E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Becoming a Jedi Master – The Secret Art of Cultivating Online Communities #sbf12 #cmgr

Social Business Manifesto #sbf12 #lawweNow that I am done with my last business trip for the first half of the year, and will be taking a break from travelling till the second week of September, I guess it’s time to reflect a bit on what it has been like and perhaps share a few insights here and there on things I have learned, events that I have participated in, (keynote) speaker sessions I have done, workshops I have conducted, seminars and panels I have participated in, conversations and new ideas I have been exposed to and everything else in between. There is just too much to share out there and so little time, so we better get things going … And to get us started how about sharing a couple of thoughts on what, to me, has been the Social Business event of the first half of 2012? Not bad, eh? Well, indeed, that event took place in June, in Milan, and it’s the Social Business Forum that Emanuele Quintarelli, along with the smart folks from OpenKnowledge, put together doing a fantastic job and managing to raise the bar so high that hardly any other conference event held thus far has come even close. Specially, in the area of Thought Leadership 2.0. Yes, that good. 

I am sure that by now most of you have been exposed to the couple of blog posts that have been shared across that contain all of the presentation materials, and video recordings from the entire event. Perhaps you may have watched already a few of them altogether. But, just in case you may not have, take a look into this particular article, where you will find all of the video recordings from all of the keynote speakers, or this other blog post, where you will be exposed to the video recordings of 40, out of the 65, speakers. Yes, 40 videos for you to enjoy and learn lots from! And covering a wide range of topics, too!, from case studies of companies that have already embarked on their Social Business journey and that are willing to generously share their key learnings on the experience, to multiple discussion panels and various presentations from thought leaders on different 2.0 topics (like online community management, social CRM, customer service, etc. etc.). Like I said, lots of superb content to digest. In small chunks, one at a time, perhaps, but not to be missed!

So where do you start then? Well, allow me to give you a fast forward introduction on what I think would be some of the most compelling sessions for you to dive into from the comfort of your computer or whatever other device. Starting, for now, with the keynotes, I would strongly encourage you all to go through the Social Business Manifesto by Emanuele Scotti and Rosario Sica which is a must-watch to get some perspectives on what Social Business should be about!

Over the course of time I am hoping to bring forward over here to this blog a good number of the topics they shared with us, during the opening session, that would help spark some additional conversations, I am sure. There is just lots of meat to digest just alone on that particular session. But then I would encourage you all to watch John Hagel‘s presentation (“From Stress to Success – Pragmatic Pathways for Social Business“) as well to internalise what are some of the various different challenges that linger around Social Business to become successful in the corporate world today. Not to worry, I am not going to spoil this one much, since I would encourage you all to spend 22 minutes to watch it on its entirety. It will be worth while your time, I can guarantee you that! 

From there onwards, move on to Ray Wang‘s keynote speaker session on “Enterprise gamification to drive engagement” to see how gamification and gaming in a business context can have a space and, most importantly, how it can be done just right, without having to infantilise your knowledge workforce, which is what is, unfortunately, happening nowadays out there with plenty of vendors who are making the very same mistakes we have consistently done for over 18 years when we tried, and failed!, to gamily Knowledge Management. Priceless insights from Ray, for sure! 

Now, fast forward to the other couple of rather inspiring keynote sessions that we had the privilege of listening to and watching and that have definitely left one of the better aftertastes from the overall conference. Starting off with Knowledge Management and Radical Management extraordinnaire, Steve Denning, who wowed and inspired the audience with a rather provocative talk with an even more controversial heading: “Transforming the Workplace with Radical Management“. This is the one keynote session that I would strongly encourage all managers and leaders to go and watch. And find out more about what’s coming their way sooner rather than later and how they may need to be prepared … 

Finally, my other recommendation for one last keynote session to not have missed is that one from my good friend Esteban Kolsky under the suggestive heading “Social, Connected, and Collaborative – Will Employees and Customers Build the Future Enterprise Together?” where over the course of about 25 minutes he comes to disrupt, and pretty disturbingly, our own perceptions around the social enterprise, the connected enterprise and stick around with what’s left … Yes, indeed, the collaborative enterprise. Another must-watch without a single doubt! 

Like I said, pretty tough to eventually pick up the keynote sessions that I have enjoyed the most, but, if I were to choose, the ones I have mentioned on this blog post so far would have hit the mark and big time! However, if you do have the time I would certainly recommend you go through all of the remaining ones, too! 

