Two pieces came across my transom today — one a summary of a meeting with IBM’s Ginni Rometty and Jon Iwata, the other a post from friends at Bloomberg Beta. Both indicate to me the direction that winning companies need to take and, you guessed it, I see Communications at its core. Especially communications with and among employee populations.
The first is a post to Fortunes’ CEO blog about the necessity for industry incumbents to get off of their disrupted tushies and make the best use of their inherent knowledge, data and the capital they’re sitting on to take advantage of emergent AI. But, “the biggest problem they face is not technology, but rather creating a culture that can embrace and adapt to technological change. As Iwata summarized their view: ‘Culture is the number one impediment… Culture moves in a linear way; technology moves exponentially.’”
But as I began to learn at IBM (under Jon’s leadership, no less) years ago — company culture is a killer app, or just a killer. Depends. Mostly on how (or whether) or manage it. And by the way, the culture extends internally, externally and across time in ways that are damn hard to address. But digital networks of employees (future and past) leave evidence of behaviors, ideas and artifacts of feelings as never before. Observable…and therefore measurable…and manageable?
(Hint: I most certainly think so.)
The second post — coauthored by Roy Bahat and James Cham — suggests that industry needs a kind of Digital Drucker. Someone with some new ideas about management informed by the capabilities of machine learning. We need fewer genius/hero CEOs and more leadership who understand how machine intelligence can propel their firms (and their increasingly loosely-coupled-recombinant-adaptive workforces) to success. These new managers will “understand how to manage models, which are the flux capacitor of making software go beyond workflows to decisions.”
Couldn’t. Agree. More.
So in both of these articles — ostensibly kinda sorta about technology but really more about adaptation — you have an insight about how Communications as a profession must proceed. The best communications professionals will be consiglieres to their CEOs as their firms develop products, policies, platforms and employee populations open to ‘digital’ (for lack of a better term.) If we’re looking for a ‘seat at the table,’ then our best bet will be to understand the methods of communicating with and through digitally activated populations assisted by many, many flavors of machine intelligence.
We initially created this video as part of our Think Academy — a monthly education program that we do virtually for all 400,000+ IBMers on strategic topics like cloud computing, analytics etc. For January’s session, we covered Social Business and the organizers of the program asked me to appear with my colleague Tami Cannizzaro to describe IBM’s point of view on social business. So here you have it — a video initially made just for IBMers, but now we’re using it externally — it’s on YouTube — for example, we played it at my panel discussion with Cheryl Burgess yesterday at IBM Connect.
A few years ago when my team and I were getting super excited about podcasting (gosh, this must have been like 6 or 7 years ago now that I think about it) we realized that we and our other podcasting pals at IBM needed good intro, outtro and music-bed tracks for our IBM podcasts. So we did a remix of IBM’s rally song from the 1930’s, Ever Onward (original lyrics and music; playable file from 1930s).
We did four mixes…a “corporate” mix which we wanted to sounded newsy, a “warm” mix which we wanted to sound folksy, a “rock” mix we wanted to sound energetic and an embarrassingly named “techno” mix that we wanted to sound, uh, techy.
Say what you will about the titles of the remixes, they were popular! The files were downloaded more than 15,000 from IBM’s intranet and used many, many thousands of times again in podcasts, live employee events, video podcasts and a zillion other contexts. We had negotiated a novel contract with the producer that would allow us to use them as we saw fit with the exception of advertising…this was pretty cutting edge, I think, for the time and allowed IBMers from all around the world to have professional-sounding audio branding for their podcasts without having to negotiate individual licenses.
Anyway, that’s an example of early-days social media enablement for the enterprise that I am pretty happy to have been a part of here at IBM 🙂
Somehow I forgot to post these here despite having uploaded them ages ago to Slideshare. Oh well, here are my slides from the keynote I did at the OMMA track of SXSW earlier this year.
<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/ethanmcc/omma-slides-ibmsxsw”
; title=”Enterprise transformation through social media” target=”_blank”>Enterprise transformation through social media</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/ethanmcc”
; target=”_blank”>Ethan McCarty</a></strong> </div>
Jon Iwata lays out the logic and emotion of IBM’s brand in a tidy two minutes. Worth watching. And rewatching.
on Brand” by Jon Iwata</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/vsapartners”>VSA
Partners</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>
I keep meaning to share this presentation about social business that I did at Ragan‘s event late last year…
<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/ethanmcc/20121128-ragan-mccarty”
; title=”Social Business @ IBM” target=”_blank”>Social Business @ IBM</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/ethanmcc”
; target=”_blank”>Ethan McCarty</a></strong> </div>
I attended LinkedIn’s TechConnect conference a month or so ago — I peeled off for a few minutes to describe a bit about how IBMers are using LinkedIn.