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2011 London Social Business Summit

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The London Social Business Summit was blessed by beautiful sunshine, giving the rooftop venue at the Imagination Gallery a lovely atmosphere for a day of fascinating talks.

Dachis Group Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Dachis, kicked off with a typically humble introduction and then we went straight into two heavy-weight thinkers to frame the day. JP Rangaswami, Salesforce.com Chief Scientist, launched into one of his trademark thought-inspiring talks about natural patterns of life and work, and how we are learning to cope with increasing pace of change in work, life, technology, and society. Following on perfectly, Author of The Power of Pull, John Hagel, put these trends into a macro-economic and business context, and made some great observations about how this helps us think about change.

IBM Executive Collaboration Evangelist, Stuart McRae, gave us a useful and practical insight into IBM’s experience with large-scale real-time collaboration, and our own diagram wizard Dion Hinchcliffe, Dachis Group Senior Vice President, presented a wide-ranging state-of-play for Social Business, highlighting current and future trends.

Michael Gold, Jazz Impact Founder and President, gave us a chance to get up and move our bodies, bringing to life earlier themes of improvisation and discovery through Jazz music, and this worked surprisingly well, enlivening the middle of the day.

Afterwards, Dachis Group | Archrival Managing Director, Charles Hull, gave us an insight into the role of social media in youth marketing, and Ming Kwan, Global Digital Marketing Manager from Nokia, talked about the Share to Connect programme inside the firm, which is part of a series of initiatives designed to connect the company better and derive actionable insights from social media monitoring. She also showcased some of our work at Headshift | Dachis Group on the Socializer project.

XPLANE | Dachis Group Founder, Dave Gray, then took us back up to look at the bigger picture of how Social Business design is trying to create The Connected Company, illustrated with his own excellent sketches. I then closed out the day with a talk about the increasing role that Social Business Intelligence and analytics are playing in building out Dave’s vision of a connected company.

If the level of conversation and engagement over the ensuing cocktails is anything to go by,  it seems the day was a real success and, more importantly, provided an opportunity for over 120 of our respected peers and colleagues to share their thinking on the current state of Social Business practice.

JP’s slides can be found here.

Stuart’s slides can be found here.

Dion’s slides can be found here.

Michael’s slides can be found here.

Charles’ slides can be found here.

Ming’s slides can be found here.

Dave’s slides can be found here.

Lee’s slides can be found here.

2011 Singapore Social Business Summit

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The final Summit in our global series, convened in Singapore, was also our first in the Asian region. Notwithstanding the cultural diversity of the region, the high levels of social media usage in personal computing could not be undervalued when preparing the agenda for the Summit,  while engaging business with the range of opportunities that could be afforded by integrating these behaviours.

Our selected venue – the award winning Boathouse (part of the Fullerton group) – was the perfect setting to create an environment that moved away from the traditional conference room and created an atmosphere of participation and conversation. The lunch was sensational, a three course sit-down gourmet delight – not something typically experienced in traditional conferences settings.

Opening the day, Dachis Group Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Dachis shared his passion for the future of Social Business by contextualising the landscape through a retrospective of the digital era and his journey with Razorfish, to current trends where technology, work, and society overlap – a situation business can no longer escape.

Setting the scene, Jeff introduced the Social Business design framework by highlighting where current opportunities lie and preparing the context and discussions for the following presentations.

Our next regional stopover, was from China, with Sam Fleming from CIC (based in Shanghai) sharing insights on a market that demonstrated the power of many. For those of us who situate our social media experiences in the English language experiences of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the likes, Sam took us on a deep dive into the lives of Chinese ‘netizens’ and the unique nature of the internet in China. The degree of business intelligence being leveraged by brands demonstrated an undeniable market maturity that we are yet to experience in the western social media world. We also came away with some new terminology: grabbing the sofa (being the first to comment on a blog post), human flesh search engines (when people are used to find answers), and CPR (conversion participation rate).

