Archives For October 2012

Di recente ho avuto modo di leggere il report (dello scorso Luglio – http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/mgi/research/technology_and_innovation/the_s… ) di McKinsey sullo stato dell’arte delle social technologies e sul valore che queste possono avere nel promuovere lo sviluppo delle organizzazioni.

La questione che mi sono posto – stimolato anche dalle ottime riflessioni di Emanuele Quintarelli ( http://www.socialenterprise.it/index.php/2012/08/13/sbloccare-il-potenziale-d… ) è quale possa essere – in Italia e nel mondo – il mercato e il livello di sviluppo, ad oggi, del social business.

Ma andiamo con ordine: cerchiamo come prima cosa di riassumere alcuni dei dati e delle considerazioni salienti del report realizzato da McKinsey:

  • Il livello di adozione e i tempi di penetrazione delle tecnologie social è incredibile: come ben mostrato nessuno strumento è riuscito a raggiungere i livelli dei social newtork e nessun media è riuscito a raggiungere – in cosi’ poco tempo – la stessa massa critica di questi strumenti. I tempi di diffusione e il potenziale che questi strumenti hanno nell’essere adottati non è assolutamente un fattore da sottovalutare in termini di impiego nelle organizzazioni. Tuttavia è bene riflettere come solo parte dell’intero potenziale della social communication è stato “sbloccato”. Molta è ancora la strada da fare e molte sono le riflessioni da maturare in questa direzione.
  • La capacità che questi strumenti hanno di massimizzare il valore scambiato e di facilitare i processi di collaborazione, comunicazione e innovazione è molto alta. In questo senso è possibile riflettere sugli impatti che strumenti social hanno avuto – e stanno tutt’ora avendo – sul nostro modo di comunicare, di relazionarci e di gestire le informazioni.
  • Esiste un potenziale economico che va da 900 miliardi a 1.3 trilioni di dollari che deve essere sbloccato e valorizzato. Il tutto è basato su alcune stime derivanti da una serie di survey che McKinsey ha portato avanti. La riflessione da fare in questo senso è legata sicuramente al ROI del social business e all’importanza che stanno assumendo nuovi strumenti per la misurazione di nuovi fenomeni.
  • Le tecnologie social – laddove correttamente implementate – possono aiutare le aziende a divenire dei network complessi basati sullo scambio di valore. In questo senso sono sin grado di massimizzare le capacità delle aziende di collaborare, di fare rete e di costruire nuovi modelli competitivi.
  • Il miglioramento della semplice comunicazione e dello scambio di informazioni (all’interno e all’esterno delle aziende) sarebbe in grado di aumentare del 25/30% la produttività dei knowledge worker
  • Le social technologies possono giocare un ruolo molto importante e fondamentale nel visualizzare i flussi di scambi informali e nel “cristallizzare” le conoscenza, le interazioni e le informazioni che sono presenti – molto spesso – solo a livello individuale.

In questo senso è molto interessante vedere anche le funzioni aziendali su cui possono impattare le social technologies e a quale livello possono contribuire per promuovere lo sviluppo dell’organizzazione:

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Come ben visibile dallo schema riportato si tratta di ambiti anche molto diversi ma sulle quali questi approcci possono essere estremamente interessanti su più livelli portando vantaggi notevoli.

Un’altra riflessione interessante in questo senso risulta essere quella legata alle modalità di lavoro. Lo spostamento che il nostro modo di comunicare sta avendo nei confronti delle tecnologie social fa riflettere:

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Celebre in questo senso è il caso di qualche anno fa di Luis Suarezhttp://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/01/luis-suarez/ – in questa stessa direzione sembra stiano maturando sempre maggiori consapevolezze. Nell’uso cioè di sistemi maggiormente dinamici, snelli e in grado di gestire carichi di informazioni sicuramente maggiore rispetto alla semplice email.

