It certainly sounds better than Human-Centered Data-Backed Agile Design, or the mouth-cluttering acronym that would accompany it. All the hoola boo around the labels of “social business” (and its greatest evangelist’s pivot away from it) distracts from what is emerging as a blend of highly powerful business strategies.
So let’s fix that.
- Use Design Thinking: in particular, human-centered design puts user experience at the start of the process, not just as an after thought.
- Apply Big Data: more buzz words? Maybe, but great social business leaders put data to use to give users and staff personalized and memorable experiences like never before. They help them lead and connect tribes.
- Connect: we operate in the connection economy (as Seth Godin would tell you), and great social businesses are as good at listening as they are at telling.
- Innovate: this isn’t just an R&D term anymore. Everyone is responsible for innovation and customer service – this is the new six sigma.
You don’t need a gagillion dollars anymore to do any of these things, in fact, some of the best tools for each are nearly free. Social businesses create movements. This is worth much more than speculative equity.
Originally posted at DZone. Republished with permission.
Just as management schools got “disrupted” by a shift to more focused organizational training, so too should organizations be on the look-out to be “disrupted” by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
In my last post I suggested that MOOCs will play a growing role in organizational professional development in the next two years. The writing is on the wall – MOOCs are less expensive, simpler, open, and full of incredible content (fortunately the movement got a kick start by some of the brightest and best). So what can companies that thrive off organizational learning do to keep up?
Does your organization have a Learning & Development team or something like it? Is there a “Org University” that encompasses everything from new hire training to ongoing certifications, “degrees”, and so forth? Does your company spend millions of dollars educating people in things that
will likely be are available for free in the near future now?
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been wreaking havoc in higher education and no one is really sure what the long-term impact will be. It’s like Khan Academy went on steroids before reaching the minor leagues. But I haven’t seen much discussion about how they play into corporate learning culture. This seems like an obvious win. If you combine the social learning power of the new breed of “inranets” or whatever you want to call them with MOOCs, you get what amounts to high quality, free, employee-driven PD.
Sure, it won’t meet every need that a business has and can’t be a stand-in for context-specific training but when hundreds of top universities across the world are opening up their classrooms and professors to these opportunities my only question is what are you waiting for?
In that spirit, I’ve signed up for Coursera’s Innovation Management class offered in March. Hands-on experience is the best way.to judge.
By the time I was ten, before household scanners existed, I was done typing my reports on school computers after spending hours etching them on paper. My handwriting wasn’t terrible, but it took real effort to make it “final product worthy” and so I wanted a shortcut. I asked my older brother to gather samples of handwriting from everyone in his class (as I did the same), and we’d create a catalog of variations of each letter that we could “teach” to a camera with some kind of computer attached. From there we could just take pictures of our handwritten work and have the camera interpret it all and spit it out as a Wordperfect document (yes – this was in the pre-Word era). I had no idea if this was even feasible, but from a 5th graders perspective, it was my top priority and just seemed like it should be true.
I’m not staking claim to have invented scanners or natural writing conversion tools here. The lesson I learned (albeit much later) was that sometimes the best way to a solution wasn’t just thinking “outside the box”, but was more akin to creating a new box. It’s extraordinarily difficult to remove ourselves from what we know are existing paradigms and limitations. However, sometimes the best new ideas come more from our inner 10 year-old selves than they do from PowerPoints and extensive market research and industry benchmarks. And more often than not, it takes a series of failures to get to the right (or at least more right) idea.
I started my journey walking up the packed dirt road, past abandoned houses, empty kiosks, and a hand-driven flour mill. The Kishimundo market is a 20-women operation and might not be your first place to look for insights into social business and business intelligence. Packed with bananas, corn, peppers, tomatoes, and other local veg, it’s about as simple as a market can get – no electricity, no tables even. Just good old capitalism.
But dig a bit deeper and it quickly becomes apparent that these mamas selling their wares on reused burlap bags have many of the same needs as much bigger businesses the world around, and those who tap into the info stream in the right way will prevail. What exactly does “tapping into the info stream” look like when the most sophisticated technology many of these women have ever encountered hangs around their neck in the form of a monochrome-display cell phone?
After a year writing about and working with social business strategy, tools, and change management I find it helpful to take a step back and assess what’s important and what could be – no, needs to be – better. Right before (ok, maybe a few weeks after) I step into a wholly different topic (read more here), I wanted to put a few ideas to “paper” on what I’d like the state of the world to be when I return from Tanzania.
It’s an interesting time for social business – when the “big guys” are adopting hybrid cloud solutions, buying up small “social” companies to incorporate into their larger offerings and existing systems, or trying to create their own. At the same time, there’s a really smart and large group of experts who feel this is all a trend and “social” still misses the point (and the bottom line).
So take this list with a grain of salt – it’s both the thoughts of a relative newbie and a dreamer. I’m laying out what I want to see, as a mixture of some emerging trends, some not-quite-yets, and some (as far as I know) unknowns.