Keeping the brand experience in the region, Sam was followed by Simone Pregellio from JetStar Asia who openly shared the airlines’ experiences and the implications to their business of integrating social media into their customer experience framework. Simone emphasised an essential ingredient of their approach: social media is about conversations, they were not entering those conversations with the intention to dominate (or use push marketing), they were very conscious of their position as participants in those conversations and the need to build and earn trust as a brand.

Taking a focused look at Facebook campaigns through a marketing lens, Kevin Tate from Dachis Group North America, highlighted that Facebook is a symbiotic relationship between media and experiences, where brands are competing with friends for your attention. The emphasis on understanding what Facebook is good for, and what it’s not good for – supported through case studies – positioned the integration of social media, firmly in the strategic marketing mix for any organisation who believes the effectiveness of a campaign is measured only by the number of fans on their page. Kevin also expanded our vocabulary with “mouse parties” where you throw out some pieces of cheese and wait for the mice to arrive.

In a region where use of social media in their personal lives is some of the highest in the world, where brands can boast hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans, the questions from the audience were distinctly focused on how to leverage their brand through a social advantage.

Post lunch, Social Business within the organisation became the focus for the next set of presentations. Ted Stanton, from IBM, described how IBM has successfully developed collaboration to enhance their internal workforce capabilities. In fact, 90% of their internal communications are via social media platforms. He outlined many of the initiatives that IBM has adopted to become a fully integrated Social Business, including the use of communities, blogging, and the value of the personal profile as a powerful connection across their global business.

Dion Hinchcliffe, from Dachis Group North America, extended the scope from Ted’s IBM example to share other high impact case studies – what Dion refers to as: The Big Shift. Typically, this is where Social Business practices within the organisation have radically reduced the cost of doing business, including the use of mobile internet access occurring at rates five times faster than the uptake of desktop internet use. Dion’s cited case studies reported ROI findings such as: more innovative products and services; more effective marketing and customer care; better access to knowledge; and a lower cost of business. Compelling figures that are difficult to ignore.

Nicholas Gruen, Chairman of Kaggle and Chairman of the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce, took us on a journey through the data revolution and revealed ways business, government, and the public could leverage the enormous quantities of data distributed through publicly available web-based resources. Nicholas illustrated these concepts with some examples enabled by the Kaggle data prediction platform, where challenges are crowd-sourced and competitions provide incentives for solutions.

Closing the day, a panel with Janelle Amet, IBM, and Alex Ford, Institute of Executive Coaching, shared their approaches to developing creative leadership. Acknowledging that traditional models of leadership development do not enable creative leaders in current, complex environments. Both described their approaches of leveraging social network platforms and creating social learning communities that create dialogues to support cross-cultural diversity (their examples were situated in the ASEAN region). The outcomes from both programs included higher levels of engagement, increased completion rates, greater sense of community between peers, and evidence of refreshed approaches to re-organising into new Social Business ways of approaching work.

Reflecting on the conversations and questions throughout the day, instead of differences, the similarity to topics being raised in our Sydney event were closely aligned.

How can we leverage the value provided by Social Business practices to increase productivity, efficiency, and gain our share of the customer engagement?

How do we turn our customers into advocates? What are the risks of participation? How do we resource our efforts?

What’s the significance of these observations?

There are many, however, the dominant image connects to each business unit, selecting their palette of colours, styling their strategic implementation with their won brush strokes, creating a representation that combines collaborative processes, social intelligence, and engagement – a true masterpiece – and an image of organisations of the future.

Jeff’s slides can be found here.

Sam’s slides can be found here.

Ted’s slides can be found here.

Dion’s slides can be found here.

Nicholas’ slides can be found here.

The panel’s slides can be found here.

2011 Sydney Social Business Summit

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For the last two years, the Dachis Group has held a curated series of events around the world on the topic of Social Business, known as the Social Business Summit. We believe that helping organizations explore the relevant issues on this increasingly vital topic will help provide the background and insight to make decisions on acting on Social Business simpler and easier. As I explored recently in our Social Business series for CIOs, while social media is very much a full spectrum, company-wide activity, it will be business leaders that will provide the support to make it happen. So everyone can benefit from the information, we are releasing the 2011 Sydney Social Business Summit videos and presentation slides in their entirety.  This opens up the leading-edge knowledge and experience assembled that day in a way that is very “Social Business” in nature.

