Notes and learnings from the SocialNow conference 2013 #socialnow

The 2nd edition of the SocialNow conference was held in the beautiful city of Lisbon. As you may remember SocialNow is a unique conference. The conference is organized by Ana Neves of KnowMan. The conference is about helping organizations compare and choose internal social tools. Several Enterprise 2.0 tool vendors have to present their tool relating to the situation of a fictitious company and its issues with collaborative project work and topic-based knowledge sharing. The program is complemented with keynotes from leading experts in the field. I really enjoyed this edition of SocialNow and thought it was even better than last year. I’ll share my notes and learnings from the conference in several posts. This is post nr 1. BTW: You can find a Storify by Paul Corney of day 1 and day 2 here.

Emanuele Quintarelli kicked off the conference with a talk about the challenges of the social enterprise. As with many experts in the fields his talk was not "happy clappy". Internal social media and enterprise 2.0 has been around for some time now and the results are not all that positive. Even though several extensive reports by for instance McKinsey and Gartner show internal social can offer considerable affordances for organizations, Emanuele wonders what this really means for organizations trying to move forward with internal social. Do these studies really help them make their first or next steps?

Emanuele shares some facts and figures of what is really happening in organizations. Like:
  • 28% of the knowledge workers actually use collaborative tools monthly.
  • Gen x is the largest group of users not Gen Y.
  • 64% of the organizations are not measuring anything w.r.t. internal social.
So, it looks more like a ghost city than a lively community. 50% of the social initiatives fail… By why do they fail?

Emanuele goes on to list several reasons why Enterprise 2.0 implementations fail. Primary reason is lack of purpose and support of the implementation with community management. Another reason is a lack of focus on people and the way they work. Emanuele stresses we should also pay attention to the negative things humans do like hoarding knowledge.

OK, but how should we start or proceed? (I bundled some of the points Emanuele listed separately.)
  • Focus on people and communities. Connect to communities as living organisms. Community management is very important. It’s like an iceberg: not much is visible, lots is behind the scenes. It’s building relationships, back-channeling, planning, etc. Co-design is the single most critical factor to success. And respect fear people (can) have. “Change is not death, fear of change is death.”
  • Focus on change (management), helping people to work better. ‘Technology changes, humans don’t’. But is this is really true? Adoption is not the end goal, but important. Success is about the majority, not the early adopters.
  • Start from the business. Embed social in the flow. How do the social enterprise initiatives relate to business? Define goals.
  • Try, fail, evolve. Work in pilots!
  • The social enterprise is more about meaning than money. Think about how you reward employee for participating.
One last thing, says Emanuele: be human and have fun!

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