Eight key steps to scaling engagement, culture, and innovation within your social enterprise
Simon Mainwaring 270007CCJJ firstname.lastname@example.org |
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I had the pleasure of attending an IBM Social Business dinner in Los Angeles and got to hear Chris Crummey, Worldwide Director of Sales, Social Business & Digital Experience, share the unique way of working as a “digital IBMer.” He painted a compelling picture of how to leverage systems of engagement like their IBM social intranet and cultural engagement through their social business strategy. Here is my summary of eight key insights from Chris that serve as signposts for effective intranet solutions.
1: EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT STARTS WITH COMPANY CULTURE: While many companies now recognize the value of employee advocacy, they fail to realize that it's the culture of a company that drives the engagement of its employees. As such it's the tools a company uses to facilitate a collaborative culture that is the starting point for talent acquisition, engagement, and optimization.
2: SOCIAL IS A LIVING, BREATHING ORGANISM: Systems, silos, and hierarchies are inevitable within large organizations but the same mindset does not facilitate a dynamic, social enterprise. Instead, companies must use their social platform to support business processes and the growth of their culture, and to facilitate innovation and amplification.
3. SOCIAL BUSINESS REQUIRES A NEW WAY OF THINKING: As an extension of this organic growth mindset, employees must now focus on sharing knowledge, not keeping it to themselves. This sharing must be done faster through a flatter structure rather than traditional, hierarchical organizational chart. It must be facilitated through a network mindset rather than traditional email. And companies must reward their influencers and “tippers” who establish and maintain this momentum of innovation.
4. STRIVE FOR REAL-TIME EXPERTISE: This organic mindset and new way of thinking should be directed towards leveraging individual expertise and sharing it across the company moments later. By rewarding this behavior you create a collaborative and innovative culture fueled by an expertise engine that raises the quality of thinking across the entire company.
5. LEVERAGE THE WISDOM OF THE CROWD: Like the sharing of knowledge itself, the collective brainpower of an organization can achieve startling results when deliberately applied to a problem. The best way to activate this process is to share the problem with influencers with large networks and let them leverage their connections to find the experts who solve the problem far faster than any individual or team could do on their own.
6. THE NETWORK NEVER SLEEPS: An often overlooked benefit of this organic, networked approach is the increased productivity that allows the company to condense time and identify smarter solutions. By providing an easy-to-use platform with clear engagement guidelines, an expertise engine that combines influencers and networks can keep churning innovation around the globe and 24 hours a day.
7. REGULARLY ENGAGE THE ENGINE FOR SURPRISING INNOVATION: While these guidelines are effective at maintaining a social enterprise over the long term, companies can also accelerate their innovation by hosting ‘innovation jams’ that unlock new ideas, fresh opportunities or unexpected areas of business for a company. These live events also give experts and influencers the opportunity to showcase their skills adding to their social currency, engagement and leadership within the company.
8. INNOVATION SHOULD BE ORGANIC, UNEXPECTED, AND GLOBAL: Perhaps the greatest value of such organic, networked systems is the compounded capacity that can be brought to bear on any problem. Insights are shared more effectively, reach is extended dramatically, and problems and their solutions are amplified exponentially. At the same time the associated employee engagement deepens the collaborative culture to ensure ever greater innovation over the long term.
Each of these attributes is made possible through the IBM Connections platform and its value to individual employees, and the collective culture cannot be overstated. Whether it’s because an employee feels more fulfilled because his or her contribution is being seen and recognized, or because of the satisfaction of achieving an unexpected result as a team, the bottom-line value to a company is enormous. Ultimately, the true power of such a platform is not the technology itself, but rather its ability to unlock the full potential of your workforce and to unite their passion and intellect to accelerate your company’s success.
For more examples of how to use social business practices and capabilities to impact your bottom line, create a competitive advantage, and gain measurable ROI, read this executive white paper: Appling social business: The repeatable patterns that improve business processes and provide return.
Simon Mainwaring is CEO of the brand consultancy We First that provides purpose-driven strategy and training to help companies lead business, shape culture, and better our world. Visit WeFirst14.com for information on the 2014 We First Brand Leadership Summit that shows companies how to become leading social storytellers.