The opening keynote of this Paris event was a shared session with Rawn Shah from IBM and Yves Caseau from Bouygues Telecom titled “Understanding Social Business Excellence”. Rawn started out with an excellent presentation about the importance of harnessing the pervasive conversations emerging in companies and linking them to the business goals. It may sound very simple, and the prescribed formula was also very easy to understand and pragmatic. How you adapt it to fit your own organization and the objectives of your Line of Business is a different topic.
One thing that struck me during both presentations was that social business practitioners on one hand seem to be in a hurry to denounce Frederick Taylor’s principles of scientific management and on the other hand can’t seem to get everything measured and aligned with Lean and other somewhat traditional management processes. We also talk a lot about engagement and trust, but the minute people actually start to engage, we shift focus to monitoring what they do. I find this somewhat ironic, but I also think it goes to show that many of these principles are still in full working order when it comes to our production environments, but also that we need to revisit and revise these ideas to include the knowledge workers of the 21st century as well.
A topic that was touched upon in many talks was motivation and rewards which made gamification a ‘hot’ topic. Interestingly enough, when speakers from companies who have well established communities were on stage, rewards and motivation were not something of their concern. I’m 100% sure that it has not come over night and that while extrinsic motivation through eg. gamification may help increase adoption, it is the intrinsic motivators that make people come back and turn it into a vibrant community. I see quite a few analogies to Herzberg’s two-factor theory, but that’s a topic for another day.
Jon Mell from IBM and Jerome Colombe from Alcatel Lucent were prime examples of two companies with thriving communities. It quickly comes down to culture and management support and as Jon argued that if management sees Engagement as ‘free work’ you are not likely to succeed in creating communities. In Alcatel Lucent there is a very strong backing from the CEO which I believe is the key to their success. They have community ambassadors, but the title sounds like a voluntary/honorary title – much like the concept of the “Yammer midwife” I heard about at a recent event. Both great concepts but that degree of volunteerism is hard to achieve in many organisations.
Like many others I have been struggling with the term “Social Collaboration” (Can you collaborate without being social?), but today I heard a fresh take on this. Collaboration was a shift in technology – Social was (is) a shift in culture. Agree or disagree, I think it makes a lot of sense to look at it like that and now I am not so sure that I will continue crusading against the term social collaboration 🙂
These were my main thoughts after the first day of the #e20s, as the event is known under on Twitter. I already look forward to more interesting insights tomorrow. If you are interested in a more detailed account of the presentations, head over to Samuel Driessen’s blog where he has been live-blogging from many presentations.