Trust Archives

January 10, 2003


In The Obvious? today Euan blogs a snail mail spamming story which reminds me to reinforce that building trust is central to any solution.

"I am disinclined to trust an organisation that, for the first time, puts together my job with my home address - presumably having gleaned them from different databases - and then ties this in with the an assumed understanding of the nature of my job to spam me."

We get sensitive when we see organizations aggegating data about us and using it inappropriately, sending us offers that rub us the wrong way. Frankly for most of us telemarketing calls (at least in the US) are far more bothersome than miss-directed snail mail, most of which gets dropped in the trash straight from the mailbox.

The University let him down (trust) and the mailer is accountable for a % return. It is a shame that these two aren't linked to achieve high trust and high return. Still mailers like this don't change our trust point of view on with the post office. However, letter bombs do!

Still, most of us remain open to offers, generally willing to do some culling for those that appeal or reward us in some way. We prefer to receive them from 'names' - brands we recognize, they are safer. The tone, print, words, layout also influence trust.

Trust around e-mails is even more important! Most of us don't want to entirely block out the world around us. We want unsolicited useful information, from trusted reputable sources. We just don't want too much of it and without viruses.

Could a program similar to Cloudmark Spamnet enable the quick elimination of these types of errors. Clouldmark may also report on the percentage of messages filtered for rejection. With registered mailers.... they could demand a certain approval rating. The approval rating tied to a whitelist might provide consumers with spam function that enables a % of offers to get though while controlling volume and quality (culled) in their inbox.

Again if digital mailers had to pay a stamping price to access consumers the economics and interest for both parties would change. When the returns from digital solicitations exceed the home mail box, the traditional approaches will change.

May 7, 2003

Exchanging Trust

There's an interesting discussion around trust fueled by Pierre's blog and Mr G's follow-up on the Global Trust Exchange. It began with a question "What for?".  Somehow I think some posts are at cross purposes, when everyone could really be eating cake. 

It's not surprising.  Trust is not a simple word to define. Trust is situational, it is also mine.  Do I trade trust? And what's a trust exchange? If we are not sure of motives -- when trust's involved we are even more likely to jump to conclusions.

In a trust vein we looked at adding friends on Ryze.  "Will you be my friend?" and concluded we stopped asking questions like that long ago.  We've learnt that trust has many different faces.  In one instance I may ask you to be a referree on a job.  However, it's still possible that while I trust you with that reference, I may not trust you to cut down a tree.  Similarly I may be happy to refer you but conditions may be attached.

The problem here is in the name GTX not the concept. What's needed are illustrations.  In GTX connections between parties are defined by layers of permission and access.  These are friend to friend and not generic.  The brilliance in Net Deva is in the definitions and ultimately the simple way in which it makes connections, referrals and introductions. while paying attention to affinities and the type of relationship you have. 

Consider Pierre, Joi, William and Mr G.  Pierre asks Joi to be a financial reference and provides "Nickel Exchange details" plus general contact information etc by providing access to a rich profile format on GTX.  Joi is pleased to be a referee and accepts putting the minimum amount of information relating to himself into the system. He adds no further contacts, but over time others contact him, linking their business cards.  Similarly Pierre secures other referees.  For he's learnt that there are connections between us that hold hidden value. 

Example at a networking event or a conference when meeting someone new we cross-reference on books, people, places, and names possible connections pop up.  These are ones we sense might be worth sharing a little of our social capital on and making an introduction.

Now William is in the GTX and is looking for a connection and introduction to the Nickel Exchange. Without GTX it may take forever to find someone who knows his work and may provide an introduction.  With GTX he keys in his request and gets a list back of possible connections.  He's pleased to see Joi is on his list.  Now there are many levels, dependent on all the relationships that each have with each other.  If William is merely an aquaintance of Joi's the next exchange will be very different from finding out one of his partners (Joi possibly) knows Pierre. 

Now imagine you have a plumber come to your home.  On completing the job he asks if you might be a local reference for him - valid for a year. You are pleased with his work.  You say yes.  Now a neighbor is looking for a plumber (of course you don't know this).  Rather than waiting to ask friends they key into GTX, and find there are three people they are connected to via their daughters school class.  Three of them have the same plumber listed by name.  A fourth has a connection to a plumber but the name is not visible.  One parent you know very well.  Rather than calling them you call the plumber direct..... For the plumber has given access to his business details (super yellow page listing) though his trusted business referrals.  It's quite possible that the same plumber doesn't enable the same visibility via his church group.  Although members of his church group may be someone the neighbor could connect with who knows of a plumber. 

The trust issue is more I fear more of context here.  The examples are possible.  It's been done and there's an initial prototype. I've viewed Net Deva and want to see it rolled out.  It deserves further funding.  Ultimately a trust exchange may emerge.   

 Possible applications. 

  • An enterprise wants to intiate a socially innovative client service and business development strategy
  • An enterprise wants to lower the cost of human capital acqusition, finding new recruits though their network of employees, suppliers and key customers.
  • A jobseeker wants to build a network of trusted referrals which will help get a new job and bring more value when newly employed
  • A small company links to a multide of professional free agents, their access to talent just went up exponetially.   
  • An individual wants to find someone who lived in Holland in 1983.
  • A non-profit wants to raise money. They want to direct their volunteers to target specific organizational accounts.  Who best to reach out and approach? What groups could be put together? 
  • that's enough for now

The real issues for "this trusted rich profile exchange" is in securing the numbers, ensuring and controlling access, security from spam and simply managing expectations.  In my view there's an organizational / enterprise model and a public model.  Usability must be kept simple.

