putting people first

by experientia
by experientia
4 May 2008

Book review: Groundswell

Be the first to share
putting people first
by experientia

Groundswell
Today I read Groundswell: winning a world transformed by social technologies (alternate siteamazon page) by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (analysts at Forrester). [I was sent a review copy].   

It is a book aimed senior managers in charge of marketing, pr, customer support and (to some extent) product development at major international companies, who are trying to figure out what to do about all this user-generated content (UGC) and who tend to perceive it as a threat to institutional power.

The premise of the book is that these people, who are steeped in one-directional communications and marketing culture, now have to face a different world that they don’t know how to handle. They are ‘digital immigrants’ rather than ‘digital natives’.

This business strategy book, which contains a lot of practical ‘how they did it’ stories, is set out to help those people see UGC not as a threat, but as an opportunity, to communicate, to reach out, to listen and to learn, and puts a lot of emphasis on putting people and their relationships first, above all the rest (and in that sense, I am or course pleased).

It is not a book though that is aimed at me, nor at the readers of this blog: the first chapter for example contains “how they work” descriptions of blogs, social networks, virtual worlds, wikis, forums, tags, and rss, which is not something Putting People First/UXnet readers need input on.

However, people like me will undoubtedly gain some good ideas on how to talk better with our customers/senior managers, media relations, or public.

That said, it is not a book that gives something valuable to all: though it might be valuable for its intended target group, I was somewhat irritated since the book didn’t contain any deep and revealing insight. I was hoping for a groundswell in thought, a new conceptual way of looking at things, something that would make me look at my professional world in a different way, but such depth was absent.

The book is what the subtitle says: it is how-to guide about “winning in a world transformed by social technologies”. The emphasis is on the ‘winning’ bit. Don’t expect to learn much about the social technologies.

Here are some paragraphs from the corporate press release:

Using technologies like blogs and wikis, YouTube and Facebook, discussion forums and online reviews, today’s customers are taking charge of their own experience and getting what they need — information, support, ideas, products, and bargaining power — from eadch other. This phenomenon, or groundswell, has created a permanent shift in the way the world works. Most companies see it as a threat — but the authors of a new book see the groundswell as an opportunity. So where should company strategists start?

In GROUNDSWELL: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, Charlene li and Josh Bernoff, two of Forrester Research’s top analyst, show executives, marketers and general managers how to turn the force of customers connecting to their own advantage.

Based on real customer data and over ten years of research analyzing the effects of tecnology on business, the authors provide real stories of the people who make the groundswell and amazing place — and shed light into the psychology what’s happening. Li and Bernoff provide the following information for managers, executives — anyone looking to understand this social phenomenon:

  • Applications for every kind of manager, from marketing to research to customer support to product development
  • A focus on clear objectives and examples with ROI laid out in detail
  • Data from Forrester’s Technographics, a collection of global technology surveys
  • Management examples that show how the groundswell can supercharge employee productivity
  • A clear look at the future of the groundswell and tips for groundswell thinking

The groundswell phenomenon is not a flash in the pan. The technologies that make it work are evolving at an ever-increasing pace, but the phenomenon itself is based on people acting on their external desire to connect. GROUNDSWELL helps executives in all industries from media and retail to financial services and health care understand this trend.

And here some links to other reviews:
– by Jacob Morgan
– by Elizabeth Albrycht

Be the first to share
Related Article
27 January 2015
New Wikipedia page on “Design for behaviour change”
The new Wikipedia page on "Design for behaviour change" starts as follows: "Design for behaviour change is a sub-category of design, which is concerned with how design can shape, or be used to influence human behaviour. …
Related Article
24 January 2015
[Book] Beyond Design Ethnography
Beyond Design Ethnography: How Designers Practice Ethnographic Research Edited by Prof. Nicolas Nova along with Lysianne Léchot-Hirt of HEAD–Genève (CH), and Fabienne Kilchör and Sebastien Fasel (Emphase.ch) Head-Genève, January 2015 What do designers mean when they say they’re …
Related Article
23 January 2015
Designing a user experience for wearable devices
Gradinar Razvan discusses some of the questions that UX designers will need to consider when designing for wearables. In particular, he presents the key things that designers should keep in mind when they are designing …
Related Article
18 January 2015
[Book] Inventing the Muslim Cool
At Experientia we believe in the importance of understanding cultural differences, no matter how wide they might be. There is not much qualitative research, it seems, that aims at understanding the lived experience of Muslim …
Related Article
18 January 2015
Texting is family glue for the 21st century
Recent research from the University of Kansas looks at the way technological advancements influence interpersonal communication, with a focus on familial relationships. The study tested whether the number of media used by families to interact …
Related Article
15 January 2015
Ezio Manzini’s introduction to design for social innovation
Design, When Everybody Designs - An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation By Ezio Manzini The MIT Press, 264 pages February 2015 In a changing world everyone designs: each individual person and each collective subject, from enterprises to …
Related Article
1 January 2015
The business of design consulting
Robert Fabricant, who moved from design consultancy Frog to development consultancy Dalberg, writes that the business of design consulting is undergoing mass extinction. In a long article for Wired he presents the history of design …
Related Article
21 December 2014
Why Americans care more about experiences than possessions
Leslie Bradshaw, managing parter of Made by Many, describes Americans' shifting value systems. "Young people have redefined success, and their new definition values experience over possession. The word “experience” may sound like a code word for …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

29 October 2014
Experientia at EPIC: UX transforming a financial institution

In September 2014 Experientia gave a presentation on working as UX professionals with financial institutions at the EPIC conference in New York. The paper is now available on the EPIC site in HTML and PDF versions (free registration req’d). Abstract Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition […]

See all articles