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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Socap09 - first day

This post was originally published here

One year later, it feels good to be back at Socap, and it is great to catch up on the Social Capital Markets conversation.

My first impression is that just like everywhere else I go these days, and whoever else I talk to, the subject of Innovation, and more specifically Social Innovation takes over the conversation.

Socap and its attendees were no different today: the first keynote was from Sonal Shah, the director of the office of social innovation in the Obama administration.
- 4 people working across the various bodies of the administration to help them think differently and work with each other to scale efforts taken from the public or private sector that work
- a social innovation fund to help finance the process

It used to be that people dreaming of a better world would try to stay away from government ("big brother" could kill the dream). The same people see now the government as a potential (or even unavoidable) ally. This is a huge change in perception, and a huge opportunity to make things happen differently. Just that is a major accomplishment of the Obama administration, and even if it is just starting and much still needs to be done, it clearly makes this office of social innovation a success already.

So if you did not know yet, it's official now: 2009 is the year of Social Innovation. And what it is really is a re-definition of organizations models and infrastructure: whether it is government or enterprise, or any kind of organization, people have realized that military style hierarchies with top down communication are not sustainable over the long term. Michel Bowens has been talking about the rise of the peer-to-peer civilization, and it is now happening.

What this means for entrepreneurs is that they too should think about Social Innovation and Participation for their own organizations. If you are going to build a company that will last, it should have participation built in.

And this is the other highlight of this first day of Socap09 for me: BeDo Spring as the "Intel Inside" for enterprise.
What BeDo Spring does is help corporations develop unique mission brands and action platforms, which engage employees around social responsibility, sustainability and purpose. It helps brand evolve from a top down model of a small strategic marketing team defining plans and actions to a model where employees are empowered to do something good that will benefit them as well as the brand and the rest of the world.
Brand management is becoming community management, starting with employees. If we are evolving towards a world where "communities dominate brands" this is good strategy to implement. You too need to find your BeDo...

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