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Forbes, 23Jan2012: The Emergence of Social Capitalism: Adaptation or Threat?

2 Июля 2015, 14:09

Forbes, 23Jan2012: The Emergence of Social Capitalism: Adaptation or Threat?

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<h2>Haydn Shaughnessy, Contributor__________</h2><u></u>What is the point of social business? Have you been trying to figure it out? If you were asking that question from a corporate standpoint, you’d say: oh, to reap the benefits of social media inside the enterprise. If you were an NGO you’d say, actually it’s to raise capability levels across the globe.

I had an interesting conversation today with Malcolm Frank, strategy chief at Cognizant, on the first of those.

Malcolm sees in 2012 an echo of 1993 when the Wintelapplication stack began taking over enterprise processes. Social business is about to do the same, he says. We’re all primed for significant long term business process redesign.

The problem is, while we’re on the cusp of the most significant process redesign in 20 years, we haven’t got close to a consensus on what social business means. Come to that do we know how to initiate the changes to get us there, and are we even articulating the benefits properly?

There are four quick takeaways from my discussion with Malcolm that I thought were worth sharing. There will be more.

# 1. Creating better business processes

A lot of the discussion of social business is over-focused on issues like social media and collaboration. Yet the main point is to identify those business processes that will benefit from a social application or improved social interaction. It’s not about social media, it is about identifying business processes that you can render faster, cheaper, better.

#2. Changing knowledge-based processes

Business proceses are too often designed as if they take place only in the physical world, using a factory or assembly line analogy. But physical and virtual worlds are converging. And many business processes are knowledge-based, end-to-end. They don’t need a physical world analogy. Break out of it by identifying knowledge-based processes and by raising awareness of this analogy default.

Companies with multimillion volume product sales, like Dell, are wrestling with how to communicate with their customers on a 1:1 basis but of course Dell have also pioneered production for highly variegated markets.

Apple cracked that problem in software when it grew its developer ecosystem to 300,000+. 300,000 producers creating for niche markets, down to the market of 1.

In this new ecosystem there is often huge waste — creating apps that don’t sell or have no bigger mission to pull products and services with them is wasteful. Crowdsourced projects that entice thousands of participants to create one answer are hugely wasteful.

Content production platforms that entice people into write content for free for audiences that don’t support a writing community are at best dubious.

Companies that embark on internal social media strategies, their staff blogging and tweeting instead of focusing on a market-related problem could also be wasting their most important resource — passion.

So we have a new economic system that seems to allocate resources very badly but at the same time has enormous appeal. People want to be involved and find convoluted reasons for legitimating involvement as economically valid and viable.

Another way to tell this story is to construct a narrative of transformation. What we see around is now is not waste. It’s the kind of collateral damage that is inevitable when you try to transform a system.

But let’s be clear that the system is being transformed. The way we set about creating wealth is undergoing a significant transition. Many leaders may not get it. Some might not know how to catch up. But it is happening.

It lacks a resonant label and I don’t see social business having powerful resonance over time, not like the word capitalism.

We need to recognise what is strong and weak about the emergent economic system.

It is full of trial and error and it lacks abundant proof points of what works best in social.

It lacks a meta level. We don’t actually have a strongly delineated sense of what goals this new social capitalism serves. It is defined by collaboration and sharing not by an ideology, unless you talk about the developmental capitalism of Muhammad Yunnis. We don’t know how it will impact the economics of capitalism.

In fact for the most part we are taking on trust the idea that a car company or a device company will be better and do better by socialising more of its processes. And we adopt that belief because we understand the tools — we grasp what an enterprise social network is or we know Twitter and have a very partial understanding of their impact on our own capacity to communicate.

The reality as far as we know it though is the a more socialised work system and market system is better at the level of those companies that succeed with it. Its broader impact and its validity as a resource allocation system we should honestly put into a box marked Must Learn More.

<h2>Haydn Shaughnessy</h2>
Follow me on Twitter @haydn1701

Socio-capitalism set to become the new economic doctrine ...