The first Summit was held on March 2nd in beautiful Sydney, Australia at The Mint on Macquarie Street located downtown. The elegant venue was a great environment for a conference aimed at helping business and technical leaders navigate their way through the latest trends in business, society, and culture. The speakers for Sydney were selected for their industry authority as well as regional experience and background. The Summit was opened by Dachis Group Chief Strategy Officer Peter Kim who provided an insightful introduction to Social Business topics both globally as well as for Australia and surrounding environs. Peter underscored the theme of the day by posing the challenge to the audience, “How do you best organize yourself to support Social Business across your organization?

The next speaker was Martin Stewart-Weeks of Cisco, who gave both an overview and deep dive of how businesses are getting smarter and more connected using social media. One of my favorite lines from Martin’s presentation was “collaboration is an unnatural activity between non-consenting adults.

Kevin Tate came next and gave a highly engaging presentation on the world of business-focused Facebook applications, particularly something that’s becoming known increasingly as “large-scale social experiences”. Kevin shared what we’ve learned as the world’s largest Facebook Preferred Developer Consultant, including what works and what doesn’t in achieving business objectives in Facebook, noting that it is not yet ideal for creating a traditional sales funnel or conducting push marketing. As far as Facebook’s strengths, Kevin observing that they are in creating unparalleled awareness, amplification, and participation to be where the 700 million member global social networking platform outperforms when it comes to Social Business. Kevin wrapped up with a key insight that I believe all organizations must absorb, though it will be a challenging lesson for many: “Today, you have to earn your way into your customer’s attention streams.

After Kevin, IBM’s Josh Scribner provided a useful overview of the workforce engagement aspect of Social Business, sometimes called Enterprise 2.0. Using IBM’s internal experience in becoming a Social Business, Josh explored what IBM has learned as they’ve transformed nearly the entire organization into a Social Business including the importance of community management and making sure they were addressing long standing pain points in the organization. Josh presented some useful data on a Social Business impacts breakdown that listed increased skills, access to experts, and better knowledge sharing as benefits reported by stakeholders in the organization.

As lunch wrapped up, a musical improvisation session was provided that helped attendees get more used to extemporaneous collaboration.  Then I gave a detailed overview of what we’re seeing with internal and external Social Business today and what it takes to succeed by exploring the latest success stories.  After my presentation, visual business thinker Dave Gray explored his latest ideas around The Connected Company, which takes the viewpoint that businesses can’t be treated as machines, as much as some try to, but treated for what they are: organic entities. Dave’s thinking has been enumerated in detail in The Connected Company and the backstory including his research and citations. As always, Dave is thought provoking and profound in his insights. It will be common, in my opinion, for management theory to look more like Dave’s ideas with innovations like work pods and less about hierarchy, org charts, and out-dated, mechanistic business process “optimization”.

I urge you to set aside a bit of time to absorb the great ideas and lessons learned continued in the videos and slides below.  I hope to see you at one of our Summit locations next year, to be announced soon.

You can view the full set of videos and presentations from 2011 Sydney Social Business Summit here:

Peter’s slides can be found here.

Martin’s slides can be found here.

Kevin’s slides can be found here.

Anne’s slides can be found here.

Dion’s slides can be found here.

Cai’s slides can be found here.

Janelle’s slides can be found here.

Didier’s slides can be found here.

2011 Austin Social Business Summit

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We at Dachis Group are very pleased to host the Social Business Summit, which is rapidly becoming an annual signal of Spring in the world of Social Business. The Social Business Summits unfold across the world, a movable feast that brings the people who are designing the future of business to share the ideas and experiences that are shaping our picture of the 21st century enterprise.

The premiere Summit in Austin, which I was privileged to present at and attend, was no exception. More than 150 participants came to the W Hotel to find a who’s who of Social Business in attendance. An opening welcome from Dachis Group Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Dachis, set the tone: connection, conversation, an exchange of ideas. And that’s exactly what happened over the next eight hours and into the night, where conversation continued  at the Dachis Group Unofficial Party at Arthouse amidst inflatable art, hula hoops, and superheroes.

