What SoSlam Can Teach You About InnovationThis post is a personal account of my time at Social Slam. There is an innovative lesson here for all to enjoy and share.
“I’ve been out of Knoxville for 42 of the last 45 days!… Do you know how many times we physically met to plan all of this?… Zero.” – Mark W. Schaefer curator of the social media conference Social Slam and author Return On Influence
This (above) was the catalyst for this (below).
After the day’s sessions wrapped-up at SoSlam – Knoxville’s premiere gathering of social media minds and influencers – I thought I knew my path to conference coverage content. I had been tweeting from both the @TopCoder handle and from my personal Twitter account throughout the day as I continued to marvel just how much of the content was focused on community, technology and specifically the coming era of Big Data. Whether it was Tom Webster’s session Drowning in Data: How to Save Yourself, or Mitch Joel‘s thought provoking keynote, “marrying” (he used a different term) the impact of neo-data creation with applications and physical experiences that changed human behavior, or Marissa Peacock‘s 10-minute “Slam” on the importance of community building, I was all set to craft my article. I knew what I wanted to say.
Couple the above with the fact that an entire breakout session at a social media conference was dedicated to Social (Open) Innovation and operating communities to effectively crowdsource outputs and I was certain of my path. Finally, Mark finished the daytime portion of the event discussing Klout, social scoring and the impact of social influence, taking questions from the audience on the maturity of the algorithms and using imagery like the below in his presentation.
But it was at the after-party – hosted at NV in what’s called “the old city” neighborhood of Knoxville – where Mark sauntered over to me, shook my hand, thanked me for taking part and said the words that started this post. In that moment, I changed my thinking and my course. Mark had successfully created a community, a passionate volunteer army that saw true value in being aligned with this event and doing what they could to make it outstanding.
So how did Mark, who was only in town 3 of the last 45 days leading up to the event pull this off? How did an event hosting 600 people, solely run by volunteers in all aspects go off without a hitch? In a single word, it boils down to trust. When you provide people with the opportunity to perform and trust their judgments and skill to be sound – effectively not micro-managing the process – more often than not you are delivered back even more than you anticipated.
In TopCoder’s world, trust is centered in metrics and in-depth skill ratings. When you know you have multiple skilled individuals working on a problem or challenge of yours and they have an incredibly strong reliability rating, you can trust the forthcoming output. When you can do that, you can accomplish other things in parallel and dramatically boost your overall productivity.
In your everyday world, dealing with individuals inside an enterprise or at your office or even in your family, we gauge trust based on experiences and other’s recommendations (which are based on their experiences). And as Mark knowingly or otherwise showcased to all at SoSlam, when you have a network, a community you can trust, you can do anything.
Thanks to all who made this an incredible experience.
I would be remiss to not thank David Bratvold who was initially scheduled to be on the Social Innovation panel but couldn’t attend. For those interested in following how Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing is applied across a wide spectrum of industries, I recommend you check out David’s site DailyCrowdsource.com.
We invite you to explore some existing content on technology and community development:
Quantified Self: The Epicenter of Technology Disruption – click here
Why a Community Works for Enterprise Innovation – 3 Images You Need to See – click here
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