A Discourse on Dice

Dice according to Ciaran

Month: October, 2012

Seminar 2 – “Get Social”

(e3detroit.com 2012)

We’re all social creatures.” – Social Media Monthly Magazine. 

(adventured.com 2012)

The social media phenomenon is growing in such a sporadic way it almost seems to have a life of its own. As a whole there is no doubt that this multi-faceted creature cannot be tamed. However, is it possible that firms can manipulate some of its quite unpredictable traits for their own purposes?  I deduced from the “Get Social” seminar that to varied extents it is possible, but also perhaps perilous. It was valuable to receive direction and caution from those who are well familiar with the different aspects of social media behaviour.

At the beginning of the conference, confronted with “Gangnam Style”, I was intrigued as to what its academic significance was.  Theo Lynn’s clarification as to how we can learn from “Psy” was helpful.  The aspect I found most insightful was how the dance moves used in the video were copied directly from one of “American Idol’s” tragic heroes who fell at the first hurdle.   I can appreciate Psy’s innovation here, turning something which people wouldn’t be seen dead doing into a world-wide craze.  The fickle sway in the tide of public opinion is something which can be exploited by users of social media.  It can also be colossally detrimental to businesses and individuals if not recognised and adhered to, as other speakers later acknowledged.

It was significant how Mark Cahalane, (Managing Director, Edelamn Europe), described that trust has “tangible benefits”.  I agree that businesses “transcending from a licence to operate to a licence to lead” is an exciting proposition.  Social media gives businesses a great understanding of what people value and focus on as it is basically conversations in open forum.  This information enables firms to respond to the desires of the public in a leadership fashion.

Some of the hazards described by Claire Wardle, (Director of News services, Storyful) which can be encountered on the social media sphere were quite alarming such as people losing jobs, organisations suffering bad publicity etc.  Her presentation was constructive for me personally in that although she warned us of potential hiccups, she also told us to “get stuck in”.

Being untutored in the Twitter world I was surprised to hear how dynamically suitable for business it is.  After listening to Jane White’s (former DCU student and current Account Executive for Twitter) explanation of promoted accounts, promoted tweets and promoted trends, I can see how, if harnessed the right way, tweets can be turned into sales.

Social media accounts for only 16% of customer engagement today, but is expected to increase to 57%—the second-most used channel, behind only face to face interaction—within five years. 

(Tom Pick 2012)

Phillip Kelly (digital marketing executive, Electric Ireland), is clearly someone who has experience in effectively handling tweets, likes, dislikes and comments.  His reference to how his firm has seen slander on Facebook turn round to commendation showed how even negative exposure can be turned into positive publicity.  No medium of advertising and business communication except the social media platform offers this same opportunity.

(Jack Dorsey 2006)

“Why bother adding to all that noise?”.

Darragh Doyle’s (Community Manager, World Irish) opening question was certainly relevant.  I loved his quote from Steinbeck, “If a story is not about the hearer, then no one’s listening”.  If in the multitude of blogs, tweets and Facebook accounts the contribution is to be significant, it should be relevant to the audience.

The panel of Conor, Ciaran, Daragh and Krishna all had useful advice to contribute.  I personally got a lot from Krishna’s idea that you don’t have to do everything.  I am someone who likes to try to hit the target with every available projectile, often doing considerable damage everywhere else.  So reiteration of my need to hone accuracy in specific areas was beneficial.

One of the most valuable resources that platforms such as Facebook offer businesses is that they give them the possibility of direct contact with the information circulating around their company.  Catherine Flynn (Global Marketing Solutions (UK) at Facebook) pointed out that the recommendation of a product or service from friends is much more likely to result in sales than a firm’s own advertisements.

Excellence is a quality that rarely goes unnoticed.  Upon researching it further I was very impressed with the story of innovation and creativity that landed Matthew Young his dream job of designing covers at Penguin.  Penguin have now even used his example as a means of finding new employees, (pearson.com 2012).  Inspirational anecdotes like this one which was cited by Brian Herron, (Community Manager, Google+ Local at Google Inc.), have made the first two DICE seminars stimulating.

