Defining Social Business Design: Style vs. Substance

Since communicating the definition of social business design earlier this month, I’ve noted a wide range of reactions to the concept.

For the most part, people understand that we’re talking about what’s on the horizon for business. However, most detractors seem to take issue with the style of the idea’s communication rather than its substance. Some say they don’t understand. I’ll take that at face value and suggest they try harder. Others ask why simpler words weren’t used. Well, as a certain bald-headed guru told me, “words matter.”

Words do matter. When I began my stint as a Forrester analyst, I was directed to write for the smartest clients in the room. I patterned my blog with a similar approach. I’m not a journalist, reporting about what’s happening now – Mashable, Consumerist, and TechCrunch are great at that. I’m a business consultant who analyzes what’s happening now in order to advise companies on what happens next.

But style matters too. A lesson I learned the hard way years ago was that often perception matters more than reality. Some people have difficulty with how Dachis Group has defined social business design, which reminds me of another lesson I learned long ago – if you’re going to complain about something, offer a constructive solution.

As for substance, I believe there’s quite a bit in our thought piece. However, to put a finer point on the definition:

  • Social Business Design [the key concept] is the
  • intentional creation [deliberate, not accidental] of
  • dynamic [live and constantly changing, not static] and
  • socially calibrated [a primary filter/perspective]
  • systems, process, and culture [three key elements of all organizations].
  • Its goal: helping organizations improve value exchange [whether monetary/non-monetary or short-/long-term]
  • among constituents [people who care about the organization for some reason].
  • Social Business Design uses a framework [i.e. how it can be applied to different scenarios] of
  • four mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive [MECE is a key to strategic problem solving]
  • archetypes [ideal states that serve as goals]:
  • ecosystem, hivemind, dynamic signal, and metafilter. [connections, culture, communication, content]
  • This model can be applied to improve customer participation, workforce collaboration, and business partner optimization. [business functions that relate to professional roles]
  • Doing so provides insight to help measure and manage business [you need to measure it to manage it] to
  • produce improved and emergent outcomes. [results – read this for more on emergent outcomes]

I welcome the conversation around social business design and hope that we can help guide the way for the confused.