Be creative by listening like a jazz musician

Spontaneous creativity is the beating heart of jazz music. Fans of jazz delight even more in the live performance than they do the studio recording. Why? Because no two jazz performances are alike. Jazz musicians are constantly improvising, building new ideas into what they play, finding inspiration in the moment.

How do great jazz musicians create something coherent and fresh each and every time they step onstage? In a recent TedTalk, Jazz vibraphonist Stefon Harris illustrates how attentive listening by individual players can spark creativity in an ensemble.

Business can learn a great deal from the spontaneous improvisation of jazz. All too often, we pay lip service to listening. In fact, many apparently skilled managers have made a fine art of the seemingly sincere, but ultimately empty acknowledgment of  others’ ideas. Harris and his group drive home that actually acting on the new and different idea can lead to something remarkable.

I’d recommend showing Harris’ TEDTalk to your team at the beginning of a brainstorm. It’s a great message that will surely put an end to the “yes but” mentality that can stifle creativity.

 

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Also worth reading: Dannielle Blumenthal approaches the importance of being open to listen to different perspectives in her post, Are you secure enough to handle an engaged employee? Good advice for anyone leading an employee meeting.

TweetChat with Tony Clement about Open Government in Canada

Tony Clement, Canada’s Treasury Board President and the man in charge of introducing Open Government principles to the Government of Canada, is taking his talk where the online community is – on Twitter. On Thursday, December 15, he’ll be hosting moderated TweetChats in English and French as part of the government’s consultation about Open Government.

TweetChat: Where and When

The English TweetChat will run from 5:00 to 5:45 p.m on December 15. The hashtag for the English session is #opengovchat. Because it is a moderated discussion, the host account will be @TBS_Canada, not @tonyclementcpc. The Minister will be providing answers, but they will be typed by staff members.

A French language chat will be conducted an hour earlier, from 4:00 to 4:45 p.m. EST. The hashtag for the French session is #parlonsgouvert and discussion will be hosted by @SCT_Canada.

Canada’s Open Government initiative

Canada’s Open Government initiative consists of three elements:

  • open data, making data available in machine readable formats
  • open information, proactive disclosure about the work of government; and
  • open dialogue, providing citizens with greater opportunity to have a voice in government decisions. Web 2.0 technologies will be used in this initiative.

The Canadian government has been making steady progress on this initiative throughout 2011. In March, then-Treasury Board Minister Stockwell Day announcedtwelve-month pilot project with the launch of an Open Data portal. In June, the newly re-elected government reaffirmed its intent to proceed with Open Government. On September 19, Foreign Minister John Baird signalled Canada’s intent to join the International Open Government Partnership. On November 16, current Treasury Board President Tony Clement announced that completed access to information requests now will be posted online. Then, a big announcement on November 22: Tony Clement unveiled the Guideline for External Use of Web 2.0, the reference document that will be used by Canadian Public Servants in deciding whether they should or shouldn’t. On December 2, Clement announced the addition of 4,000 data sets to the Open Data Portal.

Now, it’s our turn to have our say

Finally, on December 6, Clement initiated a public consultation on Open Government. The consultation runs from December 6 to January 16. You can see the questions they government is asking and offer your input online. During the consultation, the government is posting what they’ve heard so far. And they have promised a final report in March 2012.

The Minister’s TweetChat this week also is part of the consultation process. I plan to participate. If you care about achieving a more open government, I hope you too will participate.

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Interested in diving deeper into gov 2.0 and open government?

Alex Howard writes about Defining Gov 2.0 and Open Government

Australian Senator Kate Lundy’s keynote address The Path to Open Government: The Pillars of Gov 2.0

Jesse Brown interviews Tony Clement about Open Government in Canada.

 

 

 

 

How do you manage your organization's editorial calendar?

In the era of fragmented attention, we must publish content where our communities spend their time. That means that we must post content across a range of channels – blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Google+, traditional newsletters and even media releases.

As I plan for the New Year, I’m wondering if there’s a tool that I can use to help me manage my company team’s publishing program. Ideally, this tool sould be collabrative to enable all team members to review it, add to and edit our editorial plan. It also should allow us to view content plans over time and to integrate real world events that we might want to note or cover.

Currently, I use the WordPress Editorial Calendar to plan what I will write about on my blog, Twitter and Google+. But I’m looking for something more sophisticated that can be used by a team publishing across media.

Lisa Gerber described the Editorial Calendar spreadsheet that she created in Excel to manage the editorial calendar of Spin Sucks Pro. I’m thinking of setting up an Excel spreadsheet along the lines of what Lisa has suggested. But Excel is an all-purpose tool that requires a lot of care and maintenance of the tool itself. I’d still prefer to find a good tool which someone else has created so that I can concentrate on my top priority – planning and managing our content creation and publishing process.

Do you use a dedicated tool to plan and manage your organization’s editorial calendar? Would you recommend it for others to use?

UPDATE:

Thanks for Ali Symons (see her comment below), I’ve discovered DivvyHQ - which seems to be exactly the tool I’m looking for. I’ve set up a Beta account and I’m adding my team members now. We’ll test it over the next month and then I’ll report about our experience in a future post. (I’m adding an entry in DivvyHQ to remind myself to write that post on January 12.)

 

 

 

What is PR?

What do you think public relations is? For the past thirty years, the Public Relations Society of America has defined it as follows: ”Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other. Hunh?!?

The PRSA recognizes that this definition may not be meaningful to many people. It is surely outdated even for those who subscribe to it.

Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I talk about the PRSA’s initiative to develop a new definition of public relations on this week’s Inside PR.

I’m not sure that they PRSA’s “fill in the blanks” crowd-sourcing approach will yield the type of definition that truly reflects the enhanced role of PR in the era of social media. Sadly, I think it lends itself to a “we act on people” definition, not the “we are part of something” perspective that is more appropriate to the age of social media.

Hopefully, my fears are misplaced and the PRSA will come up with something much more sophisticated. To do so, they need look no farther than the definition developed by the Canadian Public Relations Society. The CPRS defines public relations as “the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics through the use of communication to achieve mutual understanding, realize organizational goals and serve the public interest.” In my opinion that’s a much better definition.

Gini Dietrich suggests that whatever definition is adopted, it will only be useful if it can be readily understood by the general public. And she believes that right now most people believe that PR amounts to little more than media relations.

I agree. Seeing PR as media relations is too restricting. It puts the PR industry in a small box within marketing or communications. A more expansive definition is needed that captures PR’s full role in the era of social media and meaningful online relationships.

Martin argues that the public relations profession should define itself through the lense applied by Jeff Jarvis when he asserts that “In a world of publicness which allows us to connect to each other, to information to actions and to transactions, links, i.e. linking up, help us organize new societies and redefine our publics.”

You can listen to our full discussion on Inside PR