There’s nothing quite like being in a room of 1000+ individuals interested, curious, and passionate about of exploring ways of connecting social media with social innovation. Unless, you can do it in the comfort of your own computer, from anywhere in the world.Stanford Social Innovation Review has been producing and hosting compelling content in the social innovation and social entrepreneurship realm for years. But earlier today they tried something new. Partnering with Living Cities, SSIR hosted a free webinar and invited Q&A via online, live submission.


The Webinar 411: Leadership & Innovation with Digital Media (#hyperconnect)

Leading in a Hyperconnected World: Driving Innovation & Impact with Digital Media
Wednesday, May 30th 2012. 11AM PST.
Ben Hecht, President & CEO of Living Cities (Moderator, SSIR blogger)
Stephen J. Downs, CTO & Information Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Claire Diaz Ortiz, Head of Social Innovation at Twitter
Watch the recording here. Official Twitter hashtag #hyperconnect

Below are some key takeaways from the panelists.

Ben Hecht (@benhecht) Shares His Top 3 Lists

Ben Hecht of Living Cities handily kicked off the webinar with some helpful, organized insight. Namely in the form of three easy-to-digest top 3 lists.

3 Reasons to use Social Media:

  1. To share intelligence and ideas
  2. To get realtime feedback
  3. To broadcast knowledge with a broader network

3 Principles that Living Cities Follows:

  1. Mine. This including mining at all stages of development (i.e. early ideation, emerging idea development, and for refining ideas).
  2. Engage. Ben underscored the goal of his organization to engage continuously, rather than transacting. He said that information flow should be two-way.
  3. Let go. Once the information is out there, he suggested stepping away, letting go, and decentralizing the information so it can move on its own.

3 Things that Living Cities Has Learned:

  1. Ideas really can go viral. Ben highlighted one instance when a single blog post was read by over 170K individuals, through simple sharing and re-posting through various social media platforms.
  2. Social media can make the adjacent possible. Innovation comes when innovations from different sectors collide and intersect. Social media, positioned Ben, enables those collisions and intersections, thus furthering and enabling new innovation.
  3. Social media networks can strengthen problem-solving resources. Perhaps couched on the idea of losing what you don’t share, Ben mentioned that his organization has benefited in trouble-shooting and strategizing longer-term solutions through tapping their social media networks for tips and best practices.


Steve Downs (@stephenjdowns) Connects Leadership with Social Media

Steve Downs of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explained his organization’s mission and overall usage of social media and refocused the discussion on social media to one about how to utilize digital platforms to further leadership, especially in the mission-driven world.

He outlined his organization’s multi-faceted approach to social media as involving openness, participation, and decentralization. Steve underscored the importance of participating in the social media stream rather than using it only to push content.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz (@ClaireD) Shows Us How It Works

Claire Diaz-Ortiz of Twitter illustrated the power of social media through the story of photojournalist James Bock, his initial reluctance in using Twitter, and how it literally saved him from jail time while covering protests in Egypt in 2008. Read the story on CNN here.

She also provided an evolved look at the slacktivism, highlighting the statistic that 40% of those using social media platforms are consuming content rather than producing it. Taking the edge off of passive use of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other—she emphasized the importance of an engaged audience, and how those individual touch points could lead to further involvement and leadership in the future.

Questions to Ponder

There were a number of great user-generated questions. Ones that were not only useful to hear the panelists discuss, but would also be equally useful for social entrepreneurs and innovators to ask of themselves and their own efforts.

  • Is it important to adapt to the paradigm shift?
  • How can you take online dialogues offline?
  • How will you measure ROI with social media?

    What should we write about next?

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