Alcune riflessioni personali a margine di quello che abbiamo visto (chiaramente si tratta di un’estrema sintesi di alcuni punti che sono emersi dal report e che vi consiglio assolutamente di leggere):

  • Il mercato è cambiato: sono sempre di più le aziende che avvertono quello che è il messaggio sotteso alle grandi storie di successo dei big brand internazionali: non possiamo più decidere se diventare o meno un social business. Dobbiamo semplicemente scegliere il modo migliore e più veloce per farlo. A proposito di casi di successo legati al social business e all’evoluzione del mercato ne ho parlato già qui: http://www.sociallearning.it/social-enterprise-le-migliori-storie-di-succe
  • Il cambiamento è trasversale e impatta tutte le aziende. Le riflessioni maturate in questi anni ci fanno considerare il processo di trasformazione verso un social business come un qualcosa di trasversale a tutte le unit di un’organizzazione e a tutte le industry in cui un’azienda è posizionata. Non esistono scenari migliori o più adatti di altri in cui applicare queste logiche. Anche se il report di McKinsey sottolinea alcune aziende favorite rispetto ad altre, in particolar modo quelle:
    • che impiegano un alto numero di knowledge workers
    • che fanno affidamento su una forte coesione con l’immagine del brand e che basano molta della loro interazione con i consumatori su questo
    • che hanno un’esperienza (come ad esempio un servizio) o un prodotto da offrire ai propri consumatori
  • Le strategie sui social media “verso l’esterno” sono insufficienti: le aziende e i consulenti cominciano a rendersi conto dell’incapacità di semplici strategie di social media marketing e della difficoltà di approcci one shot. Nulla risulta più efficace di un approccio integrato, maturo, valido sia per l’interno sia per l’esterno dell’azienda. In sostanza è tempo di evolvere le strategie di coinvolgimento dei clienti e dei consumatori in approcci più maturi che permettano alle organizzazioni di svilupparsi e di andare nella direzione di dinamiche che arricchiscano tanto i dipendenti quanti i clienti finali in un ecosistema aziendale armonico.
  • Le aziende cominciano ad essere più consapevoli :le richieste di so
    luzioni aumentano e non è più possibile fare come in passato. Le aziende cominciano a maturare consapevolezza rispetto a queste dinamiche e risulta importante proporre soluzioni nuove più mature e in grado di integrare veramente differenti approcci portando del concreto valore aggiunto.
  • Sono necessarie nuove competenze e nuovi strumenti. Esattamente come per vedere nuove cose bisogna avere nuovi occhi e rinnovarsi (similmente a quanto ricordava Proust) è necessario che le organizzazioni si muovano verso modelli a competenze ibride, dove l’integrazione di diversi punti di vista puo’ solo rappresentare ricchezza e consentire la lettura di nuovi e vecchi fenomeni.

Come ben mostra questo grafico nello specifico degli IT manager:

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E voi? Siete pronti a diventare un social business? Cosa ne pensate?

Innovation Today

October 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

Rosario Sica, Paolo Calderari di Palazzolo
Original version of this article is part of the Social Business Manifesto project – 
http://socialbusinessmanifesto.com/innovation-today/ 

What is innovation? If we take the dictionary definitions, we find things like “introduce something new” or “a new idea or method, or tool”. In short, a novelty. So then, if one morning you get out of the wrong side of bed, have you been innovative? If you find a new way of using a document are you creating innovation? We believe that this ends up trivialising what is truly innovation. Let’s try to start again from the definition of innovation. From our point of view innovation regards problem solving. It consists in finding new solutions to present problems, or even in discovering problems that people might not even know they have, thus improving their lives.

