About funnyyoushouldask

I’ve always been intrigued by brands and the roles they play in our lives specifically and in society generally. I provide brands and organizations with strategic advice, processes and new ideas in order to make better business decisions with regards to this. I’m in commercial creativity, but am often refered to as a planner or strategist.

Along the way, I’ve had the pleasure of working with companies such as H&M, FedEx, Rusta, Dustin, Virgin Atlantic, Reebok, Adobe and many others. Types of projects include service design and branded utility, new brand development, social media strategies (often entailing organizational change management) and advertising. Even a bordello… I’ve built up a fairly broad set of skills and experiences by having collaborated or been a part of places like gyro.com, dga.se (formerly gyro stockholm), Medieinstitutet, doberman, Tre Kronor Creative/Tre Kronor Media, Hyper Island (Collaborator, Master Classes)

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Here are my most recent posts

working concretely with culture and behaviors

A while back I posted this list (below) from McKinsey showing a ranked order of challenges with regards to meeting digital priorities. Now, I’d like to add to that an initiative from colleagues of mine (with whom I also collaborate on the project) that seeks to spread solutions for how to deal with this situation.

Culture for a digital age - McKinsey Quarterly, July 2017

The initiative I’m referring to is a Kickstarter Campaign for a series of books that’s a part of a collaborative project called The Book of Collaboration. A project that is more than a book.

The need for working human-oriented

The basic premise for the project is quite depressing: Only 15% of employees are engaged… How about that for starting point when really needing to change, transform, build and all those things we need right now…

Now to the solutions. The project is based on 5 key pillars that help you ask better questions with regards to the diagram above and most business challenges. They help you work with what you can affect and not just the outcomes. If you look at the above items, they are the equivalent of lagging indicators, whereas the 5 pillars help you work with leading indicators that can actually be affected. Kind of like happiness correlating to innovation output. Just looking at output won’t help you affect or control it. Ok.

  • Reinforcing a human-oriented culture and building trust
  • Applying a growth mindset, unlearning, and learning in new ways
  • Creating effective teams and collaborating for real
  • Making everyone leaders and focusing on growing facilitation skills
  • Re-inventing leadership and organizations – with engagement as core

Leaders: mind your toolbox

If you’re a typical leader it’s unusual to you, you don’t immediately have tools that come to mind and you might think it’s fluff. If you’re an interested, great future leader, you understand the need to include this in your toolbox and catalogue of methods. I’m basing this on my day-to-day work from within, and not looking in from the outside. It’s not even debatable and it’s easy to see.

The good thing with this diagram is that the number one item – culture and behavior – indicates the realization of a human-oriented focus as a prerequisite. The challenge is still how this is done, but that’s a better problem to have. And that’s the aim of the project, so go back it if you’re smart.

Spotify and an audio plus visual use case

Spotify is making an interesting move with Spotlights in the podcast segment (or podcast behavior), fairly expected I would say. In one way it seems like a small addition to the core that is audio streams, but from a use case perspective it’s a rather large move from device in pocket (passive) to device in hand (active). This new use case is the interesting thing to look at, not the technology or new media type attributes.

Will be interesting to see how that plays out. I for one would love some cured tech news podcast type stuff. I can also see the value in added visuals and a new type of story telling and communication. But at the same time, am I now going to relate to, and use, Spotify like I relate to, and use, Youtube?

Personally I’ve been on about (simple prototypes proactively to Swedish Radio) at least experimenting with visual media as they explore what radio is in this technology paradigm. Everything about the definition has changed. Broadcasting music, stories and news over audio frequency (and nothing else) doesn’t mean working with radio primarily has to worry so much about that anymore. It was one mean to an end.

The media convergence happening now, combined with our attention situation/challenge, actually puts radio (or rather audio-first…) in a very interesting position. So far text (text first) based publishing seem to have been best at merging media types.

Ber du om case så plocka isär dem

Jag lyssnade nyligen (som vanligt) till filosofiska rummet och avsnittet om Aristoteles ”Fysik”. Inte bara är verket i sig uppenbarligen en obduktion av fysiken och naturen och hur den (verkar) funka, utan även avsnittet är ett metaforiskt intelligent böljande samtalshav, mellan tydliga exempel och analys av mekaniken och förhållandena bakom den. Ett bra case.

Detta är något jag saknar så otroligt mycket i många föreläsningssituationer. Case efterfrågas, gärna best practice, men de får gärna avverkas tillsynes utan djupare reflektion. Av många. Inte alla, så klart. Workshops är annorlunda. De kretsar inte kring case utan lek och utforskning av just mekaniken. Om den designats väl vill säga.

