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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Saturday, December 30, 2006

.... has been a great year for me in many ways. Rob, in a recent post, wonders:

"2007 - When enough people leave Plato's cave?
I wonder - Will enough people leave the cave and experience the sunlight to cause a Tipping Point in 2007? Will Life 2.0 take hold? I think so!"

I think so too - and its not just me - I think I had left the cave a few years ago. The nice thing is I see I am not alone in the sunlight - and people from all spheres of life are beginning to see. Clients, friends, family, acquaintances and so many unknown faces that are beginning to bask in the same sunshine. I have been guided by some, have guided others - and still found my own little spot.

This year has brought a certain convergence in my 'traditional' qualitative research work and blogging and social media. More of my research work is in the area of tech and social communication - mobile phones, software development - and I've been able to use my research skills and marketing experience in bringing about workshops on how brands and companies could build communities through conversations that empower their customers to infact become their marketers. And, as in the last few years since I began blogging, much of the new and exciting work is coming in because of my blog connections. I really am looking forward to engaging in more of these conversations and I've already got some projects lined up for 2007 that are exciting.

Looking back on 2006, I thought it would be nice to do a recap (even just for myself) on how its unfolded - and give thanks for all the people I've had the opportunity to meet, and for the projects I've worked on this year, the conferences and unconferences I have attended.

It started off with the Brand 2.0 workshops I conducted with Stuart - thanks Vamsi from Starcom and Rajeev at Western Union for trusting us and giving us this first opportunity. More Brand 2.0 in 2007.

I attended BlogHer earlier this year in San Jose - a wonderful experience.

Thank you Liz Lawley - for inviting me to the Microsoft Social Computing Symposium in May.

I've also been so fortunate to be part of a pure Open Space Meeting coordinated for NPR by the amazing Rob at the New Realities Forum in Washington DC in May. The agenda was set completely by participants - if I remember right, there were more than 300 participants. However, it had a core theme - a very clear objective - and was really well-organized in terms of a lot of care taken in figuring out the venue, the rooms, making it easy for people to navigate through the free-flowing structure, and run by a real maestro in Johnnie Moore, who Rob describes as "an exemplar of calm courage and astonishing presence" which is a really perfect description of Johnnie. Thank you Rob - and Page and Dana from NPR, for allowing me into this amazing space you have created and for trusting - we hadn't met face-to-face until then! A picture named blogcamp.jpg

I was part of a large team that helped organize BlogCamp India in August - here are my reflections

The other area that my blogging has taken me into is activism of sorts - which started in December 2004 with the tsunamis blogging efforts - and this year, we formed collectives and groups to battle internet censorship and help out when we had the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai. Here are some links: MumbaiHelp blog and wiki. The Bloggers Collective was formed and we fought against blogs being banned, against censorship, and demanded our right to information.

A picture named kh2 (1).jpgOn research projects, I've done some interesting work for Unilever this year - have spent many days in rural India, facilitated a creativity session for one of their product groups, and I think (I hope) managed to sell them the idea of doing Brand 2.0 workshops :). I'd also say here I have thoroughly enjoyed working regularly with Pat and Lizzie at Social Solutions Inc and Gerald Lombardi at GFK-NOP through whom I've enjoyed working with Dean Gaylor, Chai Ki Lim and Sharon Asker at HP, who had come down to India. Also through SSI - I've done work for Kraft.

Some of my new clients this year - Nicole-Anne Boyer, a colleague from Worldchanging got me to do a learning journey and a few sessions with a bunch of French retailers here in Mumbai. Smita Pillai and Sanjay Gupta of Vistakon for whom we did a study, where we merged approaches from ethnography and more traditional motivational research. In November, Stuart Penny and Jude Rattle from Flow Interactive UK contacted me through my blog, and I did a small study on cell phones for them.

Its all paid really well - and most importantly has been a lot of fun! Thank you all for making this year a really fun and productive one.

For me its also been a year of change - with joys, frustrations and disappointments too. Many many thanks to my family and friends for supporting me through a really busy and somewhat difficult year.

End of mush :)

Looking ahead to 2007:

  • More Brand 2.0 workshops where I'd like to involve more collaborators and facilitators. Am currently talking with Euan Semple about a possible series in April this year in Mumbai.
  • A fall-out of the Global Voices Online Summit and a meeting with the awesome Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala- has resulted in the setting up of a pilot outreach programme in rural India where the objective is to get a person from a village to prepare a story about any aspect of life in his or her village every day (25 days a month) and post it.A picture named Smalldina123.jpg
  • Developing further on my series of cultural insights and trends
  • A consulting gig for an MSM publication in India that would like to go Web 2.0. This would include research as well.
  • I'm going to be in Indonesia for 10 days beginning Jan 20th to facilitate the Open Publishing Track at Asia Source II - Free and Open Technologies for NGO's and SME's. This is an initiative of the UNDP Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme.
As I bring in the New Year at my place in Khandala ... I count my many many blessings :). A very Happy New Year to all.

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