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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

Monday, October 8, 2007

This is my last post on this blog. Radio Userland has served me well since I started blogging in 2003. I will post more details on the transition, at my new blog - for now I just wanted to make this announcement, and provide the new url and feeds.

New Blog URL - http://dinamehta.com/
Subscribe via RSS 2.0 - http://dinamehta.com/feed/
Subscribe via Atom - http://dinamehta.com/feed/atom/
Comments feed - http://dinamehta.com/comments/feed/

The new blog will also be called Conversations with Dina - it's just a new blogging platform - but the same old blog! I do hope you continue reading and feeding it.

My old blog will be archived at its old url (http://radio.weblogs.com/0121664/) and I will keep the archives going. Stuart, who has worked out the platform for Conversations with Dina on Wordpress has done some neato hacks - one that I love a lot is that the search function will not just search the new blog archives, but also my old Radio blog archives. And he has managed to transfer some of my posts over too. That's so cool!!! Lots more needs doing there ... and that will emerge I'm sure.



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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Jon Husband of Wirearchy and Lee Bryant of Headshift, have recently put in a lot of thought on Enterprise 2.0 ...

"Will we see more written about what will probably come to be called Management 2.0 ? No doubt. Will there be massive struggles with this new set of conditions and ongoing resistance to coming to terms with these dynamics ? No doubt. Will resisting and ignoring and denying work? Maybe for the short term, but these new conditions are not going away ... and I posit that the issues engendered by linked interconnected bottom-up activities will necessitate significant amount of unlearning and re-learning, notably in the enterprise setting." Jon Husband

And Lee, building on Euan and Dion Hinchcliffe's recent posts on Enterprise 2.0 writes:

On the technical level, the integration challenges are non-trivial:

  • identity / Single Sign On (SSO);

  • internal application integration;

  • legislative obligations for data retention, privacy and audit; and,

  • availability.

But the integration of people, practise and (dare I say) process is even harder, with challenges such as:

  • devolving responsibility and promoting a DIY culture;

  • encouraging people to grow their own internal and external networks;

  • stimulating conversation and debate by overcoming fear of exposure; and,

  • for many people, simply overcoming the idea that any form of online communication beyond email is "not part of their job."
Related to these, is this neat post by Hugh Macleod on Corporate Blogging calling for "humanification" and "smarter conversations". And Britt Blaser, always sharp, talks about the People Law trumping the Power Law - I see this relevant to the conversation as well, as enterprise needs to realize the value in People Power.

I'd like to add another dimension to this conversation, which was triggered by presentations and comments I heard at the IAMAI Digital Marketing Summit last week in Mumbai. All pointing to the fact that there is immense potential for web 2.0 or social media (call it by whatever name you wish) in Marketing. In particular, I liked what Ajit Balakrishnan of Rediff had to say - here's the gist ... I may have missed a few words:

"Bloggers are our new gatekeepers of information. Journalists are hesitant to write up stories, unless bloggers are already talking about it. We get real news from the bloggers -- everything else is a press release. Smart marketers need them"

Rajiv Dhingra, who it was a pleasure to meet, summarizes the summit:

"The conclusion was similar to all the previous discussions and in fact this is to be noted - Marketers are now asking other media and medium what is the ROI!

...and thus concluded the IAMAI Digital Media Conference 2007.

I wish there were more marketers and especially FMCG product brand managers who had attended this conference because itís the offline world which needs to know that it is time to start switching online."

It's encouraging to hear marketers talk of blogs and social networking and building communities online, however, like Rajiv, I heard many unspoken doubts on Return On Investment (ROI) from such engagements. Its a question I raised at the summit. Is the industry doing anything to develop metrics to measure impact? Are they talking to bloggers about it? Simple answer - NO.

I know ROI is an obsession with marketers, and we would fail in our jobs as consultants in this area, if we did not address them. We've done the first part of our jobs by getting the words 'blog' and 'online communities' into the lexicon of marketers. They have some sense of what these can do. We can talk of benefits of corporate blogging, evangelism, influence on brand perceptions, using these tools to empower your customers to become your marketers. We can hold their hands on how to set these up for their companies. There's been some good thinking by Charlene Li at Forrester in October 2006 on ROI of blogging.

But do we have a model in place yet? Are we giving them more tangible, quantifiable metrics, the equivalent of or alternatives to GRPs and cost-per-clicks? Are we doing enough, in the area of showing them ways to manage risks involved ? How are we helping them 'market' social media internally to their VPs and CEOs who often tend to be older, more rigid, more in fear of giving up control.

