Social in the Enterprise

by | January 29, 2012

JP Ranganswami posted an article that resonated with the work I am doing on my MSc as well as some thinking about social enterprise in my day job.  Please take the time to read JP’s post Thinking about the Social Enterprise and Flow, it will definitely stimulate and challenge your thinking about how people and companies conduct business.

Here is the main paragraph from JP’s post :

The theme was simple. What causes friction between companies in a market? How can that friction be reduced or removed altogether? What can be done with the resources that are freed up by removal of the friction? It may sound boring to many of you, but I enjoyed thinking about it and talking to friends and colleagues about it. Most of the time, in a post-trade world, frictions are caused by “reference data” mismatches: names, addresses, that sort of thing. Low-volatility data are incredibly important in capital markets; vast sums of money are spent in seeking to keep them accurate and up-to-date; and yet errors related to such data continue to be immense sources of friction within that trading environment.

Here is my comment back to JP:

JP, thanks for another outstanding post. The timing for me is particularly good. I am taking an Enterprise Social Media course as part of my MSc in Information Management at Syracuse University. The course is taught by Dr Anthony Rotolo (@rotolo). I just completed reading a book by @chrisbrogan and @julien smith called Trust Agents. They proposed similar themes to yours about friction, community, trust. While the book doesn’t speak specifically about “flow” the proposed characteristics would generate it:

1. Make your own game – pick something and do it well
2. Be one of us – join or create a community
3. The Archimedes Effect – leverage your environment
4. Agent Zero – be at the centre of wide networks
5. Human Artist – be genuine with people
6. Build an Army – empower others to take up the work

Some of my thinking about social business/enterprises puts the actors at the centre instead of the policies and processes. Perhaps your focus on company pairs can take a similar approach. If we have companies (this is really simplified) be more open and tell a community about what they are doing and perhaps need then matches may be found with other companies who are equally social. Finding the medium to do this and changing corporate culture seem to be the big challenges.

Thanks again for the inspiration and pushing all our boundaries. Leo

JP replied with:

@leo thanks. I know @ChrisBrogan and Trust Agents is an excellent book. See my latest post on improvisation, you will see how I support the actor-based approach. But that means they have to have “ingredients” that they understand technically and intuitively, which is where I was going with this post.

This is just the start of a much longer research agenda into friction, flow, contraints and social enterprises.  Stay tuned to JP and other thought leaders in this space.  I think how we do business can be radically changed when some of what JP called “ingredients” and “understanding” about come into play.


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