Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr.

Rob Duncan

Collaborative Intelligence
Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan on tapping into the power of online social networks

ISBN: 978-0-9918198-0-5 (pdf version)

Copyright © 2013 Robert Duncan


Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Introduction Advances in technology have created a real opportunity for individuals and organizations to combine ideas and be more collaborative, leading to greater innovation. Collaboration can begin at any level, especially with online social networks. Two people in different organizations who share some interest and start combining ideas can benefit both organizations. This book clarifies how individuals at any level of an organization can be an agent for leadership in using online social networks to create a more sharing and collaborative culture. Research shows the benefits of organizations creating strategic alliances with other organizations for the good of their own organization, their industry and their customers. The themes of Teambuilding Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence and Social Intelligence have been explored in my previous books. These include Haul Away!: Teambuilding Lessons from a Voyage Around Cape Horn; Competitive Intelligence: Fast, Cheap & Ethical; and Improv to Improve Your Business: Using the principles of improvisation to foster communication, creativity & innovation. Focused on Collaborative Intelligence, this book presents an evolution of the intelligences discussed in my previous books blended with information gathered during my doctoral research. My primary motivation in publishing this book alongside my doctoral thesis is to share the thinking and research work that I have done, and make it available to people who can use it. So how can you lead your organization in becoming smarter through more collaborative behaviors using online social networks? Let’s explore the possibilities together! Who should read this book? If you are someone in an organization that would like to be more innovative and collaborative, particularly with other organizations, you should read this book. This book can, and should, be read by people at any level, because successful collaboration can begin at all levels in organizations, especially using online social networks. Two people working in the mailrooms of two different organizations who share a particular interest might start sharing ideas that could spark a successful inter-firm collaboration. Smart organizations are the ones that create a climate where this can happen in a way that minimizes risks and maximizes potential successes. Whether you are a chief executive looking to shape a collaborative culture or simply someone who is passionate about getting better at things or working more effectively with other people in organizations, you should gain some useful insights from this book and the accompanying thesis.

Copyright © 2013 Robert Duncan


Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan A note on the book format This book came about as the result of multiple recorded conversational interviews with me conducted very capably by Vanessa Lowry. The original intention was to adapt these conversations into a separate book, blending in some findings from my doctoral research, which had been recently completed. Upon reviewing these transcripts, I realized that I liked them largely as they were. After all, conversations are the lifeblood of collaboration. I decided that the simplest, fastest and most effective way I could get the information out to the people who can make the most of it was to publish these original interviews with some minor editing so that they could be understood and used either separately or as a companion piece to my doctoral thesis document which is more data-rich and is now publicly available (see or search for “The role of online social networks in inter-firm collaborative innovation and problem solving” using your favorite search tool.) The interviews took place over the months of May and June, 2012. Each interview was structured around a specific chapter theme, as shown below: Chapter One: Intelligence matters - You snooze, you lose Chapter Two: Collaboration works - Keep what you need, share the rest Chapter Three: Social networks pay off - The power of many individuals Chapter Four: Online social networks - Way more of a good thing Chapter Five: Implementing a social networking strategy - Liberating the individual Chapter Six: Encouraging collaborative behaviors - Leadership begins at the bottom Chapter Seven: Transforming the enterprise - Goodbye to hierarchies and silos For the purposes of clarity, the transcripts have been edited and are not intended to be a verbatim record of each interview session. About the author Dr. Rob Duncan is a professional management consultant, speaker, trainer and college instructor. He holds a BA in Economics, an MBA and a doctorate in business leadership. He is the author of Haul Away! Teambuilding lessons from a voyage around Cape Horn, Competitive Intelligence: Fast, cheap & ethical and is a coauthor of Improv to Improve your Business: Using the principles of improvisation to foster communication, creativity & innovation. To learn more about these ideas and Rob, please visit or explore having Rob speak to your group though your favorite speaker bureau.

Copyright © 2013 Robert Duncan


Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Chapter One: Intelligence matters - you snooze, you lose In this chapter, we discuss several different forms of organizational intelligence and why they matter. The concept of collaborative intelligence is introduced, and we consider how smart organizations can make the most of it. Vanessa: What kinds of intelligence do you think are most important to organizations and to their success? Rob: In the past, I've focused on a set of intelligences that I think are really important to an organization at a macro level. Those are teambuilding intelligence, competitive intelligence and social or improvisational intelligence. What I have done with this new book is take the thinking that I had done in my previous books and talks and put that through another evolution and I have arrived at this area I am calling collaborative intelligence. From the perspective of looking at the whole organization and how it relates to other organizations, those are the most important intelligences. There are many other intelligences out there that people have done a great job of identifying and working with, like emotional intelligence, but those operate, to my mind, more on the level of the individual, and I've focused on things that look at whole organizations and how they interact. Vanessa: With that in mind, that these intelligences are looking at the whole organization, and given that this book is also geared toward the individual that wants to see themselves as kind of a change agent, how do those things interrelate? Does the idea of collaborative intelligence still apply to the individual, even though we're looking at more of the organizational-level intelligences? Rob: It really does, because one thing that my doctoral research pointed out to me is it confirmed that people at all levels of organizations are massively more interconnected with people in other organizations than they were before we saw things like LinkedIn coming into play. And that was a really striking finding. So, that interconnectedness between organizations is a fact. I suspect that many leaders, aren’t aware of just how interconnected their staff is at all levels with people in other organizations. Vanessa: The focus of your recent research, then, is about the personal interconnectedness between organizations, and how that can be encouraged and harnessed for mutual gains. How has your thinking evolved over the years on these types of business intelligences? Rob: My first book was about teambuilding intelligence, drawing on lessons that I’d learned from doing a sailing voyage around Cape Horn in the southern tip of South America. Those lessons were about collaboration within a company. I looked at how you make great teams and how you acknowledge differences between individuals on a team and find ways to align their personal goals with the overall team goals and organizational goals. That was really more at a micro level,

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan the first team level within an organization. I wasn’t looking at how a team within one organization would relate to a team in another organization. My second book, on competitive intelligence was a look at the world external to the organization. The focus was on what companies need to do to see what’s happening in their external environment and what their competitors and other organizations are up to, and how to respond. It also looked at external pressures that affect organizations, whether it is legislation or changes in consumer habits, and those larger trends that affect organizations from the outside. The third book I co-authored on improvisation techniques for businesses looked at ways that people can work use improvisational or social intelligence to work together more effectively both within an organization and also between organizations. That was another step in that evolution. This brings us to the notion of collaborative intelligence, which is about how we help organizations that may already be doing well with teambuilding, monitoring the competitive and external environments and using improvisational techniques become even smarter, by seeing ways in which they could work very effectively with other organizations, even competitors. Vanessa: You use the term “smart organizations.” Can you define that term? How do organizations get smarter? Rob: Smart organizations, are organizations that acknowledge that there are different ways of doing things, some of which have not even been thought of. They don’t let fear, habit or lack of knowledge stop them from exploring new and innovative ways of doing things. One of the first things that organizations that are getting smarter will do is unfreeze some of their precepts about how they do business. To some extent, that effort has to start from the top; although I think you can start that unfreezing process at any level of the organization, given the right cultural climate. Organizations need to take a risk and say: “Maybe the way we do things isn’t the way we could be doing things. Let’s at least have that discussion, rather than constantly reinforcing a culture that may have been great 10 or 20 years ago but might not be as effective in a new business world as it could be.” The next challenge is creating a culture where you're embracing new ideas genuinely, not just with a suggestion box; but creating a culture where people can have the kinds of exchanges both within and beyond the organization that can really generate new ideas. Part of this involves valuing people’s thoughts and opinions at every level of the organization. With online social networks, the newest employee may be the most connected one. Given the right trust environment, it may that new employee who is best equipped to help initiate change.

