Live @ Lotusphere, Day 3: MIT’s Dr. Andrew McAfee On The Future Of Social Business
It’s day 3 of Lotusphere 2011. We’re in the homestretch.
But as we heard earlier this morning, there’s still a whole lot of social business to get done.
Although when Kristin Lauria, VP marketing, IBM Collaboration, hit the stage at this A.M.’s keynote, she was quick to remind the crowd in the room and watching via Livestream that there had already been around 9,500 Lotusphere-related Tweets and 23K blog entries during Lotusphere 2011!
There’s also been a palpable social business buzz throughout the event…a very social buzz.
Lauria kicked off her introductory comments by explaining that the morning keynote would be a great one for people who are always thinking, and who are doing thought provoking things.
One of those people is Dr. Andrew McAfee with the MIT Center for Digital Innovation. It was Mr. McAfee who came to coin the term “Enterprise 2.0” back in 2005.
With Lauria handing him the stage, McAfee joked he didn’t especially like the term “social business,” but the weather contrast between Boston and Orlando was too attractive to ignore, and that, anyway, he didn’t really care what the industry called it, that he was focused on what change and results it could bring about. He has, in fact, spent much of the last few years of his career researching and writing about it.
McAfee explained he would make 5 conclusions, 1 unfounded claim, and 2 predictions (a theme of the morning session).
First, his conclusions about social business:
- Weak ties are strong. You’re most distant colleagues and friends are actually incredibly valuable to you.
- Crowds can be very wise. Markets work, can best organize and allocate resources (not perfectly, but good enough), and therefore can ascertain likely outcomes better than individual experts (He used the Hollywood Stock Exchange as an example, which very accurately predicts movie box office grosses).
- With more eyeballs, more bugs are shallow (with a nod to Linus’s Law).
- There are diamonds in the social data mine. Ex. Google searches that foreshadow movements in housing prices/sales.
- Being social benefits individuals. That is to say, the better your network is, the more productive you are, and the more likely you will miss the next round of layoffs!
McAfee then made his unfounded claim: That being social benefits the enterprise, and is a very productive way for a company to improve its performance and competitive posture.
He cited the McKinsey survey from late last year that finds companies using the Web intensively gain greater market share and higher margins (and are some 57% more effective than those who don’t).
Finally, McAfee’s predictions: 1) We’re heading into an era of digital boost, amplified by these social business technologies. Our toolkit of technology has already reinvigorated productivity.
And 2) There will also be a digital spread (not a rising tide that lifts all boats equally).
That is to say, it’s still an investment that can separate laggards from leaders.
Turning your back on social business would be a great way to become one of the laggards.