Durable Capabilities Required for Social Business Success (5i’s)

Faster, Better and Different!  Table-stakes in today’s competitive environment.

Your go-to-market delivery must be flexible and aspire to one-to-one marketing, sales and service- to meet your customer’s uniquely individual needs and preferences.  The hardened silos of the traditional enterprise, the management we all know from the industrial age, is not enough.

“The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.”
Albert Einstein

Social Capabilities

To accommodate the tsunami of social-media driven change companies are experiencing in the marketplace, we have fused our 25 plus years of management experience- constantly seeking competitive advantage through business improvement- with the potential for employee and customer engagement made possible through the explosion of collaboratively enabling social tools.  We have worked with intrigued, forward-looking executives and their companies to learn what is required to bring “social thinking” into the enterprise.  And, we have spent more than 3 years studying and working with emerging methods and tools- to identify a set of capabilities necessary to be competitive now and in the future- defining social business inside the enterprise.  We have summarized these foundational capabilities in the “5i’s”.

  • Innovation
  • Information Bias
  • Informed Decisions
  • Individual Acumen
  • Integration

These capabilities are necessary at the individual, group and organization (iGO) levels throughout the enterprise.


While there are thousands of books on innovation, few address multiple dimensions of innovation.  In a recent webinar, Gary Hamel presented an innovation stack, the idea of layers of innovation from operations to product to strategy to eco-system (enterprise network) to management innovation.  Each layer becomes less prevalent and more competitively enduring as you climb the stack from operations to management.

One of our key principles in bringing social transformation to the enterprise-level is the need for behavioral innovation at all levels, including leadership.  Broad involvement coupled with the appropriate environment can drive multiple levels and types of innovation.

Information Bias

A culture of fact-based action, leveraging transparency of information both in the marketplace and within the enterprise, facilitates rapid action and can be the basis of shared learnings throughout the enterprise.  Information about a network of individuals promotes efficient staffing and, when combined with time-shifting collaborative technologies, helps leverage the limited amount of an expert’s time.  Enterprise-wide adoption of collaborative technologies provides visibility at the fringe of the enterprise, and supports distributed decisioning.

Informed Decisions

A critical component of how we will work together in the aspirational enterprise, decisioning includes the processes, roles and routines, guidance and interactions necessary to distribute accountability down and out into the organization.  A well defined decision process, including clear roles, supported by social technologies can provide extreme flexibility and transparency at all levels- from above and below.

Individual Acumen

The social enterprise demands individual accountability and reinforced sensibilities of appropriate judgment in the use of, for example, company sensitive information.  One of the primary skills necessary within the architecture of participation (routines, guidance and interactions) is situational awareness in aiding decision making.  Individual acumen relies on each and every individual in the organization to bring the a basic set of tools, understanding and “business think” into their daily routines.


Pulling all the pieces together includes enterprise integration along dimensions such as processes, leadership and communication to reinforce consistent messages, not only internally, but out to the marketplace and customers.  When aligning and integrating the enterprise with competitive strategy, we believe it begins with the an understanding of customer needs, application of these capabilities to direct resources to create customer-centric value through agile execution to achieve customer fulfillment.

These base capabilities are critical to the future social business within the enterprise.  When focused through agile execution and aligned with marketplace strategy, these capabilities provide a strong, durable platform for business improvement and for competitive success.

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