Sociala intranät som karriärtrampolin – SvD Karriär 10 nov 2011

För ett tag sedan, när jag var på besök från spenaten i Huvudstaden för att föreläsa på en kurs hos Sveriges Informationsförening, om framtiden för den sociala webben, passade jag på att klämma in en intervju med Paula Asarnoj för SvD.

Jättekul var det då. Ännu roligare när artikeln publicerades 10 november och jag insåg att det var ett helt uppslag!

Du som har läst här på bloggen tidigare känner igen en del av mina käpphästar.. Jag tänker skriva mer om tips #4 vid ett senare tillfälle.

Artikeln säger resten (även i E24) – PDF-version

I love my network

It’s strange. I live my working life in the midst of what might be the world’s richest enclosed source of knowledge – the IBM social intranet. I don’t know for sure if it is the richest, but if anyone is ahead it cannot be that many. And yes, I wrote enclosed to exclude the public internet.

Yet, I find myself not looking for information as much as before. It’s there allright. I can search it and I get suggestions for interesting information based on my actions, tags I have used and that have been used to categorize me, communities I’m a member of and knowledge I have shared myself. I can even reduce the “content noise” using my friends as a filter (although we don’t use the expression friends, but the more neutral network contacts).

But in many cases I just ask.

I have actively and generously invited people to my network. Maybe even because we don’t claim to be friends but just contacts, we can be more generous in connecting. Currently I have built a network of 933 colleagues around the world, in all sorts of professions and at various levels of the hierarchy. Varying levels of activity too. The more the merrier is my parole. I have written it before, and I keep repeating my mantra: You never know who you can help or who can help you.

Well, last week I gave a keynote speech at a client workshop on Knowledge Management and went on to listen to their presentations and participating in discussions and breakout sessions for the rest of the day. Towards the end of the day, I was asked a technical question about if IBM Connections, the star of IBM collaboration software, could be implemented in a certain way. I didn’t know the answer.

At 18:45 (6:45 PM for you Americans 😉 I wrote the question on my board on the social intranet and then we went for a delicious dinner supplemented by a very nice Amarone (thank you very much, guys). Back to my room after dinner, I found that a colleague in Canada had written that he didn’t know the answer, but recommended me to ask another, named, colleague in USA (unknown to me). So I asked my question again – on this third person’s board – and did some other work in my hotel room. A short while later I checked and found that a fourth person (unknown to me too) had responded to my question on the board of person #3. I added a follow up question, got a swift reply by #4 that was followed after a while by a confirmation by #3 of what #4 had responded.

Within 4 hrs 10 minutes, my question was answered thanks to two, completely unknown helpful colleagues and a third who knew who to ask. (I did notice, though, that we shared some network contacts). The next morning I could supply an answer to the client and hopefully moved us closer to an interesting deal.

Referring back to my post on ROI for social intranets I just wonder, how do you calculate  the value of helpful colleagues like these?

Today I had a similar experience where I let this image speak for itself

Volunteers offering practical help within two hours
Thanks to Keigo and Jonny

So what’s the morale of my story?

We can talk forever about documents, repositories, structures, software and features. The bottom line is: It takes people to collaborate. You can never predict what people might need, nor what people may know. And even if you have access to the most magnificent technology imaginable, collaboration is a matter of corporate culture. It’s a mindset.

Did Steve Jobs worry about ROI?

What did the ROI calculation for the iPhone development look like? For the iPad? Or for iPod?

I never met Steve Jobs. I never worked at Apple. Still, based on what I’ve read about him I doubt that there ever was an ROI calculation for the investments made in any of Apple’s and Steve Jobs’ breakthrough innovations. He believed and he dared. His compass knew it was the right thing to do.
Yet he was the most acclaimed business innovator in the past decade.

Next time I’m asked about the ROI of social intranets I will counter with this question: Would Steve Jobs have bothered calculating it?
I hope it will go down better than my current standard question of: when did you last see an ROI calculation for implementing SAP?

Comparing the investment needed to unchain the potential of the company staff with making an investment in production equipment that can produce faster or more efficiently is nothing short of an insult to the people working for you.

Innovations can be classified into two categories: Enabling or Improving. Either they make something possible that was not before – like the automobile once made it possible to travel long distances fast and with a flexible route. Or something currently possible to do easier, more efficient or with better quality – like more fuel efficient cars, safer cars or innovative service programmes. Improvement innovations are suitable for ROI-calculations, enabling are not.

