We live in a rapidly changing world. The evidence is all around us: our established structures have become unpredictable and are continuously evolving. Technology is a prime example, and so are its sociological aspects and relevant communication structures. How do we cope with these continuous changes in a corporate setting? Julian Stodd, our speaker at Xylos Inspire 2018, told us his vision of the Social Age. My key take-home points:
Organisations purchase technology to solve or monitor certain social issues. Is that really all there is to it, though? According to Julian Stodd, it’s not: our most crucial assets are our employees. More specifically, we need to efficiently use their qualities, such as power, creativity and control. This trend is currently gaining traction in various business settings, where technology has been fully democratised and has a social impact. This is what makes it so efficient: where rigid corporate cultures used to be common, employees now take this power into their own hands by networking and engaging with various technological tools. Briefly put, we’re evolving towards a combination of formal corporate cultures and informal network structures. Stodd’s idea of an ideal situation? A balance between both.
Let’s elaborate on the aspects of power and control mentioned above. These aspects are open to interpretation and can be perceived in different ways. In today’s business culture, we see different manifestations of power, which have become more diverse and agile over time. In this evolution, Stodd notes that we’re shifting from a tight hierarchy to a community, from formal to social structures. And it’s all because we use the technology we’re offered to communicate with each other… and because we engage in storytelling.
Every organisation has its own take on storytelling, its own values and its own policy. Every single employee enhances this vision with their own stories, interpretations and experiences. The next step is that their colleagues will share those visions, leading to cocreation of knowledge and a shared learning process. We have the power to give our business culture a new meaning. We turn our backs on codified, predefined information and learning processes. Businesses no longer have a monopoly on business culture; we can shape it as well. In Julian’s words: “Learning isn’t just about knowledge. It’s about making sense. That’s done in communities”.
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