Friday, November 4, 2011

Beyond Facebook - Do We Really Know What Social Business Means?

Beyond Facebook - Do We Really Know What Social Business Means?

Fascinating to read Alistair Rennie's "The Time is Right for Social Business" here on Forbes (it got great traction too). But do you really know what a social business is or what the term means? It is after all the next wave of business process innovation. I went digging to find out.

The gist of it for Alistair? "This is what makes a social business – embracing networks of people to create new business value and opportunities."

However, when you explore the term it has a lot more meaning than that. It's been used in many contexts. And creating a richer and empowering definition is both important and still there to be done.

Here's a simple visual of "social business" from different perspectives.

#1. Values: One of the most important questions we have to ask is whether social business implies new social values. Earlier this year in an article called Creating Shared Value Michael Porter and Mark Kramer asked if business needs to redefine its place in society: "The concept of shared value recognizes that societal needs, not just conventional economic needs, define markets."

#2. Bottom of the pyramid: Social business originates in bottom of the pyramid activities. It describes business systems that alleviate poverty through entrepreneurism

#3. P2P. Social business is the first P2P platform and all the P2P economics that have followed it, from Napster to eBay to companies like Eventbrite and AirBnB. These are platforms that enable other people to do business with each other.

#4. Communications. Social business is an extension of social media and really means improved communications between companies, customers and employees.

#5. Data. Social business is about the accumulation and use of data from online browsing, generated from new standards like the Open Graph.

#6. Crowd or collective intelligence and action. Social business is really crowdsourcing solutions to intractable problems and ranges from Innocentive's science and business challenges to reporting pothole in urban areas ideation programs inside large companies.

#7. CSR. Social business is CSR.

These are all existing active definitions of social business and they will all contribute to the way firms function in future. Social business though is not about large companies being more social. We need to give due recognition to each aspect of the genre. Each has a part to play in rebooting business for a more productive era.


Brought to you by: Lawyer Asad

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