donderdag 3 april 2008

TD library: reducing sick leave

Here is a example of transformation design, whereby action is deliberately made difficult in order to achieve new behaviour.

Hema, a dutch department store, has halved the sickness absence. Employees must nowadays "call in sick" online, where they must fill out a questionnaire directly. Online "calling in sick" raises the psychological threshold according to the inventor of the system. From six up to sixty questions are asked online and the employee must still ring his boss. The boss does not get to see the answers given in the questionnaire, but he does build op files so that patterns can be detected.

The reason I find this example interesting is that it is not about making something easy with regards to changing behaviour, but making stuff more difficult in order to be better. Complexity actually is intended, much like a bank vault, or the way casino's are designed to keep players in house.

dinsdag 1 april 2008

permission to kill your darlings granted

I love Seth's thinking and I love the whole concept but, it's misuse is crippling marketeers:

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.
. (via seth blog)

Permission marketing should be seen as empowering the marketeers.

To often it's the status quo enhancing answer to innovation. Nobody asked for this or that. We gotta get permission from the market. Let's test it. The very word has taken a wrong turn. Is it because of a human need for security during chaotic times, laziness, or fear of the future? who knows. But permission now means safe, means boring means less profit.

It should be about giving customers permission to do business with you. You gotta lead. Not ask it, pretty please, with sugar on top. Method did not ask permission, it took it. the fruit company has been doing it for years. And the beauty of this...people begin to see them as ahead of the curve, so they can freely act like it.

This all kinda fell into place as we were creating our new corporate brochure. Our's is a Rubick's cube. It really works for us as a reinforcement of who we are and what we do. And we started giving it out to clients, and they loved it.

It was really great seeing, old serious men going back in time and be given permission to be children again; playfull, eager to find a solution, when they had only given us permission to do a presentation on the housing market situation.

Was it the reason why some assignments were won by us? No. But it forced some room for us to go further, to take clients on a ride somewhere where others would have looked out of place even asking if it's ok to go there.

Give people what they want, but please do not ask them how they want it, or worse wait for them to tell you when they want it..they just do not know. Or else we would have had faster horses.

For marketeers it really is time to take back what is theirs, the right/obligation to stay ahead of the curve, of being a teacher to the public. The bar is now so low we can't help but trip over it to victory.

Fraai magazine; free online mag for creativity

For anybody looking for some inspiration, creativity, and what not go here
As they put it themselves:
So here we are: FRAAI magazine, issue 1; the prototype. We got some great creative inspiration ready for you. A cover story on Art. Lebedev Studio. We got Fraai’s Favourites; compilations of inspiring artists and designers who receive our seal of approval. Furthermore; Creative Columns, Fraai News, An Interview Six Feet Under, That’s Fraai’s and a lot more creative content
Small trivia for when chatting up the ladies: fraai actually means pretty/good looking in Dutch. Bet they did that on purpose...poncy bastards ;-)

maandag 31 maart 2008

what if....the final frontier?

Watching a very interesting documentary about the US Army. It deals with the fact that the US army is in the midst of a great transition and overhaul of it's purpose.

Since Jalta there was a cold war to be won. This created an arms race to see who had more military might (mind you this a vast simplification). Since the fall of the wall, the war had ended.

This also presented the US army with new set of problems that still have not been fixed as we speak. 40 years or so of training your troops of fighting a big enemy who is most likely to attack with great might created a mind set that was focused on a finite all out war (it seems that the experience of vietnam, where fighting an guerillia war resulted in a disaster, did not alter the paradigm thinking that big war was a thing of the past).

Oh yeah and thanks to 80' movies and the kidnapping of born in the usa the image of the USA of being the place to go was also on point.

The fall of an enemy also upset the moral balance. Democracy became a non negotioable argument, instead of a desirable means, when dealing with foreign regimes. This is easy to understand why, as research shows that democracies tend not to fight other democracies. they tend to fight autocracies, dictatorships etc.. So moral superiority is around the corner

So enter the 90's and beyond, what u got is a one punch boxer who has not been seriously challenged for a long time and convinced of his superiority. But as the movie quote goes: " You're a big man, but you're in bad shape."

A new landscape emerged where one is not fighting armies, but human mobs, movements, cells. non liniar/military enteties, without the " rationale" conventions that governs western military thinking.

So the US/west right now is able to win every war. The problem off course is that, it's not about armies winning the war, but about governements winning peace.

It's not about the question of how to execute (excuse the entendre)'s become a question of why to execute something, uncovering the insights that best lead to a strategy that allows for great execution to fullfil it's natural role. That's were the new test lies. If you do not understand the motives of why some one does what they do, how can u then try to form a counter/prevention to their chosen execution of their motives?

So the what if of this long post is this: Is the military industry the final frontier for Account Planning?

Stretching the analogy, but AP has had to deal with approximately same conditions. Big giants corporations that first were used to go: " let's get our add on the Super Bowl, make it the sexiest, funniest ad ever with the best USP and we win the consumer from target group, because he is a rationale buyer".

Post modernism, social change, internet, 2.0 among other things have knocked this Big guy/corporation down for an 8 count. No longer does he have to win the war against other brands, no.. he is now facing an enemy who plays by his own rules, the human being who happens to consume. He does not care that you have the biggest budgets, best ads. You are not what he wants. He is (more or less)in control. All in all adland has been in quite some chaos, overflown by tech changes like tidal waves. Insight now more then ever has been key. ideas, not ads ( mere weapons) matter. We now know that irrationality, and messy decisions are what's what.

If AP can help design Jumbo jets, create healtier lifestyles, and make green cool, could it have a a part to play in helping western military thinking adapt the this new chaotic world?

Simply saying that AP's are not qualified, is not an argument, what makes you qualified to introduce medical products, talk about eco solutions? Like a good movie producer, AP's at their best are blank slates, able to spot the difference and help move organisations along...

Wag the dog did it in a movie, and only with regards to the PR part of a "war"...could it be done for real and all the way? should it be done? Business as usual or does emotion play a part ?

zondag 30 maart 2008

TD library: green wave

Driving home this morning was a joy; the sun rising in my face, some good tunes and better company made the ride home nice. But that was not what was so special about the
trip home (sorry Martina..:-) .

What was, was the fact that I hit 7 straight green lights. In...a....row. But I nearly missed two of them.

Why? Because once I was driving below 50 km an hour, once because I was going to fast (about 75 km).

Now off course this could have been a coincidence, like beating the spread on a full matchday, but some searching on the net proved that in fact it was not.

I had caught a perfect wave; the green wave to be precise.

To quote:

A green wave is an intentionally induced phenomenon, in which a series of traffic lights (usually three or more) are coordinated to allow continuous traffic flow over several intersections in one main direction.

Any vehicle travelling along with the green wave (at an approximate speed decided upon by the traffic engineers) will see a progressive cascade of green lights, and not have to stop at intersections. This allows higher traffic loads, and reduces noise and energy use (because less acceleration and braking is needed). In practical use, only a group of cars (the size is defined by the signal times) can use the green wave before the time band is interrupted to give way to other traffic flows.

What this achieves is that drivers are indirectly made to choose between a great ride or a ride with start and stops. It alters behaviour to a more favorable type. better for the enviroment, better for the engines, better all around.

But the kicker for me is the human element. You drive to fast, u will not hit the green lights. This will cause agro for your fellow drivers who do keep tot the preffered speed. Social controle will occur and the herd will sort out the extremes.

Simple, understated, effective planning and execution. Huraa for Holland... (and Denmark, but since I don't live there, who cares)