S2 E111 —  Against All Odds 530 is Alive!

One of the most important reasons 530 was created is to provide a place where we can do more than just listen and watch. We can have a voice. We can share our perceptions, and learn from others about what  is shaping their thinking — their reality.

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “An idea will catch on just as fire does — with enough fodder to keep it going through the early stages and plenty of oxygen to fuel the flames. Avoid giving too much close attention, as it has a smothering effect.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s Episode 111 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 10th day of September in the fall of 2020.  

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

Table of Contents

Season One and Two are a two-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic and then in this unfolding pandemic year.

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E110Keys for Reinventing a FUD-Soaked Enterprise; S2 E109Rebuilding Trust Doesn’t Happen Overnight; S2 E108Why Our Reinvention Efforts Failed (and Yours Will Too); S2 E107Leaving Us Adrift in a Sea of Change

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E111Is There Half-life of Wisdom?; S1 E110Love, Longing, Belonging, Connection and Loss; S1 E109Do All Introverts Take the Long Acetylcholine Pathway?; S1 E108After So Many Defeats is it Time to Catch a New Trajectory?; S1 E107How Do You Rate Your Sense of Curiosity?


This is a continuation of “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” a work-in-progress.

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth, Maturity, Decline and now Reinvention stages.  

We described a mini-case of a major decline,  Part One, Part Two and Part Three. And, before that we profiled two mini case studies about what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature company in a financial, in a consumer industry and two more in another century-old university system — Part One and Two. 

Now turn from our 3-part Reinvention mini-case operating from within a technology company,  Part One,  Part Two and Part Three to a different industry with similar needs, but from a consulting assignment. We profiled Part One and Two in the most recent episodes.

Reinvention without Decline

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020


27. Knowledge Management — Brand Company  

A Strategy and Brand Consultancy. 

Part Three

Our Think!City creative team created actual seed packets in the color scheme associated with tropical foliage — new green shoots emerging from the soil.  But it you inspected each closely what you thought were normal roots were “soft” wires with metamorphic  message that, “Below the surface lies cross connections that pay off.”

Then our team created a 530 glossy magazine brochure explaining in pictures and captions what this campaign was all about. Meanwhile our technology team urgently put up the 530.com platform to accommodate the anticipated comments, innovative cross-talk and forums.

In a nutshell my ongoing role was moderating the 530 Forums, writing edgy, fun, creative responses to create a buzz and get more people to leave a message and return — while stealthily adding features which make the site a destination which internal PRERS can’t match

Their members span across our 530 species. And I anxiously waited for a few of them to provide content.  Without it I couldn’t facilitate sharing necessary for new knowledge creation and innovation.  I can’t say I felt confident about our launch.

Website Copy:

It’s ALIVE After a Rocky Soft (-wired) Launch!

You’ve seen the video.  You’ve read the magazine.  Now, it’s time to join the conversation — Link to Main Page


Main Message Headline:

Welcome to Our530

One of the most important reasons 530 was created is to provide a place where we can do more than just listen and watch. We can have a voice. We can share our perceptions, and learn from others about what  is shaping their thinking — their reality. And maybe, if we keep at it, we can create that better reality that we know is possible. The conversation has only just begun. Keep it up. Develop your voice. Someone is listening.

Early Adopters:



Prudificus Bugs, Beans

Well, I opened my packet of Prudificus Complexia and instead of beans, I found a whole bunch of what looked like dried bugs. Were there supposed to be real beans in there? I’m not the only one, either. A few of our other associates found the same thing.”

Innovation Moderator:

Now the real story can be told. “All of you realize why we call this site 530. We discovered over 530 species — flora and fauna representing almost 90 families and 330 genera –living interdependently on the Rock.   What a great ecosystem — an alliance of living things, just like in PRERS. We’re all living breathing”organisms” thriving within the company.  Great, except for one thing. 