Copyright © 2013 Robert Duncan


Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Vanessa: If someone reading this book were looking for ways for they could create change within their organization, what would be a couple of tips that you would give them for creating a higher level of trust with their superiors so that they would have the flexibility to try new things? What would make that trust a little higher? Rob: Some of that really just comes down to traditionally being a good employee and having the senior leadership’s interest at heart, which, hopefully, is really the customer’s interest and aligning the things that you do with those interests. If you do that over time, you do tend to earn the trust of the person you're reporting to. But the other thing I would suggest, too, is that if someone wants to effect change in an organization, is that they reach out and involve others. I think some of the best change can start at or near your own level in an organization, with new ideas gradually permeating through an organization and getting popular. Tools like social networks and even lunch and learns create those cultures, where you can start to get agreement on change and start to tell the story of why it’s a great idea to at least to consider a change. And then as that idea gets popular, it almost gains its own momentum. And the senior leadership just has to look and say, “Wow, I have great teams,” because they’re doing really neat things. Vanessa: It seems to boil down to having very clear and open communication between individuals and between organizations to build those levels of trust and to build that agreement of what the change is that you want to create, or being able to flow with the change that starts to become created. Rob: Absolutely. Somebody could meet somebody at a party and hear: “Hey, I love your products, but why do you have to put so much packaging that comes with them? It really bothers me to have to hack away at this thing with a knife and then throw out this big hunk of plastic.” Hearing that casually at a social gathering, the staff person can think about that and bring it into the organization, and maybe bring it up at a meeting or on an online forum and say, “I'm hearing that our packaging is really way too big for what we're selling. I wonder if that's something that we can look at.” If you create that culture where people are encouraged to pick up signals outside, which is that competitive intelligence aspect, and then bring those inside and be in an environment where they’re empowered to bring ideas forward that are in the best interests of the customer and the organization, then that kind of culture can really flourish and take hold. The prevailing culture in an organization is going to determine how that person responds to that signal. So if you sensitize people that they are ambassadors and they’re eyes and ears for the organization, then that kind of person who hears that remark at a party is going to see that as a great piece of intelligence that they can bring back and ultimately make customers happier. Whereas, if you had a culture

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan where people were just trained to defend the company and its products at all costs and not listen to any new ideas, that same person might hear that same remark at a party and either try to fight it, or justify the way things are, or they might just walk away and find someone else to talk to. So the culture you create and the way you sensitize people at all levels of the organization to view intelligence is really what’s going to drive smarter companies. Vanessa: The title of your doctoral thesis talks about collaborative innovation, and I'm wondering how that connects to collaborative intelligence; if it’s the same thing, if it’s something different, how you see those as two separate things. Rob: I see them as being interrelated, and I use them interchangeably quite a bit. I think increased innovation is something that happens when you improve collaborative intelligence. So in a sense, it’s a byproduct, but it’s also really the same thing. The more intelligent an organization is, then the more collaborative it is; the more we learn and the better we get. So they are somewhat interchangeable. Vanessa: How has the increase of online social networks enabled collaborative innovation and problem solving, both from an individual and from an organization standpoint? Rob: My research was able to confirm that people are massively more connected than they were before they started using these tools like LinkedIn. Also, I found that they’re more connected, not just with people in their organization, but with people outside in other organizations, with competitors, and also with customers. To me, that was amazing to think that there are these people with large networks of relationships that cross organizational boundaries. I like to use the catch phrase, “Your customer is now on your design team.” And it’s true, because you have someone who is a customer of a company and someone who’s on their design team who are connected on LinkedIn or Facebook. They start to form a relationship, so that information can change hands in ways that help everybody. There’s now a massive degree of interconnectedness that wasn’t there before. I wonder if senior leadership understands that this interconnectedness is happening, and whether they know how they could be harnessing it for the benefit of the organization and the customers? There are two broad approaches that I see organizations taking towards things like social networking usage. The old school approach is this is new, therefore, it’s something to be feared; therefore, it’s something to be controlled. So you will see organizations that put an absolute restriction on people going to LinkedIn, for example, which is a professional networking site where people exchange great ideas. An across-the-board decision to not allow employees access to that tool seems very counterproductive.

Copyright © 2013 Robert Duncan


Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan

The smarter organizations are the ones that are saying: “Okay, I see this is happening and I see my employees have all these very interesting connections with competitors and with customers. What can I be doing to make sure that they’re using that for the right reasons when they’re on company time? And how can I, first of all, explain what the right ways to use these tools are, and then free people to use the tools? How do I create a culture where the intelligence and knowledge and relationships that they’re able to get through these online networks is used for the good of the organization?” Vanessa: So they might be able to give them some guidelines and some examples that, “These are ways that would actually help our organizations and we encourage you to do this.” Rob: One of the outcomes of my doctoral research was a first stab at some guidelines for creating policies and procedures that explain to people what things are good to do with social networks and what things are not good to do. Making sure everybody understands these guidelines with some training and talking about them is really important The bottom line is that a collaborative, highly interconnected world is here. Smart organizations will encourage it and make intelligent use of it. The organizations that ignore or try to over-control online social networking will risk being left behind.

Copyright © 2013 Robert Duncan


Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Chapter Two: Collaboration works - Keep what you need, share the rest In this chapter, we discuss the concept of a post-competitive landscape, one in which keeping secrets is both less relevant and less possible. In a world with fewer and fewer secrets, collaboration gains a new currency. Vanessa: You mention a competitive world and a collaborative world. Can you tell us what the difference is between those two worlds? Rob: The competitive world is one where two organizations in the same industry see each other as enemies. The mentality that often takes hold in those organizations is, “For me to win, you have to lose.” That mentality was all about hoarding information and hoarding talents and really, in effect, taking things away from another organization. That would be the world that many of us have grown up in. I believe what’s happening now is that we're moving towards a collaborative world, and I think there are a couple of influences that have caused that to happen. One would be the evolution of the World Wide Web, and particularly Web 2.0 and beyond, where people are jointly creating content; things like Wikipedia, blogs, where people can post comments. There’s a lot more sharing of ideas, generally, that's really been facilitated by the Internet. So we're moving into a model, I think, where collaboration is going to be the key to winning, as opposed to strict competitiveness. Vanessa: Okay. When you talk about guarding your secret sauce but sharing the rest, what do you mean by secret sauce? Rob: Well, I think many organizations have fallen into a habit of thinking that they have to keep everything secret, and that is part of that competitive world. What I'm suggesting is that there’s very little that can’t be found by anybody at this point using tools like the Internet. So, does it really make sense to hang on to everything and guard everything very closely, when so much of it is knowable by everybody out there? I am challenging organizations to think about what is the one thing that they need to keep secret in order to stay in business? Maybe in the case of a restaurant or a soft drink it’s a recipe, a particular mixture of spices or flavors or ingredients and for other organizations it may be a very unique way of doing things. I'm suggesting that organizations will do better overall if they hang on to that very small portion of information and knowledge that they have to keep secret, and then they aggressively share the rest out to other organizations. And I think part of what’s needed to make that happen is to genuinely put the customer at the top of everybody’s mind.

Copyright © 2013 Robert Duncan


Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan It’s wasteful to hang on to everything and try and keep it secret, because those things that you don’t need to keep secret, that are knowable by everybody, actually have a value attached to them. And by going out and trading on that value, by sharing that intelligence or know-how with somebody else, not only does the customer end up better off, but you end up as a leaner organization because you're not spending a lot of time and resources on keeping secrets you don’t need to keep. And you're also helping your industry get healthier. And that, in many cases, involves giving something away to what you’d formerly call your competitor or another player in the same industry. And because there’s value attached to what you're giving away, you can gain something in return, as well. For example, I may be struggling with a really challenging problem in manufacturing, and yet I have a really effective way of marketing. So if I share my way of marketing with another organization in exchange for some of their insights about manufacturing, then we both end up better off. And the bottom line is the industry ends up healthier and more efficient, and the customer’s happier. It’s kind of a no-lose situation. Vanessa: What are some of the other benefits of sharing information?

