Sunday, 27 October 2013

Twitter and internal communications content

Which internal communication content have you shared on Twitter recently?

Twitter can be a powerful social tool for any internal communicator. While it is an external platform, not for this it should be easily abandoned by internal communications professionals. In fact, differently from an enterprise social network (ESN), Twitter is not meant to build private conversations inside the organisation (not now at least). However, the platform can provide an outstanding amount of knowledge and connections that the internal communications profession can benefit from.

Taking part on specific internal comms #conversations, following experts on the subject, finding out and being aware of the latest news, events, training courses, case studies, research: these are just a few ways in which internal communicators could use and benefit from Twitter. By using the tool purposefully and meaningfully, they can build up their expertise and bring it back to their own professional and organisational lives.

What a better opportunity and value for an industry which may sometimes feel isolated?

So in the name of the social filtering, within these marginalia I would like to share a few of the internal communications resources that I posted on Twitter during the past days.

While each tweet was of course created within the allowed 140 characters, the links gave access to the whole content (forgive me if that was very obvious to you) from which I have extracted the below pieces of information, thoughts and quotes:

Innovation and internal communications

Creating innovation within a large organisation takes a mix of determination, provocation, experimentation and political savvy...It is human energy that drives innovation” - @Matt Kingdon, source: simply-communicate

Innovation has to become a distributed activity happening across the board, deeply embedded culturally. And that is greatly helped by having social tools which are tailored to support the specific activities related to innovative thinking. Those activities include idea creation and sharing, gathering feedback on ideas, and then moving ideas into reality by active and direct execution.” - @StoweBoyd, Source: Gigaom Research

Knowledge workers collectively make the relationship capital that creates value in the network era. They need to be not just knowledgeable, but creative as well.” - @Hjarche, Source: Life in perpetual Beta

I'd rather work with people brave enough to embrace possible futures.” - @ThisisSethsBlog, Source: Seth's Blog

Narratives can create a very different world, one where pressure evolves from a source of stress to a source of excitement, calling us to achieve even more of our potential, both as individuals and collectively. By drawing out the passion that lies dormant within most of us, narratives can help us to accomplish things that we would have never believed possible.” - @jhagel, Source: Edge Perspectives

Social Business and ESNs

Social businesses evolve through a series of stages that ultimately align social media strategies with business goals.” - @BrianSolis , Source: simply-communicate

Social collaboration technology can empower employers and employees alike by instilling social media into professional communications, thus bringing in faster ways to accomplish tasks leading to improved employee productivity.” - Source: InformationWeek

Digital as an approach should be engaging. Communicating digitally needn’t be something we’re afraid of at work.” - @AnthonySimon, Source: Government Communication Network

The future of learning will rely on trusted “social curators of knowledge” who help to pull together only the most valuable information.” - @BryanKramer, Source: Brian Kramer's Blog

Internal communications: market, EI and financial performance

What’s happening in the internal comms market? The key trend we are seeing at the moment is a move away from tactical delivery towards a business partnering approach. As internal comms matures as a specialism there is an increasing awareness of the strategic role it can play.” - Interview by @SilviaCambie, Source: simply-communicate

"Our leaders are increasingly exposed to their colleagues who in the past they may not have had direct contact with. The discussions they enter into now, and how they take part in them, will distinguish them as authentic, credible leaders or not, and this is where EI will really play out. Not only do they need to gear up for a faster pace of discussion, but they need the ability to react swiftly, appropriately and publicly in a way that fosters conversation and demonstrates understanding of the issues raised.” - @RebecHilliard, Source: simply-communicate

Internal communications helps drive organizational financial performance and other key business results, and enhances organizational reputation.” - Source: SIS-CON MEDIA

How about you? Have you shared or found any useful internal communication content on Twitter recently?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Internal communications and poetical scientists

I never am really satisfied that understand anything; because understand it well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand”  (Ada Lovelace)

Every year in mid-October, the world celebrates Ada Lovelace Day to recognise and raise the profile of women working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). 

The event, this year held on 15th, is done in the name of Ada Lovelace (1815 – 1852), considered to be the world's first computer programmer. 

For more information about Ada Lovelace, let's refer to wikipedia which reports:

Ada Lovelace, was an English mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. Because of this, she is often described as the world's first computer programmer.
Lovelace was born 10 December 1815 as the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron.
She referred to herself as a poetical scientist and an Analyst (& Metaphysician).
As a young adult, her mathematical talents led her to an ongoing working relationship and friendship with fellow British mathematician Charles Babbage, and in particular Babbage's work on the analytical engine.
Between 1842 and 1843, she translated an article by Italian military engineer Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with an elaborate set of notes of her own, simply called Notes. These notes contain what is considered by some to be the first computer program—that is, an algorithm encoded for processing by a machine.
Lovelace's notes are important in the early history of computers. She also developed a vision on the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on those capabilities.

