Tag Archives: technology

Apple’s Greatest Video?

Credit where credit is due.

I’ve roasted Apple (should that be baked?) many times, especially during the Steve Jobs era, but I had a feeling that Tim Cook would take a very different approach to sustainability. His supply chain background almost dictated it.

So, without further ado, here is Apple’s latest effort to use its brand for good, and that matters. It really matters. Watch the videos and then read why it meant so much to me.

 

Not your usual Apple slick, minimalistic, polished marketing advert!

Apple were the epitome of laggards, hiding away from disclosure or action whilst they focused on selling as many of their beautiful innovative tech toys as possible. Nothing new about that. Countless business still take that approach. Probably most businesses in all honesty.

But, Apple were and are one of the biggest mainstream brands in the world, with the accompanying leadership position that should elevate any authentically responsible business to push sustainability not only through their own operation and products, but also their widest sphere of influence including their customers and fans.

Five years ago I wrote a blog hoping, and predicting Tim Cook’s appointment would be a catalyst for change. Such a change was always going to take time. One tweak here, a new appointment there, a commitment to solar, a video celebrating diversity and now this. (notice I omitted Liam the recycling robot – Apple’s Howard the Duck moment)

The video above feels like a milestone moment because it shows Apple is now comfortable enough to be creative and step away from brand norms – which is very out of character – and bold. We desperately need more bold. The work has been done internally and my new hope is that this video is the start of a confident new leadership brand in the sustainability space, or should that be iSustainability?

The biggest challenge of our time is convincing the non-usual suspects to look at the issues people like me call sustainability in a way possibly only Apple could do, to change behaviour at scale.

Congratulations Tim Cook, Lisa Jackson et al, your mark has been made, but how high can you go?

 

 

Want A Path To A Heroic Future? Now?

Try as you might, it’s hard to avoid the imposition of doom, gloom and political madness, now more than ever. Whether it’s Donny ‘Cable TV Host’ Trump, How The F*** Brexit, Everybody Elses Climate Change, How Do I Pay The Bills or just the damn cold and rain outside.

It is also hard, even with the increasing awareness, advice and efforts, to see past our preconceptions, education, life experiences and personalised media bubbles.

But, there are those that are particularly, and occasionally spectacularly adept at focusing forwards. One of those has to be Alex Steffen, who recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, that even inspired my own credit card into action.

Want to know what the future could look like, and more importantly how to make it happen? It is maybe easier than you think…

“I believe it’s literally true that we can’t build what we can’t imagine. The fact that we haven’t compellingly imagined a thriving, dynamic, sustainable world is a major reason we don’t already live in one.

Our challenges are epic. If building a better world seems out of our reach, then we need to become people who can reach farther. We extend that reach by embracing bigger visions. To become people capable of doing heroic things together, we have to envision a heroic future. That’s the mission: finding that heroic future, and the paths we take to get there.”

 

Heroic. Together. Now. Start. Be Bold. Fail. Learn. Improve. Repeat.

For more about Alex check out his website at www.alexsteffen.com

 

 

 

Is Liam Really #TechForGood, or #MarketingForApple?

29 arms of recycling innovation robot beautifully presented (of course) and they call it Liam? Only in the world of Apple.

Whilst hastily allowing myself to lose all focus on the writing I should have been doing today I jumped at the chance to join @TomRaftery as guest co-host for his #TechForGood Google Hangout tomorrow. As I explored previous shows to get a feel for my responsibilities I stumbled back across the ‘Liam’ element of Apple’s recent keynote.

The last few weeks have been something of a blur with many new discussions and projects appearing like the Rebel Alliance out of hyperdrive, but all with an eerily connected technology flavour. The Apple announcement was momentarily noted for their strong focus on responsibility at their key communications event of their calendar, before being usurped by the usual social media avalanche.

I’ve been a long standing frustrated critic of Apple, more from a wasted potential perspective than their actual social or environmental accomplishments, which have been markedly improving over recent years. Tim Cook has many achievements to take credit for, as it can’t have been an easy task to push sustainability up the priority list of the culture moulded by Steve Jobs.

Whilst on the day Lisa Jackson (SVP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives) was conspicuously front and centre, and the privacy debate raging with the FBI obviously adding its influence, Liam felt like the physical hook of attention for a more confident responsibility ethos away from the usual line-up of product launches.

Yes, I know there are only so many ways you can innovate with a phone, and this could be Apple running out of innovative product steam, but the eternal optimist in me is seeing Apple want to be seen as more than just a purveyor of beautiful ‘stuff’. That beauty could be creeping into their approach to their wider responsibilities.

Liam is an allegedly, as I’ve not seen many at all, 29 arm robot that can in a mere 11 seconds recycle a notoriously difficult product into component parts like never seen before. I’ve dreamed of Apple applying its design mastery for a stronger purpose than just music and communications. Was this it?

