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    And the winner is…

    Dopo tre settimane di contest OpenKnowledge ha il piacere di annunciare il vincitore della Social Business Transformation Competition lanciata su Facebook in occasione del Social Business Forum 2011. L’idea maggiormente apprezzata è quella di Andrea Gaggioli con il suo progetto Open Genius.
    Ecco la descrizione della sua idea:

    Science is the main driver of innovation, economic development and social wealth. However, because of the economic crisis, Western countries are cutting their research budget. Our idea is to use crowdfunding to connect the public and researchers, for the sake of alleviating academic poverty.
    The idea is simple: we want to make qualitative research projects available to public and facilitate the funding through a global and highly motivated community [Gaggioli, A, Riva, G. (2008) Working the Crowd, Science 321, 5895, 1443].
    We believe that crowdfunding is not just a recent trend, but represents a powerful channel with engaged communities capable to generate a critical mass of economic resources with the scope to source science projects. We expect the following benefits:

    - increase the resources for research
    - reduce the gap between science and the public
    - enhance transparency in funding allocation and use
    - inform donors about the results of their investments

    Since these are widely-recognized objectives in the research community, we want to develop a unique crowd-funding platform for science, built collaboratively using open-source software.

    http://www.opengenius.org/

    L’idea è stata votata dalla community come la migliore. Il punteggio viene attribuito tenendo in considerazione molteplici fattori (e non solo i like ricevuti). Esso è infatti calcolato pesando i feedback positivi e negativi ricevuti dai diversi utenti della community. I voti hanno un peso differente a seconda della reputation dei singoli membri, in questo modo è possibile comprendere non solo il contenuto più popolare, ma anche il contenuto che è maggiormente apprezzato dai membri più rispettati della community.

    Aggiornamento:
    Riceviamo richiesta di chiarimento da parte di alcuni partecipanti al contest.
    Utilizziamo per chiarire il funzionamento del ranking adottato un esempio. Considerate di avere due persone che appartengono alla community che lanciano la loro idea e che ricevono dei feedback. La prima persona riceve solo commenti positivi (20), mentre la seconda riceve molti più commenti positivi (40) ma anche qualche commento negativo (5).
    L’algoritmo di Spigit da’ un peso differente ai singoli voti tenendo in considerazione la loro provenienza. Se si ricevono per esempio voti positivi solo da outsider della community i 40 voti varranno meno di 20 attribuiti da persone con un reputation ranking elevato. Stesso discorso per i dislike: se essi sono attribuiti da persone influenti nella community avranno un peso maggiore.

    Qui sotto uno screenshot che mostra la classifica delle top idea secondo l’algoritmo descritto.

    Restiamo a disposizione per altri chiarimenti.

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    Closed o Open Knowledge

    Può un’azienda essere totalmente open, il più possibile trasparente sia verso l’interno che verso l’esterno, dire proprio tutta la verità anche quando le cose non funzionano esattamente come si vorrebbe? A nostro avviso tutto questo è necessario per essere un Social Business.

    Mettetevi dunque comodi e leggetevi la storia…

    C’era una volta un’applicazione per Facebook pensata per stimolare la discussione, il confronto e la condivisione di idee su come sfruttare la collaboration per migliorare le aziende. Tutti i partecipanti ad una grande conferenza venivano invitati pubblicamente a dare il proprio contributo, a commentare le idee degli altri partecipanti, a dire cosa piaceva e cosa no con la promessa che l’utente più bravo avrebbe ricevuto un bell’iPad fiammante.

    Ora diciamoci la verità… pur con tutte le buone intenzioni questa applicazione qualche problemino ce l’aveva. Mamma Facebook aveva da poco cambiato le API ed a volte non tutto andava proprio liscio, gli utenti avevano qualche difficoltà ed uno di loro aveva iniziato a lamentarsi. L’applicazione, in realtà altro non era che la nuovissima emanazione facebookkiana del vendor leader di mercato per quanto riguarda cose curiose come l’idea management, i prediction market, il crowdsourcing: insomma sbatti le teste e tira fuori qualcosa di nuovo. Purtroppo si sa, la giovinezza richiede sempre un pò di aiuto per trovare la strada giusta..

    Ma dicevamo dell’utente cattivello che aveva iniziato a lamentarsi, non solo per i malanni giovanili dell’app, ma anche perchè la sua idea non era in cima. Nonostante tanti amichetti l’avessero votato e bombardato di like, c’era ancora qualcun altro in testa. Da lì accuse e minacce in gran misura (quella che segue, si intende, è una nostra perifrasi):

    • i miei super mega like vanno persi. Tutto questo è sospetto e lo dirò agli sbirri
    • i malfunzionamenti sono casuali, ma sbomballano il risultato e danneggiano la mia mega idea
    • questo contest sta diventando grottesco e voi sareste per la open knowledge?
    • questa cosa è molto seria, non come pensate voi
    • i dislike si stanno abbattendo su di me! Me li avete mandati voi visto che questa conferenza non la conoscono in molti…. (solo 35K persone contattate!???)
    • quei massoni di Closed Knowledge tramano alle mie spalle e mi bloccano i supermegalike
    • No, non può andare così.. siete ridicoli e sporgerò denuncia agli sbirri di cui sopra
    • Qui c’è puzza di bruciato. Lo sento c’è una cospirazione mirata sulla mia idea
    • Ridatemi i voti persi e tornerò subito buono!

    In tutto questo, la povera azienda davvero non sapeva cosa fare. Tra sè e sè diceva:

    • C’è un cattivello che ci accusa anche se non abbiamo fatto nulla di male
    • Certo l’applicazione è un pò malatina, ma la stiamo curando con APIrina, la tAchiPirina ed anche un pò di paraflù
    • Abbiamo chiesto tante volte scusa al cattivello, ma lui non vuole ascoltare ed ora ha anche sguinzagliato online una nota assassina su Faccialibro

    Beh credo che abbiate capito..  Purtroppo anche le aziende con le migliore intenzioni, anche quelle che organizzano conferenze gratis per centinaia di persone (con tanto di mortadella, pagnotta e caffè per tutti) qualche volta commettono degli errori.

    Noi gli errori li abbiamo ammessi, anche quelli non commessi direttamente. Per questo abbiamo chiesto scusa ed abbiamo lavorato giorno e notte con il nostro partner per correggerli, pur essendo in mezzo alla preparazione di una conferenza con 1350 persone.

    La prova? Ora l’applicazione sembra funzionare molto meglio: la classifica macina per bene, le top idea girano come dovrebbero e noi siamo pronti ad assegnare l’iPad al legittimo vincitore.

    Perdonateci qualche annotazione conclusiva:

    • Il Social Business Forum ed il suo contest non nascono per fare soldi o per far scannare le persone. L’obiettivo è aggregare, connettere, stimolare la riflessione in modo amichevole, pacato ed utile per tutti i partecipanti. Il premio è stato solo un subdolo incentivo estrinseco per fare casino e rendere il contest divertente.
    • Ci dispiace sinceramente per i problemi dovuti all’applicazione che evidentemente erano presenti. Da parte nostra non c’è stata dietro nessuna manipolazione e chi ha scritto l’applicazione ha fatto il massimo per correggere i malfunzionamenti dovuti ai cambi di API di Facebook (che non si possono facilmente prevedere).
    • Tecnicamente la classifica viene prodotta mixando il numero di idee, commenti, like, dislike il tutto pesato per la reputazione di chi esegue le azioni. Non si può mettere like sulla propria idea ed una volta messo un like su un’idea altrui, il pulsante viene disabilitato..
    • Infine.. beh la gamification sembra davvero funzionare.. da due like ed un iPad si arriva subito subito ad una congiura massonica. Mica male.. ma in fondo è solo un gioco.. take it easy!

    In Open Knowledge crediamo sinceramente nell’importanza dell’essere trasparenti, del prendersi le responsabilità anche quando non fa comodo, del riconoscere i propri errori anche quando qualcosa va storto e di porvi rimedio al più presto.

    Crediamo anche che aprirsi e parlare sia sempre la strada migliore ed in ogni caso quella più vicina ai principi che animano questa bellissima rete in cui siamo tutti immersi. Speriamo che questa lunga storia vi abbia permesso di farvi una vostra idea….

