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

Hippie 2.0

Reinventing Social Media – The People by David Armano

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the SpringI am sure you would all agree with me that both TED Talk and TEDx videos are just terrific means of being wowed over and over again on multiple different topics. One could eventually spend the whole day long watching them one after the other and never get tired of them! The thing is that, every so often, one gets to bump into one of those special TED(x) videos that leaves a really good taste behind; that inspires you tremendously and that surely marks a before and an after you watch it. Well, I have just had one of those moments: Reinventing Social Media by David Armano.

Yes, that’s right! David Armano, Senior Vice President for Edelman Digital and whose birthday was just a few hours back (Happy birthday again, David!), spent a little bit over 16 minutes sharing a good number of rather compelling and very touching stories that highlight quite nicely the huge impact of social media beyond the technology focus and the marketing hype, trying to establish the main basic guidelines of what he feels is going to define social media in the not so distant future.

To get things started, he makes a great point that media is *not* social; people are. And, as such, we should stop that infatuation we keep having with everything 2.0 related and move on. Move on to where we should be focusing in the first place. And I bet you know, by now, where I am heading… Yes, indeed, it’s quite refreshing, as you can imagine, to see how other folks validate your ideas, and long term beliefs, and in this case it’s rather rewarding to see how David proclaims that the next challenge for social media is to move on and give the focus of the change … to the people. Not the social tools, nor the processes, but the people themselves who have been there all along as part of the equation, but which we kept neglecting, and ignoring!, time and time again over the course of the years… Specially in the field of Knowledge Management.

I couldn’t have agreed more with him on that point, plus a whole bunch of the nice slideware and visuals he used to deliver plenty of those key and powerful messages. Pay special attention to the one on the Social Media Conversion Scale, which you can read more about over here, and try to figure out for yourself where you think you would be on that scale. I think I know where I am and where I want to be and would love to know from you, on the comments, where you think you are and where you believe you would want to be in the next couple of years… I bet that would sparkle a rather interesting conversation for everyone…

Finally, not going to spend much more time on this blog post, since I think you would probably want to watch David’s video right away, but I would want to finish this short blog post with one other key major ah-ha moment I got after going through it. And that is his wonderful use of rather touching personal stories that tried to represent, and very successfully, in my opinion, the opportunity to benefit from social media: first, you, as an individual, to then benefit the rest of your social network(s). Forget altogether about the business! That is where it all begins and, to me, it is also a key message, not just from social media, but also for Enterprise 2.0: that unless knowledge workers take a much more personal involvement and commitment to augment their own individual productivity with all of these social tools, before they start thinking about sharing and collaborating effectively with other teams, networks and communities, our overall efforts of adoption won’t probably go much further beyond and eventually die off in the short term.

And we wouldn’t want to do that, right? Like David shares on the video, we need to reinvent social media, each and everyone of us, as individuals, one step at a time, before we can move further on into our next challenge: address and fix our business problems! We first need to fix ourselves!

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Blog Talk Radio – Business Value of Social Networking: Become a Hippie 2.0!

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the SpringYesterday, if you would remember, I put together a short blog post where I was mentioning how apart from having one of those days of meetings galore jumping from one to the next, I was also looking forward to the great opportunity of participating live on the Blog Talk Radio podcasting show, hosted by John Moore, and along with one of my favourite Enterprise 2.0 people, Mark Masterson, as co-guest. Well, I am happy to confirm that the recording of that podcast episode is now available for replay.

And, boy, did we have such a good fun with that interview or not? John asked us a few rather interesting, insightful and provocative questions on what we thought were some of the major key points behind figuring out the business value of social networking. That was just a blast! What an adrenaline rush of back and forth between Mark, John and yours truly! I had such a great time!

John himself has actually put together a rather nice short blog post on that podcast under the title Social Media ROI and Hippy 2.0… It all made sense... In it he mentions how the recording lasts for about 56 minutes and it starts off at around minute 5, after he spent a little while sharing some further thoughts on the news and trends of the day / week related to social media.

