Recently I was invited to a guest at a twitter chat at #Rubhusocial a platform founded by @akathmadevi. The topic was thought leadership and this is a topic I feel very strongly about. In the past I have led successful efforts with Wipro and IBM in the past and am using some of that experience to develop the first social media adoption research report for Dentists in India partnering with @Thedentaledu. The transcript of the chat can be found here
The first rule of thought leadership is that it should solve an existing problem. One has to identify what keeps the stakeholders in a particular industry up on a particular issue up. This has to be done by primary research. Then apply your original idea to solve the problem.
Now these are the key factors for a very successful thought leadership campaign
1) Focus on nature as an original source for thought leadership
Many times the greatest sources of thought leadership come from nature. A good case in point is the creation of Pringle chips the idea came from how dried leaves in the backyards were compressed for use in recycling and overall disposal. Similarly shapes of fishes have been used to design submarines, birds are a source for aircraft design
2) Avoid rehashing of available content
What I have seen is that many ‘experts’ in the industry rehash existing content as thought leadership. I would call such an effort as point of view of perspective at best, but not thought leadership. Thought leadership is looking at original thought. A good example is the T 20 format which is an original thought keeping in times with the changing scenario where people cannot sit an entire day for a match. Now an original thought can spawn thought leadership. I have seen this format long ago in the US and also ICL started by Former Indian World cup winner Kapil Dev.
The best way to understand the market reality is to use primary research either qualitative or quantitative research to give the current state and how your approach is thought leadership to solve the existing problems.
3) Read more fiction
Fiction has given us more thought leadership than any other format. Look at satellites first described by Arthur C Clark or the use of Helicopters first drawn by Leonardo Da Vinci . Fiction lets your imagination run wild and sometimes that becomes the original thought leadership.
There can be more aspects but I want to stick to three. There was this enthusiastic HR executive on the chat who would Google every question, identify the relevant images with models and reply to the questions as if he was the guest. Thought leadership is not about Goggling content and coming up with copyright restricted images as models.
Its about original thought, for example look at the Mahabharatha, very original in its thought process and is heavily copied today in our Googled world.
To be original you have to let your mind free and come up with solutions to exiting problems, that’s what is true thought leadership. For more on #Rubhusocialchat or if you want to be guest there, then please reach out to @rubhusocial on twitter.