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    An interview with Bertrand Duperrin

    Original Interview made by Roberto Cobianchi – on mimulus http://www.mimulus.it/2011/05/31/social-business-forum-2011-interview-with-bertrand-duperrin/

    A few words to introduce Bertrand. As an Enterprise 2.0 Consultant at Next Modernity, he carries out consultancy missions in the field of management, information, and communication technologies. His career began in a HR and management consultancy where he mainly focused on collaboration issues.

    He joined blueKiwi Software in 2006, in the first days of the company’s operations. At blueKiwi, Bertrand structured the consulting/services activity in the field of enterprise social networks. He was a pioneer in the French market; one of the first to lead such projects for large businesses. He joined Next Modernity, a french expert consulting leading firm in the field of new management, collaboration and value creation practices in January 2010.

    Bertrand led the premier enterprise 2.0 project in a major French company, at Dassault Systemes, in the beginning of 2006. From there, he has led strategic projects for customers like BNP Paribas, Groupe La Poste (French postal services), and many of the largest french companies.

    His goals: to make social networks serve organizational performance and value creation in such domains as innovation, sales performance, or collective efficiency He’s shares his thoughts on the above issues on his blog and is a member of the AIIM expert bloggers community.

    Roberto: Hi Bertrand. Thank you very much for your courtesy and availability. I was very impressed by your last post “Yers and corporate IT : the expected divorce is far from happening“. We thought and told that young people was the most important driver for change of intranets, collaboration tools and so on. So it means that a “change” is far from happening? Should we wait for Millennials?

    Bertrand: Change is happening, slowly but it’s happening. As I often say, “it takes a long time for things to happen quickly”. In this post the point was more the impact of new generations on change rather than knowing if change was happening. It’s obvious that Yers are “different” in the way they work, interact, network, get things done and learn and, as such, they can be change drivers in the workplace. But is it peculiar to them? What I mean is that each generation brought a kind of change in the workplace and there’s nothing new with Yers. Xers were also supposed to bring some kind of change and disturbance in the workplace… and they did. But it looked rather like a smooth evolution than a revolution. I think the same is happening with Yers.

    New generations always come to the workplace with their pecularities, dreams, expectations and behaviors. But their lack of experience makes it hard for them to put it all at work in the workplace. Moreover, they slowly learn about business constraints, they become pragmatic and temper their expectations and enthusiasm. The same story is repeating again and again through ages. Things always seem to go too slow for external observers but change is happening.

    The conclusion is that we should stop focusing on a given generation (Yers, then milenials then…) and try to make any new generation a change driver instead. Any new generation has a lack of business experience even if they embody change. Older generations understand the constraints of business quite well but are not aware of how to deal with them in a new way. Leveraging the power of new generation to make change happen does not mean to rely on the younger to make the elder change but to make them work together and understand one another. It’s all about reverse mentoring. In my experience I never saw Yers as a sufficient lever to drive change. On the other hand, every time boomers and yers managed to work together, to teach things one another, things went fine… and fast.

    In one word: forget generation specific approaches to build cross-generation ones.

    Roberto: Young people accept old technology because they finish to accept organizational constraints, do you agree?

    Bertrand: Partly. They also accept old technologies because it makes sense according to the way they’re asked to work. Does a social network or any social/2.0 make sense in a pyramidal, vertical and command/control driven organization? Surely not. You choose the tools that fit the way you work. Emails and workflows are irrelevant to organize your life in a networked world… and social tools are irrelevant in a non-networking workplace.

    In fact what you and me are calling constraints are only the logical consequences of a whole system that promotes individual work, internal competition, and knowledge hoarding through irrelevant measurement, rewarding etc… So they aren’t seen as constraints by people who have to deal with this system.

    In the end it’s all about sense and alignment… and the need for a systemic approach that makes new work practices make sense in the workplace. Then, the need for new tools will be relevant.

    Roberto: Organization and Technology are strictly linked. Which one of them pushes the change?

    Bertrand: Both. It’s a co-construction approach. Changing the organization will only work to some extent: at a given point, technology will be needed to make things work. Changing the technology without the organization seldom works. What works is to make one step on the organization path, then one step on the technology path and so on. But where to start? With organization and people. Never forget than people will never do online what they would do in real life if gathered in the same room.

    Roberto: Please, have a look to this infographic, “Dare to Share” from SocialCast. In the bottom, on the left there are three reasons for wasting time in collaboration. They do not involve technology but processes and methods. In your experience, are there any other reasons?

    Bertrand: One more evidence that tools are the consequence of the system, they are only the “ball that allows us to play the game”. What matters is the rules of the game… that are mentioned on bottom right side (let’s say the disease…). What’s on the left part is the symptoms. There are always a few root causes that cause lots of dys. Once again, to be synthetic I’d say it’s all about sense and alignment.

    Roberto: One of the last posts from Luis Suarez is about activity stream (you also wrote something about it). Do you think it will be the next dramatic change as email was for personal and corporate life many years ago?

    Bertrand: Activity streams are only a part of the answer. To be honest, maybe only a few percent of users would be comfortable enough with AS to handle all their communication/information flows. AS are about what things will look like but we need to rethink the mechanisms behing the tool. How will be consume information? How to make anything actionable from the stream? How to priorize what matters and make it surface. There’s a lot of work to be done about (social) analytics, handling Big Data… and educating people.

    Today the common approach to AS is more about aggregating more and more flows than making them usable and actionable and I’m afraid it will lead to more confusion than it will solve problems. Something more is needed.

    I’m quite sure Luis was thinking about the very promising “Project Vulcan” IBM will be delivering soon. But streams are only the visible part of the iceberg: data intelligence and integration will be about 80% of the success of such tools.

    Activity streams will be key in the future… but need to be a part of something wider and more ambitious.

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    Stefan Lindegaard on Open Innovation

    Original interview made by Stefano Mizzella – http://www.socialbusinessforum.com/it/2011/05/28/stefan-lindegaard-on-open-innovation-2/

    What’s your personal definition of “Open Innovation”? Sometimes this term is used as synonym of other terms such as Social Innovation, Crowdsourcing or Co-creation: what’s the correct definition?

    There is no correct definition. Innovation means different things to different people and I always urge companies to develop their own definition that fits their situation.

    As inspiration, I suggest that you view open innovation as a philosophy or a mindset that you should embrace within your organization. In a more practical definition, open innovation is about bridging internal and external resources and act on those opportunities. The value proposition this gives companies that get it right is simply too good to miss out on.

    You can read more about this in my blog post titled “What is Open Innovation? Crowdsourcing? User innovation? Co-Creation?

    What are the mistakes to avoid and the best practices for a company intending to revolutionize the innovation process?

    This is a big and broad question, but let me give you a few pointers.

    First of all, companies must understand that 5-7 years from now, we will not distinguish between innovation and open innovation. We will just have innovation. The term “open innovation” will go away as open becomes a natural part of any innovation process. This is important as companies should avoid different strategies and approaches for innovation and open innovation. It must be the same thing with the end-goal of having a higher external contribution to the process.

    Another important thing is that companies should think culture and organizational impact before they think processes and approaches. Yes, the latter needs to be in place in order to get results with open innovation, but this is a long-term game and thus you need to make sure that your organization will truly embrace this new paradigm shift over time.

    Open innovation is very much about change management that impacts internal as well as external stakeholders and thus it is a good thing to start small and be willing to experiment. We should also remember that nothing ever happens if strong executive support is missing.

    People who criticize the Open Innovation framework say that user lead-innovation can’t create breakthroughs (using Apple or IKEA as example). What’s your take?

    Open innovation is not the same thing as user-lead innovation. People who criticize open innovation on this basis do not know what they are talking about. The key thing is that user-lead innovation almost entirely happens in the early stages of an innovation process whereas open innovation needs to be able to happen throughout the entire innovation process.

    What’s the relationship you see between Open Innovation and Social Business? How could this kind of innovation be related to other business processes such as marketing, sales and customer care?

    I like how the Social Business Forum uses this quote to explain about social business:

    “An organization that has put in place the strategies, technologies and processes to systematically engage all the individuals of its ecosystem (employees, customers, partners, suppliers) to maximize the co-created value”.

    This is very aligned with the ideas of open innovation.

    On the other question, I believe that we need a more holistic approach to innovation. We need to go beyond R&D and we need to get all business functions involved at a much earlier time in the innovation process.

    Finally, can you give us some anticipation on your next keynote at Social Business Forum 2011 (The Open Innovation Revolution)?

