Sunday, January 3, 2010

Innovating New Products and Brands

If you're not yet convinced that your next product (or that of your competitor) will be successfully influenced by a community of avid users, you need to watch this TED video featuring Charles Leadbeater.

And remember, your internal experts may already be constraining you as the paradigms developed from past successes create blinders. Even Einstein fell prey to these forces; his productivity began to drop significantly as he reached his mid-thirties.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Social Computing for the Enterprise

Many companies wrestle with social media’s application to their business. Enterprise 2.0 tools seek to enable a vision of an open, collaborative organization where new information is created quickly and discerned just as easily. Software vendors will make Enterprise 2.0 sound simple, but the devil is in the details and the devil brings with him much angst.

Since Enterprise 2.0 centers on “user generated content”, initial thoughts around Enterprise 2.0 may turn to SOX compliance, record retention, discoverability, legal exposure, and the like. But issues more fundamental to the ultimate success of any business in deploying Enterprise 2.0 tools have to do with organizational culture, employee awareness, and training.

A recent blog post by Phil Wainewright speaks to the challenge business faces. Enterprise computing has for years been built around the system itself; the business processes, policies, and procedures employed to deliver a particular product or service. Traditional ERP systems are extremely effective at enforcing business rules around financial management, supply chain planning, order management, customer relationship management, and the like. What those systems don’t do well is expose how a particular business process is experienced; experienced by employees, vendors, or customers (a.k.a. - stakeholders).

Businesses are often slow to respond to change and the ERP systems they use represent the codification of years of business practice and corporate culture. Challenging the status quo represented by an ERP system takes time. A portion of the wait time spent in bringing about change arises out of the effort to modify software and corporate policies, but the majority of the delay stems from “dwell time” in the organization; the assessment by a range of functional silos that ultimately results in the tacit acknowledgment that change is required.

Enterprise 2.0 tools enable a business to systematically capture and expose how stakeholders experience and engage with the business, its policies, and processes; thus accelerating the identification of changing stakeholder needs by discerning community managers. This systematic information capture properly applied will significantly reduce the time required to define and enact a change in business practice.

Make Your Resolutions Fun

Change isn't always easy. But bringing about change doesn't have to be hard. What an inventive way to incent healthier behavior.