Resilience – Survival of the Adapted?

In the 1950s, a young man enrolled in a public speaking course “not to prevent my knees from knocking when public speaking, but to do public speaking while my knees are knocking.”

Buffett_&_Obama

That young man was Warren Buffet, now one of the world’s richest (and clearly influential!) men. The course was a Dale Carnegie (author of the multi-million bestseller ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People) public speaking course and the investment was $100.

Warren Buffet has many admirable qualities and a number of habits that contribute to his enormous financial success. My personal belief is that a crucial aspect of his success is his adaptability over his many years in business and, in turn, his resilience.

Resilience has become something of a popular topic in recent years, discussed in the contexts of governments and policy-making, organisational change, business, entrepreneurship and of course that of the individual.

The two definitions in the Oxford Dictionary of resilience are:

-      The ability of a substance or object to bounce back into shape; elasticity.

-      The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Adaptability, therefore, is intrinsic to resilience and ipso facto, as I think most of us would find it hard to dispute, resilience is crucial for an individual’s survival. As individuals make up organisations, communities and countries and the Skills Hive community, I want to focus my attention on the individual in this article.

Let’s face it, a large number of us have had to dig deep since 2008, during what is now aptly-called the Great Recession. Lasting far longer than originally predicted, those individuals who have survived – thrived even – are the ones with the most ability to bounce back and adapt.

I appreciate that adaptability is only one aspect of a set of survival skills and that our survival is of course dependant on a number of external as well as internal factors. However, for the purposes of this article and its usefulness to you as the reader, I’m going to concentrate on this skill.

In their award-winning book ‘Why Change Doesn’t Work’, clinical psychologist Harvey Robbins and journalist Michael Finley provide practical and proven methods for managers to work with human nature, not against it. Too often this has not been the method for effecting change, whether by governments or organisations. They would assert this is why change doesn’t (usually) work.

To develop and use the internal forces that help overcome adversity and challenges, we need to build capability and competence. It would be wonderful if we could simply adapt and gain the knowledge and skills we need to acquire with a simple wave of a magic wand. Unfortunately, we don’t. People need training and education which then has to be put into practice over a period of time to build that capability and competence.

If we embrace what The Royal Society of Arts and Manufacture (RSA) call the ‘power to create’, a model of change that starts from people taking action, we don’t necessarily need to feel victims of the whims and vagaries of politicians and economists. As Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of The RSA discusses (RSA Journal Issue 2 2014):

“The power to create identifies the possibility of a tipping point, where it becomes possible to realistically aspire to all people being able to live creative lives. The tipping point results from changes in human capability and appetite, in the technological transformation wrought by the web, and in the growing demand from employers and the state for, respectively, creative workers and citizens.”

Yes, technology and its rapid development has had a dramatic impact on us, our workplaces and our homes, particularly the internet over the past 10 to 15 years, and increasingly so with mobile technology. Cultures and borders are less distinct and more accessible as we become more and more interconnected and networked. We are being forced to train ourselves to a great degree in these new systems and we are having to adapt rapidly.

There are many benefits to be derived to living in an age of ever and faster evolving technology, but there are of course challenges and risks.

A quote from the Executive Summary of McKinsey Global Institute’s paper published in May 2013 entitled ‘Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business and the global economy’ puts it very well:-

‘Business leaders can’t wait until evolving technologies are having these effects to determine which developments are truly big things. They need to understand how the competitive advantages on which they have based strategy might erode or be enhanced a decade from now by emerging technologies – how technologies might bring them new customers or force them to defend their existing bases or inspire them to invent new strategies.”

Combine that sound advice with that of The RSA’s ‘power to create’ principle: that we don’t have to wait for appointed ‘leaders’ at work or in our communities.

Whether employees in large organisations, leaders of businesses (small, medium or large!) or as self-employed freelance workers, in the context of your choosing. Much like Warren Buffet did in his 20s, when he attended Dale Carnegie’s public speaking course, you and I can effect change by taking action.

An iterative process, much like that of Agile software development, enabling us to adapt and learn, train and educate ourselves along the way. We can build our capacity and capability ‘ongoingly’, for the benefit of our products & services, ourselves and of course our clients and customers.