    I will present some cases that give the audience an idea of how successful companies approach open innovation as well as one case on how NOT to do this. Next, I will give an overview of the mindset and skills needed to succeed with open innovation. Hopefully, there will be time for some good questions as I really like to keep my talks as interactive as possible.

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    Luis Suarez on Collaboration and Social Business (second part)

    Originally posted on Mimulus – http://www.mimulus.it/2011/05/26/on-collaboration-interview-with-luis-suarez-second-part/ thx to Roberto Cobianchi.

    Here we are with the second part of the interview with Luis Suarez. In the first part we talked about the collaboration between people working remotely, how culture influences collaboration and cost of Enterprise 2.0. Let’s go.

    Roberto: Could we have a look at another infographic, “Dare to Share” from SocialCast? There is a quote from Darwin: “In the long history of humankind (…) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed”. The focus is on collaboration. If we learn to collaborate, we could have success.

    Luis: That’s right. This is a great quote, because it does send a very clear message, that we cannot achieve as much working as individuals as working as groups or networks. And for most people that’s common sense. But one of the interesting things is that businesses are starting to realize about that. For a good number of years, companies knew very well that they were having communities inside of their business. But they were not endorsing them, because there was this thinking:  if my employees belong to communities, they’re goofing off, they’re lazing about, there’s chit chatting and everything else. So they never endorsed them. They could not stop them, but they could never go ahead and endorse them.

    Now here comes social software to prove the power of the network. And all of the sudden we see this huge change from businesses where they start saying not only do we have communities, but now we fully sponsor and we actually endorse them tremendously. Because we realize the value of collaboration amongst groups, amongst social networks. It’s almost better to have multiple brains thinking about the same problem than just having one brain. Like I said before, that’s pretty much common sense. I think that point comes to highlight how collaboration is for us in today’s working environment. And here’s what’s an interesting concept. With regards to collaboration, we’re no longer talking about collaboration amongst employees, but we’re also talking about collaboration of employees with their customers and also their competitors.

    So we’re seeing how the system is expanding itself. And it’s expanding itself beyond the traditional structures, the traditional organizational structures. Now those are not going away, obviously. But certainly what we see is how they have become a lot more lenient, a lot more agile. And certainly they’re no longer the bottleneck, they are actually enabling that people go ahead and collaborate because they see it as providing a value for using one of these social tools.

    Roberto: From an enterprise perspective, the social software and the change in the behavior of employees is not only a question of efficiency or cost reduction, it’s a matter of survival.

    Luis: It is. And actually I’m glad you mentioned that, and you should have. Because to be honest with you, I have always believed that that’s the case, ever since I first got involved with social software around 2001, when I was involved with knowledge management. Back then I realized that the way we were progressing further with social software, it was going to be able to separate the companies who would be surviving in the 21st century based on the knowledge they produce and share, from those companies that are actually labor based, so they don’t use knowledge to the best of their advantage.

    I’m seeing how those companies are going to disappear over time. They won’t be able to keep up with the competition. They won’t be able to keep up with a working environment that works 24/7, 365 across the globe, across time zones, in real time, where everyone is part of a giant network of collaborators. Unless you join that network, you won’t be able to compete.

    It’s as simple as that. And there are two different keywords in there which are very critical or very crucial. One of them you mentioned already, which is “survival“. And the other one is “flexibility“. For a good number of years in that case, corporations have not been flexible. They have always been going to customers saying, “I know better than you yourself what you want from my products.” And now they’re saying, “Hey, we’ve got this product. We can actually be flexible enough to modify it to your needs. What are your needs?” That’s a whole change in how conversations have taken place. And that flexibility along with that matter of survival is what clearly highlights how critical collaboration is going to be.

    Roberto: In the same infographic: “20% to 50% of collaboration activity resulted in wasted effort”. There are three main factors:

    1. poorly planned meetings
    2. unproductive travel time
    3. bad communication.

    I think you agree with that, but which one do you suggest to consider first? Which one do you think is the first to fight with?

    Luis: That’s a very interesting question, because I actually think that it’s all three of them. Traveling, we all know it has become more of a pain than a pleasure. So that’s no doubt. Now interestingly enough we’re seeing a transition, how virtual collaboration tools are helping replace traveling. For us for instance, we are saving huge amounts of money per year using our own collaboration software in order not to travel. Right? So that certainly is one of them. But I think I’m going to compromise with meetings, and I’ll explain why.

    Email is there, is a big black point of productivity. But at the end of the day it takes you two to three hours a day. Right? And we conducted some studies a little while back and we found out from our employees that they were spending an average of two to three hours per day working on email. Now we go to meetings and you talk to people and the thing that they tell you is that they spend the whole day in meetings. You know, we go from like six, seven, eight. I mean, I have got colleagues who do like 10, 11 conference calls every day. And then they have to do their work. Right? Now when I talk to them and I say “Do you really need to be on all of those meetings”? They say no. And I say “So why are you there?”; and they “Because if I don’t, people will think that I’m not working!”.

    The corporate world seems to have this very sick, this very crazy sickness of managing work through meetings, and it shouldn’t. Meetings should be used just for reaching our conclusions and confirm decisions that have been taken before through collaborating online. And one of the things that we keep saying is how more and more employees, they get a higher number of different calls. Especially for one other reason, they are working in multiple projects. Before, you know, 10 years ago, we all used to work on a same single project. One team, one project, one meeting, that’s it. Now we end up that we have to work with four or five different projects, four or five different teams, multiple sub teams. Multiple calls, sub calls, etc, etc. So before you know it, you have the whole day scheduled up with meetings. If we find a way to break out that dependence and addiction to meetings in the work place, it will probably be the biggest productivity gain that we ever had.

    Roberto: How many tools do you use in your daily work in order to reduce mail overload?

    Luis: Right. There are a number of different tools that I use, and actually I combine them in two groups. I use internal collaboration tools and social software tools, and external collaboration tools. Internally I mainly use and rely on one of our own products, which is called IBM Connections. Which allow us to combine a whole set of differing interactions. So it’s a product that combines multiple services. So in Connections, I can interact through blogs, through wikis, through social bookmarks, with peoples’ profiles, through microblogging, through activities. And all of that in the same single front end. Right? So that’s the tool that I rely the most on escaping that email overload. I rely heavily as well on instant messaging, for a single reason, web presence. Just knowing that I have colleagues that I can reach out for a quick question and get an answer is a huge productivity boost. Because it allows me to understand whether that person is available and whether they can help me. And if they cannot help me, when I can have their help. So the combination of instant messaging, Connections, and then virtual meeting software like LotusLive Meetings. So that I can conduct real time collaboration happening with groups. Those are the three major tools that I use internally.

    Externally, there’s a little bit of a split up in two. They are the social software tools that I use with customers which are based as well on Connections outside of the firewall. So we do have a couple of Connections instances there. And then regular social software tools that I use to keep in touch with other industry leaders, with customers, with business partners, with our competitors. And the main tools that I use from that particular case is my blog, obviously. I blog there on a regular basis. Twitter, I rely on Twitter tremendously. Along with my blog it’s probably my favorite social networking tool out there. And LinkedIn. LinkedIn to build up relationships and in the long term, with customers especially. SlideShare as well to share presentations, and so forth.

    Roberto: Each tool is an opportunity to keep in touch with customers, colleagues and partners and so on.

    Luis: Yes, and I’m glad that you’re making that comment. Because most people feel, you know, “How is that going to make it easier for you to move from one tool which was email to multiple tools to manage those interactions?” And I say “Well, the way it’s helping me now is that I’m fragmenting the interactions and diversifying the interactions.” So I know that if I need to go and get in touch with one particular customer, I know exactly where to go. And I know exactly where to find him or her and interact. If I’m going to go ahead and share interesting links or presentations or whatever, I know exactly where to go as well. So what I’m doing there is I’m diversifying the way I interact with things. And that helps overall in my perception of how I interact with multiple different groups.

    Roberto: When do you foresee to arrive to zero emails?

    Luis: I don’t think that I will ever be. I started this experiment four years ago and I started with 30-40 emails a day. The average that I’m doing is 17 per week. And of those 17, most of those are from people who either haven’t heard of me or don’t know that I don’t use email. And they use their preferred method of engagement which is email. The key message for me is that I don’t respond back to email. I basically use social software tools to engage back. So I teach them what are better ways of reaching out to me. Right? So will I ever reach zero? Probably not on a consistent basis. But for instance in the last two years, there have been weeks where I didn’t get any emails.

