How did this dog get in the boardroom?September 10th, 2008 — Michael Cayley
A dog has been set loose in your boardroom to bark at you about how business management has changed since 2004. The story of how it got there is a great little case study in how valuable ideas move from inception anywhere in the world to you in the networked age.
It started with a need and a Google search.
After slugging it out in the social media startup world for years, I was ready for a glass of wine. So we packed up the family and headed to Paris. I looked at my MBA program there as an opportunity to put to rest a nagging set of ideas about Web 2.0. The way in which business value is created and defended has fundamentally changed, but most of the “conversation” about social media is not designed for investors and “C” level corporate management. From an academic perspective, I was a relative amateur.
Enter a few Google searches …
I discovered a local conference on Social Networks. Then found myself in a room of about 10 top social network theorists. I was waaaaay out of my league, but fortunately I was able to connect with Olav Sorenson and Matt Jackson.
Olav took the time to direct my reading. Google helped me discover additional key pieces. Matt was encouraging and challenging. When I finished the paper, I sent it to almost everyone whose work I had read during the formulation, looking for credible feedback.
I received encouraging notes back. One from Al Ries, co-author of Positioning, which is a book most consider to be a marketing bible. Top blogger Matt Ingram said the work was “valuable.” Then Seth Godin, author of the world’s most popular marketing blog and the best selling business books over the last decade, suggested that I submit the idea to www.changethis.com, a Digg-like site for ideas that he co-founded (but no longer runs).
The editorial board at ChangeThis selected the proposal and that is when its fate moved from the hands of a few key “influentials” into the “wild.”
To be published by ChangeThis, the idea had to compete against about a dozen others and be voted to the top. Social Capital Value Add did not become the 8th most demanded proposal in ChangeThis history because I am a famous author. I asked my friends and colleagues to support it. Social capital went to work. Through a combination of support from close connections and blog entries from looser links, the idea gets a blast to 20,000 people who care about this sort of thing as part of the 50th issue of ChangeThis (along with the great ideas of John Kotter, Seth Godin, Andrew Abela, Vince Poscente and Jonathan Baskin).
At some point along the way, the momentum has changed. I started out trying to take this idea as far as I could. Now I am trying to keep up with it for as long as I can.
My search has changed how information flows around me. After months of trying to find information, information finds me through connections far and wide. Four people on three different continents alerted me to Mike Arrington’s related post. I have wandered or been invited into online groups like Seth’s “Triiibes” where Adam Helweh and dozens of others have instantly offered their help just as quick as I can ask.
Paul Wilmott has invited me to write something to introduce SCVA in his small but influential magazine that serves the quantitative finance community and I have connected with the right folks at Dell and Procter & Gamble about reporting on how the principals in SCVA are showing up in their businesses. I am not sure how these initiatives are going to work out yet, but they are encouraging.
UPDATE: In February 2009, SCVA was selected as a finalist among almost 400 “game changing” ideas from 48 countries in the WeMedia/Ashoka Power of Us: Reimagine Media co-petition.
Social Capital Value Add (SCVA) is an idea that started in the social media startup trenches and was connected by a Google search to experts and influentials. Wrapped up in a Wizard of Oz metaphor and signaled by a nameless dog, SCVA is powered by the social capital of a few concerned groups and now it has made its way to you from a trusted source. It is a management and valuation approach that has been developed as a framework to help companies understand and track the impact that communications technology is having on their ability to create and defend value. Woof, woof.
UPDATE: The SCVA ChangeThis manifesto has been released: