I spent the early part of this past week thinking a lot about transformation as I spoke at the SocialMedia.org Winter Meeting in front of a group of strategists running social media for large brands. The theme, if there was one, seemed to be how to inspire more people around us (and especially our leaders!) to embrace disruption. Sharing new ideas like the ones featured in this newsletter every week is a good start. I hope you enjoy these selections.

Spotify Helps You Adopt A Pet That Likes The Same Music As You 

Among the many criteria that people use to choose their pets, music is an unlikely choice – yet a recent study from the University of Glasgow suggests each dog has a unique taste in music. Now Spotify in Germany is piloting a program with an animal shelter to encourage adoption inspired by musical tastes. The campaign is an interesting example of how data can be spun in a new way to encourage more pet ownership.

Are You Cut Out To Be A Spy? Take This Test To Find Out.

In an attempt to identify people who might have the right skills to become spies, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) launched an interesting online test that forces you to pick faces from a crowd, identify voices in a noisy room and decipher number sequences. Using the web for this type of aptitude test is a growing trend as games and immersive experiences like this are increasingly relied on as a first step in finding the right candidates for certain jobs.

Neiman Marcus Encourages Employees To Be Social Media Influencers

Retail sales associates will no longer be faceless and forgettable at one luxury retailer. At the National Retail Federation show last week, Neiman Marcus Chief Executive Karen Katz shared that their 4500+ associates will all get a company issued iPhone and be encouraged to use platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to connect with consumers and sell more products. This concept of retail sales associates as social media influencers is one that the rest of the industry will be watching with interest.

IKEA Creates “Open Source Furniture System” With Designer Tom Dixon

IKEA fans have been “hacking” how they use the furniture for a long time to create exactly what they want. Now IKEA is helping them do it through a collaboration with designer Tom Dixon called Delaktig. The concept is essentially an aluminum frame that can be built into a bed, sofa, chair and other types of furniture. The entire effort is an extreme example of personalization that we will likely start to see from even more retailers this year.

YouTube Invests In Creators Who Promote Tolerance

YouTube has had plenty of trouble in the past several years with questionably moral content, but the brand is trying to fight back by encouraging content creators who actively share more uplifting and tolerant content. This week they announced an increased $5 million dollar investment in the Creators for Change to encourage empathy and understanding of others through video. The recipients of grants and their creative work is a sign of hope for the Internet and well worth looking at if you have the time.

Even More Interesting Stories This Week …

Image Of The Week – Mesmerizing Impossible Landscapes