Social Business on the Ground

When we set out to investigate case studies, we were looking for “slam dunk” examples where 2.0 initiatives were inextricably tied to business results. In effect, we wanted to begin to dispel the criticisms that e20 was just the next silly, narcissistic exploit to enter the enterprise on the heels of yet another consumer fad: web 2.0.

Well?  We didn’t find those “slam dunk” examples. But, neither did we find any “failures.” What we did find was a massive movement shaking the bedrock of enterprise as we know it. The enterprise plates are still firmly in place, but our investigation revealed tremors– sudden energy being released among the employee population that is poised to crack the foundation of business as we’ve known it.

Time and time again we heard, “This is the most important initiative I’ve ever worked on in my professional life.” There’s something chilling, something inspiring about the people and companies who are leading the charge toward reinventing themselves to become socially savvy. As you read through these profiles and cases, you’ll come to appreciate while all of these companies are still early in the process, they all are confident they will succeed in their long term goals.  Some are realizing early successes already.   The prevailing operational mission at present, however, is to succeed at catalyzing the “ideological reformation” at the root level of the organization that needs to take place before real business value can be extracted, measured, and fine-tuned.  It’s a bit of a Catch-22, and almost as maddening and dangerous as originally described in the novel that coined the phrase.

We will continue to track the progress of these early adopters.  Regardless where you are in the spectrum, we all succeed when every case succeeds.  We’d like to thank IBM and MIT’s Center for Digital Business for lending support and sponsorship to this series of cases and profiles. Special thanks to all @20adoption members who participated in the series.

Current profiles and cases are posted on The 2.0 Adoption Council web site.  Feel free to download at will.  We have a few more coming, as well.

The Chief Evangelist Officer – How does your CEO compare?

We have a wide range of experiences with executive support relative to adoption of 2.0 in the Enterprise.   Some of our members are ecstatic when their CEO blogs on an internal platform without first going through PR; some try to keep the initiative under the radar of the leading executives.  We’ve seen it all.

That said…

This video by member @ted_hopton‘s company, UBM, is the new standard-bearer.   For all of you battling for executive support, watch it and weep.  🙂

Of course, we all hate the fact UBM calls its socio-collaborative platform a Wiki, but we’ll take it.

Awesome job UBM team!

Working Out Loud*

It occurred to me recently that my blogging has all but slammed to a screeching halt.  Since the Council was bought by Dachis Group, I’ve barely managed to blog at all, and my tweeting has wound down considerably, as well.   This is not to say I’ve slowed down with social engagement, in fact, it’s the near opposite.   I man the command center at Council central on our Jive and Socialcast social sites, and I monitor Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook as well as our Dachis Group Yammer account all day.   I have a persistent chat going all day with my assistant on Skype, and I’m generally monitoring the social web for keywords I’m tracking via Google alerts.

I’m just not sharing a lot externally with my e20 neighbors outside of the Council, save for what I manage to post on Twitter or share via Facebook.  So, ironically, the social web has turned me anti-social.  I’m less transparent than I’ve ever been since I started blogging in 2006.  This is a peculiar and sad state of affairs, because I certainly know more now than I knew when I was blogging avidly.

All that being said, I am going to attempt to get back to blogging.  We debate a lot of important issues inside of the Council that deserve to be exposed to an external audience.  Another way we’re going to attempt to do this is via our new Podcast series that I announced this morning.  Of course, I have to respect the confidentiality of the members’ work-specific related issues, but the general trends we’re watching and trying to make sense of would benefit by some group discussion.

So consider this a short re-introduction.  I have a number of posts I’ve been mulling over.  I won’t waste a lot of time perfecting them, but will make every effort to stimulate some conversation.  Stay tuned.

*Work Out Loud is a great theme coined by our member @thebryceswrite

Nomination Season Begins! Who will be Internal Evangelist of the Year 2010?

Photo credit: Alex Dunne

It’s that time again.   Last year was our inaugural celebration awarding a Council member, “Internal Evangelist of the Year.”  (#IEoY09)

We created this award to recognize an individual who has gone above and beyond the #dayjob requirements and truly has been an inspiration for the company leading a radical (and most often) difficult transformation of the large enterprise.

As I said last year, the same is true this year:

“…the job of the internal evangelist is far, far more difficult. These folks toggle between fighting the good fight every day and then slipping uneasily into a sort of DMZ where they can peek out into the broader community for support and the rejuvenation they need to go on fighting another day. It’s often a thankless job with no clear roadmap for advancement, yet the majority of them do it because they believe in the principles of the 2.0 movement. I celebrate them!”

Interestingly enough, last year’s award winner, Claire Flanagan, was promoted to Social Collaboration Director at the Boston E20 conference.  Hence, she created her own roadmap for advancement and was publicly and privately recognized for it by her employer.   We’ve all had an amazing year.  When I posted about the IEoY09 last year, we had just 40 members in the Council.  We now have 6x that number and the percentage of our “heavy users/most engaged” far surpassed 40 a long while ago. Even with the natural churn (members coming, going, new jobs, etc.), we are consistently growing and individual members have the accretive value of every new node’s contribution to the group intelligence.

So, this year’s winner will be harder to choose than ever.  The final selection will weigh heavily on the member’s recommendations from colleagues in the company, but we are considering all nominations including self-nominations.  Do not be shy!  Vote for your favorite Council member.  It’s good for the member to be recognized for achievements and career advancement; it’s good for the company in that it reinforces how critical the social business effort is to the organization; and it’s good for the sector as it validates the passion and enthusiasm this particular trend brings to the landscape for business reinvention.

Here are the rules/instructions:

1. The nominee must be a member of The 2.0 Adoption Council.  If you would like to recognize someone who is deserving of the award and is leading a social business transformation at your company (or any company), please simply ask them to join the Council.  The Council is free to join for qualified members.

