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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Can Social Media Tools Hinder Innovation?

by Stefan Lindegaard

Can Social Media Tools Hinder Innovation?What happens with innovation if executives and managers begin to fear social media tools like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook - and perhaps even LinkedIn?

I wonder how big this issue really is after having read about a survey from Chef.se, a Swedish website for executives and managers. It showed that an increasing number of executives and managers are afraid ending up - involuntary - on the above sites. Furthermore, 18% said that they know of incidents where employees had posted in-appropriate or false information about their companies using social media tools.

I have always sensed some reluctance towards the new social media tools from the upper ranks. Unfortunately, it becomes somewhat understandable with the above information although I still believe benefits such as faster communication and better reach clearly outweigh drawbacks that tend to evolve on loss of control issues.

Perhaps this is not such a big thing today, but it might grow in the coming years. I got to think of a recent comment made by Michael Falling Soerensen, CEO of Nosco, a idea management software company to a blog post:

"Today, teens take pride in sharing and collaborating as much as possible - and are constantly seeking to expand their network - all vital factors in getting an innovative culture up and running..."

I think this is quite true and it even extends up to people in the early twenties. This will have an impact on innovation culture in many companies as this generation enter the workforce in full strength.

Their mindset fits perfectly with elements needed for a more open and external focused innovation culture so we can expect to see interesting - and different - things from this work-group. That is if the executives and managers see this as an opportunity and release the potential rather than treating it as a threat and as a sign that they have to cede control.

How big is this issue? Are we lining up for a clash between generations? Let me know what you think.

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Stefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation.

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Anonymous Dana Larson said...

I do think there can be a clash of the generations when the younger generations in the workforce now sees value in collaboration and social media tools and the business owners do not. It takes a look for a business owner to accept a new form of marketing, communicating and collaborating, and it takes even more for the younger workforce to accept the decisions of their supervisors. Sometimes it's important to incorporate collaboration tools into the business process. This allows for that social interaction, but also is contained to work-related topics.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Victor Velasquez said...

Social media tools support the innovation process. Have you heard about the "Butterfly Effect"? Small differences in the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system.

Social media tools, make it happen. Thanks to social media tools we can nurture a small idea collaboratively, and make it grow with the synergy of all the people involved in the process.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Christian said...

That's also the experience we have made in several innovation crowdsourcing projects. We realized that we have to talk to the youger decision makers in the company to place a first project. With good results (e.g. new product ideas - because open communication, intense collaboration are just reasons) the young leaders convince the older management.

Innovation exist because share. With social media they share faster more information with more people.

Visit our blog: blog.atizo.com (in German)

10:15 PM  

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