One of the biggest problems that we have noticed over recent years in innovation concerns the spending and investments that are being made in research and development, expressed as a percentage of the gross domestic product: they have continued to decrease significantly as shown in the table below:

Country R&D (in billions of euros)
USA 368.8
Japan 138
China 86
Germany 69
France 43
South Korea 34
GB 35
Russia 24
Taiwan 16

Source: Main Science and technology indicators, OECD

We have less research and development. All the resources are in fact concentrating on development, which means that we are developing products and services for which we know a market already exists. The majority of research laboratories that once existed now no longer exist. All of them, without exception, have cut out projects in which they were investing, in order to concentrate on the four or five projects for which they are certain there is demand. In other words, they are only creating what is commonly called incremental innovation. If we think of the size of problems that the company is dealing with (energy, economic crisis, environment, etc.), these are not problems that will be solved by choosing the colour of an iPhone. These are fundamental problems that have yet to be solved, and we cannot solve them if we remain anchored in what we already know. We need new knowledge, we need to explore new intervention paradigms, and new research, that allow not the expected results, but the unexpected results, and that as a result are capable of changing things.

A search in Google for books with the word “innovation” in the title finds 120,000 books. Just five years ago there were only a few hundred books with the word “innovation”! There are too many books on innovation and too few on real innovation.

Potentials of the Social Web

Where can we find true innovation over the last few years and what are the new paradigms in line with the “network society”? Think about the internet and how it has profoundly transformed our lives. Think about how much time it took for the internet to be successful: 30-40 years for it to become what it is, for it to have such a profound effect on our lives. The internet came out of the Bell laboratories of General Electric. There they invested in pure research, without the slightest idea of what concrete results would have been obtained. The internet itself was an unexpected result, among many, of a great amount of intense research driven by military needs. Where is the research that may generate unexpected results with regard to media communication, new materials, and new energy frontiers? Where is investment being made today to achieve these critical results for our future? We have not seen many initiatives going in this direction.

We are at a turning point, a consequence of the internet: social web. We are starting to see that there are strong possibilities that collaboration will become a fundamental driver to accelerate processes and information exchanges. The possibility for billions of people to start to connect and communicate in new ways has never been possible in the past; it is a significant step forward and offers enormous potential.

The true challenge is how to seize this potential, both as companies and as a society, in order to change the way of innovating. We see two different types of companies: one includes those that we call “winners”, i.e. those companies that are willing to take risks and therefore to upset the market by making things that previously did not exist; the second type includes those companies that we’ll call “losers”, those who are afraid of changing, i.e. companies that have a strong position and are trying to defend it, rather than create new positions for it.

Let’s take the case of Apple: did it listen to its customers, and use an “open” process, when it was thinking of creating the iPhone? No, contrary to what we usually hear, it was a completely closed process, based on the quality of internal Apple resources that carried out research, investigated the problems experienced by people, and had the vision of how a new service could have been. They had the leadership, ability and willingness to take risks. They had the courage to say: “People have never heard of an iPhone, but everyone needs one”, and they created it. We can’t go to customers and look to them for answers, or get a concept of a new product from them when they don’t even have an idea that the possibility of it exists. These are the limits of crowdsourcing.

Leadership and social capital

The heart of the question is leadership. We remember Kennedy’s speech when he announced to America that a man would have been sent to the Moon: it was a risky challenge, but taking this idea forward meant discovering and finding solutions to many of humanity’s problems: this extraordinary vision ruled American society, dragging everyone behind it, because in taking man to the moon America created new industrial sectors, it created innovation, and Silicon Valley was in large part driven by this research. The spin-offs generated by the technology developed for this venture were numerous, but when the space program began no-one could have imagined what the developments would have been: new materials, new technologies for calculation and communications, etc.; or that companies would have been created that today have an annual turnover of billions of dollars and that these new activities would have given jobs to millions of people throughout the world. These results after the fact did not drive the action. People developed the space program because they believed in a problem-solution process that would have allowed them to discover new areas of knowledge.

Now the situation is completely different: there is no driving vision; everything revolves around cost-cutting, and that is a very serious problem. Companies like Nokia, who had dominant positions on the market, are very cautious, and do not want to squander the advantage and destroy or deteriorate the ecosystem around them in which many benefit from the value chain they created. Take what happened, for instance,
with the arrival of IP voice servers that made the voice nothing more than another Internet application: everything that the business had been built on, and everything that had been defended for years by keeping others out, now seems like a common commodity, because anyone can create a voice application. Thus, these companies end up adopting very defensive behaviours, which in fact become major obstacles to innovation: the people inside these companies are isolated and the chance of them being able to do things that are truly new is becoming all but impossible.

