Introducing Dr. Dima Dimitrova

In February, Dr. Barry Wellman introduced me to a colleague from his Netlab at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Dimitrina (Dima) Dimitrova has extensive research experience, which includes evaluation research and project management engagements.

Her areas of expertise are social networks, workplace and technology. She was the Principal investigator of the NetMap consulting project, which examined the social network and collaboration practices of researchers and partners of the Canadian Water Network. Here is one of her presentations on this work:

Her doctoral research “The Telework Mosaic (University of Toronto, 2002)” focused on the social implications of new technologies for social networks and new forms of workplace arrangements.  As well, she has conducted research in the areas of diversity, health care, and industrial relations.

She is active at scholarly conferences, presenting and organizing several sessions, peer review work, and in community research. Her latest publication is a co-authored chapter on Virtual Communities of Practice. Other research findings have been published, as co-author or independently written work, in the US, Austria, Britain, Norway, Italy, Russia, and Bulgaria.

Dima is currently teaching at York University and working on a paper on the use of social capital in collaborative research. She is a member of NetLab, a social network group at the University of Toronto led by Barry, who is a leading authority in social network research and theory and a founder of the International Network of Social Network Analysts.

In the weeks since meeting, Dima and I have met several times.  At the second meeting she showed up with a printed copy of my ebook that had so many highlighter marks and post it notes attached to it, I needed to pull out a copy myself just to remember how to answer all of her diligent, expert questions.

While the ebook has been viewed well over 10,000 times now, downloaded more than 1,500 times, featured by Scribd, marked as a favourite by about 60 Scribd users, “liked” by about 30 more and Olav Sorenson has given it a thorough read … I am quite confident at this point that there is no one who has given Social Capital Value Add more thorough, qualified consideration than Dima.

We have crafted a proposal to test the Social Capital Value Add approach in a precedent set of Fortune 100 companies.  If your company would like participate in this research & development program or financially support the design phase of the program please contact me.

This will be an initiative that will help define corporate management methods designed for the network era on a scale equal to similar work by MIT and IBM.


IBM MIT Virtuous Cycle IBM MIT Virtuous Cycle Michael Cayley IBM is working with MIT to define management methods designed for the network era. In the past we have not been able to see how these kinds of efforts have a direct impact investor’s perception.

SCVA research & development program is a similar opportunity for 3 to 5 companies.

The State of the Union: the new economic model

Chris Carfi (@ccarfi), who blogs at The Social Customer Manifesto, did a great overview of the evolution of markets in a session at the Business of Community Marketing conference in Boston last week.

In the conversation afterward, he shared with us a symbol or diagram that has been kicking around in his internal discussions at the office.

Chris also moderated the ROI & measurement panel that I participated in.

I am hoping that Chris will pop by here to explain what the original thinking is behind the symbol.

If you have read “Introducing Social Capital Value Add” or had me talk you through it, feel free to take a shot in the comments.

I will come back and attach my interpretation of the symbol after Chris sets out his thinking.

Every time I look at it, I think it is time to get rid of the dog (don’t be ridiculous, I am kidding, I love the dog!).

The new economy

UPDATE: Here is Chris’ description from the comment below …

Hi, Michael…was great to see you in Boston!

What we’re starting to get at here is that while the “balance sheet / income statement” side of the world is obviously critical, it’s not the *only* thing that we should be measuring. It’s also not the only thing that companies (or individuals) should have a universally understandable way of measuring.

The questions we’re asking — what is the balance sheet or income statement for “green-ness?” Or for the connections with family and community? Or the influence of an individual’s network?

We not only fail to currently have the ways to measure these things well, we (in many cases) don’t even have words in the language to represent the concepts.

UPDATE: April 6, 2009 …

Thank you Chris for starting this off & Jenny Ambrozek for your contribution in the comments.

Am I seeing everything through SCVA colored glasses?

The quest to measure the factors that contribute to “stable future” earnings or sustainable earnings beyond the balance sheet or income statement is at the heart of value based management methods like brand valuation, Economic Value Added and Social Capital Value Add.

In this diagram I see that people or “Human Capital is the primary source of competitive intangible earnings for today’s corporations” (p. 43, Introducing Social Capital Value Add).  Everything evolves from the bottom/base block.

New breakthroughs in productivity and innovation will come when corporations adopt network management methods that enable them to capitalize emergent possibilities.  Hence, the network (i.e. Chris’ red network graph on the left) becomes the most important factor of production. These opportunities can not be sufficiently identified & seized through traditional hierarchical corporate organization or process management methods.