On the occasion of Ada Lovelace day, I created a Storify, "Ada Lovelace Day & Women in Tech"(also below), to commemorate this intelligent woman, and think about female's potential in STEM's workplaces. Thanks to all the material shared on the web, I could capture a vast amount of articles, news, tweets, blog posts, infographics, podcasts, radio programmes, pictures and research.

The whole exercise prompted me also to think about the developments of technology for internal communications and social media inside the large enterprise.

With a focus on the potential power offered by social analytics and sentiment analysis, I wonder if it is time to bring attention to a new type of internal communicator, a sort of 'poetical scientist'? 

Like Ada Lovelace, both mathematician and writer, the poetical scientist would be required to leverage the power of social measurement inside the company.

Through the use of social analysis and a deeper, sound understanding of what is happening in the enterprise, this type of internal communicator would translate figures and data into stories, numbers into words, makes use of both analytical and creative skills to deliver the best value to the organisation.

Does the social enterprise require more Ada Lovelaces for its internal communications?

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A study on Digital Transformation

This week, Capgemini Consulting and MIT Sloan Management Review have released the results from a global survey on digital transformation. 


The study, "Embracing Digital Technology: A New Strategic Imperative," reveals that while the potential opportunity of Digital Transformation is absolutely clear, the journey to get there is not.

The study – involving over 1,500 executives in 106 countries – shows that the opportunity offered by new digital technologies is clear. 78% of respondents feel that Digital Transformation will be critical to their organization within the next two years. Where Digital Transformation is a permanent fixture on the executive agenda, 81% of people believe it will give their company a competitive advantage. However, business leaders are struggling to translate this opportunity into a vision for change or a roadmap for execution. 63% of people said the pace of technology change in their organizations is too slow.


Competing priorities and lack of digital skills were the top two challenges in execution.

Lack of urgency or no “burning platform” was the number one most cited organizational barrier. In addition, only 36% of leaders have shared a vision for Digital Transformation with their employees (but within the third that have shared a vision, 93% of employees are behind it).

Only about half of organizations create business cases for digital investments.

40% said they had no formal governance practices around Digital Transformation and only 26% are using KPIs to track progress.

Conclusion. Excerpted from “Embracing Digital Technology A New Strategic Imperative” 

The stakes make digital transformation a digital imperative for companies. Digital transformation is a wide-open area, one that gives CEOs broad leeway to act. But the CEO and senior leadership must develop a vision to articulate to the staff, create a road map and commit to it, and then rally the organization with measurable goals and incentives to reach them.

Companies should take small steps, via pilots and skunkworks, and invest in the ones that work.

There are two wrong ways to approach (digital transformation),” MIT’s George Westerman told us. “One is to say, ‘just go off and do something. And we don’t need to worry about coordination.’ Another is to hire a bunch of people and say ‘make this happen. I don’t need to be involved.’”
If you’re an executive leading a company looking at these technologies, you need to lead the technology — don’t let it lead you,” Westerman added. “You want to think about, how is your company going to be different because this is here? And then, put in a framework, so you’re not just buying technology, you’re actually pushing your company forward in a different way, because the technology is there.”

The only wrong move for executives, then, would be not making any move.”

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The re-thinking of work and doing business

In the field of social business, many are the experts and professionals suggesting the re-thinking of work and doing business. 

The premise is that today, we are unlikely to create value in our personal, professional and organisational lives by adopting the same traditional frameworks and approaches used in the past.

To operate successfully and meaningfully, we need to look beyond those models, and change old mindsets to the way of conceptualising work, working relationships and doing business.

I found particularly fascinating Stowe Boyd's (web anthropologist, futurist, author and analyst at GigaOM research) idea of 'a reworking of work'. In 'We don’t need a rethinking of management. We need a reworking of work' he writes:

In the postnormal era where we now live and work, the great majority of work performed by people is non-routine and cognitive. The routine and non-cognitive work is rapidly being handled over to robots and software, and there is a reƫmergence of craft work where artisanal craftspeople can command a premium for high quality goods. Management is becoming a distributed and emergent property of people working in social networks, instead of an extrinsic and imposed property of hierarchy.

Everybody has to be innovating in business, not just a cadre of managers. I’m not saying that all people should be innovating all the time, every second. But every person should be free to innovate in their work, because all work is personal. And because all work is also social, work networks need to innovate to stay ahead of market conditions, respond to client demands, and offer new ways to deliver higher value more quickly.

The days when an isolated group of efficiency or innovation experts owned that, is long past.

