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Life in the Void

14 September 2006 2 Comments

I have always wondered what it would be like to be sucked into a Black Hole.  Would it be limitless, would I be sucked inside out, or is this all part of that nightmare you have after you have eaten all the Ben and Jerry’s in the freezer, watched “I Dream of Jeannie” reruns, and then go back to bed?


Black Holes are places where the gravitational pull is so intense there is no way to escape it.  Even light cannot escape (hence the “black” in black hole).  It’s where a huge amount of mass gets crushed into a teeny tiny amount of space.  I imagine it’s quite lonely.


Working alone in a cube or office can become like a Black Hole.  Nothing escapes, inboxes grow in girth, as do you, and hours can become long and droning.  These cube dwellers, devoid of human contact, are the same people who go to and run meetings.  They develop long and droning PowerPoint presentations.  They spread the wealth of boredom and worst of all, they share nothing with anyone.  It’s like Dilbert! Hoarding information, looking busy, disappearing into nothingness…. Aghhhh!  Primal Scream!


At Lockheed Martin, we’re looking at the Black Hole as a place where we don’t want our folks to end up.  We want our employees to escape the void and to connect across companies, programs, disciplines and departments… Our goal is to give them the tools, guidance and jolt to do it and to be excited about it.


Enter experiential marketing.  By the way, this goes back to the article where I referenced Hunt for Red October – how do you get a crew to want to get off a nuclear submarine?  For me, sunlight, fresh food, and a shopping mall would work… really not hard, but I digress.


Experiential marketing is one tactic we intend to use to get our crew completely onto the KM bandwagon.  So far, we have used all the normal (boring) tactics to extol the virtues of sharing knowledge.  But… we’ve decided to take it to a new level (and by the way, in my business, anyway, we are blowing up the “how to be a communicator” manual and getting crazy).   We are designing experience areas that can be packed up and taken anywhere, much like Starbucks’ salon or the Gypsy Cab (how cool is that?).  We are using themes based on community (The Scouts, Campfire Girls, Boosters) to get people to think about Knowledge Sharing as community building, because we believe they are intrinsically connected.  And we’re rolling this out everywhere – branding our KM experience with KM zealots who we refer to as Dr. Know (get it?).  We think that to be successful we will need to continue pushing this throughout the organization with a clear change management plan in focus.  And we are rolling in high touch KM experiences into all we do so that the audience gets involved (experiences the brand and lives the brand).  This includes an LM “SpeedGeek” event, KM as brain food presentations and much, much more.  We’ve decided to have some fun and to keep it going as long as we can.  Why not, right?


More later…


  • Anonymous said:

    I'm interested in learning more about “experiential marketing,” particularly as expressed through the “Decent Marketing” blog you point to. If you believe that all voluntary transactions are mutually beneficial, then marketing should be an easy matter of explaining value — it shouldn't require deception or lead to disappointment.
    The Kotter change phases you point to, though, creep me out. They seem very Machiavellian and in keeping with the sort of workplace politics that leads to the IT roadblock being discussed on another thread here.
    SpeedGeeking is indistinguishable from the round-robin of paper presentations we had at the last IAOC Conference. What a pleasant way to get debriefed by people who all have well-developed conclusions on a cluster of related topics.
    You still haven't mentioned tools LM will be using. Will you videotape employees and put their movies on the web? Are you creating social documents through wiki? Are you letting people work from home? I ask this last question because that would get me out of a nuclear submarine: getting paid just as much to stay home.

  • Anonymous said:

    I remember talking with you at the IAOC Conference in Valley Forge and thinking how the things you were doing/attempting to do were incredibly progressive. Keep up the good work and the fun. I'll keep a lookout on I-25 here in Denver for the people with the big smiles and their hair on fire!