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My 5 Words for 2012


I was inspired by Shelly Alcorn‘s post on this concept of 5 words for 2012 as well as Lowell Aplebaum‘s subsequent response. Basically, the idea is selecting 5 words you want to use to help guide your priorities, time, reading, professional development, etc. You then post these 5 words in a visible place as a reminder.

For my 5 words I’m sticking to concepts that are relevant to my professional development while not necessarily being central to my daily tasks. In other words these are primarily areas of interest for me while also having a bearing on my work life. Lastly, each of these concepts is of some importance to the circles I move in and as a result I’ve had opportunities over the past year for learning and discussions around these. I expect many more in 2012.

My 5 words for 2012 are (drumroll please)…

Mobile- More and more statistics show what kind of computing is being done via mobile devices. More email than ever is being sent via mobile. e-Commerce on smartphones is seeing dramatic increases. I was astounded to learn from a presentation by Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) at ASAE Tech ’11 earlier this month that many people around the world are using only mobile devices. In other words what they see in the palm of their hand is the only way they see that information. They never see what I take for granted on the larger screen of a laptop. If you’re not thinking mobile, you’ve been asleep Rip Van Winkle-style. The phone is not used much as a phone much anymore. The implications for conferences, social networking, e-Commerce, geolocation, etc. are huge. I want to give more thought and attention to mobile, what kind of experiences I’m looking for in apps, mobile sites, functionality, and how that translates to people I talk with regularly.

Innovation– It seems to me that the recent death of Steve Jobs has only served to bring the concept of innovation more to the forefront. Jobs, seemingly the patron saint of innovation, is referenced frequently in discussions on the topic (I’ve even done it myself, not because I’m an Apple fanatic but because his life, methods, and products bring out great illustrations). More organizations are having discussions around streamlining. Gone are the days when an association tried to be all things to all people. We’ve seen how large businesses can fail because they didn’t focus on their core competencies. The public is crying out for more customized experiences. They want- no, they demand to see value for hard-earned dollars. This will force creativity and innovation from otherwise complacent organizations. I like what I heard from Scott Steen and Jeffrey Cufaude (@jcufaude) at an ASAE InnovationTalks Day. basically that how one frames the question will help to determine the results. Are you trying to build a better mousetrap? Is the problem getting ride of mice? Are you trying to create a safe and clean environment? Are you a problem solver or an innovator? In 2012 I want to think more along the lines of being an innovator and be an integral part of discussions with organizations that are willing to look at their missions with fresh sets of eyes.

Improvisation- Because, after all, how much of life is scripted? Through the work of Jenise Fryatt I’ve been exposed to more concepts and principles regarding improvisation. It’s not just for comedy clubs anymore. Improvisation has applications related to sales, customer service, social networking, etc. and for interactions with members, colleagues, customers, prospects, and partners. Companies, associations, and even governments can no longer hide behind well-scripted statements and press releases. Teaching the skills of improvisation while giving employees appropriate training in other areas and empowering them to make decisions leads to responsive individuals and organizations. I’m looking to learn more in the area of improvisation and apply to my interactions with others. And, it’s just so darn fun!

Collaboration- I’m all for any tools, resources, or methods which allow people to work more closely together. Technology is some of the answer, but it’s not all. Corporate culture dictates whether a collaborative spirit thrives or is moderately successful or dies despite the rhetoric. As I heard Jeff De Cagna say recently, “No one person in the room is smarter than everyone in the room.” We give mental assent to this kind of notion but then go back to departments, divisions, or agencies and then act as solitary agents, never seeking best practices, never asking for the input of an experienced colleague, in effect never tapping into the expertise that is all around us. In 2012 I want to do my part to be more collaborative, to learn more about collaborative technologies and techniques, and to set the tone for others in collaborative endeavors.Engagement- I try to be engaged wherever I am, whether it’s in a one-on-one discussion, at a conference, online, or on the phone. I respond to others’ ideas and acknowledge their contributions. I take note of what interests those around me, and I myself have varied interests. In short I’m engaged. So, why is this a word I have selected for 2012? Because the name of the game for organizations moving forward is engagement: customer engagement, membership engagement, community engagement, constituency engagement, etc. You get the idea. Social media has only expedited and elevated this concept. Social media could go away tomorrow, and I’m convinced that we’d still be left with this sense that engagement matters. The public no longer wants to be talked to, lectured, sold to. They want to interact- with athletes, with actors, with elected officials, with brands. They want to provide input. They’ve been talking to their friends, neighbors, and co-workers for years, offering opinions and insights. Now they’re just willing to make them public, a part of a permanent landscape of online feedback. Tapping into this power of engagement will be key for all types of organizations. And I, for one, want to learn more and offer more in the way of engagement.

If I had to choose a sixth word it would be gamification. Why? Because it has some interesting applications and potential. And it’s just fun to say. Say it with me now: “gamification“. And now try using it in a conversation with someone today. Do they know what it means?

Anyway, so those are my 5 words for 2012. They make a great acronym: MIICE. So, while I’m watching the MIICE in 2012, what will you be watching? Have you selected your 5 words for 2012?

Oh, and if you have any reading material, blogs, conferences, etc. related to any of the letters in my MIICE, send ’em my way. After all, I’m here to learn as much from you as hopefully you are learning from me.

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  1. December 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Jay,

    What an EXCELLENT list of 5 words. I may have to adopt all of them myself!

    Of course you know my favorite one is improvisation. At a time when so much is changing so fast, skilled improvisation is really the only way to effectively manage it all! You asked for blog suggestions? Here’s one: http://www.eventprov.com .

    I’m also amazed at how quickly mobile has taken over the planet. We live in a very different world as a result, but I’m not sure most people are aware of this.

    Thanks for a truly insightful post. See you in 2012!

  2. December 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I love these! And the acronym MIICE made me laugh out loud when I read it…..

    I really hope this strategy is useful for you this year and I love your words….Improvisation is a great term to keep on the top of your mind….

    All my best…..

  1. December 27, 2011 at 4:57 pm
  2. January 31, 2012 at 10:48 pm
  3. February 27, 2013 at 4:53 pm

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