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Human Potential in the Age of Exponential Tech

Rotman Talk – Strategic Insights from the Obama Campaign

I was invited to speak as a part of the Rotman Lecture Series on some of the strategic insights learned from the Obama Campaign that could be applied within organizations. It was a really great experience, and despite a case of the nerves, I had a lot of fun sharing my story. There was a lot of interest so we ended up doing it in the Fleck Auditorium and 295 people showed up!  (You can see more photos here)

300 people in attendance by Jesse Morgan

Talking Twitter by Jesse Morgan

I removed some of the photos I had in the presentation because they were just too big, and because they were from my personal collection, but the meat is all still there. If there was one point that I wanted to make in my talk, it was that the Obama Campaign clearly highlighted how effective Social Media can be when it is integrated into an organizations strategy (as opposed to an added on afterthought.) The power of New Media is unleashed when it is able to execute a clear strategic vision.

You can view a video of the presentation here. There is an introduction by Proffessor Alex Manu about innovation which is about five minutes long.

Comments: 16

  • Dino

    December 1, 2008

    really enjoyed this talk (was in the audience), you did great. and didn’t seem at all nervous 🙂

  • Livia Labate

    December 1, 2008

    Great content and delivery!

  • José

    December 1, 2008

    Great ppt presentation with no doubts, very clear. Very useful to understand the vital importance that in our days is to develop a strategic presence in the actual social world.

    (Lisbon, Portugal)

  • David

    December 1, 2008

    Hi Rahaf,

    I came to your blog from your site, and I came to that from the presentation on slideshare (which I came to from Linkedin). It’s a very powerful presentation.

    I have a question: Were you involved in the Obama campaign or are you commenting on the campaign as a professional involved in that area but not involved in the campaign?

    kind regards


  • Mark Kuznicki

    December 1, 2008

    Great presentation Rahaf, thank you so much for posting. I’ve share this on my blog as well, and will be referring to it often in conversations with both government and non-government clients.

    I like the important emphasis you make at the beginning, that the overall strategy and philosophy were totally made for a social media techniques. If there wasn’t that fundamental alignment, success would have been much more difficult.

    Great work, inspiring story!

  • Adam

    December 1, 2008

    Saw this on Mark’s blog and thought I’d come over and give kudos as well. Excellent work both on the campaign and putting this together. The fact that you got us Canadians all riled up for your cause speaks volumes I think 🙂

    I like the bit about being authentic in use of social media. I think a lot of corporations and other entities that try to take advantage of the power of these services are doing just that – taking advantage. It’s important to contribute back to the social ecosystem in a way that adds value, is natural and that people will respect.

    Well done, thanks again.

  • Ken

    December 2, 2008

    Great insight and wonderful to see a campaign actually embrace what we, as communications professionals, know should work. It sounds as though it was a golden PR opportunity. Now, how is that interaction to be maintained? The precedent has been set during his campaign. How will that two-way communication once he is in office? How will words translate into action?


  • Riwa

    December 2, 2008

    I’m so proud of you.

  • malcolm stanley

    December 2, 2008


    You rock. That was much more interesting than the presentation I made you sit through. I’m totally jealous you got to do that, but it couldn’t have happened to a better person. Very cool.


  • Erik Jonker

    December 3, 2008

    Great presentation, also good you added the video, seeing the actual presentation is much better than just viewing the slides. Inspiring, also for civil servants in the Netherlands (like me).

  • Bill Krull

    January 24, 2009

    I can’t add to what people above except to say that this is an outstanding presentation and extremely valuable. Very well done
    Bill Krull

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