Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Malcolm Gladwell IOD Keynote: Social Power is You

with 3 comments

This morning’s keynote session was superb across the board.

IBM Information Management VP of Asia Pacific, Mark Register, kicked off the day but putting the first few days in context, advising the crowd it was high time to focus on taking the learnings from days 1 and 2 and put them into practice and lead change as key individuals in their organizations to deliver on the promise of information management.

Merv Adrian, founder of IT Market Strategy, later joined to explain that now was the time for information management to take its place at the head of the queue.

It’s no accident that business intelligence once again tops Gartner’s CIO list of focus areas, Adrian explained.

But now it’s time to deliver on business expectations, and for the IT folks to get in the driver’s seat and forge that relationship with the LOB that’s been far too elusive for far too long.

To deliver on their expectations, we need to move beyond automation and move into a more transformative IT, one where information is the raw material, but the tools, processes and approaches we take deliver new and actionable intelligence based on that raw information.

Analytics should guide the priorities, and recorded, specific executable processes become the enabler.

Logic is moving closer to data, and big data drives new workloads: We’re collecting it, so why not use it?  And it’s the discovery tools that facilitate the stewardship of that insight.

Adrian also explained that the art of the possible has been radically changed by stream computing.  I

got a full debrief on stream last night from some IBM researchers that I’m still digesting, but I have to say I think he’s absolutely right.

Think of all the data out there available today, even on your drive to work, that if it were collected and analyzed in real-time, could prove extremely beneficial (our friends with the City of Stockholm are doing just that with their smarter traffic system, which has lowered emissions and traffic substantially).

After Adrian, Mark Register introduced the featured speaker of the morning, noted author Malcolm Gladwell.

Gladwell kicked things off by joking that it struck him ironic that IBM was hosting a business analytics conference in….Las Vegas.

What were the odds?

Gladwell went on to explain his big themes, that radical change happens far more quickly than you could ever imagine (instead of seeming to be dragged out into inevitable perpetuity).

He reminded us that radio took off as a medium once the “tipping point” was reached, the tipping point being the radio announcing of a key boxing match in New Jersey back in the early part of the 20th century.

Suddenly, there was a compelling reason for people to buy a radio, and it was David Sarnoff’s energy and enthusiasm, the sheer force of his persuasion and connectedness to key players in his community, that brought about a transformation that changed the world forever.

A boxing match.

Gladwell explained that key acts of transformation almost always start with a reframing of sorts.

Think seat belts.

When adults were encouraged to wear seat belts, nobody bit.  When they were reframed as a way to protect kids, their use took off like crazy.

The iPod: MP3 players existed before the iPod, but Steve Jobs reframed the iPod as a single, simple device with a simple interface and simple advertising.

The music world, and how we consumers consumed music, changed almost overnight.

In addressing the key concerns of this audience, he posed the question as to how you frame the discussion about information transformation in your organization?

He explained that they, the audience, are not bringing their organizations a big black box.  They are bringing them the democratization of intelligence.

How do you do that more effectively?  You do it the way David Sarnoff brought RCA that radio opportunity: by sheer force of will and persuasion.

Sarnoff was basically just some Jersey kid…RCA gave him no money, no resources.

But he was the kind of kid who know someone who knew someone who had a radio, and knew someone who know someone who knew some boxers…and everything got connected and a transformation reached its tipping point.

What did Sarnoff have?

Simple.

Social power, the most underestimated factor in any transformation.

A person who has it is able to win the respect of his peers because of a unique skill, of persuasion and personality.

A person not unlike Malcolm Gladwell.

(BLOGGER’S NOTE: I had the opportunity to conduct a 1-1 walk and talk interview with Malcolm just after his keynote.  Keep your eyes here on the Turbo blog to read that interview in the very near future!)

Written by turbotodd

October 28, 2009 at 6:52 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Looking forward to Malcolm’s interview. Thanks Turbo.

    Bilal

    October 28, 2009 at 7:34 pm

  2. nicely done Todd! glad this one worked out.

    Mark Felix
    Director/Drury Entertainment Group
    Drury Design Dynamics, Inc.
    P 212.213.4600 ext. 211
    F 212.213.4611
    C 732.310.6585
    m.felix@drurydesign.com
    http://www.drurydesign.com

    Executive Board, International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers
    Management Trustee, American Guild Variety Artists

    Mark Felix

    November 4, 2009 at 7:10 pm

  3. Hi … I found your oage by mistake. I was searching in Bing for Antivirus software that I had already purchased when I found your site, I must say your site is pretty informative, I just love the theme, its amazing!. I don’t have the time this minute to fully read your site but I have bookmarked it and also signed up for your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thanks for a nice site.

    Felix Trinidad

    December 14, 2009 at 9:42 pm


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