It can be something so spot on that you need blather on no longer – see, say, D Limerick and B Cunnington and their thesis on ‘Collaborative Individualism and The End of the Corporate Citizen’.
Or, equally it can be something so up its own, London meeja a*se that it deserves to be thrown to to the wolves of local. Cue The Journalism Foundation and ‘How To Build A Local Site’. A work of lingering genius.
The intro is decent… ‘It is said that there are only seven plots in drama. We think there are 11 big conversations about the challenges facing the world today – and that corporates need to join these conversations…’
And it is the 4th ‘conversation’ that is the must-read… the one on Communities. It is, say Brunswick, ‘where the heat is…’ – a message they then take into the boardrooms of some serious Plcs.
Which is my point; its not so much the subject of that fourth conversation that causes any great stir around here; rather it’s with whom those conversations are being had… Right now.
How many FTSE 250 CEOs are taking Brunswick’s ‘conversations’ to heart and re-positioning their strategic thinking accordingly? If ‘the heat’ is here; in communities; if the recognition that ‘online networks are dramatically reframing the idea of community, empowering people to join together wherever they live in the world on the basis of a shared interest…’
A shared interest, say, in the affairs of Loddon Parish Council? A community that would gather here…
In short, global is thinking local. As is Eric.
The corridors of corporate power that the likes of Brunswick work are, likewise, starting to wake up to the fact that ‘local communities have become a force to be reckoned with…
Cue the CEO of mining giant Anglo American.
‘Communities are better informed,’ says Cynthia Carroll. ‘They know how to make their views heard…’
Through a local community blog, for example.
‘Companies that think they can afford not to engage [with local communities] are deluding themselves.’
The challenge for the global ad networks and ‘top down’ ad agencies, of course, is how they ever get to do local… What if both their kit and their thinking isn’t fit for a Brunswick conversation? Doesn’t work for said local communities… What if they can’t turn their world upside down and re-tool themselves for a future that is one where global brand seeks to sustain local connection and acceptance?
All of which is a very long way of me announcing the fact that Addiply was fortunate enough this summer to be one of the winners of the Technology Strategy Board’s Convergence In A Digital Landscape funding call – launched in parallel to NESTA’s DestinationLocal programme.
Our proposition was very simple – to make Addiply’s API public. To let third parties go build; to further enhance and enpower those ‘conversations’ that we have already been having in local for the last five years.
To work, for example, with GitHub’s community of programmers and let them loose on our existing work; to correct it, if needs be. Hopefully, we’ve never been too precious about what we’ve built. We will forever be a work in progress; a simple tool with which others can go build.
A public API was the principal thrust of the funding call, but within that we will also seek to deliver linguistic enhancements – starting with a Welsh language version of the platform.
‘Empowering people to join together … with a ’shared interest…’ in the Welsh language.
We will, ideally, empower third parties to build programmable interfaces atop our data stack; to enable global brands to more easily reach local – in a manner that is more accountable, more transparent and more empowering for local communities as they seek their own solutions to the problems of their times… in, of course, the finest traditions of the last, great English Revolution.
When a world did, indeed, threaten to turn upside down.
Plus we will look to mobile; we will look to grids of classifieds; we will look to a network-wide notification system – to make the platform ever more social.
But above all else, we will stay open, stay collaborative and stay true to our local roots.
For as Brunswick keep telling people, that’s where the heat is…