Rob: Building stronger relations between organizations is one of the other benefits. When people start to behave more as a community, it creates an atmosphere of trust, and it helps everybody align what they’re doing with the ultimate aim, which in most cases is going to be a happy customer. The other thing is, if we lose the competitive mindset and focus on collaboration and putting the customer first, what happens is that we stop trying to duplicate every little thing that the other organizations do. I saw this concept in action in my own career, when I was running a commercialization center at a college. We were very good at a couple of very specific things. And so, we made a conscious effort to reach out to all the other players in this ecosystem and say: “Listen, our sweet spot is our ability to make rapid prototypes of physical gadgets. On the other hand, we're not very good at this other kind of activity and you guys are. So we need to protect this little part of our operation, because that's what we're good at, and we’ll be happy to refer over anyone who fits better with your organization. We’ll refer them over to you, and we’d appreciate you doing the same for us where appropriate.” And so, what we found that worked well for us was that there would be another university in town, for example, and we would send over somebody who needed some very early stage research and development, which makes sense, because they were more equipped to do that. And then later on, they would send that same customer back to us when it came time to actually make a physical prototype of a new product and do some of the product testing.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan To my mind, that's just a classic example. Had we been trying to compete, we would have tried to be everything to each customer, and we would have wasted a lot of our resources doing stuff that we weren’t naturally good at. In almost every industry, there’s somebody who’s really good at one aspect of serving the customer. If you collaborate, the customer ends up being better served, because you can do part of a job and somebody else who is better at another part of a job can do that part of it. That makes you a lot more efficient, because you don’t waste resources straying out of your own sweet spot. If you concentrate on the things that you're really good at, then you can actually make leaps ahead to become even stronger and better. If you spend too much energy trying to improve things that are not in your strength areas, you end up ultimately diverting resources away from your strength areas. Vanessa: In your research you explored how much people are sharing on LinkedIn. Were you surprised at what you found? Rob: I found that approximately 80% of people said that they were more connected with people in other organizations since they started using LinkedIn. And of those, well over half of them said they’re more connected with people in competitor organizations. And interestingly, half of them are more connected with their customers. So, that really was important to me, because it suggested that the boundaries that existed in the old competitive world were being broken down, whether we like it or not. This is something that's happening on a massive scale, thanks in part to social networking. So a CEO, for example, at the top might think, “Oh no, we're keeping our boundaries very secure.” But the reality is people at all levels of the organization simply are more connected to people in other organizations than ever before. Another finding that was really interesting was, when I asked people what they use LinkedIn for, 6 out of 10 use their LinkedIn connections to answer questions or help them solve problems. Two-thirds of people have asked for and received help, and over three-quarters have provided help to their LinkedIn network. That really was huge for me, because it meant that not only are people more connected with people in other organizations, but they actually are relying on those people to help them solve problems and answer questions. I also asked people if they had more individuals they could collaborate with since using LinkedIn, and two-thirds of people said yes, they do. And 6 out of 10 said they’re more innovative in their work as a result of this, and over half say they can solve problems faster since using LinkedIn. Vanessa: You talked earlier about companies creating policies and procedures around what they feel like is acceptable use of sharing of information. Did you find

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan that many organizations have developed guidelines that can show their employees the appropriate ways to use online social networks like LinkedIn? Rob: What I found was that although almost two-thirds of people were using LinkedIn to exchange ideas and expertise, only one-third of organizations actually have policies or guidelines on what kind of information can be shared on social media, which suggests there’s a real risk there. People are going ahead and sharing information with their networks, yet two-thirds of organizations don’t have any policy framework to guide how employees should use these tools. One of the things that seems to have helped larger, more mature organizations, is the realization that social tools are not revolutionary new things, but rather an update on the fax machine or the telephone. These companies already have a robust policy base, and can usually just adapt existing policies to include social tools. Companies that don’t already have a robust policy framework or guidelines can really be at risk. You could have a junior employee that finds out something really interesting through a social media connection with the engineering team, and then blasts that out to all their friends on Facebook because they simply don’t know better. Vanessa: Where in the organization should these policies and guidelines be created? Would that be in the operational area of the organization or more in the marketing area? Or do you find that that's different between organizations? Rob: It differs by organization. In really tightly regulated industries such as financial services, it might be the legal or policy department that does it. For newer or smaller organizations what I suggest is that they try and identify the real alpha users in the company and create a working committee. And it could be that your most connected person in the entire company works in the mailroom, but they’ve got 10,000 Twitter followers. That person should be on a team to develop policies. Whoever is potentially impacted by the risks of social media usage should be also be at the table. The real power users in an organization should also be there. You’ll be able to uncover more potential issues and best practices if you pull a team together from various parts of the organization and different levels of employee. Vanessa: How receptive are organizations and their leaders to the idea of sharing everything but the secret sauce? Rob: It’s a stretch for some organizations to think that way. I suspect what’s happening is that it’s the people at lower levels of organizations who have typically been the real early adopters of these sharing and collaborative technologies. It may come as a surprise to some leaders when they read just how connected people are, and the extent to which they are sharing ideas and gaining great ideas from their connections. I would say that companies that are really

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan smart about seizing upon this as a tool and as an asset are in the minority at this point in time. I encountered one company where the CEO was really tuned in to how to use the networks of his employees, but a lot of people at the senior levels are more used to guarding secrets. Vanessa: Do you think a person’s age has anything to do with that?

Rob: I wouldn't say it’s age specific. For most of us, we come to master a technology because we like it, and I think that happens at every age. So I think it’s more how about much of a priority is it for this particular CEO or executive group to be mastering new technologies. And for a lot of CEOs, that's going to be a permanent number 9 priority because they’ve got a lot of other things that they need to be doing with very limited time. So I’d say it’s all over the map. It could be anyone. You could have a 70-year-old CEO who is the best person in their company at Twitter or LinkedIn, and then you could have young people that don’t have time for it. Vanessa: As you were talking about that, it made me think of how some organizations have already in place mentoring programs, where they pair up older people that have been in the industry for longer with younger people that with just starting out to learn from one another. How do you feel that ties into becoming more comfortable with expanding technologies and the use of these technologies? Rob: It’s a terrific idea to have some sort of mentorship and training on using online social networks effectively and getting that knowledge spread throughout an organization. If you create a team of alpha users who then can work with people individually or in small groups, do lunch and learns and training sessions you will end up spreading the appropriate guidelines effectively throughout the culture. Vanessa: Coming back to the idea of the collaborative world, what do you think is needed to help build the comfort level of organizations to the idea of sharing everything except their secret sauce? Rob: Part of it is education through learning resources like this book and my thesis to help them understand that there’s a wave of sharing that's happening, and it’s already really entrenched out there. Once you realize that, you have two choices. You can run and hide from that and be very restrictive about sharing information. Or you can say, “This is potentially a new paradigm. It’s a real opportunity. How can we as a smart organization really gain from this?” Some companies are going to just shut everything down and say, “There’s no social media allowed in our organization. You're not allowed to talk about the company on social media.” And they’ll end up in the minority, and time will tell if they succeed, or not.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan The companies on the other end of the spectrum that are the early adopters are saying, “Wow, I see people are sharing ideas. We want them to not share the secret sauce, and we’ll have policies and training around that. But, what else can they be sharing? For example, what can they be learning from customers about what really frustrates them about our product, and how can we create a culture where we sensitize everyone to understand that yes, you're an ambassador for the company when you're on social media, but you're also a listener.” I like to call these people “Chief Engagement Officers,” or “CEOs”, and then everybody in the organization can be a Chief Engagement Officer; somebody who is out there representing the company well and is also listening and learning about what signals are being sent about the company, its products and the industry. Vanessa: How can organizations can protect their secret sauce while developing a sharing culture? Rob: Everybody in the organization has to understand what the limits are, what can never be shared, even if that's only 1% of the organization’s knowledge. It’s important that people know, “You can never talk about our cost structure on the manufacturing side,” or, “You can never talk about our ingredients,” or, “You can never talk about where we get our microchips from,” those kinds of things. And that has to be transmitted to people at levels of the organization. It’s really important, too, that people don’t forget the lower levels of the organization, because in a lot of cases, they can be the very most connected. As an example, if somebody in the mailroom hears something really cool that their company is doing, but doesn’t know that that shouldn’t be shared, then all of a sudden that goes out to all their 10,000 Twitter followers because they didn’t know otherwise. Vanessa: Once it’s been Tweeted, it’s pretty much out there.

