Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

The last months have seen dramatic, near instantaneous changes to so many aspects of the way we live and work. Few would have predicted at the turn of the year that within months we’d see 90% of children locked out of school, and over 2.5 million infections from a new virus. Governments are spending billions to try and keep private-sector firms from laying off staff, and many of us are learning the term ‘furloughed’ for the first time. Changes that recently would have been seen as preposterous have been readily accepted — but for how long? In part one of…

London Orbital M25 - Deserted (Photo: B Maynard)

How many interviews have we all seen over the past weeks which end with a business person, nurse or member of the public wishing for a return to normal before shrugging their shoulders and adding; ”If they ever do”? At the same time media around the world are publishing views of what the ‘new normal’ will be like. They are predicting everything from mass automation to a universal basic income; from increased pay for nurses and front-line medical staff to the disappearance of the office as a place of work. At times of such drastic dislocation, uncertainty, hardship and fear…

The Panopticon by Gubermensch on Deviant Art

Last week’s letter from UK, US and Australian governments is a sensible call for rethink on end-to-end encryption. This is a good example of where the technical capability to do something has accelerated beyond the ethical, legal and political ability to decide whether it should be done.

Only a few year’s ago the idea of routinely encrypting every communication between members of the public using military-grade codes would have been seen as ridiculous. The rise of cybercrime does provide a case for enhanced security for everyone. …

Anyone who has worked for or with me will tell you that I like good to-do list. I like to create structure that gives meaning and drives useful activity. But this week, several things have highlighted the dark side of reducing everything to a task on a list.

I was listening to the last part of Danny Fortson’s @dannyfortson excellent The Pivot podcast series in which he lifted the lid on the armies of people filtering through the awful content posted on social media. Quite apart from the huge damage undoubtedly being done to these poor individuals forced to look…

Lion and Cub (real) Ngorongoro Crater 2000 (Ben Maynard)

Last week, I took my kids to see the ‘live action’ version of the Lion King. It was superb, the detail, the lavish scenery and the naturalistic movement of the creatures was a triumph of technology. But of course, it was not ‘live action’ in any meaningful way. Every single pixel of the movie was computer-generated. Ultimately, this triumph of technology left me feeling disturbed more than elevated. In a different context, this level of technical slight of hand would be labelled as ‘Deep Fakery’. …

Facts Tell — Stories Sell: But what does this mean for B2B narratives?

I came across the phrase ‘Facts tell- Stories Sell’ a few weeks ago. It’s not a new phrase, but it resonated for me. After all, this is what I help tech leaders to, transform complex messages into compelling narratives that reach and influence key audiences. But why are stories so powerful and what elements make them so?

Well-told stories have four significant advantages for B2B tech businesses wishing to influence, customers, investors and other stakeholders. They make businesses more memorable; create differentiation; build connection; and develop context.

Being memorable

In many high-tech markets the temptation is to rely on product specifications, speeds…

Cloud Atlas, Warner Bros 2012

Future-worlds dominated and directed by super-corporations, benign or otherwise, have been a trope of science fiction for decades. The fear that democratic government will fall to techno-corporatism has been a driving factor in many dystopian visions — but are we now on the cusp of seeing it in reality?

The power amassed through data by the dominant technology companies — Google, Facebook and Amazon — has already been shown to effectively crush economic competitors and distort markets in ways that make it virtually impossible to exercise informed choice. …

I am training for my second ever triathlon on the first weekend in June. I’ve left it a bit late, but I am hoping to come in with something under 2 hours. I enjoy the triathlon as it requires you to be decent at all three disciplines (swimming, cycling and running) but more importantly to strike a balance between the three.

As I was running yesterday it struck me that there were quite a few similarities between the event and the practice of corporate story telling. Both have a distinct shape and a three-part structure. …

Photo by Xavier Badosa

In an age of digital democracy are we suffering from too many voices and too few coherent arguments?

Last week, BBC Media correspondent Amol Rajan called out the ongoing struggle between technology and democracy in his report on the UK Government’s Online Harms White Paper. I was surprised by this comment. It is increasingly common to worry about the impact of technology on today’s society, and many (including me) have called for more scrutiny and consideration of the power tech companies wield. There are really big issues in the way technology, and social media in particular, can be used to manipulate democratic processes, but we must be careful not to demonise technology and blame it for deeper issues.

We can no longer deny the significant dark side of social media

Credit: NicolasMcComber/E+/Getty

The horrific events in New Zealand on March 15 have once again put social media, and Facebook in particular, under intense (and deserved) scrutiny. The mass shooter who killed 50 people was trying not only to inflict death and injury to as many as possible, but to achieve notoriety via social media by streaming the sickening rampage online. In a powerful piece in The Register, Kieren McCarthy suggested we — the users — have created a monster in social media, through avarice and a lack of moral compass.

Any suggestion that social media companies should be policed, restricted, or otherwise…

ben maynard

Transforming complex messages into powerful communications. Ben writes at the crossroads of tech, politics and society.

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