Digital Transformation: How a 162-Year Old Company Moves Like A Start-Up at Social Media Week (#SMWChicago)

Sitting through the American Express presentation, Digital Transformation: How a 162-Year Old Company Moves Like A Start-Up at Social Media Week (#SMWChicago) last week, brought home so much of what we learned in both Paul Leonardi's class and with Nosh Contractor. "As the world moved online, the needs of merchants and cardmembers changed to social, local, mobile and so, American Express evolved their marketing strategies to meet these emerging needs." Dave Wolf, Vice President, Global Business & Market Development, American Express discussed Am Ex's "recent launches with Facebook and foursquare as well as a game-changing tool they call “Go Social” which allows merchants to instantly create a social media marketing strategy." As he explained how a financial company and a really old one at that had adopted social media and created such a vibrant online presence, I couldn't help but think that this sounded too much like IDEO, Google and Pixar. There had to be cross-functional teams and a flat hierarchy where information could flow across specializations, without the challenge of silo's. I asked Dave as much and yep, that was exactly the case. Another nugget of wisdom, we'd picked up in the MSC was that if there was C-Suite support for an idea, viola!, things happened. This was just as true of Am Ex. as it was for IDEO.

If you've been reading this blog, it may seem like cross functional teams, open floor plans, flat hierarchies are pretty much all I learned at the MSC! That's really not the case, of course, but in a world so keen on innovation and the next big thing, if only we adopted these methods, bright ideas and their seamless execution may not seem so far fetched a possibility.

Next stop? Crisis Communications in the Social Age with Todd Bleacher, Communications Director Boeing @Boeing and Kathy Fieweger, Executive Vice President and Midwest General Manager, MWW Group @KatFieweger.Search for conversations about it at #smwmww
Follow me @yarkhan, or

Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work | Video on

My dream is to be a presenter at a TED Conference. Perhaps it should be the goal I set for the "Wish List" we are to create for Nosh Contractor's class. Here's an interesting talk : "Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. At TEDxSydney, Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity -- and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen."  And while we're talking about success at work it, one of the keys to it lies in the breadth and depth of your smile. Ron Gutman talks about this simple yet powerful act.