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Events & Networking

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Uncovering the Agile Elephant

At our social business event back in September, during Social Media Week London, we could feel something in the atmosphere.  A mood in the room, a sense of excitement and change.  Digital disruption is happening at a rapid rate.  Everyone's business model is under threat from the move to digital across all industries.  The average Enterprise has to change or get leapfrogged by a newer, more nimble competitor.  Being average won't cut it any more That got us thinking. The us, is Alan Patrick, Janet Parkinson and I - the team formerly known as Patchwork Elephant (we've got a new name now).  We all met last decade at London's Tuttle Club and have been crossing paths, working together and talking around the intersection of business and social tools on a regular basis ever since.  The eight different perspectives presented on the future of social business at that last event, combined with the resultant reaction and discussion, along with the commentary we see on our favourite blogs pushed us in to action.  We have some strong opinions around the social business topic.  About the thought leaders, companies and practitioners that are ...

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What next for Social Business? Patchwork Elephant Event Report

As part of London's Social Media Week we put on an event called Social Business – The Patchwork Elephant Revisited asking "What next for Social Business?".  We were kindly sponsored by our friends here at CompareTheCloud.net and we introduced the event and the speakers in an earlier post.  The idea was to get 8 different perspectives on where we are at, and where we go next, with using social and collaboration tools "inside" the business to add value and work more effectively.  Why is the "Social" word seen with such suspicion by some executives in the C-suite?  With the explosion of social media use in marketing or customer support reaching out of the organisation, why aren't more companies using it all over their organisations?  We believe change is happening, but why aren't we further forward with "Social Business"?

A few weeks after our event, Chris Heuer did a guest post on Brian Solis' blog that moved in to the same territory we covered asking Social Business is Dead! Long Live What’s Next! and highlighted the problem with:
"While the ideas behind the moniker are invaluable in defining the future of work, most large companies simply . ...
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Where next for Social Business? @ Social Media Week London

This week is Social Media Week in London (but also Berlin, Bogota, Chicago, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Sao Paulo and Toronto).  There is a packed schedule of events each day, heavily oriented towards social media marketing and using social to promote your brand and connect with your customers, fans and community in general.  We (Alan Patrick, Janet Parkinson and I) are running one of the few events of this week that talks Social Business - about using social tools inside as well as outside the organisation to make business more effective - Social Business - The Patchwork Elephant Revisited.  We'll also be discussing the way today's technology landscape is disrupting traditional business models, changing society, and changing the world of work.
The event is being held tomorrow September 27th at Hub Westminster, in New Zealand House in Haymarket (at the Pall Mall end).  It runs from 13:00 (with a formal start of presentations at 13:30 and a 45 minute break, so ample time for networking) and ends at 17:30.  I'm delighted to say we are sponsored by our friends at CompareTheCloud.net.
Three years ago we ran a similar event within the February 2010 edition of ...
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Apple's flanking move with iPad Mini and life after Steve

Last week's Apple event has been widely reported in detail, but with a minimum of real analysis on the importance of the why, the how and the what being communicated.  For me there were three significant aspects:
  • Apple improving their leading position in the tablet business by making the leading product even better, as well as opening up a new sub segment of the market to flank the low end competition.
  • The whole event demonstrating that design is still at the heart of the Apple vision.
  • Showing there is life after Steve Jobs - the vision, culture and team he put in place are carrying the torch and keeping up the pace.  (I wish I'd bought shares around about the time the iPod was first announced or before!)
Plenty of reporters and commentators presented most of the facts and the numbers corectly, misunderstood the pricing of the new iPad Mini thinking it too high, and then made the mistake of missing the .9 after the 7 in the size of its screen.  So much technlogy reporting these days seems repetitive, regurgitating the technical specifications and processor chip models in the press release with little analysis and thought of what the technology ...
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Trash talk and FUD harms the Cloud industry

Over here we are anticipating this year's Cloud Computing World Forum in London, but over in the US Larry Ellison, Oracle's founder and CEO since 1977, has pivoted his position on the Cloud along with "crossing a line" to trash key competitors.  Elsewhere old guard software giants like IBM are mis-communicating the Cloud messages.  How does this help the the industry, the typical buyer in an SME, or the average CIO in a larger enterprise?  Actually this noise generated by the old guard of IT is significant in positioning the current status of the Cloud landscape, but what we really need is some clarity of vision on the Cloud topic from the big players rather than messaging crafted at protection of their existing customer base and revenue streams.