Leaps of faith aren't always easy to achieve from organizations without any estimation of how it can affect bottomline. Bottom-up or top-down, as much as we want 'them' to speak our language, 'we' need to speak their's too. I was chatting with Veer and Rajiv at the summit, and I do believe it is time to get bloggers and advertisers/marketers together into a discussion on how this can come about. This isn't just an India issue, I know many of my blog buddies in other parts of the world are grappling with these concerns too.

Any takers? Suggestions?


Update: [link via Dave Winer - Nicholas Carr talks about two studies that provide some data on adoption of six prominent Web 2.0 tools - blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS, social networking, and content tagging. "Although Forrester didn't break out adoption rates by tool, it did say that CIOs saw relatively high business value in RSS, wikis, and tagging and relatively low value in social networking and blogging." Read more at Nicholas Carr's blog.]


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Sunday, January 15, 2006

I finally got around to doing some housekeeping on my blog. Have edited the categories and links - am hoping they will render alright. The nice thing is each of them acts as a separate blog - so readers can subscribe separately to specific categories that interest you!

Here they are - links and RSS feeds :

Weblog Home : (all categories) subscribe


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Saturday, October 15, 2005


Testing ... i think my blog is back :).

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Friday, March 4, 2005

Global Knowledge Review February Issue

The February issue of the Global Knowledge Review is out.  Every issue has one article published online - this month its one i wrote called Get that smile from the heart.  I'd touched upon the issue of Client Delight in a post last year, and fleshed it out with some more thinking for the article. Here's an excerpt where i draw the difference between customer satisfaction and delight.

While such programs deliver on expectations, customers today 'expect' far more from them. Service organizations try and out-do each other vying to send the most innovative New Year card - this year with a bottle of champagne attached, for instance. Copycat marketing programs with high budgets do the same. Does that delight you? Unfortunately, these gestures though bigger, aren't always better. If you are a high value customer, more often than not, you are the 20% for a whole host of service providers. These gestures have become hygiene factors, offered to all in that group, they aren't impromptu, they've lost their element of surprise, and aren't unexpected anymore. Cynical customers see through these and don't want to pay to sustain them. And sometimes, they'd rather not see the plastic smile.

We see the mushrooming of several small boutique service organizations. The genesis is in individuals breaking away from larger groups and starting their own boutiques. They can do this because they carry clients with them. Is it simply because of their skills? What is it? The promise is always the same - more expertise, lower overheads, talk to me without the layers. De-layering requires empowerment. In large service businesses, this is always more difficult as the labor is often low cost low wage, and there is high turnover. Still it is that 'X' factor that makes for delight, and binds the client to the provider.

Drawing a difference between customer satisfaction and delight, these actions and gestures might bring the company high scores on customer satisfaction. Take the case of any large five star hotel chain ñ you are satisfied when you get the fruit basket in your room, you love the chocolate left on your bed, you smile back at the staff when they greet you with smiles. However, service with a smile is now so over-baked at least in this part of the world. Its what's expected from any hotel today. And everyone does it.

Does it bring about delight? Gain loyalty? Shouldn't we be working towards a new interpretation of delight that builds loyalty, which works from within, which tugs at the heart and not the mind. Each customer has a mental model about what to expect from a service provider based on his or her experiences and delight can come from a really simple deviation from the expectations around the experience. For instance, when you are accustomed to being greeted by a frowning stewardess on your flight, a simple greeting without a frown can actually redefine your experience and hence your expectations in the future.

Delight to me is joy, it is heartfelt, it is love, it is a high. Its that little extra that makes you smile with the knowledge that you have made the right choice, a little reminder every so often that makes for stickiness. Something that conveys to you that you are special to us - and not just another client that will get the annual New Year card or be on our mailing list. Something that in a very personalized way, differentiates you from other clients or in the least, leaves you with that perception.

More subtly, delight makes you my brand ambassador, by telling stories and infecting others with your experiences. And mind you, without any monetary incentive. These stories are the commitment, they are the reward from the exchange, they bring a smile from the heart.

Delight is about flow, it's a customer virus that stems from stories and experiences. The contrast is the bad experience; we all know they are told many more times. Are you setting up your customer satisfaction and delight programme as an insurance policy or is the thrust on creating growth?