There used to be 531 Species. We can’t tell if it was due to global warming or the introduction of a non-native species — or something else entirely.  We honestly don’t know how it happened or if “the bugs,” as you call them, can be returned to life. We can only hope so. 

Well, Gary, now it’s all in your hands. (Maybe you should wash them) It’s up to you and your fellow associates. Good luck. P.S. You might contact” Robert and John to enlist their expertise!

Website Copy:

Let’s just suppose that after that long and tiring day, you think, “Hey, what do I have to lose?”  So you log on and the first thing that catches your eye, naturally, is BREATHE DEEP.  You think, “Okay, I can do that!”  

Your eye travels down the list of Stress Reduction tips, and you suddenly realize you’re way ahead of the game.  The second tip: Cut back on caffeine (try this: drink one, then spill one).  Here, you thought no one saw that little morning incident you had at Starbucks.  “Wow, this is easier than I thought.”

Now, if only you could share your story with someone else.  

Wait, you can. Dangling at the end of one of the four soft-wires, you notice OUR CONVERSATIONS.  When you roll your mouse over it –- technically called moving your cheese –- you notice your own personal invitation, “Join in …share your ideas in our forum.” Link to Voices of 530

Early Adopters:


“If you see something on 530 that you think is really cool, send somebody to see it, too. Share the wealth! If you see something cool out there in the “real world,” bring it to 530. Don’t be greedy; share it. It’s our site. We can make it great by taking it and making it personal”. Dave F

I’d Organize a Skunk Works, a Think Tank “It may be crazy and far fetched, but …” (Link to INNOVATION)

This Just in From the Field  “I’m looking forward to everyone getting ‘online’ and participating in some dynamic discussions …”  (Link to NEWS AND VIEWS FROM THE FIELD)

Any Benefits from an Integrated PRERS? “I would like to get the audiences thoughts on the following …”  (Link to BENEFITS OF AN INTEGRATED PRERS)

To Toot or to Recognize, that is the Question “I agree, it is definitely hard to “toot your own horn” which is why … (Link To RECOGNITION)

Simplifying Prudificus Complexia   “Well, I opened my packet and instead of beans, I found a whole bunch of…” (Link to SIMPLIFYING PRUDIFICUS COMPLEXIA)

Website Copy:

Okay, this is where it gets hard.  You have to choose.  

Should I hold forth in “How Will We Use 530?”, in “Lunatic Fringe, or in “ Talk Back Forum”?  

Need more data to help you decide?  Want to go to the most popular?  Check out the number of Posts.  

You might choose to Talk Back, then.  Or, if you want to jump in on the freshest dialogue, then you might want to weigh in with the rest of the lunatics.  

Or, if  you simply want to contribute to the collective knowledge and creativity of our company, share a story (that Starbucks episode, for instance) or ask a question in “How Will We Use 530”?

Still undecided?  That’s O.K.  Come with me on a quick tour.  Let’s wander around, “listen in” and then leave our own footprints in the soft-wired threads.

Let’s start with: Link To Forum

Innovation Moderator:

 “In the short time our530.com has been up, 44 messages have been posted. Many of us do not visit the Internet every day or even weekly. Remembering to log on, read and respond to these messages is my concern.”

Early Adopters:

This is a neat site! Just trying it out and thought I would send you a note  Bob

I think this is a great opportunity to share some very diverse and innovative ideas with the larger community of PRERS. I think that for a long time innovative thinking has been stifled by fear of negative impact on those who make waves.” John

Some would rather have a handful of certainty than a wagon load of beautiful possibilities.” Diddette

Communication that is open and available 24 X 7 is an important asset for any company and a benefit to all …. I do however have a concern for information overload. Today we all have multiple sources of information that we check, each with it’s own login and password. To the developers credit there is no login and password.  Mike

Which brings me to the HSA system-which i didn’t know existed until this Site opened. Why don’t we build Our Own?  Deddette

Unfortunately when you pressure cook associates too long the optimism … 

For those of us in the field, this site will provide us a communication tool for idea exchanging, especially with those groups with whom we do not have much interaction. Hopefully, by reading how others meet client challenges, it will spur ideas and solutions for others. 

