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Is Social Business Innovation A Competitive Advantage?

Ove at GigaOm Pro, I push on the idea that innovating in social business tools and practices is a critical area for competitive advantage. If so, we shouldn’t optimize for reducing risk:

Stowe Boyd, Balancing risk and social business innovation

If social tools offer competitive advantage then experimenting with new tools and new approaches to tool-mediated sociality is a necessary aspect of corporate innovation. After all, innovation isn’t limited to the R&D group. Innovation can happen across the board: in how we work, how services are delivered, and how products are designed, delivered, and applied. One of the most fertile areas for innovation is the interplay of people in the business, and between company staff and people outside the business: clients, partners, and the broader marketplace.

Yes, experimentation carries risks, and costs. But these are a necessary part of innovation of all sorts, and a necessity in social innovation as well. Certainly, we want to bound risks, and to structure our experiments so that we can fail fast, but what we cannot do is optimize all risks out of the business at the expense of innovation.

Let’s consider one facet of this reasoning in the context of choosing applications. Who should get to pick what social tools will be used?

I also offer up a graphic, contrasting fast-and-loose and tight-and-slow approaches:

Go read the whole thing, if you want.

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