SCVA in Government: The Value Proposition for Gov 2.0

While SCVA is a corporate valuation and management method, its principals equally apply to government, health care, education and beyond.  All of our traditional institutions are being re-architected around broadband empowered individuals.

Last week I hosted a discussion about how to advocate for the adoption of more productive government that utilizes the full potential of the internet at GovCamp Toronto.  Thank you to Julia Stowell, Omar Rashid and Mark Kuznicki for inviting about 125 of us across the community to come together.

There was great representation from the City of TorontoHere is a shot of city CIO Dave Wallace sitting beside me while I invited participants to join in my discussion thread:

The Value Proposition for Gov 2.0: Outsourcing Risk

The description:

Governments are risk averse . Traditionally there has been very little upside potential for those involved in public service to attack something out of the ordinary. Change is methodical, reactionary – made by attrition. This is the world of late adoptors.

This is a difficult mode for coping with the complex problems of our times and rapid change required to embrace Gov 2.0 (if we would would like to, for example, take advantage of moments of change to maintain or improve Canada’s position in the world).

Perhaps there is an appeal in the prospect of open data?

Governments are the custodians and regulators and third parties are the innovators and risk takers. Whatever works governments can follow and the essential experiments that turn out to be learning experiences will be played out with the investment of third parties, not tax payers.

Are any of these assumptions true? What is the right language to frame these dynamics in terms acceptable to everyone involved?

The session was an opportunity to continue the conversation along these lines that have evolved as a consistent theme for me since the first ChangeCamp.

I had great exchanges with about a dozen different open gov enthusiasts from across government.  I feel comfortable in reporting that yes, this notion that embracing Gov 2.0 as a risk averse strategy, has the potential to resonate within bureaucratic and political circles.  It could be part of messaging that will appeal to late adopters and perhaps get those first trials off of the ground.

What’s next? Was the question that we bounced around the room to wrap up the three hour unconference.

Here are the additional thoughts that emerged at our table:

1. “We have a full plate.” or “We just do not have resources to try that.” These are likely the number one kind of objection that you will hear across departments.  Listen carefully.

Gov 2.0 offers the promise of solutions that share and scale.  Most often, Gov 2.0 is not about adding new lines of service, it is about doing the same things in different, more productive ways.  In most cases, it would be a waste of resources to roll out another year of doing the same old thing without looking for ways to incorporate the internet into routines.

What you may be hearing is code for, “We don’t know how.”, “That sounds risky.”, “We don’t get rewarded for taking on things that are new.”.

2. In his opening comments David Eaves pointed out, there is a long history and many cases where governments have committed to a policy of transparency and/or public reporting in Canada.  Perhaps the #govcamp community can make an effort to examine the decisions that were made to release data and become more transparent in the past, note the reasons why and look for opportunities to apply that rationale to convince governments to apply it in new areas.

3. Tabling an ill considered RFP can be a public relations disaster for government.  Opening up the development of the RFP can help reduce this risk and lead to more progressive ideas being incorporated into governments’ competitive processes.

4. A few times our discussion came back to the need for boiler plate policy and guidelines that can be adopted across government.  We talked about why it is unlikely that anything like Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency will materialize in Canada in the immediate future and there was some enthusiasm that the #govcamp community could lead the development of expectations through the creation of open source guidelines, similar to the resources developed in corporate American by the Social Media Business Council.

Craig Newmark – Hilton sisters, Hot or Not? CluetrainPlus10

Okay, so do you find Craig Newmark and the Hilton sisters hot or not?

Hilton Sisters, Hot or Not

This post is my contribution to the CluetrainPlus10 project, in which 95 bloggers are commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Cluetrain Manifesto by reflecting on the 95 theses of this seminal social media marketing work.

thesis #70. If you don’t impress us, your investors are going to take a bath. Don’t they understand this? If they did, they wouldn’t let you talk that way.

Corporations (for profit) are a pretty incredible form of human organization don’t you think?  It seems to me that they were originally formed to enable groups of people to take actions together in ways that were previously not common.  The corporate form let groups enter into contracts, own things and most importantly it enabled people to treat risk differently.  Leverage.  Scale.  Risk is a big part of innovation.  It is related to rewards.  It is how we get ahead, isn’t it?

This form of organization has proven to be very effective at creating wealth.  It is responsible for lifting more people out of poverty than any other approach.  Even still, eventually we end up asking how is this wealth creating form of organization accountable to the rest of us?

