Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social...

Wef_logo I'll be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos next week -- look for posts here as I gather up blasts of insight from the gathering.

I'm running a session on January 29th at Davos that will analyze how social computing will transform corporations and markets. Discussion leaders will be: Michael Arrington, TechCrunch, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, Robert Scoble of Fast Company TV, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, Matt Cohler of Benchmark Capital (late of Facebook), and others.

We're going to be working to answer the questions listed below.

If you have any special insight on these questions, comment back to this post. During the session, I will quote you with attribution, when appropriate. If you've got any real-world examples, they would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for contributing.

Here are the questions:

- How can enterprises (companies with $1B in revenue or greater) use social to gain an advantage?
- What are the greatest risks of social to an enterprise? How can these risks be mitigated?
- How can social be used to improve leadership and decision making in the organization?
- How can social be used to drive product development and innovation?
- How can social be used to improve investor relations?
- How can social be used to improve recruitment and human resources management?
- How can social be used to improve customer/client relations?
- For the average large company, what should its social profile look like by the end of 2009? End of 2010? End of 2011?
- How can you rally top management to support social? How should the social effort be organized internally? Who should own it? Who should lead it?

Thanks!!

Comments

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

Regarding KYC (know your customers) or in relating to social media, verification of a person's identitythis is question further to my comments on 'TRUST' issue within Twitter:http://garethcxo.blogspot.com/2009/01/my-comments-re-twitter-surpasses-digg.htmlor http://bit.ly/6kPThere should be a joint effort to Qualify if I am who I say I am within the social media/network world.So far, I find mainly LinkedIn (through trusted connections and sometimes their endorsements) that meet 'part of such' requirements..If we need to convince the 'rest' of the world, mass market to jump in, the TRUST and Verification/Personal Identity/KYCs would need to be addressed.Just asking people to input their own date of birth would not do! Of course, whether or not I would answer such question for LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter/OpenID is the question.. everyone need to work together to sort this out I humbly submit.BR@GarethWong

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

TWITTER.COM/michaeljungYou asked for some thoughts; the social media/network will create a movement (from bottom up) unlike any other see before within the next couple of years. areas for consideration are politics (usa, cuba, china, east-conflict zones), equality, transparency (politics, finance, storage of personal data (ISPs, gov)), free form use of content (creative commons).2nd The role of investigative journalism will increase, freelance journalists and bloggers will uncover any-gate due to no-cost platforms.Which leads to the 3rd point - no-cost content platforms are the winners of this recession.just my $.02,- good night (0110am)

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

I picked the easy question...- How can social be used to drive product development and innovation?Answer:How won't it be used?People are experiencing joy right now. FACEBOOK is allowing people to Connect with all in their World. Imagine if "They" were speaking Freely to your Company. Puts you in the best position as a company- to Innovate and Sense what your Customers really want.The Key Issue in Social is Trust. "Greed" being the antithesis. -Its Word of Mouth's tip of the hat to the Universe. Trust will be a Marker in the World. 'SocialComputing' will be pulse of Business in a matter of a few short years, the winner is "ADD ME" "Follow" "Join""SHARE""foreward"and for sure please "Be My Friend" etc.The real question is this. How fast can we get every Human a new Laptop? Or the Max percentage immediately possible? That should be the only goal. Answer this question and the World will move in Unison, in the right direction. 'SocialComputing's' potential should be a part of any long term business endeavour. Handing out the tools of innovation repays itself. We need to make that the Message of 2009.Ted Kellepourey

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

I would respectfully suggest there is one essential strategic question that precedes those tactical questions.The Question:What is the state that exists for todays company's that social will replace?My premise:Social computing is not a new marketing campaign. Social computing is a business model transformation. That said, what are the characteristics of the old and new corporation. If it is a table it would be two columns - "OLD" and "SOCIAL" What would be the business model characteristics down the left that we can compare across old and social?Some examples to compare in this wasy:- customer service- marketing- customer acquisition- brand management- technology strategy

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

Hi George - miss seeing you wandering the halls, won't get to read updates about Angelina either...bummer.I've been thinking about all of these questions. The business I'm building intends to make social business a reality. Getting there's not going to be easy.Building a social business requires transforming the world of work. WIM: companies need to address elements of people, process, technology, and the ecosystem in which they operate. By opening up all business functions to a larger constituent base, companies will produce not only intended outcomes, but more importantly emergent outcomes.CEOs must realize that there is no other way of doing business. We have not realized the potential of Senge's Fifth Discipline, Hammer & Champy's Reengineering, O'Reilly's Web 2.0, or your X Internet because these big ideas have been reduced to create incremental, not revolutionary, change. Employees will have to get on board or get out.2009: more tests and examples, but companies will run into scalability issues. 2010: a realization that technology alone will not sustain social business. 2011: we will have a few cases that finally make the message real for most companies.I have a series of recent posts on my blogs with 100+ comments that might spark some additional thoughts.Would love to discuss further, if you'd like.

