Communicating the future story

Privacy, personalisation and customisation, automation and transparency are four key areas that will shape and influence communication and business in the future.

This was the message from Wired‘s Associate Editor Olivia Solon @olivia_solon who gave the riveting keynote speech on trends at #thefuturestory yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed the glimpses into the future that she gave including the potential impact of technology on communication. I asked her a couple of questions in the Q&A section and got a lot from her presentation.

I wrote the other day that I was looking forward to being inside the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) for the event that was hosted by Sheila Parry, MD of theblueballroom and her team. It certainly didn’t disappoint, it’s now 24 hours later and my brain is still whirring with the info I heard and from the conversations I had.

Surrounded by photographs of famous ex-students and theatrical quotes, comms professionals with both internal and external comms responsibilities, gathered together for thefuturestory.

Workshops were led by Euan Semple @euan, Andrew Grill @andrewgrill and Jacqui Taylor @jacquitaylorfb. (Not sure what the @ references are? They are their Twitter IDs. See my Twitter guide for IC pros if you’re new to using it or want to know more).

I attended Andrew Grill’s session on Who Knows What Social Business Really Means. He is the CEO of Kred and I wrote about him as part of the London Influencer Summit I went to a few weeks back.

Social business

andrew_screenSocial business articles and discussions are abundant at the moment, particularly following Altimeter Group’s excellent report in March. I’m going to write more about it in a week or so, including details of an exciting new book that I’ve heard about. But for now, I’m going to share some of the highlights from Andrew’s session.

When defining social business, he described in an apt way given the surroundings we were in. He likened social media as the front of house in a theatre – people who you actually see: those in the spotlight and visible, selling tickets, handing out programmes and even each other in the audience.

Social business he said was the people behind the scenes, the ones dressed in black with headsets who make everything gel. They are the people you don’t see. They use information and signals from everything happening on stage to fine tune what’s happening in real time. The organisation needs to communicate amongst itself to make the show happen.

Everything that happens at front of house is processed, integrated and shared with the back house team to ensure the product being delivered on stage is of the highest quality available. You can read more about this analogy via his blog.

He showed a video that made me smile, so thought I’d share it with you. It is taken from a BBC show and is about the attitudes we have online and translating them into real life – with amusing consequences:

I particularly enjoyed hearing Andrew draw on his own experience to highlight the reality of employee and brand ambassadors.

Discussions in the room included creating communities for ambassadors to communicate, top tips for using LinkedIn, trusting employees to use social media, how to set guidance and much more.

He mentioned a new IBM report that I have downloaded via his blog today and am looking forward to getting to grips with. It’s only 12 pages long and called Social Business: Patterns in achieving social business success by leading and pioneering organisations. From first glance I like the fact it’s identifying patterns (repeatable behaviour) and will share my thoughts on it in the post I mentioned above.

IBM has also produced a video that I discovered online tonight on social business:

One of my fellow @theICcrowd co-founders, Jenni Wheller @jenniwheller went to Euan’s session. I recommend reading her blog to get a glimpse into what was discussed in that session and an overview of Olivia’s presentation.

What’s next for the future story?

Theblueballroom has announced it is holding a follow-up event called Wiring the workplace for women. It will be in London on 2 July (venue to be confirmed). “This event will enable you to deliver an action plan to realise the full potential of female colleagues. The workshop will cover how, in overcoming traditional obstacles, new workplace dynamics can offer real advantages to women and their employers. It will be led by Christina Fee, who has worked with the leaders of some of the world’s most challenging companies and business cultures, such as easyJet, the BBC and eBay.”

Keep an eye on their website for more info as it looks like that will be the place to get more details nearer the time.

Congratulations to theblueballroom team for a thought-provoking event. I’ve created a Storify where you can read all the tweets, see the pics and videos – see below.



  1. […] many of the workshops I have lead lately, one of the most common discussion points has been what about the people in our […]

  2. […] many of the workshops I have lead lately, one of the most common discussion points has been what about the people in our […]

  3. […] readers will know that I attended #thefuturestory hosted by theblueballoom at the end of April. During the event Andrew Grill, @andrewgrill, CEO of […]

  4. […] many of the workshops I have lead lately, one of the most common discussion points has been what about the people in our […]

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