These heritages are becoming serious obstacles; we have business models that are no longer up to date, that no longer allow us to generate past earnings: the CEO of a telecommunications company must think in the short term, three or four years at the most, trying to maximise the value of shares in that restricted period. This means that what the company can do is limit itself to what it already has, to what can give in the short term a certain return – even if small – and what it cannot do is invest in long-term research, necessary in order to have a future.

As a result, the staff within an organization end up destroyed, as they are deprived of an environment of exploration, of reasons to take risks, to do something truly new. It is no coincidence that the breakthrough innovations of the last 15/20 years did not come from telecommunication companies.

It is time to talk about social capital and innovation. Today we have real possibilities of creating great innovations if we are able to combine two things: the vision and leadership of a Steve Jobs with the potential of the people within the company, or rather its social capital. If a company can do that, it can take assume a dominant position on the market.

Social innovation: building communities for innovation

To focus on social capital, a starting point is the digital generation: a generation of young people have grown up with this technology and no longer consider it “technology”, but rather their way of being in the world. They are not digital children because of digital technology, but because they were children when this change happened. This technology has been internalised by them because it allows them to carve out spaces for themselves, where they can do the things they need whilst growing up: create their own identity, have fun, do crazy things. MySpace or Facebook were not successful because of the technology, but because there was a new form of expression by this generation, in which they could express and acquire knowledge or simply act like kids. The crucial point of all of this is that new generations are established on social relations, and their way of existing in the world is today mediated by this technology. When individuals from this generation start working at an organization – such as a large company – they feel suffocated if people start telling them what they cannot do, and if they are isolated by those social tools that have made them what they are. These tools, instead of being seen as a threat (as many CIOs do), should be seen as opportunities: the consequence of social networking that these individuals experience and that has created their identity, is that in this way they have created collaboration without wanting to, they are collaborating in ways that were inconceivable in the past. This is the potential that is found in what they do, but how can it be exploited within companies?

The social capital or, in other words, the network of formal and informal relations existing within the company, represents how the company itself truly works. Each organization has a formal structure, from which it can be deduced who holds what positions and who reports to whom; but when we try to understand how things really work, we discover a completely different network: people know who to turn to in reality to make fast and effective decisions, regardless of what the organization chart says. Each person knows who to turn to if he/she has to collect up-to-date information on a technology or on the product market. This relation network – the social capital – is what we must free up today if we want to exploit it to our advantage. So, how can we make it grow?

Today platforms exist that allow people to find others like themselves, who can be found in parts or roles that are very different from the company, but who share the same passions or the same experiences. For the first time people are allowed to discover and rely on this sort of intangible network within organizations, whose existence was not even known about before. It is a way of seizing the possibility for these people to find each other and start working together in ways that were unimaginable up until now. Organizational silos are bypassed. These platforms also highlight the contribution that the individual can bring to the group.

Should we tend towards incremental innovation or towards radical innovation? We believe that this is the wrong question, and that the right question is: can we have both? Is it possible to have the leadership, vision and culture that allow an organization to take risks, at the same time allowing people within the organization to come together in completely different ways than in the past, in order to use this strength to guide the change? It is possible if we are able to create the right motivation and the right context.

The answer is not just in the technology. Everything depends on the organization and its culture. It is not about “capturing” ideas, but rather about building communities. The fundamental point is that key players be identified, the right people at the right time, to transform their network and their informality into a business value. From these assumptions – of social capital as a true element of a company’s distinction and advantage – approaches such as Idea Management and Social Innovation are born.

In occasione del Social Business Forum 2012 ( http://www.socialbusinessforum.com/?lang=it ) – che ho avuto il piacere di contribuire ad organizzare – Oracle ha realizzato una serie di video interviste con alcuni dei più grandi guru mondiali in ambito di Social Business e di Organizzazione partecipata.
In queste brevi interviste – che ho voluto raccogliere  in un unico post vengono affrontati temi molto interessanti per chi si occupa di consulenza organizzativa.

