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How social business reawakens innovation

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Companies today face constant change, but prevailing organisational structures and attitudes do not favour adaptation or innovation says GYS KAPPERS, CEO of WyseTalk. Social Business Software (SBS) on the other hand allows enterprises to respond swiftly to changes without drastic internal change.

Unstoppable change marks the trading environment of most companies in today’s globalised, recession-plagued economy. Endless regulations, shifting market fortunes and competition all require a constant stream of new strategies, positions and innovations. Executives under siege are often moved to authorise reorganisation: in fact, some seem to be reorganising constantly. But no matter how much we embrace the adapt-or-die gospel, reorganisation remains resource-heavy and morale-sapping, and businesses are structurally unsuited and resistant to it.

Structural rigidity

Most organisations are divisionalised by function (such as finance or HR), product (such as mobile or outsourcing), or market (B2C or B2B). The intuitive response to change is to commit additional, different or even fewer resources to any one or more of these divisions, which can be hugely disruptive. But in such conditions, employees rightly fear layoffs or uprooting (re-deployment or re-training), leading to a drop in productivity and quality of output. Ham-strung by lower morale, risk-averse attitudes and systemic obstacles, the company reacts like a deer in the headlights. Paralysed by having to change to survive change itself, it stalls.

Change without changing

But what if the company didn’t have to change structurally to change position? What if it was able to rally all its functional, market and technical expertise, divisional barriers notwithstanding and the collective wisdom of its partners and customers at speed and with minimal cost?

An organisation like that is optimised for change. Emboldened by its readiness for anything, it flows around obstacles. It is borne by the fearless contribution of employees who co-create solutions rather than merely implement or suffer them, and guided by the vision and sponsorship of executives not distracted by cost or risk.

The dynamic organisation

Endowed with an SBS platform, any organisation can attain this state of dynamism. Using the best of social and collaborative principles and Web technology, SBS breaks down the silos prevailing in many organisations today, and lets them harness the full diverse spectrum of organisational functions and abilities in the service of problem solving. Organisations using it can mount a slick, holistic response to each new crisis, in defiance of divisional shackles and without the need for project-based or more permanent organisational change.

SBS gives weight to collaboration

The powers of SBS are evident when judging its collaborative powers.

¬∑ Everyone participates – In a socially collaborative community, each participant’s contribution is valued equally. This gives even the lowliest participant the confidence to ‚”swarm‚” voluntarily around a unifying purpose. CEOs know the satisfaction of solutions that harness the collective wisdom and support of all stakeholders. You can’t get this with email.

· It is totally open РSBS allows all users to see the contributions of others, and use, reuse, augment, validate, critique and rate them. Without transparency, there can be no participation, trust, shared knowledge, self-governance, self-correction or evolution.

· It is autonomous РSBS delivers collaboration without the need of lists, workflow and document management structures that email and collaboration tools require. Any member of a community can contribute to a topic, independently of pre-existing relationships with any other, or coordination, place or time.

¬∑ It persists – SBS allows your community’s contributions to be captured and kept (you can set policies to determine which information should be kept and for how long). This is a departure from synchronous conversations where much of the information exchanged is either lost or only partially preserved.

Innovation

Companies’ response when using SBS can be termed ‚’emergent’. It is free-form and dynamic, in recognition of the fact that human behaviour and problems cannot be modelled, designed, optimised or controlled. This opens the enterprise up to new solutions to the most intractable problems even future ones. SBS, ultimately, is your best source of innovation.

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