Well, I have joined Social Edge Consulting as a Social Business Strategist, working with clients in preparing, implementing, and delivering results with their social business strategies. The role allows me the opportunity to combine my vision for the future of work with my Jive experience, and build on that through a diversity of interactions.
From the very outset in my conversations with Andrew Kratz, I was extremely impressed with the thinking and approach of Social Edge, the tone and transparency. Over the last few weeks I have been busy on-boarding and getting to know an amazing team, who not only know the Jive platform inside out, but also truly understand social business and are actually out there making it real, making it happen. A great group, who have already welcomed, energised, inspired, and teased me! Above all though, they’ve made me feel very sure of my decision and excited to be joining them.
Amongst all the excitement is a strong feeling of gratitude. In getting to this point I have been extremely lucky to have had the support of a wonderful network of friends on which I have leant heavily during the last few months. Thank You! Thank you for playing confidant, for the guidance, for listening, for being there.
And of course, thank you Social Edge for this opportunity.
So, here’s to new adventures! There’s work to be re-imagined and business that wants to become social. Let’s get on it!
After nearly 10 years, last Friday May 10th was my last working dayÂ at CSC.
My final week left me somewhat drained emotionally, only heightened by the kind messages of support and best wishes I received from colleagues. Once again, thank you to all IÂ had the opportunity to befriend, work, collaborate, share, discuss, and debate with.
But now feelings of fear and sadness are fading fast, with the excitement at what lies ahead taking over.
I continue to be inspired by the possibilities of reinventing work and how we do business. I have never been more convinced that in order to thrive in today’s connected economy, bothÂ as organisations, and as individuals, we must embrace the change surrounding us.
I believe openness, transparency, and creativity are new key currencies. I want to trade in them, and help others do the same.
So it’s on to new adventures, of which more to come. Stay tuned!
One of the beauties of the written word, particularly in digital format, is that it cannot be “worn out” in the physical sense which makes me think that overuse is the digital equivalent where we become desensitised to the significance and numb to the meaning being conveyed.
At the current rate, words and phrases such as “change”, “paradigm”, “new world”, “connected economy” and “radically different” are being overused to the point of being worn out of meaning – and I know I play my part in that!
But how else do we talk about the significance and magnitude of some of the converging trends racing towards us as businesses, industries, nations and societies?
Back on topic…
Much of my between-the-ears pondering of late has been grappling with what I see as the significance of Social Business and how it relates to these trends. Trying to get beyond some of the “nice” idealistic notions and at the heart of why it needs to be understood as relevant to our leaders and core to their organisations’ ability to thrive tomorrowÂ – whether they be in industry, education or government.
Success in this new world of manufacturing will require a radically different kind of management from the hierarchical bureaucracy focused on shareholder value that is now prevalent in large firms. It will require a different goal (delighting the customer), a different role for managers (enabling self-organizing teams), a different way of coordinating work (dynamic linking), different values (continuous improvement and radical transparency) and different communications (horizontal conversations). Merely shifting the locus of production is not enough. Companies need systemic changeâ€”a new management paradigm.
The fascinating thing is that we moved to the Through of Disillusionment without ever fully experiencing theÂ Peak of Inflated ExpectationsÂ given thatÂ most executives have yet to understand the meaning of this social revolution while pundits are ringing the bell of a next new thing.
Which leads me to think of things in the context of Denning’s words. Executives don’t need to understand “social”, they need to recognise the changeÂ under wayÂ and the disruption ahead of us. We should objectively question the current state of play in the Social Business space – the vendors, initiatives and case studies we are familiar with – and whether they are truly cause, or rather effect?
We need to see Social Business efforts morph into systemic change programs of the scale Denning eludes to, that will ensure organisations can continue to thrive.
A new end game for Social Business
So whilst we may be rewriting the end game for Social Business, I don’t feel we’re moving the goalposts. To borrow a few more words from Emanuele:
We can call it Social Media Marketing, Social CRM, Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business. Nonetheless weâ€™ll be still missing the point until the broader picture will come together by connecting social to the digital landscape and embedding digital into the real business realm.
I’ve been following the developments in the online education space with increasing interest over the last year or so, with the available options and choice growing seemingly by the day. The likes of Coursera, Venture Lab, and Udacity now have an impressive selection of courses, across the full range of the sciences, technology, arts and humanities. Then there are the likes of Codeacademy (learn to code),Â Skillshare (a global marketplace for classes), and the inspirational Khan Academy.
