Monocle’s Soft Power Survey 2013

Monocle’s published it’s fourth annual Soft Power Survey – a topic that’s fascinated me ever since I listened to Professor Joseph Nye speak on the topic at the RSA in London in 2011 – and Germany’s toppled the UK from its top spot.

Produced in conjunction with the Institute for Government, Monocle’s survey asks which countries ‘best attract favour from other nations through culture, sport, cuisine, design, diplomacy and beyond’. In other words: beyond the bullets, economic sanctions and so on, who packs a soft-centred punch?

Three deserving Webby nominees and a bit of Brave New Talent

Not only were the nominations for the online world’s equivalent of the Oscars – The Webby Awards – published yesterday but, by happy coincidence, The Telegraph’s Tech Start-Up 100 awards were held in London yesterday too.

On the face of it, these are unrelated events, but four of the nominations in both the Webbys and the Start-Up 100 lists featured in our 12 Links of Christmas 2010. These are the links that we con­sid­ered to be enjoy­able, enlight­en­ing or just plain inter­est­ing last year and published in December 2010. (Here’s the 2009 12 Links too.)

Coincidentally, the RSA Animate talk by Dan Pink, which we featured in our ‘Are you motivated by what you think motivates you?’ post, also received a Webbys nod, whereas our 12 Links preference was for the RSAnimate version of David Harvey’s talk on The Crises of Cap­i­tal­ism. Either way, RSAnimate is a deserving Webby Award nominee as far as we’re concerned.

The great thing about the Webbys is that there are two gongs available per category: one awarded by a judging panel and one based on a public vote.

And with the voting site now live for The People’s Choice awards, we thought we’d do our bit to gently nudge you in the direction of clicking in favour of the nominees featured in our 12 Links of Christmas 2010.

So here’s the nominees that caught our eye last year, why we picked them and – therefore – why we’ll be voting for them:

1st link of Christmas: Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown (here’s the video)
8th link of Christmas: Sam O’Hare’s tilt-shift film The Sandpit (video at the top of this post)
12th link of Christmas: OK! Go’s This Too Shall Pass (here’s the video)

Sticking with the 12 Links, but away from the Webbys, social recruiting platform Brave New Talent was last night named as runner-up in the education and recruitment category of The Telegraph’s Tech Start-Up 100.

We first posted about this remarkable project back in July 2010 after listening to the founder, Lucian Tarnowski, speak about the idea at a tweet-up in London.

It’s a genuinely innovative idea which, as we posted at the time, is ‘effect­ing a change in the way in which busi­nesses, and a gen­er­a­tion of tal­ent emerg­ing from the nation’s schools, col­leges and higher edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions, can connect.’ That’s why it made our 12 Links.

Finally, this post also gives us a chance to namecheck Pete Matthew, founder of video-based financial education site Meaningful Money which, in February, picked up the Professional Adviser Financial Education Award for 2011. Meangingful Money was our 7th Link of Christmas and here’s why we included it among our 12 Links.

You can see the full list of nominees for the 2011 Webby Awards here and vote for The People’s Choice here.

Are you motivated by what you think motivates you?

We’re currently working on the design of an employee communication programme so, perhaps selfishly, this animation of Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA in January 2010 is remarkably useful in considering the configuration of communications in a way which delivers a sense of fulfillment and purpose for an internal audience.

But if you take a look at the video of the talk, Mr Pink offers some stark conclusions about the role of financial incentives as a means of motivating people; conclusions which seem counter-intuitive to the way incentives within brands and businesses are organised today.

For instance, Mr Pink points to plenty of evidence demonstrating that financial incentives tend, over time, to lead to lower levels of productivity and performance. In contrast, however, when software developer Redgate trashed the traditional financial bonus scheme, sales actually rose. And how can it be that Wikipedia and Linux have proved so successful when their very existence is due to the time and goodwill invested by individuals who receive no financial compensation whatsoever?

Continue reading “Are you motivated by what you think motivates you?”