The call for regulation is getting attention these days.  Does anyone think that any group of policy wonks is going to get in front of a mammoth like Google and many corporations like it that are way around the curve on investing in and understanding the power of data and networks?  Regulation is important but don’t you think it addresses practices after giant shifts have occurred and there is a new status quo to code into the system?  I think a more important and achievable check at the early stages of new practices is developing greater accountability to markets.

Being accountable to customers is one form of market accountability.  But all boats rise in a flood.  If a company is fortunate enough to be doing enough of the right things and it is connected to the context of an inexorable global trend they can grow like crazy and ignore their customers.  Or they can completely disregard all of their potential customers and new streams of revenue and just hang onto the ones that come easily. Nice little business.  Everybody is happy, except the folks at Tribune.

It could be worse, one could be totally free of direct responsibility for production of product or service and still able to live off of the spoils of corporately created wealth and the attention and power that access to capital affords (are they hot if they are not heiresses?).

In any event, some people at the top of Tribune, the banks and a lot of other major corporations lost the plot recently, but does anyone feel like these corporations are not accountable to the market?  They seem to be getting hammered by the market the last time I checked.

Looking back over the last ten years and reflecting on thesis #70, we now have many examples that investors suffer when companies do not adjust to the network era.  But do investors fully understand this and reflect it in their analysis of the future prospects of a company?  I think the answer is no.

I think this is a big part of the problem at the heart of the #smfail thread that recently evolved out the of the Business of Community Networking  conference in Boston and Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

Howard Lindzon has part of the answer. He says, “it’s time for some Venture Capitalist’s and founders with balls to take some real chances and lead change.”

For whatever reasons, folks like Bill Gates and Clark/Andreesen and Jeff Bezos engaged with public markets, became poster children for embracing change for all of us, created a lot of wealth for a lot of people, scaled to the global challenge/opportunity and they changed what investors look for in a company in the process.

A Twitter, Facebook or Craigslist IPO would have similar effects IMHO.

But I don’t think that the real answer is “out there” with other people.  It is not the responsibility of a few to provide leadership for the rest of us anymore.

Any so-called social media expert can help stop the Web 2.0 Swan Song.

1.  Stop selling social media as a cheap alternative to television advertising.  If something is better it is worth more.  If a television campaign is worth $1-million then doing social media right is worth $1.2-million.  Go after those deals and you will quickly find your self sitting across the table from senior executives, rather than junior managers. (Real quote within last month, from real director level employee in Canadian operations of a brand you know and trust: “We are not adopting social media, and if we were that decision would not be made here, it would have to come from a senior level executive in the US office.)

2. Stop waiting and advocating for some sort of “executive buy in”.  Yes, leadership from the top will help, but it will be the little success stories or implementations that start small but spread memetically that draw in the senior execs as champions.  Who is hosting corporate changecamp in NYC?

3. When you do get into the CEO suite, don’t propagate the “Giving Up Control” myth.  Telling a middle-aged executive who has fought half of their life to get where they are that they need to give up control is quite the “conversation” killer.  Worse – it is not the truth.

4. Let’s put an end to the arrogance of looking down on the way corporate types speak.  Excessive PR is one thing but let’s recognize that if we want investors to understand the imperatives of the new economic model, we need to make the effort to convert our “conversation” into terms and language that they can act upon.

The shift to common perception shaped by broadband empowered social networks is accelerating and the dominant source of shared perceived value for the last 50 years, broadcast media, is in rapid decline.

Ultimately the ability to maintain margins is dependent on a shared perception of sustainable difference in value between price and costs.  That means that brand value, around 50% of big company corporate valuation, is at risk of evaporating.

Broadband connectivity is set to triple every six months and it is the key driver.  The broadband trend, along with mobile communications & GPS integration is eliminating the boundary between the virtual worlds & the so-called real world, establishing the link between broadband empowered people and stable future earnings.

Should the “conversation” go something like that?

Part of the problem is that a cross-disciplinary solution is required.  It really takes collective input from a variety of experts to arrive at a satisfactory answer.

With a seed investor and a few precedent setting corporations we could all get involved in an open source approach to making the business case to investors in a meaningful way.  Call me if you have $200K and want to get started.  I will send you the proposal.

Read the other posts in the CluetrainPlus10 project.