I’m happy to say that we are now releasing videos and presentations of the many inspiring talks from that day. I hope you enjoy the talks from luminaries like Salesforce CSO JP Rangaswami, Power of Pull author John Hagel III, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, and many more.

The future of business is far from clear. There are plenty of risks, but opportunities also abound. So pull up a chair and enjoy the energy, enthusiasm, ideas, and experiences from the 2011 Austin Social Business Summit. I guarantee they will inspire you and help you chart a course for yourself and your business. Enjoy!

And for a recap of the #sbs2011 Austin twitter feed, click here.

JP’s slides can be found here

Dave’s slides can be found here

Philip’s slides can be found here

Rawn’s slides can be found here

Shiv’s slides can be found here

Jesse’s slides can be found here

Lee’s slides can be found here

Jenn and Tony’s slides can be found here

2011 Social Business Summit – Singapore Recap

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The final in the Dachis Group Social Business Summit series, and the first to be held in Asia, was convened in Singapore at the award-winning Boathouse Restaurant on April 6. A full house actively participated in sessions presented by: Jeffrey Dachis, Dachis Group CEO and Founder; Kevin Tate, Dachis Group Vice President Business Development; Dion Hinchcliffe, Dachis Group Senior Vice President and regional speakers Sam Flemming, CIC Shanghai Chairman and Founder; Simone Pregellio, Jetstar Asia Manager Corporate Communications; Nicholas Gruen, Lateral Economics CEO; and Ted Stanton, IBM Worldwide Executive Consultant with Anne Bartlett-Bragg, Headshift | Dachis Group Managing Director Asia Pacific emceeing the day’s activities. The presentations concluded with a panel discussion from Anne Bartlett-Bragg; Janelle Amet, IBM Learning and Development Manager; and Alex Ford, Institute of Executive Coaching Project Manager.

The intimate setting and exceptional catering from the Boathouse positioned the day to be a memorable event. Social Business Summit Singapore was a great first event in the region, and an exciting conclusion to the global Summit series.

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2011 Social Business Summit – Sydney Recap

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The global Dachis Group Social Business Summit series launched in Sydney on March 2. The Mint, on Macquarie Street, provided the perfect atmosphere for nearly 100 people to actively engage and connect.

The diverse range of speakers included Peter Kim, Dachis Group Chief Strategy Officer; Kevin Tate, Dachis Group Vice President Business Development; Dion Hinchcliffe, Dachis Group Senior Vice President; Dave Gray, XPLANE | Dachis Group Founder; Martin Stewart-Weeks, Cisco Systems Director Asia-Pacific; Liz Savage, Virgin Blue; Josh Scribner, BlueIQ IBM Software Group; Janelle Amet, IBM Learning and Development Manager; Cai Kjaer, Optimice Partner; and Didier Elzinga, Culture Amp Founder and CEO, with Anne Bartlett-Bragg, Headshift | Dachis Group Managing Director Asia Pacific emceeing the event.

Breaking up the pace following lunch, the team from DrumBeats took the audience on a rhythmic adventure, demonstrating the power of the group to produce a contagious beat that continued throughout the day. The event concluded with networking drinks in the Courtyard of the Mint.

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2011 Social Business Summit – London Recap

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Over 100 attendees gathered at the Imagination Gallery on March 24 for the second annual Social Business Summit in London. It was a full house with a packed agenda. Presenters included: JP Rangaswami, Salesforce.com Chief Scientist; John Hagel, Deloitte Director; Stuart McRae, IBM Executive Collaboration Evangelist; Dion Hinchcliffe, Dachis Group Senior Vice President; Michael Gold, Jazz Impact Founder and President; Charles Hull, Archrival | Dachis Group Managing Director; Ming Kwan, Nokia Digital Marketing Manager; Dave Gray, XPLANE | Dachis Group; and Lee Bryant, Headshift | Dachis Group Managing Director with Dachis Group Chief Strategy Officer, Peter Kim emceeing the day’s conversation. The presentations were complemented by a panel discussion at the end of the day between speakers John Hagel, Dion Hinchcliffe, and Peter Kim and Dachis Group CEO and Founder, Jeffrey Dachis.

