This month, we welcome Raghuveer Ramkumar as our esteemed guest blogger. Currently an MBA student at Lancaster University Management School, Raghuveer spent 6 years prior to this putting in place the systems, teams and processes necessary for large-scale incubation of innovation via in-company social networks. As complicated to do, as it is to say.
Business enabled by social networks is a theme of particular interest to Groundswell Innovation, and one that we have been working on of late with clients wishing to maximise internal brand advocacy and problem-solving capacity.
For more information, get in touch: email@example.com
“A Social Business is an organization whose culture of participation and systems of engagement encourage networks of people to create business outcomes”
Andrew Grill, Principal, IBM Interactive.
Research undertaken by IBM, as quoted in ‘Making change work’, has proved a correlation between innovation and social participation. To quote a success story: when cement maker Cemex wanted to create its first global brand of concrete, the company didn’t build a new lab. Instead it built a community where employees from 50 countries collaborated to launch the first global brand within one third of the anticipated time. Read the full story here. To quote another example, the Lagos State Government in Nigeria adopted Social Technology to create a global platform for sharing Ebola-related open data and to strengthen their preparedness for future disease outbreaks. Read more about it here.
Social Business isn’t about selfies, likes and follower count. Nor should it be viewed just as a new water cooler where people congregate to talk about their weekend, and share pictures of their kids and reviews of movies. As Potocea, 2011, quotes – “A social business has the potential to be something far more powerful—an organization’s new “production line” where employees, partners and clients can connect with each other to share vast amounts of knowledge, identify expertise, better reach customers, brainstorm ideas and ultimately help drive their bottom line.”
As the world is becoming more digitized and the workforce includes digital natives in larger proportions, there is a need for organizations, institutions and communities to look at means to enable and encourage social participation. Increased social participation would mean:
- Sharing knowledge without boundaries;
- Crowdsourcing decisions and expertise;
- Functioning with greater transparency;
- Brainstorming ideas and thoughts across borders.
These attributes free up ideas and remove barriers to access. When ideas clash, coalesce and evolve, innovation is accelerated, society progresses and individuals have the opportunity to become the best versions of themselves.
But to benefit from this kind of innovation, your company and its people must first be social beings. If your teams take no part in network discussions, or if your management team can see only distraction in social media, the chances are that this kind of innovation will remain blocked to you and change may be all the more difficult because of it.
For more information on this topic read the paper titled – ‘Innovation and the journey towards
becoming a Social Enterprise’ by Raghuveer Ramkumar & Malabika Debnath
(full paper available upon request) firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author: Raghuveer Ramkumar worked as a Strategy Consultant specializing in Organizational Change Management with IBM India for 6 years. He is currently studying for an MBA at Lancaster University Management School, UK.