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

Sounds like a great session – look forward to reading more. Social media offers companies benefits and opportunities that far outweigh the risks. That said I have a few thoughts on:What are the greatest risks of social to an enterprise? How can these risks be mitigated?Reputation management becomes a whole new challenge in a social world. Your customers are talking about you. And their potential audience is the world, not just their friends, family and colleagues.Savvy companies realize this can be a positive, an opportunity to listen, learn and engage. How Dell turned "My Dell Hell" into IdeaStorm is the example I hear quoted most often. If we're honest, it's hard for most companies not to be scared or defensive when confronted with a barrage of negative blog posts. Even if marketing and public relations are working hard on this, colleagues in other departments might not always be ‘on message’.I think the answers are the same as they’ve always been for the most successful enterprises. Have great messages. Repeat them, using lots of channels and remember that you might have to communicate multiple times before you achieve success. Listen to your customers, keep them informed, and be responsive to problems and suggestions. Have strong company values that the whole organization can commit to, and do a great job of communicating internally and providing feedback loops for employees. Social media makes this all more immediate, but I don’t think the rules have changed.You can't control the conversation in social media. But if you make the most of it, it could be the most fruitful conversation your enterprise ever had.

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

Hi GeorgeGreat question we just discussed with our sales teams the other day. Both for buyers and for sellers, social capabilities greatly scale the ability to establish greater relationships with customers (or as customers). For sales, especially in a difficult economic evironment, being able to socialize without having to travel/guess a good thank you gift/communicate about hobbies and children means that sales teams can get to know more customers, more deeply, and more frequently than they could trying to take up office time or dinner meetings.While it doesn't replace face to face meetings, the increase in familiarity means that when sellers meet their buyers they are ready to talk turkey. Best of all, this communication is FREE. So whether it is streaming commentary on fly fishing on Twitter or pictures of the new baby on Facebook (2 billion photos and counting) the connection is made and maintained.Enjoy the summit - should be fascinating.David

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

More questions: How will new companies in the era of "social" organize - e.g. will we see more coworking clusters that form into larger entities, or perhaps form into networks of companies that remain independent, but share personnel and capacity to scale work? And assuming new companies emerge and grow differently, what effect will this have on existing larger companies? To what extent might they emulate by becoming more like networks?To your specific questions...How use social to gain an advantage? Knowledge processes are social, and with more social transactions there is the potential to produce more knowledge. Challenge: how to capture knowledge effectively, and how to maintain a high signal to noise ratio with more (omnidirectional) information channels. Companies that are more effective in leveraging social technology to produce, capture, and use knowledge will have an advantage.Risks of social: Multichannel omnidirectional communication flows are potentially chaotic, could result in high noise to signal, loss of focus, information inefficiency. Highly competitive internal environments where everyone is entrepreneurial could breed contention and create power vacuums. Avoid this by creating a collaborative culture and being clear about values and goals throughout the organization.Improve leadership and decision making by using social media to create and find more and better leaders within the company. Learn to spot emergent leadership. While existing lines of authority and responsibility within the organization won't go away, those in acknowledged leadership roles must learn to see and acknowledge where knowledge and social capital are produced and where natural leaders exist within the company, build collaboration around hubs and high knowledge productivity areas of the company. Leverage collaborative communication networks internally to crowdsource decisions where it makes sense.Product development: use social media to collaborate with customers as well as internal innovators.Investor relations: Build social networks for ongoing communication with investors and staff the business of listening to what they say. Company reps in communication with investors have to be well-trained and sensitive to the issues inherent in that communication. Don't be afraid to accept the challenge inherent in this communication.Recruitment and human resources: You now have ready access to data about potential employees via systems like LinkedIn. You can search and find potential employees who weren't necessarily searching for work, and make offers - much larger base to consider, and with robust search, you can zero in on ideal candidates. You can often assess potential hires in social contexts where you get a much clearer sense of who they are and how they might fit.Customer/client relations: Build customer communities, not necessarily on a single platform, but leveraging social media platforms that make sense - go where your customers are, and invite them to come to you. The challenge here is in staffing ongoing robust, and more direct, communication with customers online, and scaling that activity. Many companies are saturated with knowledge/information that customers never see through traditional channels, so it's compelling to find ways to connect internal knowledge resources with the customer base. We envision a whole new discipline growing around this activity, using already existing best practices for online facilitation and community development.Large company social profiles: By the end of 2010, be working on a communication strategy that includes analysis if internal and external social networks and value networks, and definition of robust communication stragegy internally and externally: for managers, employees, shareholders, partners, customers. Consider that these communities are not defined but their platforms, but leverage many existing platforms. By the end of 2011, have clear authority, responsibility, and staffing for social/community development and interaction, and be attentive to change management (transformation management) issues as you open up communications and begin sharing knowledge. Become adept by the end of 2011 at identifying and acknowledging social capital emerging from value networks around the company, both internal and external.Your last question about rallying top management, how to organize, etc. is probably defined differently for different companies. You'd have to have c-level support. As to who should own it, that's already been a barrier. Is this marketing or operations? It's both, it works across the traditional lines of demarcation within the corporate environment, so ownership and responsibility for what I've described requires new thinking about how we organize. It really is a transformation.We see a clear connection between social media and sustainability, but that's a conversation for another day.

