Social Business Summit Review (pt I)

Photo: david.nikonvscanon

As promised, here’s a summary of the group discussion I moderated at the SOMESSO/ Headshift Social Business Summit last week. The discussion ran over four hours with an hour-long break for lunch. This post is all about the morning session.

Our pre-lunch session was devoted to identifying and appraising positive case studies in social business, but we quickly became absorbed in what my mum would politely call “pencil arranging”. First off, we spent a bit of time in introducing ourselves – it turned out we were a real mix: some public sector, some working for charities, a couple of big corporate employees and a sprinkling of independent consultants. Then we got rather bogged down in defining the area we’d been given to look at: business ecosytems.

I’ve already blogged about this over on Monkeys With Typewriters: thinking about ecosystems is very de-constructivist: where do you stop – and where does it all end?!!

After some debate, we agreed to stop worrying about definitions, and decided to focus instead on the problems organisations might face in developing a social approach. Here are the key issues we identified:

  • Behaviour (i) individual – people not wanting to share, familiarity with operating in silos; our cognitive, behavioural side is under-developed when it comes to making the most of what social tools have to offer; “Look at dieting – we know it’s good for us but we still don’t do it!” (Mark Earls).
  • Behaviour (ii) organisational – resistance to change, kneejerk reaction to social tools (“let’s just ban them!”), groupthink etc.
  • Compliance: keeping on the right side of legislation/ regulation.
  • What’s in it for me? The lack of incentives, eg a clear reward system for sharing.
  • The lack of a “strong, unified cultural vision” (Anne McCrossan).
  • Is the “utopia” we [social media evangelists] envisage realistic? “At the moment, we [social media evangelists] gain competitive advantage from sharing” (David Osimo).
  • Too much jargon and hype.
  • Monetising content – all this is fine if you’re a non-media company, but for media & entertainment businesses, there have to be some direct revenue models (Anu Gupta).

After lunch came the real challenge: could we come up with workable solutions?