    When I first started doing it, I was very frustrated I could never see the end, number zero. Right? Then over time, through experience, through getting to know the dynamics and everything else you realize that you’re never going to go out and reach zero.

    What happens to me, the biggest learning has been that I have gone from two, three hours a day of email to five minutes a day. And that’s a huge productivity gain for me because those two hours and 55 minutes I’m spending now out in the open. Sharing content, helping people out, sharing my knowledge and expertise with other people in the industry as well. So they all benefit from it…

    Roberto: Thank you for all your time, your availability, your courtesy.

    Luis: My pleasure. Thanks for your time. Thanks very much.

    Roberto: See you in Milan, next June at the Social Business Forum.

    Luis: That’s right. Excellent. In Milan next June. Yeah.

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    Sameer Patel on Social Business

    Original Interview made by Alberto Beccaris – http://learningtweet.blogspot.com/

    Sameer is a partner at the Sovos Group – a management consulting and execution planning firm that helps leading organizations accelerate employee, customer and partner performance via the strategic use of social and collaborative approaches and technology.

    Sameer has spent over a decade leading teams and managing engagements for large customer helping them define and execute sustainable programs that drive employee process performance, business partner network optimization, sales and marketing operational effectiveness and customer acquisition.

    Customers that Sameer has had the privilege to work with include well known organizations such as Ingres, Sun Microsystems, KPMG, McKessonHBOC, WR Wrigley Jr. Co., CA, Nike, Oracle, Intel, The Sabre Group, Grupo Televisa (Mx), and Varian.

    Sameer has been quoted on the topic of strategic application of social and collaborative business in leading publications such as CNBC Business, The New York Times, Forbes, ZDNet, GigaOM, ReadWriteWeb, ComputerWorld and CIO Magazine, amongst others.

    Sameer blogs at Pretzellogic.org and can be found @sameerpatel on Twitter.

    Many companies seem to have great difficulty in recognizing that, today more than ever, business performance is strongly connected to the inner workings of workplace improvement and, more generally, to severe organizational shortcomings: which are the first steps that a company must necessarily take to start a concrete and effective way to change towards the implementation of a social business model? And how will these steps become increasingly necessary and essential to ensure growth, development and innovation?

    Based on our experience executing social and collaborative business engagements, the leadership at Organizations generally aligns more closely with one of two philosophies when it comes to collaboration. On one hand we see organizations who genuinely believe that if they don’t collaborate, they can’t be successful and so the C-Suite makes sharing and working together a top execution priority (as opposed to just talking about it). These organizations look at ramifications such as global expansion plans, remote workforces and acquisition integration strategy and consider upfront proof points to be less important, and where unifying the organization is considered a core utility. The other type of organization is willing to make any kind of investment as long as it’s tied closely to revenue, cost and risk management. These look for ROI estimates upfront and real results relatively soon as they have a number of initiatives that can potentially deliver results. Securing budget is highly competitive in these cases but once you do, you have significant leadership muscle behind you. For these organizations you need to draw distinct estimates for process, operational and financial performance opportunities and the mere promise of benefit via social media/social business, enterprise 2.0 isn’t enough. So understanding the drivers, the estimated efficiency opportunities and a credible case for changing how the workplace engages is very important. That sets a business focused road map instead of an altruistic belief in becoming social for the sake of becoming social. Of course these are both extremes but understanding which way the pendulum swings in your organization and credibly creating strategy and execution plans to respond to this is critical to set your collaboration effort in motion.

    Which are the most frequent hurdles as well as the common mistakes which can often lead to failure of a genuine process of change towards open and collaborative models within organizational contexts? Especially for companies with a traditional organizational model which are the most difficult problems to be addressed? In this sense it is appropriate to consider the possibility of introducing a process of gradual engagement of the various business roles or is it fundamental to immediately extend to all levels of the proposed change?

    There’s really no generic answer to this but in many ways its both. It’s being able to let cross functional connectivity thrive and relationships emerge but at the same time, executing specific process changes within and between functions by articulating a strong end state for how process, data and people must come together. You strategically work the gradual business performance outcomes, yet allow others to adopt and use the system before you get to them and go deep on their use cases. Doing either one of these means that on one hand you are too siloed and the benefits of creating that collaborative fabric won’t be apparent for a long time (and before managements patience runs out). Going wide means you have to deal with significant participant challenges as the value proposition to each user can be unclear and often you’re just back filling use cases to show value. Not only is this risky but like resurrecting any failed product launch, it’s extremely expensive to get back on track the second time around.

    The proposal of a less hierarchical model of decision making within companies often encountered much resistance: how best to use the innovative drive that within companies are increasingly “on the bottom” and especially through the dissemination of social technologies?

    I think that is a fundamental mistake when working with most traditional organizations. You’re not revamping hierarchy and in many cases you are not even pushing final decision making down any more than you did before you used social technologies. Technology will not practically change your management hierarchy. What you are pushing down and enabling at all parts of the organization is collaborative sharing, idea creation, offering better or different approaches to challenges and opportunities. In other words you are enriching the data set available to make better decisions by galvanizing the collecting brain of the organization.

    In some organizations people might be conformable pushing decision downstream and that’s fine. In others, you are federating the early stages of decision making which means getting more insight and input to help you make better decisions. It’s in fact this confusion that makes the application of such technology more overwhelming and even threatening to managers and we see it all the time in our work. Managers remain managers. They just get to socialize approaches and thinking early, get the best input from closed or open communities, and make more informed decisions, there by enrichening outcomes and reducing risk.

    Developing an analysis model about an effective ROI which evaluation indicators can provide an effective feedback? Particularly for businesses that are just starting out, which elements may help to reconfigure a deployment strategy either far too weak or rough?

    ROI often gets people in a bind because we often race to do one of two things: consider engagement metrics (number of registrations, participants, views, comments etc.) or nebulous productivity metrics around productivity and time saved. Whilst critical data points when applied correctly, neither is adequate in and of themselves to get line of business managers to understand how it accelerates sales, marketing, product marketing, etc. More on this topic, here. Metrics needs to be looked at as a) Program Metrics that help ascertain the health of the community and program usage and b) Existing Process, Operational and Financial Metrics that will be impacted by the use of social software enabled programs for employee, customer, partner performance (some examples here). The second informs targets for the first and offers standard baselines for improvement that any executive can get behind if credibly articulated. This also surfaces real business trouble spots where engagement and collaborative approaches serve as effective weapons. Knowing how to phase the applicability of these metrics from initial launch and over time is important as well, so you’re not setting up unreasonable expectations for social business leverage at each stage of maturity.

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    On collaboration – An Interview with Luis Suarez (first part)

    Original interview made by Roberto Cobianchi – http://www.mimulus.it/2011/05/23/on-collaboration-interview-with-luis-suarez-first-part/

    In preparation for the next Social Business Forum, which will be held on June 8th in Milan, I reached Luis Suarez to ask him a few questions. Luis replied to my questions for half an hour and more, so firstly I want to thank him for his willingness. Here is the first part of the interview.

    Roberto: Hi Luis, could you introduce yourself?

    Luis: Hi Roberto. My name is Luis Suarez. I actually work for IBM, I have been working for IBM for the last 14 years, and I specialize mainly in the area of knowledge management, collaboration, online communities, and the last 8, 9 years around the area of social computing or social networking. My current job is working as a social computing evangelist in the company, and I’m part of a group called BlueIQ. That’s the color blue and then add the IQ.
    Our mission is to basically help evangelize on the adoption of social software tools for IBMers as business tools. So basically doing lots of education, training, consultancy, enablement, support on how fellow colleagues can use these social software tools as their business tools, right? In order to collaborate more effectively and in order also to engage with conversations with their customers and business partners.

    Roberto: Thanks. I wish to comment with you a couple of infographics. The first one is from Ernesto Olivares – you shared it some days ago on your blog. There is a quote from Thomas Allens: “Based on proximity, people are not likely to collaborate very often if they are more than 50 feet apart”.
    Based on your experience, do you agree with this statement?

