Think Differently. Work Differently.

Welcome to Beyond the Cube!  This blog is the point-of-view from a practitioner of social computing within an enterprise. Whether you are a big, mid-size, small or non-profit organization, driving new & disruptive social technologies into the workplace is not for the faint of heart.  The technology is 25% of your challenge. Thus, I thought it would be fitting to write my first post  about the personal value and corporate value associated with social technologies – the opportunity to work differently.  At the heart of becoming a social enterprise is a new path to think differently, connect instantaneously, discover serendipitously, innovate radically and work differently.  What other tools or method inside an enterprise allows me to remain always connected with my “customer” base?  Disseminate information quickly and easily?  Provide transparency to decisions and actions?  Have unknown knowledge holders reach out to me?

From my perspective.  Nothing comes close to the social technologies. None.  Nada.

I have blogged in other venues about a solid role model, Luis Suarez.   Luis recently posted an update about his personal & his company’s (IBM’s) five year journey with social computing- the Business Value of Social Software.  It is a MUST READ. Some of the real nuggets from the post include the shift that Luis and his organization made from deriving power from hoarding information to deriving power from sharing information. What did he became?  In Luis’s words, “visible; easy to reach and connect with; always willing to help and share my knowledge with those who needed it (And with those who may need it at a later time, too!) in an open and public way; willing to share my expertise, experience and know-how across the board with those who I know, and those who I may not know yet; willing to feed those resources with knowledge and expertise that otherwise would have remained in my own head, or my computer, for that matter, and therefore with very little access for others to enjoy.”  Can we honestly say there isn’t value in that?

Within the company that I work for, teams & individuals have already finding  immediate value with the new social platform we launched in March.  One corporate marketing team “tripped” upon another group’s conversation about a great research resource.  Unbeknown to them, an internal group provides a centralized repository of excellent market intelligence.   They were immediately connected and found useful research & data. The marketing team was able to leverage some of the charts & graphs for a presentation that same week.  For me personally, I have found a lot of value in a transparent method to provide updates, disseminate information & gather feedback directly from stakeholders across the company.  A recent example was with a delay of the launch of a new capability in our suite of social tools.  Was it easy to fall on my sword publicly – no.  But my customers (employees) got one place to go for immediate information, updates, ask questions and provide feedback.  I got major kudos for the transparent updates.  I just proved to myself all over again how valuable this medium is.


Now back to Luis.  So what is his summation of the business value?  According to Luis, “embracing a new model of collaborating and sharing my knowledge (Much more open, transparent and public than ever before, ever since I decided to live “A World Without Email“) with other fellow knowledge workers has allowed me to prove the point that you can work wherever you want, whenever you need, and with whoever you would want to reach across, depending always on the context, by making extensive use of social software and forgetting about measuring people just by their sheer presence versus their overall performance and results obtained. That is what social software has done not only for me, but also for the company I work for…”

Welcome to living and breathing social computing.  It truly takes thinking differently in order to work differently.   I look forward to sharing my perspective and learnings along the journey towards transparency, sharing, discussing, exchanging ideas…..transformation to a knowledge & learning based organization.  It is all about becoming a true social enterprise that harnesses knowledge & people power to stay ahead of the competition.