Rob: It is. And then you might as well move on, unless you want to spend the rest of your life in litigation. That's out there, that's gone, and that’s part of the big body of knowledge now. Go focus on something else. Vanessa: How can an individual in a lower level of an organization begin a conversation with a more senior person in the organization about the benefits of having a sharing culture? Rob: I would think someone at a junior level in the organization who’s read a book like this one or any other one about collaboration could offer to do a lunch and learn for their organization or for their team or department. And just say: “Hey, I know a lot about this particular thing. Here are some ways it could be really useful for us, and I'd be happy to lead a lunch and learn session and just get people sensitized to what it is and how to use it.”

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Vanessa: And so, for them to have read a book like this would give them enough information to at least have a conversation about it. Rob: Absolutely. I think for a lot of people who are trying to kind of get an idea more popularized in a company, it’s important to be able to show some benefits. I can remember when the Internet was really relatively new, and people were using newsgroups at the time to chat about different products. And I can remember teaching my students to go and do a search for their particular product, for example, cell phones. And people would be on there, and they would be, in many cases, complaining about a particular phone or a particular company. And then I was encouraging those students to take those comments and then put them in a binder or some format and then present them to people at the company and just say, “Hey, did you know they’re saying this about us?” The same is true with social media. So for somebody whose senior management team may not be too sensitized to it, they can just take a sampling of, “I did a search on Twitter, here’s 1,500 things that people said about our company and our products yesterday.” That's definitely going to open people’s eyes and get their attention. The bottom line is that social media is reshaping the concepts of information secrecy and sharing, and the smart organizations are the ones that find a way to profitably gain from that shift, rather than fighting it.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Chapter Three: Social networks pay off - The power of many individuals In this chapter, we discuss how ancient the concept of social networks is and how online social networks are simply an enabling technology, not a revolution. We explore the power of social networks and the strength of weak ties. Vanessa: Social networks are not a new concept, so why is there so much interest in them today? Rob: People have been working together and forming networks ever since human life began, really. There have always been interrelationships and power relationships in different cultures, and bonds between family members and more distant family members, and people who share a similar trait and similar interests and similar friends. And so, networks of people helping other people and working with other people have always been around. The new interest in them today is that tools like social media allow them to happen on an amazingly huge scale. You now have networks like yours and mine, for example, on LinkedIn or Facebook that are spread all over the world. And you're often connected and helping people that you may never, in fact, meet face-to-face. That has created this huge, new interest in social networks as a powerful tool. Vanessa: What are some of the older forms of social networks?

Rob: The earliest one would be the family and extended family; cousins and distant relatives, families that come together by marriage, and so on; where people have a vested interest in helping one another and knowing one another. The professional ones that come to mind are things like guilds and trade and professional associations. So you might have a tradesperson’s guild in Medieval times where anyone who wanted to work in blacksmithing, for example, would be a member of a guild, and that guild would create a network where people could share knowledge and help one another learn the skills of the trade and help one another keep up to date with things. Vanessa: How do you feel like some of the older forms of social networks, what do they have in common with the newer online social networks? Rob: I think the best part of the online social networks is they allow people to self-organize by their interests. And so, you have things like Facebook pages that create a community around a particular interest. It could be, say, everyone who likes a particular performer or a particular kind of music; everyone who’s a dentist, or lives in a certain area or loves a certain city or loves travel. So you have all these communities that get created online. LinkedIn Groups would be another example that's more professionally focused. So you can have groups for people who work in sales, or people who work in pharmaceuticals, or people who have a particular job function, like CEOs or Copyright © 2013 Robert Duncan


Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan managers or graphic designers. So you have all of these interest groups created that a person can join with just a click of a button and can be immediately sharing information and learning new things and forging new relationships. What’s different now is that this can happen on such a massive scale with so little effort on the part of any individual that joins a group. It’s really as easy as just going on and searching for a particular area of interest, and then finding what kind of groups or networks are available, and then just clicking a mouse and signing up and joining and starting to contribute. That's the biggest difference I see, is that it just happens on a vast scale all over the world, irrespective of what time zones people live in. So with online social networks it’s bigger, faster and cheaper. Vanessa: networks? What are some of the good things that people get from their social

Rob: A lot of it is knowledge and know-how. And I think that's been true ever since people started working together in groups; they are able to share insights on how to do things effectively and share accumulated wisdom. So someone new to a career can interact with someone who’s been in that career for decades, who may feel like giving back and helping newcomers, and so there’s this huge transfer of knowledge. That's one huge benefit of social networks. Another one is just the power of introducing someone to somebody else with knowledge; two people who will have something special to share. One thing I really like about my own social networks, is I can connect two people that I personally have never met face-to-face, but I know that; say, this person is interested in improvisation and its use in business, and I know this other person who’s also interested in it, and I happen to know they’re both interested in working on a book, for example. I can connect those two people who wouldn't necessarily come across each other. And that's so easy for me to do and it can create great opportunities for those two people. So I think that sense of introducing people to one another is huge, and shared knowledge, and also sharing opportunities. You might have somebody in an organization that's desperate for a certain kind of person to join their team, and you may have somebody else who is that ideal person, and you can be a conduit that connects that person with the opportunity. That's true of sales as well. I may know of somebody who needs something, and I also may know of somebody who provides something; and so, that connection can happen as well. Vanessa: What do you feel like the benefit of being a conduit like that is?

Rob: I look at it as investing in goodwill, really. I find that I'm probably a net giver on social networks. I very rarely need to ask for favors. As an example, Copyright © 2013 Robert Duncan


Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan I've probably answered well over 1,000 questions on LinkedIn trying to help people. I've probably only asked about 50. So, that's the ratio of how much I ask for favors, versus how much I try to help people. It’s 1,000 to 50. And I think there are a lot of people like that. I think the benefit, in some ways, is that you're storing goodwill. And so, I've found that the times I have really needed to lean on my networks for help, they’ve been there for me. And I think that's because there’s a trust factor there, and there’s a sense that I've been a helpful person. One example that comes to mind is when I was doing my doctorate and I had to get 500 or more people to take a survey, and it was fairly lengthy. They would have had to spend half-an-hour of their time, which is valuable. And by going to my network after having helped a lot of people, I felt that I got that participation from people partly because I had been helpful to people in the past and had that reputation. So I was able to get 500 people to complete the survey in less than a week, which was really remarkable. Vanessa: That is remarkable. Wow, that's very fast. Talking about that network and the ties that you have from your network, can you describe what weak ties are and then what’s the strength of having weak ties? Rob: Weak ties is an area of research in social sciences that even decades ago looked into how important relationships are in networks. They particularly focused on relationships where two people did not know each other well. They didn’t have a strong tie, and they called those weak ties. Anyone who wants to know about this field from a more academic standpoint can check out chapter 2 of my thesis for a comprehensive literature review on this and related topic areas. The bibliography also has a list of relevant references. The interesting outcome of that research was, in simple terms, that somebody you don’t know very well will often be more helpful than somebody you do know very well. Or as I like to say in my talks, “Sometimes a stranger will be more helpful than your mother.” There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is it costs very little for somebody to help a stranger or a relative stranger; whereas if you provide someone in your family with a job opportunity and it turns out to be the worst thing that ever happened to them, there’s a cost to that that is much greater than if I connect two people I've never met; if it works out, great, and if it doesn’t, I'll probably never even hear about it. So, that's really the power of weak ties, is that the people who have a weak tie with you will often be far more helpful than someone you have a strong tie with. And so, when you put that on a massive level, like LinkedIn where you might be connected to 15-20 million people at the farthest levels of your network of people who know people, who know other people, strangers way out there in another country very far removed from you and your network could actually be incredibly valuable to you.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Also, people you have weaker ties with may have very different kinds of people that they interact with. They have different interests and they have different points of view. This can end up being more valuable than your strong ties because it gives you access to different ways of thinking and unique approaches and knowledge. After all, if you only interact with people that are very similar to you, you won’t get that new way of looking at things in a lot of cases. Vanessa: What are some of the necessary ingredients for a solid social network?