    Luis: It’s an interesting statement. To be honest with you, I don’t agree with it very much. The main reason is that if that were true, I probably wouldn’t be able to work for the company that I’m working now.
    I am based in the Canary Islands. My boss and my team there are all in the States, and that’s more than 50 meters apart from each other, and we do collaborate every single day. What happens ‑ and I think that’s probably one of the things that the infographic was missing ‑ is that we are currently working in a corporate environment, especially for large enterprises, where virtual collaboration is now more critical than ever because most of the employees are actually working distributed.
    For instance, for our case, inside of IBM we have about 400,000 people and around half of that work remotely. They work from home, from their home offices, they work from customer sites, they work from the road and everything else. To them, virtual collaboration is now more critical than ever, so obviously what I’m trying to say as well is that virtual collaboration is not replacing the invaluable capabilities of face‑to‑face collaboration, I think that everyone understand how they’re much more powerful.
    For us, as mobile workers, as tele‑workers, collaboration has never been more important than ever. For instance, ten years ago collaboration used to happen through email, and only email, as the main tool. Nowadays with the emergence of all of these social software tools like blogs, wikis, activity streams, as well with social bookmarks and tagging and podcasting. That whole range of collaboration is richer than ever, so people have got an opportunity now to decide and negotiate how they’re going to collaborate. And do it virtually.

    Roberto: So it depends not only on technology but also on behavior, culture and attitude. Isn’t it?

    Luis: Absolutely, and actually, if you want to go ahead and push me, I’ll tell you that collaboration is all about culture. The tools are enablers; the tool’s allowing you to collaborate, but unless you want to collaborate, collaboration is not going to happen, right?
    So certainly there are a number of companies out there for which collaboration is not a given, in the sense that people don’t collaborate well with each other because they feel that they don’t want to share their knowledge because sharing their knowledge is sharing their power. They don’t understand concepts like public or transparency or openness. For those cases, even if you have got all of the different social tools available, collaborating is going to be a very big, tough challenge.
    Not to mention as well people working in silos, isolated from everyone else. Collaboration is all about our behavior, it’s all about having a healthy habit of wanting to share what you know and learn. Certainly organizations need to have the ability of compromise and commit to want to share what they know. This hasn’t got anything to do with social software, this is going more back to where knowledge management started, right?
    But, for instance, if one of my colleagues is asking me for help and I can provide it, as a human being I cannot neglect it. We always try to help people who are in need, right? Whether they’re in need for information, or in need for supporting another customer problem or whatever, we’re always going to help them, right? There’s that mutual trance of wanting to help each other. What’s happening now in social tools, though, is that that activity of collaborating is easier than ever: everyone can create a blog, everyone can have a wiki, everyone can use activity streams like micro‑blogging or whatever. So it becomes a much more natural process of sharing.
    It’s interesting because back in the day, when we didn’t have email, when we didn’t have these automated processes and everything else, people used to collaborate quite heavily. That was done through face‑to‑face contact, on the water‑cooler, on meeting groups. The reason for that is because all of their teams were working in the same building. But now the reality today is that with all that globalization, people work in different places. And they still have that need to collaborate, right? So it’s, like I said before, it’s more cultural thing, more of a habit than just the tools, usually.

    Roberto: Email changed the way we send and receive information to and from colleagues, friends, customers and familiars. Until now many other tools have been launched, but none of them has reached the same worldwide and enterprise‑wide adoption. Do you agree?

    Luis: Right. Yeah, that’s true, but here’s the thing. I agree with that statement, that email still is perhaps the main tool that people use with Internet corporate environment and everything else, although some statistics and some research studies have already proven that’s no longer the case. Social networking tools are taking more of a prominent role. But email is still the one that everyone uses, the one that is the most pervasive, but it’s also true that it’s been used for 40 years.
    In the corporate environment it’s been used for 40 years. Social networking tools have been used in the corporate environment for five years. If you asked me this question in 35 years, I would probably tell you that social networking tools will be the only method of communication and collaboration in the corporate environment, and email will probably be a thing of the past, right?
    So what I’m trying to say there is that yes, email is the king of the communication so far, but if you look at the growth of social networking tools versus email in the last few years, there is a huge increase in the use of social software tools versus email.
    So we’re going from a transition where email was Pandora’s box ‑ everything fit in an email, everything went through email, everything was executed through email. We’re going to go from that into a situation where we’re going to start thinking of conversations that were happening in email, find out that we get much more better results and benefits by hosting those conversations out in the open using social server tools. Eventually people will be making that transition to the point where email will probably just be used for one or two contexts, or use cases, which is, in most cases, calendaring and scheduling, and one‑on‑one confidential conversations. Everything else is going to go out.

    Roberto: When do you think we will see a dramatic change? Should we expect 35 years?

    Luis: No, no, definitely not. 35 years is a long time, right? I can tell you how there are some businesses who are already claiming that with their use of social software they’re seeing a decrease in email of 30 percent. So those companies have started using social software tools versus email and have already seen a decrease of their email volume by 30 percent. And that’s five years.
    So I can imagine that’s going to be accelerated tremendously as more and more companies start using social software. So I think that we’re probably going to see that transformation, especially in the area of activity streams of microblogging. I think that microblogging is going to take over email. It has got that flavor of the full‑blown exchange of information that email has. And I would probably think that we’re going to see that within the next two or three years.
    And then in two or three years we can have this conversation again and you can tell me whether I was right on or whether I was a bit slow in that prediction :)

    Roberto: I wish I still am working in two or three years.

    Luis: I’m hoping that we’ll all be still be working!

    Roberto: In the same infographic, there is another statement saying that there will be an increase in collaboration spending in 2010 – 2011. It is referred in spending on collaborations tools. But in your experience, what is relationship between engineering costs, technical costs, and organizational costs?

    Luis: Right. I think that all of the costs are more related to maintenance. Most of the enterprise social software tools are relatively inexpensive. Obviously that depends on the vendors and everything else. But they are mostly inexpensive compared to other solutions.
    I think that the main costs are actually being involved on the maintenance of the infrastructure, as well as from the services behind infrastructure, from the perspective of consultancy services. Because one thing is you as a Business going and saying, “Hey, we bought this enterprise social software. Everyone uses it.” And go and figure out how you’re going to do it.
    And then the other approach is, “We bought this software. We need help on how we can actually extend the use and the reach of these tools. So we need to know about adoption techniques and implementations, sources that we have, how we’re going to do it.” Work an entire enterprise social software that covers not just the tooling but also the behaviors. How are we going to get people to use it?
    I think that most of the costs are going to be involved in that area. More than anything else, because like you said, tools are tools. They can’t be any more complicated than that. In fact, they should be relatively easy to use. I think that the vast majority of investment is going to be put forward into change management. How do we get people to change their habits today so that they start using these tools that become more productive.
    Because most of the time, most of the employees, of businesses, they’re really set in their ways. They tell you, “Don’t take me away from my email and my phone. If you take me away from that, I’m done.”
    And that will require lots of push, lots of facilitation, lots of coaching, lots of training, lots of additional services to provoke that cultural change. And I think that the vast majority of the costs are going to be involved more with that cultural aspect of going through that social transformation rather than on the tools themselves.
    The tools are just basically enablers, right? Obviously they cost, some of them more than others, but if you compare those costs with the actual cultural costs related to it, the balance is more going to the area of provoking that cultural, behavior change.

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    Social CRM’s destiny: From customer service to value co-creation?

    Original video and interview made by MyCustomer.com http://www.mycustomer.com/video/social-crms-destiny-customer-service-value-co-creation

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    Interview with Keith Swenson on Adaptive Case Management

    Original interview made by Andrea Incalza on http://customerking.it/2011/05/20/interview-acm-with-keith-swenson/

    Keith Swenson is Vice President of Research and Development at Fujitsu America Inc. and is the Chief Software Architect for the Interstage family of products. He is known for having been a pioneer in collaboration software and web services, and has helped the development of many workflow and BPM standards. He is currently the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Workflow Management Coalition. In the past, he led development of collaboration software MS2, Netscape, Ashton Tate and Fujitsu. In 2004 he was awarded the Marvin L. Manheim Award for outstanding contributions in the field of workflow.  He’s considered an expert on Adaptive Case Management (main topic of this interview) and has the most important book on this argument to his credit (Mastering the Unpredictable). You can read his insightful posts on his blog at http://social-biz.org/.

    First of all thank you very much Mr. Swenson for the opportunity to have this interview and to explain something about Adaptive Case Management (ACM) and its conceptual and practical interactions with Social CRM and Social Business. I’d like to start this interview asking you to give us your personal definition of ACM and its relation with Business Process Management.

