Social Business Design

by Peter Kim 06 Oct 2009 Blog Post

Social Business Design is the intentional creation of dynamic and socially calibrated systems, process, and culture.

Its goal: helping organizations improve value exchange among constituents.

Social Business Design uses a framework of four mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive archetypes: ecosystem, hivemind, dynamic signal, and metafilter. This model can be applied to improve customer participation, workforce collaboration, and business partner optimization. Doing so provides insight to help measure and manage business to produce improved and emergent outcomes.

To learn more, I encourage you to read our complete thinking behind the concept of Social Business Design.

  • Steve Pope

    Nice job on the Is/Does Peter.

  • Bernd Nurnberger

    Thank you for this profound overview. I am amazed at the implications and partially in fog about the steps to get there.

    I would like to offer a tangent on two of the issues you touch upon, 1. data ubiquity, and 2. the need for a holistic technology architecture.

    1. “[We] take the radical, but ultimately necessary, position that there is only one space of interoperating applications; therefore, at the end of the day there must be only one identity space. Until we come to terms with the implications of this simple claim, we will remain doomed to islands of context and systems that cannot interoperate.“ Mobile Devices and Mobile Data—Issues of Identity and Reference” — MAYA Design

    2. “What is the common currency of the Web world? Is it HTML? XML? The Web ‘page’? The relational database table? The hard truth is that the Web has no common currency for information or information devices. As a platform for “the world’s information” (the phrase used in Google’s mission statement), the Web resembles a comparatively primitive barter system of “apples and oranges,” not a sophisticated economy. Pervasive computing implies a true global information economy. Device fungibility and data liquidity are its essential requirements—remarkably simple foundations for intense complexity that remains comprehensible and useful at any scale.”

    Both quotes from “Designing the Future of Information” at

  • Joe Luedtke

    Mutually Exclusive ‘Archetypes’?

    I read through Dachis Group’s Social Business Design whitepaper with interest. Dachis has some good thought leadership here and its interesting watching this framework evolve.

    In reading through the framework section, I was struck when you and the other authors described the archetypes (Ecosystem, Hivemind, Dynamic Signal, and Metafilter) as mutually exclusive. My interpretation is the exact opposite.

    Your analogy to a business as a social ecosystem is a good one. It acknowledge that the level of interactions now pulling and pushing at businesses thanks to social media rival that of the interactions of natural systems. It helps organizations understand that you can exert forces on an ecosystem but you can’t necessarily control them any longer by edict and PR alone. It was when I got to Hivemind that I struggled. The ‘Hivemind’ as Dachis describes it is really one proposed governance model for an organization’s ecosystem. Every organization has an ecosystem but not all have adopted your Hivemind governance approach.

    Similarly the Dynamic Signal concept that you describe is communication waves within a Hivemind, which is within an Ecosystem. And finally your Metafilter, is just a way of listening to the dynamic signal and offering feedback.

    I see these archetypes as very much interconnected and dependent on one and other not mutually exclusive. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.