Rob: One of the foundational articles I used in my doctoral research was the “12 Principles of Civilization” by Cynthia Typaldos. It has stood the test of time by being as relevant today as it was back in the year 2000. There’s a reference to it in the bibliography of my thesis. The article talks about 12 essential things that are necessary for a great online community, and I’ll briefly summarize these ingredients necessary for a good online community. The first would be a shared or collaborative purpose for being part of the community. So, that would be about having a shared interest or, “We’re all here because we're interested in meeting new talent to join our company.” So a sense of shared or collaborative purpose is very important. Another important ingredient is a clear sense of identity for each participant in the network. Social media makes that easy, because if we're in a Facebook group together or we're on LinkedIn together, it’s very clear who you are and who I am; and so, that sense of clear identity is there so you know who you’re networking with. That contributes to building trust. Another feature that is important is that member reputations can be tracked and enhanced through the actions that they do. LinkedIn comes to mind in the Q&A section, because if you answer questions, you can get rated by the asker as “good” or even “the best” answer, and those start to accumulate. As you get more of those, your reputation is enhanced in the network. Shared governance or self-regulation is also important. You can look at sites like Facebook or LinkedIn where you can flag people who do inappropriate things, and so the community regulates itself. The ability for members to segment themselves into smaller groups by interests or affiliations is also a key ingredient of an effective online community. That is a key feature of all of these social networks, where you can join groups, and you can put your interests out there, put your skill sets out there, so you're able to self-select into these little tribes or interest groups. Another feature that Typaldos mentions in her article is an environment that encourages participation, and there are a lot of different reward and recognition systems that these networks have built into them. Some people track their “klout” score (, and that's a measure of your influence on various social networks. So the more that you share things on Facebook, the more that you like

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan things on Facebook, the more that you put information out on LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter, and so on, it all raises your score. So there’s encouragement for participating. On LinkedIn there’s best answer ratings, recommendations and endorsements. Another feature of a good online community is that the members have to be able to understand the boundaries of behavior. Online social networks are great for that, because you can always go into Frequently Asked Questions or Rules and Regulations section of a site and figure out what’s good and what’s bad. On LinkedIn, for example, you're not supposed to overtly sell your product or service, which is fair, and everybody knows that. If the group decides that someone is being too overt in trying to sell, then they can be flagged. So it comes back to that selfregulation of the group. Another feature of a successful online community is the ability for people to build trust over time. You can see how that works with the “best” and “good” answer ratings on LinkedIn, or recommendations on LinkedIn. You start to be able to build trust, and that trust is there for people to see. So if you have a lot of recommendations, people start to trust you. They start to see how you think and how you help out people on these networks, how you behave in groups, and so, you do have that ability to build trust. There also has to be an exchange among the members of a network that has value to each member. That's definitely the case with online social networks. If, for example, I have a problem I'm trying to solve and you have an answer, that's valuable to both of us, because I may take you up on your answer and say, “That's great, can you help me do this?” And so, everybody wins in that situation. The ability for each member to express what is unique about them is an important feature of a really effective online community, and social media does that with our profiles. So we can say, “Yes, I'm this businessperson and I work in this field in this industry, but I also like this television show and I'm a gardener and this is my favorite movie.” So people have that ability to express what’s individual about them. The last one that Typaldos mentions is the ability for the community to keep track of its history, which is definitely a feature of online social networks. There’s no really deleting the past in some cases. So you can go back in and look at all the questions that you've asked on LinkedIn, all the answers. You can look at your Facebook timeline and see what people have said to you and done with you. So taking all those attributes together, you can see that online social networks are really effective at creating communities. Vanessa: You talked about the importance of the different ways that you interact with your social network, and that people do interact in different ways. Why is it important to know that people interact in different ways with their networks?

