Heidi Forbes Öste


Not so easy at it looks

Feeling the weary road warrior (and I know I am far from the worst), I try to seek perspective from that which I experience. In the last couple of months it has been everything from Silicon Valley and the network of industry specialists in social commerce to Kosovo and discussions on social enterprises and change agents to family gatherings in New England, to workshops for leaders in US cable, to local (Malmö, Sweden) discussions on entrepreneurship and social leadership to Abu Dhabi to discover opportunities for knowledge sharing and advising on how social strategy can be used.  My head is spinning, my heart is full and my body is worn out from flying cheap seats and changing time zones.  But the real result is that I feel more inspired to continue my work and the importance on teaching social strategy. (more…)


Here are some my takeaways from the Altimeter Group’s first event, The Rise of Social Commerce in Palo Alto. Before discussing the presentations, I have a few personal reflections. Face time is so critical. Having conversations with like-minded peers is empowering, validating and challenging all at once. Having the opportunity to directly say out loud “thanks for the retweet” with a smile rather than a :), gave me particular pleasure. The quality of participants and the genuine passion for the subject of the new social paradigm was impressive. It was a pleasure meeting you all. I look forward to continuing the conversation. So now to the presentation takeaways (slides and agenda here): (more…)

Driven by the belief that knowledge is power and sharing is powerful, I dedicate my work to creating better understanding of the social tools that enable sharing of knowledge both in organizations and their stakeholders. The global benefit will be a greater use of knowledge resources to stimulate development and more effective and sustainable growth. Social begins with people.

The tools available today from new media to global networks and their events provide us with the ability to have far greater reach and impact with our social interactions. Handled wisely with strategic forethought, each one of us has the power to be a change-maker. With the right social strategy each organization has the power to make the world a better place, while improving their bottom line.

Social tools are not limited to new media or social media. They are the social interactions we have face to face that we support through online interactions. They are the communities we choose to support and participate it. They are the relationships that we develop and nurture over time that define us and the people that we interact with. They are the opportunities to interact with like minded people. When we understand how to use them more wisely.


Published: 10 May 2010 in Svenska Dagbladet (SVD) -in Swedish
Like it or not – social media like Twitter, blogs and Facebook are becoming an increasingly important part of our lives. For those looking for a new job or dream of headhunted, they are also more than just entertainment. Few employers want to admit it but many do use Google in prospecting for the new recruits. Then you have to find the right information.
Heidi Forbes Öste, Adviser in communication and social media, usually recommends everyone to sit down and reflect on what they want to achieve and to decide how much time they want to spend. – Build a strategy. What do you want to communicate and with whom? Otherwise it is easy to spend a lot of time without actually achieving anything, “she says. 
There are a tangle of sites, and popularity changes over time. Heidi Forbes Östes advice is therefore to build a “base” 

– a profile, blog or website to which their other profiles pointing to. There you can collect information that an employer may need.
– Social sites often have a limited number of words, so it is good to have a place where you can follow in detail explain what you’re working with currently, what you know, what references you have and so on, for those who want to know more about you. 
Status update on ie. twitter or facebook you every time you post new information there, to bring attention to your post, “she says. 
For those who want to be perceived as an expert in their field, be visible and participate in relevant forums.” Post links to relevant forums in your status updates.
Mi Lennhag is a PhD candidate in political science at Lund University and the research on corruption in Eastern Europe. She blogs about her area of research, links to posts on Facebook and follow others with similar interests on Twitter. 
“I know it has been seen as an advantage when I have searched some job or wanted to write some stuff. When people have searched for a lecture, I have also been told that “we saw your blog and it gave a serious impression,” she says. For her, it has been a conscious strategy to be active in social media, and in addition it has led to the assignment, she also received a large network. 
“When something happens in Eastern Europe I go to my Twitter Feed where I have a collection of individuals whose reporting I trust. In my contacts, many people who have specific knowledge of Eastern Europe and I can quite easily contact someone to ask something specific, get feedback and disseminate research and lectures,”she says. 

Heidi Forbes Öste recommend everyone to go out on the web. “Even if you are a bit older and maybe just lost your job. Then it just in time to get started now! On LinkedIn you can post your resume, connect and network with old colleagues and get references (and provide them). You will be amazed at what contacts you have.  

Facts Guide to networking sites, three sites 
LinkedIn: A professional network where you can post your resume, contact information, references and more. 
Facebook: Social networking.Here you can socialize with friends, chatting, posting, uploading photos, etc.. 
Twitter: A micro-blog. Others can follow your brief updates, you can follow others.

translated from original article written in Swedish by Anna Roxvall (anna.roxvall@svd.se)
text in italics were edited with additional information for clarification

Bringing all the elements of social together to consider the benefit and impact on organizations and their influence has become an increasingly important. To speak about being “a people oriented organization” social must be taken into account. My recent workshops in Egypt and Ethiopia followed by strategy sessions with a global company and executive trainings for business leaders have all had a common thread. In revising my presentation for the Ethiopia (note, 0.4% Internet penetration) to provide context, I removed the social media tools themselves(that all clients seem to want to jump ahead to). Doing this, the opportunities and the pitfalls of social became more distinct. I have returned to my “social optimization” theory that requires developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships for growth and sustainability in a social economy. This mean you have to look at how and why you interact with your human capital first BEFORE you apply to on-line tools. It is the cultivation part that is so critical and often overlooked.

The above presentation, of course, had much discussion that lead in different paths depending on the context for the audience. The workshops in Ethiopia and Egypt were more focused on growing businesses to compete in the global marketplace, and emphasized Networking and Communications. We spent a lot of time bringing clarity to their stories and finding context for growth. The corporate and executive presentation and workshops were held in northern Europe, and had more of a business strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility emphasis. Engagement and finding ways to be more effective were the focus of conversation.

A note regarding the video, as it may not have as much context without the accompanying dialog. Aired in 2002, its re-emergence explains the power of word of mouth and sharing things in social tools beyond their original intended use. I use it often in presentations because it touches beautifully on the feeling of discovering context and connecting to something greater than ourselves by listening.

On a personal note, I have to say that I am thoroughly inspired by the people and the opportunities that working in social strategy has presented. I work with interesting and companies and executives that recognize the need to prepare their organizations for the social economy in order to sustain their company’s and their markets’ futures. I devote part of my work to creating change through knowledge sharing in the networks where I feel it will have the greatest impact. In this part,I am both supporting economic growth through women entrepreneurs, especially in developing markets, as well as teaching for the academic and non-profit arena where there social tools can have immense impact on change and the next generation. I look forward to connecting to more people that are working in this cross-over area. For me, that is social optimization, as I get to learn, to teach, to be inspired, and hopefully to inspire some along the way.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season full of joy and peace. I look forward to 2009 and the experience the power in knowledge sharing. This economic “crisis” is an opportunity for us all to focus on our missions, evaluate our priorities, reconnect to our networks and find new ones only to come out stronger in the end.

I would like to thank all of you for your support during 2008. Thanks to you, your participation and feedback we are getting closer to accomplishing our vision:
To empower women through knowledge sharing to be change agents for themselves, their businesses and their communities.

I personally would like to thank you for your continued encouragement and validation for the need of pursuing our mission. We recognise that the site was not clear enough in the approach to sharing and how to fullfill the intended vision. We therefore are doing a complete redesign which will be available Spring 2009. We appreciate your patience.

note: The current site will remain active, and all data will be merged, so please do not hesitate to continue sharing on 2BalanceU.com. 2BalanceU will be relaunched as 2BU.

Your thoughts and opinions matter to us greatly. Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@2balanceu.com should you have any questions or feedback.