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The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employer or any of the companies that I work with.



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Clay Christensen Lessons for Social Media

Clay ChristensenGoing into the World Innovation Forum, Clay Christensen was the only speaker whose work I had read (and I spoke of the language of The Innovator’s Dilemma in a post earlier this year).  He covered some familiar stories, but also covered a lot of material that was new to me. For some great coverage of his presentation at the conference, check out posts from fellow bloggers Helen Walters at Business Week, Chris Flanagan of Business Innovation Factory and Don Peppers.

My perspective for this post is looking at how to apply Christensen’s material to social media in a corporate environment (note that Christensen discussed many social issues, but not social media - these are my thoughts based on 2 days of great speakers and some reflection).

While Live-Tweeting the session, I posted:

Reflecting on Clay Christensen’s “unmet needs” - a challenge of social media adoption: creates new value not easily foreseen

Jeff Hurt responded

Social Media is about building & nurturing relationships. If you gain my trust, you gain my attention.

and Chris Flanagan commented

Maybe the better question is what jobs need to be done? Look beyond social dimension to functional & emotional

There has been lots of discussion lately around the ROI of social media and amongst the many challenges here are:

  • Do we really understand what “jobs” we are looking to do?  Until you get start doing social media, it’s hard to say what will work or won’t work for your company.  For marketing, it is very unpredictable what will be successful or what will go viral.
  • Relationship or community building translates into goodwill and brand equity which is always difficult to measure quantitatively.

On day 1, a question to Paul Saffo from a young audience member “How will social media make money?” got a large laugh out of the audience, as one of the bloggers noted “if we had the answer, would we be here at the conference?”

Another piece of Christensen’s session talked about the education process.  He spoke about how the 8 learning styles (see a good post on this topic from Fleishman Hillard and see the link at the bottom to take a test to learn about your multiple intelligences) that people had are not addressed in the teaching styles and testing styles in school today.  Christensen pointed out that while some people love that his books have lots of diagrams (visual learners, including me); some people hate that portion of the book.  In software tools, I think that developers rarely think about this difference.  The argument is usually about creating a simple GUI.  Some people might prefer the command line interface rather than pictures.  I think that part of the success of Twitter is that there are so many interfaces to choose from.  I like Tweetdeck where I scan past the avatar photos, but some people prefer a denser text environment or find Tweetgrid overwhelming with all of the columns.  Developers need to consider that there will be different preferences and your design can be alienating a whole group of people.

Related to learning preferences, take a look at the poll that I posted regarding what people liked best from the conference Twitter experience.  Some people wanted the quotes, others wanted to be able to read through additional documentation, others wanted photos and videos, and many wanted all of the above (which I didn’t offer as a choice).  The diverse group participating in the Bloggers Hub provided a mix of reporting and commentary as well as engaging in debate in real-time.  It was an exhilarating and tiring experience to watch the speaker, take notes, Tweeting and keep an eye on what others were Tweeting.  [It made me think that what we needed was Ozymandias, the “smartest man on the planet” from Watchmen who could watch what was going on around the world (see photo of him watching lots of TV screens on the right) and then know what to do - and he didn’t even have Twitter!]  Each blogger brought different perspectives and styles of communication.  I felt that it was a great proof point of innovation in action; not to be confused with innovation inaction.

Here’s a group photo of the bloggers from the conference - if you follow this link to Flickr, I’ve also tagged everyone with their Twitter IDs.  For the full list of bloggers, see the HSM site.

World Innovation Forum #wif09 Bloggers

Photos courtesy Dov Friedmann

Please post any comments or questions - to quote Clay Christensen, “the only way that I learn is interacting with others”.

Thanks,

Stu

http://nohype.tumblr.com

Twitter @stu


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Remote Conference Participation Poll #wif09

Reflecting on Two Great Days of the World Innovation Forum 2009 

Comments welcome (see bottom of post)




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The Moderate Manifesto

The first speaker at the World Innovation Forum was Paul Saffo.  He was a very dynamic and engaging speaker who some call a “futurist”.  There were few things that resonated strongly with me - at the end of the presentation he said that we need “more raging moderates”.  Saffo S-CurvePaul Saffo said that looking at new technologies or innovations, that many think that the growth rate is linear (or exponential in Silicon Valley) when instead it tends to follow an S-Curve (see graphic on the right thanks to

http://www.mcgeesmusings.net/2005/12/22/paul-saffo-on-rules-for-forecasting/).  Paul Saffo says that innovators have the chance to be wrong twice: overestimating how fast things take off at the beginning and underestimating the change that will happen once things have taken off. The reason that I named my blog “NoHype” is that I like to be able to explain new ideas realistically.  It is easier to take an extreme position - that a new technology will conquer all issues and replace all existing solutions.  In general, changes take a long time to roll out and replacement of existing solutions take even longer.  My twist on the “raging moderate” is that to help make change, my position is to give the compelling vision for why people should be enthusiastic about technology while sharing some of the potential pitfalls or challenges.

In my day job, the example is that some like to get into dogmatic debates on technology.  My specific area of expertise is storage networking where there is the debate of FCoE (which another participant of the conference, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior would be able to give some insight into) vs. iSCSI.  My position is that both technologies have their own space and that there is plenty of room in the marketplace for both solutions.

In the social media space, the S-curve also reminds me of the hype cycle.  If you follow the space closely, there is always the next-big-thing - usually things get overblown or underestimated.

The challenge is that people don’t get excited (positively or negatively) over moderation.  Do we need a moderate manifesto?  I chose the title because unlike moderation, the term “manifesto” tends to get many people riled up.  I’ll just continue to appreciate those that put aside partisan behaviour to be able to work together.

For more insights from the World Innovation Forum, check out some of the other bloggers - full list at http://hsm.typepad.com/inspiringideas/2009/05/seeing-the-world-innovation-forum-through-the-blogosphere-and-twitter.html.  It’s been an amazing group to meet and discuss some of the topics with - I highly recommend that you check them out.


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Remote Participation Guide for World Innovation Forum ‘09

Next week I will be attending the World Innovation Forum in NYC.

I’ve wanted to try out SlideShare, so I put together this little guide for those that are interested in what goes on at the conference, but won’t be able to join it in person.  The last page has a list of the Featured Bloggers that I am aware of, Steve Todd also did a post to get ready for the conference.

Remote Participation Guide For World Innovation Forum ’09 View more presentations from Stuart Miniman.

A few tips on SlideShare from my trial:

  • When I first uploaded an Office 2007 (.pptx) file, it only showed the first slide.  Switching to older (.ppt) format fixed this.
  • I embedded a bunch of links - links can only be clicked online in the middle third of the page - required some reformatting
  • Check colors once you upload as the smaller format can cause some colors to be washed out

I like SlideShare - it does for presentations what YouTube does for videos.  Feel free to share, embed or comment on the slides.

Hope you’ll check out the slides and feel free to contact me via Twitter or FriendFeed if you have any questions while I’m at the conference.


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