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?