Over the next few days, I will start blogging my thoughts on what I see as the emerging space at the intersection of Social Media in a Business Context, Complexity Theory and Right Brain Strategic Thinking.
I have been researching, studying, brainstorming, theorizing and evangelizing on these topics over the past couple of years to various degrees, but until now, never felt the need to share my thoughts other than in small groups or in private conversations. Starting 2010, that has changed! I am now ready to share my thoughts and enter into conversations on a wider basis and extended form. Twitter's 140 characters (see my twitter stream) were a great start, but I have more to say.
Here is what you can expect in this space:
1. Social Media is disrupting what we know about scarcity and abundance. Today, attention is scarce, information is abundant, and ideas spread like wildfire. New game, new rules of interaction!. Not 10 years ago this was unthinkable for business leaders who have learned and are still playing by the old rules. Now they have to adapt and figure out how to find the right balance between the old and new rules in order to survive. A new field has started to emerge that applies the new rules of interaction that are following from the wide adoption of Social Media to a Business Context - Social Business Design. Superhero's I have been inspired by in this field are Clay Shirky, Charles Leadbeater, Seth Godin and of course the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto.
3. Left brain thinking has run its course and outlasted its purpose. The purely rational, logic driven way of reasoning, deductive and linear thinking and number crunching fact-based advice has been successfully applied by strategy advisors and MBA graduates alike over the past decades. We all know where this has gotten us: a financial meltdown, destroyed business models in many an industry (media to name one close to my heart) and an unsustainable way of dealing with our people, our planet and our principles. The next decade will belong to people who bring a different mindset to these problems - the Right Brain Thinkers, who can recognize patterns, foster creativity, make sense and give meaning and create compelling stories. Leading thinkers in this field that I admire are Daniel H. Pink (author of A Whole New Mind) and Tim Brown of IDEO and author of Change By Design.
This is the intersection. This is where I see a need arising for business leaders to find a new way forward:
a) figuring out how to deal with or leverage Social Media (especially how it is shifting the power balance from company to customers & employees).
b) starting to realize that many challenges are unordered and
complex in nature (rather than ordered) and thus require different
approaches than the true and tested expert analysis and advice and best
practices that work so well in the ordered domain.
c) recognizing the different skill sets that Right Brain Thinkers bring to today's problems, recognizing patterns, creating synthesis, the bigger picture and give meaning to it through compelling narratives in stead of breaking down problems into smaller and smaller linear chunks for meaningless analysis and number crunching.
Social Media for Business and Decision Making in Complex Situations both revolve around this: groups of people entering into co-creative, participative conversations. People that are closest to the task at hand, not experts from the outside. People who are not necessarily skilled at this, but with the right help can be guided to new insights and ways forward. Right Brain Thinkers come in handy - they can help recognize the emerging patterns, make sense, create story lines and facilitate the process.
How would you compose groups of complex problem solvers? What social media tools would you leverage to accelerate and empower the process? What skills and traits would you be looking for in a facilitator of this process? What methods would you apply to make sense of challenges in the complex domain? Leave a comment or drop me a note if you want to be part of this conversation.