So, if you allow the social intranet-train pass you by and wonder:

  • why all talented people work for the competition
  • why your customers keep telling you that your competition are faster at getting up to speed and at solving problems
  • why people keep working in silos
  • why you keep reinventing the wheel
  • why your competition is more innovative than you are
  • why customers tell you that you’re old fashioned

– then go back to your archive, pull out that ROI-calculation run it through the shredder and realize that inspiration, collaboration and staff commitment is not to be reduced to numbers.

References:

Uppmuntra anställda som engagerar sig i sociala medier, det tjänar både företaget och samhället på

Häromdagen tipsades jag om en artikel i CSR i Praktiken om att användare av sociala medier tar större samhällsansvar. källa Kan det verkligen stämma?

Tja, utan att värdera eller verifiera undersökningen bakom artikeln är det ändå inte svårt att föreställa sig att det nog kan vara så. Alltsomoftast brukar jag referera till den feelgodkänsla jag ofta får på Facebook, Twitter och min arbetsgivares sociala intranät. Men det borde väl inte förvåna att folk som dras till sociala mötesplatser, på nätet eller på stan är mer medkännande än de som håller sig för sig själva. Eller?

  • Sociala medier är just det – sociala – man umgås, exponeras för andras åsikter och känslor, delar med sig av de egna
  • Mycket går ut på att dela med sig och att ta del av vad andra delar med sig av, att svara på frågor, att bli hjälpt av andra (särskilt tydligt på intranätet)
  • Avstånden minskar, du får med lätthet och ögonblickligen inblick i livet på andra sidan jordklotet – och upptäcker ofta att det egentligen inte är så olikt ditt eget

Den andra delen av artikeln handlar mycket om min arbetsgivares attityd till de anställdas engagemang i sociala medier – vi uppmuntras. Jag låter den tala för sig själv men kompletterar med lite information av intresse: Av IBM:s över 400.000 anställda är åtminstone 200.000 medlemmar på Facebook, cirka 25.000 twittrar och 17.000 bloggar. Det blir en exponering som varje marknadsförare drömmer om och som får varje kriskommunikatör att darra. Självklart blir siffrorna slående stora i och med att företaget är så stort, men kontentan blir allmängiltig; det är bara att gilla läget. Att hantera det. Gärna så som IBM har gjort: med en tydlig policy, med hjälp och coaching och med att tydligt kommunicera företagets värderingar.

I sammanhanget kan det nog ändå vara bra att kika på denna sammanställning av aktiviteter på sociala medier som gjort att folk blivit nekade jobb (i USA, såvitt jag förstår), att se över sina integritetsinställningar och att tänka noga efter vad man publicerar var. Intressantast av allt är att 95% av de tillfrågade företagen kollade upp kandidaterna på sociala medier. Och, i ärlighetens namn, den rekryterare som inte kollar ditt CV mot LinkedIn gör ju tjänstefel egentligen.

Social Media B2B in action

Social Media B2B in action.

This article shows how IBM has been at the forefront for a long time, although it may not be widely known or appreciated. Another tale-telling story is this clip with Jon Iwata, IBM Senior Vice President Marketing and Communications from the Kenneth Owler Smith Symposium 2010 on how companies and their communications staff must adapt to make the best out of the great potential – for success as well as for disaster – of employee activity in social media and the blogosphere.

Paneldebattar om Digital Marknadsföring på Internet Expo i Malmö onsdag 5 oktober 2011

På onsdag blir det tredje gången gillt för mig att paneldebatta med IDG om Digital Marknadsföring. Först Göteborg för ett knappt år sedan, sedan Stockholm i januari och nu på hemmaplan. Det ska bli kul att avsluta på hemmaplan.

Det har mest varit reklambyråer och jag i panelen som Magnus Höij (Internetworld’s chefredaktör) leder. Jag har nog varit tänkt som den udda fågeln i diskussionen och det är en positionering jag gärna tagit.

Tidigare diskussioner har givit goda tillfällen att poängtera att alltför många företag och organisationer använt digital marknadsföring och sociala medier bara som ytterligare en kanal att basunera ut sina pressreleaser och andra meddelanden på. Skräckexemplet var Exportrådet när jag kollade runt förra hösten.

En annan käpphäst har varit att jag inte instämt i de facto-definitionen av marknadsföring som visat sig genom hur frågor ställts t.ex. Marknadsföring är så mycket mer än bara reklamen. Den är den synliga delen, men för lyckad marknadsföring krävs så mycket analys och strategi före som verkar glömmas bort. Och där har de sociala medierna ohyggligt mycket att erbjuda. Alla tweetar, inlägg och kommentarer bör man ju se som “gratis marknadsundersökning” och ta tillvara på kritik och uppslag. Dessutom hittar man lätt entusiaster och ambassadörer som man gör bäst i att vårda och ta hand om.