Min uppmaningar är att lyssna efter vad som ligger bakom exemplet. Välj aktivt att inte bemöta eller fråga om exemplet i fråga, utan principerna. Förstå mekaniken. Dyker då inte frågorna upp, ja då har du alltid en väldigt enkel. Att du hör vad personen säger och beskriver, men att du bättre vill förstå grundprinciperna. Kan personen i fråga inte obducera detta case på ett sätt som är upplysande bakom det uppenbara, då ska du istället befinna dig i en workshop.

Do you ask the right questions (for building with culture in mind)?

Kevin Kelly has written many good books and said many wise things with regards to digitalization, technology and constant change. Often very technology focused and visionary but always touching on culture. After all, he is somewhat of a futurologist. With his last book The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future (which I haven’t read, only pod-heard about and from) he goes into how great leaders ask really good questions. Although it’s in relation to AI and super powers that help provide answers, it’s relevant far beyond that. It really resonates well with me.

Given how digital transformation, as the figure below, from McKinsey Quarterly shows, has shifted from the more technical and concrete aspects and focus areas, to a much more abstract one – namely culture – so must our questions. Question is: have they?

Culture for a digital age - McKinsey Quarterly, July 2017

Have you asked who (or what focus) needs to be onboard besides the, so far, frequent and apparently obvious head of digital, chief technical officer, innovation officer, digital director, chief data strategist, data guru, chief head of atomic big data machine learning robot executive master etc and so on?

Have you as someone responsible for transformation work, leader or in other capacities, developed the powerful questions behind the questions? Have you developed or stumbled upon ways of understanding and approaching the problem behind the problem (and opportunity within the opportunity)?

kommunikation som påverkar

from Cecilia Edling Ostman on LinkedIn

Kommunikation är sannerligen ett brett område. Kommunikatörer i organisationer pysslar med internkommunikation och externkommunikation, som i sin tur kan brytas ner på säkert hur många underliggande typer som helst.

Det ultimata målet med kommunikation måste vara på beteendenivå. Det gäller för övrigt alla som håller på med människor… Kommunikationsbranschen i stort har varit, och är fortfarande, rätt dåliga på att definiera och mäta dessa. Mina närmaste konsultkollegor och jag talar rätt ofta om att gå från värderingar/kommunikation till praxis och beteenden. Alltså att se bredare på kommunikation utifrån frågan “vad kommunicerar detta”. Inte bara börja med kommunikation som innehåll utan lika mycket vad något i sin tur kommunicerar vidare. Vi arbetar inte specifikt med kommunikation utan förändringsprogram, men kommunikation blir där självklart ett av alla viktiga verktyg. Exemplet här ovan – från Kårrestaurangen på Chalmers – trillade jag över på LinkedIn, delat av Cecilia Edling Östman, en kollega från vääääldigt länge sedan.

Ett fantastiskt exempel på hur kommunikation, i det här fallet med uppgift att lyfta klimataspekten av vad vi stoppar i oss (gissar jag, oavsett så skulle det kunna vara det), kan ta ett fantastiskt steg från uppmanande budskap ofta en bra bit ifrån aktivitets/beteendetillfället till mer av en aktiv (“nudging”) roll exakt i beteendetillfället. Och med enkla medel.

Den här typen av kommunikation lånar mer från digital/tjänsteutvecklingen än traditionell kommunikationsstrategi och planering. Kommunikatörer som ännu inte lånat/stulit/berikat sig i den världen missar något.

misstag och lärdomar – en podcast

Misstag har det länge snackats om. Ord och utryck som fail fast och fail forward har inte sällan använts väl flyktigt och utan någon riktig substans. Förhoppningsvis låter inte FM (Fredric Marcus, Creuna) och jag som två ytliga signalförstärkare av detta, utan att vi når lite djupare. Det var i alla fall vår intention.

Misstag, och framför allt misstagets positiva effekt lärdomen är helt avgörande. Mer så än någonsin tidigare. Det går för fort för att veta. Vi måste förhålla oss till okunskap och komplexitet med hjälp av misstag och lärdomar. Denna förmåga är bland det viktigaste ett företag kan träna på idag. Det är definitivt kopplat till digitaliseringen och den tekniska utvecklingen med alla effekter på samhället som det för med sig, men det handlar inte om teknik utan om företagskultur och ledarskap. Detta är en aspekt som faller inom ramen för det vi på Co:LabX lägger mycket tid på, nämligen innovationskraft, förmågan att arbeta på nya sätt och i det stora förändra ett företag. Lyssna vetja. Hoppas något intressant landar. Tack till DIK – Det kreativa facket för inbjudan.

the fallacy of thinking about doing

Theory and knowledge isn’t real. That’s why we always look for empirical evidence. It’s also why you would never qualify as a car mechanic having only read about engines. You need to get a feel for things. You need to practice doing. Doing the actual behavior we’re studying, trying to fix or do more of. Don’t really know what to think about this:

When I ask him how he knows what he knows about these new platforms, he says, “I’m not active on social media; I am a student of it,” and waves an arm at a wall of his office covered in dozens of color printouts of pie charts, tables, line graphs full of digital metrics—proprietary information that he asked remain off the record. “I spend a lot of time thinking about the trends that are reshaping our industry. I spend a lot of time talking to people on the front line of those trends,” he tells me, “and a big part of my job is making sense of that.”

