Future Literacy workshop, IULM Milan, Febr. 2 & 3

At the start of February I was invited to participate in a future literacy workshop organized by the school of Communication, Media and IT in Milan. It was part of the Master of International Communication (MIC), with participants of the Geert Hofstede Consortium, and organized by Loes Damhof, Anet Doornbos, Elles Kazemier and Lilian Eggers in coordination with Unesco, represented by Kasper Nosarzewski, a foresight consultant from Poland. The workshop was developed based upon the grant Loes received as teacher of the year and is a pilot in a broader program that will be offered to other Master students at the Hanze University.

In this 2-day workshop we were challenged to position ourselves in 50 years time, where would our profession (international communication) be at that time, and what consequences will that have? In several steps we were taken in that future timeline, examining and revealing assumptions, by reflection, by contrasting and by imagination. Besides the 5 MIC students, colleagues of the IULM University and Leeds Becket University took part. The whole workshop was filmed by a professional crew, which made it even more special, especially in trying to act as normal as possible and trying to ignore the film crew.

So what is needed in international communication in 2057? What skills do we need by then? Will we have a personal robot assistant that will manage our agenda, communications and other tasks? Will we have world peace, or will diversity and inclusion still be discussed and argued? Do we need new business models to create this sustainable future? And what is our role as communication professional by then? The workshop is designed for a reflection on this, and helped us to manage our personal journey, but also our joint pathway as international communicators into this future.

The diversity of the participants (age 20 – 65, 10 different nationalities) made that young students discussed with established professors and where people with diverse cultural background collaborated. We worked steadily through the tough questions and challenges, using a lot of post it papers and different rounds of discussions and reflections. The trainers forced you to come out of your comfort zone, which always does result in the best experiences. So what exactly do we need for sustainable communication? At the end we all were able to create our own pathway to the future but your own scenario changes by doing as such, so Future  Literacy is an iterative process that innovates the current situation

The workshop can be used in different fields of study among different groups. Businesses most have a limited time frame to operate, so a workshop like this, can help them to make the real strategic decisions or challenge their current strategy. Especially for our students who have to find their way and start thinking about a career, this workshop can be of invaluable importance. It is not only about knowledge we teach during classes and what is written in textbooks, this workshop helps them in creating pathways for their own future. This future literacy workshop is for everyone an eye-opener and a very useful tool in shaping your own pathway.and how we can use the future to shape the present. If you have ever the chance of participating: do!


Of course, the future is unpredictable, but this workshop surely helps to reduce some of the uncertainties involved with this. Help embrace true ambiguity and uncertainty, as the trainers themselves repeatedly added! This workshop is state of the art, innovative and thought provoking, Hanze University can be proud to be involved in this! More information on this can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1QOxYMIFIc&feature=youtu.be


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BUILDING BRIDGES; Arthur W. Page Society conference, London

In the summer of 2015 I was nominated and elected to become a member of the AW Page Society. AW Page Society is the world’s leading professional association for senior public relations and corporate communication executives and educators who seek to enrich and strengthen their profession.

Members of the AW Page Society consists primarily of chief communication officers (CCO’s) of Fortune 500 corporations and leading non-profit organisations, the CEOs of the worlds foremost public relations agencies, and academics from the top business and communications schools who have distinguished themselves teaching and/or studying corporate communications. The society has strict membership criteria that ensure it remains an exclusive assembly of the very best and brightest of the profession. The AW Page Society has 7 key principles that are used as guidelines in actions and behaviour of its members. These are: (1) Tell the truth; (2) Prove it with action; (3) Listen to stakeholders; (4) Manage for tomorrow; (5) Conduct public relations as if the whole enterprise depends on it; (6) Realize that an enterprise’s true character is expressed by its people; and (7) Remain calm, patient and good-humored. Continue reading

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S.O.S. Send Our Stuff Big companies on social media

Read my blog on Communication Director on a study we did on social media of big European companies. They do not seem to have it straight yet

Communication Director

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Wim Elving stopt als hoofdredacteur van Corporate Communications, an International Journal

Wim Elving is recent gestopt als hoofdredacteur van Corporate Communications, an International Journal (CCIJ). CCIJ is het leidende wetenschappelijke tijdschrift binnen de Corporate Communicatie. Elving was hoofdredacteur (editor-in-chief) sinds 2006. Onder zijn tienjarig hoofdredacteurschap is het tijdschrift opvallend gegroeid.

