Social Enterprise is a journey, not a destination

It definitely seems that there is a change in thinking this year more towards the dynamic and unpredictable than the structured and rigid. And I’m beginning to think that this is where the future of some industry verticals as we know it will lie eventually and that Social Enterprise is already becoming a misnomer. Here’s why.

Imagine you and a friend are setting off on a backpack adventure, before you is the wild unknown and a straight railtrack cutting right through it. Your friend boards the waiting train and you set off on foot. Who’s going to have the experience of a lifetime ? And this is what’s happening with Social Enterprise. Everyone is so focused about getting there first that they’re completely missing on what the concept can actually deliver.

Now usually I have a bit of fun with Gartner but today I’m going to give them a break and take a pop at Forrester. I had a recent exchange on Twitter with Clay Richardson when the BPM/ ACM chat with IBM turned to ‘Social BPM’ and it went like this:

@passion4process: SocialBPM combines #BPM and social/web2.0 approaches/tools to allow more diverse voices 2 participate and contribute to process improvement.

@bpmredux: And the rest Clay 😉 Not just about process improvement#bpm #socialbpm

@passion4process: the rest ?

@bpmredux: Social BPM is an enterprise wide transformation paradigm, process is just a small piece of what it can do

@passion4process: That’s an aspirational view

Aspirational ? Actually I believe it’s fundamental. What I’m seeing is that Social as a concept (a) isn’t really Social but just an enablement layer and (b) is turning into nothing more than a collaborative information exchange platform. Why ? Because we’re all rushing headlong to get to the finishing post with whatever solution we can conjure up which looks like Twitter with Corporate Facebook tagged on that we are ignoring the enterprise perspective. Or to turn it back to the backpacker analogy, the Social train is hurtling along a straight track and your friend is experiencing only 10% of the adventure they should be.

I’ve had a few really great comments about some of the writing I’ve done this week and it’s just down to something simple: we’ve become so conditioned to look at process as a linear set of activities (the railtrack) that we’re losing the ability to think abstract and see the bigger goals and rewards at stake (the experience)

If you consider all the blog entries about transforming the enterprise to become something truly fluid and connected then we’re in for a wild ride. If you’re on that train, get off at the next stop if you can and we’ll catch up and swap stories.

If you’ve reached your destination already then you missed it all.

Happy trails.


One response to “Social Enterprise is a journey, not a destination

  1. If “social enterprise” , “social entrepreneurship”, and “social networks” are not common paradigms used quite interchangeably too, then probably it’d give way to open up a whole new set of ideas as to why all/any social n/w sites got so uncontrollably popular and common place, so much so that email has almost slipped to a complementary requisite, as much as one needs to have a FB id or a Goolge + account or for that matter to be LinkedIn to their long lost buddies!

    Its not just what you know that you seem to be evaluated upon but also what you could do with all the gamut of people in your n/w, whether operating within the strict guidelines of hierarchy or just adding worth in a more casual and informal set-up. Value is brought in both by knowledge workers and social workers within the confines of the system itself or externally….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s