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Hyper-Social Innovation

This post is a follow up to last week’s Innochat with the Innocat tribe. The chat was so fast and furious that I had a hard time keeping up – so this is an attempt to continue the conversation asynchronously.

The first unanswered question came from @bpluskowski where he asked to define what “successfully” meant when I said that Hyper-Social organizations are those organizations that have successfully baked the social as part of their DNA. When we talk about “successfully” baking the social as part of their DNA we mean companies that have embedded the social as part of everything they do: customer engagement, employee engagement, new product innovation, etc. , as opposed to companies that have discreet programs (often times marketing programs) that somehow leverage “social” media. To succeed with social it must become part of the fabric of your company culture – like Erin Nelson, ex CMO at Dell said when I interviewed her “Compared to other CMO’s I consider myself lucky. Dell Hell put our brand under pressure and  so to engage in social media  was actually a question of survival….you cannot get into social media by just putting a toe in the water – you are either all in and it becomes part of your culture, or you’re not.”

Some people had questions regarding the Human 1.0 principles – reciprocity, fairness, need for status and power, wanting to be with others that are just like us, being a herding species, etc. Those are not learned behaviors, they are reflexes and hardwired behaviors that have been explained by evolutionary biologists. We developed reciprocity as a reflex because if we can get strangers to care for our offspring as if it were their own, when we go hunting and gathering, there is a higher likelihood that our gene-line will survive. If we are not willing to pay a personal toll to punish someone who treats us unfairly, then freeloaders could bring down our reciprocal society. We love power and status because it used to get us access to better mates and more food. We like to hoard status and power because it ensures better mates and more food for our offspring. We are herding and self-herding because we are driven by a need to preserve energy, and if we can safe energy by not making decisions and instead take those of our tribe members as a proxy we will do so.

There were lot’s of questions and comments about the tribe concept. Tribes are different from psychographics because understanding tribes requires you to understand the tribe’s culture. Psychographics touch on behavioral characteristics, but they only focus on individual behavioral characteristics, not cultural/group behavioral characteristics.

Tribes and communities are the same – tribes is a term that anthropologist use and communities one that sociologists use to mean the same thing.

During the conversations some people started talking about fans and ambassadors. Fans are a tribe, but with sometimes very different characteristics that other consumer tribes. Ambassadors are what I sometimes refer to as the leaders of your tribes. Besides understanding the culture of your tribes, it is very important to understand their leaders and find ways to engage them. And yes, you do self-select to be in modern tribes, and you can voluntary leave them, making it tricky to exert too much top-down control in tribal environments.

As to how many tribes we can belong to, I think the answer is different depending on the person. But it is safe to say that most people will only belong to one tribe per interest. That points to the fact that there is a true first mover advantage for those companies that can tap into their tribes. As long as Fiskars does not screw up the Fiskateers, it will be very hard for others to create another vibrant scrap-booker community.

@dscofield made the point that many companies seem to find their external tribes but few find enable their internal tribes. That is so true, and the power that you can get from matching your internal tribes with your external tribes (put people from within your company with a shared interest, shared passion or pain in touch with people on the outside) is tremendous.

We found examples of companies turning business processes into social processes for every imaginable process, except finance and legal. I think that we may never find them, but would love to document them if they exist. The reason why I think we won’t find them is because successful Hyper-Social organizations stop being company or product centric. They instead become 100% customer, employee or human-centric, like Fiskars, Jeep or Mini (see this blog post). @bpluskowski disagreed with that point and listed microfinancing and venture funding as examples of social financial processes. I do not disagree with that point, but the point I was trying to make is that we have not found internal finance processes to be social. So the internal financial department within a microfinancing organization or venture fund is unlikely to be social.

There were some comments and questions around the differences between B2B and B2C. Our research has found no difference between the success criteria of B2B or B2C companies that turned themselves into Hyper-Social organizations. The reason for that is that when it works, it’s not B’s talking to B’s or C’s – it’s people talking to people.

We talked about Netnography being a good methodology to understand/study online tribes. The founder of Netnography, @kozinets, was kind enough to post a white paper about netnography after our chat – thanks Rob!

Thank you all for the great chat – I did learn a few things as usual - @Renee_Hopkins@AndreaMeyer, @bpluskowski, @dscofield@MWCemily, @lindanaiman, @ken_rosen, @stevemassi, @greggfraley, @adhansen, @bo, @CreativeSage, @SteveKoss, @gnosisarts, @bikespoke, @innovKelli, @sourcepov, @DrewCM, @blogbrevity, @DavidWLocke, @Note_to_CMO, @futurescape, @MaxMckeown, @thehealthmaven, @adivik2000, @thebrandbuilder, @YKabakibo, @pprothe, @johntodor, @thotstr, @tomasacker, @webby2001, @LadyZhere, @mambomedia, @marydpadilla, @pavanvoice, @TomOB, @4byoung, @TheB2BModel, @Adrianaology, @Chris_Eh_Young, @megheuer, @T_C_P, @quality1

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