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2011 Social Business Summit – Austin Recap

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Dachis Group hosted the second annual Social Business Summit in Austin on March 10. An enthusiastic audience of over 150 attendees filled a conference room at the new W Austin ready to listen, connect, communicate, participate, engage, and take action. Dachis Group presenters included Dave Gray, XPLANE | Dachis Group Founder and Lee Bryant, Headshift | Dachis Group Managing Director with Dachis Group Chief Strategy Officer, Peter Kim emceeing the event. Rounding out the conversation were: JP Rangaswami, Salesforce.com Chief Scientist; Philip Kaplan, Blippy Co-founder; Rawn Shah, IBM Business Transformation Consultant; Josh Bernoff, Forrester Senior Vice President; John Hagel, Deloitte Director; Michael Gold, Jazz Impact Founder and President; Shiv Shingh, PepsiCo Head of Digital; and Jesse Thomas, JESS3 CEO. Jenn Lim and Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh closed out the day with an inspirational speech on Delivering Happiness.

The discussion continued as attendees kicked off SXSW Interactive at the Dachis Group Unofficial Party at Arthouse. Complete with the Cookie Monster, inflatable installation art, hula hoops, and superheroes, Social Business engagement was in full effect.

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Don’t Miss the Bigger Picture

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I’ve said before, that its interesting how people latch on to ‘Social Business’ but not ‘Social Business Design.’ It reminds me of both the long winded debates in the knowledge management community about the nature of ‘knowledge’ and in other circles when I’ve met marketing folks who only want to talk about promotion. In both cases, my reaction was that they were missing the bigger picture.

In fact, what both knowledge management and marketing have in common is that these are both disciplines that are fundamentally situated inside organisations. This makes knowledge management and marketing very much products of the organisations they live within. It doesn’t remove the need for domain knowledge about any of these topics, but experience and the literature tells us that the same management idea applied in one organisation can look completely different in another (and, more importantly, results can vary considerably).

I get that same feeling with Social Business Design.

Reflecting on the Headshift | Dachis Group’s Social Business Summits over the last month, I was reminded of a book by Roger L. Martin called, The Design of Business (see my review here). My key take away from that book was that successful design thinkers are those who deal equally with the issue of organisational change as they do with actually applying design thinking. The pioneers working in this space who presented at the Summits instinctively recognise that effectiveness, scalability and sustainability are just as important as creativity in social business design. These case study presenters were cautious to offer cookbooks for social media, because they know their approach is not immediately replicable and we have to allow for emergent, unforeseen and unmanageable (in a reliability sense) outcomes from engaging with customers online.

This is particularly the case where tools for engagement with customers online, including Facebook and Twitter (or their equivalents in places like China), are becoming increasingly commoditised and repeatable at a technology level. However, the people part of the equation is not. From simple technologies, we see complex social interactions appear.

From this point I noticed that people naturally found themselves shifting from looking at just how to market and sell to people online, to thinking about the impact on the value chain of their organisations. Thinking more broadly about this value chain at the Summits in Sydney and Singapore, we also touched on deeper issues like organisational resilience (how will that value chain respond when things go wrong or in response to a wider disaster?) and opportunities to rework that value chain, for example with tools such as Kaggle.

Talking at the level of Social Business Design at the Summits made sense because:

  • It highlighted organisational pain points for people in the process of using social media and social networks; and
  • It called out the potential to re-evaluate how we organise, to take advantage of the social Web.

This doesn’t change the fundamental elements of knowledge management (“help employees share what they know”) or marketing (“create great products or services, and get people to buy them”), but it does change how we design these parts to work together. And it is this that in turn that will change them.

This originally appeared on the Headshift blog.