Delight is also about networking these experiences, about employees getting to hear them back, a feedback loop. This is the stimulus, it is the training ground. It is what makes the entrepreneur so effective. How can you make them easy to emulate and how transfer good stories - what are the strategies, what is the sharing approach?

There are lots of interesting articles in the February issue, on knowledge mapping (Denham at his eloquent self), the ubiquity of storytelling, on the social life of KM tools, on why traditional KM systems fail to succeed in Indian organisations, on knowledge risk.   Check them out!

 



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Friday, August 6, 2004

My blog's under scrutiny (2)

I just discovered this through a visitor's log - Maish uses my blog as an example in his feature 'Knowledge Sharing for SMEs using Weblogs', at the iKMS blog.  He calls blogs the 'silent killer application of the decade' and lists out characteristics of my blog, benefits to my blog community, benefits to readers at large, and benefits to me as the blogger.  And then makes the case for business blogs and blogs in Knowledge Management and Project Management.

Nice Maish :).  This is the second instance i have noticed that someone's done an analysis of my blog :)

More pressure to get back to regular blogging !!!



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Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Weblogs in learning experiences

"Masters of Design.

All articles from this month's fantastic issue of FastCompany are now online. The feature article, Masters of Design, looks at how and why design matters." [elearningpost]

Read too Maish's take on 'How to use weblogs to create engaging learning experiences' where he outlines a design method that incorporates three attributes of weblogs -  1) personal point of view, 2) chronological nature and 3) byte-sized posts.  He concludes by saying :

"In conclusion, I would like to stress that the informal and engaging attributes of the weblog format can be used even in the light of tightly scheduled and highly focused training situations. The simple alternatives outlined in this paper can liberate us from the tyranny of product-oriented delivery and help us build continuous, engaging and memorable learning experiences"



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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Corporate Blogging - Blogs as Paths in Open Spaces

One more way of looking at blogging in organisations ...

"Blogging Paths in the Grass - Will Pate.

Jon Strande was blogging the other day about how Slonian corporate structures divorce employees from each other and customers. He told this litle story that sparked some thinking about one of my favorite subjects these days, organizational blogging.

An architect once designed a cluster of buildings. When asked by the landscape crew where to pave the sidewalks, he told them to plant grass between all the buildings, wait a year, then, after the occupants had worn the most useful paths, the architect told the landscape crew to pave the pathways that the occupants had created.

In an organization blogs can operate much the same way. They become open spaces where people can create their own path. Discussions emerge and the lines wear deeper into the solid ground, creating meaningful relationships built on common interests."

 



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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Corporate Blogging - Blog the Blog !

Couldn't resist breaking my blogging go-slow thats accompanying a short break from work, for this ....

Corporate blogging makes the comics

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"This comic strip by Harvey Schwadron predates Bill Gates' public endorsement of corporate blogging as a smart way to communicate with customers by several days."


 



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Thursday, May 6, 2004

The Power Of Conversation

Talking Point .... communicating from an organisational point of view.... the power of storytelling and conversations !

"....Humans create, reinforce, and disseminate knowledge through -- guess what? -- conversations," says Bill Isaacs, founder of Dialogos, a consulting firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts that practices the art of organizational problem solving by fostering careful, in-depth conversation. "It's something we forgot, and it turns out to be at the very center of the new economy. Companies that perform better in the marketplace are the ones that do a better job of conducting these conversations," adds Isaacs, who is also the author of "Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together: A Pioneering Approach to Communicating in Business and in Life" (Doubleday, 1999)....."

"........Managers and executives have always known that important decisions are made through casual talk, rather than at formal boardroom presentations. For that matter, employees instinctively know that organizations have two distinct communication networks: the formal and the informal. And they know to rely on the informal part -- the rumor mill, for example -- when they're trying to find out what's really happening.  What is new, however, is the argument that informal conversation should assume a more formal status; that it should be promoted as a key component of an organization's business model -- that companies should actively assume the role of talk-show host.

In fact, some companies have already begun experimenting with the notion of informal conversation -- among them, the design firm IDEO Product Development, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, and the Home Depot, an Atlanta-based hardware chain with stores in more than 800 North American cities. Together, their success stories serve as a guide for running your own company talk show -- and for getting the kind of ratings you need to keep your show on the air."



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Sunday, May 2, 2004

Corporate Blogging - Blog as Your Front Porch (2)

Ok - this is getting to be fun.  Ton picks up Brandon Wirtz's metaphor of the Front Porch as an effective elevator pitch for corporate blogging and wonders ....