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

Social has dissolved the barriers to having intimate public relations. Customers expect to have issues resolved by a real person using tool sets that they are already using.Is it tolerable to wait for half and hour listening to elevator music for customer support? Customers expect problems to be solved quickly and they'll use their social presence to bring up issues in twitter, their blog, or on YouTube. This approach requires an honest, quick response from brands.Brands that are embracing social technologies are rapidly separating themselves from those that don't in customer satisfaction and reputation. These organizations become more approachable and are rewarded for their support by the marketplace's use of the same social technologies to promote their responses.

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

Social Success =Opportunity for Collaboration >Fear of TransparencyThe barrier to adoption of social media is not just that "executives don't get it".There is a real fear. And until that fear is addressed, adoption in B2B will continue to be slow.As the evangelists say, social media creates new opportunity by allowing for collaboration and co-creation. You can listen your customers, tap collective wisdom, crowdsource innovation.But social media also provokes a real fear of transparency. You become aware of everything that everyone is saying about you, and you create an obligation to share things you never shared before. You also are forced to break down the walls between once siloed segments.Just think about Facebook, and the point at which you realized that your high school friends might be mixing it up with your work friends. (Or maybe you haven't invited your work friends yet, which is exactly the point.)In B2B, the place to get started is where there is a low risk of transparency and a high value of collaboration.I've have had the opportunity to work with IBM and Manpower on the launch of two B2B communities -- one for CIOs (Center for CIO Leadership - http://www.cioleadershipcenter.com) and one for professionals (MyPath - http://www.mypath.com).Both communities focus on professional development and career management, areas where the companies can leverage their relationships and expertise, where there is limited transparency risk to the sponsoring company, and high collaboration value to the participants.

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

This post is a response to this Davos message and your last post on Obama and Tech.The next wave of tech innovation (including social) will come with GUWB, global ubiquitous wireless broadband and smartphones for all.Smartphones are the laptops and cell phones combined of the last techno innovation wave. They are driving social today.IMHO the biggest single thing world governments could do to stimulate the economy and world peace would be to work together to build out GUWB. This is the infrastructure governments should make happen fast. Enterprises and entrepreneurs will do the rest.Unfortunately, US politicians don't seem to get it. They are looking to spend $6 B to "expand high-speed Internet access in rural and underserved communities" as the third and smallest "technology investment." Better than nothing but not visionary leadership.Davos IS about visionary leadership, right? Push the drive for social via GUWB!Have a safe and productive trip.