I bet you may be wondering, right now, what we actually talked about during the course of nearly one hour, right? Yes, I agree with you, that’s a long time to spend on a podcast, but it certainly was such a good fun that I don’t think none of us minded at all! Thus here you have got some of the headlines and an annotation of two on the topics that we covered during that live podcast show:

  • Business Value of Social Networking: Where we talked about how sometimes it’s much more effective, and productive, to focus on figuring out how to get the most of all of these social networking tools as our next generation of business tools to help us collaborate and share our knowledge more efficiently than trying to figure out the Return On Investment (ROI) of those social interactions without having even gotten things started in the first place!

    How it may prove to be much more convenient to demonstrate how social software can change the way we interact with customers, as well as with the rest of our peers, by humanising those very same business interactions helping nurture, even better, our own personal business relationships. We eventually shared plenty of thoughts and ideas of how this could pave out for almost any business out there!

  • Living "A World Without Email": Yes, of course, we couldn’t miss out on this one, could we? Most of you folks, regular readers of this blog, already know quite a bit what this topic would be about, but what you may be interested in is the part of the conversation where I shared some further insights on demonstrating the ROI of giving up on corporate email and what it’s meant not only for me as a knowledge worker, but also for the organisation I work for and for those other peers I get to interact on a regular basis.

    Reducing your corporate email conversations by over 95% and instead move those into open social software spaces is one heck of a success story, don’t you think? Specially when over 3.5 years ago, most people felt I was crazy for doing such thing in such an email driven corporation like IBM (And probably like most of them out there as well!) and today, more and more teams and groups are also seeing such substantial reduction with their incoming emails by utilising more various different social tools. I may not be that crazy after all …

  • Or, maybe, I still am! Because the other topic we talked about, during that one hour conversation and which we covered quite extensively, was a new crazy? idea that I came up with a few days back and which is picking a rather nice momentum and plenty of traction. Of course, I am talking about Hippie 2.0.

    Who would have thought about that? An initial blog post that I put together and shared across a little bit weary about it (I wasn’t sure whether it was going to strike a chord or not!), eventually has been raising a huge amount of rather interesting and very refreshing conversations on the true nature of embracing social networking beyond the business context, that is, how it is affecting us all as a society.

    That blog entry so far is one of the most popular threads on this blog and has sparked a good number of developments that will certainly keep a bunch of us buzzing for a little while longer! Who knows, perhaps for a long while…

    The thing is that we already have got a Web site up and running under Hippie 2.0 (Using Posterous at the moment and with a unique opportunity to have an open space where everyone can contribute with whatever the relevant content); we talked extensively about it on yesterday’s live podcast; a few people have already contributed some top notch content (Including some fun stuff!); and a few folks have been leaving comments already throughout the various entries and we have got a bunch of other really cool things coming up!

    I say we because my good friend Jay Deragon has been doing an outstanding job in pushing forward some of the content you will see on the Web site when you head over there. And for that, I am incredibly grateful! Thanks ever so much, Jay!! Really appreciate all of your efforts and glad you, too, feel the same way about this crazy idea! 😉

Right, there were plenty of things related to social networking and proving its business value altogether that we talked about during that live podcasting episode over at Blog Talk Radio, but I think I am going to stop commenting further on it for now. Instead, I would encourage you all to go and listen to it, by perhaps quoting one of the best live tweets that people shared across during the show and which clearly represents the true spirit behind such a movement as Hippie 2.0:

"If you focus on fear, you’ll get fear. If you focus on humor, you’ll get laughs" (Superb quote from Mark captured by Susan Scrupski)

I hope you have enjoyed listening to the episode, just as much as we did during the live recording of the podcast. Like I said above, I had a great time participating in it and from here I just would want to take this opportunity to thank John Moore for inviting both Mark and myself into the show, to Mark for being such great fun, smart, insightful, witty, and another Hippie 2.0, like yours truly, and, finally, to Eric Andersen for helping facilitate the connection over … Twitter!

Thanks ever so much, guys! It’s been a great pleasure and hope to see you all soon over at Hippies20.com!

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Blog Talk Radio – Business Value of Social Networking with Mark Masterson and Luis Suarez

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the SpringWith meetings and activities galore happening at work right as we speak, and with the usual catchup of the daily routines in multiple social spaces, I think that today is going to be one of those days where blogging will be rather light, as opposed to keep sharing some additional insights on that topic that keeps coming up over and over again on Social Computing and business processes. So, you will have to excuse me for a minute till I get back into my usual swing of things. Or, alternatively, you could go ahead and join my good friend Mark Masterson and yours truly, later on today, at 3pm EDT – 8pm UK – 9pm CEDT, at the Blog Talk Radio show, with John Moore as our host, talking about the "Business Value of Social Media".