Reflections on Social Business Summit 2011 – Sydney and Austin

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Over the last year, the discussion of the many business uses of social media has been coalescing into an industry-wide, interdisciplinary conversation that’s increasingly focused around the moniker of ‘social business.’ This conversation — which many think provides the clearest perspective yet on how social computing is transforming how we work — has begun to connect, integrate, and reconcile the gamut of enterprise social media into something more useful, specific, and business-directed. As we better discern the moving parts of social business and how they relate to each other, the opportunities and road ahead has resolved more clearly while emerging new horizons are also being mapped out.

For the last half decade, the center of attention for enterprise social computing has tended to be in localized efforts that were largely disconnected, tactical, and experimental. As I explored with the emergence of The Social Business Unit, a more strategic approach has now come of age as organizations climb the social business maturity curve. Internally focused disciplines like Enterprise 2.0 and social intranets or customer-facing social media such as social media marketing and Social CRM as point solutions far out ahead of the rest of the company and largely out-of-context are now evolving into something more aligned with top-of-line business objectives. With the advent of social business, these efforts are turning into more naturally emergent, larger scale initiatives that are deeply woven into an organization’s lines of business and their long-term vision.

Aspects of Social Business

This then, is the frame-up for our Social Business Summit series that’s taking place around the world this month and next. Now in its second year, the Social Business Summit assembles some of the leading minds in social business for a hosted discussion on what’s happening now and what’s coming next. This week sees the London edition of the summit and in early April the event will open for the first time in Asia, at Social Business Summit 2011 Singapore.

Note: There are a handful of invitations that have been kept available for last-minute attendees, so please contact us if you’d still like to attend either London or Singapore.

Social Business Summit 2011 Sydney

The first of the four summits this year was held in downtown Sydney, Australia at The Mint on Macquarie Street. The historic venue was an elegant backdrop for a conference focused on looking forward in the full context of business, society, and culture. As with each of the summits, speakers have been hand-picked for authority as well as, when appropriate, regional experience and background. The morning was opened by Anne Bartlett-Bragg and Peter Kim who both provided excellent you-are-here dots for social business both globally as well as for Australia and surrounding environs, with Peter posing the challenge to the audience, “How do you best organize yourself to support social business across your organization?

Social Business Summit 2011 SydneyThe first speaker was Martin Stewart-Weeks from Cisco, who gave a detailed, rousing, and insightful view into how businesses are getting smarter and more connected using social media. He had perhaps the best line of the day, which was “collaboration is an unnatural activity between non-consenting adults.” Following him was a more regional story from Virgin Blue, told by Liz Savage. She provided a detailed overview of their social business strategy and observed that they’ve found social media to be a “massive catalyst for goodwill” and that they’ve been able to get more immediately connected to the customers and better understand their needs, often in real-time, around issues such as pricing and services.

Kevin Tate from Dachis Group came up next and explored the world of business-focused Facebook applications and something that’s becoming known as large-scale social experiences. Kevin shared what we’ve learned, as the world’s largest Facebook developer, including what works and what doesn’t in Facebook, noting that it is not (yet) great for creating a funnel, selling, or conducting push marketing. As far as Facebook’s strengths, they are finding unparalleled awareness, amplification, and participation to be where the 600 million+ active member global social networking platform shines when it comes to social business. Kevin left us with a profound statement that I think many organizations will take a while yet to absorb fully: “Today, you have to earn your way into your customer’s attention streams.

Before lunch, IBM’s Josh Scribner provided a compelling overview of the workforce engagement aspect of social business (aka formerly known as Enterprise 2.0) Using IBM’s own experience, Josh walked everyone through what they’ve learned at transforming virtually the entire company into a social business including the importance of community management and making sure they were addressing long standing pain points in the organization. Josh presented some useful data on a social business impacts breakdown that listed increased skills, access to experts, and better knowledge sharing as benefits listed by over three quarters of the organization surveyed.

After lunch, there was a terrific drum improvisation session that helped everyone get in the mood and then several speakers including myself as well as XPLANE’s Dave Gray gave sessions. Dave Gray explored his latest thinking about The Connected Company, which takes the viewpoint that businesses can’t be treated as machines, as much as some try to, but are more like living organisms and we need to treat them that way. Dave’s thinking has been expressed in detail in his excellent blog post that explores The Connected Company and the backstory including his research and citations. As always, Dave is thought provoking and profound in his insights, and I fully expect that management theory in the next 5 years will look at lot more like his thinking and less about hierarchy, org charts, and out-dated, mechanistic business process “optimization”.