In the network age, or the age of networked individualism as Barry Wellman calls it and I describe as the Individual as Medium, the corporation no longer enjoys an unfair advantage in shaping shared perceived value by dominating broadcast media.  They must earn access to social media networks powered by people by aligning themselves with shared social values.  This includes environmental values highlighted on the right hand side of Chris’ diagram, universal health & relief from poverty, etc.  Scale of access to networks is related to scale of the social value appealed to.  So for example, “how I smell” still matters but not on the scale that has been institutionalized in many CPG brands. “Do no evil” grants wider access.  Altruism matters.

At the top of the diagram is $.  There is a populist sentiment afoot at the moment that makes talking about making money a dirty topic.  It is a real shame that a few fraudsters have shaken our confidence in market systems that have lifted more people out of poverty than any other approach.  I think one of the points of Chris’ presentation is that markets matter.  They have always mattered.  They are intrinsic to human interaction.  I see the $ in this diagram as recognition that currency evolved as a method of standard measurement to improve liquidity.  It enables us to trade apples for oranges when we don’t want oranges.  Markets and corporations can drive inefficiencies out of networks.  They save us from the dark side of social capital. Lots more to elaborate here, but this post is too long already!

Since Jenny & Chris have already seen my “Introducing Social Capital Value Add” presentation they already know that I dare not underestimate the ability of a simple diagram to relate a complex concept.  In the presentation I use Leonardo Da Vinci’s simple Vitruvian Man illustration to relate how the scale of mankind or “Canon of Proportions” around which all of our institutions are designed has permanently changed since broadband connectivity overtook slower connections for the first time in 2004.  Chris may be a bit more timely with this one.  Da Vinci did not come along and draw this fairly widely recognized diagram until 1500 years after a Roman milatary engineer first wrote about it in a way that stood up to the tests of time.

I Digg Valdis Krebs, please follow me

I just dugg a post on the Wired Blog Network about Valdis Krebs.  I think you should too.

Here is what The WOMMA Word had to say about the Wired piece yesterday:

Finding the Common Ground Between Steroids and Online Social Networks

Valdis Krebs, a social networks researcher who will be presenting at the annual PopTech conference in Camden, ME this week will be presenting a perhaps, non-intuitive similarity: steroid usage and Facebook. Krebs finds commonalities between the two resulting from the ability to quantify everything as a social network. His view is steroid usage in baseball disseminated quickly because of a closed network of higher performance seekers, players who insulated themselves from outside influence and opinions because they sought company only of those similar individuals. Facebook, MySpace, et al, are all platforms which foster the same insulated contact. We seek those like us, with similar interests, and the result is social networks are created in the same way Major League Baseball’s steroid network was formed.

More from Wired (10/23) | Permalink

Social Capital Value Add is all about linking the work of leaders like Valdis to value based management, so that their value proposition is more easily articulated in global boardrooms.  I think it can help do the same thing for the work of PR and social media practitioners.

Here is what my e-book Introducing Social Capital Value Add has to say about Valdis and a few of the others who are pioneering methods to add value through networks:

“There are many inspiring examples of companies taking a structural approach to strategy, including the work of Wendi Backler at Boston Consulting Group (a fellow alum of mine, and someone I admire) and the clients of Valdis Krebs and John Maloney.  The International Network for Social Network Analysis, founded in 1978 by Barry Wellman, brings together about 1000 members, primarily academics, many of whom consult with corporations.

Popular book and blog author Seth Godin has observed a class of a few million “Digerati” who are dedicated to “using the learning tools built into the Net to get smarter, faster” (Godin, 2005) and he himself evangelizes marketing methods aligned with SCVA. However Godin also notes the minority status of these examples. He describes a new digital divide separating such early adopters from the rest of business’ investors and managers.

SCVA is an attempt to appeal to the sensibilities of the early majority, shift attention away from brand in business circles and bring attention and investment to radically new methods of value creation. There is not much here that will impress the Digerati. Thomas Friedman has attempted to drive bottom-up adoption with a gigantic metaphor and educational effort targeted at individuals in The World is Flat. Malcolm Gladwell picks up on associated tactical marketing communications dynamics in The Tipping Point and Duncan Watts is provocative at the level of product/idea positioning and design.

SCVA would like to facilitate this crossing of the chasm by placing the typically unseen structural sources of corporate control in the networked age directly on the boardroom table using the carrot of increases in corporate value and the stick of performance metrics (along with a Wizard of Oz metaphor to keep the marketing folks awake!).”