    ACM is more of a concept than a product category. I think it is best to define it as the software the knowledge workers use for themselves to get things done.  Knowledge workers were not being served by traditional BPM, because knowledge work is unpredictable.  I hesitate to compare ACM to BPM because BPM means so many different things to different people, but one thing I think we agree on is that BPM is a management practice for defining and continually improving business processes over time.  To make a predefined process, the work has to be repeatable, but knowledge workers never do the same thing over and over the same way.  ACM has a very different goal.  ACM is not about making processes which execute the same way every time.  While both BPM and ACM have the purpose to support people in the workplace, BPM is for supporting routine work for which a predefined process can be defined, while ACM is for knowledge work where the worker figures out every time what to do for this particular situation.  Many of the underlying technologies are similar: many people get tripped up because they see that ACM and BPM are made out of many of the same components, and indeed often interoperate with each other.  Many BPM vendors also provide ACM capabilities, but BPM and ACM are used in different ways by different people.

    Which are the main benefits in adopting an Adaptive Case Management framework? And the most demanding challenges?

    Case Management itself is not a new discipline.  Knowledge workers have been using a Case Management approach for many decades, for instance Sherlock Holmes would be an excellent example of how to do case management.  A case is just a folder, a focal point for collecting all the information to achieve a goal.  Putting cases online for electronic retrieval has been used for years. The “Adaptive” part of ACM refers to the use of the latest techniques for collaboration.  For example, social network techniques help case managers collect and manage a network of contacts and associates to help communicate to the right ones at the right time.  A second example is the ability to create tasks and assign them to people, and for those tasks to appear on worklists that remind those others of things to be done.  A third example is the ability to reuse lists of tasks over time from case to case, allowing people to “adapt” the technique used in the last case to the next.  A fourth example is the ability to automatically collect and mine the history of the cases to discover trends and patterns that might be otherwise hard to see.  These are the benefits of ACM: not to constrain the worker to a predefined path, but instead to help the worker go in whatever direction is needed for the case, and still to be able to mold and grow their own personal capabilities over time.

    The most demanding challenge seems to be a cultural one: we have deeply held beliefs that work should be automated.  This is combined with a belief that processes should be simple. Automation normally requires that all decisions are removed from the worker, but in the case of knowledge work, this is the critical aspect that worker brings.  There seems to be a general under-appreciation that the expertise that a knowledge worker brings (e.g. a trial lawyer) is so extensive and specialized that it cannot be replaced by automation.  The biggest challenge seems to be to get management in general to understand that letting knowledge workers have control over their own work patterns is a good thing, not a bad thing.

    Which are the organizational and operational assumptions to the ACM framework adoption inside the enterprise? I mean, the mindset change from a serial process steps completions to a business goal-oriented approach of knowledge workers must rest, in my opinion, on a consolidated collaborative internal culture supported by social collaboration platform, mustn’t it?

    You touch on a very important point.  The internal culture of an organization is something that we are not always aware of, and is very hard to change.  Experienced case managers have no difficulty in using the technology.  However, it is hard to get people to take a “social technology” approach to exchanging information.  Email was available for decades before it achieved widespread use, and now it seems that all office workers want to email everything to everyone.  Remember how FaceBook brought the idea of writing on a person’s wall, and how this was considered quite odd by those familiar with email.  The challenge is to get people to stop “sending” documents to another person, and start bringing the people into the case.  I am participating in this year’s Social Business Forum precisely because I think the main barrier to use of ACM is to learn to use Enterprise Social Software.  Once business cultures have shifted to adopt this way of communicating, I think people will use it to a large extend to accomplish ACM.

    I personally believe that in a business context, roles like sales or service agents are surely eligible for an adaptive work environment. Do you think that a realistic trend shall be more and more integration and/or overlap between ACM and Operational CRM/SCRM?

    Yes.  A sales person in most fields it a knowledge worker. Sales people who were simply “order takers”have been replaced by a web application long ago.  If the sale is large and complex, you find that every sale is accomplished slightly differently, and an effective salesperson needs the flexibility to approach each customer in a different way.  In a very real sense, CRM is case management for a specific purpose.  Social CRM takes this a step further to allow others outside the principle organization to be involved directly through social network like features.  I believe that CRM will pick up some of the adaptive capabilities that we talk about in the book, and that ACM will provide those same capabilities to verticals beyond sales.

    Which are, for you, the best case studies and/or industries where ACM can unleash its potential?

    The four main industries which have traditionally used case management are: law enforcement, legal, medical, and social cases.  In these vertical you will find many good examples of how ACM can help.  But for me, the more interesting case involves executives in any industry.  Consider a board of directors making decisions on the direction of a company.  Someone will have to put these directives into action, and there are no predetermined processes.  For example, the board might decide to merge company A with company B, and that will trigger a lot of work that is particular to the two organizations involve; it may require things that no one in either organization has ever done before, nor will they expect to do them again later.  This work is important, expensive, and unique, and that is what makes it exciting.

    From a technological point of view, and according to your experience, which are the most interesting solutions in the marketplace and by which main functionality/capability they distinguish themselves?

    While Case Management is an old field, ACM is still very young, and because of this I would hesitate to point to any particular offering today and hold that up as the example to strive for as a generalized realization of adaptive case management.  The reason that I am particularly interested and active in Social Business Software field, a.k.a. Enterprise Social Software, is that I believe the offerings in these areas give the most flexibility and support for knowledge workers to achieve whatever confronts them on a given day.  Take a look as Asana which is making “software that helps people work together more effectively.”  But I don’t think that the people at Asana have ever heard of ACM per se.

    I tend to look for tools that are providing good collaboration at the code, and offerings like Jive, SharePoint and Lotus Connections offer significant capability for the knowledge worker, but they lack specific features that are needed for ACM, particularly in the area of “planning”.  An ACM product must have the ability to natively express goals and to track accomplishments.  There are a number of product that are trying to bring everything together, like Action Base, ISIS Papyrus, Singularity, Global 360′s Case Management product, IBM’s Advanced Case Management, and Fujitsu’s Interstage BPM.   Some of these are starting with a strong planning aspect, and moving into the collaboration space.  Overall, at this point, there is not really a single product offering that clearly encompasses the full vision of Adaptive Case Management.

    Finally, can you give us some anticipation on your next keynote at Social Business Forum 2011 (Enabling quantum organizations as a new level of effectiveness)?

    The central theme of my talk at the Social Business Forum is about our assumption that all work can be predefined to a very precise degree.  Much of the work in IT for the past two decades has been to eliminate humans from doing jobs that can be automated.  This has been to a large degree accomplished.  Many traditional jobs, like typing pools, mail clerks, typesetters, etc. have been largely eliminated.  We are approaching a limit to what can be automated.  More and more of the workforce is performing knowledge work which cannot be predicted, is not repeatable, and therefore cannot be automated.  The next decade will not be how we eliminate humans from routine work, but instead how to leverage true human intelligence.  Before we accomplish this, organizational culture needs to adopt some new principles that appear paradoxical.  You see, it was Newton who crystallized the idea that everything might be explained by a few simple formulae. People are today looking for the simple formulae to base their organizations on.  But there are no simple formulae to be found.  Everything effects everything else and you cannot abstract a part away from the rest.  Instead of giving up, there is hope, and there are technique that organizations can use to not only survive, but to thrive, in a world of less mass production, and greater customization.

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    Competitività aziendale con il Social Business: un’intervista a Stefano Vitta

    Stefano Vitta collabora come web strategist con Connexia, agenzia di comunicazione multicanale. E’ inoltre uno dei promotori dell’associazione WOMMI (Word Of Mouth Marketing Italia).
    E’ uno degli speaker del Social Business Forum (OpenConference) in cui tratterà i temi legati al Social CRM in un panel dedicato assieme ad esperti italiani e internazionali
    Maggiori informazioni su di lui: http://www.aghenorblog.com/chi-sono/

    l’intervista originale è di Gabriele Persi pubblicata su: http://atominofvg.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/stefano-vitta-social-business-forum/

    Ciao Stefano! Volevo sapere.. anzi, iniziamo da qui: chi è veramente Stefano? 

    Più passo il tempo in rete, lavorando su progetti sempre diversi, e più ho difficoltà a rispondere a domande del genere.
    Lo scenario in cui mi trovo a lavorare è talmente flessibile ed in rapida evoluzione che la sensazione di essere inadeguato per svolgere gli incarichi che mi vengono assegnati è costante. Allo stesso tempo lo stimolo maggiore arriva dalla necessità di dover imparare sempre cose nuove e sperimentarle sul campo.
    Mi piace pensare di essere un innovatore ma in realtà cerco solo di tenere il passo con il mondo che cambia.

