Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Your Business as a Tribe

I have become much more interested in the social, cultural and behavioral impacts and changes deriving from web 2.0 and social software, much more than the technology itself. All those tools and features without any business model are reshaping our culture and the economy.

Stowe Boyd, one of the lead thinkers in this space gave a presentation at Reboot, about his concept on Flow. His presentation is available here. The clip is about 35 minutes long so take some time at your lunch and watch it.

Some of my key takeaways. This isn't by any means a summary of the talk but concepts that jumped out at me...

- First in first out processing works well at a supermarket, but not in an emergency room. We are now living in a world that is much more like an emergency room.
- We are actually moving to more of a pre-industrial/agricultural consciousness. More like that of a tribe.
- Today your time is a shared space, which conflicts with current business norms. Is what you are doing of greater benefit to you (or your boss) or does it benefit the tribe?
- The buddy list is the center of the universe. I am made greater by the sum of my connections & so are my connections.
- Productivity is second to connectivity. Network productivity trumps personal productivity

This type of thinking goes well beyond how, and what tool you should let in or look to utilize in your business to satisfy your customers, employees or give a boost to your search results or marketing campaign. Its about understanding how cultural norms are shifting and how you as a business will need to react. I like Stowe concept of the tribe, and although he used it in the context of your social network, I feel like this concept can be brought into an organizations, and supported by the right tools, will help support the productivity of the organizational tribe. The majority of companies are no longer living in a supermarket world (even if their business is supermarkets!). Business is now an emergency room.

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