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Category: Posted: February 28, 2013 0 comments

Learning is SocialOur educational system is broken. This isn’t breaking news, of course, but what strikes me is that, while being more and more aware of the deep changes at work in our life, and of the necessity for the corporate world to adapt to the growing hyper-connected nature of our world, most “social business” discussions circle around ways to enhance operational mechanisms, and tend to ignore the real infrastructure these are built from. Can we really talk about trust, collaboration, or leadership, without considering seriously the social and psychological mold which conditions so many of our behaviors: education?

From Socrates to Black Hussars

Far from all the hype surrounding social and collaborative enterprise technologies, social learning remains contained to a confidential arena. Putting side by side the words “social” and “education” (in the mundane sense of knowledge acquisition) in the context of the workplace means...

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Category: Posted: January 22, 2013 0 comments

assembly lineI know, we are now in 2013, and announcing anything for a past date falls short from being a prediction. But as we are struggling to help organizations transform to adapt to uncertainty, I often find myself thinking that we already did that and went there before, when considering where social business is heading to. Whether on the technological or on the conceptual side, much buzz is made which takes us back from the future. There are many reasons for that, the simplest one being the necessity to survive in present industrial logic while setting the basis to allow businesses to thrive in a wirearchy. New technologies and emergent behaviors must make their way into our dominant top-down, production-based, model before being able to give birth to a model well-suited to complexity and to a knowledge-based era. Yet, most of the trends which shape the social business landscape seem to pull us back into a “déjà vu” draped in new clothes, like a jay dressed in peacock feather. Predicting sometimes looks like diving deeper into a dull past… This article will deal with the technological aspect of this shilly-shallying, while I will consider the conceptual side in another post.

As I began collecting ideas for this post, Bertrand Duperrin published...

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Category: Posted: November 02, 2012 0 comments

Reconciling Organizational Improvement and Reinvention Through Social Business Design

This post is the second of a two-parts article on innovation and social business co-written with Ralph-Christian Ohr (@ralph_ohr).

A striking change of focus in the social business arena occurred during the last five years. Despite the fact that Andrew McAfee’s original definition specified its scope as «within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers», infant Enterprise 2.0 was mainly concerned by internal collaboration. The teaser from one of the major events of this early period, the Boston 2007 Enterprise 2.0 Conference, talked about “(…) the technologies and business practices that liberate the workforce from the constraints of legacy communication and productivity tools like email“.

This somehow navel-gazing vision of firms, obsessed by internal processes and employees’ performance, has shifted toward a customer-centric attitude. Apart from acknowledging that organizations more and more see the benefits, if not the imperative, to operate as connected ecosystems, including partners, suppliers, customers, and even competitors, in their value creation mechanisms, this profound change mirrors the evolution of our understanding of the way business is done in our hyper-connected era. Yet, putting such a strong emphasis on customers, on their needs and expectations, is at risk of obscuring the role played by...

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Category: Posted: October 19, 2012 0 comments

Business Model Innovation as Wicked Problem

This post is the first of a two-parts article on innovation and social business co-written with Ralph-Christian Ohr (@ralph_ohr) and cross-posted from collaborativeinnovation.org.

We live in an age where emergent technologies continue to have massive effects on business and society. Rising complexity requires companies and economies to cope with increasingly interlocking systems. If we keep on considering systems in a traditional, isolated way, this would lead to a totally locked view of business. This new hyper-connected nature of information entails an unprecedented change in business and societal environments. One major consequence for companies is the imperative to learn to anticipate those changes as well as to successfully adapt to them, or being at risk of disappearing.

The business model is the new unit of design

The life time of business models is declining. Organizations are forced to reinvent themselves more and more frequently in order to survive and thrive. This implicates the creation and pursuit of new businesses while maintaining and improving existing businesses – sustainable success depends on a proper integration of evolutionary and revolutionary innovation.

A recent Arthur D. Little study has found...

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Category: Posted: October 03, 2012 0 comments

“Increasingly, strategic advantage for corporate institutions will hinge on privileged positions in relevant concentrations of high-value knowledge flows and the adoption of practices required to participate in and profit from these knowledge flows”.

By these words, John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davidson define in The Power of Pull what they call the second wave of the Big Shift. Their impressive concept and research have already been thoroughly and brilliantly commented. Social business, or whatever we call it, has the potential to drive us through the necessary changes to harness flows of knowledge and take fully advantage of human collaboration and creativity.

Are we stuck in a document-based view of the firm?

But to fulfill this promise, thus to trigger the third wave of...

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Category: Posted: April 05, 2012 0 comments

Version française ici.

In The Social Psychology of OrganizingKarl Weickexposed the theory of enactment, stating that organizations were fundamentally an abstraction of the reality, essentially brought to life through management’s narrative. In that sense, changing the way we work requires much more than technology and the empowerment of knowledge workers. Taking a broader perspective, and looking at organizations, not only as a production and profit-making machines, but as center of a part of human activities mainly taking place in cities, sheds a different light on the role and nature of what we call social businesses.

While trade was an important part of the wealth of cities during Antiquity, we had to wait until the XIth century for economic exchanges to regain importance after few centuries of...  Read the article
Category: Posted: March 27, 2012 0 comments

Version française ici.

Co-evolution has always played an important role in the history of humankind, specially when it comes to the complex relationships existing betweentechnology and social behaviors. The social tools sweeping over the web and entering at increasing pace into our organizations are no exception. But evolution is neither linear, nor always a positive-sum game. Social business, in its present acceptation of defining a new way to get work done, might actually have reached a crossroad.

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” This famous quote from Archimedes illustrates the dual nature of technological evolution: while giving a theoretical and scientific framework to the...  Read the article