    Bene.. allora continuiamo con una provocazione: “il Social Business è efficace, dal punto di vista gestionale ed economico, solo in un’azienda medio-grande”. Che ne pensi?

    Sia per le grandi che per le piccole imprese vale un principio fondamentale: aver ben chiaro l’obiettivo che si vuole ottenere  utilizzando strategie di comunicazione e relazione sui social network.
    Nel caso di una PMI, in cui le risorse economiche sono limitate, mi concentrerei sulla possibilità di monitoraggio (ascolto) del proprio target di riferimento piuttosto che sulla promozione di prodotti e servizi.
    In un secondo momento è possibile svolgere piccoli esperimenti con l’obiettivo di creare una relazione, basata su una serie di interessi comuni, tra l’azienda ed il target con l’obiettivo di far partire una collaborazione reciproca capace di ampliarsi coinvolgendo sempre più utenti. Alle PMI consiglio di sperimentare solo se in grado di comunicare una vera passione in quello che fanno.

    A proposito di passione.. quotidianamente assistiamo ad una gara “a chi parla peggio” della società italiana.
    Ti va di fare il “cattivo con i cattivi”? Dimmi un aspetto positivo nel rapporto fra imprese e Social Business in Italia.

    La mia sensazione è che a parlar male siano spesso quelli che con le grandi aziende non hanno mai lavorato e hanno scarsa conoscenza delle complesse dinamiche che regolano la struttura di una corporation. Errori ne sono stati fatti ma alla fine è solo sbagliando che si impara a gestire uno scenario nuovo come quello del Social Business. Ad oggi il management è molto più competente ed incomincia a comprendere il potenziale dei canali social sia vari fronti in cui può essere applicato.  Nei prossimi anni vedranno la luce diversi progetti di ampio respiro in questo senso.

    Ormai lo sanno anche i bambini: il primo cliente di un’azienda sono i suoi dipendenti.
    Come è cambiato il rapporto tra un’impresa e il suo personale dopo l’avvento dei Social Media?

    Ci sono aziende che hanno una rete di dipendenti tale da far concorrenza a molte fan page di successo.
    Riuscire a gestire e veicolare un passaparola positivo anche attraverso i propri dipendenti dovrebbe essere scontato e invece è ancora un aspetto poco preso in considerazione. Per ora la principale preoccupazione è quella di non avere persone che parlino male della propria azienda su Facebook. Il problema è che le aziende non sono ancora organizzate per gestire una relazione bidirezionale al proprio interno. Vige ancora un organigramma piramidale che non può essere applicato alle dinamiche di relazioni “social”. Se la cultura aziendale si focalizza sul divieto di diffondere commenti negativi, invece di analizzare i motivi perché questo succede, la strada da percorrere è ancora lunga.

    Bibliografie e sitografie di tutto il mondo sono piene di “segreti per costruire una community di successo”.
    Ma quali sono le cose da NON fare in una community interna?

    Interne od esterne, le community non si creano ma già esistono in ogni contesto sociale grazie ad un naturale sentimento di aggregazione tra i membri. Si tratta quindi di saperle identificare ed organizzare, fornendo strumenti utili agli utenti e rispettando le loro necessità. Quello che NON bisogna fare è semplicemente cercare di organizzare una community senza esserne un membro effettivo e come tale essere riconosciuto dagli altri membri.

    C’è un aspetto del Social Business aziendale che mi incuriosisce molto: la geolocalizzazione.

    Ammetto di avere ancora un po’ di confusione sullo sviluppo di questo scenario. Ho letto diverse case histories ma i numeri ancora non mi convincono. Per ora ritengo la geolocalizzazione come un utile strumento per progetti di più ampio respiro.

    Cambiamo per un attimo prospettiva.
    Quale poesia, canzone o opera d’arte secondo te può rappresentare il Valore del Social Business?

    Beh potrei dire la Monnalisa.
    Ho lo stesso sorriso ogni volta che leggo il brief di nuovo progetto.
    Non so però se si tratta di un effettivo valore tenendo conto che immediatamente mi saltano in mente le potenzialità e allo stesso tempo le complesse criticità da gestire.

    Terminiamo con la più classica delle domande:
    ci dai un altro motivo per cui vale la pena rinunciare al mare e venire a sentire il tuo speech al Social Business Forum?

    Spesso mi sento dire che non sono bravo a promuovere me stesso e quindi questa domanda mi mette in difficoltà. La posso dribblare dicendo che sono in ottima compagna?

    Certo, ottima risposta! ;) Ci vediamo l’8 giugno, allora.

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    The Open Conference Agenda

    With over 45 speakers and more than 700 subscriptions in the first month of promotion, Social Business Forum stands as the leading conference in Europe addressing the issues of Social Business, Innovation and the use of participatory technologies to generate productivity and socio-economic value.

    This year, in addition to the three main business tracks, a completely free of charge Open Conference (registration is required to participate) will be hosted with the help of Italian and international speakers who will guide participants in understanding how to effectively leverage the principles of Social Business to improve innovation, collaboration, learning and customer service.

    A long list of discussion panels and speeches will provide rich reflections on the hottest topics of the moment including Social Learning, Gamification, Netnography, Social CRM, Co-creation, HR 2.0, Collaboration. Among the international experts in the Open Conference: Bertrand Duperrin, Mitch Lieberman and Jon Ingham.

    Register now to secure your free seat and also attend the keynotes of Keith Swenson (Fujitsu VP R&D), Bill Johnson (Director of Global Community Dell) and Andrew Gilboy (VP Oracle E2.0).

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    The network is the learning: an interview with George Siemens

    Original Interview made by Stefano Besana – http://www.sociallearning.it/la-rete-e-lapprendimento-a-tu-per-tu-con-geor

    What do you think about this new “Social Learning” trend? Is it similar to what you have defined – some years ago – as Connectivism? Or do you think these are two different themes? How can we reconcile, or overlay, the two areas ?

    Social learning isn’t a new trend. Guild and apprentice models of learning have long relied on social learning. Going back even further, early philosophers relied almost exclusively on social learning, as the lineage of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle affirms. What is new today is the scale at which we can be involved in social learning. The web reduces many of the barriers learners faced in the past – such as time and geography. With the development of social networks and communication tools such as Skype, Google Talk, and mobile devices, the scale at which we can be social has increased dramatically. In this regard, the “social learning” trend is really more of a return to more natural ways of learning and interacting with others.
    In terms of connectivism and social learning – I view social learning activities as part of connectivism. Both concepts address how knowledge is distributed and emphasize that complex problems can  best be addressed through relying on connected specialization. Where connectivism differs is in its emphasis on non-social information sources. For example, new ideas are often “assemblies” of ideas that span centuries. William Rosen details the heritage of new ideas and inventions the steam engine and industry in general in his book The Most Powerful Idea in the World. How people connect ideas is not always social. And how organizations create their managerial structure determines how information will flow through the company. Connectivism is concerned with how these broad information, technical, and social structures contribute to individual and organizational capacity for innovation, invention, and adaptation.

     

    Speaking again of Social Learning I believe that could be roughly defined as an emerging phenomenon that originates from  knowledge networks  and value streams whether formal or informal. What do you think? What is your definition of Social Learning?

    I have a fairly unconventional view of social learning. Most pundits and consultants emphasize the social dimension and how new technologies – Facebook, Twitter, blogs – contribute to helping people be “social”. They treat the social aspect as the most critical aspect of the learning process. I don’t. I believe that humans are first and foremost information-driven beings. We process information constantly. From infant stage onward, we seek to make sense of the world by taking in, evaluating, and connecting the information that we encounter. This is an evolutionary trait – we are information-based beings. We develop in relation to the information around us. Back in hunter-gatherer era of human history, incoming information could be in the form of which plants to eat, which animals were dangerous, and so on. Those who were capable of making sense of the information in their context survived.
    My argument is that humanity’s dominant trait is information acquisition, processing, and creation. We employ social aspects to the extend that it enables us to manage information. Too many people advocating for social learning see the social dimension as the end. I view our sensemaking and wayfinding attributes as primary and that we employ social mechanisms to assist in our evolution and survival. Which leads me to my definition of social learning: The reliance on social networks and interactions to assist us in making sense of the information in our context.

     

    Talking about the future of learning (and also about organizational learning) what do you think will be the “next big thing”?

