experimenting with, social mention, addictomatic or Nielsen’s Blog Pulse for instance.
There are also a number of paid for monitoring tools available and a number of agencies offer a social media monitoring service.

Also see: Social media and the law.

Contemplating the Digital Britain Unconferences

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on the Digital Britain Unconference series of events, that sprang from being on Twitter on the afternoon of 18 April 2009, towards the end of the Digital Britain Summit. Bill Thompson has explained what happened and how, much better than I could – here.

The result of those Twitter conversations has led to – in less than three weeks – a group of people (all volunteers, most of whom have never met) from across the UK working together to organise over twelve unconferences to discuss Lord Carter’s Digital Britain Interim Report. This process experience in and of itself has been an amazing and at some point I’m planning to put together a case study of how we went about organising everything, the tools we used, what worked, what didn’t work – a guide for anyone should they wish to do something similar.

The unconferences will be all done and dusted by 13 May – less than a month after it all began – when the process of collating and editing everyone’s reports will begin, so that we can produce one final document for consideration by the Digital Britain team.

Suffice to say, all this has meant much contemplation about the future and how we’re in a huge process of change, in terms of how we think and operate as a country, how it affects infrastrucure, democracy, the economy, individual businesses and sectors, society, education, culture and how technologies sit amongst it all.

Last night the London unconference happened at the ICA. There were over 50 people in attendance representing many digital/technology touch points – a lot of brains and a lot of experience in one room. Discussions ranged from an uploaders manifesto and ensuring wide inclusion to how to encourage a stronger culture of entrepreneurship. The findings and conclusions are in process of being written up by Tom de Grunwald with help from others.

These are big, tough questions. Writing a report for Digital Britain that even begins to scrape the surface of some these issues is a challenge and my hope is that the unconference efforts help, not hinder this.

More to follow.