(handshake20.com 2012)

Social media has put its stamp on virtually every aspect of our lives, not least on the business world.  I thought “Get Social” was very relevant for us as BS1 students.  Three of the insights which Eric Weaver, (IPG Brand), gave us were a good overview of the entire seminar, be passionate, watch out for and respond well to blunders, and utilize the opportunity which social media offers you.  When applied, they enable firms to harness the fluctuating nature of the social media sphere for business purposes.


e3detroit.com 2012.  8 Tips to Help Muzzle the Social Media Monster, [Online].  Available from: http://e3detroit.com/2012/01/social-media-monster/ [Accessed 29 October 2012].

adventured.com 2012.  Top 50 Social Media Quotes and Social Networking Quotes, [Online].  Available from: http://adventured.com/about-life-quotes-socialnetwork-quotes/ [Accessed 29 October 2012].

Tom Pick 2012.  87 More Vital Social Media Marketing Facts and Stats for 2012, [Online].  Available from: http://www.business2community.com/social-media-marketing-facts-and stats-for-2012-0307891 [Accessed 29 October 2012].

Jack Dorsey 2006.  Necessary Noise Only, Please [Online].  Available from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jackdorsey/272873611/ [Accessed 29 October 2012].

pearson.com 2012.  Penguin Ad Campaign for New Community Manager: A Creative Search for Creativity, [Online].  Available from: http://www.pearson.com/about-us/feature-stories.html [Accessed 28 October 2012].

handshake20.com 2012.  Size Matters: Your Social Media Footprint, [Online].  Available from: http://www.handshake20.com/2010/01/size-matters-your-social-media-footprint.html [Accessed 29 October 2012].

Seminar 1 – “Get Creative”

(photobucket.com 2012)

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” – Pablo Picasso.

(goodreads.com 2012)

Creativity and the appreciation of  it is something which I believe is molded into us as human beings.  The imaginative innovation of humanity is a fundamental aspect of our existence.  Creative inventions and improvisations make the business world go around.  Every product or service we value today has been brought to us because people “got creative”.  I found it encouraging that the first seminar on our DICE module dealt with creativity, how it thrives, the obstacles to  it and the benefits it brings us.

I had heard something of Edward de Bono and his theories on thinking before attending “Get Creative”, having been introduced to “the thinking hats” on a mature student course.  The scale of companies he has worked with is significant, IBM, British Airways, Ericsson and British Coal to name a few (edwdebono.com 2012). I was glad to get another opportunity to further my knowledge of his ideas.  Especially from someone as familiar with de Bono’s understanding as Nigel Newman is, a Global Master Practitioner of  de Bono’s methods of thinking.  Hearing of the scale of the De Bono Foundation surprised me.  It now extends over 40 countries and has 7.5 million users worldwide. It was also interesting to learn that Edward de Bono was appointed a DCU professor in 2005.

(www.buyingbrain.com 2012)

“Is the human brain, with all its problem-solving prowess and creative ability, powerful enough to understand itself? Nothing in the known universe (with the exception of the universe itself) is more complex.” 

(Laura Helmuth 2011)

Understanding your equipment is important when conducting any task so it follows that if we want to think appropriately we really should try to understand the brain.  I found it insightful at the beginning of the seminar when Nigel said that “the excellence of the brain arises directly from its ability to use patterns”.  He then described how these patterns are useful because they help us to learn and remember how to do essential things.  An example he cited was putting the correct shoe on each foot.  Without a pattern being formed in our brains by continuous repetition no one could learn musical instruments or read or write.   However as Nigel made clear, such patterns can lock our minds into a continual way of thinking thus hindering us from thinking creatively.  (Nigel told us that The Mechanism of the Mind, de Bono, 1969 explores these ideas further.)

I thought there were many interesting concepts in the “Importance of Perception” part of the presentation.  The perception conundrum with jockeys and horses  showed how difficult and simple problem-solving can be at the same time.  I was surprised at my own lack of invention during the exercise involving the statement that “all cars must be painted yellow”.  However, I can see how dividing our focus into positive, negative and interesting when dealing with situations could be useful.

In the exercise involving the six hats, my group chose to analyse the option “There should be a free e day each week”.  I found that I was able to think easiest with the white hat on (the positive one).  Though thinking positively has many advantages I was interested to read that it can be problematic also.  It can lead to an unrealistic, miscalculated enthusiasm.  We rarely hear of it but overtly optimistic thinking is credited in some psychological circles as being responsible for such catastrophic outcomes as the burst of the economic bubble (Robert L. Leahy 2011).

The thing I found most fascinating about Nigel’s talk were the real life examples he brought into view.  My favourite anecdote was that concerning folk singer Dave Carroll who cost United Airlines 180 million in shares after recording a song deprecating the airline after they broke his guitar.  It shows how one person responding to one incident in a creative manner can have such a massive effect.

