Web-savvy strategy

Will Rowan provides consultancy to grow businesses with web-savvy strategy.

Strategy isn’t about technology: never has been, never will be. Strategy for digital business is no different.

“It’s about people, process, behaviours, and how they change. Right now business, web & marketing communities are full of hints, tips and whirring technologies:
useful, if you remember that tech is only a means to an end – an enabler which will change colleague and customers’ behaviour.

Services: Consultancy: Writing:  Speaking

The art of user experience design

Yes, it’s this complex… And even this graphic leaves out some plates which a great ux designer will keep spinning

The Intricate Anatomy Of UX Design

Great design, engineered into site processes and design from the outset, will multiply the proportion of visitors who achieve their (and your business) goals.

Legitimising collaborative lending

Vince Cable launches £110m loan scheme aimed at small firms headline in today’s Guardian It’s fascinating to see Government turning to the web‘s collaborative lenders. When companies like Zopa started I doubt that banks thought of them as serious competition. While the sums offered by government are relatively small, the principle is important. And if the scheme succeeds, by giving lenders a better return than a bank would offer, there’s the potential for a win-win in the private sector, at the expense of conventional banking. As digital businesses, it’s highly likely that when a model works it will also scale, rapidly. And while this initiative is underpinned by government funding, the legitimacy conferred by the scheme will fuel future growth in collaborative funding. Ht the guardian

strategy+business: The Global Innovation 1000: Making Ideas Work

The think : do gap

Why can’t organisations that are smart enough to spot & design opportunities for a better business actually deliver? This thinking/doing gap doesn’t appear to have shrunk over the last decade – where you might have thought that business would have got better at innovation. Booz provide a full, accessible and deployable piece of research: you will recognise your own business’ behavior in one of their models. Via Strategy Business

Knowledge@Wharton: Luxury Adjusts to a World of Retail Instant Gratification

In a 1996 article for wired magazine, ‘new rules for the new economy‘ Kevin Kelly said that the High St would change its behaviors to match customers’ online expectations. A generation later, and that’s exactly where we are. This Wharton article’s perspective is from a luxurious peak – but luxury is only comforting for those brands that get it right. Of course, Burberry is the shining example, by embracing another of Kelly’s principles – to generously give away access to previously privileged areas. Not just live views of the catwalk, but backstage too, in high definition. Web-style user experiences are already designed into a Burberry shop visit. cite Burberry as a reference customer, so you would expect that data is acquired on & offline to personalise future retail experiences. Fabulous insight, Via Knowledge@Wharton 


British Gas makes it hard for customers to pay best value rates

The reality of British Gas’ new, simpler tariffs…

[pasted from feedback to bg, when trying to update my dual fuel account]


I had a dual fuel, direct debit account with bg
you ended it, and didn’t tell me
is that legal?

I had to come & check… nowhere on my logged in account did you notify me that there had been a change in tariff.
Is it legal to change prices on a direct debit without notification?
Even banks manage that…

I checked your new, simpler accounts.
& tried to order one.
At step 3, I was told that I’d said I wasn’t a bg customer.
(remember, I’m doing this while logged into my BG account!)
No, I didn’t tell you that
There’s no opportunity in steps 1 or 2 to indicate whether or not I’m a customer.

So now I have to wait for your call centre to open, so that I can transfer my dual fuel online account into a new [not-notified] online dual fuel account.

Just how much will you compensate me for
a) the inconvenience
b) the user-experience advice

The Likeminds experience

At Likeminds 2010 I compared my notes to those of Adam Timworth, sitting beside me. And promptly stopped taking notes. His were so much better than mine.

Adam’s liveblog posts for Likeminds 2011 are as thorough as ever; I’ll not pick out any speakers or immersives, and recommend watching the videos as they’re posted. Likeminds give its speakers an open remit; the only requirement being to be original – there’s no pitching, or tired reruns of this season’s conference slideset. The result is an intensive learning experience, from beginning to end, and on into the night.

I’ve been before, & loved it from the first moment. Used the London Club regularly. And somehow though I expected a great event again this year, I’m delighted to find that the changed emphasis & format evolution have kept things fresh – but as intensive as ever.


Like Minds 2011 Day 1

I love that likeminds doesn’t spoon feed folk; it’s damned hard work. The platform content is so original it demands attention. The conversations around sessions start at a serious level of understanding, and soar from there. it was striking how this year there were far fewer tweets to announce ‘I’m at likeminds, and the next speaker is kicking off’… far fewer tweets, as we all listened, thought, and digested.

To manage a one day event like that would be an achievement – to manage it time & again, this year for 3 days, is an astonishing achievement by speakers, organisers, and the participants (aka, anywhere else, as the audience!).

It’s striking that this year’s shift away from being ‘about’ social media perfectly previews social media’s evolution into everyday business as usual.

Exeter is the perfect backdrop; fresh air, invigorating walks between venues & lunches, and the speaker/organiser/participant pack is shuffled several times a day, for extra stimulation.

heh; this started as the answer to a feedback question; it’s developed into a fully formed roundup. Note; I’m not mentioning one speaker, one immersive, or one fellow delegate. It’s all good; every piece of the jigsaw contributes to the picture – and the picture wouldn’t be so rich without each and every one.

I like the thought that likeminds brings us the unsung heroes, from behind the scenery, who make things happen.

Social media’s journey; we’re not there yet


Social media revolution

 A beautiful rendering of the scale of what’s changed in the past 15 years (by By Mentionablehonor (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons )… & no, twe’re not there yet. the journey has only begun – but we can now see many of the underlying principles that are driving change in marketing.