This site seems to be about innovation and quick movement, but the lumbering Enterprise seems to be in survival mode, flailing away in a losing battle to survive in a world which is passing it by. Going public is not the answer. The answer lies somewhere in a new direction, not yet discovered by those in charge. We are waiting for systems to be built to streamline functions that will be obsolete by the time the system is designed. This may sound negative, but maybe it will generate some more positive and creative responses from more level heads.

No offense Host but why must every discussion on business improvement devolve into the corporate palaver of improved customer service? I must be living on another planet.

A case in point of lack of respect for the affiliates is the roll-out of the alliance between us, a bank and our technology partner.  I wonder if anyone in the commercial franchise group was even aware of it before it happened?

Innovation Moderator:

“That’s exactly the reason 530 is here. It’s an enabler for conversations in cyberspace, where the conversation might be impossible if time or space-bounded. Here’s my challenge to you — share one of your stories. Or ask for help on one of your sticky problems. Don’t just windowshop at 530. Leave your footprints.”

Or how about:

Early Adopters:

Having done a 2 year expat assignment in Singapore I so appreciated the concept of immersion training in Mexico. I think it is so incredibly important for our associates to have a sense of what our clients’ employees are asked to experience. Years ago, it was not uncommon for the largest percentage of our relocation associate population to not only never have moved, but also not to even own a home, yet deal with domestic relocation problems/issues. Now, we must consider how we relate to folks who are asked to take their families on international “adventures”…what a positive and exciting concept!Link to Forum Topics

Managers have an obligation to their direct reports and should be held accountable for leading their teams positively into the future. Sometimes all it takes is an ear to listen to associate concerns, a commitment to work with an associate to turn a situation around. It’s not easy leading a team in today’s fast pace environment but that’s the responsibility one takes on when accepting a management position.

Innovation Moderator:

So as you can tell, you don’t have to be a lunatic to dip into the 530 conversation pool. We are these living organisms within this company. We all have stories of discovery and insight that can inspire others. These stories need to be told.  Jump in and tell us yours! 


“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “An idea will catch on just as fire does — with enough fodder to keep it going through the early stages and plenty of oxygen to fuel the flames. Avoid giving too much close attention, as it has a smothering effect.” Scorpio

Wow.  I had to learn this the hard way while pushing and pulling participation in the early stages of 530’s launch until the lit match ignited and we saw early benefits shared among the innovation teams.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“3”  Steve Smith, 30: “When you have several prospects, you won’t feel too much worry over any particular one. Putting too much emphasis on one relationship or project will only stifle it. Diversify.” Gemini

Wow.  I can’t claim this TauBit of Wisdom for today, deep in the pandemic, but it’s a lesson I had to learn time after time as a consultant.

“3”  Steve Howey, 42:Your success will depend on accountability. You’ll go farther with a good teacher, leader or coach than you will on your own. Look for someone who will invigorate you to new heights.” Cancer

Again, not so much for today, but I believe out team at Think!City took turns playing the role of leader and coach as the situation warranted.  I learned so much and to say I was invigorated is and understatement.

“4”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: You ignite passion without meaning to do so. When you express your interests and show that you’re willing to go deep, others want to get as excited about life as you are.” Leo

Not so much today, but more so in the role I took on as an innovation facilitator.  

“3”  Steve Kerr, 54:The City of Seattle was named after a great chief who suggested people, “Take only memories; leave only footprints.” This way of living seems nearly impossible in the modern world, but you’ll do your best with it today.” Libra

If only tourists breaking free would live by this wisdom!!

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4990 to 5060.




    • Saw the movie, didn’t realize that one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly — his detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch book series and Amazon Prime series — also wrote, “The Lincoln Lawyer” which I just finished. Gotta tell you I can’t not see his lead character (Mickey Haller, Bosch’s half brother) as anyone else but Matthew McConaughey. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate


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