For an early adopter market, adoption in this space always seems to get a bad rap. Why is that? Because adoption is not the end-game. It’s the beginning. In the Council, the members are focused on changing hearts and minds and promoting the use of social tools in order to drive acceptance for a new way of working. In Deloitte’s excellent report issued today, Social Software for Business Performance, we couldn’t agree more with the findings. In fact, the rap on “adoption” uses our research to make the point. There is no benefit in adoption for adoption’s sake.
It’s important to understand that “technology” adoption is the beginning of the journey. It’s the first wagon wheel turn on a Westward Ho! trek toward complete embrace of a workforce that is socially calibrated and connected. If you want to experience the benefits of working socially, workforces need to be comfortable and see the benefit of the radical internal organizational change it requires. It sometimes amuses me that the folks who are critical of the adoption effort required are not particularly proficient in working socially in the first place, and cling to the world they know which is process-oriented and rooted in the industrialization (machining) of the enterprise.
I’ve often said that the adoption story is much less about the technology than it is about the organizational dynamics required to rewire the culture toward a more open, more egalitarian society if you will. My source on this does not hail from any new technology fad. In fact, it’s a paper originally published in 1957. It is a supplement to a paper called, “How Farm People Accept New Ideas.” It draws from a sociology, not technology foundation.
Introducing these concepts and making them stick inside a large organization is, indeed, a lot like cat-herding. But, these are not cats or kittens. Change is painful and difficult inside large organizations. One of the best quotes we heard from last year’s BlackBelt Workshop at the Boston Enterprise 2.0 conference was from one of our members who said, “These are not cats we’re herding; they’re Tigers, and they bite!”
Business process oriented vendors are getting savvy to social. Council members just had a great Q&A yesterday with SFDC’s Chatter lead, Chuck Ganapathi, yesterday, and we’re planning a demo and conversation with Tibbr in the near future. My prediction is we will see new business processes that replace or obsolete old ones more and more as, well, adoption proliferates throughout the enterprise.
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.
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.
With all my dedicated passion for the social web and its inspirational, world-changing promise, people often wonder why I’ve chosen to focus on the enterprise. My answer is: because it’s hard and #ifnotyouthenwho? One of the last bastions of resistance to embrace the tenets of 2.0 philosophy is found in the large corporate culture. It also happens to be an area where I feel I can do the most good and leverage my career relationships to inspire individuals to start thinking and acting a different (read: better) way.
That said, the “2.0 for the enterprise” community is small. It is a mere fraction of the worldwide tech population. Consider the Enterprise 2.0 Conference brings out maybe 1500 people. Compare that to, say a tech conference like Oracle OpenWorld, which will draw over 40K people to San Francisco alone next week. Even if you layer on the explosion taking place with social media, social CRM, and online communities, it’s still a relatively new phenomenon even here in the USA where professionals are still just now signing up for LinkedIn and Facebook. The #newTwitter will arrive as the only Twitter for the millions of people who have not been Twitter enthusiasts from the beginning. There will come a time when social media will be like air, but that is still a time in the future.
Considering where we are in the evolution of making a difference, today’s mission should focus squarely on inspiration, not perspiration. It’s that 1% of spark of genius that will ignite a revolution in our time. Last week, I tracked JiveWorld 2010 via Twitter (#JW10). I so now regret not going. My hat is off to Jive for inspiring its customers to go beyond, to literally encourage and support them in their mission to change the world of work. So many of our members who are Jive customers are having career-changing, life-changing experiences as a result of this newfound freedom and empowerment. Take Council member Bart Schutte, for instance, who blogged passionately,
“As someone who has been in the IT industry for 28 years… together we have the opportunity to define this new revolution…I can’t remember being more pumped up about my work. Nothing that I have done over the last three decades will have as big an impact as what I am doing now.”
And it’s not only Jive customers who feel this excitement. Whether our members are working with SharePoint, Lotus Connections, ThoughtFarmer, or the so-called Frankenstein suites that have been integrated to meet the needs of the large enterprise, customers who are in the driver’s seat of this transformation all share a similar desire to create change. My hope is all vendors will inspire their customers to get as charged up as Jive’s customers are. In a small market, it’s easy to get drawn into religious wars over platforms and persuasions, but petty in-fighting is counter-productive to the larger task at hand. That task is expanding the small pie sliver that now comprises the social business movement, so real change can occur on a grand scale.
To the uninspired that are not feelin’ the passion, I feel compelled to address the principle argument against embracing working socially: what’s the ROI? Management theorists have posited that employee engagement leads to business outcomes for years. There are books, lectures, MBA courses that even pre-date the 2.0 enterprise movement that validate this premise. I am not worried there are no formulaic guarantees on social business successes yet. “If you do x, you’ll get y.” Personally, I wish we could change ROI to become Return on Inspiration. The fact remains, large companies who are experimenting and rolling out these massive deployments are still in the early stages. I’m certain the proof positive is coming, but ask yourself: are we measuring the right indicators? Are we (only) looking for evidence under the spotlight of things we know?
Which brings us to the job of the Internal Evangelist. We call them evangelists because they are preaching a foreign gospel in their large organizations. I’ve done this, it’s tough. It’s a thankless and oftentimes painful job. We are researching salaries for internal evangelists in the Council at present. Although I’ve been pleased to see we have fairly high level managers responsible for driving this change, it occurred to me that our members should receive “combat pay” bonuses as part of their compensation package. The career risks our members take every day on the front lines of change, should be rewarded in every way possible. The members come to the Council for refuge, to get support when they are faced with skepticism and setbacks. Yet, we rejoice a lot more than we complain. In fact, we have a running tag in the Council: #clang. We ring a bell for every victory. This tag is by far one of our most popular tags.
Don’t hate the playa; hate the game.
So to all those who wish to derail the conversation away from what is needed right now– passion– I offer this video interview with Seth Godin and dedicate it to the hard-working folks who are doing this every day.
If you don’t have time to watch the whole video, here are some nuggets:
“The heart of what’s going on here; the heart of the shift in our economy is this at the core. You don’t have to be [famous] to do this.”
“It’s not about permission; it’s about the passion and the decision to make an impact.”
“…highlighting and talking about the good stuff and giving those people a platform to succeed.”
“If you’re going to have an impact, you’re going to have to find out where the fear is. What tricks do you have available to you to overturn that resistance to change?”
“Happiness’ best friend is kindness.”
“Passion’s best friend is generosity.”
“Give people the emotional gift of connection and meeting them in ways that matter.”
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.
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.
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.