Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Social Media is OUT and Social Business is IN

You'll hear that Social Media is OUT and Social Business (or Social Community) is IN.   WHAT!
However,  that's a little inaccurate, AND Social Business is nothing new!   Social Business or Social Community is essential for sustainable success.

As I sit here preparing for the lecture I'm about to deliver at Trent University, on Enterprise Computing Trends, I review a chart called Six Best Practices of Innovation, and then I flip back to the fundamentals I taught earlier in the year, called Organizational Information Cultures, I see I can relate each chapter directly to the best practices and elements of a Social Business or Social Community.
Social Media is one element of Social Business or Community.  Add Social interaction between humans, departments, and companies and you get Social Businesses within a Community which leads to outstanding innovation. 
Business Culturals which are driven by silos, departmentally, or functionally, ie where employees use information as a means of exercising influence or power over others, leads to minimal innovation.  Companies or communities which are driven by a Discovery Culture, ie where employees across departments or across organizations are encourage and opened to new insights about crisis and radical changes and seek ways to create competitive advantages, are more likely to experience outstanding success and innovation!   

The above chart, Hierarchy of Social Community Needs, has been the basis of innovative communities for a number of years.  You can view it as fundamental building blocks for both Social Businesses or Communities.

All this means is that Social Media technology alone, will not help a company succeed unless humans, departments and complimentary organizations are all willing to share and help each other grow.  A cultural shift of people and companies is being seen all around us; people and companies understand that they will not lose their competitive edge if they open up to each other and collaborate.   Once sharing and collaboration is a part of their cultural's fiber, the company's and community's chances of success caused by innovation are much greater.

To start, it's all about helping each person in a company understand their role in feeding and listening online via technology, including social media.  Transitioning many people within your organization (if not each person) into becoming your organization's digital agents, both internally and externally.

The University of Waterloo recently released a study about the effectiveness of Social Community, showing that the industries which were MOST successful and innovated within a specific community where significantly better at collaborating across their supply chain, compared to those industries who were not successful or innovated within that same community.  I will post this article as soon as it is released.    If a company is not OPEN to communicating within their own organization, they cannot achieve sustainable growth through innovation.

The above Six Best Practices of Innovation is borrowed from the text book I use for my Information System class I teach at Trent University, Enterprise Information Systems, by Baltzan, Phillips & Detlor.

I am seeing clearly that a Social Business or Social Community actually follows these same steps.
1) Find your relevant edge - what are your best services or products, and how do you continuously push your performance levels.
2) Assemble Innovating Hothouses - motivate different departments and different companies in your edges to work on challenging issues.
3) Reward Risk Takers - attract people who are not afraid to take risks and learn form their experiences.
4) Celebrate Diversity - attract not only risk takers, but also different cultures.
5) Look Around - look at adjacent disciplines and industries for their early advances and innovation.
6) Mix Practitioners and Developers - bring together the professionals and the technologist.  One often does not realize what the other can do or needs!

Supporting resources:
Enterprise Information Systems, by Baltzan, Phillips & Detlor. 

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