Seventy two (i)

September 2013 update – a big question

It’s just about five months since I signed off the first edition of this ebook to go to press. Now Robin Carey, CEO of Social Media Today, has invited us to The Social Shake-Up conference and it seemed like a good time to publish this second edition in association with Social Media Today, with Robin’s foreword and the addition of this chapter to let you know our latest. (And a new ‘book cover’ to boot if you’re interested.)

I won’t focus here on our operational performance because, well, what would you go away and do with that? Instead, something more useful…

As we’ve talked with more and more people about respective experiences and expectations, it appears that confusion reigns as to the very definition of social business. What does it actually mean?!

So Marcus began collecting various definitions from these conversations, from conferences and off the web. He put them on big Post-It™ notes on a wall in The Nerve Center, and he, Michelle and I found ourselves browsing them one afternoon. We began to move them around. We put them in groups and then found ourselves ordering the groups in terms of what Marcus called sophistication and I called ambition, and Michelle was the first to spot the pattern.

It turns out, to varying degrees, that many of these definitions mean something quite relevant and useful, and any perceived differences can often be explained away as a matter of timing. In other words, some definitions can be seen to describe where we might get to in 2015, say, others by 2020, and some further out than that.

“Where shall we put this one?” I ask.

“That’s a 2020 I reckon. I’ll see your 2020 and raise you a 2025!”

It was 30th May 2013. I know that because I left a quick comment as such on Chapter 44 on this ebook’s website. That comment consisted of a question, and a variation of that question now sits furthest out on our timeline of definitions:

Do you help all the individuals associated with your organization (employees, customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, etc.) build worthwhile relationships with each other and others, coalescing by need and desire, knowledge and capability and shared values, to create shared value?