    I have little doubt that the next big thing in learning – schools, universities, and organizations – will be based on learning and knowledge analytics. We produce data trails in almost everything we do – a process amplified by the prevalence of mobile devices. Our ideas, our locations, what we’ve read, and who we interacted with are captured on Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, and our blogs. Most companies fly blindly in terms of organizational knowledge and learning. Recognizing the incredible value of the data trails that employees produce is the first step toward an analytics-based  approach to organizational goal achievement and capacity building. By analyzing data trails, organizations can understand how information flows through the network, how people collaborate, which people would best work together based on previous activities in organizational teams, and how to cost effectively address complex problems (such as entering a new market, acquiring a new company, or rolling out a new product). Analytics helps organizations to understand themselves.

     

    How do you think could be evaluated this new model of learning we are talking about? It is clear that is not possible to simple apply old methodologies to new paradigms. Instead – I believe – we must completely reconfigure and redesign our assessment framework. Many studies are underlining the value of Social Network Analysis (SNA) to assess training processes and to better unrestrained the whole organization, trying to define new metrics and a way to measure the ROI. What is your experience in this field? And what do you think about this approach?

    I agree with your statement of a need to reconfigure and redesign assessment frameworks. In early 2000, I lead a social network analysis project of a department at a major US university. We evaluated over 100 members in the department and tried to evaluate how people connected with each other, where they went for information help, and how they used social networks for solving problems. Understanding the networked-backbone of the department was an important first step in making organizational changes.
    Similarly, organizations today need to consider advanced analytics models as the basis for reconfiguring their company. The knowledge that exists in most companies is not well connected. Often people are working on similar problems without awareness of the work of others. To address quality of learning and knowledge growth, we need to do a better job of knowing what we know and who in the company knows what. Analytics play an important role in mapping organizational knowledge. In a sense, analytics provide us with a blueprint for reconfiguring a company. In the past, leaders made decisions with large blind spots in their vision. For example, merging two departments was done because it made sense financially. Little attention was paid to how knowledge, learning, and capacity building would be impacted by the merger, which could produce unintended drops in productivity, and loss of key staff. With analytics, we can eliminate some of the decision blind spots involved in reconfiguring departments.

     

    Your speech here in Milan is planned for the next 8th of June: which themes you will address?

    I will take the controversial stance that most organizations misunderstand the purpose of social learning (as detailed earlier, I view the social aspects of learning as being a sub-component of sensemaking and wayfinding in complex settings – i.e. our genetic and evolutionary disposition for interacting with information). After making this argument, I will detail the role that analytics can play in improving learning and knowledge development in organizational settings.
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    The Open Conference format

    In addition to the keynotes and the three premium vertical sessions (dedicated to Employee Empowerment, Customer Engagement and Open Innovation), this year the Social Business Forum will also host an Open Conference (from 11.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). An Open Conference is something in between a traditional conference and a barcamp, featuring a mix of already scheduled and bottom-up speeches given by experts, practitioners and consultants regarding a specific theme.

    Why doing an Open Conference? Pretty easy to tell: we want to spread the word and stimulate a deeper discussion connected to themes The Social Business Forum covers (collaboration, informal exchanges, intranets 2.0, crowdsourcing, people engagement, open leadership, social CRM and many more) among every organization in Italy and abroad. We want to do this in an open setting, without any money involved and still bringing relevant local and international names on the stage.

    Act now! If you have Social Business projects, experiences, frameworks, ideas to share… just connect with us by sending an email to [stefano.mizzella AT open-knowledge DOT it]. The best speeches will be put in the agenda and the speakers will get exposed on the Forum homepage through their profile and headshot. That’s a great opportunity, so don’t hesitate if you want to reserve a slot! Very transparently, we’ll give visibility to the best submissions we receive on a first come first served basis.

    Both as attendants and a speakers, the participation (completely free of charge as for the Expo Pavillion and the Keynotes) to the Open Conference will give you plenty of ideas and tools to better navigate your Social Business journey. Some questions that will be addressed:

    • Is it possible to improve internal processes by involving employees more?
    • How to achieve a more effective and engaging marketing action?
    • How to leverage a stronger customer participation to accelerate innovation?
    • How do I create value for the entire business ecosystem (not only for stakeholders)?
    • How to evolve the organization making it more dynamic, adaptive and ready to address the challenges coming from the market?

    The Open Conference will cover these and many other areas through panels of Italian and international experts, some of them directly from the premium sessions like Mitch Lieberman and Bertrand Duperrin, plus 10 vertical speeches meant to discuss the organizational, technical and economical dimensions involved in Social Business.

    Participants must sign up for free on the event website at: http://www.socialbusinessforum.com/register/. We are looking to have you onboard!

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    Is your business really social? Benchmark yourself at Social Business Forum!

    Thousand of analysts, vendors and experts are talking on Social Business. Some describe it as the latest buzzword, but it is possible to identify behind this term a paradigm shift toward a more human-like company: porous, transparent, agile, responsive and focused on individual’s needs.

    Social Business means convergence between external and internal operations. The need to involve the same way the entire business ecosystem (customers, but also employees, partners, suppliers) is the future of business. Last year, together with Open Knowledge, we announced our intention to evolve further the International Forum on Enterprise 2.0 pushing the accelerator even more on customer engagement, Social CRM and open innovation.

    Starting from the experience gained in previous years, the new edition of the Social Business Forum is now online, even if still to be completed.

    Why you should register (and my advice is to do it quickly because we already have a few hundred of subscribers):

    • The international breadth: This is the broader and more detailed event in Europe for those interested in Social Business, with dozens of speakers and international stories (last year we had 43 speakers). The list of those present in the new edition is already too long to be reported here, but I can’t keep myself from mentioning Keith Swenson (Fujitsu VP R & D and the author of Mastering the Unpredictable ), Stefan Lindegaard (author of The Open Innovation Revolution), Sameer Patel (one of the most prominent analyst on Social Business), Mark Tamis ,Esteban Kolsky , and Mitch Lieberman (top authorities in social CRM), Bertrand Duperrin (one of the top Europe experts on Enterprise 2.0 and socialization of processes). Stay tuned: the list is not closed.
    • The hottest topics: We are going to cover all of the most discussed issues emerging in the field, directly with the pioneers. This year we want to discuss extensively Social Business (obviously), Social CRM, Adaptive Case Management, Social Dynamic BPM and BPM, Social Network Analysis, maturity models on Community Management, Social Innovation, Analytics “iIterne”, Intranet 2.0
    • The focus is business: We’ll be avoiding too much talk about social media, communication 2.0, conversational marketing. The main focus will be on revenue, returns, organizational framework, leadership models, appropriate measures to improve the way in which companies create value and profit. More than on communication, we shall focus on the development of key social processes. First on collaboration, customer insights, customer care, sales, innovation.
    • Actual cases: Not just experts, but companies. In 2010 we came collecting 20 company experiences. This year we already received confirmations by Fujitsu, Scottish Water, Webank, Nokia, Toshiba, and many other important brands will be announced shortly.
    • The ability to touch the technology: Technology is just a portion of the effort, but choosing the right one grants us one actual step ahead. No need to fly to Boston, this time: you can interact with some of the companies that are actually providing the most advanced solutions in the different actions composing Social Business: Telligent , Moxie ,Broadvision Clearvale (employee empowerment), Oracle (socialization of internal processes) , Lithium, Telligent’s Sword Ciboodle , Broadvision Clearvale (Social CRM), Spigit (open innovation).
    • Network and discuss with experts you will seldom see in Italy and with companies that probably have already realized some of the projects you are just thinking about.
    • You can decide the type of participation you want: Just as in the past edition, this year you will be choosing between free-of-charge spaces and fee-based participation, which includes full content, full speakers — the full experience.

    What are you waiting for? Here are the links to keep at hand:

    • The agenda will continue to be filled with speakers and case studies
    • Registration page for access to free admission or to make the most of the special rate of € 400 until the end of this month (€750 from 1 May onwards)
    • Twitter account to stay up to date

    Save the date and see you in Milan for sharing ideas on Social Business!

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    The blog is open!

    Hello world, welcome to the Social Business Forum blog. Here you’ll find fresh contents and insights about conference speakers, main topics, logistics and much more.

    We’d like to hear from you, so use this place for sharing feedbacks, suggestions or questions related to the Forum.

    Remember, this blog is not the only way to stay up to date: you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ready to socialize your business?

    (Photo credit: John Martinez Pavliga)

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