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Business & ICT Trends, Applied to Your Organisation

Trends that shape the workplace

Posted on September 14th, 2011 by TimClaes

The High Performance Workplace

Multiple trends will influence our daily workplace. The digital workplace of tomorrow – or also called the High Performance Workplace – will look quite different than what we are used to today. The question will be how quickly will you react with your company on these trends on the high performance workplace?

Let me list some important trends you need to be aware of:

1. The Information Wave

Thanks to the internet we have an overload of information. It is no longer a question whether the information you are looking for exists, it now become a question will you find it. As we are no longer able to deal with these amounts of information, due to the lack of efficient filtering processes, people will start treating information in a different way. They SCAN the information, instead of reading it. Nowadays many people simply read the headlines and no longer dive into the articles themselves.

Also from a business point of view this will have an impact on our daily workplace.

2. The (social) Network

The social media tools are here to stay, so instead of blocking these sites from your company, you better start thinking about how you can use these channels in a positive way in your organisation and stimulate the on-line presence of your company through these networks. The social networks become more and more important for your organization to be top of mind. Especially if you know that the emotional driver of people is more important than the rational driver in their decision process.

3. The Digital Natives

“Je pense, donc je suis” from Descartes is re-invented into ”I share, so I am… on line”. A shift is taking place about the information value from ‘searching information’ towards ‘sharing information’. Other demographics like mobility, Work/Life balance and aging workforces are also important trends you could position under this same umbrella.

4. The Economy

A recent study from the New York times illustrates that the companies that are performing better than the rest have a few similar characteristics. They typically position PEOPLE and INNOVATION as important drivers for success. Needless to say that the high performance workplace is an ideal medium to support these drivers in your company.

5. Consumerization of IT

Thanks to Apple is ICT moving faster in the consumer space than in the b2b area. For the first time since decades. This brings a whole new dimension into our typical business and ICT alignment question. It no longer is enough to set up an efficient/productive solution, it also needs to be ‘sexy’, look good and very user friendly. The high performance workplace will be no exception.


2 kinds of private social networks

Posted on June 9th, 2011 by TimClaes

Private social networks – To be or not to be?


Social media is a powerful way to communicate with your peers, your friends, your customers… But how do you determine who to follow on twitter? Or how do you decide with whom to connect on facebook? And what about the linked in groups, which are the interesting ones? So basically where will you find the people you are truely looking for and how will you limit the overflow of incoming information.

And that is where the private social networks come in. In my opinion you actually have 2 kinds of possible private social networks.

1. An organization-wide private social network


Within 1 organization you set-up a social network, making use of tools like “Yammer” for instance, giving people within your organization the possibility to connect and to follow each other. In many occasions however this results into a platform for union talk, internal complaints and useless information. However if some ground rules are set up right from the start, it can be very helpful in your organization. I added 7 tips for you which I found on the web myself and have proven for me to be very useful in the field.

private social networks

 Tip #1: Set standards for Yammer profiles. Require real pictures of real people and insist on employees using their real names. Don’t do, as some people do, name your profile “Wonder Man.”

Tip #2: Create rules for messages on the site, the most obvious of which is: Company business only please. I’ll go further—practice Refrigerator Journalism by posting tips and information that is so helpful to colleagues, so practical and immediately useful, that in the pre-online days they would have tacked it to their refrigerators.

Tip #3: Yammer allows groups. Define what constitutes a group or you’ll see rapid proliferation. Within some companies, new groups sprung up under the titles: Editorial, conference division and The Millennial Mafia. 

Tip #4: Make sure you list your skills in your profile, yes, even if you’re a small company. This is huge help for new employees.

Tip #5: Think before you send a message. No one wants to hear about that bar fight last Friday night or your most recent blind date.

Tip #6: Like all social media tools, Yammer allows you to share links to useful articles relevant to your group or to employees companywide. No dancing panda videos from YouTube, please.

Tip #7: It’s OK to post questions—indeed, this may end up being the most efficient way for remote workers to get answers quickly—but remember the Golden Rule of social media: Return the favor by lending your expertise by answering queries from your colleagues.

2. Community private social networks


The key word here is the community. Anything that connects people together through a similar interest. I recently learned for instance that Toyota launches a social network for all toyota owners. You can think of any kind of community building here: politics, associations, big families, lawyers, doctors, patients… you name it and I’m sure you will find it somewhere on the internet. And if you don’t find it, you can build a private social network for free by using tools like “social go” for instance.

private social networks

But what are the chances of survival of these kinds of private social networks? Everything starts with setting up some ground rules as well and strict regulations on the content that can appear on these private social networks. The communities are brought together through their interest or their job, so the content in this private social network should go about that, and nothing else. The more you have the possibility to uniquely identify the persons, the better your chances are that the private social network will work.

I’m curious what the future will bring in this area. I believe we still have some exciting times ahead of us…


Will social media stimulate open innovation?

Posted on May 30th, 2011 by TimClaes

When will social media finally boost open innovation initiatives?


1. Importance of innovation


I strongly believe in the statement “It is not the strongest that survive, but the ones most responsive to change“, also in a business context. Having said that, innovation is one way of bringing change in the organization. As such innovation becomes an important part of any business strategy, especially open innovation.

2. How to integrate innovation into your organization?


In order for innovation to become truely an integrated part of your organization it needs to be part of your culture, only then you will be able to deliver continuous business innovation. This is easier said then done. A lot of change management needs to be done, but at the same time you – as an organization – need to make clear what you stand for, not only by your mission statement, but also by your mission mindset. What do you believe – as an organization – are your core values and why should your employees be willing to work for your organization/department?

3. Moving to open innovation


And if you take it one step further and start to innovate, not only across departments, but also across multiple organizations, you can start talking about open innovation. It truely opens a whole new world of possibilities. Sharing ideas and talking to people in other industries. Never expected this could be so exciting until I’ve met Jef Staes and the Engine of Innovation Academy. (thanks, Jef!)

4. Social media as accelerator?


But how can you share ideas with people from other organizations? How do you get connected to these people of other industries? This is where the current social media tools come in the play. All the technologies are in place to make this happen: twitter, linkedin groups, facebook, … you name it. But until now I see these social media tools as “one-off” information sharing environments and less as “interactive” information building environments. And this is what you really need when you want to start open innovation initiatives. So we still have a way to go… but that’s ok, we will get there!


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