Culture & Competency

Where Will Collaboration Thrive as it Goes Social? Three Keys

About a month ago, Dion wrote a long post looking at where collaboration will thrive when it goes social. He covers a lot of ground, including:
– The dominance of social media as a consumer channel for interacting with organizations
– Most organizations don’t act and think like social businesses. The technology is ahead of the potential practices.
– Organizations aren’t machines where senior executives feed in the strategy and out come results. People make organizations, and perhaps social technologies will help with management.
– Collaboration is part of the social story, but not the whole game.
– Organizations want their problems solved, not airy-fairy generic problems.
– There are three organizational environments where social collaboration is finding strong adoption – based on early moves.

Dion finishes with:

Of course, when it comes to collaboration, social business is now widely perceived as helping just about any kind of organization improve how it operates. But there are clearly areas where social collaboration especially thrives and this includes:

1. Industries high in either knowledge work or critical/time-sensitive coordination.
2. Organizations that are already networked across silos or receive outsized benefits from faster and better information sharing, discovery, and connectedness.
3. Increasingly urgent, unmet business needs around better communication and collaboration.

It’s also clear that communication and collaboration itself is changing. As Dave Gray intimated above, businesses of the 21st century are becoming more self-organizing, adaptive, and less hierarchical in order to meet changes in their environments more quickly and in scale. Social business brings a mindset and a set of approaches that meshes with the large, global trends that are driving change in IT and business today.

My Comments
1. I love the emphasis in the opening of Dion’s last sentence: “a mindset and a set of approaches.” Yes, the technology may create opportunities for doing things differently, but that has to find a home in receptive organizational environments. See my article on the 3P’s of collaboration for more on this.

2. I think the three areas listed at the end are self-evident – we could have taken a fairly good stab at getting those three before starting. The technology of social business creates opportunities for re-wiring the way people work together, and in order to get adoption, you then need to find organizational contexts that would align with such needs. As Dion says, the trick with making this real is to translate these self-evident / high-level concepts into something tangible and real for a particular organization. What’s hidden in plain sight to most people, that someone looking at it differently could see?

3. I’m unsure as to the generalizability the 2.0 Adoption Council membership for inferring general trends. It’s definitely an early adopter group, and is for large organizations – but that’s evident based merely on membership entry requirements. Is it representative or non-representative? I don’t know – more data is required to answer that.