Back in October, whilst browsing the courses on offer starting soon, I came acrossÂ A Crash Course on Creativity. Taught byÂ Tina Seelig,Â Executive Director of Stanford’s Technology Ventures Program, the course is described as:
This crash course is designed to explore several factors that stimulate and inhibit creativity in individuals, teams, and organizations. In each session we will focus on a different variable related to creativity, such as framing problems, challenging assumptions, and creative teams.
The course is highly experiential, requiring each student to participate actively, taking on weekly projects. Each Wednesday a new challenge will be presented, and the results are due the following Tuesday. Some of the challenges will be completed individually, and some will be done in teams. There will be a two-week project toward the end of the course that will allow you to use all the tools you have learned.
To foster collaboration and learning between the students, we will craft teams for each assignment. Each project will be done with a different team, so students get a chance to work with a wide variety of participants. All submissions will be viewed and evaluated by the course participants. There will also be a course Twitter feed and Facebook page, and several scheduled Google Hangouts that will enable active discussions on specific topics.
I enrolled right away, and by the time the course was about to kick off, I found myself jumping into something with over 35,000 other students, literally from all corners of the globe. Fantastic!
We’re coming towards the end of the course, and it has been a fascinating experience, I’ll share my progress, course assignments and observations of the experience in subsequent posts, along with some comparisons with having a crack at learning Ruby on Rails via One Month Rails on Skillshare for which I blame Mike Fraietta! 😉
This past weekend, returning home from a trip to London with friends, on a whim I bought a copy of Â November’s Practical Boat Owner (PBO) magazine, looking forward to some interesting boating readingÂ in-flight. So it turned out, but what I didn’t expect was for it to provide blogging material on the topic of industry incumbents and their struggles to innovate.
The article that caught my attention was looking at whether a “revolutionary new lifejacket design radically increasing the chances of survival of a man overboard”. Serious stuff for any sailor.
In many markets, brands and products make small leap-frogs over each other, mostly marketing-driven “features” Â in the name of innovation. In our clamouring for “shiny and new” we often overlook this in the markets for washing machines, mobile phones, bicycles, and the like. But in the sector for marine personal safety equipment, it doesn’t strike me as acceptable.
In this case,Â unfortunately, Â the cost was much higher than a bad quarter and a dip in a share-price.
In a previous issue, PBO had done some testing of lifejackets following the death of Christopher Reddish who “drowned in minutes, despite being attached”. The tests concluded that a “boat would need to be slowed to less than 2 knots within 1 minute to give the casualty any chance of survival”. A crew’s reaction times and a boat’s inertia combine to make those chances slim indeed.
A 22-year-old engineer and sailor Oscar Mead,Â was moved to act. In his words:
“I dug out some webbing, a D-ring and on old inflatable lifejacket, and experimented with attaching a harness to the back of the jacket.”
“It was so effective that I couldn’t believe no one had done it before.”
It doesn’t sound like the kind of effort a product design engineer working for an established marine safety brand would be discouraged by his management from doing. At least I hope not.
Some eighteen months later, backed by a successful patent, Oscar Mead’sÂ TeamO lifejacket was debuted.
All traditional harnesses, using an attachment point on a sailorâ€™s chest, pull man overboard victims through the water chest forward, effectively forcing water into the mouth and face and this can literally drown sailors who go overboard, despite being tethered to the boat.
The new TeamO design allows the harness line to pop over the wearers shoulders when called into service so that the tether load is taken from the back and the man overboard is pulled through the water with his head securely above water and his mouth away from the oncoming water.
Here’s the video clearly demonstrating the difference between a “traditional” lifejacket, and the new TeamO lifejacket.
It saddens me that it cost a sailor his life, independent journalism to run product trials, and a sufficiently motivated young man to move the dial and come up with something better.
It strikes me that the marine safety industry could well do with reading up on some of Simon Wardley‘sÂ thinking, in particular on inertia to change:
Inertia can create quite a significant barrier to change, which is often why it is a company that is not encumbered by an existing business model that creates the change and produces the more evolved form of the activity.
And perhaps then some reflective thinking, their situation clearly framed by management innovation gurusÂ Gary Hamel and Polly LaBarre in their recent article Making Innovation a Natural Act:
For industry incumbents, the problem isnâ€™t a lack of resources or a shortage of human creativity, but a dearth of pro-innovation values, processes and practices.
our organizations have efficiency DNA. Â Operational goals like productivity, predictability and alignment are woven deeply into management systems and processes. Â Innovation, experimentation and risk-takingâ€”not so much. Until we solve this DNA-level problem, rule-bending innovation, when it happens at all, will occur in spite of the system rather than because of it.
I wish Oscar Mead and his TeamO venture all the best for the future. I hope he can be successful with it, and avoids repeating the mistakes of the incumbents he is disrupting today.