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Image courtesy of Flickr user DailyPic.

What Sells CEOs on Social Networking

In 2006, MIT Sloan’s Andrew McAfee coined the term “Enterprise 2.0″ as shorthand for collaboration and sharing tools would mean for enterprises. In a recent interview with MIT Sloan Management Review, McAfee looks back at the past six years and reveals what he’s learned about the triggers that generate CEO interest in social networking, what he misread and why the idea of controlling information flows is becoming obsolete.

Dr Ed Tucker, VP Janssen Research & Development, a Johnson & Johnson company

How Pharmaceuticals Can Avoid the Side Effects of Social Media

In a highly regulated area like pharmaceuticals, companies need to tread carefully when it comes to dealing directly with customers via social media. In this interview, Dr. Ed Tucker of Janssen Research & Development LLC, a Johnson and Johnson company, explains how social media platforms offer benefits, but also describes the requirements and obligations firms in his industry must comply with when it comes to patient safety reporting, privacy, and other sensitive matters.

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How Cisco’s Learning Network Became a Social Hub for the IT Industry

Five years ago Cisco created its digital social educational platform, Learning@Cisco, which today has over 2 million global participants. People in IT sector go to the site to get Cisco certifications, to find industry jobs, for tips on finding work and to share information. This network has helped Cisco grow its industry, create loyalty to the company, recruit and become a key source for strategic marketing information.

Image courtesy of Flickr user splorp.

How “Social Selling” Is Reinventing Cold Calling

In a Q&A, LinkedIn marketer Ralf VonSosen says his company is using its own tools to build connections through social channels that facilitate a better selling and buying experience. He calls this “social selling,” and says that done right, it “moves our contact from a traditional cold call to either a warm introduction or at least a warm conversation.” VonSosen details the free ways people can build a personal brand online and LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator product, which scales up the concept.

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Leveraging the Extended Enterprise: MITRE’s Handshake Tool Builds Virtual Collaboration

“The notion that we were going to crowdsource certain functions really was unheard of,” says Donna Cuomo of the nonprofit MITRE, a $1.4 billion nonprofit R&D organization. A social business tool it developed called Handshake is helping make that kind of virtual collaboration happen. In a Q&A, Dr. Cuomo and MITRE colleagues Laurie Damianos and Stan Drozdetski explain how Handshake has influenced business at MITRE and what challenges they’ve faced in its implementation.

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The Unexpected Payoffs of Employee “Eavesdropping”

In an experiment with social media, researchers uncovered an interesting and unexpected outcome. When employees were asked if using an internal social network had helped them learn about coworkers’ skills, they all said “No” — yet their ability to identify coworkers who could help in collaborative projects had skyrocketed (as had their performance). How was this possible? The answer: employees had acquired information so incrementally, they were unaware that they’d learned something of value.

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The American Red Cross: Adding Digital Volunteers to Its Ranks

The American Red Cross has become an excellent example of how to use social media to connect people during the three cycles of disaster: preparedness, response and then recovery. Its digital volunteers help calm people in the middle of events, and its community mobilizers help coordinate services afterwards. “We want to blur that line about who’s a Red Crosser and who’s not, to say, ‘actually, this is up to all of us,’” says the organization’s Wendy Harman.

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Turning Facebook Fans into Product Endorsers

“If you engage customers,” says V. Kumar, “they go and they get their friends” to try out a product, too. Kumar, of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, explains how companies can find their most influential online customers and enlist them to help promote their brands.

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How Facebook is Delivering Personalization on a Whole New Scale

As Facebook becomes more mobile-centric, it’s also becoming adept at laying its customer data over brand data and third-party data to create uniquely customized experiences for its users. In a Q&A, Blake Chandlee, vice president of global partnerships at Facebook, details the power that comes from being able to overlay all that customer information. “Historically, we’ve never had the ability to have the scale of a mass media along with the personalization that digital provides,” says Chandlee.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Loving Earth.

Why Strong Ties Matter More In a Fast-Changing Environment

It has become accepted wisdom that weak ties — your acquaintances, distant colleagues — can provide more novel information than close ties. But new research by Marshall Van Alstyne, associate professor at Boston University and a visiting professor at MIT, suggests that in some cases strong ties are better.

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GE’s Colab Brings Good Things to the Company

Ron Utterbeck, the CIO for GE Corporate and the Advanced Manufacturing Software Technology Center in Michigan was vital in getting GE to implement its social network. The Facebook-like network built in-house is called GE Colab and links up the firm’s 115,000 employees from around the globe. The network has been breaking down corporate silos, helping problems get solved quicker, aiding employees better find internal experts, and making it easier to share files and documents in a meaningful context.

Image courtesy of Steelcase Inc.

The Workplace of the Future

Thanks to technology, business is evolving into an office-less enterprise that’s more mobile and fluid than the “desk jobs” of the past. In a Q&A, Steelcase vice president of Strategy, Research and New Business Innovation Sara Armbruster explains how Steelcase is approaching the challenge as a supplier, changing how they conceptualize the physical environs of the workplace. “In our view, technology is actually a form of culture, a manifestation of our culture and what we value,” she says.

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Are You Ready For the Certainty of the Unknown?

The skill set for both companies and individuals of the future will be to embrace impermanence and continual reconfiguring, according to Benn Konsynski, a professor of information systems at Emory University. He says both organizations and employees need to prepare for the “the remix era” and “the certainty of unknown.” He sees “improvisation” as a personal and enterprise necessity in the 21st century.

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Are You Part of the Email Problem?

Over-reliance on email as a communication tool is sapping people of their time and energy. Author, speaker and consultant Phil Simon says there are better ways — and many new and better tools — to do things. "As consumers, it’s never been easier. Hundreds of millions of us use Dropbox, Facebook, Snapchat, texting, Skype, and other tools to communicate with each other," says Simon. "Why do we resist change at work?" Embracing new tools, he argues, will result in better communication and far less wasted time.

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‘People Analytics’ Through Super-Charged ID Badges

The data points employees generate about everything from how often they interrupt others to how many people they sit with at lunch tell surprisingly useful stories. Ben Waber, CEO and co-founder of Humanyze, describes how his company is providing the tools and analytics to interpret this social data, helping businesses identify the best collaborative practices of their most effective people.

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Audi Puts Its Future Into High (Tech) Gear

Cars have made the transition from offline to fully networked, which makes them social vehicles, able to communicate about traffic patterns and weather. The next decade will see cars integrate more fully into consumers’ lives, says Audi’s Ricky Hudi, head of electronics at the fast-growing unit of Volkswagen. The goal for the industry: making upgradable cars, so that cars will no longer lag years behind consumer technology trends.

Showing 21-39 of 39