– Arthur Gregg Sulzberger of NY Times, in Wired

Why cut off some of your senses? Thinking about doing things does not provide sufficient understanding of the doings studied. The most bewildering part of this is why on earth, given there’s no cost associated with it (only learnings and benefits), would you not throw yourself out there to feel what it is we’re dealing with? Beats me.

Journalistic nuggets beginning of 2017

2017 means yet another year for journalism to find its way forward. A subject I love a little extra. It’s a little messy to say the least. So many wonderful things and opportunities from a technological point of view, and from another we have increasing scepticism towards media, a president down right fighting a war on them and then my favorite one (given my focus on digital and business transformation) around workflow, processes and its own perception on journalistic work. A few nuggets that recently struck me.

From The Washington Post came this fact checking plug-in for tweets by Donald Trump (for chrome here). Funny and handy in itself given how much he twists facts, but the phenomena beyond Trump is thought worthy from a facts relationship point of view. Interesting because it’s an extreme version on “the news/article/post vs. stream scale”.

Add to this the issue of comments. The value (and risk) of them, and the need for very different view on, and workflow for, journalism. Niemanlab shares a study on comments. It’s a good place to correct errors and clarify stories. If comments were a piece of the article or whatever the format of the piece might be. Both from a reader/recipient perpective and journalist/producer perspective. For reader/recipients as a natural continuation of an article/post and a producer as equally much of ”the job” to populate.

The report says the Times isn’t doing enough to build reader engagement; “our richest community engagement right now” is in “nooks and crannies” like Well posts and recipes. “The Times experience doesn’t get more interesting or valuable as more of a reader’s friends, relatives and colleagues use it. That must change.”

A block from Nieman’s summary of the New York Times 2020 report that came out early 2017, indicating how to develop NY Times digital first (what else..). A quote that’s basically an expression or statment around how to look at journalism from a network/social perspective.

We all know of Medium, but another service started by the founders of Twitter was Branch. I always thought that was way more interesting than Medium. Read a bit about it here (from 2012). It felt like an attempt, at least, to work out how comments/perspectives of high-profile people could blend with that of you and me, in relation to a subject, in some structured format (platform) beyond the original platform of a (news)post, for example. Still not cracked.

The threat of artificial intelligence more intelligent than ourselves

Detta med artificial intelligence va? EU-parlamentet släppte sin robotrapport. Massa möjligheter men också hot. Kill switch? Jo, det känns kanske tryggast så. DI Digital lyfter även denna biten:

Men utredningen belyser också att robotar kan utgöra ett potentiellt hot mot människor. Det finns en möjlighet att AI kommer att vara vida överlägsen den mänskliga intelligensen, heter det. Om det inte kontrolleras riskeras människans överlevnad.

från DI Digital

Jag slås av att vi också kan våga se det som så att om robotar blir mer intelligenta än oss människor så kanske vi har en bättre chans att överleva. För så intelligenta beslut har vi väl ofta inte tagit? Just a thought.

Do to get curious


Do you recognize yourself in the quote above? Some people admit to it, most people don’t.

It’s easy to keep reading and keep going to seminars and courses, in an effort to understand what to do in the future. If we could only get the hang of this digitalization thingy, we’d know how to change. I get to meet lots of people in the midst of those efforts, but we have no doubt reached a tipping point from ”what should we do” to ”how do we do that”. It is of course not evenly distributed yet, but the macro shift is indisputable.

This means the world now knows a whole lot more about what can be done and what’s possible. We’re familiar with a few “best practices” and cases of successful digital transformation. Now all that remains is to do it. Our Head of Digital has been here a while, maybe even a head of digital innovation. Question is – how do we do something differently in your organization? Not daily operations. Something different. How do you do new things? Here’s the new frustration, bigger than ever. But it’s the right one.

In a pre-workshop interview recently, I read this: ”I will be very impressed if I can walk away with concrete tools for changing things, or actually doing something different.”

This is why Co:LabX – where I spend most of my time since mid 2015 – is about helping companies practice doing things differently. We are an innovation partner and we design innovation processes, but what we really do is help companies practice doing new things, and with new people. The key to really start working on the future is to become more curious, and you become curious simply by doing.

We paint future scenarios, we apply lateral ideation methods to produce vast amounts of ideas and we produce prototypes to test in quick ways. But the most important thing is to foster new ways of collaborating in organizations. New types of personal relationships. That takes creativity. And like another workshop participant said: ”…but then it feels like we all have to be change change agents nowadays”. That’s exactly it, isn’t it?

Here, you can read more about Co:LabX, an innovation partner with equal focus on the what and the how.