Sunday, 29 December 2013

WTF: where anthropology & technology intersect

Every now and then, some quotes grab our attention. It might be because they shed light on an area of interest, transform the way we think about certain topics, give us some sort of guidance or food for thought.

For the last Marginalia on Engagement of 2013 I would like to share some extracts from What's the Future of Business? (WTF) by author, digital analyst and anthropologist Brian Solis. The book is original, innovative and elucidates the ongoing evolution of social business in an engaging way.

In his work Solis describes how social and mobile technologies have been impacting on the way of doing business. Innovative companies are working and communicating with both customers and employees in entirely new ways. They have transformed the way they operate, innovate and form relationships through social business. Adaptation is necessary to survival. While this changes are driven by technology, ultimately they are cultural and behavioural.

The below quotes are on the topics of the value of social media, communities, change, innovation, people, technology, vision and purpose. They may be a source of inspiration for a successful, productive and meaningful 2014.

The value of social media

The brilliance of social networks is the opportunity to transform negative experiences into positive outcomes. Conversations inspire opportunities for product refinement or innovation to create remarkable experiences from the onset.”

Social media is more about social science than technology. It is about experience. As such, its value is not realised in the Likenomics of relationships status or in the scores that individuals earn by engaging in social networks.”

The value of digital experiences is rooted in people, relationships, and the meaningful actions between them. Yes, it's not just social...it's digital and real world experiences that count for everything. Value is measured through the exchange of social currencies that contributes to one's capital within each network." 

"Through conversations, what we share, and the content we create, consume, and curate, we individually invest in the commerce of information and the relationships that naturally unfold. It is in how these relationships take shape that is both in and out of your control. This is why, in the age of social and mobile networking, relevant engagement and ensuring experiences matter.”

As Marshall McLuhan once said, 'The medium is the message.” Now, the medium is not only the message, the medium is the experience. And that is why we cannot simply design for the medium; we must design the experience where the medium becomes an enabler to the journey and the end as devised.”

Communities

The future of community requires greater depth of understanding and intention. Community is much more than being a part of something; it's about doing something together that makes being a part of something matter. Community must have a purpose.”

“Contributing value to people and investing time and energy into networks of relevance will earn any organisation a position of equal or greater influence.”

Change

“Change is taking place today with or without you. To what extent varies from company to company. But without an understanding of how technology and society are evolving and how decisions are influenced and made, businesses are left to make decisions in the dark.”

“This is a time of change which requires coalescence and solidarity. We can't change whether the culture is rigid or risk adverse. We can't innovate if those who experiment are not supported."

"Organisations need to focus on cultivating a culture of adaptation rooted in customer- and employee-centricity and, more importantly, empowerment. Those companies that invest in the development of an adaptive culture will realise improved relationships that contribute to competitive advantage.”

“To change takes two things: the aspiration and determination to change.”

“Change is inevitable. At the same time change is daunting. Undertaking it is certainly rife with obstacles. But, merely recognising the need to change is often the most difficult milestone to reach.”

Innovation

“The ability to recognize new opportunities is perhaps the greatest challenge rivaled only by the ability to execute. Emerging and disruptive technology is now part of the business landscape. Innovation, trends and hype are not going to stop. In fact, they will only amplify. The capacity to identify and consider new solutions and responses is critical. It must be supported by innovative collaboration and decision-making processes and systems to access and react. Innovation must be perpetual.”

“To innovate first requires innovation within.” 

People

“Organisations that embrace the spirit of intrepreneurialism will empower employees to experiment through failure and success to improve engagement and morale.”

“Now's the time to form a special unit to start exploring needs, opportunities, expectations, and behavior to develop an action plan that doesn't distract your focus, but instead invest in the alternative realities that are already taking shape.”

Technology

“These are the times when getting caught up in technology, value, and new technology is often mistaken for innovation that inflates the dreaded bubble. What we don't need is to invest in the wrong technology simply because posts are constantly written with the “top 10” ways to grow our business with said platform. While we can watch them grow, the real focus should be on the development of a formal system that measures impact and prioritises resources around it accordingly.”

Vision

“It starts with vision. Chances are that your organisation is already exploring new media, technology, and alternative channels. To start with vision is a seemingly trivial step, but its role sets the stage for a meaningful business transformation. Someone needs to press PAUSE to stop the chaotic rush toward modernisation and ask, “Why are we doing this?” Without doing so, businesses are only perpetuating the problem as it exists today.”

Purpose

“Aspiring to a higher purpose is what separates mediocrity from performance and relevance. And, purpose is a pillar of experience.”

“The truth is that innovation works for us and against us. Investing in it with purpose and design is our responsibility. Whether you are an entrepreneur leading the latest or the next hot start-up, a business executive seeking solutions or competitive edge, a decision maker or a champion for change in any industry, this is the time to see through the chaos of features, trends, IPOs, investments, ballooning valuations, and so on, to clear a path for meaningful progress.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you would like to explore further the content of the book - which I would encourage you to read - here are:

video with Solis explaining the key concepts of his work during a talk at Google. 

         

A related post on Marginalia on Engagement: #B2Bhuddle with Brian Solis

A slideshare presentation:

          


If you would like to share any other resource or your own thoughts on the topic, please feel free to use the comment box. 

Best wishes for an innovative, purposeful and successful New Year!