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Rob: It’s important to know so that your expectations can be shaped appropriately. For example, I'm a fairly open networker on LinkedIn, and that means that I'll connect with almost anybody who seems to have good intentions; who’s a real person with a real profile, and I see no reason not to trust them. To my mind, that's like just being at a conference or a trade show, and somebody comes up to you with a smile and sticks out their hand for a handshake. Well sure, I'm going to smile back and shake their hand. So that's my particular mode on online social networks. But I do know that a lot of people that I am connected with have a completely different viewpoint. They want their networks to be very exclusive. And you see people who have maybe 46 connections on LinkedIn, and that's all they want. They really just want it to be a very exclusive club of people that they know extremely well. And so, if I saw a person like that in my network, I would think twice before asking them a favor to connect somebody that I don’t know very well with somebody that they know really well, because that's a stronger tie there. Knowing the different styles or the different reasons people use networks will let you approach different people in different ways, so that you're going to minimize the risk that you're going to offend somebody or do something that they’re going to find distasteful. Vanessa: So it sounds like the people that have the closely held networks with the people that they know better maybe don’t value that weak ties connection as much as people that have a much more open networking policy of who they connect with. Rob: I think that's probably true. And when I talk to audiences, one of the things that I try to encourage them to think about, is that the people you know well are the people you could probably meet down at the pub any Friday night. It’s a bit of a closed shop, in terms of new ideas. You've probably heard their stories. You've known them for years. You've heard all of their fishing stories. There’s not a lot of new knowledge that necessarily creeps into a small, tightly held, really close network. Contrast that with people in my network who I haven’t met in person yet who are connected with people in different countries, in different fields, in the arts. To my mind, that's where you're going to come up with a very unique idea. It’s not by going to the same pool that you swim in all the time. It’s going to be by knowing somebody who knows somebody, who knows somebody else who is very different than you, and may have a totally different set of experiences in life and can come up with a really interesting new idea for you. Social networks are not new, but online social networking tools now allow massive and powerful networks of people with weak ties to be created easily. For innovation, a broader network of people with weak ties is hard to beat for generating unique and novel ideas.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Chapter Four: Online social networks - Way more of a good thing In this chapter we discuss how the fairly recent development of online social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook have made to possible to build massive global networks that allow users to reap the benefits of both weak and strong ties to others. Vanessa: A lot of your research for your thesis was done from research that you gathered from LinkedIn. So, how has LinkedIn, for example, helped people? And do you have findings from your research that support these ideas? Rob: It has definitely helped people. An interesting finding was the reasons that people use LinkedIn. People use it for business prospecting and sales, meeting new people and networking. Another one was contact management and keeping track of people that they meet. It’s also used by people for recruiting for staff. It’s also used for exchanging ideas and expertise. Some people use it for self-promotion and reputation building. People use it for looking for a new job. People also say it serves as their online résumé. Many people say it’s just fun and they enjoy it. Those are the main reasons. When I ask people how LinkedIn had helped them, they reported it had helped them solve problems faster and be more innovative in their work. Those are two of the key areas that I was focusing on in my research. Vanessa: So, based on this research that you, and the results that you got, why should organizations and their leaders be taking social networking seriously? Rob: I would say it’s a phenomenon that’s already happening at a huge level. There are two broad approaches that leaders can take. One is to look the other way and ignore it and say it’s not for us or it’s not important. Smart organizations are going to say: “There is all this traffic and ideas and there are all these relationships forming with people all over the world, both inside our organization and outside. So how can we harness that to our mutual advantage?” If we encourage employees to think of themselves as ambassadors for our company or organization or brand, they can be in these networks listening for things like complaints, listening for happy people, listening for people with good new product ideas, and they can be reaching out and helping pull these people and their ideas into our organization. They can also be more effective at things like sales or customer service. And for people who are in the innovation realm, they definitely can tap into the brain power of all these people around the world. This ability to tap into the brainpower of other people is a huge advantage to smart organizations. One thing that makes it really effective is I can be talking to somebody in a similar industry or the same industry even who is halfway across the world and literally they don’t really compete with me in my market space. And those people have really very little reason to not share information so that both organizations can get better.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan I recently did a keynote address to the wine industry and it was interesting to see the participants come to the realization that there’s really very little reason why they shouldn’t be helping each other to elevate the entire industry and help the local wine industry compete with other beverage alcohol products or even other wineries in other countries. I think people are really coming around to this idea that we don’t just have to be great as an organization ourselves, but we can also elevate our entire product category by getting better through sharing information, and then elevate our entire industry. Vanessa: And you’ve mentioned in some of the other interviews that we’ve done about this idea of companies empowering their employees to be ambassadors for the company and that training would be one of the ways that they would teach them how to do that. How often do you think that training needs to happen for them to encourage people to think of themselves as ambassadors? Rob: It depends to some extent on the culture and size of the organization. For a smaller organization, they might just need to have lunch and talk about it one day and agree to do it, and maybe they can check in with each other and see how it’s going after a few months and see what they’ve learned. So, for smaller or maybe more flexible organizations, they can just do it on an ad hoc basis as they need to. Larger organizations, where you have to change a culture, is more like steering a battleship. It takes a long time to change a really strong, especially a global, culture that has lots of employees. That needs probably a more formal process where you’re probably identifying what I call these alpha people that are really natural champions of this kind of approach and just empowering them in their local offices and departments to start to build awareness around this. And then maybe at company events on an annual basis there could be some real consciousness raising, get some good speakers in and get senior management talking about what the direction is and get people reporting in on individual success stories from around the organization. That may be a process of several years. I really do think it takes years to shift a large organizational culture. Vanessa: One of the things you mentioned before was that companies should reward what they want to see more of. Having some sort of reward system around recognizing people that were serving as ambassadors would be a way to encourage that. Rob: One interesting finding in my research was that very few people reported that their performance was measured based on any outcomes from social media. And very few people reported that there was any kind of reward system. A huge fertile area for encouraging the kind of behaviors that companies want is to tie rewards to those kinds of desirable behaviors.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Vanessa: So, what are some of the successes that could be achieved through a more conscious use of social networking? Rob: One of them is better communication with customers and business partners. I had one company that I had talked to that had set up their own social network, one that was exclusive to their company and its stakeholders. And they were dealing with things like different time zones and needing to get engineers talking to each other across different countries and across different organizations, so they actually built their own social network that had profiles of people. They were able to achieve really much greater efficiency in communications. And they were organizing very large projects around the world. And they found that by creating this social network that people could tap into and communicate with each other and share ideas, whatever time zone they happened to be in or whatever country they happened to be in and it created this central place where communication could happen really effectively. They said that it was extremely helpful to their efficiency in putting these projects together and having people work together very effectively. Vanessa: So that particular organization sounds like since they built their own social network it was kind of an enclosed system for just their company and their employees, as opposed to being involving other organizations and getting input from outside organizations. Rob: They did have some business partners who were able to interface into the network for specific projects, but at that point they weren’t going out to the world at large in trying to tap into ideas. So, they were using it more as an efficient communication tool and idea sharing tool for people on the inside of the organization. Another benefit that can be had is vastly improved communication with customers because you suddenly create this porous wall that invites the customers to be interacting with the company on whatever platform they choose. Maybe you have customers that like your Facebook page and they can give you feedback, “The last product is great. Love it” or “Hey, I’m having a problem with this,” or any other kind of feedback. And that’s something that can be brought right into the company directly and acted upon. When I do talks I always like to use the example of the notion that your customer is now on your design team. And smart companies are going to be the ones that say, “Well, absolutely. Let’s bring them in. If people have opinions and ideas, we’d be crazy not to harness those.” The opposite, more old school, approach would be to say, “No. Our design team is a secret, closed entity and we’ll make the right decisions maybe based on some market research.” But smart companies are saying, “Hey. Why do all this market research once a year to develop new products when we’re getting this kind of input all the time if we create the right climate and use these tools effectively.”

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan

One company that I did talk to was a very early adoptive of creating an online community that people could go to and interact with each other. So, in a lot of cases they found that that helped their efficiency because customers can often solve each other’s problems. And if you build relationships between your customers and they start helping each other, overall you’re really strengthening the attachment to your organization. Vanessa: Are there other successes that we haven’t talked about that can be achieved through a conscious use of social networking? Rob: Better team cohesion within an organization is also possible with these tools. There was a multinational company that I talked to in my research that had created kind of an innovation space where everybody from around the world could go into that space and socially share ideas about innovations, both things that are happening in the industry and things that they’re looking at in their individual offices or countries, as far as products go. They could share customer feedback, anything like that. That organization found that this innovation space was a source of a lot of great new ideas for them because it collects and shares all the intelligence that every individual around the world is picking up on. Maybe someone sees an article published in Japan and only in Japan and then they share it with everybody before it hits the presses in the other countries. Or they come up and say that they were at a conference and a customer came up with this great idea and then they can share it around the entire organization. That helped build a real sense of team. So, not only was it a great source of new ideas, but it just made everybody feel closer to the organization and to the mission and to what they’re trying to achieve. Vanessa: So, it sounds like this online space is set up in a way that people can bump into each other and have almost random conversations. Rob: Having an online space for people to bump into each other is great. What smart organizations do is realize people are going to get on these tools and not to try to control that behavior, but just channel it in ways that are positive. So, a smart manager might say “I don’t care if my people are on Facebook all day when they’re at work because I know they’re doing good things. And the good things come through in the results, greater awareness of our product, improved sales, improved innovation.” So, the attitude is, “Go for it. Knock yourselves out. Here’s what we’re trying to achieve. We’re all in the same boat. We’re all pulling in the same direction. So, whatever tools you use, be it Facebook, LinkedIn, or whatever, it’s all good.” Now, other organizations, just across the board, say, “No. You can’t do anything personal on company time.” I do think there may be cases where that’s warranted

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan because of regulation and the need for tight controls. But for a lot of organizations, the tools are there and they might as well be harnessed to encourage useful behaviors. Smart organizations are the ones that are more concerned with the results than with the specific activities that produce the results. You get more of what you reward. If you want more sales, then you reward that and you turn people loose to use whatever tools make sense. If they make a post on their personal Facebook page that says, “I just developed this great new product. I have five free units to give to the first five people who are willing to give me some feedback on it.” Whatever ingenuity that individual employees can bring to bear using social media, ultimately can help the organization if it’s managed correctly. Vanessa: So, why do you think that there’s resistance to harnessing the power of social networks? Rob: Well, there are definite risks. The cost of a mistake on something that spreads as quickly as social media is huge. There was an example of a video of people in a fast food outlet, employees doing something that really reflected poorly on the quality of the food product. And that went viral across YouTube and all over the Internet and was shared on Twitter, Facebook, what have you. So, the cost of a mistake is potentially huge: you’re just one keystroke away from sending a very damaging message out to a really vast community. So quite rightly there’s concern about mistakes or somebody getting drunk at an event and saying something really unfortunate on Facebook. I had heard one example of executives getting really drunk at an event and an employee videotaped some of it and it got out on YouTube. It’s quite smart to have a damage control mentality that leads people to be careful about freeing everybody to use social media however way they see fit. Vanessa: How do you think that organizations overcome that idea of having to be alert for mistakes, as opposed to being able to be empowered to be ambassadors? Rob: Everyone’s got to know the rules. And so, it really comes down to guidelines, policies, and training. You can put posters everywhere, a reminder of “10 things that we do not do when we’re interacting with the public.” Everyone could have that as their screensaver or they could be reminded of a policy every time they log into their work stations, and training sessions. Show people what a terrible use of social media looks like, and what a fantastic one looks like. As long as you communicate the rules and everyone understands what they shouldn’t do then you’re safer. Then in the case where there are accidents, and accidents will happen, then corrective measures have got to be taken. An individual employee may have to be disciplined. But really, the rules of social media really shouldn’t be that different than the rules of being at a conference or being at a dinner party. For example, “We reflect positively on our organization and if we hear complaints, we undertake to listen and do what we can to make sure that the person’s voice gets heard, but we don’t get into fights about defending our