1. Markets are conversations. Christopher Locke, Mystic BourgeoisieEntropy Gradient Reversals, @clockerb

2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors. Simon Kendrick, Curiously Persistent@curiouslyp

3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.Keith McArthur, Rogers Communications, keithmcarthur.ca @keithmcarthur

4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived. Shel Holtz, A Shel of my Former Self, @shel

5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice. Dave Fleet, Davefleet.com, @davefleet

6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media. Jose Leal, wikiDOMO Blog, @jaleal

7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. Chris Brogan, Chrisbrogan.com, @chrisbrogan

8. In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way. Mitch Joel, Six Pixels of Separation, @mitchjoel

9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge. Neville Hobson, nevillehobson.com, @jangles

10. As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally. Ed Lee, Blogging Me, Blogging You, @edlee

11. People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products. Andy Beal, Marketing Pilgram, @andybeal

12. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone. Dan York, Disruptive Conversations, @danyork

13. What’s happening to markets is also happening among employees. A metaphysical construct called “The Company” is the only thing standing between the two. Lauren’s Library Blog @laurenpressley

14. Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.  C.C. Chapman, CC-Chapman.com, @CC_Chapman

15. In just a few more years, the current homogenized “voice” of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court. Tom Ewing, Freaky Trigger, @tomewing

16. Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone. Steve Dodd, B2B Selling with Social Media Technniques, @steve_dodd

17. Companies that assume online markets are the same markets that used to watch their ads on television are kidding themselves. – Jason Griffey, Pattern  Recognition, @griffey

18. Companies that don’t realize their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity. Ivan Croxford, The Fumoir, @croxy

19. Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance. Kyle McInnes, BlackBerryCool.com, @blackberrycool

20. Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing. At them.Tom Nixon@tomnixon

21. Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor. Jay Moonah from Wild Apricot, Media Driving, @jmoonah

22. Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view. Colin McKay | Canuckflack | @canuckflack

23. Companies attempting to “position” themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about. tamera kremer, (3i), @tamera

24. Bombastic boasts—”We are positioned to become the preeminent provider of XYZ”—do not constitute a position. Anthony Power, Power Points, @apowerpoint, Post here.

25. Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships. @sclapp, Sharon Clapp, librarywebhead

26. Public Relations does not relate to the public. Companies are deeply afraid of their markets.  Heather Yaxleygreenbanana, @greenbanana Post: http://greenbanana.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/public-relations-does-not-relate-to-the-public-companies-are-deeply-afraid-of-their-markets/

27. By speaking in language that is distant, uninviting, arrogant, they build walls to keep markets at bay. Karen Russell, Teaching PR, @KarenRussell

28. Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market might see what’s really going on inside the company. Brenna Flynn, com.motion, @b2therenna, Post: http://www.causeacommotion.com/2009/04/cluetrainplus10-project-most-marketing.html

29. Elvis said it best: “We can’t go on together with suspicious minds.” Post: Elvis was right Pete Burden, www.peteburden.com, @peteburden

30. Brand loyalty is the corporate version of going steady, but the breakup is inevitable—and coming fast. Because they are networked, smart markets are able to renegotiate relationships with blinding speed. Kevin MacKenzie, mack-musings.blogspot.com. @mackenstuff

31. Networked markets can change suppliers overnight. Networked knowledge workers can change employers over lunch. Your own “downsizing initiatives” taught us to ask the question: “Loyalty? What’s that?” Blake Medulan, blakedot.blogspot.com @thebdot

32. Smart markets will find suppliers who speak their own language.@debworks http://debworks.blogspot.com/2009/04/cluetrain10-number-32.html

33. Learning to speak with a human voice is not a parlor trick. It can’t be “picked up” at some tony conference. Bob LeDrew, Flacklife @bobledrew

34. To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities. Keith Burtis, keithburtis.com@keithburtis

35. But first, they must belong to a community. @LizStrauss – Successful-Blog.com

36. Companies must ask themselves where their corporate cultures end. Matt Moore engineerwithoutfears @innotecture happy endings

37. If their cultures end before the community begins, they will have no market. Farah Qasemi, The Burgundy Rants, @efcue

38. Human communities are based on discourse—on human speech about human concerns. Mathew Ingram, http://www.mathewingram.com/work/2009/04/28/cluetrain-human-speech-human-concerns/ @mathewi

39. The community of discourse is the market. Tim Walker, hooversbiz.com, @Twalk

40. Companies that do not belong to a community of discourse will die. Toby Greenwalt, theanalogdivide.com, @theanalogdivide

41. Companies make a religion of security, but this is largely a red herring. Most are protecting less against competitors than against their own market and workforce. Maddie Grant

@maddiegrant  [post coming soon]

42. As with networked markets, people are also talking to each other directly inside the company—and not just about rules and regulations, boardroom directives, bottom lines.

