Attending without Attending…Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2012 – Day 1

I have always enjoyed attending the E2 conference, whether conducting workshops, sessions, or just as an observer in how companies are undertaking the journey that transforms their companies in how work gets done.  I have often said this transformation is like “herding tigers” and that “these tigers bite” which indicates the core changes necessary to bring about the change needed for an open, sharing, learning organization.  Breaking down the “command-and-control” structures, moving from “management” to “coaching and mentoring” is something that can find great resistance in companies.

This week is the infamous Enterprise 2.0 Conference, which has been held in Boston, MA for the past 4-5 years.  The conference is now all about “Social.” Social Media, Social Business, Social Listening, Social Analytics….you get the idea.  No matter how or what you call it Social has become synonymous with “Learning, Sharing, Trust, Innovation, Information, Mobile, Digital, and now Business.” The latest naming edition of this is today called “Social Business”.

The E2 Conference is where most of the thought leadership and vendors come to demonstrate the maturity of Social initiatives and their respective platforms.  It is where we learn of success and try to learn from mistakes and failures, so we can avoid them in our own Social journey within our respective enterprises.

Tuesday, June 19th was the kickoff key note presentations beginning with Wells Fargo telling their story of social strategy, Nike talking about collaboration and the “journey with no finish line” (great quote), American Airlines speaking on how they are building a mobile application into business value, Fed-Ex talking about Gamification, and ended with Michael Wu presenting a very cool experiment on influencers by using a experimental hashtag “#E2Exp” to capture notes from the conference participants…..NO, I was not even mentioned my friends…I guess I have to wait until the next social experiment to become an “influencer”

In all there were some great moments from the Day 1 Keynotes and Twitter streams.  Here are some quotes I found that I liked:

“Culture eats Strategy for Lunch”  (oldie but a goodie)

“Strategy *does* eventually eat culture. Only if Culture is “cooked” the right way

“Different roles collaborate in different ways.” Must have broad definition of collaboration”

“IMO, Collaboration is just a word…”context” is the definition”

“Your smart phone has more computing power than the whole world in 1950”

“Too much twitter stream to follow…good example of too much of a good thing can equal nothing”

“….and the Quote of the E2Conf so far by Eugene Lee, CEO of Socialtext who tweeted this gem  “Only two industries call their customers users — drug dealers and IT.”

The diversity of attendees at the conference, clearly shows “Social Business” has gone viral into organizations, but many executives, managers, and even employees still are unsure how to tap into or deal with the changes to the culture Social can unleash.  These emergent technologies drive the digitization of information and people, which affects processes.   There are many good points to becoming a Social Business, but there can be many pitfalls to avoid, as the openness of information can expand existing sentiments of retaliation, mistrust, and pessimism into a corporate culture.  It is key for your organization to understand and plot this journey with “no finishing line” (another excellent quote from Day 1) in order to provide true business value and have positive impact on culture.

This year I was unable to attend the E2 Conference, where I had in the past, but this year there were so many backchannel discussions that it made me feel as if I were actually there.  This is the power of social networks, social conversations, and bringing a contextual conversation to people no matter where they are located.

One person who I was tweeting with invited me to contact him and chat offline. In fact, another good friend of mine, Claire Flanagan, who is attending and presenting at the conference asked me after all my tweets, re-tweets, and comments:

That my friends is the power of “Social.”

More to come from E2 Boston…


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