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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 ...


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 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 . ...

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
Three years ago we ran a similar event within the February 2010 edition of ...

Using the Cloud for personal productivity with Evernote

I've just made a significant switch in one of the main tools I use for my own personal productivity which highlights a key trend for the industry and all of us - the personal cloud.  Whether it is for work or our personal lives we use desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, media players and tablets and a lot of the time we need to get at the same stuff from each device.  For some time we've been used to setting up our smart phones so we can sync and access the same email as on the computer or the web, and the early adopters and geeky types have been sharing photos and documents too.  The personal cloud will make that easy and more pervasive for everyone.  

Let me explain more with the key tool that I use for all my writing, note taking, project documentation and capturing of ideas.  Since January 2005 I've been using what I believe is Microsoft's best and most undervalued product - OneNote.  OneNote is a free form note taking application with a user interface that looks like the Windows equivalent of a cool Moleskin notebook.  I can type, draw, insert pictures or make screen clippings and capture my thoughts in multiple notebooks.  .. ...

"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"

Social Business needs a Cnut

Careful with that spelling (for some reason I preferred it to Canute or Kanute).  Here is my premise.  I think, like Clay Shirky, that we are living in a period of transformation rivalling the changes in society triggered by the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, photography, film, television, or the start of the Internet (web 1.0).  The application of social media inside and outside of business is changing everything.  However, since around 2009 some of us on the leading edge of this curve, who up to this point have talked about enterprise 2.0 or web 2.0 applied to business, have been drifting towards using the term Social Business to describe it.  Language is important.  For me that language is wrong.  If I ask the average woman or man in the street what a social business is they would tell me about organisations with a social conscience, philanthropic goals and ethical conduct - micro-blogging, collaboration and social media monitoring wouldn't enter their heads.

Back on August 26 2009 Dennis Howlett wrote a post on ZDnet that triggered a fair amount of controversy  - "Enterprise 2.0: what a crock".  His premise was .. ...

Dachis Business Summit - you know, the Social one!

P1000629Now look.  I have a real problem with the term "Social Business" as it's being used by Dachis and IBM and others.  However, let me put that to one side for another post later this week, but it's a thread that starts here and runs through my thoughts on the London edition of the Dachis Social Business Summit that Lee Bryant kindly invited me to this week.  The venue (awesome architecture), agenda, speakers, food and organisation were all set at a very high standard, with the sole negative of conference wifi that didn't work.  It's a social media conference.  It's obvious that the majority of attendees are going to turn up with Macs, PCs, iPads and smart phones and want to live blog and tweet.  When are venues and conference organizers going to realize that their normal bandwidth just won't cut it for us enterprise 2.0, social media types?  (Rant over, on with normal programming.)

For me the conference highlights were the opening two sessions from JP Rangaswami ('s Chief Scientist) and John Hagel (Director of Deloitte and authour of The Power of pull).  JP's  "Nature Doesn't Do SLA's" used Zen style slides - small white . ...

More than just another microblogging tool - tibbr

Earlier this week I attended the UK launch event for just another Twitter style microblogging tool for the enterprise like Chatter or Yammer or Signals inside SocialText.  This one's called tibbr.  Some people would have been underwhelmed and said "so what?", but I got excited - I can see some huge potential here, and I'd argue that every enterprise should be taking a serious look at this product.  Let me try and explain.

It's from TIBCO, which is hardly a particularly well known, sexy or significant name in the IT world.   They are pretty big though - they are a US company (NASDAQ:TIBX) who have been around since 1997 and formed out of Teknekron who started back in 1983 (with a product called The Information Bus, which is where TIB comes from).  They have grown to have offices in 40 countries and provide over 4,000 customers with tools for business process management, SOA, and application integration - crucially important middleware that connects things together in the background for big companies.  They might be very well known to the IT guys, but fairly invisible to the rest of the business.  That could all change now they've ...

Social CRM - the new rules

There are changes underway across the worlds of social media marketing, social media applied inside business (what some people would call enterprise 2.0) and  where these tools connect (or not) to the business processes in (Cloud based) CRM and ERP systems.   Products like Salesforce are adding Chatter, and Twitter connectivity.  Enterprise 2.0 tools that started as wikis or forums are adding micro-blogging along with more and more social functionality.  Content Management Systems are adding or acquiring a social dimension.  Marketing departments are struggling with, or looking for tools to help with, brand  reputation monitoring and management.  One significant segment of this change just got much clearer with Altimeter Group's R “Ray” Wang and Jeremiah Owyang producing Social CRM: The New Rules of Relationship Management.

R told the Enterprise Irregulars earlier this morning that this report is the culmination of 6 months of research, collaboration, hours of white boarding, phone calls, and skype calls in the early morning and on weekends working with an ecosystem of 42 partners.  The document identifies 18 use cases for Social ...

Thingamy with ESME points to where enterprise 2.0 is heading

Yesterday I got the "lowdown" on how Thingamy, which Sigurd Rinde describes as a "Work Processor", has just been connected to ESME, the microsharing and collaboration platform.  I believe  the combination is a big step forward for Sig's solution, as well as representing one of several approaches that signpost the direction of enterprise 2.0, or enterprise collaboration for 2010.  It's all about linking collaboration to process.  

First let me disclose that, although we don't have a contractual relationship, we're big fans of Thingamy,  we've been playing around with the product for years, and we're on the look out to help and support Sig to find potential clients here in the UK.  Although the basic concept of Thingamy remains the same, the user interface and way you use and deploy the product have steadily improved over time making the product much easier to grasp than when we first met Sig back at the start of 2006.  

So what is Thingamy?  It's a product that addresses all of the things that any organisation does which are NOT  handled by their conventional business process based systems.  Sig calls these Easily Repeatable . ...