Principles and Books for Looking into the Digital Future from Lee Aase

When asked to share digital trends and predictions to kick-off the inaugural Minnesota PRSA Digital Skills Workshop, Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Social Media Network, took an alternative approach.

I’ll share the trends that I’ve observed, and the books that I have read or heard at least two times, but generally more. And link you to the Audible store, while the future I cannot foretell these principles will serve you well.

Digital media is changing fast, so Aase, a leader in utilizing social media, shared insights for getting your mind moving in new directions. Along the way, he shared some of his favorite audio books, and  joked if you subscribe to the one book per month plan on Audible, you will be set for the next year. (Note – one book is free.)

Principle 1: Extrapolation is the Best Starting Point for Prediction

We start our research by looking back at digital media. Aase reminisced about the big three TV networks and newspapers. Their monopoly over the news and advertising was staggering until Ted Turner came along and created CNN. Eventually, the internet meant new production and distribution was democratized.

These two revolutions have turned both news and advertising on their heads. Just look at the value of Facebook, which far outweighs the traditional media giants.

The books to consider to open your mind to digital opportunities include:

  • Free the Future of Radical Price by Chris Anderson (It’s free on Audible!)
  • Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
  • Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators by Clay Shirky

Principle 2: Improbable Events Will Have Outsized Influence in Your Life

Aasee told the story of how Mayo Clinic came out of an improbable event. A  tornado that destroyed much of Rochester, MN moved a group of nuns to ask the doctors Mayo to help with a hospital they wanted to build.

Now, the Mayo Clinic was rated the best hospital by U.S News and World Report.

Disruptive innovation comes in several forms. Consider the introductions of the iPod, Flip camera or IPhone. How did they change your world?

At TopRank Marketing, we know disruption can prove to have great value. Trying new disruptive techniques or tools challenges the team and often provides the client with new and better outcomes.

Books to consider:

  • Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

Principle 3: Mindset Matters More Than Skill

As a digital marketer, it is important to remember these basic skill sets for presenting yourself well:

  • Speaking skills
  • Digital production skills
  • Writing skills

Writing represents you when you are not present, says Aase, so use an active voice and avoid cliches.

Key to remember — have the mindset that you can do new things.

Book to consider:

  • Mindset: The new Psychology of Success by Carol s Dweck, Ph.D.

Principle 4: The Growth Mindset Creates Optionality

As a trailblazer in social media, Aase uses the mindset, “Proceed until apprehended!” He was one of the first to use platforms like Facebook and Twitter in a medical setting.

As an example, when Mayo Clinic doctors separated conjoined twins Aase applied the the principles from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, the art of stress-free productivity:

  • Collect. Process. Review. Do.
  • The Creative Catalyst of inbox Zero
  • The Two-Minute Rule
  • “Is this actionable?”
  • Do-Delegate-Defer-Delete
  • What’s the next action?

This stressful event led to  new options with additional press and his first Tweetcamp.  

More books to consider:

  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  • Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

Principle 5: Think Analogically

Social media is now part of the DNA of Mayo Clinic. Aase’s team provides guidelines, best practices, training and consulting to their healthcare professionals. As the head of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network (#MCSMN) he uses social media to lead a revolution in healthcare.

Principle 6: Develop a “Barbell” risk profile

At the heart of any success is almost always a willingness to take risks.

Books to consider:

  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams

Principle 7: Pursue Personal Growth

Take care of yourself, personally, suggests Aase. He advised subscribing to The Tim Farriss Show podcast, and reading (listening to) these books:

  • The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet  by Nina Teicholz
  • The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss

What marketing digital disruption will you predict? Or lead?


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