Shifting emphasis

It’s been a while between posts here, in part due to a change of direction for Zumio, that I now feel I’m now in a position to begin to share.

Over the course of my masters degree I’ve been thinking about “what’s next” for the business. Undertaking the course has generated a number of opportunities that I’ve been wanting to explore, specifically products and services that enable or enhance social innovation, in the model of the platform for social innovation model I’ve talked about before.

However, the challenges of running a consulting firm have typically taken precedence. Gradually, over time, I have become more passionate about exploring these ideas in more depth, and as such, I have decided to refocus Zumio on seeding these initiatives.

I’m grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to work on such amazing projects in our 5 years to-date. We’re certainly inspired by the example set by our clients. It has been a privilege to be part of so many diverse and meaningful projects.

And I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share more about these ideas, centred around the areas I explored in my masters—food systems, social and mobile technology for behaviour change, and shared value applied to small business—as they develop. I hope that the dialogue through this blog will continue to grow along with these new initiatives.

Social media & networking, Sustainability, Work

Stepping up your business in 2012 – launching a new public workshop

If you took a quick trip through the archives of this blog you would probably notice that we facilitate a lot of workshops and presentations (both for our clients, but also at public events and conferences), especially on topics that encourage sustainability and social innovation.

With that in mind we’re delighted to be running our first stand-alone workshop on 28 & 29 March 2012 on these themes. Zumio associate Allison Heller, the wonderful Connie Comber at Re-Imagine Business and I have teamed up to develop a two-day program that ties together our combined learnings into what we hope will be an engaging set of sessions for business owners and managers.

From the workshop blurb:

Business models for driving profitability are changing.

Customer loyalty, high performance teams and strong business networks are increasingly reliant on collaboration and building long-term relationships.

Businesses need to be engaged in the new socially-networked economy and that means accepting greater transparency and adopting socially-aware values and principles.

Clients and communities expect more of businesses today.

This workshop will:

  • Provide you with an overview of latest trends shaping the business sector: collaboration, shared value and harnessing the power of the socially-networked economy to your advantage.
  • Lead you through a series of case studies of businesses that have been transformed to build resilience and achieve sustainable growth.
  • Provide you with practical tools to develop a resilience-based business strategy to drive new market opportunities.

The first day will focus on the clear trends impacting the business community, representing both risks and opportunities depending on an organisation’s preparedness. The second day will focus on specific case studies of local and international businesses that are harnessing these trends and getting ahead of the curve.

As with all of our workshops, the two days will emphasise interactive and hands-on activities to help apply the key principles and learnings that emerge from the sessions in a practical way.

There’s more detail over at the event booking page. We’d be delighted to hear any feedback you have on the event and outline.

And you can get a 5% discount by using the discount code “earlybird” before 9 Mar 2012.

P.S. if you think someone else might be interested, we’ve got a PDF flyer you can send around or print (if you must) that contains all the essentials.

Sustainability, Tips, Work

How big is your footprint really?

Your Carbon Footprint that is…

We are proactive in reducing our carbon footprint and being aware of our impact and possibilities to reduce our impact on our environment.  In addition to trying our air travel, through Climate Friendly, and wanted to offset the emissions of our other (essential) emissions-intensive activities.

Climate Friendly works with corporations, businesses and individuals to measure, manage, and offset their carbon footprint, by  providing a quick and easy calculation tool, to take action immediately.  While these tools allow you to calculate offsets for flights, electricity and car travel, we wanted to offset more than those things, so we sent an email to Climate Friendly to see if they could help.  They quickly responded and sent us spreadsheet for us to fill in and  return to them to finish the calculations.

Before we could complete the spreadsheet, we needed obtain certain figures, make calculations and implement procedures to produce more accurate figures — so we thought we’d share how we went about doing it…

The first figure we tackled was our electricity, dividing the KW usage (from our electricity bill) by 5 working days, divided by the staff members.

For paper consumption, we went through our invoices and extracted all paper purchases i.e. A4 80gsm, A4 110gsm, FlipChart per 60gsm etc. worked out an average over the period of time and tracked it in a spreadsheet.

Taxi travel and freight figures were extracted from our cashflow reports from our accounting system.  For paper waste, we didn’t empty our 7 litre recycling bin for 4 weeks and measured how much we filled it for that period.

At the end of the day these figures are not absolute, but by continually measuring our consumption, our hope is that we’ll no longer be grappling for figures, working on guesstimates or making assumptions.  We’ll have a more comprehensive understanding of how big our footprint really is.

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Business 2.0, Government 2.0, Presentations, Social media & networking, Sustainability, Work

Web Directions South: Creating platforms for social innovation

I’m very excited to be joining an inspiring line-up at Web Directions South in a few weeks’ time, presenting on the topic of Creating platforms for social innovation:

People are redefining the relationship they have with the organisations they interact with, empowered by social technologies.  They are seeking:

  • Human-ness: as organisations have grown in size and become more and more depersonalised, people are wanting more human interactions and personal response;
  • Trust: from greenwashing to the GFC, the market’s trust has been eroded — people are looking for organisations to say what they mean and mean what they say;
  • Co-creation: people are taking a more active role in developing the products and services that they use.  And if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they will often create it themselves;
  • Responsibility: people want to engage with organisations that are genuinely addressing the complex issues of sustainability and wellbeing.

Building a brand, service or product offering that resonates in this new “economy of meaning” requires a rethinking of an organisation’s relationship to the “market” — their customers, stakeholders and the environment.

In this presentation we will examine how innovative organisations are using social technologies and design methods to create multi-dimensional value — both for the organisational and community — and will explore the themes that underpin the examples with a view to applying them in your context.

Regular readers will note that the session is focused on a number of themes that I’ve been exploring here lately, so I’m really looking forward to connecting with other folks at the conference around these concepts.

Business 2.0, Design, Presentations, Social media & networking, Sustainability, Work

Enviro 2010 presentation next Thursday

Next Wednesday is the opening of the Enviro 2010 conference at the Melbourne Exhibition and Conference Centre.

I’m presenting there Thursday in the 4:00pm – 5:30pm session, on the topic of Social Design for Sustainability. In the presentation I’ll be looking at online social networks, the underlying trends that they represent, the importance of these networks in moving towards sustainability, and how “social design” (design thinking) provides a great toolset for organisations wanting to benefit through engagement within the context of these trends.

It’s been an interesting process pulling together the presentation, which ties together a number of the threads I’ve explored previously here in the blog, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it all goes on Thursday.

It’s also perhaps serendipitous that the conference coincides with the State of Design festival which has the theme of “Change by Design”. Hopefully my contribution to the Enviro 2010 conference will provide a nice tie-in between the two events.