Social Media is not about doing old things better

It is about doing new things to get better outcomes. Most organisations introduce social by supporting old processes and old habits with digital solutions. For example: if you introduce enterprise social networking to gain some more efficiency in your organisation don’t try to figure out how you could do meetings via this new platform. Or even worse: don’t try to make it easier to create new meeting requests via this platform. You need to do a social transformation, meaning that you focus more on outcomes you would like to achieve and less on the activities you already did for years.  Meetings aren’t a goal in itself (even though some managers might think of it), they are a way to get to a certain goal.

Change the activity to save time

Most meetings are a waste of time: wasting valuable time in a meeting since 80% of the meeting is not relevant for you. Instead of focusing on how you could do meetings more easily (supporting the old habit with digital tools), why not introduce a new habit by making collaboration more social: If a meeting is just about exchanging information you can do it virtually and asynchronously (time and location independent), by doing so you can eliminate about 80% of the time spend in physical meeting. That is the direct benefit for the people who would be attending the meeting since they have more time to spend on other things than just staring at walls or drawing images on their notepad.

There is clear ROI in not just supporting the old with something digital, but by transforming the way you really do business. I am not talking about just hours saved, since hours saved is just creating a cognitive surplus and if this surplus isn’t used there isn’t any benefit at all, it is just additional hours used to play solitaire. There are real cost savings to be made:

There is money to be made and to be saved

Lets assume there is an organisation in which there are 1000 meetings each year for which 1 of the participants of the meeting has to travel. With the average price for travelling is around 500 euro (combination of actual costs and time spend on travelling). Meaning that this organisation could save 500k on travel costs alone by just adoption another way of working.

When you introduce social within your organisation don’t make the mistake to transfer your old processes to new tools. Focus on how to achieve your business outcomes with these new tools and be prepared that it requires change to get the best results.