November 29, 2006

Online Information Conference: Social Media adding value to the enterprise

I was able to scratch a few notes from what my co-panellists were saying this morning as we opened Wednesday's Online Information Conference. I explained my reason for being there, perhaps as the public sector conscience of the otherwise profit-motivated panel, but also realising that there is more in common between public and private reasons for using social media than there are differences.

305368575_87d7ff4368_m After Robert had introduced himself and the pivotal role of reversing the hierarchy in Microsoft, I set out a 5 minute summary of what impact social media can have in the right conditions in education. Nice and easy there, then ;-) I explained how education provided an interesting background around which to look at adoption strategies since, taking the 400 year old educationalists’ view of learning structure – textbooks/sages on stages/hierarchy/barriers - we had the interesting job of trying to make people who worked behind closed doors see the benefit of working with others.

I outlined where I saw LTS’s role, using the collective intelligence of its highly motivated and intelligent 'users' (the teachers). We have an organisation taking note of social media because of individuals' work but now the organisation is being used to bring individuals into a new way of thinking. Bottom-Up-Bottom. My notion, though, is that we cannot reach our aims in A Curriculum for Excellence - our aims of collaboration, contribution, success - without using social media. The LTSFutures group accepted that as fact on Tuesday and it resonated with this audience today, too.

174008627_9df0b42a7a Ben kicked off some interesting chat about how large organisations might provide tools for their employees to easier engage with the technology and, by proxy, their customers. IBMers are really voting with their feet – 1m downloads of their blogging/podcasting tool and they’vre created Dogear, social bookmarking tool. The tools and investment of time have resulted in more efficient working in the long-run - you can find out what any of the organisation's number are up to without having to arrange a meeting or send an email to find out. It's provided low-cost marketing (billions vs hundreds of $). All this has devolved responsibility to IBMers (I wonder if this is a different kind of responsibility from the 'extra work-less pay' we normally feel is associated with 'responsibility'?)

With 70,000 products, 1,000,000 moving parts – formal matrices have to be in place but… social media allows us to navigate the informal fabric of the organisation.

44041518_d5d149d05d_m Alex believes that social media certainly makes organisations more nimble, with lines blurring between who contributes to what – we're all contributors. It liberates ideas within companies.

Robert then outlined what he thinks makes social software social software. It's:

  • Easy
  • Discoverable and fast
  • Easy to track
  • Permalinking
  • Syndication

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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