Andrew McAfee @ Lotusphere 2011

(Click to visit the IBM site for the video streaming)

Nelson Mandela said “The work of a leader is to find everyone spark of genius”. What makes me fundamentally optimistic about what we are in the middle of is that suddenly we have a digital toolkit that is wonderful to let people manifest their spark of genius, that let the world know what they are good at.

Andrew McAfee is the author of the Enterprise 2.0 book. He structures this talk around five main ideas :

1- Weak links are strong. A reference to Mark Granovetter work insisting that whenever interpersonal links are concerned, innovation lies more in weak links (acquaintance, colleagues and people we see occasionally) than in strong links (people we see everyday, family, close colleagues, close friends etc …). This is the very same idea that Ronal Burt promotes in his paper The Social Origin of Good Ideas.

2-Crowds can be very wise. Reference to the Hollywood stock exchange model and all the collaborative solutions of prediction markets. In terms of marketing prediction, crowds beat experts everytime.

3- Open innovations is a great untapped pool of value creation – reference to Innocentive and this type of web based solutions

4- There are diamonds in the Social Data mine. Reference to the Social Analytics parts of the Social Business Ecosystem. There is a flood of new digital data coming from different environment, generated by people expressing themselves very freely. That’s a tough body of data to deal with.

5- Being social benefits individuals and the enterprise. If you have a bigger digital network, better benefits happen to you. And to the enterprise.

The conclusion is shaped around two predictions by the man who coined the term Enterprise 2.0 :

First, There will be a digital boost because of these new digital tools. These 2.0 tools have reinvigorated this country productivity. Second, there will be a digital spread. This technology is a device that separate leaders from laggards, winners from losers and stretching out the pack as opposed to compressing it. Turning your back on all these opportunities and all new possibilities is a great way to find yourself one of the laggards over the time. If you want to be a leader in your industry then being social and bringing the 2.0 kit is the right way to move forward.

Note : at the start of the talk, Andrew jokes and pretends he does not care as to whether we call this trend Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business. Well, actually, he does. And to be honest, I feel like he does : I’m not so comfortable with the latter as Social Business already has a definition of his own which as nothing to do with the one everybody is using since 2010 Santa Clara conference.

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