Now, on upcoming blog posts I will be sharing further insights and additional recommendations on breakout sessions that I feel you should also have a look into as perhaps some of the most compelling ones and the ones, where, in my opinion, I learned the most around Social Business. However, for now, and since a whole bunch of folks out there have asked me in the last few weeks a few times whether there was a recording of the session I did on online community management, or not, and whether I have shared my presentation out there on the Social Web, I thought I would close off this article sharing the links to both of those resources, since they are now available to everyone. 

Indeed, my good friend Emanuele Quintarelli invited me to be one of the speakers on the Online Community Management track to talk about “Becoming a Jedi Master – The Secret Art of Cultivating Online Communities“, where in a rather practical session I could share a whole bunch of hints and tips, use cases, lessons learned, experiences, know-how, practical good practices, etc. etc. around the subject of managing, leading, facilitating or stewarding online communities. Trying to make it very informative, pragmatical, fun, engaging, somewhat inspiring so that when folks would come back to their communities they would have plenty of ammunition they could make use of. And I think we did! 

I am saying that I think we did, because when I started putting together the piece of work for the session I didn’t attempt to, once again, reinvent the wheel. Instead, I went back to our internal and external IBM communities and asked around trying to gather our overall collective experience of having done online community building for decades, having started with the good old IBM VM Forums, back in the late 60s, and perhaps, specially, in the last 15 years with the huge boost on community building that we have witnessed throughout. The end-result then is not myself having gathered those insights alone, but through the collective piece of work of a whole bunch of brilliant community facilitators (Included on the Acknowledgements – slide #2), who have been putting together over the course of time what I would consider “Communities 101 – The Essentials“. 

Thus, with all of that said, and with a special thanks and a sincere token of eternal gratitude for having the privilege of co-leading such a wonderful group of online communitybuilders, I would love to share with you both the presentation materials that I did *not* use and the recording of the breakout session I did. Yes, indeed, it may sound weird, I mean, the fact I didn’t use any slides throughout the 30 minutes, but when you go through the recording, you will see what I mean and why I thought it was a much much better idea. Why? Because it gave me a unique opportunity that I have been enjoying tremendously on the last few conference events that I have participated in: engage directly with the audience!

Something that I will reflect on in an upcoming blog post I have got in the making, but, for now, here’s the embedded code of the slides, along with the embedded code of the video recording. Hope you folks enjoy it just as much as I did consolidating the slide-ware and conducting a rather interactive session from which I learned much more from the audience than whatever I could have anticipated and which perhaps marks a new beginning for yours truly on what, to me, it means being a speaker in front of an audience, but that’s another story for another day … 


Becoming a Jedi Master. The secret art of cultivating online communities – Luis Suarez from SocialBizForum on Vimeo.

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  1. Thanks Luis for a very informative blog (never disappointing!) and although you would need to set aside a day to follow all your links and read/watch all that material before getting to the end – it is great to have it all referenced in one place 🙂

    However I must say – that if you are short of time – the must read is the Social Business Manifesto by Rosario Sica, Emanuele Quintarelli -fantastic! But thank you too Luis for your slide show which I greatly enjoyed!

    1. Hi Marie-Louise, thanks a bunch for dropping by and for the feedback! Yes, I know *exactly* what you mean and I’d be on the same boat! In fact, what I am doing with these posts where I have got a tendency to share plenty of links is to help serve me re-find them later on easily so that I can digest them when I can and properly. So, for instance, every Friday we have got something called Think! Friday where we spend time off real “work” doing lots of thinking, self education, self enablement, etc. etc. and that’s the time where I look back into these blog posts to pick up a link or two to dive into, or watch videos as a learning activity and it makes things a lot easier if I know where to find me. It’s what Harold Jarche and Bill Ives have been identifying for blogging as your own personal knowledge sharing / management system.

      With a bit of an exception though, sharing it along openly to other folks who may benefit along the way, and definitely the Social Business Manifesto is just spot on as a highly recommended source to dive into eventually! 🙂

      Thanks again for the lovely commentary. Much appreciated!

  2. Luis, thanks for this post and for giving me another reason not to miss the Social Business Forum next year. Have heard good things about it, but never could make it. Must go there next year!

    1. Hi Samuel! Thanks for dropping by and for noticing! Yes, indeed, I am afraid so! You have missed one of the best, if not the best so far!, events on Social Business out there for 2012! Absolutely stunning and rather privileged, once again, to be able to add my ¢2 of insights, experiences and know-how on a topic I have been rather passionate about over the course of the last 15 years and counting! We missed ya dearly, specially, all of that phenomenal blogging you have been doing all along at live events!

      You need to ensure next year you will be there, please!! 😀 hehe Looking forward to seeing you again!

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