43. Such conversations are taking place today on corporate intranets. But only when the conditions are right.

44. Companies typically install intranets top-down to distribute HR policies and other corporate information that workers are doing their best to ignore. Nancy Dowd, The ‘M’ Word.

45. Intranets naturally tend to route around boredom. The best are built bottom-up by engaged individuals cooperating to construct something far more valuable: an intranetworked corporate conversation.

46. A healthy intranet organizes workers in many meanings of the word. Its effect is more radical than the agenda of any union. Connie Crosby Intranet Apocalypso http://crosbygroup.ca/blog@conniecrosby

47. While this scares companies witless, they also depend heavily on open intranets to generate and share critical knowledge. They need to resist the urge to “improve” or control these networked conversations.

48. When corporate intranets are not constrained by fear and legalistic rules, the type of conversation they encourage sounds remarkably like the conversation of the networked marketplace.

49. Org charts worked in an older economy where plans could be fully understood from atop steep management pyramids and detailed work orders could be handed down from on high. Mark Federman What is the (Next)  Message?

50. Today, the org chart is hyperlinked, not hierarchical. Respect for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract authority. Michael Stephens, tametheweb.com, @mstephens7 http://tametheweb.com/2009/04/28/hyperlinked-libraries-org-charts-the-human-voice-ten-years-of-the-cluetrain-manifesto/

51. Command-and-control management styles both derive from and reinforce bureaucracy, power tripping and an overall culture of paranoia. Omar Ha-Redeye, LawIsCool, @OmarHaRedeye

52. Paranoia kills conversation. That’s its point. But lack of open conversation kills companies. Malcolm Bastien, Open Mode, @MalcolmBastien

53. There are two conversations going on. One inside the company. One with the market.    http://bit.ly/CluetrainWizard – “CluetrainPlus10 and The Wizard of Oz”, John V Willshire, @willsh

54. In most cases, neither conversation is going very well. Almost invariably, the cause of failure can be traced to obsolete notions of command and control Michael Karesh @TrueDelta

55. As policy, these notions are poisonous. As tools, they are broken. Command and control are met with hostility by intranetworked knowledge workers and generate distrust in internetworked markets.

56. These two conversations want to talk to each other. They are speaking the same language. They recognize each other’s voices.

57. Smart companies will get out of the way and help the inevitable to happen sooner. – Mike Russell, PlanetRussell.net/blog, @planetrussell

58. If willingness to get out of the way is taken as a measure of IQ, then very few companies have yet wised up.  Helene Blowers, LibraryBytes – The secret is in letting go @hblowers

59. However subliminally at the moment, millions of people now online perceive companies as little more than quaint legal fictions that are actively preventing these conversations from intersecting. Andrew Goodman, Traffick.com & Page Zero Media, @andrew_goodman

60. This is suicidal. Markets want to talk to companies. Danny Whatmough @dannywhatmough

61. Sadly, the part of the company a networked market wants to talk to is usually hidden behind a smokescreen of hucksterism, of language that rings false—and often is. Nancy White @nancywhite

62. Markets do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters. They want to participate in the conversations going on behind the corporate firewall. Andrew Cherwenka, Trapeze, @andrewcherwenka

63. De-cloaking, getting personal: We are those markets. We want to talk to you. Ian Capstick, MeidaStyle.ca, @iancapstick

64. We want access to your corporate information, to your plans and strategies, your best thinking, your genuine knowledge. We will not settle for the 4-color brochure, for web sites chock-a-block with eye candy but lacking any substance. Aerin Guy @aeringuy

65. We’re also the workers who make your companies go. We want to talk to customers directly in our own voices, not in platitudes written into a script. Kate Trgovac mynameiskate.ca @mynameiskate

66. As markets, as workers, both of us are sick to death of getting our information by remote control. Why do we need faceless annual reports and third-hand market research studies to introduce us to each other? Tom Demers WordStream Blog @tomdemers

67. As markets, as workers, we wonder why you’re not listening. You seem to be speaking a different language. monica levy. http://www.monicaonmarketing.blogspot.com. @mjlevy

68. The inflated self-important jargon you sling around—in the press, at your conferences—what’s that got to do with us? San Antonio Byline Blog @clgoodman

69. Maybe you’re impressing your investors. Maybe you’re impressing Wall Street. You’re not impressing us. Tony Goodson www.tonygoodson.com @tgtips

70. If you don’t impress us, your investors are going to take a bath. Don’t they understand this? If they did, they wouldn’t let you talk that way. Michael Cayley www.socialcapitalvalueadd.com @memeticbrand Craig Newmark – Hilton sisters, Hot or Not? CluetrainPlus10

71. Your tired notions of “the market” make our eyes glaze over. We don’t recognize ourselves in your projections—perhaps because we know we’re already elsewhere. Doc Searls @dsearls

72. We like this new marketplace much better. In fact, we are creating it. Joe Kraus, @jokrausdu, http://www.nuthingbut.net/2009/04/we-like-this-new-marketplace-much.html.

