The Constant Chase for Newness

I chose this specific word, „newness”, intentionally. It`s not innovation, it`s not originality nor uniqueness. Just newness.
I`ve recently experienced a new interactive branding engagement way for viewing a music video.
I`m sure many of you have already seen the double-screen video for Dangerous, David Guetta`s single, which can be found here. Once the user lands on the page, there is an instant call to action asking the user to pick up the smartphone and connect it to the computer. Curiosity just makes one go further with this. Next step, the

dangerous

user needs to introduce a code on the url displayed on the landing page, a validation step, and then a snapshot appears of how the mobile should be placed on the right side of the desktop`s screen. Why? The extra piece of content from the mobile screen reveals new and interactive features making the user feel engaged and more immersed in the experience. The only way I felt was curious, excited at the beginning (as this was the first time experiencing it), and then simply bedazzled. Too many fast moving images, and a constant effort for my eyes to roll from one (large) screen to another (tiny one). It was interesting, but not likely to chase for experiencing it again.
Reaching target audiences across screens is new, and most social media lovers are thrilled at the click of „newness”. But not sure whether this constant chase is not making users feel hungry for more, remaining curious for the next new big thing, and not that appreciative of the last. Leaving users eager for more isn`t necessarily building a connection, it`s actually turning the brand into a fast-food product for hungry users. What does brand engagement really stand for in this context?

Successful partnership in the „Euro-entrepreneurship” project: NUPSPA and the Institute of European Studies, Brussels

The National University of Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest, is pleased to announce the fruitful partnership with the Institute of European Studies at the Vrije Universitiet Brussels (VUB). The partnership shall be conducted under the umbrella of the „Euro-entrepreneurship” project, a project aimed at developing and strengthening higher education in Romania. Also, the project aims to upgrade and diversify the programs at master’s degree relevant in the context of Europeanization of the Romanian society, the academic qualification validation „expert in European affairs’ and the introduction of the European entrepreneurship as transversally study area.

The partner is a prestigious academic institution and became Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence focused on the European Union’s role in international relations. The institute offers both courses and research programs in various fields and services to European institutions, scientists, stakeholders and the general public.

In the Institute for European Studies, the academic work is currently focused on the following research axes:

  • environment and sustainable development,
  • foreign and security policy of EU;
  • migration, asylum seeking and diversity;
  • economic governance;
  • curricula development.

The Partner Institute is a center of excellence in teaching European studies, coordinating advanced Master’s programs, including the renowned Program in International Legal Cooperation (PILC – Master in International and European Law) and Master in European Integration and Development. It also offers a range of services designed to disseminate scholarly investigations of the Commission and to stimulate academic debates on European topics and current.

The Institute for European Studies regularly organizes events such as the annual conference series, forum and other public policy conferences and workshops dedicated to the academic community members and / or the interested public. The Partner publications and collections include books, Working Papers IES, IES Briefing Papers and a newsletter that appears four times a year.

„Euro-entrepreneurship – academic qualification for Europeanization of Romanian society” (HRD / 156 / 1.2 / G / 140,578) is a project co-funded by European Social Fund through Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development 2007-2013, Priority no. 1 – „Education and training in support of growth and development of knowledge based society”, Key Area of ​​Intervention 1.2 – „Quality in higher education”.

 

Mind over…computer. Or vice-versa?

Lately, i`ve been quite attracted by a concept which has been gaining a lot of attention the past year. It`s called the Internet of Things (IoT) and i`m sure that many of you didn`t miss it if you`re into online, new media, cyberspace, web platforms and so on. The Internet of Things is mainly about data capturing and communication between devices (computers) via the Internet. So, if in the past we (humans) were the only ones able to control computers, now computers are able to communicate which each other. Enthusiasts say that this sort of communication (based on human`s inability to process a lot of data, decreasing attention spans etc) is helping people track their behavior and facilitate better lives, making everything easier. Just imagine this: if your boss were to change next day`s meeting and set it an hour earlier, your email would automatically signal your alarm clock (which you forgot to set the night before, being so tired from work lately) to turn on an hour earlier, your car engine would be signaled by the alarm to start de-freezing 10 minutes in advance on a cold winter, and your coffee maker would add an extra layer of caffeine to make sure you`re mentally focused early in the morning.
The reason why it`s called the internet of things is because anything can be connected if it`s uniquely identified within the system.
According to Cisco, ever since 2008 the number of devices connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people on Earth. Estimations go as far as predicting that by the end of 2020 there will be around 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. I don`t think you understand this figure: 50 Billion devices. And, of course, we`re not just talking about smartphones and tablets. As stated before, everything can be connected to the huge online network as long as it has sensors identified within the system. For example, cows can turn sick or pregnant and send a message to the farmer to react. The idea of smart and connected devices is appealing, but to a certain degree. Before accepting it as part of our daily lives, we must consider whether these devices will be the ones dictating our lives and not the other way around. People usually seek to escape technology, looking for remote locations where the sound of an Outlook alert is as faint at our childhood`s Tooth Fairy. So, how will we be able to escape technology if we are looking for ways to include it into our lives in such a way that we exclude everything else that is relevant: authentic connection between people and surrounding nature, or just between people for that matter?