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan organization. We don’t use profanity. We don’t behave in a way that reflects poorly on the organization.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the flesh and blood world or you’re in the online world, in fact those codes of behavior probably already exist in most organizations. People just need to be reminded that the consequences of a mistake can be that much more costly in the case of online where once you hit “send,” it’s out there. Vanessa: So, do you feel like that someone at any level of the organization could set up a structure of rewards for the people that are under them for proper use of social networks? Could somebody who’s a mid-manager set something up for the folks that are right under them versus having to wait for it to come all the way down from the top? Rob: Individual managers and supervisors can definitely do that and it needn’t be an expensive endeavor because a lot of people thrive on simple recognition and if you produce a newsletter every month you could highlight the social media success story of the month with the person’s picture, and if the resources are there, maybe a gift card or some sort of public recognition. I think people really can respond to that, so it doesn’t have to be necessarily something that’s going to cost the organization a lot of money. I think individuals, supervisors and managers can be promoting the stories that they want to see more of and recognizing people publicly for their successes. Vanessa: We discussed different types of ways that people interact with social media and we talked about outbound messaging, which is more of a broadcast, “This is my message, I’m sending it out there” kind of thing. We also talked about listening and we talked about sharing. Can you give examples that would illustrate how each of these approaches and also if it’s important for organizations to have a mix of all three of those in their social interactions? Rob: I think all of those are important and a really sensible approach when a company is just coming into social media and they’re starting to think about using it in a conscious way is to do a lot of listening. Go into different platforms and see how people are using them, the kinds of things that happen there, the kinds of things that people are finding popular and the kinds of things that are annoying people. And so, that kind of lurking and listening is a good strategy for starting out. And then, I think it really comes down to what the organization wants to achieve in being involved in any kind of social space. You need to decide which platforms you want to be on. Is it Twitter or is it Facebook or is it your own website or blog, or all of these? A lot of it should be driven by what your objectives are and that may vary by different parts of the organization. So, for someone who’s announcing product updates, let’s say in a marketing department, they might see Twitter as a great tool for more or less outbound messaging for that. For somebody that’s interested in public relations or the social

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan face of the organization, maybe a Facebook page is a great way to give people a place to land and interact with the company or organization. So it really varies, but it’s all driven by objectives. A smart thing for organizations to do is to sit down and think about all that they’d like to achieve, and then go out into these platforms and try to find models of companies that are doing really effective things, and then model themselves after what seems to be working. Then they can choose their approach or mix multiple approaches; broadcasting, listening, and sharing ideas. Structure that in a way that makes sense for what they’re trying to achieve, and then do an informal audit of what seems to be working, and adjust the approach as they go forward. Vanessa: So, do you have any feeling of ratio depending on which department or which objectives an organization has for social media, what some ratios would be for an effective use of the resources, the time and the money invested in broadcasting versus listening versus sharing? For example, if your primary purpose is advertising, do you have a feeling for what that ratio would be and how it would be different if your objective problem solving or if your objective was building customer relationships? Rob: It’s going to be custom in almost every situation, but I would say that for someone who’s primarily looking at outbound marketing or advertising, the use of resources on outbound broadcasting versus listening might mirror the traditional model of how much we spend on advertising versus how much do we spend on market research. So, how much do we spend on surveys and focus groups and advertising testing and other kinds of research? That’s the listening part. And the broadcasting part would be more like what we spend on our advertising. Vanessa: And then, what about customer relationships? That seems to me that would be more listening? Rob: Organizations that want to have great customer service might be doing more listening and idea sharing and interacting, so that would drive their expenditure of resources to be more in those areas. Companies that thrive on new ideas probably would do a lot of listening and a lot of idea sharing. So, it really depends on what your organization is trying to achieve and where the relative emphasis is. When I was doing my research, I found that people felt that the way that they should plan for social media usage was that it should mirror their overall planning framework philosophy. I had organizations that said, “We do everything on the fly. So, we’ll just wander out into a space. We’ll try things. We’ll see what works and we’ll adapt as we go along.” Other organizations, typically older more established ones, said, “No. We have a formal planning process. And so, we do everything formally. We sit down and we review our objectives from last year and we discuss what objectives make sense for the coming year. We assign committees. We assign tasks and projects and so on and so forth.”

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan What I was hearing was that the planning for social media really should be no different than the overall organizational planning. So, some organizations are very dynamic and change frequently and that kind of planning for social media suits them; whereas, other people are more formal and more structured in their planning. So, that kind of structured approach to planning social media usage was better fit for them. Vanessa: Did you find as organizations grow and get bigger that they need to have a more structured approach or did you find bigger organizations that adopted the fly by the seat of their pants approach also? Rob: I found both and what I took away from the opinions that I heard was that you shouldn’t over-plan your approach in an environment that can change so quickly. One huge company could buy another next week and the entire rules of the game would change. Any one of these major social networks could be gone six months from now. So, the consensus overall seemed to be don’t over-plan something in an environment where things are fairly turbulent. Look at the changes to Facebook, for example, the rules of the game can change at any time. And suddenly you have to do things in a different way and adapt to new features and adapt to change in tastes, as well. Vanessa: And so, it’s kind of playing back on those principles of improv of having an overall structure of the principles behind it, but then being able to be flexible with the actual implementation of how your strategy unrolls. Rob: Absolutely. That’s a great parallel with improvisation.

Vanessa: Did your research look into people’s expectations for social networking in the future? Rob: One of the questions I asked was whether people felt that social media will become the dominant form of media in the future. And what’s interesting there is that 44% of people agreed with that statement, which I thought was remarkable. And what they’re saying there is that social media will be media. It will be what media is in the future. So, that was an interesting finding. Another one was “I will be becoming more focused and strategic in my use of online social networks” was another question that I asked people and about seven in ten people agreed with that statement. I asked people if they could envision a future in which they would communicate more by social networks rather than email or texting. And again, we had around four in ten people agreeing with that statement. I also asked people if they were getting tired of online social networks. The statement was “I’m getting tired of online social networks and social media and can foresee reducing my activity level or the number of networks that I participate in.” Around one in five people agreed with that statement. That would be an interesting

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan statistic to keep testing year over year so that you can see if people are getting tired of social media. And if that’s growing, well it may be time to look for a new medium. Vanessa: I want to talk a little bit about the idea of reciprocity or quid pro quo. How do you think that idea fits into social media interactions of somebody feeling the need to pay you back when you help them or your feeling of needing to pay somebody back if they help you? Rob: I think that reciprocity is really important and it goes back to the strength of weak ties idea, which is that somebody may be more helpful to you, even though you don’t know them very well, than somebody you know closely. I guess I’m a bit of a realist. I don’t think it’s a one to one kind of thing; just because I do something nice for somebody or help them with a problem, I can’t really expect that one person to have the time of even the inclination to then come back and help me. So, it’s not a direct trade, but I think when you look at the overall numbers, it’s almost like online karma. If you’re a net helper, over time if you’ve helped hundreds and then thousands of people, when you need help somebody will be there for you. An organization can also achieve a reputation of being a helper and a giver. And that, I think, is going to increase the goodwill that comes back to that organization over time. Again, not in every single case, but it’s kind of a numbers game. You help a lot of people and you ask nothing in return. When you do need help, a substantial proportion of people will be there to help you or they’ll certainly feel positive towards your efforts. The smarter organizations are the ones that see a blend between an employee’s personal interaction with the world and the organization’s interaction with the world and they encourage that. So, I’ve had people help me in my research, for example, or with things I was trying to do. And it may be the case that three people from a single organization helped me out and I came away thinking, “Wow. I bet that company would be a really cool place to work. People seem happy there. They seem helpful. They seem to have a sharing culture.” So, I think there’s benefits that go just beyond the tit for tat trading of favors and you start to create an impression of the organization that’s driven by individuals, but it reflects positively both on those individuals and the organization as a whole. Vanessa: they? How can organizations measure these kinds of successes? Should

