Originally posted on the Collaboratory
Jeff Dachis and I recently returned from the Web 2.0 Expo in New York—a near week long flurry of activity that brings together technology, business and design amongst other things. We co-presented a somewhat uniquely titled session called “Social Business Design: It’s Clobberin’ Time”. So what does this mean? Simply put, it means that we are fast approaching a time where there will be a de-emphasis on the “media” portion of “social” and an emphasis on a business being socially calibrated. By this, we mean a business being more real time, adaptive, and in tune with all of its constituents (not just consumers/customers). If you want to make this really simple, you can use the word better. We believe that a socially calibrated business will be better.
Our presentation provided the rationale for why we feel this (we think many business functions have the potential be socialized, not just marketing). We explained our position on why we think the intentional act of design (or business re-design) is needed to achieve the end result of “moving the needle’ or realizing significant cost reduction or profit. We cited several early examples of success while noting the challenges they also pose. Providing customer service on Twitter is great, but how do you scale and integrate it? What’s the right metric to measure? Do your “social initiatives” live in a silo or are they integrated into multiple facets of the organization? These are not media questions—they are business questions. We injected a bit of personality by starting the presentation by saying “we didn’t come to save social media, we came to demolish it”. An exaggeration to be sure, but we think there is something deeper and we’re just seeing the tip of the Iceberg.
We broke down what we think will be the building blocks of a more social business. Adaptations in people, process and technology. We talked about the benefits and value of “open cultures” (think Zappos) and the potential of connecting the ecosystem of an organization so that a new way of collaborating could co-exist with traditional hierarchy. The audience seemed receptive. More importantly, they seemed hungry. Does social media really need “clobbering”? Not really—many businesses are reaping the benefits of communicating and engaging with their customers in new ways enabled via social technologies. We applaud this. And we think it’s only the beginning. Have a look at our presentation and let us know what you think. More importantly—ask yourself this: How ready for social business are you?