Lynda Russell-Whitaker – Guest Post for Skills Hive

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/lynda-russell-whitaker/0/417/169

Twitter: @lynthain

 

Well, that’s 2014 done!

2014

So, as we ease down the pace a little for the Christmas break we may have a little time to reflect on the year that was 2014, what went well, what not-so-well? What did we learn that will help make 2015 a year to remember?

There were some really interesting trends and unusual phenomena this year!

The #IceBucketChallenge

A truly viral internet sensation that swept the world. Raising awareness of a little known disease and raising huge amounts of money for research. Skills Hive’s Maria Kamburova wrote an in depth post exploring the phenomenon and what we can learn from it from a communications standpoint.

mnda

DID YOU KNOW? – The challenge is still on! It’s not just about cooling down by the pool mid summer! http://www.mndassociation.org/get-involved/donations/Christmas+Appeal/christmas-appeal-2014

 

Black Friday

We found out just last month how the Brits do Thanksgiving! When presented with a time limited consumer offer what do we do? KICK OFF!

KICKOFF

Clearly not something to be proud of but none-the-less a fascinating phenomenon that has rather soured what could have been a really positive boost for the British economy, as well as an opportunity for consumers to further leverage their web based control over global brands. Yes, they are trying to drive us all to a purchase but they are now forced to listen and act on what we say about them. Open online communications mean we will always have more control over their brand perception than they do!

But in some ways the Black Friday phenomenon is similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge, it’s another example of how the internet and online marketing communications can influence behaviour on a massive scale.

 

Ebola Outbreak

ebola

If there’s one thing we didn’t want to see go viral it’s Ebola! There still seems to be less information  about the impact of this potential epidemic than anything else on the web. Hopefully it is just because crisis is being successfully averted. One positive we can take from this I suppose is that, when it hits the fan, nations around the world can work together as equals to deal with shit that needs sorting out! Not just protecting own borders but getting out to Africa and helping deal with the root of the problem they face, proper collaboration. I am sure there is still more to do, maybe there will be a people driven awareness campaign in 2015?

Relentless Tech Acceleration

As in 2013, the pace of change in the world of technology continues to accelerate. In business, acquisitions of brands we have barely heard of by other brands we have t-shirts older than take place for fiscal numbers we didn’t even know existed! (Yes I’m talking about Facebook buying WhatsApp but there are other examples!)

physics

What fascinates me is the amount of press coverage science has received this year, especially astrophysics and space exploration. I often state that I read science fiction because I find it more relevant and inspiring than business literature, so this trend seems to me a reassuring acknowledgement that as a species we need to invest heavily in areas that previously seemed too speculative. Let’s hope Governments and businesses make leaps forward to try new things that could address the challenges our planet faces in the not too distant future be they environmental, economic, social or all of the above!

 

So what is it about 2014 that gives you a sense of achievement?

For Skills Hive it has been about becoming a real change agent in the world of business, in particular…

Team building

We continue to build the community of workers, involving them in events, training and project work that meet their needs. One guy in particular has become a key player in the development of Skills Hive this year, International MBA Student Sifei Ma, a big thanks to you Sifei!

Training

Feedback from our workshops show we are really helping to empower and inspire people to tune into their talents and use online tools to attract the right sort of work opportunities for them. Simple guidelines that help tell your personal story in an engaging way and demonstrate your skills, knowledge and general way of thinking.

Consultancy

Having helped deliver a number of EU funded business support projects we have been invited to Brussels to talk about our unique model. This is a great opportunity to spread the word about sustainable business from the standpoint of flexible working.

Project Management

As well as delivering a number of smaller tech and marketing projects for clients, we completed the second Take Your Shot program for Sony and Slenky. This activity has really started to attract attention, Manchester Metropolitan University even wrote a case study on our collaborative model as a demonstration of innovative 21st century business.

“For Sony, the project can be viewed as an extension of the corporation’s own human resource while at the micro level numerous small organisations and individuals interact in a dynamic network to deliver.”