Dal Social Business alla resilienza organizzativa, dalla Gamification ai trend maggiormente significativi della collaborazione. Riflessioni sull’organizzazione del futuro e sull’utilizzo (efficace ed efficiente) dei social media nell’organizzazione.
Credo che queste brevi pillole possano servire sia ad un pubblico “immaturo” che si avvicina per le prime volte a questi temi, sia ad un utenza esperta che intende avere alcuni spunti di riflessione dai quali partire per maturare nuove strategie e nuovi processi

Di seguito riporto le video interviste che sono state realizzate.

John Hagel, Co-Chairman of the Center for the Edge at Deloitte & Touche (See Measuring the forces of long-term change – The 2009 Shift Index), provides strategic insights on how companies will succeed in the 21st century. 

L’intervento di Hagel risulta interessante per riflettere soprattutto perché sottolinea l’importanza delle metriche facendo riferimento allo Shift Index e avanza alcune delle teorie che sono presentate nel suo libro. Il fatto che le organizzazioni debbano muovere da un approccio push ad uno pull, creandopoattaforme scalabili che permettano di valorizzare le risorse delle organizzazioni nel tempo e nell’occasione giusta.

Il secondo intervento è di Steve Denning che propone un nuovo modo di fare management di fare organizzazione. Chiama questo modo Radical Management che riguarda il mettere al centro del business e dell’organizzazione del futuro le persone e i consumatori. Questo richiede un cambiamento radicale appunto che rappresenti una netta evolzione rispetto al sistema sociale economico e politico in cui abbiamo vissuto fino ad adesso

According to Steve Denning, in a phase change from old to a creative, collaborative, knowledge economy, the answer is hidden in a whole new business ecosystem that puts the individual (both the employee and the customer) at the center of the organization. He calls this new paradigm Radical Management and in the video interview he articulates the huge challenges and amazing rewards our enterprises are facing during this inevitable transition.

In this second video interview from the Social Business Forum, Christian Finn (Senior Director, WebCenter Product Management at Oracle) shared his vision regarding the social business journey by covering both the barriers preventing companies from gaining maximum result derived by people participation and provided valuable first-hand recommendations on how to overcome such hurdles.

Christian Finn sottolinea invece dal punto di vista di Oracle. Parlando di Social Business è sciuramente importante evitare di cadere nell’hype e nel cavalacare semplicemente una parola. Recentemente mi è capitato di avere una discussione su Twitter con alcune persone che sostenevano che il Social Business non fosse altro che una nuova etichetta per vendere cose vecchie. Il social business è in realtà un modo completamente nuovo di concepire il consumatore e l’organizzazione basato su nuovi approcci, nuove strategie, nuove tecnologie.

In questo senso anche Esteban Kolsky nel suo breve contributo ci aiuta a inquadrare meglio gli scenari e le carretterstiche del Social CRM analizzando come sia possibile dai dati e dalle informazioni a processi e azioni concrete.

In his interview for the Social Business Thought-Leaders, Esteban discusses how to turn social media hype in business gains by touching upon some of the hottest topics organizations face when approaching social support:
– How to go from social media monitoring to actionable insights
– How Social CRM should be best positioned in regard to traditional CRM
– The importance of integrating social data to transactional data

More than simply adding badges, points and leaderboards to existing processes, enterprise gamification should be holistically embedded into employee and customer experience to stimulate specific behaviors. 
Listen to Ray Wang’s video-interview to learn more about the dynamics that are shaping the future of collaboration and how gamification can help organizations attain new levels of engagement

Infine, ma non per questo meno importante Ray Wang, guru mondiale della Gamification, che abbiamo anche avuto modo di intervistare in questa stessa sede prima del Forum, sottolinea le modalità attraverso cui la collaborazione può cambiare le organizzazioni.