Tredje käpphästen är de medarbetarna som sociala ambassadörer. Hur företagen gör bäst för att ta tillvara all den kraft, det engagemang och den kontaktyta som personalen har i de sociala medierna. Hur viktigt det är att företagen tydligt kommunicerar sina värderingar och strategier så att socialt engagerad personal förhoppningsvis väl representerar varumärket och inte behöver tveka på deras förhållningsramar i förhållande till arbetsgivaren går.

Några bra exempel:

Video från paneldebatten (35 min)

Too many companies miss the “social” in “Social Media”

Let’s try out these new social media, they say. Then they use them to distribute a flow of press releases, linking to their own website. What the **** is social about that? And then they get disappointed about the results.

  • Social means two-way communication
  • Social means engaging people
  • Social means people engaging with people
  • Social means listening
  • Social means responding

When discussing with companies who are contemplating starting to use social media, my advice is usually the same and pretty simple:

  1. Start scanning Twitter and other platforms where it is possible for your company and brand names – why not for your competitor’s too? – for your products and services and other topics of interest.
  2. Establish processes to channel the “spontaneous feedback” to those concerned in the company
  3. Start interacting with people who make interesting posts. Respond to complaints and comments. Engage with potential ambassadors.
  4. Then, but not before, start interspersing with your own marketing messages. Since, by this time, you are likely to have built sufficient credibility with the public and strong relations with the ambassadors so they pass your messages on through their networks.

Say after me please: Social Media is not just another megaphone

So what’s so great about social intranets?

If there is one thing almost all intranets have in common, it is that people complain about them. The appreciation of traditional intranets generally is somewhere on a scale between neutral and abysmal.

If you ask employees who have access to social intranets, they would rather be somewhere on the scale between neutral and extatic (at least on occasions).

Communalities of most traditional intranets are:

  • Information is spread down- or outwards in the organization
  • Content is created by a cadre of communication professionals
  • The editors constantly debate structure and editor access
  • Users have difficulties to find their way in the structure
  • And just as much difficultyto find stuff when searching
  • Much of the content is out of date
  • An ever-present question for the company is “How do we make people use the intranet?”. (The response usually is to make it the default start page for all browser installations)

So what about social intranets?

  • Content is spread in all directions by the people who know the topics, not by the people who know how to write about them
  • The creators of collaborative content don’t care too much about the big structure. Only about the substance. And everybody have access to create content (but not everywhere, though)
  • Structure is secondary, since content is found through searching, and by association with similar content and with people you trust
  • Search works much better since it is based not only on search engine “mechanics” but is boosted by peer recommendations and social bookmarks
  • Social intranets apply “Content Darwinism”. Almost all presentation is based on “recency of updating”. Hot topics and communities therefore float to the surface while inactive communities and stuff people aren’t interested in slowly sinks to the bottom. (It can still be found through searching for it though)
  • As the intranet is seen as valuable and relevant, people will want to use it. There is no more need to make them go there.

Of course, it cannot be ALL social. The most powerful tool is blending the traditional with social. The communications folks may give some screen real estate away, but increased exposure of what remains is likely to compensate with a healthy margin for the lost real estate.

But, won’t the staff waste valuable time socializing via the intranet? No way! I’m constantly amazed by how the same kind of features result in such different uses on each side of the firewall. Or would you consider it a waste if:

  • people find experts to help them solve problems fast and with proven solutions
  • instead of re-inventing the wheel for the umpteenth time, people find documents from others that they can adapt to their current needs
  • employees band together in communities to share and build common knowledge on topics of professional and corporate value
  • knowledge is unlocked from employees hard drives, brains and desk drawers, shared and made available for the common good of the company… and for the future – an aspect to take into account in these days of retiring babyboomers and shortening average tenure
  • and – much needed in many a company – the ability of employees to network and communicate in all directions bridge geographic and organizational boundaries helping to overcome the frequent suboptimization stemming from organizational protectionism.
  • the criss-crossing of networks and communication generates chance meetings of people with other people or with unexpected information, a well known, proven and sought for environment for creativity and invention.

For me, it is very simple: the ability of implementing social intranets is the possibility for companies and organizations to show that “Our Employees are our Most Valuable Resource” weren’t just empty words.