Louis Richardson 120000HRWE firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  connections creativity ibm-connections social social-business | 0 Comments | 1,392 Visits
I was reading back through Steven Johnson's "Where Good Ideas Come From" and was struck by a single phrase:
"Chance favors the connected mind."
If that's the case...
I had the pleasure of taking some time away from work last week. Our Atlanta home has a front porch that needed some repairs, so I spent the week rebuilding it. I love working with wood and seeing the results.
But while I was working, my mind was busy. Often it was contemplating something about the job at hand…a new way to do something. I had to install a number of pickets on the handrail that surrounds the porch. Centering each one individually would have been very time consuming, so I designed and built a “jig” to help me align each one in a matter of seconds. This 5 minute investment paid off in saving an hour or more of work.
So you’re asking yourself, “What does this have to do with social business?”
In June, I was asked to do a one-hour live TV interview for Hyde Park, a news show in Prague. The questions during the show would come, not from the host, but from the viewing audience via social tools. The topic was around “creative thinking” but anything was fair game. (A link is provided to the recording, but be warned, it is in Czech)
Here is one of the interesting questions that came in through Facebook:
John King: What advice would you give the post-communist Czech society? As the use of human intellectual potential in a country where people for generations were taught that only strenuous physical work eventually is fair, and where success is considered a crime?
My response was validated in my work last week: “When you work with your hands, you don’t turn your mind off.”
I know many companies who are looking at how social business can impact their people who use computers and technology in their workplace. Often they even go so far as to categorize these people as their “knowledge workers”. Having worked in a manufacturing organization and having worked in physically demanding jobs, I can assure you that many of the most “knowledgeable” workers have little exposure to a keyboard and personal computer. Yet their ideas and creative thinking may be overlooked in social business projects.
This is one reason I’m so proud of IBM Connections and the way it allows social business to reach into everyday business applications. I know of one of our customers who have encouraged their production line workers to capture “best practices”…not with a keyboard, but with their cell phone cameras. If they think of a better way to do something, they can simply record the procedure and upload it to their social system...making it instantly available for others to see and possibly set forward an improvement in the entire manufacturing process. The “jig” I made last week saved me time over the course of installing 50 pickets. But what if every week I installed pickets and we had crews installing pickets? The savings of one small “idea” could be incredible.
So I ask you, when you are considering the impact of social business, don’t overlook anyone. Look for ways to leverage the ideas of your entire organization. We are all creative!
Louis Richardson 120000HRWE email@example.com | | Tags:  social-business | 2 Comments | 2,670 Visits
I recently responded to an email question: "Why does an organization need a system like IBM Connections when they can use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ which are FREE ?"
Here is my response...and I welcome feedback and additional points as comm
There is no reason a company cannot use free social systems like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. In fact, I would tell most organizations that they should consider using these social media tools...for specific purposes.
Here are a couple of questions to consider:
What is being shared and who owns the conversation?
What if the "free" landscape changes?
Yammer is one of the "free" social tools that have been adopted by some organizations. It's cloud based and they make it easy to jump into sharing the conversation. The problem is that once you want to do anything "business" oriented, like integration, managing users, etc. you have to pay. Then along comes Microsoft who just announced they are acquiring Yammer. Now the whole model and architecture is probably going to change. If your business was relying on Yammer, now your business is about to change to whatever Microsoft decides it's going to be. And by the way, your Yammer conversations are now owned by Microsoft.
I know "control" and "manage" don't seem to be very "social". We normally think of "social" as free spirited and unbounded...which it is. But as one considers using social for business you're going to be faced with some decisions. How are you going to integrate this into your business processes? If social is just another thing to do, it's going to fail. It needs to be integrated into your business applications - CRM, ERP, Portal, Intranet, etc. How are you going to do that with a free social tool you don't control? And what if you have compliance needs? How can you manage, track and report on the myriad of social conversations spread across a variety of free social tools? I had a person approach me regarding a concern they had. Their CEO was fired because of misconduct, yet 6 months later, his LinkedIn profile still listed him as CEO of their company. They wanted to know how to make him take that off. The answer, they can't. They don't own LinkedIn or his data. So without some unprecedented legal battle, it's not easy to do something as simple as having invalid data removed.
I use free social tools, like Twitter, LinkedIn, Slideshare, YouTube, etc. But I use them for the specific purposes. I post videos and presentations that are external facing (for customers). I tweet about news and ideas I have. But I don't tweet that I'm going to see a specific customer. Why? Because my competition follows my Twitter account and could then make a sales call on the same client. I do post my sales appointments on my Connections status updates, because I often get some very helpful and relevant feedback from my IBM network.
I wouldn't use the public social networks to inquire about customer references. Nor would I want the responses to be public. But I do need that type of information on a regular basis and Connections helps facilitate that.
So it's not a matter of "if" companies should use free social tools. The answer is "yes". The question is "why" and "when" should companies use free social tools. And the answer to that question will likely point out that most companies need a social network that they can own and leverage for their business use. That's why companies use Connections. It's the difference of being "social" and being a "social business"