In 2006 was CCIJ een Angelsaksisch gedomineerd tijdschrift, met voornamelijk bijdragen uit Engels sprekende landen. De periode van 2006 tot 2010 kenmerkte zich door de toename van Europese bijdragen, zoals heel mooi weergegeven in het hoofdredactionele commentaar van Elving uit 2010. Alhoewel het tijdschrift tot op heden geen ISI-ranking heeft weten te bemachtigen (maar dat is volgens velen slechts een kwestie van tijd), is het heel populair. Zo werd in 2014 196.000 keer een artikel uit het tijdschrift gedownload, een zeer hoog aantal waar vele wetenschappelijke tijdschriften slechts van kunnen dromen.

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And we have another interesting case, which we can use for years in research: Volkswagen and their cheating with software so emissions of NoX are lower when software detects being tested. Ofcourse public opinion is outraged, because VW made us believe that they cared about trust and cared upon their reputation. Large proportions of their website and their CSR report are full with details on how they act on environmental issues and socially.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 14.15.41Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 14.25.31

(screenshots from VW sustainability report 2014)

And again, we are cheated, just like BP with their beyond petroleum, and other global operating firms.

It seems almost the opposite, when an organization makes the effort of reporting on CSR they are greenwashing or identity washing. I don’t know because whether it is of the too many marketeers involved in CSR, but the loss in trust seems to be bigger than what they can give back to soceity with CSR. Do we have to conclude that any CSR communication is based upon not telling the truth? We certainly have to be very suspicious!

CSR is not a thing, a report or a website you can add to your business, it has to be in your DNA. If not, don’t report on it, you will not be believed anymore. In old stakeholder models, the company is in the middle of the charts, in our networked soceity a company might be included in the network of a stakeholder, but certainly this is not automatically. Stakeholders choose whether a company is part of their network. Continue reading

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Dr. Wim J.L. Elving treedt toe tot de Arthur W. Page Society

De board of trustees van de Arthur W. Page Society heeft de nominatie van dr. Wim J.L. Elving als lid goedgekeurd. Elving wordt daarmee de negende Nederlander en, na prof. Cees van Riel, de tweede Nederlandse wetenschapper binnen de Page Society. De Arthur W. Page Society is een vereniging voor senior PR- en corporate communicatie-executives die het versterken en verrijken van de professie hoog in het vaandel hebben staan.

Leden zijn voornamelijk chief communication officers van Fortune 500- bedrijven, CEO’s van de grootste PR-bureaus en leidende wetenschappers in de corporate communicatie. De Page Society hanteert een strikt uitnodigingenbeleid voor nieuwe leden op basis van strenge selectiecriteria. De Page Society wijdt zich aan het versterken van de rol van de chief communication officer en laat zich daarbij leiden door de zogenaamde Page Principles, die al meer dan een halve eeuw worden gebruikt en die steun en respect hebben gekregen van vele CEO’s in de Verenigde Staten. Momenteel telt de Page society ongeveer 500 leden, waarvan negen Nederlanders, onder wie de CCO’s van Ahold, Akzo Nobel, Heineken en KPN. Elving zegt:

Het is een hele eer en erkenning van mijn werk als auteur en onderzoeker binnen het boeiende vakgebied van de corporate communicatie. Als de uitnodiging om lid te worden expliciet vermeldt dat je een thought leader bent, dan doet dat wel wat met je.

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Employer branding; who is going to tell recruiters and HR professionals?

Wim J.L. Elving


Employer branding is about branding the organization as an attractive employer. That is not and cannot be a value free exercise. You cannot claim being an attractive employer, if you are not.

We have studied Employer branding for some time now, first results (see Elving et al., 2013) showed that it is hardly exercised in the Netherlands, but if applied can lead to an significant increase of attractiveness. In this experiment we created two identical jobs at a virtual organization, one vacancy was the standard, as we see on recruitment sites and in the newspapers, the other one was branded, included information on the uniqueness of the organization, the possibilities for development for the candidate etcetera.

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Viva voce

Viva Voce

In January 2015 I had the privilege to be invited as external examiner for a Viva Voce (PhD thesis defense) at the Brunel Business School of the University of Brunel in the UK. The thesis was on sustainability communication and strategic ambiguity. Although the terms differed from how I use these in my work and research, the PhD it self was a great effort to gain knowledge on how professionals in the food and related industries are dealing with the growing demands of stakeholders to care more for the environment, well being and health of consumers.

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