2. We are looking for that extra something.  How did the member sway opinion in the company or in the industry at large?  Did the member demonstrably take a risk that paid off?  Are there any success metrics you have regarding adoption or transformative change in the organization you can tout due to the members’ efforts?  Has the business realized any measurable gains specific to the 2.0 effort?  In other words, the IEoY award is not a popularity contest.  It’s an achievement reward.

3. Where to vote:
– We have two forms for nominations.  My preferred form is the same one we used last year on Google.  You can access it here.
– We have a duplicate of the original form on SurveyGizmo. You an access it here. We needed an alternative web address, as many of our members cannot access Google apps behind the firewall.  Please only use this form if you do not or do not wish to use the Google form.

4. Deadline for submissions is October 22, 2010.

5. The Twitter hashtag for this year’s award is #IEoY10.  Most of the Council members can be found on Twitter.  Jamie Pappas has a list, and the @20adoption account follows members on Twitter.

The award will once again be a main stage event at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference (West) this year held at the spacious Santa Clara Convention Center.

Good luck all evangelists!   As you know, I am your most loyal, enthusiastic fan and you are all winners to me. Let the race begin!

Adoption is Dead. Long live Adoption!

Rumors surrounding the death of adoption have been greatly exaggerated.

The 2.0 Enterprisey crowd is gearing up to head to Boston for our annual pilgrimage.  This will be my fourth conference as a participant and board member.  Having watched and often interpreted the trends in this sector, I find it interesting to report that things have not changed much in general since our first get-together in 2007.   While it’s true that we have many, many more organizations large and small experimenting with and committing to 2.0 strategies– internally and externally– and the business itself is morphing into something much more grand and all-encompassing, the truth of the matter is: we are still early adopters of this new way of working.

The notion of “adoption” in general occasionally gets called into criticism by bloggers who are looking at the phenomenon purely through the lens of new technology adoption.   The adoption phenomenon is much more far-reaching and encompasses a wholesale reinvention of the way we will work in the future.  Social data and social layers that will filter transactions in the enterprise are the Next Big Thing in enterprise.  Period.  But before we can get there, we need to on-ramp legions of employees to change their attitudes and behaviors to maximize the benefits of what the socially connected universe offers.

It’s easy for us who spend a lot of time on the social web to re-imagine where we are in real terms relative to widespread embrace of social strategy and tactical best practices.   This is a mistake, and we need to scale back our expectations and see the immediate opportunity for what it is: an early adopter market.  This reality has been difficult to swallow, perhaps especially for me.   We’ve kicked off our case study series and early indicators are reinforcing the relative immaturity of the market.  We’ll have more details on those in upcoming months.  The good news is: we are all really early on a phenomenon that is changing the world as we know it.  This social transformation will be larger and more comprehensive than any technology transformation (including the Internet and mobile) we’ve seen thus far.  Those of us who are in this for the long haul know this instinctively and welcome the opportunity to shape the future.

That said, the Council members (who are squarely on the front lines of galvanizing change) have been working hard to put together some thinking on what’s working and what’s not  on the Adoption Trail.  In addition to our full-day workshop, we have an  entire track devoted to adoption issues at the conference this year.  I invite you to hear directly from these customers– at their sessions, at lunch, at the bar, in the halls… wherever they are.  You’ll know them because they’ll be wearing our pins, as well as a star on their badges.  We have over 30 Council members attending from a variety of industry sectors including: IT/High Tech, Telecommunications, Pharmaceuticals, Public Utilities, Government, Construction, Publishing, Retail, Non-Profit, Health Care, Financial Services, and Manufacturing.

On the last day of the conference, in the last session time slot, I’ve reserved time to discuss “what we missed” in our agenda planning.  As board members, we try hard to include everything topical that’s fit to present, but invariably, we could fall short and miss or underplay something important.  This session is an attempt to capture that lost content and discuss it with a panel of customers and industry thought leaders (including Dennis Howlett and Lee Bryant, as well as a team of sharp shooter Council members).  So, while you’re attending sessions, please keep a mental note of anything you feel has been missing from the dialog all week and bring it to the session.  We’re going to try and keep the session as interactive as possible.

Look forward to seeing you all in Boston.

Let Go and Let Talent

What is the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future?  According to a new study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, CEO’s point to creativity as the engine for future growth.

Creative leaders are key to driving the kind of change large organizations require to wrestle with global complexity and information overload.  Open leadership coupled with inspiring creativity is the management mantra of this new decade.  It’s a far cry from the pop management themes of yesteryear which advocated tightly controlled hierarchies, silos, and re-engineered and structured processes that slashed costs, jobs, and produced routine outcomes.

One of the reasons I love working with the Council members is because their energy and passion is nearly limitless.  They all work in the sweet spot of this new corporate cultural revolution.  Selling transparency, collaboration, trust, and authenticity– they’re armed with the principles that will guide their organizations to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

As these corporate positions are relatively new, there is a lot of flexibility and opportunity for our members to express creativity to advance the state of adoption company-wide.   Along these lines, I want to highlight one of our members’ (Ted Hopton) efforts to inspire adoption of its socio-collaborative platform.  Called, “the Wiki” (although admittedly, much more than a wiki), UBM employees brainstormed fun and engaging ways to introduce its employees to Jive SBS 4.0’s new features.  As it turns out, employee Chris Harris (aka DJ $crilla) is an award-winning rapper.  He wrote the lyrics, performed, and directed the video.  The video was also filmed and edited by UBM employees.

And what did the CEO, David Levin, think of the creative execution?   He was the chief sponsor and appears in a cameo role.  Big ups, all around.