There is always a danger in birds of a feather flocking together, because it can lead to group-think - a lethal corporate disease! But the connection between the social business and agility is a pet theme of mine and I was therefore immediately attracted when I saw that Ray Wang retweeted this, this morning:
rwang0 R Ray Wang RT @rossdawson: How the social enterprise drives differentiation
THAT caught my eye, and @rossdawson's post even more so because he recounted that although he had been saying for a considerable period that differentiation was the outcome, he was now focusing more on flexibility as an outcome of social enterprise.
My own hobbyhorse whenever I came in contact with execs or teams implementing "knowledge management" was to ask them why? Nine out of ten times they only had internally-focused answers, usually self-serving and mostly products of the project generating a life of its own.
I was always searching to see if they considered the prime outcome as organisational agility - giving the ability to move faster and to beat the competition. That's what my narrow-minded view saw as the only useful outcome of "knowledge management", but it never came up in these conversations.
Social enterprises can achieve that flexibility, and perhaps that's what I mean by agility. The ability to act in response and anticipation of the market. Even if that comes down to "just" effective continuous improvement I think that would be a huge advantage for most businesses.
We know that social business transforms relationships with customers, and that's about getting closer, better feedback, better service etc, and also about the company being able to use that information to actually change - being agile. So this idea of flexibility/agility through the social enterprise is very plausible. Whereas to me I never, in all my contacts, found it plausible or at least not achievable that "knowledge management" was going to be anything except another burden and overhead.
Coincidently, the same @rossdawson post has a paragraph about gathering and responding to feedback. Perhaps the subject of another post but only this morning I was laying out the case to a client as to why they should be using something like Get Satisfaction as opposed to their web developer's old FAQ system - I call it FAQ 1.0. My argument was essentially that Get Satisfaction isn't about FAQs, it's about customer service, connection, interaction, crowdsourcing, involvement and engagement. That's not what you get from FAQ 1.0 - not unless you have at least the $8.2m and 30 people that Get Satisfaction has focused on this one issue.
Of course if you have an inflexible organisation then FAQ 1.0 will be sufficient. But if you are a social enterprise then your systems need to support your transformation to agility.
Do you see any difference between agility and flexibility?
Is active continuous business improvement within a social enterprise enough to keep it on top?
How strong do you see the connection between the social enterprise and agility?