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

George,Good luck with your session at Davos. Here are my answers to your questions based on our experience with social at Cognizant. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need further clarifications.---How can social be used to improve leadership and decision making in the organization?In the absence of social, leadership and decision making in large organizations is handled in a top-down fashion. With social, the leadership can directly collaborate with the entire organization in decision making thereby tapping into the wisdom of the community.For example, our CEO and President, Francisco D'Souza put up the strategic themes for the company for 2008 on his blog inviting comments. Within 2 weeks he received over 400 ideas many of which were used to enhance the strategy. Without using social this would be difficult to accomplish. Especially, in a high-performance, professional organization, the use of social helps in enhanced employee motivation and a culture of "team leadership".How can social be used to drive product development and innovation?As in the previous example, social can be used to both collect and vet ideas. At Cognizant, we have started using a social idea management system that allows anyone to post an idea, then the idea is voted upon by the community to bubble up worthy ideas that can be taken up for implementation. Innovation doesn't happen not due to lack of ideas but due to lack of follow through. A social-based system can avoid this by letting the community decide what is important by themselves.How can enterprises (companies with $1B in revenue or greater) use social to gain an advantage?Social techniques can be used in a variety of ways both in internally-facing and externally-facing scenarios to gain an advantage. For instance, Knowledge Management which has been a particularly challenging problem to solve, can use social techniques to great effect. Our social system Cognizant 2.0 is enabling us to deliver higher quality services. Our system pushes the right knowledge to the associate at the right time making Just in Time Knowledge, the holy grail of the KM world, a reality.What are the greatest risks of social to an enterprise? How can these risks be mitigated?In internally-facing applications social poses fewer risks. Most of the risks of social arise when social is used in externally facing applications. For instance, when an organization uses an open blog to communicate with its customers, the risk of mis-communicating arises. Any externally-facing social initiative should carefully consider potential risks and devise mitigation plans before proceeding.How can social be used to improve investor relations?A closed community eliminates most of the risks of social for externally facing applications. Organizations can build a closed community for investors.At Cognizant we have been experimenting with a closed social community for our customers, called "eCommunity". The eCommunity serves as a way for our clients to network amongst themselves, seek/give expert advice etc. We see this as a great extension of our annual event - Cognizant Community, that brings clients together face to face for knowledge sharing.Many organizations use open blogs to communicate with clients. At Cognizant we are still ambivalent about using open blogs due to the potential risks. Internally, blogging is a rage with over 20,000 people participating and generating 2-million page views per month on an average.How can social be used to improve recruitment and human resources management?Engaging the potential employees and alumni in popular social networks like Linkedin, Orkut, Facebook is an important strategy in recruitment. We have Cognizant employees voluntarily run communities in Orkut answering questions and engaging the potential recruits. This has proved very effective.In Human Resources, we use blogs to effectively communicate the "cultural value drivers" of the organization.We have a popular internal blog called the "Legends of Cognizant" that publishes stories of extraordinary efforts of our employees. For example, we published a story of an employee that walked approximately 10 miles to an office in India to meet a client commitment on a day of a public strike in that city. Such stories help our employees imbibe our values much more easily. Our research also shows that the employees that are active in the social system are having markedly higher employee-engagement scores.For the average large company, what should its social profile look like by the end of 2009? End of 2010? End of 2011?An average large company, by 2011 should, at the minimum, be using social in all the major areas outlined above:KM, Idea Management, Recruiting, Human Resources, Customer Relations and Investor Relations. Organizations should prioritize these areas and implement a phased plan. Our advice would be to implement in social in internally-facing applications to gain experience and then attempt externally facing ones.How can you rally top management to support social? How should the social effort be organized internally? Who should own it? Who should lead it?Like any major initiative Social also needs top management support and commitment. At Cognizant, our CEO writes a blog post frequently and uses it to engage the broader organization directly. His direct participation drives home the commitment about social in an unequivocal manner.Social is a generic capability that can be applied in many different areas as discussed above. Therefore, every function should consider social techniques and figure out a way to use them. However, the pilot initiative should be run by someone who has experience in social. Unlike other techniques, social seems to be appreciated only by people who participate in it. Those that don't participate don't "get" it. At Cognizant, we piloted Social in KM first, led by an experienced blogger.

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

Like many of the others here, I think it is not just about 'socializing' business processes but about new business structures.Large companies will act more like networks and less like hierarchies (this already happens implicitly today but with a lot of friction and tension).Leadership, compensation, and resource allocation processes will need to catch up to the emergent network behavior that already happens today - rewarding not only those that control resources but also those that emerge as leaders because of their initiative.What this means is social software as we know it today is insufficient. It needs to be enterprise scale and accommodate accounting, resource management, and project management systems.I also am not convinced that current corporate leadership & management has the right skill sets to manage this type of network. That is a real barrier to change.The risks represented by this type of transformation is mentioned above - it can lead to chaos and lack of alignment. I think that will lead to having to hire based on shared values (see Zappos or W.L.Gore for examples) not just on skill sets. But it also cannot be accomplished without the tools to support it.Interesting times. Looking forward to hearing about the discussion!

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

These are great questions. Based on my work and expertise in helping businesses to innovate and be more innovative, I'll comment on these two questions specifically:How can social be used to improve leadership and decision making in the organization? How can social be used to drive product development and innovation?Social tools are another way to connect businesses with the people who buy their products and services. Even in B2B situations, it is almost always a person who chooses one company over the competition. As such, it's necessary to understand what drives the decision-making processes.This input should not be taken literally, but decisions made that incorporate an understanding of how the market makes decisions, will ensure that a company is more relevant to that market.Social tools are useful in that they provide immediate feedback, yet the same caution exists when using any consumer feedback tools. They are best used to understand zeitgeist, rather than look for specific answers. Social is the best way to capture what is happening right now.

re: Contribute to a 2009 World Economic Forum session on social

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