Brilliant Reads: Digital capability, supporting middle management, and neuroscience

Save the date for Dots 2017

Our conference, Dots, will be returning for its fourth year on the 29th of September in the fantastic Brighton Dome Concert Hall. Check out last year’s highlights and speaker videos, and keep an eye out over the next few weeks for ticket and speaker announcements.

Talking through the challenges of change

What do experts think of organisational change in our inexorably disrupting world? Earlier this month we held a debate on the challenges of driving change with an invited group of C-level brand leaders.

The group discussed the trials and tribulations that they, and organisations everywhere, are facing. One thing was clear: it’s not change we should be afraid of, but stasis.

Driving change and thriving in turbulent times
Brilliant Noise, 5 minutes

Combat cognitive dissonance in middle management

They represent an integral part of an organisation’s workforce, but often feel stressed and anxious about work. This was an issue touched on at our driving change dinner debate, where C-level brand leaders discussed how middle management often end up being a blocker to digital change.

The dual-power structure inherent in middle management – where you are simultaneously in a position of power and subordinate – leads to emotional distress, and a lack of clarity and direction in your job; like just another cog in the machine.

Often middle management aren’t digital natives like the teams that they manage, so it’s easy to see how they might feel isolated from the digital aspirations of the C-suite.

Top-level management must plan for and provide the internal infrastructure for all teams to be empowered and share their ambition for change.

Why being a middle manager is so exhausting
Harvard Business Review, 6 minutes

Digital disarray in government and the third sector

A lack of funding and foresight, as well as skills gaps are the major digital issues faced by UK government and charities. Instead of investing in digital capability and strategy, they are often pushed down the list of priorities for short-term security by management, many of whom still define digital as just social media and websites.

In a report by the Guardian, myriad worries felt by those in the third sector are revealed. 64% are concerned about their data management and analytical capabilities, and 36% of respondents said they would question their long-term commitment to a charity with no real digital strategy. The national audit office (NAO) has warned the UK government about their digital capability repeatedly since 2011. They lack the recruitment and digital strategy needed to meet their digital targets.

To turn this around, leadership – including funding bodies for charities – need to step up, embrace digital strategy and build their digital capabilities.

Charities could lose a third of staff if they don’t get a grip on digital skills
The Guardian, 4 minutes

Whitehall faces digital capability challenge, warns NAO
Government Computing, 4 minutes

Neuro-transmission: integrating neuroscience into customer-focussed marketing

Traditional measures of consumer behaviour have primarily been based on conscious decision-making. But what if you could get an insight into the subconscious decisions of your customers?

Neuroscience is going native; advances in techniques like eye tracking and facial expression coding are allowing neuroscience experiments to be conducted out of the lab. The potential for marketers is obvious. These advances provide an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of your customers than previously possible.

However, with these changes marketers must keep the ethical guidelines that protect customer privacy at the fore.

Leaps in Neuroscience Boost Marketing Agility And Growth
CMO, 3 minutes

Readjusting marketing priorities in 2017

In this Campaign feature, Fergus Jarvis outlines the main challenges CMOs and executive marketers will face in 2017. Chief among these is the challenge to go mobile first in their digital strategies. As fewer and fewer people engage with traditional ads on TV, integrating mobile into their digital strategy is a must. It will increase reach and provide vast swathes of data on customer engagement.

Tied in with this is building digital capability in mobile, and in data planning, analytics and insight. The CMOs of the future need to be both creative and data-savvy, so investing in digital capability will pay in the long run.

The marketer’s manifesto
Campaign, 8 minutes

AI controlled traffic

Ever been stranded in a traffic jam? Fear not – AI might be coming to the rescue. Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have been developing a machine learning algorithm that attempts to anticipate random events that could cause traffic congestion and automatically re-route traffic to avoid this. To non-aficionados in traffic congestion this seems like a fairly simple issue, but it is in fact extremely complex to consider the vast number of road networks and possible scenarios that could occur on them.

What makes this particular endeavour by Guo, Cao, Seshadri et al., promising is that only 10% of drivers need to respond to the recommendations for it to positively affect traffic flow.

New AI Algorithm Beats Even The World’s Worst Traffic
Motherboard, 3 minutes