Building the New World of Social Infrastructure #gov20 #opengov #ows

The New Social Enterprise Requires a New Social Contract #socialenterprise

The New Social Enterprise Requires a New Social Contract #socialenterprise

I am thrilled to be a part of a true revolution in technology.  Not just a promised revolution, or a politically motivated talking point, but a real shift in how we perform computational tasks.  It presents us with an opportunity to not only build great new loosely coupled systems to solve increasingly complex problems, but also an opportunity to build a whole new set of structures and partnerships designed to support the stability of this new set of systems for the next few decades.  In short, we have the desire to build an entirely new set of social interactions and personal empowerment for citizens, employees and partners.

I want to be clear that I have little interest in building individual systems that last (that is how we continue to have 30 year old legacy systems crippling business processes).  What I want to be a part of is embracing a global infrastructure that will allow for agile development (and the responsibility to kill systems quickly) of solutions that solve business problems.  This new infrastructure is more than the often overused idea of a superhighway for information.  What I am talking about is more like the transformation at the world’s ports when they stopped using manual labor to load and unload ships in transit.  To accomplish this switch there was an amazing amount of structural change that needed to happen.

But without a new paradigm, social contract or partnership, this change would never have successfully increased the flow of global commerce.  We needed a public commitment to the goal of global efficiency and a private sector commitment to embrace the new change.  We needed to make sure that each of the ports adopted an open standard so that the new machinery wasn’t different in each port requiring costly one-off adaptation or constant change.

NOTE:  Two major assumptions that the world seems to have accepted:  The cloud is how we will deploy infrastructure, software, databases and platforms.  I will leave it to legacy companies to continue to argue for our customers to build and operate their own datacenters so that these vendors can continue to extort their pound of flesh.  The conversation is over and these are merely death throws.  They may continue for another 5 or so years, but ultimately they are scheduled to die.  The second assumption is that our dominant paradigm will be social computing as the accepted UI.  Just as Xerox, Apple and Microsoft brought us the revolution of multitasking and windows as  a way to interact with computational power, now Facebook, Salesforce, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter have brought a new UI to us all.  The difference is that this paradigm has been brought to us as an open paradigm and not a proprietary one that will be used to concentrate power and profit but will rather unleash the power of computing on the masses.  Profit will, and should, drive the development of these technologies but we will not be locked into terrible technology due to propriety.  We will rather be engaged in an open standard conversation, occurring globally and in the open.  Progress will happen as a result of advancing the paradigm through providing value, not lock-in.


There are several things that need to happen in terms of structural improvements.  Network Ubiquity and Openness is required.  Much as we demanded universal delivery of things like the postal service and telephone service in many countries, we need to ensure that there is universal availability of broadband.  The dominance of broadband in cities is great, but we need to empower economic growth everywhere.  The existence of that pipe will bring economic development.  It will spur the advancement of the Social UI.  Without it, we will be dependent on the thinking and innovation in cities, which may not be bad, but we may be missing out on incredible thinking and productivity that lies dormant in other areas.  We can build better.  Their is unlocked growth potential in the more difficult to cover regions of the world, unlocked simply because no pipe yet reaches them.  The success of a child in rural India should not depend on their distance from Mumbai, it should only be limited by their aspiration, ability and drive.

Open Sourced Hardware.  As we look at a device driven society, we need to enable innovation through massively available hardware platforms as we did with software.  The Internet of Things will be driven by masses of people innovating sensors, displays, robotics, cameras and more.  Arduino is a great start, and Raspberry Pi promises to be incredible,  but we need to have more organizations embracing the idea of open hardware platforms.  As IBM helped to validate Open Source we need large corporate entities realizing the value that will come from embracing hardware as a new frontier in future computing.

Inexpensive, Open, Public Touch Interfaces.  Massive investment, both public and private, in the development and quick deployment of public touch interfaces (and non-touch gesture interfaces) will drive the new computing world.  They must be public so that the market created for them is massive and drives adoption.  If it remains open from the beginning we will have much more innovation and will avoid the proprietary tax that had developed in the past and locked down the true productivity promised.  By enabling this, we will embrace fully, in a public way, the cloud as the answer to true ubiquitous computing.  As we provide public interfaces in ways that folks have embraced (touch) we will drive rapid and massive adoption, which in turn will drive the costs of such initiatives down while continuing to provide the needed margins to the private sector companies that will arise to build them.