Yes, that’s right, later on today, in just a bit over an hour, both Mark and myself will be spending a few minutes with John talking about the business value of Social Software. I know, indeed, one of my favourite topics from all along: the good old ROI of Social Networking. Now, if you have been reading this blog for a while … you will know more or less what we will be talking about, but, in case you may not have, here is the link to the details of the show itself.

As you may have noticed already, Blog Talk Radio is one of those shows where folks can participate live and as such you would be able to join us as well by dialling in using this call-in number: (347) 324-3248. We would very much like to have you on today’s show and participate with us in, I am sure, what promises to be some pretty interesting and exciting conversations around business value of social computing, and, perhaps, even a bit of the little movement a bunch of us got started with a few days back: Hippies 2.0.

Who knows what else we would end up talking about… Either way, knowing the subjects both Mark and myself have been talking about for a little while now, you would realise that if you are into Social Computing in the Enterprise, you are in the right spot! So, come and join us later on today! And be ready to share your thoughts on what you think the business value of social networking is all about! Happy to engage in a, for certain, enlightening and insightful conversation where we will all learn a thing or two. For sure!

Can’t wait to be on the show already! And you? Will you join us as well? … We hope so!

See you there! 🙂

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The Social Enterprise – Nothing New Invented Here!

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo & Surroundings in the SpringSo, what happens when two of my favourite people, the always fun, insightful and thought-provoking Ulrike Reinhard and the wicked-smart Lee Bryant (Along with both Dominik and Simon Wind), get together in front of a camera in a lovely place and start talking for a bit over 30 minutes around the topic of Enterprise 2.0 and Social Computing? Yes, I know! Only good things would come up from that conversation, right? Well, indeed, in this case, a rather nicely balanced one! Have you watched through Enterprise 2.0: Practical and Traditional? If you haven’t, you should! Today!

I have finally had a chance to go through it myself earlier on this morning and was enjoying it so much that I couldn’t stop taking down, rather furiously, a good number of notes and annotations that I thought would be worth while sharing over here, specially at this point in time, when we seem to have been having lots of great conversations on the topic of Social Networking for Business. I don’t think I would be sharing them as bullets or something, but more perhaps along the lines of highlights, i.e. what really interesting things you are bound to find on that video interview, in case you may not have a chance to view it just yet. Thus here we go:

  1. The Social Enterprise – Nothing New Invented Here!: Yes, indeed, that’s actually one of the main key points from Lee’s interview; essentially how, for centuries, we have been operating AND working through social (and informal) networks till IT departments kicked in a few decades ago and decided to control the masses using factory models, which obviously, as we can see today, haven’t worked out really that well, after all.

    Lee makes a really good point in here trying to re-surface how we used to conduct business in the past and detailing how in today’s 2.0 world we are not really inventing anything. We are just going back to basics once more; that is, work will be carried out around networks and communities, without no longer neglecting our natural way of conducting business, as opposed to the traditional hierarchies and organisational structures.

  2. Over-Engineering of Processes Killed the Enterprise: Now, I realise how Lee didn’t say it in those very same terms, but I do! Indeed, he comes to conclude that if there is anything that Enterprise 2.0 would do to today’s working environment is that it will help force a tremendous "reduction in the reliance on process" and place back the emphasis on "supporting human endeavour, human intelligence and human initiative".

    Which eventually would make the workplace a much more interesting place to work for everyone; much more agile by doing something that we haven’t been very good at over the last few years: reducing significantly our very own internal transaction and coordination costs. Now, if you are still looking for a business case for Social Computing, that, my friends, would be it! As simple and effective as it sounds!

    We do need to stop that addiction for over-engineering our processes and, instead, strike for simplicity; we cannot probably tolerate much longer how former flexible and human-lead processes have given in to bureaucracy resulting in the split of the overall knowledge workforce; causing altogether a much worse problem: political and budget battles abound making us lose focus on the real work that we need to execute on.