We’re really looking forward to sharing our plans for 2015 with you and hearing about yours. For now why not tell us about your 2014 highlights?…

Project Assistant

PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE DETAIL IN THIS JOB DESCRIPTION

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED JUST FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO CREATE A SKILLS HIVE WORKER PROFILE TAILORED TO THE ROLE AND WE WILL BE IN TOUCH!…

REMEMBER TO ADD A VIDEO TALKING ABOUT YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE INDUSTRY AND WHY YOU WOULD BE GREAT FOR THE ROLE TO MAKE SURE YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

register on Skills Hive here to create a profile

log in to Skills Hive here if you already have a profile to update

make sure you include “Project Management”, “Marketing” and “Web development” in your skills tags

Purpose of Job

This is a Project Management role with marketing and web development elements

- Assist in delivery of a range of new client projects

- Help PM building virtual teams to cover skills requirements

- Provide assistance for PM to deliver results based on multiple stakeholder agendas

- Work to a brief and manage communications to ensure clarity of scope

You need to

- Be able to lead a team in a collaborative way

- Have excellent communication skills

- Be skilled in organising tasks and monitoring progress to hit deadlines

- Have an agile approach to resolving problems

- Understand principles of marketing and web development

You will get

- Opportunities to work with large brands

Payment Terms

- Day rate dependent on level of experience following trial period

 

Social Media Manager

PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE DETAIL IN THIS JOB DESCRIPTION

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED JUST FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO CREATE A SKILLS HIVE WORKER PROFILE TAILORED TO THE ROLE AND WE WILL BE IN TOUCH!…

REMEMBER TO ADD A VIDEO TALKING ABOUT YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE INDUSTRY AND WHY YOU WOULD BE GREAT FOR THE ROLE TO MAKE SURE YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

register on Skills Hive here to create a profile

log in to Skills Hive here if you already have a profile to update

make sure you include “SOCIAL MEDIA” and “MARKETING” in your skills tags

About the organisation

We are working with a number of companies and brands looking for support in designing and delivering communications across social media channels. In some cases we have agencies building teams of social media managers and consultants with longer term employment opportunities.

Purpose of Job

To support the Project Manager in:

- Designing social communication processes and messages

- Writing copy in line with the brand’s tone of voice and posting messages

- Reporting progress against key tasks and activities 

- Achieving our strategic plans and aims cost effectively

- Manage key tasks to assist in the successful delivery of the project’s social reach

- Shape the social communications strategy, tools and plan ahead of launch

- Maximise awareness of the company and engagement across social channels

You need to

- Be enthusiastic and motivated to deliver results and meet deadlines
- Be computer literate especially in relation to social platforms, scheduling and monitoring
- Have great copy-writing skills adaptable to brand personality
- Be active on a wide range of social media channels (not just Twitter and Facebook)

Payment Terms

  • 4 week internship with potential to become paid role
  • Travel expenses covered (offices in East London)
 

Graphic Designer

PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE DETAIL IN THIS JOB DESCRIPTION

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED JUST FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO CREATE A SKILLS HIVE WORKER PROFILE TAILORED TO THE ROLE AND WE WILL BE IN TOUCH!…

REMEMBER TO ADD A VIDEO TALKING ABOUT YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE INDUSTRY AND WHY YOU WOULD BE GREAT FOR THE ROLE TO MAKE SURE YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

register on Skills Hive here to create a profile

log in to Skills Hive here if you already have a profile to update

make sure you include “Graphic Designer” in your skills tags

Purpose of Job

- Help Company creating proper brand images

- Assist relavent design and co-ordinational tasks around projects

- Finish other tasks based on supervisor’s command

 You need to

- Be able to use Illustrator

- Be able to use Photoshop

- Be able to use Indesign

- Have good Communication skills

- Have Good organisational skills

- Be Excellent in time management

- Be proficient in Adobe packages InDesign, Illustrator Photoshop

- Have a hunger to learn and a self motivator

- Occasionally work to tight deadlines and sometimes under pressure

- Have problem solving skills and be able to communicate ideas and suggestions

You will get

It’s an excellent opportunity to grow and learn, gain hands-on experience and have fun with a dynamic young team of creative people.

