Promoting social media

The Big Question of the Month is “How do I communicate the value of social media as a learning tool to my organization?”.  Now, this is late, but it’s because I’ve been getting ready for and then attending DevLearn (as always, was a great event), but Jay Cross and I spent a day talking about this issue in the larger picture of social learning in the media.

Then, in last night’s #lrnchat, the question was asked again as part of the usual 3 question format.  So, I decided to pull out my tweeted contributions and elaborate on them a bit as my response.  These are the unique answers, not including my responses to others, re-tweets of poignant statements, and snarky comments.

don’t talk about social learning, talk about innovation, problem-solving, creativity, research, experimentation…

As Andrew McAfee told us in his keynote, the term ’social learning’ isn’t going to carry a lot of weight where it matters.  You need to talk about benefits.  My message is that learning should be considered as a very  broad umbrella, as it should include all those activities where we don’t have an answer and have to ‘learn’ one.  Therefore, I feel quite comfortable talking about the outcomes of informal learning: innovation, problem-solving, creativity, research, experimentation, design, insights, new products, new services, and so on.

focus on: biz case; need to go beyond execution to continual innovation; collective intelligence.

Organizations don’t want concepts, they want results.  In this case, talk about the concrete outcomes of collective intelligence.  Greater rates of new product and service generation.  More problems solved, and more c0mplex problems solved.  More valuable ideas generated.  Hearing from more members of the organization.  Talk about impacting those things that will make a difference to organizational success.

I point others to @dwilkinsnh excellent list of success stories:

One of the things that helps is having good case studies. Dave Wilkins has collected quite a few in his blog, and more are popping up everywhere.  In particular, showing that the competition is doing it (as one of our workshop attendees intended to do) is a good incentive, and having relevant ones for the particular initiative you choose is important.

standard org change: start small, focus on a good success story, leverage the er, heck out of it

Speaking of initiatives, really the same strategy that goes for most organizational changes holds true, in general.  Start small where the cultural tendencies are supportive and there’s a fairly obvious positive outcome to be had, and get a win.  Then use that to argue for more initiatives.

It’s not easy, there are lots of factors to gaining success, but in the long term it’s really adapt or die.  The most agile will win, and agility comes from aligned inspiration.  Good luck!

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