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Social Media and Open Innovation – The One True Constant

By cloudspokes In Uncategorized

Posted December 22nd, 2011

social businessIf you are into marketing, social media and the evolution of the social business, there is a stand out blog that is a must read. Back in July, we posted the article – Parallel Universes: Social Media and the Innovation Landscape – that was inspired by a Jay Baer post surrounding the emergence of G+ and organizations need to understand how to “be social”, not how to “do social”. Jay is the purveyor of the social marketing blog Convince & Convert and his ability to idea hunt and uncover a worthy lesson in everyday experiences is part of what makes his writing truly special.

Recently, Jay penned an article – Social Business is About Actions Not Words – and though I encourage you to read the short article to fully grasp the one true constant, this snippet (below) does sum up Jay’s macro-sentiment rather nicely.

Social business isn’t about tools and technology. It’s about giving Becky the freedom to work off-script. It’s about cultural DNA that values moments of delight. It’s about treating customers as humans, not transactions. It’s about winning hearts and minds one planeload at a time with a personal, shared experience.”

He finishes his article with this simple truth:

“Social is foremost a philosophy, not a set of behaviors. And actions speak louder than words.”

The Properties of Force-Multiplication: Igniting Individuals to be Exceptional

In Jay’s article, the flight attendant Becky created an outstanding moment that shined brightly for the brand she represents – which is Southwest Airlines – and his point is to place credit with both Becky, the woman who took these heartfelt actions and with the culture of Southwest Airlines that clearly empowers & trusts their employees to go “off script” to create value. Because Becky was trusted and empowered, she individually became a force-multiplier for her company. In that moment, and ensuing ripples that moment has caused – and continues to cause – Becky was more productive for her company than she probably ever envisioned being.

Force MultiplicationIn Open Innovation, though we are utilizing a massive community of people to help solve various challenges, it boils down to the same thing as above. An individual at an organization – let’s call him Max – is trusted to accomplish something and to get it done through non-traditional means. The culture is in place where they have embraced an Open Innovation platform, have trained Max to utilize such a platform and when he sees an opportunity, takes it upon himself to produce through that platform. Max’s output, through Open Innovation can be multiplied by a factor of 2x, 3x and well beyond.

What Becky did for the Southwest brand was tremendous. What “Max” can accomplish for his organization from a productivity standpoint is also tremendous. They both emerge as true force-multipliers for their respective companies. When people think about social media and Open Innovation, they tend to think of terms like “crowds” and “masses”, but in reality the driver of the social or innovative action is an individual and the one true constant is the fact that that individual is empowered by a culture that trusts their judgment and by doing so, unleashes their potential to produce extraordinary value for their business.

Evaluate your organization – whether already embracing Open Innovation or not – and ask yourself: Have we fostered and fine-tuned our culture to the point where we allow our individuals to be exceptional and more productive than they ever envisioned?

When we speak frankly with our clients who produce through the TopCoder Community, this is the transformation we are discussing. Access to over 323,000 developers, alogorithmists and creatives is in its rawest sense, potential energy. Igniting your individuals through empowerment transforms it into the explosive, kinetic kind.

Image Credit: genesis-institute.org, mondaynote.com