Expected to show developments and sketches and end with print ready products, whilst meeting businesses and customers to understand their objectives for assigned projects.
The Understanding of web based projects would be a bonus

Availability to learn new and be a part of other creative projects attend some events. Also possibly working with others and access to the community project
Please note this is an internship and therefore is an unpaid position. Discussion of benefits will follow.

Payment terms

- Please note this is an internship and therefore is an unpaid position. Discussion of benefits will follow.

QCon London Conference Volunteer

PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE DETAIL IN THIS JOB DESCRIPTION

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED JUST FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO CREATE A SKILLS HIVE WORKER PROFILE TAILORED TO THE ROLE AND WE WILL BE IN TOUCH!…

REMEMBER TO ADD A VIDEO TALKING ABOUT YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE INDUSTRY AND WHY YOU WOULD BE GREAT FOR THE ROLE TO MAKE SURE YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

- register on Skills Hive here to create a profile

- log in to Skills Hive here if you already have a profile to update

- make sure you include “QCon”in your skills tags

- then complete the form on the QCon website via http://gotocon.com/qcon-london-2015/crew/

About the Event:

QCon London 2015 is one of the leading software development events attracting attendees from around the globe. It lasts five days from March 2 – 6 with 2 days of training and 3 days of industry focused sessions and social events. The program includes a long list of international speakers from leading universities and software companies.

Purpose of Job is

As a QCon London student volunteer you work approx. 12 hours during the conference with a focus on practical work (session guards, wardrobe crew and the like), and in return you get to attend the conference sessions and social events for free (when you’re not working).

You need to

- Have energy, ideas and commitment;

- Be passionate about software programming;

- Be a keen leaner, self motivated and reliable;

-Be free on 2nd to 6th of March 2015.

 

You will get

As a student volunteer at QCon London you get a chance to mingle with the hottest gurus of Agile, Java, Object Orientation and .NET programming.

Additionally, those who help out Monday and/or Tuesday evening(s) get to attend training sessions for free as well.

(If you help out Monday you get to participate in one day of training. If you help out Monday and Tuesday you get to attend both days of training.)

Good Luck!

 

You are now about to witness…

 … The Strength of self knowledge

 

We’re all unique and that’s great.But it is difficult to benefit from that fact unless you really get to know yourself. We all have talents that enable us to do something better than others, but do we really understand what they are and how to put them to best use? One interesting way to start developing our understanding is to prioritise “talents” by defining our “strengths”.

superkid1

Recently I read a book “Now, discover your strengths” where the authors, Markus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton create a rigorous and compressive argument about why we all need to discover our strengths. Apart from talking about the core value of our strengths, in directing our natural purpose and “flow”, and quoting widely recognized research (trust me – there are hundreds of studies on self-cognition and self-development and not all of them are practical or useful), they’ve also designed a way for us to instantly discover our top five talents via a simple online questionnaire in association with the highly reputable Gallup Organization.

Methodology and Practice

The authors studied over two million people globally who have excelled in their careers. This helped them identify 34 broad themes under which to explore a range of associated strengths. Every theme shows different strengths, but no value judgement or weighting is assigned. (Be honest to yourself, there’s not wrong answer).

By knowing our strengths we can not only make critical decisions about our future direction, but also enhance our employability in relation to current market conditions and impacts on demand.

It seems intuitive that your performance will be better if you’re doing what you naturally do well. But some of it is counterintuitive: No amount of training will help you excel in your areas  of weakness. You can’t do anything you want to do – or be anything you want to be-because you’re just not going to be good at everything. But if you work with your talents, you can be extraordinary, says Tom Rath, the author of “Strengths Finder 2.0”.

Knowing our strength could benefit us…

- As an individual we are able to thoroughly assess our value and suitability in relation to opportunities in the environment we operate in, helping us identify those hard to find roles where we can truly flourish.

- As a manager we are able to be mindful of our own managing style in relation to the individuals we work with and to cultivate better the talents in our team.

- As a business, we are able to be thought leaders anticipating change and realising the potential of our collective strengths and talents.

