Social Business Arena discussing the digital transformation of the workplace

In about two weeks time the gates of CeBIT will open and with this the Social Business Arena @ CeBIT will start for a second time. The Social Business Arena is a conference embedded into the exhibition floor in Hall 4 and expanded with a space for networking, workshops and vendors. The Social Business Arena will take place only the first three days of CeBIT (March 16 to 18 2015) and offers an exciting overview on the variety of challenges and its implications for the establishment of new forms of collaboration, the needed changes of the work organization behind it and the whole digital transformation of the workplace.

While the conference is mainly in German we offer some very interesting keynotes and also expert panels with English speakers and participants – thus international guests and attendees are also very much welcomed to join the conference (see the language flag on the conference agenda). In the following I would like to draw the big picture about the key topics being discussed at the conference of the Social Business Arena.

Social as enabler for a more performant workplace

The introduction of social technology into the workplace follows many different ideas and objectives. One common starting point is to fight back the inefficiencies of today’s organizations – like to reduce meeting times by a better information flow, to improve quality results by a better sharing of implicit knowledge on defects avoiding approaches or to increase processing time by making processing pitfalls transparent. The key idea behind these approaches is to make the existing organization more performant.

For this to be achieved there are some challenges to overcome – like the adoption of the individual to the different way of sharing information and knowledge, the change of routines for the project collaboration or the acceptance of the organization to sharing of knowledge beyond the departmental borders. Thus in order to be successful some efforts in changing the corporate culture on the individual, team and organizational level are essential.

Many discussions have already been run on this (see our Enterprise 2.0 SUMMIT and the hashtag #e20s on Twitter) – but still – as the field of application (in other words: the number of organziations starting with this) is so diverse in size, industry and cultural settings – the issues on the adoption and change management techniques for the achievenment of this objective is equally manifolded.

The conference at the Social Business Arena covers this topic in different expert panels – e.g. in exploring the good practices and pitfalls of the social adoption, in discussing the needed social skill set for the workforce to successfully enter this space but also in debating the right technological approach to enable the performance enhancement.

Social as enabler for a more innovative workplace

One step beyond the improvement of the existing organizational routines is the approach to find and to create new business value for the organization by enhancing the innovation processes by the establishment of social knowledge sharing and collaboration. For this objective to be achieved the return is already less tangible.

Furthermore the success of this approach depends on a new thinking in regards to the role of one person’s knowledge for the organization. The introduction and acceptance of approaches like “working out loud” – means the documentating and sharing of reflections on one’s work – is a very important precondition for this. When documentated and therefore findable the shared knowledge and ideas on existing processes, products and market insights can help other persons in the organization by finding a new way for it. For this to be successfull the organization also needs a downturn of the “naysayer culture”.

In this sense the tasks for the corporate culture change is therefore even more challinging. This also needs a top-level – meaning top management – legitimitation to be achieved throughout the organization. Senior manager need to pick up a new role model to enfoster the sharing and cultivating of important information for the organization.

Again the Social Business Arena will address these topics in its conference agenda at various occasions. For example in the discussion about how to establish the corporate cultural change or the changes for the corporate learning approaches.

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Social as enabler for the transformation of the workplace

On the third level of maturity with the introduction and establishment of social technology in the workplace the organization are consequently exploring the potential of social technology as enabler for the transformation of the workplace. While the social technology helps to make the existing organization more performant and innovative, it also results into the questioning of the existing structures and approaches to the business value creation. Especially as the digital age implies a paradigm shift for the interaction with the customer and the value creation the introduction and establishment of social technology provides a chance to incite and enable this transformation.

For this the ideas to a new conception of the organization of work, the management and leadership approaches and the business model need to be discussed. At the Social Business Arena we are once again trying to ignite this discussion with various sessions.

Social Business Arena as a meeting place on the digital transformtion of the workplace at CeBIT 2015

With the Social Business Arena and its conference we are offering another occasion to exchange about challenges and lessons learned for these approaches. Certainly we won’t be able to answer all the questions on this topic – but provide some new ideas and insights on this topic. Therefore we have invited a variety of international and national topic experts and practioneers – like Dion Hinchcliffe (adjuvi), Dr. Josephine Hofmann (Fraunhofer IAO), Sameer Patel (SAP), Peter M. Wald (HTWK Leipzig), Lee Bryant (Postshift), Prof. Dr. Dr. Ayad Al-Ani (HIIG) and many others.

Besides the conference discussions the Social Business Arena offers hands-on workshops and an exclusive networking. Leading market vendors and consultants are supporting the area and provide answers to more in-depth questions. Therefore – if the transformation of the workplace is a topic for you and CeBIT is an option for you to go to, the Social Business Arena is definitely the place to visit and stay at.

Enrol for the conference attendance and register for a VIP pass to access the networking area!