73. You’re invited, but it’s our world. Take your shoes off at the door. If you want to barter with us, get down off that camel! mr heretic, @mrheretic

74. We are immune to advertising. Just forget it. Jane Shkolnik @jshko www.blurtheline.ca

75. If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change. Duane Brown, Creative Traction, @duanebrown

76. We’ve got some ideas for you too: some new tools we need, some better service. Stuff we’d be willing to pay for. Got a minute? Michelle Sullivan, Michelle Sullivan Communications, @msullivan

77. You’re too busy “doing business” to answer our email? Oh gosh, sorry, gee, we’ll come back later. Maybe. Gina Lijoi, http://wordondigital.blogspot.com, @ginalijoi

78. You want us to pay? We want you to pay attention. Eden Spodek, Bargainista, @EdenSpodek

79. We want you to drop your trip, come out of your neurotic self-involvement, join the party. Sarah Prevette, @sarahprevette

80. Don’t worry, you can still make money. That is, as long as it’s not the only thing onyour mind. Beth Robinson, Inventing Elephants, @bethrobinson Response posted at http://www.inventingelephants.com/beyondmoney.html

81. Have you noticed that, in itself, money is kind of one-dimensional and boring? What else can we talk about? Rebecca Leaman, Wild Apricot, @rjleaman

82. Your product broke. Why? We’d like to ask the guy who made it. Your corporate strategy makes no sense. We’d like to have a chat with your CEO. What do you mean she’s not in? Michael O’Connor Clarke, Uninstalled, @michaelocc

83. We want you to take 50 million of us as seriously as you take one reporter from The Wall Street Journal. Ged Carroll (@r_c, renaissance chambara) posted here and here

84. We know some people from your company. They’re pretty cool online. Do you have any more like that you’re hiding? Can they come out and play? Dan Wilson, @wilsondan wilsondan.co.uk

85. When we have questions we turn to each other for answers. If you didn’t have such a tight rein on “your people” maybe they’d be among the people we’d turn to. Reid Givens @reidgivens reidgivens.com

86. When we’re not busy being your “target market,” many of us are your people. We’d rather be talking to friends online than watching the clock. That would get your name around better than your entire million dollar web site. But you tell us speaking to the market is Marketing’s job. Danny Brown, danny brown – social media pr and marketing for the conversation age@dannybrown. Post now live: “We’re Your People Too”.

87. We’d like it if you got what’s going on here. That’d be real nice. But it would be a big mistake to think we’re holding our breath. Joe Buhler, buhlerworks, @jebworks Post live on Marketing on the Smart Web

88. We have better things to do than worry about whether you’ll change in time to get our business. Business is only a part of our lives. It seems to be all of yours. Think about it: who needs whom? Nick Gadsby @nickbjorn of Lawes Consulting READ MY ENTRY @ Dark London

89. We have real power and we know it. If you don’t quite see the light, some other outfit will come along that’s more attentive, more interesting, more fun to play with. http://hessiej.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/cluetrainplus-10-thesis-89-we-have-real-power-and-we-know-it-if-you-dont-quite-see-the-light-some-other-outfit-will-come-along-thats-more-attentive-more-interesting-more-fun-to-play-with/, http://twitter.com/hessiej

90. Even at its worst, our newfound conversation is more interesting than most trade shows, more entertaining than any TV sitcom, and certainly more true-to-life than the corporate web sites we’ve been seeing. David Berkowitz, Inside the Marketers Studio, @dberkowitz

91. Our allegiance is to ourselves—our friends, our new allies and acquaintances, even our sparring partners. Companies that have no part in this world, also have no future. Kurt Cagle, Metaphorical Web, @kurt_cagle

92. Companies are spending billions of dollars on Y2K. Why can’t they hear this market timebomb ticking? The stakes are even higher.  Sally Falkow Proactive http://falkow.blogsite.com Now live http://falkow.blogsite.com/public/item/231350

93. We’re both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our conversations look like the Berlin Wall today, but they’re really just an annoyance. We know they’re coming down. We’re going to work from both sides to take them down. Morten Blaabjerg, When The Garden Walls Come Crumbling Down Kaplak Blog

94. To traditional corporations, networked conversations may appear confused, may sound confusing. But we are organizing faster than they are. We have better tools, more new ideas, no rules to slow us down. Robin Hastings@webgoddess

95. We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.  Leigh Himel, http://leighhimel.blogspot.com/2009/04/cluetrainplus-10-thesis-95.html – @leighh

Social Capital Value Add – Chinese Version @ China 2.0

I am looking for volunteers to refine this Mandarin version of Introducing Social Capital Value Add. Please contact me if you can help.

