This is the translation of an old italian post discussing an operative framework I’ve been using a lot recently to help managers to understand the different perspectives from which Enterprise 2.0 can be addressed.
This diagram is not completely unedited as some of the ideas in it are based on the awesome work of Andrew McAfee (the bullseye) and Niall Cook with the 4Cs model (communication, cooperation, collaboration, connection) introduced with the Enterprise 2.0 book. I’ve just tried to put these and other ideas together attaching real enterprise 2.0 tools and activities to them, in order to provide a starting point for those who need to design a social media strategy for their company. I’m not focusing on the technology (SLATES and FLATNESSES do that perfectly already), but on the people that make those technologies really meaningful.The model presents three dimensions:
- The interaction goal
- The strenght of the relationship
- The scope of the message
We all know different tools are keen to different uses, contexts and goals, but telling which one is the best in every case may not be trivial. To choose wisely you need to start from the business objectives you really want to reach and the people that will help you in doing that, not from tools.
So starting from goals I’ve highlighted 4 activities: collaboration (coordinating and working together with a common set of results in mind and building on top of the partial outputs of others), connection (putting in place active or inactive relationships between individuals based on common interests, passions or issues), communication & sharing (to support informal, asynchronous, loosely coupled knowledge exchanges making experts and expertise bubbling up), collective intelligence (aggregating and filtering the wisdom of crowds on the border of our company to innovate and predict future trends). Activies are not mutually exclusive and many users are exposed to many of them at the same time.
These activies and goals leverage different strenghts in people to people relationships. Collaborating, collaboratively editing a document or coordinating on a project often requires a strong, continuous and meaningful interaction between individuals that know each other (strong tie). When we need to quickly address an issue or to solve a problem, a weaker relationship is often enough. Here the answer could come from someone we barely knew about but with common experiences or interests (weak tie). Releasing even more the strength of the tie, there are people we never met or interacted with but who for their role and abilities act as a guide, an ispiration, a source of knowledge and information. People quite different or geographically distant from us but absolutely fundamental in very specific situations (potential tie). The last circle represents a situation in which there’s no relationship at all but where diversity of opinions, backgrounds and perspectives can be anyway aggregated to predict future trends or events. Here the value is not visible at the individual level but at the system one where insights from thousands or millions of brains can be put together to innovate and quickly react to market signals.
Each of these objectives and ties require a specific set of tools. Blogs, wikis, forums, social networks are not made equal though, especially for their reach. I can use a blog to talk to the world and when I’m chasing innovation, each opinion can be really valuable but when I need to close a project within a short time frame with my team, I may prefer to be more concrete and focused using a wiki.
These three dimensions (tie strenght, goals and scope) are probably only some of the concepts you need to address to design your own strategy but I believe that taken together they can be a good starting point to make your mind and focus on what really matters: people and their goals
This post is also available in: Italian