I’ve omitted several speakers due to space considerations but you can always catch them when the videos are online for the Sydney event. And it’s always best to attend the summits in person to get the latest content first-hand and as early as possible. All-in-all, it was an exceptional and informative event, and having attended hundreds of conferences in the last 6 years, I can attest to the expertise on display.

Social Business Summit 2011 AustinSocial Business Summit 2011 Austin

Next, the summit series moved to the hometown of the Dachis Group: Austin, Texas. Held the day before SXSW started up, the Social Business Summit 2011 Austin had an truly amazing line-up of speakers.

Peter Kim and Jeff Dachis started things off with a heartfelt introduction to the day to a packed audience at The W Hotel in downtown Austin and then introduced the first speaker.

My good friend JP Rangaswami, recently CIO of British Telecom and now Chief Scientist of Salesforce came up to talk about how to think about adapting to today’s increasingly social business world. As always, JP’s ruminations are alternately profound, insightful, wry, and humorous. He opened by observing that “we have meticulously engineered the act of being social, out of business“, which genuinely resonated with the audience and the Twitterverse, if retweets are any judge. One of his key observations was that social systems allow us to finally “store failure” in a reusable fashion so that we can “future proof” ourselves against old mistakes and “go on to make all new mistakes.” JP provided these and many other useful perspectives on social and cloud computing. I urge you to see the video of his talk when it’s released.

Rawn Shah came up and spoke about IBM’s experiences with social computing, covering similar material to Josh Scribner in the Sydney event but with new data and insights. My favorite was Rawn’s assertion (with visual) that social business is the 5th global shift in computing where mainframes, departmental computing, personal computers, and Internet were the first four generations.

After lunch, Forrester’s Josh Bernoff presented on the latest on social computing trends. In particular, Josh’s update to their breakdown of social participation showed the recently the number of creators, those that craft and share new content online has become about a quarter of the online population with the biggest overall demographic breakdown being joiners (those participating in social communities online), which has moved from 25% to 59% of the online world. Josh has been watching this space for a long time and his expertise showed. You can catch all the details when the video is released.

Then one of my favorite speakers went on stage, John Hagel, now of Deloitte and author of one of the most important new books in this space, The Power of Pull. Speaking without the benefit of slides, John proceeded to give the audience one of the most insightful views on social business I’ve had the pleasure of hearing, opening with what he calls The Big Shift: “We are moving from an era of diminishing returns to an era of increasing returns” made possible by new digital business models. I’ve explored these concepts in my overview of the Power Laws of 21st Century Economics but John certainly put it far more succinctly. He wrapped up with a presentation of two key ideas in social business: 1) “Exceptions are the shadow economies of firms today” and is fertile ground for social business solutions, which thrive in an exception-driven environment, and 2) his advice to start social business “on the edge. The core of businesses have antibodies that are effective at throwing off and resisting change.

Next was Michael Gold of Jazz Impact who led an amazing musical session that was interwoven with insights on improvisation and collaboration, using jazz music as a metaphor and eventually engaging the entire audience in an extemporaneous collaborative effort with shared musical composition. Best quote: “Simply rendering the beauty and integrity of what’s already there isn’t what business is today. Instead, we must improvise.” Michael’s observation that we have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones to achieve the full benefits of social business was one of the most poignant and high impact observations of the day.

As with Sydney, there were other terrific speakers that space won’t allow me to cover but videos of most of the presentations will be put online over time. It’s fair to say that both events provided a state-of-the-art overview of the social business industry from experts and practitioners alike. As I examined recently on ZDNet, this is an industry that is the future of business in the largest sense. I look forward to the next two summits and the discussions they’ll provoke online and in the business world. I hope you join me there to attend or track from afar. You can keep up with all Social Business Summit activity this month and next by tracking the hashtag #sbs2011.