The second session which resonated with and provoked me was the one on social maturity strategies, ie having a basic strategy is all very well, but this also needs to be tailored according to where the organisation is in its journey.
Again, this gave me a few problems as I don’t believe there is one journey, but I can see how the various challenges which were discussed will be experienced by most organisations implementing 2.0 at some stage.
According to Luis Suarez, most companies go through a stage of initial excitement for those early adopters (weirdos) who are using the new system. But after about one year, the project reaches a tipping point where the adopters are already using the system and are looking forward to the next big thing; evangelists are thinking about it; but the laggards and luddites still need to be convinced. So whilst it doesn’t disappear, the project definitely slows down.
You can see this in this SNEP curve (Social Networking Evolution Process – or: Start-up, Neglect, Excitement and Productivity)
I thought this was really interesting, particularly it’s something I’ve had conversations about recently with a couple of clients as well.
I just talked about the standard change curve, and the slightly more specific Gartner hype cycle, but I think the SNEP model has value too. However, the hype cycle has particular value as it points out that whilst the original benefits may not be achieved, eventually lesser, but more sustainable outcomes are developed.
From this perspective, it doesn’t matter that much, and may even be useful, that the wave of initial over-optimism has passed.
We also had inputs, in a couple of different sessions, from Cordelia Krooss at BASF as well. BASF have 30000 employees connected -53% of which are collaborators. Their Community builders facilitate over 2000 communities. Cordelia uses nSight’s maturity model and described BASF’s journey through test, pilot and introduction phases:
- During the testing phase it was crucial to involve owners, so BASF performed a stakeholder analysis and invited people to join the extended team. They got buy-in because they asked them to own the solution – on BASF’s network.
- In the pilot phase, involving 1000 users, BASF continued to focus on getting on board the right people – ensuring that experts were involved in communications. They also focused on digital natives as they instinctively knew how to use the platform and use it for open sharing.
- They’re now at the end of the introduction phase. This is about balancing the need to cater for business needs and being very individual. So they come up with general business cases but its hard for employees to see how these can be useful for them. So Cordelia and her team talk about them rather than BASF Connect – what could be useful in a very individual way. Then they share best practices with others. The approach has been so successful that BASF’s advocates naturally promote the tool.
- Cordelia also made a few points supporting Euan’s perspectives (I think) eg that vision isn’t useful as most employees aren’t interested in it, and that the team has continually been surprised by the benefits people have found from sharing – so there’s a need to be open.
- I repeat the same point in response – emergence has a role, but you’re going to gain the best benefit by focusing on what you want to achieve – Rawn at least agrees.
- Strategy doesn’t mean top down. Cordelia noted that BASF didn’t start with the head quarters – they left this till last, which raised a few eyebrows. But it sent a really strong signal about them really going global with the approach. And I fully support this.
That explanation sort of worked. However the journey then progresses into enterprise-wide usage (as if it’s impossible to do things enterprise wide to start) and then onto the more cultural aspects of OD and E2.0 culture where they won’t need to talk about social because it will be part of everything they do.
That last point is frankly bizarre and reinforces the unfortunate technology-centric focus at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit here, the Social Business Summit in Milan (despite the change in name), the Social Workplace Conference in the UK and the Enterprise 2.0 Conferences in Boston or Santa Clara.
Why should OD have to wait until the technology piece has been done? In my presentation in Santa Clara I gave Visa Europe as one example of what I consider to be a very advanced (cultural) Enterprise 2.0 organisation although due to huge, and valid, security concerns don’t use any social technologies at all. Also see this post: Enterprise 2.0 Summary.
It’s time to tear up the route maps, and see technology as just one of a number of levers that E2.0 organisations can pull.
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