Need of Making the Social Business Transformation Happen!

A bunch of mathmap transforms © by fdecomite

While the adoption of E20 initiatives is widely growing, the transformation towards new organizational structures, new forms of corporate culture and leadership values is still struggling. The idea of the scientific management, relying on the work of Frederic Winslow Taylor, is still ruling the corporate reality and with this also its characteristics – like a strong focus on economic efficiency, the distinguishment between knowledge-based management and physical work based production tasks, the therefore standardization of processes and the “knowledge transfer between workers and from workers into tools, processes, and documentation“.

The transition towards a new form of organization and management – that is still efficient but generating a business value surplus by innovation and creativity that is leveraged by an open and transparent, knowledge sharing supporting and adhoc collaboration enhancing environment (aka Enterprise 2.0) – is still far away from reality.

The awareness of this reality is slowly leading towards discourage and de-motivation of the topic leaders, forerunners and practioneers. At the “Social Business Forum Milan” the self-named “hippie 2.0“, Luis Suarez, expressed these thoughts very nicely in an interview with me:

So the call is out there: Rather than continuously talking about the potentials of the “social walk” we have to explore and elaborate the little steps on how to make the “walk” happen!

In a recent post I already expressed my thoughts on the distinction between the piloting, adoption and the transformation step. Distinguishing between these three main stages in the E20 project evolution, I would make the assumption of four different curves that go along with it. The main curve is the adoption which starts fast, slows down while the adoption goes for the masses within the company and increases again within the business transformation stage. The business transformation starts also fast for those departments that are involved in the piloting stage, progresses slowly but steadily over the course of the mass adoption of social techniques within the company and has an above average growth in the business transformation stage. The “hypeness of the E20” follows the traditional hype cycle curve – with a strong hype at the beginning, a “hangover” when the expectations of the transformation are not achieved as fast as previewed and a substantial “slope of enlightement” afterwards. As fourth curve I see the changing motivation of the E20 project leads. While the motivation is high with the quick wins at the early stages, it is continuesly decreasing in the course of the project. While the adoption might even reach some wide parts of the company, the motivation for getting even further might even be at its lowest level.

Evolution Curves for E20 Project

Evolution Curves of “Hypeness” of the E20 Topic, Adoption Progress, Transformational Progress and Motivation of the E20 Project Leads

Some E20 advocats tend to say the initiative only needs to have a strong top executive awareness – and everything runs more smoothly. Well – while some best practices like Burberry might support this statement I would argue that the key for the success in these projects is not just a matter of the personal support of the top executives. Without any empirical prove I would rather argue that the fact of the top executive support helps to lift the E20 initiative from a project driven by communications, knowledge management or IT to a project driven by the organizational development people in the enterprise – and this IMHO is the more pivotal issue to the E20 success. And I would even argue – that the fact of managing the project through the lenses of an OD perspective helps already to move the project forward to a more transformational result.

For this reason and because we want to contribute our share to the E20 idea and discussion (with this blog and our events) we are going to set our agenda even more on the OD and HR perspective. Starting with our next E20 Meetup in Paris on next Thursday (to which I invite literally everyone as this will also be an virtual event! => see also this page for following the event) we are trying to support the need of making the Social Business Transformation happen!


  • Anne Marie McEwan

    I really want to join you virtually for this session this evening. I had hoped to be their in person ( I live in France) but is not possible this time.

    The link takes you to an FB page. I am not on FB.

    How do I join the Google+ Hangout, please? Sorry for missing what is probably obvious.

    Anne Marie