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The Need to Unify Social Business
Posted on June 5th 2014
Social business is often spoken of as an epochal change in how organizations function and operate. It’s referred to for its revolutionary properties and as marking the shift from an industrial, make and sell age to a more adaptive, sense and respond one. Of course, few shifts occur in quite such a linear fashion, with change tending to occur instead in bits and pieces, that when combined give us the sense that something pretty fundamental is afoot.
An indication that something of this nature is under way often emerge through the appearance of various dilemmas that the prevailing world view are struggling to really answer. This then causes this prevailing perspective to be called into question, with fresh approaches explored.
There are numerous signs that this is occurring in the modern world, but interestingly there is little indication that a sufficiently cross-disciplinary approach is being used to explore it further.
For instance, there is a significant sense that existing means of educating the population are insignificant to provide the just in time learning increasingly required by our complex world. Things such as MOOCs have emerged to try and provide that kind of learning. Suffice to say, MOOCs are being increasingly deployed in the workplace, first as ad-hoc means of learning new things by employees, but more increasingly as organized methods of employee development.
Likewise, there is a growing sense that the problems facing the corporate world cannot be tackled by employees alone. This desire for additional insights and flexible talent management has seen the rise of open innovation as a mechanism by which organizations can gain access to an inexhaustible supply of talent (and of course the talent can gain access to an interesting stream of fresh projects).
Or you have the dilemma of organizational fundraising that grew out of the credit crunch and has seen the boom in crowd based funding platforms. What began as a platform for financing third world ventures that were shut out of traditional financing has blossomed into a marketplace for all manner of projects to secure backing.
The sharing economy provides yet further evidence of the shift towards more social ways of doing business, as a multitude of platforms are emerging that allow greater utilization of previously inefficiently used resources.
It seems that at the moment these disciplines fail to communicate effectively with one another. Gatherings of open innovation people seldom attract social learning advocates. Enterprise collaboration events seldom lure peer to peer thinkers into their midst.
It is however, the similarities between these disciplines that marks out the common theme that underpins what it means to be a social business. For me, if social business is to really fulfil its enormous potential for organizational change, then much more needs to be done to bring these disciplines together and get them working alongside one another to bring about the kind of change that each is striving for individually.