An oxymoron, if I may state that – Can a Private Organization [...]
An oxymoron, if I may state that – Can a Private Organization be a social business too? Apparently yes in today’s world of Social hype, read on…
Before we go into understanding what Social Business Strategy is let’s try and understand the idea of social versus private. Many people are not very comfortable with the idea of people posting updates about what they are doing or wish to do on Facebook – why do I need to know about what they are doing?? if I want to know I will ask them! Why do they need to post and let the whole world know? – is the usual angst of such people. Well most are not aware that you can turn turn this off if you do not wish to receive the Facebook status updates! However, in today’s world it is a mixed kind of people roaming around – they live in their own private worlds of ipods wired to their ears, sending messages continually on the mobiles without being aware of the people around them, chatting constantly on their chat apps, etc being social, yet very unsocial when it comes to communicating with the person sitting right next to them! They accept invitations from unknown people on Facebook, but maintain their privacy and uncommunicative behavior with the person next door! So if they can be social as well as maintain their privacy, well then why can’t Private Organizations use a social business strategy to run their organization?
Let’s see what happens when we look at Corporate Social Responsibility in organizations! Just how social are these responsibilities? Recently Arogya Parivar, an innovative social business model floated by Novartis, a health care product company, won the prestigious award for “Best long-term rural marketing initiative” from the Rural Marketing Association of India (RMAI). Here Social Business has truly being implemented within the corporate setup and built upon its self sufficiency – A key differentiator is offering patients integrated solutions to health problems rather than mainly selling products to health professionals. Products selected for the initiative are simple to use and packages are reduced in size to keep out-of-pocket costs low. This was indeed a win-win situation for both Novartis as well as the rural population that previously lacked even awareness about health care.
In today’s social media-centric world, with the number of social networking sites on the increase, collaboration at work and home and society is gearing up, knowledge no longer is the power tool in the hands of a few, and media is still King, whether as paper or digital, people are even more interconnected than before. The Digital Divide is certainly narrowing down!
And all this is happening because Private organizations are going Social. As the Wikipedia puts down the difference between Social Business and Social Enterprise, “Social business is therefore a subset of social enterprise, with the specific characteristic that, whereas a social enterprise can be funded by philanthropy or government grant, a true social business should be self-sufficient.”
Key words in social = collaboration, sharing, non-hierarchical, open-ended, viral, changing. All this is taking place in organizations and across organizations, causing the private to become social and in sync with the world around.
So yes, 2012, will definitely be the year to watch how organizations will bring “social change” within the private sphere of project development work! And if they do, how will the departments of HR, Administration, Marketing and Sales, the one that should drive and also benefit from the social strategy, harness this “social business model” given the non-hierarchical structure that could ensue?
As the year draws to a close, and I am indirectly [...]
As the year draws to a close, and I am indirectly being drawn into the world of academics, I sat pondering on how far technology has pervaded into the world of academics.
Most, or at least nearly all academicians, in at least research Institutions, have a laptop for personal usage or a desk computer at their workplace.In this day and age, you would find very few who still hammer away at their typewriters, with the exceptions of a few die hard writers! However, how many of them really use the softwares and computing tools available freely on the net for their research? And what about the tools that can help reach their research to wider audiences who find it difficult to access expensive and costly journals?
Libraries in the Western world have been interlinked for more than a decade. However, in India, linking of libraries, so that books can be inter loaned, are very few and far between. Prof. R K Bhatt, in 2009, not only gives a good historical overview of the Indian libraries and their status in India, but also discusses the present status of Libraries in India. Although he mentions that the INFLIBNET, Information and Library Network a computer communication network for linking libraries and information centres in academic universities was initiated in the mid-nineties to avoid duplication of efforts, yet there hardly seems any progress of such interlinking. Why?
In his paper, the first three purposes of INFLIBNET, are very important to understand, how far the role of Technology was deemed to be – ” 1)To provides grants to universities to automate the libraries, establishing the network facilities and create an information technology environment. 2) Developed and distributed Software for University Libraries (SOUL) which is an integrated userfriendly library management software. The latest version of the software is 2.0 which is competent to operate with the latest technologies and international standards such as MARC21, Unicode
based and NCIP 2.0 based protocols for electronic surveillance and control. 3 Indian Catalogue of University Libraries in India (IndCat) is Online Library Catalogue of books, theses and journals available in major university libraries in India which provides bibliographic description, location of the material in all subjects available in more than 112 university libraries.” In the same year, 2009, authors RP Bajpai et al, mentioned in their paper, “Use of e-resources Through Consortia : A Boon to Users of Indian University Libraries, “…. the rapid and dynamic revolution leading to new generation of libraries with the emphasis on e-resources. A lot of efforts have been taken in past few years to overcome this problem of financial crunch by resource sharing through consortia for university libraries.” They also mentioned the role that UGC-INFONET and INDEST-AICTE Consortium, two major initiatives for university library have played. However, a glance at the Consortia of e-resources made available, show a major leaning or bias towards the Sciences. The Universities that house journals for Humanities and Arts, do not seem to be listed among the e-resources. Were they not funded, or were they not interested? Or are people not interested in the histories of where these sciences were born from? or how have they progressed?