    Thus eventually what we would need to do, and this is one of my favourite conclusions from Lee’s interview, is we would need to nurture, facilitate and inspire the creation of a lateral and vertical layer of connective tissue that would enable people to find other people, regardless of where they may well be in the organisation, geography or timezone, to help them collaborate and share their knowledge much more effectively. Well, spot on, don’t you think? That, on its own, is another good solid argument for a business case on why Enterprise 2.0 is worth the time and the effort.

  3. Brands: No, not going to say much more on this one topic, but I would strongly encourage you all to have a look into what Lee has got to say about brands, and specially his point about the value they provide and how they may well be part of the conversation after all … (After we all come to terms with the fact that we have already lost the control of it and things are just fine)

    Interesting insight as well is the one where he comments how the large corporate environment would still have a place. Those large enterprises would still provide plenty of good value, specially with regards to their social mission. Brilliant example that one of Unilever, that got a mention, and their corporate social responsibility.

  4. Social Dynamics: Another rather thought-provoking item that Lee brought up was the one that very few people seem to have noticed so far, but with which I totally agree with 100%: a better relationship between business and IT with plenty more flexibility on a social layer of platforms that would spark applications (And Innovation!!) to flourish, but *always* specific to the business, i.e. in the proper business context.

    Really enjoyed as well his trend of thought on how the corporate world needs to pay plenty more attention towards what’s happening out there on the Internet. That culture of the user experience provided by Web 2.0 surely needs to enter the Enterprise (2.0) world. In fact, I would go even one step further and indicate how we may no longer have a choice anymore, since most knowledge workers have not only gotten rather exposed to it, but they already live it day in day out. Couple of examples? Google, the iPhone, the iPad, etc. They have totally transformed our overall user experience expectations and when entering the workplace we want to have a similar experience altogether. If not, we would move on… to whoever may be listening… That level of empowerment is something we cannot longer neglect, nor ignore, but, if anything, fully embrace.

  5. Customers as a Major Driver for Adoption Inside Companies: WOW! Shocking, don’t you think? Well, actually, Lee refers to knowledge workers closer to the customer as one of the major driver groups for social software adoption. It is those knowledge workers making use of social media outside the company to learn about their customers the ones who will be the major driving force as they would be on a mission to improve both their products, processes and general customer satisfaction.

    You should have a go and listen to what other groups of knowledge workers would be out there, helping accelerate that adoption of social software behind the firewall; you will be surprised about how balanced it all is, specially when combining both a bottom-up (i.e. grassroots) & top-to-bottom approach altogether!

    That new generation of leaders will be leading because they are already helping others become better at what they do; it’s those networks and coalitions of the willing the ones with a new mission to lead the rest of the knowledge workforce; they will consistently provide plenty of signals of how they themselves can help break those traditional organisational structures and the interesting thing there is that it is not something new… Remember the good old days of walking the floor? Well, in this case, it’s a virtual floor, just like we have moved from the local water cooler into the global virtual water cooler!

  6. Innovation, Innovation, Innovation!: At the end of the day that’s what Social Computing is all about, folks! Although innovation for the sake of innovation (i.e. Innovation out of touch with reality) just doesn’t cut it anymore; it’s all about identifying real problems and finding real solutions innovating along the way, which is why both incremental and disruptive innovations have got a place inside the corporate world.

    What was interesting from Lee’s interview in this regard was his commentary about that innovation is starting to leave the corporate space and go where your customers are; more than anything else to make them co-participate from that innovation process in helping develop better products. That’s something I have been mentioning over here as well with regards to the whole concept of co-creation and which, thanks to social software, is taking a new meaning by providing an opportunity for customers and their vendors to interact in the same platform, without intermediaries and hardly any processes in place. It’s just an opportunity to establish an open and direct feedback mechanism that will help set the stage on how we collaborate and share our knowledge across, in the near future, with our customer base. Something that before wasn’t happening and by far!

  7. The Bottom Line of Enterprise 2.0: Coming closer towards the end of interview Ulrike asked Lee what was eventually such bottom line and, while watching and listening to the comments, I just couldn’t help thinking about something I blogged a couple of days ago over at the Hippie 2.0 blog post. Essentially how damaging thinking ahead in quarters (i.e. short term) could well be for the health and well-being of the overall business and its long term strategy by itself. We surely need to move beyond that limited thinking and, instead, think long term. Where would you want your business to be in say 20 to 30 years from now? What would the Future of the Workplace be like? Certainly, thinking in quarters is not going to take us very far with that forward thinking, isn’t it?