Challenges for the future leadership

Nowadays, the increase of international organizations is liable to alter the interpretative perspectives on intercultural human interaction. By creating the organizational framework of communication between different nationalities, traditions and histories, rituals and values, norms and actions etc, the international actor will foster a symbolic domain where different cultures interact and interfere on a daily basis. Although it has been proven in time that similarity has a positive impact on social interaction and cooperation (Berscheid and Walster, 1978; Byrne, 1971, 1992; Byrne and Lamberth, 1971; Clore and Byrne, 1974; Morry, 2007), the future opens its gates to diversity at all levels.

As an international employee, one may face diversity continuously in her/his current collaborations – her/his co-worker, subordinate or manager may be of a different nationality, culture, religion, way of thinking and of expressing feelings and so on. Subsequently, the transformative action of individuals (nationally and culturally speaking) brings about the emergence of a specific reaction toward “the others”, a cultural disposition of overprotecting our own identity. The fear of being absorbed by another cultural model acts as a restraining factor against the others. We are proud of who we are, of our ways to think and act in the work context and meeting other styles may pose a huge pressure on our job efficiency. It is most likely that the cultural collision produces not only local disruptions, but overall consequences, at the company level.

In this respect, from Schein’s standpoint, cultural diversity within an organization cannot be approached otherwise, but through leadership-driven intervention and negotiation (Schein, 2009). This is why intercultural negotiation firmly requires an active leader who does not wait for positive outcomes to come naturally, but instead he totally assumes the corporate intercultural environment and he focuses his efforts on harmonizing the varied organizational cultures.

In other words, these efforts must become a key point on every leader’s agenda, starting from the moment when corporations make acquisitions, mergers or joint-ventures. All these facts involve different people who must integrate as well as possible in the new organizational social system as a condition for achieving their goals and the organization’s goals simultaneously. Moreover, the future leader will set himself up as a milestone and driving force of mobilizing the inner organizational cleavages toward an effective framework for negotiation.

What is Control Anyway? Changing Perspectives for Survival in the Online Space

People have always been obsessed about control. One of the most important sociologists describing the notion of self, Goffman (1959), developed a dramaturgical model, emphasizing that individuals engage in performances in order to control (to some extent) other individuals` impressions of them. As such, individuals either give or give off expressions. That is, they either give out information about themselves intentionally (verbally, non-verbally, but usually controlled body language), or non-intentionally (body language and facial expressions which cannot be controlled).
Same thing happens in social media. An enthusiastic Social Media or Marketing Manager gives a compelling message, meant to attract thousands of shares and likes and pins and views, and the list goes on. Then, one segment of the public returns with unanticipated and negative feedback, throwing out accuses and complaints about controversial campaigns (some really interesting examples can be seen here).
With respect to the social dimension of social media, and considering the hype around online crisis situations and the focus on communication practitioner`s lack of control, I must say that control is overrated anyway. What ever happened to natural interaction and engagement? Is that too hard to achieve? Maybe holding back the focus on volume and bringing more strategic emphasis on quality could reframe the way control is viewed in the first place. Neither marketing, nor communication practitioners can control messages, or information disseminated through social media, especially considering the growing numbers of tech-savvy users, who are constantly updated on ways to potentially ruin an organization or public figure. But instead of fighting these limits, threats, disadvantages, risks etc., of social media efforts, how about promoting what symmetry is really all about: credibility, transparency, trust, taking responsibility for mistakes and genuine interest in publics` needs?