I’m at a social media round table at the offices of LABEL in Geneva. Representatives from The Global Fund, The US Mission to the UN, Red Cross and Nestlé are here, as well as a sprinkling of us “consultants”.

There was genuine excitement this morning as everyone helped launch and build an online campaign in real time. Unfortunately my talk was scheduled later (and I’d flown in from Gatwick). By the time I got in the entire round table was hard at work: blogging, tweeting and messaging about Born HIV Free, the new campaign from The Global Fund. Three people had even gone out into the streets of Geneva and made this film using a Flip camera and editing software.

Changing behaviours

It was great to talk about some of the ideas behind Monkeys with Typewriters with such a knowledgeable, engaged group. Their interest lies in how to get large organisations to do things differently. I used an updated version of the slides I’d delivered to SOL-UK (“The search for Leadership 2.0”).

Afterwards, Michael Parmly from the US Mission suggested I read the book about the 1960s educational experiment, Summerhill. That’s definitely the most random recommendation I’ve had after a talk so far (but the book looks fab).

Grassroots examples

Now we’re listening to author and journalist Angela Connor talk about building online communities. She bemoaned the fact that people keep on churning out the same old examples (eg: Best Buy’s Blue Shirt Nation – as it happened, I’d used that in my talk so I had to defend it! There are so few real success stories out there, so few examples of best practice, that we have to use the ones there are).

Angela said we should be using more examples from small, local businesses, because they really “get” social media. Actually, that’s so true (and something I kind of alluded to in my presentation also – it’s so much easier when you’re small, to be fair).

I wish Michael Parmly and his team luck. They don’t have an easy task ahead of them, but they seem to be doing a lot of things right.

The search for leadership 2.0

Photo: Anne Petersen


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