    Lee also talked about the real impact of Enterprise 2.0 in one other area that could surely make for a wonderful business case on its own and without much further help: its ability to lower costs on all fields that employ people and which would depend on knowledge work. According to him, and I couldn’t have agreed more with it, we, as businesses, need to continue avoiding commoditization by building deeper relationships with our customers and business partners to provide better products, leaving, time and time again, our very own comfort zone(s) behind.

    Indeed, it’s all about agility, a connected workforce building a strong sense of working better together; it’s all about innovation, about being part of an ecosystem where the co-creation process is the one that regulates how we interact, share our knowledge and collaborate with one another in an efficient and effective manner, not just internally, but also externally with our clients, which is where the conversation is (and should be!).

In short, it’s all about humanising the enterprise. Back again!! Remember, back in the day, how we used to conduct business? We are not re-inventing anything new over here at this point in time. "It’s all about being practical, with a business focus and re-balancing people over process removing bureaucracy out of the equation" [Paraphrasing]. WOW!! Those are, indeed, some very powerful and inspiring words and essentially the key message coming out of Lee’s interview with Ulrike, which is going to give me the perfect segway to introduce the topic for an upcoming blog post I have been working on for a while: How Can Social Networking Survive without Business Processes in the Enterprise.

Intriguing, eh? Well, I have strongly believed for many years that it is possible to do so, and in an upcoming blog post I will share with you all why and, most importantly, how it can be done! In fact, some of the major key points I have highlighted over here from that wonderful interview between Ulrike and Lee will also be part of that upcoming blog entry… Thus stay tuned! Plenty more to come…!

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Millennials Won’t Change Work; Work Will Change Millennials – Really?

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo & Surroundings in the SpringDo you really think so? I mean, *really*? Interesting reflection that one from my good friend, the always insightful, Andy McAfee, over at Harvard Business Review, under the same title as this blog post, where he comes to conclude that "today’s workplaces will change Generation Y more than the reverse". Rather interesting conclusion to which I would have to wholeheartedly disagree with, I am afraid. Work(place) doesn’t change people, nor their habits; it’s people themselves the ones who change, consistently, and for decades! other people. But not work.

Let’s get some more background in here for a minute… Let us not talk about generations nor the generational divide (Specially, since most folks out there don’t believe in it anyway), but instead let’s talk about different styles of working, i.e. different styles of knowledge workers interacting with one another based on how they have grown digitally over the course of decades. That’s been the new reality of the workplace over the last few years. Wonderful articles like Rawn Shah‘s "Why You Must Network With Your Younger Employees" will certainly provide some very good and interesting insights on what lies ahead for most of us, as the youngest of those generations is starting to enter the workplace already (Yes, that Generation Y 😉 heh). Go and have a look, read further on from that article, then come back.

Ok, after reading that piece, here is what Andy has got to say about work today:

"[…] we still have org charts that mean something, jobs with narrowly defined responsibilities, promotions, bosses and subordinates, and most of the other longstanding trappings of organizational life.

We also still have office politics and intrigue, careerism, coalitions and rivalries, informal structures and processes, and all the other elements of a dense and hierarchical social system"

Rather fascinating, don’t you think? Well, I am not sure what you folks would think about it, but, to me, that’s *not* work! That’s actually everything that’s behind, built on top, under, next to work, but it’s got nothing to do with it altogether. So I can’t imagine how work is going to change millennials. To be honest, I don’t think it would happen. Quite the opposite. I do believe that millennials, better said, a millenial working style will surely transform and shape how we conduct business at work today, as Rawn already hinted on that article I referenced above briefly.

To me, work happens around you; the workplace is no longer a physical location where you would go to do your working hours, report to your boss and project team and then back home. To me, work happens around you AND those knowledge workers, across the organisation, you connect and collaborate with in various social networks and communities. Not just traditional organisational structures, like in the past; business work has become a whole lot more complex than that lately, don’t you think?