India is a land where there is no dearth of people with the knowledge of technology and how they can be applied to help the world of academics. So why then is technology and its tools so poorly employed to help take research upwards?
Are such tools only to be employed in the “Creamy Institutions”? The purposes and grants created to help Libraries in India, was created to help the information to reach outwards to those Universities that would find it difficult to obtain the earlier journals, and to avoid duplication of investing in expensive journals, so that resources get spread out evenly. Why has this not happened???
Also, the numerous resources of tools available online, what is the percentage of academic users in India using them for their own research? Although there are numerous tools and information that provides how academicians can use these tools for their research, how much is this technology permeating into the Indian academic scenario?
In an earlier post, we have seen what Content Curation is all about. Although it looks simple enough to be a content Curator, with all the tools at your disposal, Content Curation is hard work. For personal usage, there are plenty of content curation tools, and my favorites are – StumbleUpon, Delicious, and the recent addition being Twitter. Facebook too, like Twitter, can be employed as a content curation tool and is being employed by many budding journalists and activists. The one that is the icing on the cake is of course – Scoop.it
Content Curation is a not just a RSS feed reader that you can subscribe to, or be used to keep updated about current events in your domain. Content Curation is all about being “relevant”. Although there is no single approach to Content Curation, for consumption of content, for personal or organizational usage, relevancy of the content is a must.
Content Curators are the one who “scour” the net for good and relevant information. One has to constantly be on ones toes for this information.
Curating information does not work on the whim of, whether or not you like the blog or information, but on what the “matter” is all about. How relevant is the information, how updated is it, the presentation, does it have good links or references to other information, etc. However, when curating information for an organization, the approach you choose for personal relevancy may not always be the same. When you choose information for oneself, there are many subjective factors that could be involved. But when curating content for an organization certain criteria should be followed:
1. Strategize – When you begin curating for your organization, a well placed strategy will go a long way in delivering relevant information. Remember, your organization is wide spread and it has horizontal as well as vertical units. As a content curator for the organization, you cannot and should not step up to please all units. So a strategy is very essential but keep the basics in mind like – satisfy the main interests, meet the basic needs of an organization, and, help others to discover new information
2. Internal Content Audit – Charity begins at home, so to does content curation. Dig into the niches of your company, check out various forums, group project discussions, and bring up internal content that could be relevant to different departments like the sales and marketing, who can utilize that information in order to sell and bid for projects with similar expertise.
3. Presentation of Content – Every Museum Curator is well aware that if their museum is to among the top 5 museums, they need to not just build awareness of the content being displayed, but the “way” in which the content can be displayed and consumed, is very, very essential. So as an online content curator, the way you present your information and deliver it in blog or video, will be very critical to the kind of following you will gain.
4. Delivery of Content – A Content Curator, especially in an organizational setting, doesn’t just sit and pull up information and lay it on the website. A Content Curator in an organization needs to also deliver the relevant information to the relevant party/department/ projects/ through a combination of age old approaches with modern tools. This can be achieved by using the Newsletter approach.
5. The Human Touch – Automated tools that curate content have their good points as well as bad. Especially in an organization, content curation can not and will not subsist purely on automation, it needs that human touch in the form of story telling. Organizing your content via photos, videos, interviews, blogs, tips, etc will all go a long way to bringing your organization on one page.
Personally, I don’t have all the new gadgets that vie with [...]
Personally, I don’t have all the new gadgets that vie with each other on the net. It certainly gets difficult to manage all the wires that come in and out of a single device! And then having to keep getting the electrician to come and fix some more plug-n-switch- boxes on the wall- I feel like I am sitting in one huge Meter Box these days!
Everywhere I go, screens stare out at me, pictures flash, people are all wired up mobiles ringing, wires fixed around their necks listening to music either on their cell or ipods, walking and talking to themselves, never hearing the polite honks of car turning in – all lost in their own worlds.
My cats have a galla time with the wires that trail across the floor, the maid refuses to sweep around that area as she fears some wires will pull out and she will get a firing, and my electrician comes with slim wire csings! The wires never fit within, and so there are 2-3 plastic casings that adorn the wall now. Sigh!
A random surf brought me to the new Apple ipad2 and its features – wafer thin and beats even a model’s size 0, 10 hour battery that can keep even the dead going, an obscene number of apps -140,000, that can be downloaded and will probably keep you busy and stuck on it till (you drop dead), 200 new features, and the iCloud that stores your content and pushes it wirelessly to your other devices!!! Why would you need other devices with that much storage, apps that can do so much, and new features that will get all your work done! Can someone tell me what can’t it do? !!!!!
Should I junk my old time laptop that as served me so well during the lean years ? Should I junk my music system that still plays my tapes and CDs? Should I junk that DVD player that let me watch all my old time favorites? Should I junk my cell, who needs it when ipad2 can help me talk and make video calls? And junk my LP (long playing) record player that brings back the feel of old vinyl and scratchy hearing ofcthe old records? Yes, call me the traditional old fashioned junkie. But, junk all that for the new ipad2 that will have me hooked figuring out what I need and what I want? And the most amazing thing of all- NO MORE WIRE MANAGEMENT!!!
