Social Computing and Pattern-Based Strategy

I just happened across a brand new Gartner report that placed “the business impact of social computing” and “pattern-based strategy” side-by-side as atwo of the four converging trends that “will change the face of IT and business.”

At first the connection between these two forces might not seem obvious. Social computing, on the one hand, is full of fun-sounding platforms like Twitter and Facebook and Flickr that sound about as “businessy” as a piñata party at the beach. Pattern-based strategy tends to use words like “mining” and “response cycle” which sound about as social as a dictator before he’s had his morning coffee. This video brings the two a little closer,

But i still think it glosses over an important point for organizations who may not have the time or the staff or even the need for lots of heavy data-driven business intelligence analytics solutions, and it is this: the data necessary for a pattern-based strategy does not always have to be based on gobs of quantitative data that ends up in the form of a bar graph or a pie chart. It can exist in the form of a series of Twitter posts by employees that managers scan once a day to help them think through their daily or quarterly strategic decisions:

zappos twitter posts

Or it can exist in the form of a series of Twitter posts by a leader that employees scan occasionally to know a little more about what their leaders think, do, and what they value:

livestrong ceo doug ulman

Or it can exist in the form of a joint customer ideation platform like this one in which employees and leaders participate a few minutes per day so that they are aware of new ideas and emerging customer attitudes:

my starbucks

or it could be something like this one:

dell ideastorm

where employees and customers mix their ideas and vote on the best ones for new products or services. Of course it is possible to “mine” these platforms, as well as the broader Internet, for quantitative data, and i am not suggesting that this is not a good idea. But the first step for many organizations may be to merely get customers and employees used to sharing things on public (out on the web) or semi-public (inside of the organization) platforms like this, and then get them accustomed to informal pattern-matching a few minutes each day, scanning through what other people have written to quickly gauge employee stress levels, sense customer satisfaction levels, find new product or process improvement ideas, sense which employees are taking too much work home with them, get a collective sense of the organizational strategy, etc.

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