Last Wednesday Larry announced what the Oracle press release claimed as "the "industry’s broadest and most advanced Cloud strategy", although on the day he actually said, "we are now announcing the most comprehensive Cloud on the planet Earth".  This is an interesting turn around considering Larry has regularly lambasted the Cloud term.  Take a look at this interview some of you may remember from ...
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Social Learning In A Dialogic Way

Earlier this week I joined a discussion group improvising on a theme around Richard Sennett's book Together and his recent RSA talk.  I understand the book explores the nature of cooperation, the evolution of cooperative rituals through history and the politics of the tribe versus the complexity of modern society.  Haven't read it - it's now on the long list.  The Everything Unplugged: Learning Conversation group meets in London every Wednesday at 10:00 at the RFH Level 5 to discuss wide ranging topics from creativity to the learning process.  This week's discussion on Sennett was titled "In a Dialogic Way" echoing Miles Davis.  I was intrigued on three counts:
  • I miss the kind of wide ranging conversations we used to have several years back at London's CreativeCoffee Club (which I founded with Toby Moores) or when the London Social Media Cafe/Tuttle Club was in its energetic heyday at the Coach and Horses or the ICA.
  • The topic of cooperation is vital to the the collaboration solutions I work with and I wanted to learn more about Sennett's take.
  • I don't often have philosophical discussions about dialectic argument versus the dialogic ...
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Social Business - use cases and best practice are pants!

At the IBM Collaboration Diner at the Social Business Expo we had a long conversation with my old friend Luis Saurez about use cases and best practice - he doesn't believe in them!  Luis was there to do Wednesday's keynote address on the topic he is famous for - Thinking Outside the Inbox - There is no We in email.  I was there as one of the invited thought leaders contributing to the cafe style debates IBM and Collaobration Matters had organised inside a 1940s American Diner styled after Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks.  One of my customers, Janet Parkinson of The Smart Work Company, was there joining in the discussion with Luis, triggered by our belief that there aren't enough good case studies of businesses using social tools inside their organisations to show how Social Business can work.  I commented that part of the reason for that is the difficulty of getting enterprises to share something that can be a competitive advantage, but Luis immediately declared that use cases are useless!

His view is that every business is different, every business is unique.  Having a use case for some other firm doesn't really help much.  He wants to go in . ...
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Social Business at IBM's Hopper Collaboration Diner

This week I was invited by IBM (and Ogilvy PR) to join in the collaboration debates at the Social Business Expo, a new strand of the Unified Communications Expo at Olympia .  This is not an event I would normally attend, covering everything from phone handsets through VoIP to tele conferencing, but I'm sure the social business component of ths show will get even bigger next year.  The attraction was to be part of what IBM is doing, which moves a long way from your typical steel, white and blue corporate show stand.  Their event was themed around recreating the late night downtown diner scene depicted in Edward Hopper's famous Nighthawks painting from the 40s.  It represents loneliness and alienation.  IBM are the sponsor, but their partner Collaboration Matters came up with the concept, created and hosted the stand.  The front of the cafe was peopled with actors who remained in character throughout both days, and who alternated between the original solitary view, and using smart phones, iPads and Macs to collaborate and connect with people.  Each character had their own Twitter identity so we could interact and break through the social isolation. ...
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Twinfield show their vision of the future of accounting

Two weeks ago I was part of a modest International stream as part of  Twinfield's very impressive National Accountancy Day in The Netherlands.  They have been running this Annual event for 6 years and it has grown from 30 attendees back in 2005 to 500 last year, and well over 600 attendees this time, along with an exhibition area where around 40 companies showed their Twinfield connected applications and services.  There was a buzz of excitement, and a feelgood vibe you might expect from a Salesforce event, but not necessarily with a collection of mostly accountants as the audience.

The event was significant, both because of the size and the fact that this was the first event following Wolters Kluwer's takeover of Twinfield earlier this year.  It gave me a chance to gauge the progress they've made and  judge how well Twinfield will thrive under their new parent's regime.  The initial indications are very positive.

The International stream was attended by UK customers like Goodman Jones, CWM, and Wingrave Yeats.  Twinfield's Irish partner presented their Ezora reporting system.  P2D explained their document scanning solution that is now live linking purchase invoice scans ...
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"Creativity is an operational idea."

Some of you may know that Sir Ken Robinson is a hero of mine.  His 2006 TED talk on education, that I've blogged about before, is inspirational.  Track down and read his book Out of Our Minds.  Until doing some research on another topic I had missed completely this October 2009 Toronto, Canada event at which he spoke - Artscape's third Creative Places + Spaces: The Collaborative City conference.

Sir Ken talks about collaboration in the 21st century and creativity as an operational idea, which you can plan for and make happen systematically.



 Here are some quotes from his talk:
"Creativity is an operational idea.  You can plan for it and make it happen systematically"
"We need to make innovation a habit"
"Politician's say the trouble is you can't define creativity, and I say the trouble is YOU can't!  That's the problem"
"We need to teach creativity in education just like numeracy and literacy"
"It's a key operating principle for the next phase of development in the 21st century"
"Creativity Is a step on from imagination"
"it's applied imagination"
"Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value"
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