I found their test really interesting and a useful exercise in reflection. I’ve always felt my main strengths were creativity, responsibility and creating harmony. However, the exercise showed that I am mainly strong as…

“Positivity” – People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

“Activator” – People strong in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.

“Maximizer” – People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.

“Learner”- People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

“Intellection” – People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

For short definitions of all 34 strengths visit http://www.strengthstest.com/theme_summary.php

The results made me take a new look at my own situation and my past. Maybe some of the stresses and strains of life so far may have been caused by a mismatch of who I think I am and who I really am? People tend to feel more comfortable with things we’ve already understood and prefer to believe those we don’t know are what we are not good at. Is that true?

Try the test yourself or simply start to think about your top strengths. And let me know about your story. If you aren’t ready to commit to buying the book so you can access the full functionality of the website, you can try out this free “approximation” before deciding…

http://freestrengthstest.workuno.com/free-strengths-test.html

Have a great day and see you soon,

Mariella Kamburova

Communication Assistant

PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE DETAIL IN THIS JOB DESCRIPTION

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED JUST FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO CREATE A SKILLS HIVE WORKER PROFILE TAILORED TO THE ROLE AND WE WILL BE IN TOUCH!…

REMEMBER TO ADD A VIDEO TALKING ABOUT YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE INDUSTRY AND WHY YOU WOULD BE GREAT FOR THE ROLE TO MAKE SURE YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

- register on Skills Hive here to create a profile

- log in to Skills Hive here if you already have a profile to update

- make sure you include “online marketing”, “CRM” and “communication” in your skills tags

 

About the organization:

As you hopefully know by now, Skills Hive is an online community of freelancers and project workers. We put together virtual teams to help our clients deliver business development opportunities and grow revenue. As we grow our client base there are many more opportunities arising for project assistants and project managers.

Purpose of the role…

Skills Hive are running a new project for a client, putting together a team to develop relationships with companies in the West Midlands. As usual it is all about putting together the right mix of people to deliver the task and bring the best out of each other. Although there will always be fun to be had on a Skills Hive project the timeframe is tight and we will need to focus to hit deadlines.

It is estimated that the project will be completed within 3 months. Your involvement is likely to be 3 to 6 days per month.

You need to have…

For this project we need an expert communicator to help us to…

-          Shape the communications strategy

-          Map the contact base

-          Develop communications toolkit

-          Write excellent copy for a range of audience types

-          Manage the messaging schedule to meet deadlines

You will get…

We are really keen to build a virtual team of excellent project managers to help deliver our pipeline of client opportunities, so this is your chance to establish yourself as a contender for future work in our core team.

-          Flexible working hours

-          Opportunities to travel

-          Exposure to major brands and influential contacts

-          Potential for further financial bonuses

Payment terms

We have budgeted to pay a pro-rata day rate of between £100 and £150 dependant on experience

Ebarts Entrepreneurs

PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE DETAIL IN THIS JOB DESCRIPTION

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED JUST FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO CREATE A SKILLS HIVE WORKER PROFILE TAILORED TO THE ROLE AND WE WILL BE IN TOUCH!…

REMEMBER TO ADD A VIDEO TALKING ABOUT YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE INDUSTRY AND WHY YOU WOULD BE GREAT FOR THE ROLE TO MAKE SURE YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

- register on Skills Hive here to create a profile

- log in to Skills Hive here if you already have a profile to update

- make sure you include “ebarts” and “trading” in your skills tags

About the organization:

ebarts is the social e-currency that enables people to buy and sell without money.  We are an early-stage start-up with a strong social purpose – to unlock the wasted skills and resources within communities.

Unlike other digital currencies, you cannot buy ebarts, and it is not issued.  Instead, the currency is created by account holders as they buy and sell from one another. You can trade your time, skills, possessions, goods and services in a flexible and friendly way.  ebarts extends social networks into local communities, creating a new social economy.

ebarts was set up by three women, one of whom is a professor at the University of Greenwich, which is where we will launch ebarts in January 2015.  Our company culture is very open and supportive, and this is an opportunity to be involved in revolutionary technology that will give people the power to create their own currency.