There were lots of beneficial pointers and well thought out advice throughout the presentation.  I particularly liked the approach we employed of useful wishful thinking in the exercise on supermarkets.  Many great inventions were born because people dreamed of a better alternative or recognized a need that wasn’t being met.  Below is an example of how desire can give rise to innovation.

(strghtandnrrw.com 2012)

“If at first the idea isn’t absurd, there is no hope for it”. – Albert Einstein.

(Erik Johnson 2009)

(Look Closely, you might miss them.)

I gained many valuable insights from the “Get Creative” seminar.  Among them was the idea that it is important to “find time to be creative”, as this is how inspiration comes.  I plan on setting time aside for this very purpose.  As well as this, as my opening quote suggests and the problem solving exercises show, sometimes creativity can be hindered by our own narrow logic.  I was also inspired by the many stories of innovative thinking and the benefits it has brought.  I thought the “Decaux model” for bus stops that Nigel mentioned at the end was very interesting.

Learning how to be creative is not something we typically associate with most university business courses.  The more methodical aspects of business are usually those that are focused on, at least in common perceptions.  It was refreshing that creativity was given its due attention at “Get Creative”.


photobucket.com 2012. Get Creative [Online]. Available from: http://s387.beta.photobucket.com/user/javanmarsh/media/18-GetCreative.jpg.html [Accessed 20 October 2012].

goodreads.com 2012. Pablo Picasso Quotes [Online].  Available From: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/creativity [Accessed 20 October 2012].

edwdebono.com 2012. Edward De Bono Biography [Online]. Available from http://www.edwdebono.com/debono/biograph.html [Accessed 20 October 2012].

Robert L. Leahy 2011. The Dangers of Optimism [Online]. Available from http:www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anxiety-files/201110/the-dangers-optimism. [Accessed 20 October 2012].

Laura Helmuth 2011. Beauty of the Brain, Smithsonian Magazine [Online]. Available from http://www.smithsonianmag/science-nature.html#ixzz2A3T4qMLA [Accessed 22 October 2011

buyingbrain.com 2012. Cool Brain Facts [Online]. Available from http://www.buyingbrain.com/cool-brain-facts [Accessed 20 October 2012].

strghtandnrrw.com 2012. Page 23 [Online]. Available from http://strghtandnrrw.tumblr.com/page/23 [Accessed 20 October 2012].

Erike Johnson 2009. God Does Not Play Dice With the Universe. [Online] Available from http://disruption.ca/archives/category/programing [Accessed 22 October 2012].



(© Brewley Schultheiss  2012 Absphoto.co)

“Straight as a die”:

Meaning – Completely Straight”

Origin – This is an odd simile when one considers that the die here is the singular of dice – hardly objects that appear straight. It makes more sense when we realize that straight means correct and true, rather than ‘as the crow flies.”

(www.phrases.org.uk 2012)

“DICE” – Digital Innovation Creativity and Enterprise

“Discourse” – ¹written or formal communication or debate, ²a formal discussion of a topic.” (Oxford Soanes 2006)

Dear readers,

As I’m sure you’re all aware, being a DCU business studies 1st year brings with it many benefits.  At times however, academic opportunities can turn into academic responsibilities.  In a moment of minor uncertainty I feel both privileged and obligated to begin writing a blog concerning the 5 different DICE seminars which I am due to attend over the coming months.

Perhaps my stance of slight indecision can be better understood alongside my confession that I am not a member of “Facebook” or “Twitter” or any other networking site.  My introduction into the infrastructure of digitalised human interaction has  been hindered somewhat.  The main obstacles which I have encountered have been, I must admit, self-made.  At the beginning in the years of “Bebo”, an insurmountable mass of apathy stood in my way.  As avenues became more interesting with the emergence of “Facebook”, “MySpace” and “WordPress”, I was confronted with a hazardous stumbling block of procrastination.

As it begins to gain more and more importance in everyday communication I am hesitantly grateful for the much needed push into the sphere of social media.


© Anya Brewley Schultheiss 2012 Hand throwing dice black and white [Photograph] http://www.absphoto.co

http://www.phrases.org.uk 2012. As straight as a die [Online]. Available from: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/as-straight-as-a-die.html [Accessed October 20th 2012]

Soanes, C. 2012. Paperback Oxford English Dictionary. 6th Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.