Thanks to my good friend and co-worker, Susan Du and her assistants for this first draft. During my three years in Shanghai, Susan supported my work at Shanghai Links and as a Board Member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.  I was in Shanghai for three years & Beijing for two.

The problem is that most of my old friends are not familiar with the translations of the specialized media, social capital, economic and management terms throughout the paper. The other problem is that my China network works in a completely different context than my new “twitter speed” online networks.  I suppose that another problem is that little word … “volunteer”?

I am releasing this version now because I am hoping to get the attention Robert Scoble, Shel Israel and the rest of the gang on the China 2.0 Tour. Organized by The China Business Network, Web2Asia and CNReviews, the inaugural China 2.0 Tour is sponsored by Edelman Digital China and represents a unique opportunity for companies and individuals to gain a deeper understanding of China.  Check out this line-up:

Over the course of the next few days, these folks will be mixing with the right enthusiasts who will both very much appreciate the translation of Social Capital Value Add and be positioned to refine it.

If you are connected to the China 2.0 tour or anyone on it in any way, please help me recruit some support for the SCVA idea.

Check out these posts on the consistencies of the Chinese notion of guanXi and social capital.  New global economic order anyone?

Xie Xie.

Social Capital Value Add @ Apr1 15 Chinese Version

And another thing.  My wife in Beijing this week on business & I miss her.

How did this dog get in the boardroom?

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:

http://www.changethis.com/50.05.SocialCapital

Web 2.0 Swan Song?

If you are reading this post you likely already understand that social media is “game changing”. The challenge ahead is to make this case to seasoned decision makers in boardrooms globally.

Perhaps it is because I watched as the public relations profession worked over the last 20 years to attempt to tune the corporation into being more socially motivated. Perhaps it is the lingering fear of the first Internet bubble. But every time I read a blog post about what is better Twitter or Plurk or see a debate raging about whether one has to be a blogger to “get” social media, I hear Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson and this song in my head (sorry – not every time and minus the first 51 seconds, heh, heh).

I don’t want this second wave of the internet coming to crest before crashing through the boardroom door. The prospect of changing the dialog about Web 2.0 and social media is what prompted me to start down the the path of writing “Introducing Social Capital Value Add” last May.

SCVA is a management method rooted in accepted financial theory that connects the pioneering intellectual enterprises of social capital and social network analysis to value based management and the priorities of marketers. SCVA proposes that we establish the link between social media and corporate valuation, in a way similar to the connection made between brand and corporate value in the late 1980s.

Investors and managers need to access the risks to future earnings and stock value associated with social media. When we evangelize Web 2.0 and social media in these terms … risk, future earnings and stock value … the focus will change from saving a few thousand dollars on a web campaign and the quest for that elusive viral story. This is the opportunity to stress the commitment, investment and special management methods required to develop the social capital that underwrites long term success in the networked age.

Over the last month many people have joined in to support the idea of “Introducing Social Capital Value Add” at www.changethis.com/proposals. Thank you very much. It is not over yet. Voting closes sometime, probably end of day, June 19th. It might not come together tomorrow.

UPDATE 1:  Social Capital Value Add ended up being the 8th most demanded proposal in ChangeThis history and it was published in September 2008 as a ChangeThis manifesto along with new releases from Seth Godin, Jonathan Salem Baskin & Harvard Change expert John Kotter.

UPDATE 2: In March 2009, SCVA was a finalist among almost 400 entries from 48 countries in Ashoka’s The Power of Us: Reimagine Media competition.

The odds are against this prospect of changing the dialog. I must admit though, the process of engaging as many people as I can about these issues and the response has been inspiring.

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Thank You Canadian Marketing Association

A post went up today on the Canadian Marketing Association blog covering ChangeThis and making an appeal in favour of “Introducing Social Capital Value Add”.

Thank you to Jennifer Morozowich and to CMA for your support.

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