The new thinking that would go along with a shift to a new paradigm gives us the opportunity to create new and stronger bonds in society.  A few things are needed to form those bonds.  A Vibrant Public Sector is a necessary precedent for success.  The debate about the existence of a public sector and its validity needs to end.  Inside public sector organizations they have been understanding their criticisms deeply.  They believe transparency in operations will be the most effective way to accomplish the needed changes.  With a transparent and efficient public sector (with a deep understanding of the term efficient in a public sector context) the focus can be on what citizens want most from their government.  It will result in a refocusing of resources on growth oriented ideas. First, government should effort to create platforms for service delivery as opposed to direct delivery whenever possible.  When that is not possible, direct delivery of services should be accomplished with as low a cost structure as possible to accomplish the public good.  This balancing act will require wide spread and crowdsourced engagement to be successful.  This refocusing of resources will allow for the development of needed technological infrastructure whenever needed to accomplish the public good.  So, resources for ubiquitous broadband deployment can be achieved at a mill rate that is accessible to the average taxpayer.  Public touch screens would allow for efficient public transportation increasing regional productivity in the same fashion while allowing the private sector to deliver the actual applications that enable it.  Government as a platform will allow us to achieve greater and more rapid growth and will allow us to repair our public sector trust issues.

The refocusing of resources in the public sector will allow for a more efficient capital structure for private sector firms.  An Efficient and Growing Private Sector is also a necessary precondition of success.  Removing infrastructure barriers that can now be funded in the public sphere, the private sector will have a platform to deploy on, which is open, allowing for growth in both domestic product as well as in public goods.  A virtuous cycle is created allowing public investment to drive instead of frustrate private sector growth and that private sector growth will similarly drive the unity and progress of the public sphere.  The growth in the private sector will also result in extensible product lines that benefit from public investment but no longer require it to flourish.  The development of efficient public transportation routing, for instance, can easily be adapted to private logistic company needs generating a multiplier effect in the market.

Global and Local Crowdsourced Governance will allow the public to stay engaged in growth initiatives.  Decisions will need to be made regarding what items are platform related or intended for direct service delivery.  Local decisions can be driven locally and the open processes will allow the input to be gathered and shared globally.  The aggregation of multitudes of local decisions and systems will allow for an elimination of duplication waste in multiple governments while the ongoing agile development cycles will renew opportunities for the private sector, freeing them from making profits reselling existing solutions and instead put their capital to work on new and never ending issues to place into the public platforms or private initiatives.

New Social Contract (Public/Private Agreement) – An end to the war between the public and private sectors is the only way for us to have renewed and sustainable economic and social growth.  We must sit down and discuss and decide on a New Social Contract.  Citizens must control and drive the discussions.  The best part:  we now have all the tools needed to make this happen.  We have strong representatives on the side of the public sector and the private sector.  We have tools that enable broad based and open and transparent collaboration by public crowds.  This may drive wide ranging changes, from entitlements to tax shelters, from the nature of local government to different taxation structures.  It may preserve an awful lot of what we have.  But the one thing that will be certain is that we will all engage in a conversation about what we want, what we need and the future we want to build.  By driving this discussion to surround economic and social growth at the same time, we will be building a future we have consensus around and which will build a world our children can be proud to inherit.

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Are you experienced? Want to change the world? #opengov #gov20

Join the Cloud Revolution at #gov20 #opengov

Join the Cloud Revolution at #gov20 #opengov

As many of you know, I now work for an incredible company,  One of the best parts about being a part of their revolution is that during this continued economic downtown, we are growing and continue to hire incredibly talented people.  So, for any of you that may have reached out to me during 2011 about coming aboard, I apologize for not being able to respond to you.  That time is now over and I am happy to discuss all of the incredible opportunities at SFDC.  Go to or just shoot me a note. We are growing in every department so regardless of how you are connected to me, take a look and lets get you on the right team.

Imagine working for a company that is intent on changing the world.  We have already changed the technology landscape and now are fully embracing the social enterprise revolution.  Imagine being a part of the fight to bring social technology to the public square.   Those limits you feel, in your legacy company, with infighting all around, stock prices going nowhere, benefits being cut can all be removed.  Come, join our revolution.