Purpose of Job is

- To create trading opportunities before the website is formally launched.

- Set up trading activities or groups, such as a vintage clothing shop, a running club, Spanish conversation classes, IT support, cookery classes, maths tuition, bicycle repair, knitting, make-up, personal training… the possibilities are endless – we want your innovative ideas.

- To advertise the goods/services/events on the ebarts site and recruit traders

(There is a small budget for off-line marketing and events if these are required.)

You need to

- Have energy, ideas and commitment

- Be passionate about the potential of ebarts

- Able to promote it to others, both on-line and face to face

- Be fully capable of delivering your product/service.

- Be a current University of Greenwich Student (For the current phase of our pilot)

You will get

- Training and support will be provided, and we are open to applicants immediately

- The opportunity to try out your ideas

- Feedback from customers

- Potential new customers and networks

- Experience that is useful to your future planning

- A fun way of meeting new people and supplementing your income

Payment terms

Ebarts will pay you £100 for setting up a trading activity/opportunity/group, and recruiting 20 active traders.  You will be paid once these targets have been met.

There is also the opportunity to be paid in ebarts for ongoing recruitment, retention and management.

 

What do you know about #icebucketchallenge?

IB1

No doubt this campaign will be remembered forever. Over 3 million people, including celebrities, famous business men and women, politicians and even ex- presidents got involved by pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads and posting video of themselves in social media.

The aim of this massive social media event was to create awareness of ALS Disease and to raise money for research. The campaign started on 31st July 2014 and by 29th August 2014 the donations had reached $ 100.9 million. Compared to the same period in 2013 where the donations were $ 2.8 million, the ALS Association reported a 3500 % increase of their donations just for 1 month.

IB2

Isn’t that awesome?

Before we go any further, please take a moment to ask yourself – what do you really know about the ALS Association and this condition?

Let’s dive into this case study and find out more about the story behind #icebucketchallenge

ALS and ALS Association http://www.alsa.org/

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) http://www.mndassociation.org/

Global awareness of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis was brought about by Lou Gehrig in 1939, however the ALS disease was first identified in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (US) = Motor Neurone Disease (UK) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord of the patients, which in later stages may become totally paralysed.

The ALS Association is a US national non- profit organization raising money and working to “aggressively search for new treatments and a cure of ALS disease”.

 

Ice Bucket Challenge

When I saw for the first time a video of my fellow student Lidia Ivanova (https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152724187764388&set=vb.738494387&type=2&theater) pouring a bucket of ice water over her head, I thought that she probably has a hangover from last night or just doing some crazy video for fun. Then she nominated three other people to do the same thing including Tim Dickinson (also a fellow student) (https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152806895192224&set=vb.686122223&type=2&theater) he explained in his video why he was doing this and that is how I first learnt about Ice Bucket Challenge.

For a while I was thinking of those videos as just entertaining without thinking too much about the main message behind the campaign. I even got a bit jealous when my boyfriend was nominated, he did the #icebucketchallenge but he did not nominate me so I missed the chance to pour a bucket with ice water over my head. Shame indeed ?. Anyway. I forgave him!

Instead I took the challenge of our PR teacher Paul Simpson, who suggested we find out more about “the rules of the game”, other lesser known conditions and what made the activity so popular and successful for the charity. I found out some very interesting facts which could help others harness the real power of social media.

(https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152834777853296&set=vb.669513295&type=2&theater).

These were the rules for the Ice Bucket Challenge…

  • The person who has been nominated has 24 hours to accept and to do the challenge
  • People who accept the challenge have to donate $10 while those who don’t want to accept the challenge have to donate $100
  • The bucket of water has to contain ice as well
  • Before or after completing the challenge you have to nominate at least 3 other people
  • Before “the video star” starts pouring the ice water over his/her head they have to explain what it is all about (quite a few people missed this bit out)
  • Adding a link to the ALS website would be really helpful

Last and very important rule – children, animals and people with poor health condition cannot be challenged or force to do the ice bucket challenge.

