Flags of Europe

Is Europe leading the way on Social Business?

Dion Hinchcliffe certainly thinks so:

[I]t’s not lost on practitioners these days that many of the largest and most committed efforts with social business are now in Europe. The approach to IT in general in the region is certainly more pragmatic, yet it’s also clear that the evolution of the future of work and the new digital workplace is one the minds of just about everyone around the world right now.

So, is social business the leading model for operating our organizations yet? Perhaps not quite, but it is certainly gaining ground and these are some of the leading examples in top organizations today.

In this excellent piece for ZDNet, Dion lists seven major European organisations that are demonstrating  leadership in this space:

I tend to agree, the best case studies I’ve seen in the past 2 years have been European in origin. Not exclusively of course, but there certainly seems to be a theme.

Is this due to the cultural makeup of European businesses, or just coincidence? Can you suggest some US-based organisations undertaking similarly-sized social business projects that would fit into this group?  I’d love to hear from you…

Reviving Social Business adoption

A topic close to my heart…

Dennis Pearce of Information Week:

The last piece of the puzzle is how to turn a theoretical model like this into a practical analysis tool to help guide your adoption strategy. The first step we took at my company was to simplify the model to get a more focused communication plan. Since the goal is to jump the chasm and gain critical mass, in practice there are really only three groups to worry about:

  • The Early Adopters (which combines both early adopters and innovators), who mainly need to understand the available features so they can explore what can be done with them;
  • The Massive Middle (early majority and late majority), who need some confidence that this new concept is not a fly-by-night fad and will actually enhance productivity; and
  • The Laggards, who won’t adopt until they are forced to do so. 

If you look closely at the chart above, you will notice an S-shaped curve in addition to the normal bell curve. That S-curve is the sum total of your adopters as your organization progresses along the adoption curve. You can use this curve to help you determine when it’s time to switch tactics.

I really like the graph above.  There are a lot of different methods of planning, modelling and measuring user adoption of Social Business systems.  One of the greatest challenges is to be realistic in terms of the adoption culture of an organisation and its users.  No matter how fantastic the technology is, or how persuasive your communication and adoption strategies, users will always embrace new working practices at different speeds and with differing levels of enthusiasm and commitment.  This chart models that well.


Your organization will need to ask itself two questions: How do we define adoption, and what adoption percentage is considered a success? In our case, our goal of creating an organization that works out loud drives the answers to both questions. We want to track participation — not just logging in and viewing — and we want to strive for 100% adoption.

Good advice… How do you define (and measure) adoption, and what are your criteria for success and/or failure?  Lots to be thought through before you ever think about technology or solution specifics…

[Dennis is an Enterprise Knowledge Architect for Lexmark International, Inc. – his series on Information Week is worth reading and following]

The rise of the Community Manager and the Collaboration Garden: an IBM Social Business Briefing

For our third IBM Social Business Briefing (aka Wicked Wednesdays) on 25th April at Royal Exchange in London, we felt the time was right to move the discourse from thought leadership and education to a more practical footing.

Of course, we still leveraged the superb network of independent thought leaders who we are lucky to have at our events BUT at this latest event we changed / evolved the format.

On this occasion I framed the discussion on the emerging role of the Community Manager (seen by some as the ‘rock star of the Enterprise’) and then actually used a collaboration platform to discuss, collaborate and innovate around the chosen topic.

The objective or rather the output of the debate was not simply to gain a better understanding of this subject (the fastest growing job role in Social Business) but also to create a job description for the role of Community Manager which could then be downloaded and iterated by users.

To help us achieve this we introduced attendees to the Collaboration Garden – a place where the Wicked Wednesday discussion and collaboration goes on in and around the physical events.

Once inside the Garden, users could not only record their opinions and raise questions but they could also examine (through the software) the potential responsibilities and attendant tools on hand to assist a Community Manager with user adoption – e.g. gamification and social media feeds.

The overall sentiment was that this was our best Wicked Wednesday to date and pointed the way forward for future events.  Weaving the use of the collaboration platform into the discussion from the start had a number of important effects:

  • It forced us all ‘to drink our own champagne
  • Individuals contributed to the Garden on-premise and remotely (including from Spain and Ireland)
  • It highlighted how much was lost when we simply spoke and did not record
  • Live collaboration in the platform allowed for multi-threaded conversations which themselves were profoundly different to normal conversation
  • Those who were not familiar with a social collaboration platform experienced it in a way that was far more refreshing and natural then the traditional demo mode

Wicked Wednesdays are all about sharing and collaborating with those who attend the latest trends, twists and turns in the Social Business journey. We take risks at this event; we have to in order to keep things fresh and real.  So it was particularly gratifying to hear that the new format was warmly welcomed by those involved.

We are planning our next Wicked Wednesday/Social Business Briefing to take place in June and in keeping with our need to innovate we are experimenting with moving the venue from the Royal Exchange to a comfortable, friendly, coffee shop in the city which should be fun.

For more information, feel free to contact us directly.