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Korea: T20 Ministers will Drive #gov20 Worldwide

T20 Ministers Meeting Incredible Success for Government 2.0

T20 Ministers Meeting Incredible Success for Government 2.0

I was heartened to hear during my keynote (goto Login Tourism Speakers) and after at the T20 Meeting in Buyeo, Korea, that nations are taking technology adoption to a new level and will continue to drive it from within their national and local tourism bodies.

The Korean organization was particularly aggressive in pursuing new technology adoption to accomplish a number of tasks:

1)  They have decided specifically to drive Government as a Platform and understand that without it the level of investment will be insufficient to support the tourism industry.  They leverage public-private partnerships in ways I have only dreamed of.  Charm Lee, in leading the tourism organizations for the nation is doing an amazing job.

2)  They applications are forward thinking and full of rich media interactions.  In this app, Korea is far ahead of the rest of the world in brand exploitation, sticky web app penetration and thought leadership.  Create your own personalize itinerary based upon your feedback during an interactive movie?  Brilliant.

And the audience attracted by this event was impressive.  from members of the European Commission, to tourism leaders from nearly every major country on the planet, to the UN, the T20 meeting was an incredible success.

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Oldie but Goodie – Plinth Project Could Guide Future of #ows #soc5

Silence can be a message, what if #ows embraced the 4thPlinth ideal?

Silence can be a message, what if #ows embraced the 4thPlinth ideal?

The #soc5 this week is really #soc1.  I want to highlight some incredible public art that embraces the Social Enterprise ethic.  The One & Other Project by Anthony Gormley in 2009 in the UK really exemplifies the magic that can happen when the Social Enterprise is unveiled.  While it was a 2009 effort, the residue remains online today in significant ways and the current “Occupy” efforts could learn a great deal about how to organize a global resistance movement in a way that embraces their powerful message without the dilution of violence or active challenging resistance.

The project was incredible.  It was a public art project held on the 4th plinth of Trafalgar Square.  Citizens could apply to spend an hour on top of the plinth and they would rotate continually for 100 days in 2009.  They did so in wind, rain and worse and the output was watched by the world.  The interest was immense.  They received over 35,000 applications and over 2400 people took part for their hour of fame.  Flickr and YouTube were active during the event and remain active today.  A community built up over the hashtag #fourthplinth and the experience became a great example of spontaneous organization which creates its own momentum and generates its own organization.

This project highlights the possibilities and the challenges in the social enterprise.  It certainly entails a small amount of risk to the creator or sponsor.  They need to give up the current illusion of control of information in any real sense and enable a democratized version of control.  But the benefits are there too.  By eliminating control techniques, the unseen value beforehand is uncovered.  Much of the presentation was unanticipated.  While some was surely frivolous, some of it was unexpectedly impactful.  And that is the value.  The benefits of the social enterprise are sometimes unseen going in but indisputable coming out.  By accepting the small risk it becomes asymmetrical and the payoff becomes obvious.


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Top 5 Social Entrepreneurs and Enterprises – #Soc5

Social Enterprise Revolution #soc5

Social Enterprise Revolution #soc5

I see incredible examples of social enterprises every day.  Both at my job and on the run, the corporate world has not only caught on, but are actively working the social opportunities out there.  Some are good, some are great, a few don’t even come close, but nearly all of them are trying.  I hope to be able to keep the #soc5 coming as often as possible but no less than once per week.  A quick look will show you what is going on out there.  Take what applies to your own enterprise and make your social world shine!

As background recall that the Social Enterprise is an organization that has figured out how to leverage social media to accomplish its strategic goals.  These can be any type of goals be they public, private, non-profit, local, etc.  I will focus on some of the more innovative ones out there, but they need not be new, but should simply push forward your goals.

Submitting them.  You can submit me any ideas you have.  Email me your thoughts, let me know what the organization is, what their goals are and how they leveraged the Social Enterprise.  Its that simple.  The criteria.  Dunno.  Basically, this is my analysis of the effectiveness and innovation in the ideas.  How well they are deployed may be taken into account as well.  Not sure yet :)

So, bring them on.  For now, I will give an example.


Angela Ahrends, Burberry CEO, clearly gets the social enterprise.  Not just in theory (although she clearly understands that) but in practice.  She has stated that she does not understand what any company’s business model is in 5 years if it does not embrace social.  It is vital for a company’s chief executive to get it like she does.  But, she doesnt just get it in principle.  Check out and get the Burberry image streaming through your devices.  Her leverage of sound, video, imagery to support her brand is magical.  Check out the artofthetrench tab and you will hear it and see it.  Note the tight integration with Facebook and ability to “Upload your trench” directly.  She leveraged Twitter to pre-launch her Runway Collection prior to the show.  Burberry gets that this isnt about simply being on social media it is about deep engagement.  Best example I can think of a Social Enterprise today.

