#SWCONF 2011: Reactions and Reflections

After much anticipation, our first Social Workplace Conference has come and gone. The day was filled with lots of informative sessions, intriguing conversations, and valuable networking. Over the next few days I will be sharing the slides and video as well as a recap of each session. This post is meant to be a general overview of what was missed for those who could not attend, or a refresher for those who were there.

The day started with an introduction from Jon Ingham, who informed us that the speakers would not be introduced in the traditional format. This being a social conference, he wanted to make the introductions social. Every time a speaker would come up, instead of introducing themselves, Jon would ask for a member of the audience to introduce him or her.

First up was David Christopher, the Social Media Business Leader from Oracle. He spoke about making a socially connected enterprise. He gave seven steps toward success, which will be shared in a later post. The main thing that stuck with me from his presentation was a rule that his team followed: Any question about social tools is not to be answered in an email. Instead, it is posted on a socially medium so that the rest of the company can benefit from it, as well as the person who emailed the question in the first place.

Next was a session from Headshift’s Lee Bryant on humanizing social technology. My favorite quote from Lee was “social network based business has been around much longer. Business has always been run on humanity, trust, networking, idea exchange, etc. It is not hippie crap.” Well said. Lee also offered insight on the five big trends in Enterprise 2.0, which I will share soon.

After a coffee break, Benjamin Ellis, the founder of SocialOptic came to the stage to speak about social software. He offered many useful tidbits including suggestions for overall strategy and vision as well as short term tips like what to do with someone’s inbox when they leave your company. Benjamin also spoke about gamification, which I’ve written about before, but he disagreed with some of my views. It was interesting to hear a different point of view than mine.

Following lunch, Elizabeth Lupfer from The Social Workplace and Verizon delighted the crowd with her energetic presence. To wake us up, she had us standing and sitting on command, as well as participating by filling in parts of her sentences for her. She offered a detailed look into overall strategies for creating a social workplace, emphasizing the importance of creating a social experience, and analyzing employee behavior and integrating content with transactions that revolve around the employee life cycle. She provided insight into what Verizon is doing in terms of recognition, learning and development, and other HR focused areas. She also spoke of gamification (a hot topic for the day!) and showed us how her company is exploring the use of a really interesting point based system to engage employees in completing standard work tasks.

Our first panel of the day featured senior professionals speaking about Social Media and Employee communications. Questions for the panel ranged from how to get senior executive buy-in for social media, how to get employee participation, and “is employee engagement a fad?” The answers will be shared in a later post.

Next up was Jon Mell from IBM, who spoke about putting people first in designing a social business strategy for an organisation. He also gave us an inside view into what IBM’s connections looks like and shared what works and what doesn’t. A lot of his advice dealt with how to get people to actually use and understand social collaboration, echoing what was said earlier in the panel.

The next panel was on social intranets, portals, and the future of the digital workplace. My favorite quote from this panel came from Mark Tilbury from KPMG. He said very strongly, “we don’t want social to become the next email.” Many people throughout the day expressed that they get too much email and waste a lot of time reading and seining it. Mark is right, we don’t want social media to become another burden.

The last session of the day was another panel, this one on the seven habits of a highly collaborative social organization. After reaching seven, the panel even gave us a few “bonus” habits. I’ll share all of them with you later, but these habits were a nice overview of everything we had learned that day. Overall, the conference was a huge success. People in attendance were participating the entire time by asking questions and discussing subjects during breaks.

Even people not in attendance felt like they were part of the conference by watching the live stream and tweeting questions with the conference hashtag, which would then be read by someone in the room.

Like I said, I’ll be sharing with you the slides and video from each session as well as my reactions to what the speakers said in the coming days. I learned a lot in the conference, so I want to make sure to give adequate space to reflect on each session. More to come!

Update: Read some thoughts shared by Jenni Wheller and Benjamin Ellis regarding the conference.

7 thoughts on “#SWCONF 2011: Reactions and Reflections

  1. Sonsoles

    good summary!  looking forward to read more about the presentations I missed. Only to let you know, a paragraph is repeated twice: The next panel was on social intranets….

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