Maybe. Maybe not. After all there is only one Liam, I believe, and at full speed, could disassemble 1.2 million iPhones per year. Actually, only potentially 1.2 million iPhone 6s units until they teach it about the rest of their product back catalogue. That total would be in the billions. Last year alone Apple sold 230 million phones.

Innovative? Absolutely. Open source and shareable by the whole industry to reduce e-waste? Probably not going to happen (but hoping). Expensive? Absolutely and certainly prohibitively so. Chances of Apple opening recycling depots full of Liams? Slim. Marketing gimmick or potential for true impact? Actions speak louder than YouTube videos, so we shall see.

With over 1 billion smartphone products alone sold every year. A few weeks after the launch Liam now feels more like a lonely Disney Wall-E type character, desperate for a real purpose, a few friends and more trees, but I continue to hope.

Join me and Tom tomorrow at 4.00pm UK to explore this week’s #TechForGood news.

 

 

How Can You Change The World Through Entrepreneurship?

Innovation Women Business Start UpSometimes projects appear like rabbits being pulled from a magician’s hat. You’re led to think there’s nothing in there and then hey presto, a cute ball of fluff gets dragged out by the ears.

Usually though, you plan like crazy, target your market and go hell for leather building a sales pipeline to regularly still miss out on the fun prizes that you really want. Hands up if you know what I mean? Good. Most of you.

Considerably less often such opportunities find you with a handful of carrots, an empty hutch, a yearning to breed bunnies, and all in your own backyard.

I can’t share too much quite yet, and my usual exuberance is again obviously overriding my (and others who will shout at me) sense of caution here, but I wanted to quickly reach out to those of you I’ve encountered over many years with a similar mindset.

Here’s the thing…
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Thames Deckway Indiegogo Campaign Goes Live

thames_deckway_infographic_2015_10_29-07_1024As promised in the previous post, here is the link to the now live Indiegogo campaign for the next phase of the Thames Deckway concept.

It is already stirring the urban transport debate whilst connecting diverse stakeholder communities. It is big, bold, sustainability focused and could create significant value for London or further afield.

Many answers still lie ahead for the project but visionary leaders like Thames Deckway’s Anna Hill should be given every opportunity to push for safer, cleaner more sustainable transport infrastructure.

Head over, read the latest FAQ’s, pick your favourite support ‘Perk’ and share with friends and colleagues. I’ll be going for the cycling cap I think. I’m just waiting for the temperatures to dip on those long brisk rides.

#walkonwater

 

 

 

 

Apple’s Best Advert Yet?

Yes, this is just an employee engagement video, but it’s also an Apple employee engagement video.

I wonder how many customers (and more importantly potential customers) felt that little bit more emotionally connected to a brand that has historically pretty much kept its head below the social and environmental parapet.

“Inclusion inspires innovation”

It is also further evidence of a company becoming being increasingly comfortable being seen in the CSR space. By adding a deeper values element to their brand Apple are on a dangerous trajectory of becoming a truly inspirational operation. It looks like Tim Cook is truly getting his feet under the big table.

That’s two responsibility videos in three months now! Cautious optimism grows.

Oh, and there’s a great soundtrack too.

 

Symantec Invest $2 Million To Tackle Youth Unemployment

sym_cyber_career_connectionIf you are going to launch a new CSR initiative then having one of the most powerful and well-known politicians in the world standing next you may just help get it noticed.

Official CGI Photo Hillary Clinton Symantec Cyber Career Connection launchFormer US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, recently announced Symantec’s new pilot programme called Cyber Career Connection (SC3) at the Clinton Global Initiative America Meeting in Denver.

The programme aims to address youth unemployment through training and career support to help fill a substantial gap in cybersecurity jobs through a collaboration with NPower (@NPower), YearUp (@YearUp) and LifeJourney. The pilot kicks-off in August in the San Francisco Bay Area, Baltimore and New York City.

“Symantec is committed to making the world a safer and better place, and as a leader in cybersecurity we believe we can help solve the cyber career gap and move underserved young adults –including people of color, women and veterans – out of low-end jobs and into highly paid and meaningful careers.

Symantec and the Symantec Foundation made an initial investment of $2 million in the Symantec Cyber Career Connection and will provide the curriculum and products to implement the program. While this is a pilot program, it’s expected to expand globally over the years and I look forward to experiencing the benefits this program brings to our workforce, Symantec, and the broader industry.” said Cecily Joseph (@CecilyJosephCR), Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer at Symantec.

This is definitely one story to watch with a rags to riches style case study just waiting to be found. If there are allegedly 300,000 currently empty cybersecurity jobs, with 60,000 of those available to somebody without a four-year college degree, then maybe there’s new path to a lucrative career for somebody from one of those targeted social groups.

For further information head over to Symantec’s blog for the details on SC3 here.