A Web 2.0 Strategy for Making Sense Out of Change and Complexity


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I have just ordered Dan Roam’s new book The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures.
I must admit that I haven’t read the book yet. However, one of his promo premises caught my attention. The premise, between information overload, globalization, and the sheer complexity of modern business, we’ve go to be more visual and less language dependent in communicating ideas.
Information overload as well as the uncertainty and complexity of change are factors that we all have to learn to deal with more effectively. The ability to make sense out of change is critical to business leadership. Making sense out of change for customers is critical to profitable and sustainable customer relationships.
To do my part, I will soon be publishing an eBook that provides a step-by-step guide to harnessing Web 2.0 tools to make the task more systematic and effective.
Here is a sample strategy that reduces information overload and ends up with a visual presentation that takes a new concept and presents it in a way that immediately makes sense.
Open up your browser and see how it works for yourself:

  • Imagine you don’t know what the term RSS means and what it is potentially meaningful to you. To learn more, do a Google search for RSS. Within seconds you will get over 3 Billion results. Not too helpful and quite overwhelming.
  • One of the top results will likely direct you to Wikipedia.org. Click on the link and read the first few paragraphs. If you already know what RSS stand for, you will find this material to be a fair but clinical description. It is an accurate description. However, if you don’t know what RSS stand for, this description will leave you puzzled, especially on how it might be relevant to you.
  • Hit the back button and go back to the search results. Look over the first page. Most of the results are invitation to use RSS but you as yet don’t really know why you would want to.
  • Next, go to the social bookmarking site Del.icio.us and enter RSS in the search window. Now instead of 3 Billion results, you will have used the wisdom of the crowd to narrow the results to under 200,000. As you scan down the list you will get tags and comments that will help you learn whether any given result is talking to you.
  • On the first page of the Del.icio.us results you will find one with the title RSS in Plain English. Click on this result and have a look at the short video. In about 2 minutes you get the big picture of RSS, gain an understanding of how it could be of use to you and, you learn how to implement it. Not just plain English but visual integration of ideas. You might want to check out other videos by the Common Craft Show.
John Todor
John I. Todor, Ph.D. is the Managing Partner of the MindShift Innovation, a firm that helps executives confront the volatility and complexity of the marketplace. We engage executives in a process that tackles two critical challenges: envisioning new possibilities for creating and delivering value to customers and, fostering employee engagement in the innovation and alignment of business practices to deliver on the new possibilities. Follow me on Twitter @johntodor


  1. To help overwhelmed executives tackle information overload, I recently wrote an e-book called The Mind Mapping Manifesto that explores the problem and why mind mapping software is such an elegant solution to the challenges of information overload, lack of time for planning, the need to make informed decisions in the face of ambiguity, and the growing need for innovative thinking and new, fresh solutions. This type of software can help you to sift through a mountain of information, ideas and knowledge, synthesize meaning from it and communicate it in reports, plans and other business reports. A recent survey I conducted of users of mind mapping software revealed that respondents believe it increased their productivity by an average of 20 percent!

  2. cfrey,

    I am a big fan and active user of mind-mapping and do think it helps resolve uncertainty ambiguity and complexity. Coupled with a system of vetting information via Web 2.0 tools you get a dynamite combo.

    I would like to read your ebook, where is it available.


    John I. Todor, Ph.D.
    Author of Addicted Customer: How to Get Them Hooked on Your System.


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