Is this what you are looking for dear reader/user? The all in one device!!
In our previous blogs we learned what it takes to make a Thought Leader. We know that being knowledgeable and foremost in one’s field of work, is very essential to a thought leader. But just having an idea and that knowledge is not always enough. What you do with that idea and how you implement it is quintessential to the makings of a great Thought Leader.
So this brings us to the next step of how to implement the ideas that one puts forth among your circle of followers and listeners. For this, some kind of creative thinking is required. Is this inherent or can it be developed? To some people creative thinking comes naturally, but for others, it is something that they develop over years. However, all creative thinkers do not make Thought Leaders. So how can aspiring Thought Leaders instill originality in their ideas and thoughts that they share with the community?
There are several ways in which creative thinking can be developed, and, it requires patience!
1. Become an Island – To be a Thought Leader, you need to make time to retreat into your corner of the world every now and then. You need to just sit down and think, mull, and surround yourself with either nothing or just the bare minimum. Once your concept of the idea is clear, let it spread and conquer.
2. Look Within and Without – For an original idea to be forwarded and shared, a thought leader needs to observe silence. During this “period” of silence, a thought leader needs to be more observant of all things around them, what they see, what they hear and listen to. Change one’s routine now and then. By doing this simple exercise, you may just see things differently, and thus the problems can be dealt with using this same technique.
3. Keep a Wide Angle yet Stand Out – A Thought Leader should form their opinions, not in haste, but calmly and collectedly. The period of silence should be able to help formulate your own view point, your own perspective to the problem and have a clear concept. Challenge current perspectives and approaches, but not without showing the way to a new one.
4. Explore – Be adventurous in new approaches and thoughts. Explore every avenue, nook and cranny, to bring originality to the table. Take the untrodden path, difficult and full of dead weeds maybe, but learn to cut a new path. Brainstorm, debate, discuss, with people from various fields, even with a passenger on a train. This opens up new areas of thought.
5. Be Yourself- Every individual has the seed of creativity, that just needs to be nurtured and directional. To learn to nurture your creativity, you need to learn to be yourself. You should develop their own creative style of presentation, rather than imitation. It may be different at first and may seem awkward, but by being yourself, your passion and clarity will shine forth. Simplicity in how you deliver the concept, opinion or idea, will be a winning point, for any one aspiring to be a Thought Leader. And, in Simplicity lies Creativity!
Solo, is a new entry into the ever long listing of Project Management tools. But this cool and elegant tool is about to rock your world & change not just your way of working, but, will give you plenty of leisure, given its simplicity in design and process that helps you get organized! Have a look at the simply designed yet info packed screenshots, to know what its all about.
Today, we don’t just need to manage our work but also our personal life! Besides, when collaborating with colleagues on any projects, managing & tracking tasks and time, are very essential if we are to achieve the goals within a specified time and budget. Thus, was born the concept of a Project Management Tool (PMT). Check out the history of Project Management, and you will notice why a certain feature is so often present in most PMTs.
And, if I am not mistaken, most of us in the early days, all employed the ever versatile Excel spreadsheets to track our tasks and time employed. The web out there has numerous PMTs, that virtually jostle for space and recognition. Many large corporates have their own in-built PMTs. But with the coming of Web 2.0, the number of web-base/online PMTs took a flying leap. For a summary or first glance, here is a comparison table of the numerous web based project management tools available. Clarizen has drawn a list for 2012 top ten online project management tools. And, for those trying to manage a project on their own, there are a few good free online project management tools that can be opted for.
However, many of these tools so far have worked out best depending on various features that are needed as must haves for most project managers. Some of the main features include – managing & assigning tasks, scheduling tasks, tracking of task and time, red alerts, report generations, and, gantt charts. With the introduction of social networking, the demand for real time updates increased, and the PMTs added these modules that include chat and twitter like applications.
However, so far, not much attention has been paid to design and the look and feel of such tools, given that they served as functional utility tools. But Thank God, someone thought differently, and has now brought in creativity and beauty to function! And the main reason for this, was that he listened to the users!!! (Product Designers and Developers, hope you are listening well). Jerome Iveson, a Graphic/Web Designer with a love for typography, has created Solo, a project management tool, solely for the “modern freelancer”!! You can read about the story of why and how Solo was created. This app has been built on the .Net platform with a mixture of jQuery, etc, for its front end. It has been beautifully designed, with attention paid to “space and juxtaposition of the elements” (as stated by Jerome). With a 14 day free trial, and later only $10 a month, this is definitely, something worth indulging into. Tracking and scheduling, and budgeting and Invoicing, your own dashboards, and a contacts page of all your clients and prospects, your deadlines, milestones, your overdue invoices, hourly ratings, etc. And, there is a hamper full of more goodies to come – blog feeds, client page – wherein your clients can login to the system to manage their invoices, meetings and project data, along with a message apps that will help keep lines open for communication.
Yes, most of these features are already basic to the already numerous online PMTs present. What makes this different from the rest? Beauty with Functionality! And that is something that will make Solo, a close companion and a winner for your project, a pleasure to work with!