The conference season is upon us

November 6, 2012

November may be one of dullest months of the year – especially in Scandinavia! Luckily some great people make this month much more interesting by hosting a number of conferences every year in November. This year I will be fortunate enough to attend two as a speaker – J. Boye 2012 in Aarhus and Intranett 2012 in Oslo.

First up is what I affectionately call “my local conference” and I have written a little about what I am looking forward to at this particular event. I hope that I will see you there!

Here’s a little exerpt of the post and a link where you can read more.

Apart from giving my own presentation as a part of the intranet conference track, I have also been given the opportunity to host a roundtable about social networking and the intranet. This provides an opportunity not only to share some of my own experiences but also to learn from others what works and what doesn’t – a great way to share in a more informal setting and hopefully get some ideas that can be used when you get back from the conference.

Read the entire post at the J. Boye Conference site…

Smarter business in the year 2012 – also on paper…

September 18, 2012

I have attended a fair share of conferences and event – some good, some bad. One thing that always makes me a little apprehensive is when the big vendors invite to the big annual events. It’s always a good chance to see all the new stuff in action but more often than not they roll out the red carpet and present a ‘Big Mac’ event. Big Mac in the sense that it’s beautifully presented but leaves few lasting impressions other than you are hungry again two hours later.

This morning I boarded the train from Aarhus at 05.42 with a slight apprehension and when I entered the beautiful venue 3½ hours later it was reinforced by the fact that it turned out to be a HUGE event. I don’t know what I had expected but a crowd of 1000+ delegates was certainly not it!

At the time of writing this I am on my way home from what ended up being one of the best events of its kind that I have attended for a long time. It would be a shame to say that my world was turned upside down but it was very refreshing to hear how IBM works with social business externally. Susan Emerick explained how everyone in IBM has the opportunity to participate on social platforms but also how they identify talent and resource people internally and make their participation an important part of their strategic go to market initiatives.

One of their very important conclusions was that the ‘digital engagement’ was 3 times more effective than the traditional digital marketing. I spoke to Susan afterwards where she reiterated this point – find an applicable area where you are likely to create new business opportunities – dedicate a portion of your budget to the new initiative – and compare…

The comparison obviously requires measurement. Measurement inevitably categorises content (and even people) as good or bad in terms of their digital efforts. In my opinion, this will become an inconvenient truth for many people in the social business. If you listen to many experts in this area they are advocating various pseudo-metrics related to how engaging you are but in the end it all boils down to what can be documented on the bottom line……or as Jerry McGuire would say – uhm, well, shout – SHOW ME THE MONEY!!

The Swedish Chef in action (photo by @unwiredchris)

However, the main topic for the social business track remained the challenges of creating an organization where the people and the culture embrace the value of sharing information and knowledge openly. Until this change is brought about it makes little sense to talk

about business opportunities in stead we need to focus our energy on getting the right mix of ingredients that make up a proper social business and this both begins and ends with cultural change – or to paraphrase ‘the Swedish chef’ Christian Carlsson who introduced the metaphor of social business components as ingredients in a bread:

“Culture is the yeast that makes a social business rise”

Enough about food….. What about the paper mentioned in the header? Well, I was not the only one who was surprised when all participants was reminded to fill out the evaluation form and hand it in before we left. I couldn’t help but to ask if that was what IBM defined as “smarter business” but as it turned out, they had learned that online forms were not nearly as effective for gathering feedback. Agree or disagree, if that’s the case then a piece of paper CAN be a smarter way – also in our hyper-connected world.

Relevance, Resonance, and the Digital Ninjas – Adobe Summit 2012

May 22, 2012

On my way from work today I heard a somewhat funny segment about how companies increasingly were looking for ‘ninjas’ when hiring new people. In fact the job ads mentioning ‘ninjas’ were up 2500% compared to last year – not to mention the jedis and rock stars who also seem to be in great demand.

I couldn’t help but related it to last week’s Adobe Digital Marketing Summit in London where I came face to face with the digital marketing world once again – a world which I have been a little out of sync with after moving into the intranet realm about 5 years ago. All the more interesting it allowed me to pinpoint some of the development that has happened for the digital marketing professionals and how online marketing has transformed from being very creative profession to become that of number crunchers and controller – maybe even Ninja-controllers…

This is a positive thing. It doesn’t only show that online marketing is reaching a new level of maturity but also that we are getting better and better at leveraging the true strength of online media: Everything can be measured! I posted a tweet about the fact that ‘big data’ was largely absent, but a reply made me realize that these guys don’t think about the concept of ‘big data’ – they are already using these vast amounts of data every day to track what we buy and what our friends recommend all to make sure that we get a tailored, personalized experience throughout the web – and hopefully we’ll buy some stuff along the way.

Honestly, I found some of the insights gained a little disturbing. Everything is about the personalized experience which is all well and good, but if everything is based on what my friends (and friend’s friends) do online are we then not running a risk of losing the individuality somewhere along the way? If you use the internet and social media to seek new inspiration about whatever and all you see is information based on what your friends have done, is it then really new inspiration or are we running around in a circle where we become more and more alike and a circle that becomes more and more tightly knit?