The Future of the Workplace is a fascinating and hugely intriguing topic, since we all have a go at trying to guess and define what our workplace would be like in 10 to 20 years from now. Over at IBM we are having a go at it as well and have now put together some really good stuff I’m hoping to be sharing with you folks pretty soon, and share my two cents about it, so you can see what it might look like. Interestingly enough none of the characteristics that Andy mentions on that article permeate through that Future of the Workplace initiative, which kind of makes you wonder already…

Quite the opposite!, which means that work won’t change that millennial work style per se. If anything it would be people themselves still wanting to live, and survive!, in that kind of working environment (Yes, I am talking about those hoarders of knowledge for whom "Knowledge Is (still) Power") the ones who would want to keep things as what they have been like for decades. Yet, somehow, I do feel that’s a small minority nowadays, as more and more knowledge workers realise fully how "Knowledge Shared Is (eventually) Power". And as such those social networks and communities will be the ones putting up a fight, a really good one, I hope, against that traditional way of working, because, after all, who would want to spend the next 10, 20 or 20 years working in such environment? I wouldn’t and I still have got those many years of work ahead of me!

My Hippie 2.0 instinct tells me that very few knowledge workers will be looking forward to such kind of knowledge Web work ahead of us. On the contrary, don’t you think those folks would be the ones that would want to provoke such fundamental cultural changes within the workplace and still be able to tell it? I bet they would! In fact, that’s what I’m seeing every day myself at work. Yes, even at such a large corporation as IBM, always seen as archaic, obsolete, strict, rather rigid, hierarchical and stagnant. I know you now may be thinking I am a lucky guy for having the job I have, but then again, if I judge by the hundreds of folks I get to interact with on a regular basis, something tells me I’m no longer the only one. By far!

And why do I know that? Well, mainly because of how profoundly disruptive that millennial working style has been all along, so far, with the wider adoption of social software within the enterprise. I mean, most of you folks are already rather familiar with some of the many values that social networking brings in to the workplace, so do you think that office politics and intrigue, careerism, coalitions and rivalries, that hoarding of knowledge, amongst several other poisonous attitudes, will stand a chance? Right, that’s what I thought so, too! I don’t think so, either!

But, if it happens, I am afraid we would only have to blame ourselves for it. Not work! Because it would be us, knowledge workers, the ones who had been reluctant to change things for the better in the first place, wanting to work AND live the way we have been all along (Again, Andy’s description of today’s workplace is pretty much the same one that has gotten us all go through one of the worst and most severe financial crises ever…), instead of looking forward, working really hard, to a workplace where openness, transparency, fairness, trust, healthy and nurturing personal business relationships will dominate.

We have got a lot to win, but we also have a whole lot more to lose! Let us all, please, just not spoil it, and break it!, once again. We may not have a second chance to recover and … do things right that time around…

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Forget Social Strategy, Think Social Philosophy: Hippie 2.0

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the Spring"Really? Are you serious? I mean, are you sure you know what you are saying?" "Yes, sir! I know what I am saying… Exactly that! For Social Computing to sink in and be that critical and crucial part of the ins and outs within the corporate world we would ALL need to make that blunt move. No exceptions. And the sooner, the better! If Starbucks has done it, why can’t we all? We need to go through that fundamental leap of faith, before we can all say that our job is done and over with. For a successful adoption of social software within any business, it needs to be, right there, part of the company’s DNA. Of their culture. Of their core values they live by day in day out. Not just another marketing strategy. Otherwise, it will fail altogether, like most of them have failed in the past. Even today.

I do know, and realise fully, that those comments shared above may well be a bit too harsh, but allow me to give you folks a little bit of background of what I actually meant with them. Back at the Enterprise 2.0 conference event in Boston, MA, a bit over a month ago, there was one particular panel that I was really excited about beforehand and for which I just couldn’t wait to participate in. It was moderated by the incredibly talented, and good friend, Susan Scrupski under the title "Roundtable on 2.0 Adoption in the Enterprise" and with quite a superb line-up of tremendously insightful and thought-provoking panelists: Bart Schutte, Jamie Pappas, Lee Bryant, Mary Maida and Dennis Howlett.