The Facts – how everything started

The origin version of the ice bucket challenge started in mid 2013 to early 2014 and was known as a “Cold Water Challenge”. The challenged person had an option either to donate money or to jump into cold water. At the beginning the challenge wasn’t committed to any specific charitable causes.  Then in the middle of July Chris Kennedy, a golfer from Florida, was nominated by his friend. He posted his video on 15th July 2014 and passed the challenge to his wife’s cousin Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband Anthony is the one suffering from ALS for 11 years. She did the Ice Bucket Challenge on 16th July 2014.

Soon after that Peter Flater a former Boston College baseball player, also diagnosed with ALS, was challenged by a friend. On 31th July 2014 his wife poured a bucket of ice water over his head and by posting this video on Facebook the campaign “Ice Bucket Challenge” went viral. “Everyone is being made aware of this disease and the reality of it,” Frates said.

People accepting the challenge started using hashtags #takingiceforantsenerchiajr and #StrikeOutALS to support a newly-formed not for profit baseball tournament to honour Anthony. Because of that the ALS Association received $15 million donations in just 5 days.

No professional marketers or PR specialists are behind the Ice Bucket Challenge. This totally spontaneous and authentic campaign was brought to the World organically through the people power of social media only.

The Challenge for Ice Bucket Challenge

Even though this campaign looks so noble and benevolent a few very serious allegations have been made against Ice Bucket Challenge and  ALS Association.

Wasting drinking water was one of the most discussed topics. Pictures of little children with statements like “Let me get this straight – you waste clean water as a challenge, in order to raise money for charity” or a group of Chinese people in Henan protesting against the ice Bucket Challenge by pouring buckets of rice over their heads. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2014/aug/25/ice-bucket-challenge-drought-henan-california-animal-rights-rice)

Another challenge for the campaign was given by the US Catholic Church. Recently The Independent newspaper announced that the US Catholic Church blocked donations over “immoral” embryonic stem cell research. ( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ice-bucket-challenge-catholic-church-in-us-blocks-donations-over-immoral-embryonic-stem-cell-research-9689502.html)

Some Bloggers accused ALS Association by giving incorrect information and saying that 73% of the raised money will go fundraising, overhead, executive salaries, and external donations. (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/sep/02/blog-posting/bloggers-incorrectly-blast-als-ice-bucket-challeng/)

But all this balanced dialogue and conversation is typical of the way social media works and why you should never try and control the natural evolution of the message. All this publicity, whether considered “good” or “bad” has helped raise awareness of ALS Disease worldwide.

The Lessons to take away

People love to be involved in causes and they are happy to give. As a marketing student my lesson from this campaign is something very obvious:

  • When something is communicated genuinely to the World it will always succeed

Chris Kennedy gave the key point of the success of “Ice Bucket Challenge” by saying “What started out as a small gesture to put a smile on Anthony’s face and bring some awareness to this terrible disease has turned into a national phenomenon and it is something we never could have dreamed of” (http://time.com/3136507/als-ice-bucket-challenge-started/).

Yes, that’s right -giving is a gesture. Many people do it every month by making monthly payment to some charity organization.

  • However, giving to charity causes shouldn’t be just about giving money

The Ice Bucket Challenge created awareness in such a wonderful way by having fun and bringing smiles to the faces of millions of people around the World.

Our lesson to take away from #icebucketchallenge is simple but very real:

  • Give from your heart, not just from your hands. The real way of making a difference is by giving with a smile, by giving with positive thought and by giving from your heart.

From a more professional business standpoint, it is also interesting to consider how we can inspire action in others in a legitimate and authentic way.

From that perspective The Ice Bucket Challenge has taught us that all communications should be…

- Clearly understandable

- Include an element of fun

- Involve action that is easy for participates to complete

- Leverage relevant channels such as twitter and youtube

- Have the potential to evolve as a story

- Be attractive to influential figures who can amplify the message

IB3

If you can tick off most of those your communications will have the potential to go viral too!

So, I really want to know what you think about the Ice Bucket Challenge? Have you been challenged? Did you accept it? What’s the lesson you learnt?

Please, leave your comments below and if you like this post – share it with your friends.

 

Mariella Kamburova