So we don’t need a rethinking of management, we need a reworking of work: one that is in tune with 21st century realities and not the last echoes of 20th century management dogma.”

Suggesting an operating model of doing business different from the past, in 'The Operating Model that is eating the world', Aaron Dignan (CEO of Undercurrent) also notices:

Today’s fastest growing, most profoundly impactful companies are using a completely different operating model. These companies are lean, mean, learning machines. They have an intense bias to action and a tolerance for risk, expressed through frequent experimentation and relentless product iteration.

They are obsessed with company culture and top tier talent, with an emphasis on employees that can imagine, build, and test their own ideas.

They are open, connected, and build with and for their community of users and co-conspirators. They are comfortable with the unknown – business models and customer value are revealed over time. They are driven by a purpose greater than profit; each has its own aspirational “dent in the universe.”

This makes me think of Will McInnes's words shared in his book, 'Culture Shock': 

"A new wave of disruptive organisations have already understood and embraced the need of shifting patterns in the way they are doing business. These organisations have stopped adopting the old command and control approach and instead have move towards building a progressive workplace where organisational democracy and intelligent use of technology help their people to collaborate and move faster."

Recently, RSA Animate has created a video 'Re-Imagining work'. It is an animated film which prompts us to re-think on where and how we work:

Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, imagines what might be possible if more organisations embraced the full, empowering potential of technology and encouraged a truly open, collaborative and flexible working culture.”


With a visual shared in an article on Forbes, 'The evolution of work', Jacob Morgan shows how work is evolving and what areas are being impacted:

1. From hierarchies to a more flattened structure

2. From fixed working hours to flexible working hours

3. From hoarded information to shared information

4. From fear-based leadership to empowering and inspiring

5. From on-premise to the cloud

6. From email as primary form of communication to being a secondary form of communication

7. From climbing the corporate ladder to creating the ladder

8. From siloed and fragmented to connected and engaged

9. From working at the office to working anywhere


I would like to conclude these marginalia with digital analyst Brian Solis's words. In 'Overcoming The Tech Trap: Why the Future of Business Is Relevance', he reminds us that:

Fixation on technology isn't the catalyst to bring about business transformation. New technology coupled with an old way of thinking inhibits progress. The future of business comes down to tying business-level outcomes and objectives to the promise and purpose of what disruptive or emerging technology represents.

As someone pushing for change, start with a vision that articulates how you will earn relevance and preference among connected customers and employees in addition to those who have supported your growth thus far. 

Then use technology and corresponding strategies to bring that vision to life. This not only helps you avoid technology traps but this sense of higher purpose also contributes to a culture of innovation where resilience and relevance become byproducts of a more connected, human and empathetic business.”

The re-thinking of work and doing business is a topic that fascinates me. There are many different elements and perspectives to take in consideration when looking at it. I will continue to explore it.

If you would like to share something, please feel free to use the comment section.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

A Sri Lankan leadership story

The distance between who you are and who you want to be is separated only by your aspirations and actions.” (Brian Solis, “See the world in 3-D: Dream. Do. Deserve”)

Yesterday I read a news story on BBC News Business, 'Young woman breaks through in Sri Lankan business world'.

It is a story of leadership, ambition and courage of a 25-year-old girl called Nimali Gunawardana who comes from impoverished background in agricultural Sri Lanka.

With determination and vision, Nimali has been able to turn herself into one of her country's most promising young businesswomen, and last month she won the Prince of Wales’s Youth Business International (YBI) Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 award*.

Since she was a child, Nimali was determined to overcome the traditional ideas about women at work embedded in Sri Lanka's society. At the same time she wanted to overcome poverty and achieve her dream of being independent by opening a sustainable business.

Last year, after a series of setbacks, Nimali became the boss (and founder) of Nimali Chips and Fibre Mill, a small company that turns coconut shells into useful materials. Today, the business employs thirteen staffers, eleven women and two man.

Nimali's story can be also read on Daily FT which reports on the award given her some weeks ago: “YBSL has praised Nimali’s determination and courage. “A woman running this type of business in Sri Lanka is pioneering,” said the YBI member. “She is a businesswoman with a future. The amount she has achieved within an eight-month period and her dedication and sacrifice is inspirational. She has overcome many traditional and gender barriers and she has grasped this business opportunity with both hands and run with it.”

I wanted to write these marginalia on Nimali's leadership story, for not forgetting it. It is inspiring. I like to think of it as the Sri Lankan materialisation of the 3-D's concept by Brian Solis, 'Dream. Do. Deserve.'

Well done Nimali.

* The award recognises the hard work and determination of young, underserved entrepreneurs who have created exceptional and sustainable businesses. Source