Now, I am not going to write much further about the various different highlights from that panel itself, since I will be doing that in an upcoming blog post on that very same topic, as part of the Enterprise 2.0 Conference Highlights series of posts.. However, I would want to touch base on something that happened during that session that I have been thinking about for a long while…

At some point during that session one of the panelists mentioned what has been, so far, one of the main showstoppers and inhibitors from a successful and wider adoption of social software tools: that is, failure to prove its business value. Yes, the good old known ROI for Social Software and how challenging it’s become to find its sweet spot. Of course, from there we started talking about financials, about making the numbers, about making it successfully quarter by quarter, etc. etc. And how social software could help influence such trend of thought. You know the drift. I bet you also know how it all followed from there onwards. Well, maybe not…

I just couldn’t help it; I had to stand up, and say something that’s been in my mind, heart, soul and whole self, for years, and that, finally, had an opportunity to come out on its own! Yes, I guess I was fired up by those comments to some extent. My commentary was basically stating out loud, and very clear, how having the same mind set about social networking inside the corporate world, as the one we have been having for decades is not going to get us very far! Quite the opposite!

Focusing on the financials alone of social computing and how it can help us generate more business revenue, i.e. focusing just on the numbers, on keeping the stakeholders happy, on using the same business models as last century’s is just going to help us get back into the same position we are nowadays in with this horrendous financial global crisis we are going through for a couple of years and still going strong. Hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel at the moment …

We need some fresh thinking; we need to break the barriers of how business has been conducted in the last few years; we finally need to break free from that financial yoke and eventually strike for that sustainable economy that everyone keeps talking about, but that doesn’t seem to come along as quickly as we thought. It keeps slipping away from our fingers, when we know it’s just so close to us! We need to stop thinking about social strategy and push more along the lines of social philosophy.

Because, after all, who wants to live in a world like today’s, yes, like today’s (With the current financial crisis and all) in say 30 to 50 years from now? Would you be willing to make the same mistakes we have made in the recent past and go through the same painful experiences again? And again! And again!! Would you? Would you like your children to inherit such unsustainable world? I am not sure about you, but I wouldn’t, and somehow something tells me that I will be around, like most of you folks out there, to witness what it would be like. And, for sure, I would want to see a better picture than what we have today! Otherwise, why bother altogether, don’t you think?

Now, can social computing help achieve that? I mean, can it helps us shift gears, change our chip, smarten up and start living by those same core values that social networking has been excelling at for over a decade already? Will we need to wait for 50 years for that to happen? I hope not! I seriously hope not!

That was along the lines of what I shared during that live panel. I know, I couldn’t help myself doing that. It was probably a bit over the top, judging by the comments of a few people who came to talk and catch up with me after the session itself, where a couple of them event hinted I just became the new Hippie 2.0 of the 21st century! Whoahh! Yeah, right! Whatever!

That got me! Well, what if I am. Most importantly, what if *we* are? What if through the usage and adoption of social software we would have an unprecedented opportunity to change the world we live in? Wouldn’t we want to seize that opportunity and make it happen? Again, think for yourself, would you want your kids and grand-kids living in a world like today’s in 30 to 50 years? Think about it …

Fortunately, I am not the only one who has been thinking along these lines, and somehow not only does that make me smile, but it also tells me that it may not be such a crazy thing after all … Did you have a chance already to go through the wonderful 7 minute interview that the Social Media Influence folks did to Alexandra Wheeler (Starbucks’ Director of Digital Strategies) on the topic of social strategy and social philosophy? Well, if you haven’t, you should! Because that’s what she is basically talking about; that in order for social networking (and social media for that matter) to sink in within our corporate world, and be part of every business’ DNA and provoke such sustainable growth where knowledge sharing, collaboration and, specially, innovation will be key, we need to forget about social strategy, and think more around social philosophy.

It would be only then when we would be making real progress. And somehow, I just cannot, but agree wholeheartedly with her on that. Yesterday I talked about how change management was critical for a successful embracing of social software within the enterprise. Today, I think we are ready to start a movement, one where that co-creation process of something much better, between knowledge workers and their customers is one and unique. One they will all live by to heart, and not just because it is a nice business strategy.

Are you ready? Will you join the Hippie 2.0 movement? Not to worry, take your time. Whenever you are ready, we will be waiting for you … With open arms, wanting to continue making a difference. For everyone. Not just for your business.

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