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Blogs > Office Jotter

IBM's big conversation on social business
Roger Whitehead By: Roger Whitehead, Director, Office Futures
Published: 7th May 2011
Copyright Office Futures © 2011

In February 2011, IBM invited public participation in some online discussions it called the IBM Social Business Jam. Its subtitle was “Exploring new approaches for the next era of business”.

During the 3 days of the event, over 2.500 people contributed their thoughts on these topics:

  • Building participatory organizations through social adoption
  • Building the social business of the future
  • Identifying risks and establishing governance
  • Using social to understand and engage with customers
  • What social means for IT.

The report on the conversations is now available, with the transcripts of them. These run into many thousands of words each.

“Building the social business of the future” was the most popular conversation, with over 1,000 comments, totalling 110,000 words. Return on investment (ROI) was a hot topic within that.

As well as from the public, IBM invited participation from nearly 50 experts. This, and the evident earnestness of the ‘ordinary’ contributors, resulted in conversations of high quality.

I think it would be worth your while reading through the transcripts* as well as the report, which is excellent.

*As these are in CSV format, I imported each to Excel, then copied the final column into Word for ease of reading.

I wish I’d seen that earlier

I missed the “Jam”, so have only now seen this remark. One contributor asked, rhetorically, ““Did we figure out the ROI of email, instant messaging or even the telephone? No…”

I’d have told him the answer is “yes”, on email at any event. I was asked to do so some years ago by a director of a large British investment bank. Email was so new to many of its senior managers that I had to explain it to them as well as make a business case for it. It was hard going; lots of closed minds.

Social business is as much a novelty today for many organizations

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