Arianna Huffington gave a very inspiring keynote which was closely related to the above. Like many others she made the point that the ubiquitous social networks makes us more disconnected to ourselves and that we need to remember to disconnect, but more interestingly she also talked about how companies focus heavily on relevance and not resonance. Relevance can be created based on actionable data because you then know what I want and like. Resonance is different: You need to provoke thoughts, challenge my opinions, even my view of the world. There’s no guaranteed sale in resonance, but if you succeed you can rest assured that you have something way more valuable than a mere customer.


The conference? If conversion rates, lifetime customer value, repeat purchases, and those kinds of things are your game then it’s a great event and you should certainly go. If you, like me, focus on the digital workplace within companies and the disruption going on here, I believe that there are better choices for inspiration.

I got some good good input about data privacy, interesting sneak peeks, and – as already mentioned – a very inspiring keynote from Arianna Huffington but other than that it missed the mark for me.

Thoughts and takeaways from the Enterprise 2.0 Summit – Day 1

February 7, 2012

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.

Conference: Internal Social Media Forum

July 18, 2011

I have been invited to speak at Internal Social Media Forum by Forward Networking in Madrid on November 4th.

Internal Social Media Forum, Madrid November 2011

With a very interesting and strong lineup of speakers I feel honored, but also a bit humbled, to present at this interesting event. Already now I am looking forward to learn more from others, but also to present my own learnings, some of which is still in the making so the final outcome is not yet fully known.

The topic of my presentation will be about getting social media on the internal agenda. Here are the headlines:

Bringing social media into the organisation
– How to create a framework “mid-air” when social media has already taken off?
– Linking social media to your business goals and corporate values.
– Empower and educate: How to increase awareness and comfort using social media among employees.
– Knowledge sharing and facilitating best practises.
– Identifying mavens, connectors, and other VIPs.
– Tools and user adoption – Learnings so far.

As I mentioned, some of these topics are still being explored and who knows? Maybe you can read some of the insights at this blog in a not too distant future – if not come to Madrid and learn more from a lot of excellent speakers.

Meeting the masters

November 30, 2010

I am writing this at the airport after two very inspiring days at the Employee Portal Evolution Masters in Berlin – lots of great input and great people.

Monday night I hosted an informal interactive evening session. The topic on the agenda was the future of intranets, but it quickly turned into a talk about social media – which had been the big underlying theme all day – and how to handle this inside an organisation.

The two major takeaways from the session was that Social Media require some kind of training and that your company culture needs to be ready for openness.

I would like to share one of the suggested approaches with regards to training for you to consider. It is quite eimple and as a beginning you divide the people active on social media into some groups. An example could be:

  1. Designated participants officially representing the company.
  2. Those who mix work and private life in their social media presence.
  3. People who participate privately but may have the odd workrelated contribution.

The first ones obviously require training like any other media representative – you wouldn’t put someone in front of a TV camera without a minimum of media training!

The second and third are the tricky ones. Seen from a risk management point of view, I believe that the ones in the second category should be the main concern. They often know what they are doing and may inadvertently post something that will prove harmful to the company. The third group also pose a risk. but since they mainly use social media privately this risk is smaller.

Everybody agreed that what we have seen in relation to social media is just the tip of the iceberg. One delegate shared a little story about when the phone was introduced in companies. He remembered meetings where it was being discussed whether or not everybody should have a phone or if it was OK with one per department! Nobody questioned that the phone made sense, but how much, and for what, would it be used….. I think it sounds familiar!

I would like to extend a big thank you to all delegates and speakers and if you are interested in learning more from the conference, I can recommend that you head over to Samuel Driessen’s blog where you can read much more.

Relevancy is NOW

September 7, 2010

Last week I attended a conference called ‘NOW is Digital’ organised by Headstart New Media Network (a local initiative in Aarhus) and it proved to be both interesting but it left me with a strange sensation that there is still a long way to go for new/social media.

The intersting part was a presentation by Monique de Haas about transmedia storytelling – something I have never heard about before. The all-knowing Wikipedia tells ud that “In Transmedia storytelling, content becomes invasive and fully permeates the audience’s lifestyle” – sounds a bit scary when you put it that way! I know it is quite far removed from my work in the intranet world, I was reminded about James Robertson’s little story about Sarah and her encounters with the omnipresent intranet called “Morris”.

Granted. The intranet is only one media so there’s not that much “trans-media” here, but all the same you need to have many entry points so that your intranet can ‘invade’ the audience’s (employee’s) lifestyle – in the most positive sense, of course. It’s there when you need it and it actually helps you without being overly complicated.

And there you have it – it’s all about relevancy. After listening to presentations about mobile apps, storytelling, and even design of a museum it struck me that even though the presenters were talking about very different things, they were all talking about relevancy in one form or the other.


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