4 May 2008

Book review: Groundswell

Be the first to share

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
24 August 2016
New Human Centred Design toolkit launched for African context
Future by Design, a Human Centred Design (HCD) and customer-centricity consultancy focused on the African continent, has produced an HCD Toolkit (download link) that’s especially appropriate for an African context, and intended for application where …
24 August 2016
[Book] The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography
The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography Edited by Larissa Hjorth, Heather Horst, Anne Galloway, Genevieve Bell Routledge, December 2016 536 pages With the increase of digital and networked media in everyday life, researchers have increasingly turned their gaze to …
14 August 2016
The psychology of scarcity: what behavioral economics can teach design
Eldar Shafir, professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University and coauthor, with Sendhil Mullainathan, of the book Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives (Picador, 2013), talks …
13 August 2016
New book on how corporate anthropology can help businesses grow
On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights by Andi Simon PhD Greenleaf Book Group Press July 2016, 184 pages Abstract Innovation has become such a ubiquitous value, it's in danger of becoming cliché. Companies …
31 July 2016
[Book] The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age
The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age Sonia Livingstone and Julian Sefton-Green New York University Press May 2016, 368 pages > Read online for free Do today’s youth have more opportunities than their parents? As they build their …
31 July 2016
Can ‘user experience’ experts become ‘customer experience’ experts?
For those of us who are puzzled about what exactly the difference is between UX and CX, Toby Bottorf, principal at continuum, situates the difference as one of scale: "The difference is one of scale. You’re …
23 July 2016
Emerging social roles for life in 2025
Over the last five years Ericsson's Networked Society Lab has been exploring what social life in 2025 might mean. How have 20th structures of industrialization been challenged? What is happening with life and lifestyles right …
22 July 2016
[Book] Overcomplicated (or when systems go feral)
Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman Current (Penguin Randomhouse), July 2016 256 pages Abstract Why did the New York Stock Exchange suspend trading without warning on July 8, 2015? Why did certain Toyota vehicles accelerate uncontrollably …

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.

22 June 2016
A united energy economy: Experientia helps wrap up the CITYOPT Nice pilot project

Can behavioral change address local energy issues, raise people’s awareness energy consumption issues, and directly support non-profit organizations at the same time? With the Nice pilot of the CITYOPT project, we have seen strong suggestions that it can. It also suggests that the sense of belonging to a local community is a strong motivation for […]

23 May 2016
Experientia white paper: “Conducting clinical trials is about working with patients”

Patient-centricity is one of the defining issues facing clinical trials in the pharma industry. The past few years have seen a growing awareness by pharmaceutical companies of the importance of patient-centricity – but they have also illustrated that not everyone is clear on just what patient-centricity is, or how to achieve it. After using UX […]

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

1 March 2016
Singapore’s main newspaper on Experientia’s design with the elderly

Arti Mulchand reports in the Straits Times, Singapore’s main newspaper, on Experientia’s “Design for Ageing Gracefully” project: Putting faces to end-users early in the design process is changing the way designers and organisations are approaching products aimed at Singapore’s growing elderly demographic. Experientia’s ethnographic study, which was commissioned by DesignSingapore Council in a collaboration with […]

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

See all articles