CommScrumming from Bromley,Kent

Mike Klein

Greetings from the first-ever CommScrum founders’ retreat.  Amid a bacchanalia of mulled wine, Thai curry and private-label bourbon,  we Scrummers took a look at the current state of organisational communication, life in the corporate world, and in particular the fate of blogging as a viable means of getting opinions across.

As one could expect, the discussions were robust, particularly in terms of whom we believe our target audience should be, with my fellows seeking to engage (hate that word but can’t think of better) CEOs and senior folks from other disciplines, and me tenaciously clinging to the ground that CommScrum should be about empowering communicators to challenge conventional wisdom whether it comes from above or below.

We did come to some shared conclusions, the first of which is that blogging is toast.  We’ve largely run aground on our own blogging, hence the paucity of recent posts. We’ve also come to appreciate that our LinkedIn group is a success, with 417 members worldwide, including some of the best thought leaders from Europe, North America and Australasia.

So, we’re going to concentrate on evolving CommScrum to the next level – developing the quality and membership of the LinkedIn group.  And, when we have a collective opinion, we’ll either post to a collective platform like CIPR’s Conversation, write a white paper, and even, submit a post to a real print publication.

Thus, aside from links to these external postings, we are burying the blog.  The Blog is dead, long live CommScrum!

Lindsay Uittenbogaard

Right.  Commscrum isn’t about the founders, it is about provocative challenge to the current communication profession. It means to save its practitioners from wading around in the ‘dark side’ of reactive, subservient mud to talk to about what really counts.

It’s about people who have an affinity with fun, edgy, smart communication talking about business, from a viewpoint where that communication is integrated with its overlapping disciplines: PR, Public Affairs, HR, Brand, Marketing… all for pre- and post- business-decision purposes.

Taking that – as a very specific frame – to the members of the Commscrum group on LinkedIn as a single virtual platform, passes the ball to the next phase of possession.  An exciting game.

Dan Gray

When we started this blog, there were two defining features: first was the commitment to challenging orthodoxy, to strap up our cauliflower ears, sharpen our studs and be prepared to indulge in the odd ‘Mauri sidestep’; second was the unique four-handed nature of our scrums, priming the debate and letting it be known that anyone and everyone was welcome to pile in and say their piece.

On the second, the migration from the blog to the LinkedIn group was an obvious evolutionary step, taking our four-handed approach and (at the time of writing this) turning into a 417-handed one. Killing off the blog just makes this official, and it’s the right thing to do.

As for the future, I’d point to my single favourite scrum, which was started by Adam Hibbert on the LI group, which essentially boiled down to: if everything the CommScrum stands for is so obvious to us, why does it continue to be anathema to so many organisations?

Firstly, it’s a great question – the kind of big ‘Why?’/‘What if?’ question that the CommScrum is there for. (‘How to…’ is fine as the ultimate destination of a conversation, but it’s not an appropriate starting point for us; there are plenty of other forums to address these kinds of tactical questions.)

Secondly, its intent was a kind of root cause analysis – something that might actually lead to a way past the conceptual/institutional roadblocks that stand in our way. We never really got that far, though, and I’d like to see us resurrect and develop this line of investigation further.

Kevin Keohane

Having been party to the construction of the above, I have little to add.  One, it had been within the realm of possibility that CommScrum had run its course. Two, I want to see the CommScrum dialogue extend beyond “communication” in its more traditional sense and into the realm of “communication” as a creative strategic business management and design discipline that doesn’t just reflect but actually shapes and defines organisational direction.  Looking forward to the next stage in the revolution.

Retreating to the Future

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