Can the Social Enterprise (R)Evolution be systematically evolved?

Recent research results like the one of the McKinsey study have showed that the adoption of social business technology is on a good track. Especially big, multi-national companies in all kind of industries have taken actions in regards to exploring and adopting social business technology in any kind. But only a few have yet managed to advance the project towards new and sustainable forms of organizational structures and corporate cultures. So the question is what are the key issues needed to overcome on the journey towards the social enterprise revolution.

At CeBIT Webciety we have discussed the results of a working group that elaborated a set of 13 key statements. The statements consist of project issues that have to be worked on in order to advance the social enterprise initiatives in the organizational and cultural perspective. The statements are structured and related to the reciprocal relation of three key factors of the project: people, business/organization and technology. Between each of these factors the working group identified some critical friction points that have to be considered and to be worked on in order for the project advancement.

In the discussion at CeBIT Webciety (unfortunately only in German) the participants agreed on the existence of these friction issues but also argued that many of these issues are a matter of an evolutionary process and will disappear as the project will achieve some more traction. The argumentation was relating to the reciprocal scope of the direct and indirect effects of the application of the social technology – called Yin & Yang characteristics. While the short-termed, direct effects like a better discoverability of information, connectivity of the workforce and scalability of process-related interaction help to enhance the business performance, the indirect effects like transparency on business actions, emergence of informational structures and serendipity lead towards new organizational behavior and cultural values. But the latter cannot be enforced! Only the emergence of these indirect effects can be systematically supported.

The Yin Yang of the Social Enterprise

The question stays the same – how can we drive and advance the social enterprise (r)evolution. The discussion at E20 SUMMIT will hopefully add some new aspects to this – as I also invited members of the working group to present their ideas again in Paris.