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The New FixingPotholes


As most of you know I am now SVP of Global and Strategic Accounts for Salesforce. I absolutely love the position as it puts our company at the forefront of radical and sometimes wrenching business process changes for our commercial customers. The dynamic involved is very familiar as I have been preaching about change for decades now and this gives me an incredible platform for which to continue those conversations.

The only slight change is that my focus is the board room and not an electeds office. It is a slight change only because the nature of the shift is the same. As they found out at Netflix and Bank of America, if you don’t listen to the constituents you will lose. Similar lessons in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and soon Syria. The parallels between the public sector and the commercial sector couldn’t be more obvious today. I am proud to be part of an organization preaching about the ability of all of us to embrace that change. To make it happen. To better the bottom line, to grow our economy and to bring our business much close to our customer.

I will be posting now from my own blog, FixingPotholes, without changing the name. The idea remains the same. Pay attention to stakeholder demands. Fix the small issues as they can quickly become large issues. And leverage the cloud as e best possible tool to make the social revolution one in which your customers benefit directly from your involvement.

Thank you all for sticking with me this year and for sticking with me through a much larger revolution in front of us all. As we bring our global economy out of the spiral it finds itself in. As we work as one globe to grow local and national economies. As we bring our customs intimately closer to our business. And we do so at the speed of light.

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Social Enterprises Extending the Influence of the Customer #e20 #socialenterprise

Bank of America Protest

Bank of America Protest

The influence of customers has always been impactful, but never before has it held such immediate returns or distractions in the corporate world.  While companies have long paid lip service to the idea that their corporate world, and strategies, revolved around customers, today the immediacy of social media has called their bluffs in very real ways.

Netflix found out the hard way that customer’s buying preferences and their need to be a part of corporate pricing and offering decisions were far more important than in the past.  In years past, major industrial shifts would be heralded by pricing or offering changes that reflected the latest technologies or industrial approaches.  And while the move to streaming was clearly demonstrated, the pricing changes that were summarily handed out were simply not addressed the way modern media requires.  And a deeper understanding of their customers would have saved the company much public relations troubles and ultimate customer attrition.

Bank of America also stepped into a new world of customer hurt this year when they announced new bank fees for services that customers have long considered a free service and that they considered sufficiently divorced from the company’s costs that a charge was unsupportable.  When they made the move online protest sprung up immediately and ultimately they reversed the policy change.  One customer in particular, Molly, spurred much of the change.

Neither of these moves were large divergences from the way the business world had always worked.  A change in the external environment pushed corporate executives to consider alternative structures for their business and they announced the changes.  The problem wasnt the change itself.  The problem was how it was arrived at and how involved the customers were in the discussion, decision and implementation.  The idea that enterprises have no real way to truly understand their customers is a fallacy.  And the tools that make the analysis possible are also the weapon that shot Netflix and BofA.

If there is one thing that the new Social Enterprise thinking has brought to bear it is that a solid understanding of your customer is no longer an item that is simply “nice to have”.  Rather, it is a necessity in the new world of work.  Imagine a different scenario:

Either of these companies would have had deep Customer and Employee Social Networks in existence so that they could get instant feedback through their entirely democratized corporate structure.  This would have allowed them to receive instant feedback from thousands of users of the service that have a direct stake in the company’s success.  This feedback would have considered the internally understood industrial changes that the companies found themselves in the midst of.  They could have tested waters early in the safety of their corporate firewall.

When they found acceptable and sharable alternatives they could have then extended their efforts by involving their customers and partners directly in the conversations about change.  They could have activated customer groups with an interest in their current services.  They could have included partners in their pricing conversations.  They could have received feedback directly from these stakeholder groups PRIOR to announcing anything.  They could have reconsidered hot topics and included augmented strategies so that they strengthened the partner ecosystem and customer communities rather than destroying them.

The tools to accomplish this already exist.  It would have been calculated risk taking and would have paid off in droves either in avoided costs, increased revenue or both.  The thought that customer intimacy is simply a “nice to have” is absolutely over.  These corporate examples herald a new era.  Welcome the Social Enterprise or die in its wake.

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