Is your business “swarming” to the future?

The zzzzuper zmart folks at MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence are working on the art and science around Innovative Collaborative Knowledge Networks. This group has produced cool works like Coolfarming and Coolhunting which explore the idea of ideas and of working in collaborative and innovative ways.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Peter Gloor (@pgloor) on these topics and participate in some “coolhunting”  related to EMC’s social journey and the company’s larger cultural shift into more innovation through collaboration. It was a fascinating conversation into what swarm creativity means for traditional ways of thinking and doing business across the social web.

Share 99% -­ Keep 1%

There’s a tremendous idea here, where more mainstream ideas around social networking, citizen journalism and even crowdsourcing are just beginning to cause change. But are you sharing content and ideas? EMC is beginning to embrace open-source initiatives more and more. I can’t think of a better example of what’s happening here.

Social Media is Everywhere

Have you noticed? Leading companies are busy taking their social content and mapping it to any number of processes. EMC, in fact, is busy connecting social intelligence to our overall BI capabilities to better inform business decisions. We’re already dabbling in a few pilots to stand-up as examples.

Here’s an excerpt of the swarm business report talking about how EMC is using “swarm” techniques to engage employees:

The different topic and product specific communities on EMC Community Network are managed by community managers, who are appointed to their function either part­‐time or full‐time. The forums are also used as labs to test drive new ideas among EMC customers and business partners, and as knowledge hubs to gather and collect new ideas for extending existing and creating new products with input from outside EMC.

This is complemented with internal idea jams, which are organized annually during a few days. All employees are encouraged to submit ideas, which then are commented on and vetted by other employees. Last year, 1500 ideas were submitted by 1000 employees, 47 ideas were chosen for further development.

Having had this conversation with Peter really showed me how business culture is shifting inside EMC. It’s certainly part of our social journey, but can social take all the credit?

The results of the project Peter Gloor interviewed me for
can be downloaded here:

The Future of (e-­)Business is Swarm Business (PDF)





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