"Now, here in the Netherlands front porches would take way too much space, so we do without them. But the cultural icon is recognizable to me, watching American tv shows. I'm wondering what metaphor we should have to change this eloquent pitch into, for different cultural realms. Sidewalks for busy cities? Spending the first few hours of the evening out by the fountain on the market square? The corner café? These are all western examples, but how about India for instance?"

Thinking of a suitable Indian metaphor here.  And sharing some of my thought processes.  

We have the traditional 'aangan' - its a courtyard - usually an inner courtyard - a more 'feminine' domain - with women offering prayer to 'tulsi' (basil) there - cleaning vegetables, doing shared chores, tending children who are playing, catching up on gossip etc.  Men don't really hang out there - unless they're old and retired.

Men prefer the 'chauraha' or the village square - sitting together under a large banyan tree, smoking beedis and hookahs, discussing current affairs, events, politics and  philosophy.

Hmmm ... perhaps not quite the right metaphor ! 

Then there's the verandah - 'barandah' in Hindi, 'otla' in Gujarati.  The outer space of the home where you can watch the world go by.  This could be an outer room of the house, or an open space running around the house, or an outer courtyard.

From a large city, urban point of view - i have been thinking - there perhaps is no concept of a front porch anymore.  We invite people into our living rooms freely, our main doors open into our living rooms, in many places you will find main doors are kept open during the day and neighbours come in and out freely.  Maybe, in some ways, our living rooms are our front porches. 

The problem is with thinking of a metaphor that is all encompassing and takes care of the diversity across India. Clubs and lounges for the senior executives, coffee shops for kids, 'kitty' party venues for women ?  I don't really know.  These seem more like hang-outs than 'front porches'.

Can anyone help me come up with a good metaphor for India ?  And for other cultures around the world ?

Would love to hear your thoughts !



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Sunday, March 28, 2004

Corporate Blogging - Elevator Pitch Anyone ?

Judith is running a contest at the socialsoftwareweblog, inspired by a conversation with Rob : 

"Today I was talking to Robert Paterson, a well-respected member of my weblogging cohort, who lives on Prince Edward Island. We were conversing about attempting to explain the benefits of weblogging to our non-blogging friends, acquaintances, and business clients, and receiving blank stares in return for our efforts. [BTW, Robert has a great blog post on this today ó Sex Education and a 6 year old.]

As we were discussing this dilemna, we came up with the idea of holding an ëElevator Pitch Competitioní [extremely concise presentation delivered to potential clients ó not lasting more than a minute, or a short elevator ride] to describe the potential benefits of corporate weblogging. I have included related links to two current articles on creating an effective ëElevator Pitchí below.

There will be simple rules: One entry per author, entry between 50 - 110 words.

We will have an international panel of respected webloggers to judge the entries, and will publish the winning entry here on the Social Software weblog and also, potentially, on the weblogs of the esteemed panel of judges."

It would be lovely to get fresh views on the subject - there's been a lot of talk about finding this elevator pitch - give it a shot - and look out for updates, rules, tips, announcements and incentives coming up at the blog.  



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Friday, March 26, 2004

Village of Creative Warriors

My friend Avi has updated his Ryze page - a neat creative idea and a wonderful underlying theme - of building a village of creative warriors - a non-hierarchical work environment and society - an interconnected, interdependent unit. 

Here's the beginning ... read more at his page :

"The year...2004 A.D. The world is occupied by neo-Romans. All? Not quite!

A village inhabited by indomitable Gauls is holding out, strong as ever, against the invader. Life is not easy for the Roman legionaries stationed in the fortified camps of Adnauseam, Delirium, Hierarchium and Opprobrium...The Romans, itís said, gave the world civilization. Among the benefits, it passed on were systems, structures...and hierarchies...as the winning concepts of human operation.

The world, ever since, has had not much scope for warriors! No longer were there Uptoantix, Justforkix, Polyphonix...there was only posts. Now one was a legionnaire, Centurian, Legatus, Tribunus, General etc...and man swapped individuality for posts!

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The Garrison tents have given way to factory floors...and factory floors made way to cubicles. In these Modern Times, people were told to be better nut twisters and button pushers...specialists!........................"

It was easy to spot me in his list of creative warriors :):) - he calls me Blogqualitatrix - the dream chaser, who leads the charge of dream chasers !



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