Dion Hinchcliffe: Cultivating and actively orchestrating our social ecologies is the next stage

e20-dion-hinchcliffeDion Hinchcliffe (@dhinchcliffe) offers his answers for this episode of our pre-Summit interview series.

Dion is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Dachis Group, he’s a thought leader in, and I quote, social business, big data, analytics, service-oriented architecture, agile methods, Social CRM, and supply chain management.

Furthermore, he’s a regular keynote speaker and co-author of several books.

Dion – you will be again participating as keynote speaker at this year’s Enterprise 2.0 SUMMIT. What are the three tags that label best your talk?

It’s certainly a challenge to combine all the changes I’m seeing into just three tags, but I’d say #usingdatatoengage, #usingcmgrstotransform and #goingbeyondtools.

Is the corporate world “social enterprise ready”? In the manner of being ready to overcome the challenges of the enterprise-wide social adoption and to get beyond the Trough of Disillusionment?

Yes, we’re finally starting to see this in large well-governed and performance-driven organizations, that they are at last taking social business and digital communities seriously at the highest levels and making long-term commitments. There are still plenty of laggards of course, but the social enterprise has become a vital and active concept in many companies today.

What are the key characteristics and strategic pillars of those enterprises that you would evaluate as being successful in their approach to a social enterprise/business strategy?

This hasn’t changed all that much over the years: Those most successful in their social enterprise efforts tend to be committed, provide adequate resources and clear leadership, and are willing to experiment until they find strong winning paths. To this, I’d now add the organizations most willing to shift their culture broadly to tap most effectively into digital networks and communities to capture value. We now see these latter types of organizations having the most success today.

So – it’s all about understanding the strategic impact of the digital world on the corporate system in a holistic way (external customer orientation/interactions dependent on internal flexible collaboration)?

Right, understanding the impact is the essential starting point. I do think it’s critical for organizations to deeply appreciate what specifically makes social enterprise different, namely that it’s much more decentralized, open, and autonomous. Whereas traditional business processes have relatively pre-defined participants and outcomes, that’s not necessarily the case at all with social enterprise. Learning to let go more, and let the network create the rich results desired in new and powerful ways, is then the second step in the journey. Deliberately cultivating and actively orchestrating our social ecologies is the next stage.

You are demanding for a resilience to constant change. What are your recommended building blocks for a corporate culture that is following this path?

Our organizations aren’t currently structured well for easily embracing a stream of highly frequent change. Yet that’s exactly the world we now live in, so we must adapt to it. Fortunately, there are some clues on how we can go about this. Making it easier, more cost-effective, and more flexible to structure teams and processes to self-organize around business objectives is one way. Another is deliberately encouraging more outside participation in business processes; this can be local or across the world, inside and outside the organization. Connecting more deeply to the social world automatically 1) brings in a stream of outside change and 2) marshals the most scalable resource we have (the network) to help us embrace it. There are some other means emerging, but these are the most certain ways we know of today.

What is your recommended actions to be taken to realize this step forward?

Don’t be afraid to try, don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t stop moving ahead once you have a little bit of success.

Thank you Dion, for the answers. You can hear more from Dion during the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Paris, when he takes part in the Keynote Panel: Framework of the Social Enterprise & the Future of Work.

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Rogier Noort
I'm a Social Business addict coming from the technical depths of IT and rising from these dark ages, through web and social, to the enlightened field of Social Business. Also blogger, podcaster, talker and listener.