So has the Global Trust Exchange just been miss-interpreted? Is it the language or the concept? We all exchange information all the time for value creation. See the applications.  The real question is what's the value of your missed opportunities? Can you afford not to experiment in this space.  If you are a large enterprise, a professional networking community or non-profit foundation, Net Deva is a nugget that may reframe how you do business. 


May 9, 2003

Trust requires transparency

To find Jim McGees post on Trust Security and OD after writing on LinkedIn today seemed appropriate particularly as LinkedIn is a closed system. 

"Humans gain trust by interacting and "getting to know" people. Transparent technologies that make it easy to see what people and companies are up to (in a sense the opposite of firewalls) are what help me trust. I like Reagan's saying: "trust, but verify". It implies that trust requires means for openness, not firewalls and secretiveness." David Reed,

Somehow I think bloggers are opening up perhaps just so we can get to know someone and make some new connections.  Having a degree of broken or incomplete connections is probably ok.  That's exploratory.  We also desire collaboration, that's in smaller groups. 

Jim uses a chart reproduced below created by Bob Keidel of whom I'm not familiar and writes:

Typically we tend to think only in terms of the tradeoff between control and autonomy. His, richer, model introduces a third point of cooperation and suggests that organization design problems can be treated as looking for a spot somewhere inside the triangle instead of somewhere along one of its edges. The trend has been northward towards more recognition of cooperation and, hopefully, away from stale debates about control or autonomy

I'd gone off triangles..... and would like to see the tittles changed to reflect the knowledge organization.  Replace Control, Cooperation and Autonomy with Leadership, Learning and Leverage and we may conclude that innovation and communities of practice go together.  They work when there's the context and discipline to ask better questions.  Which for me is a balance and mixing it up between leadership and frontline understanding - leverage!


September 18, 2006

Open Space - New Realities

Thank you Rob. Your comment is living proof that blogs work and they shouldn't be ignored. . This was a post I composed some moons ago in April. It was always my intention to blog it. No better time than around your first anniversary of walking in the door at NPR.

I'm returning from Washington where I've been an elf in an Open Space session led by Rob Paterson and Johnnie Moore. It was the final workshop in a series run for National Public Radio - NPR. This post will just share a few words about NPR and the results of the Open Space session. I've also made some notes on my challenges and observations on the NPR conference site, which is open to the public.

NPR like many organizations is threatened by the radical changes impacting on broadcasting today. With the evolution of Podcasting, video blogging, and ongoing changes in listening behavior with iPods, PVR etc. the "arrangement" that has held public radio together requires a new common ground and understanding. This was Rob and his team's challenge as they worked with NPR over the last nine months.

NPR is the last bastion for "authentic American news". The closest thing America has to the BBC, and in my view we need it more than ever. And yet the "fund drives" and the way we get our news is being overtuned by the Internet. Concurrently, many stations lack the resources or the knowledge to "stream media", run a website or engage their community with emergent social media tools. There is also a large disparity between stations dependent on market. In my view, the opportunity exists for NPR to both go global and local with community radio. In the end NPR and the stations must engineer For community radio will become part of a multi-modal participatory media experience. Done right, with narrative journalism at its roots and a renewed look at the business model, NPR could well emerge as the media format for the future. MyNPR could be a nice place to be. (This is my speculation although I believe they must prototype it.)

Open Space was invented by Harrison Owen. It has a simple set of rules and for the most part the approach is "hands off". It's empowering although often seen as a "risky" choice by sponsors as there is no set agenda before hand. The NPR Open Space session took the place of their National conference. It involved almost 300 people, provided each and every attendee with the opportunity to speak and contribute. For me it was the largest Open Space session I've participated in. It was also wildly successful. New initiatives emerged, a new understanding between independent radio stations and NPR emerged. In the end, 47 different session were run with self-organizing groups of 3 to 60 participants. Stations worked with stations. Stations worked with NPR and NPR worked with stations. In the end it was clear that only the "whole system" can create the future and move public radio ahead.

Quotes from the end... "wonderful process... all have been heard.... really worthwhile...

I was lucky to be invited to the aftermath dinner with the team from NPR and Renewal Consulting (which included Rob, Johnnie, Jevon, Kash, Dina and myself). As a relative outsider who was just there for this event I'd missed out on the many "New Realities" workshops that had been run over the last 9 months. However, what impressed most was the "human values" and soul searching that has been applied to this project from the beginning. The team correctly determined that the required change was not about technology, rather it was all about people and how to bring them along on a conversation and find a new path forward. The belief and trust established with each other was what ultimately made this Open Space session so successful.

I will remember one discussion for a long time. I was testing Johnnie asking him where next and what instruction for the next session. I'd used an example I've used before. A few minutes later we shared it with Rob and he responded in the most remarkable fashion. The example is less important than the "values" (which he writes about all the time from his heart) with which he set us straight. Ultimately, it came down to how he wanted them to think and engage their creativity. Still his words at the time were "that's too much like consulting!". I had to agree with him and in this context it wasn't the right way forward. It was also the reason why he's generated so much trust on this project with his client. A trust and set of relationships that has allowed him to do the unthinkable for many. Not much more than a month ago Rob had never met Johnnie, Dina or myself. Johnnie met with Rob just over a month ago for the first time. While for our small roles in this theater we met on Sunday before the kickoff.

For many that's a risk they wouldn't take. For me, like Rob, it is increasingly one I find myself taking with my blogging buddies. We've read each other often for years, probably Skyped and chatted off and on; perhaps met at a number of conferences. For me this small assignment is just the proof that 1) a new way of working is emerging, and 2) given the chance a few bloggers can often out strategise, out perform, and simply do a better job than the most expensive consulting firms around.

About Trust

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in the Trust category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Strategic Foresight is the previous category.

VoIP is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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