Rob: What came out of my research was that you should tailor the metrics that you use to what makes sense. I had one respondent who said that, “What you should do is really focus on very basic success metrics.” And I think having some

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan kind of conversion or something that’s got to happen for the person on the other end of the network is a really important one. So it may just be the case that you want to have somebody feel better informed about something you’re doing, but you don’t really need them to click on a link or visit your website. But I think some thought really needs to go into what do we want to have happen because we use social media? So, on a particular campaign that goes out on Facebook, are we trying to drive people to an article about our company? Are we trying to have them contact our sales team? Are we trying to have them sign up for a contest? So, those are really hard measures that we can measure what the rate is so we know what our reach is. We went out to 500,000 people, let’s say, and we got 3% click-through; those classic online marketing measures are helpful. One particular respondent said that: “Your measures don’t need to be that analytical necessarily. If you’re putting out good content and it’s reaching the right people, that’s often enough.” And they were saying that good stories are often as important as numerical metrics. So, for example, a story about a customer that found out about our product and then it helped them revolutionize the way they were doing business. Having that story captured is often just as valuable as hard metrics. These debates over ROI and metrics remind me of the early days of websites when companies were deciding - this sounds hilarious now - but they were deciding whether they should be “on the Internet” or not. And the first folks that came out with websites were looking for these real returns for what were then huge investments of money, you know, websites that you and I could build today were costing companies $5 million or more to get built. And they needed to see some return. A few years later, it didn’t matter if you got a return or not. If you didn’t have a website in most cases you were no longer in business. So, it became a necessary cost of doing business. And ROI is great, but if it’s simply the cost of being in the industry, of being competitive, you have to absorb those costs. You can then look for other metrics that are not going to be necessarily a return on your investment, but rather you’re making the investment because you want to stay competitive and you want to serve your customers. We could measure customer satisfaction or how many customers like our website or get value from it or how many sales we get through our social media channels since that kind of thing. It’s the same with social media with relatively few exceptions. You kind of have to be there. The question is what does “there” mean to our organization? Where should we be? What should we be trying to achieve? And let’s measure how we’re doing against what we’re trying to achieve. So, again, it comes back to that idea of putting the upfront thought in and spending that 30% or more of your time and effort thinking about what you want to get from

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan it and then tailoring your measures of success to those things you’re trying to achieve. For some organizations, like one I used to work with, we were looking for great stories of how we’d made an impact and we couldn’t put a number value to that or a dollar value, but the more good stories that had happy endings because we helped a customer, those were the currencies that really mattered to us. Vanessa: I think that idea of gathering good stories, noticing, paying attention to stories and gathering those stories is really a powerful idea. How would you suggest that companies go about doing that if that’s one of their objectives to gather stories? What are some different methods that they can use to capture those stories? Rob: Well, one thing is really just going back to that idea that you get more of what you reward. And so, if you use training, education, and annual events to raise the awareness that everybody in the organization is probably hearing a good story about the company, getting people habituated to understanding that that story has a value, you could have a contest or you could feature a success story of the week on your Facebook page or in your internal communications. So, those kinds of things, along the lines of “here’s what we’re looking for” and making sure people know what you’re looking for. And then have them bring back the stories from any level of the organization. It could be, for example, a courier delivery person who was able to make someone’s day by waiting with a package for a few minutes. If it was somebody in a home business who really needed that package but they weren’t home at the moment. So, if that home business person was able to post on a social media tool to the company that they were going to be back in a second, and please hang on with the package, and the delivery person got that message and acted on it. That would be a great story. Vanessa: So stories can be part of your return on investment, even if there’s no specific numerical metric attached to them? Rob: Yes, because sometimes you don’t make a profit on these investments. It’s just the cost of doing business, so you need to look at what benefits do you get and measuring the ones that make sense. The bottom line is that online social networks are presenting us with the opportunity to reap massive rewards at relatively minimal costs. We only just beginning to see what is possible, and sharing the stories of the innovative uses we find for these technologies is really important.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Chapter Five: Implementing a social networking strategy - Liberating the individual In this chapter, we make a shift from looking at what networks can do for us, and begin to discuss some of the ways that leaders and people at all levels of an organization can start to consciously harness the power of these networks, and how this will facilitate a shift in cultures and management styles. Vanessa: What do you mean by liberating the individual?

Rob: We’ve inherited a real command and control kind of management style that probably still makes sense in certain kinds of organizations. But now information is being accessed by everybody throughout an organization at all levels and everybody is equally able to make use of the Internet and find out what's impacting their company or organization. Information isn’t as tightly held at the top as it once was and so what you have now is that relative power, the power of knowledge, is being spread throughout the organization. Smart organizations are the ones that say: “Listen, our people know a lot of things. We don’t need to control every little action that they do, because provided that we set them in the right direction, they probably are going to know best how to use the information at hand and really contribute to achieving our overall organization objectives.” Vanessa: Do you feel like that empowering somebody to embrace their ability to influence others is the same as liberating them? Rob: I do, and I think that really comes back to what we were talking about with the idea that everybody can be a leader and exhibit leadership. It’s easy to say that, but I think it’s a profound cultural and management shift in thinking that has to happen. You have to have everyone from the chief executive or the leadership team on down willing to give up the traditional controls they’ve had. Often, it involves giving up control over resources, control over knowledge and control over information, and really distributing these through the organization with ground rules; freeing people up to do what they think is best. Let’s say somebody said something really offensive and untrue about an organization on Twitter, and the person who picked it up happened to be a person on vacation and they worked in the company library. That person should feel empowered to do something about that piece of information. They, first of all, should feel like: “Yes, this is part of what I do; this is part of my job. I see this thing. I have to be able to act on it in ways that I think are appropriate.” Vanessa: So, part of that empowering and liberating is encouraging people to have a sense of responsibility and giving them the authority to act on what they believe is the right course of action.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Rob: Absolutely, and it all comes down, again, to guidelines and rules and training and, “Here’s what we can never do, here’s what we should always do, and here’s how to interpret the areas that you're not sure of.” Vanessa: I know we talked a little bit about the old command and control mentality. Doesn’t that kind of obliterate that mentality when you're giving people their own sense of responsibility and authority? Rob: It does, absolutely. And I believe you will see command and control only limited to very small numbers of organizations in a couple of decades. Maybe it makes sense in a military operation or something, but for a lot of organizations, I think it’s going to be replaced by everybody having the responsibility to generate ideas and solve problems at every level of the organization, and to exercise situational leadership whenever it makes sense. Vanessa: Up to this point, why has it worked for some companies to have that old command and control mentality? Rob: A lot of it comes down to the risk of mistakes; how serious are mistakes? In an operating theatre in a hospital, there’s probably got to be a very set hierarchy on who decides what; when to make the cut, where to make the cut. There has to be somebody in charge, and everybody else has to be sitting there waiting to follow orders. So where the risk is somebody’s life, or something tragic happening, or huge losses of money, or what have you, I think those things probably need more control. But for a lot of what organizations do, I think having more democracy over who knows things and who can offer opinions is really going to be helpful. For example, it may be a nurse who notices somebody starting to bleed; and so, yes, it’s quite right to bring that to the attention of the entire team. Vanessa: How do you feel social networking technologies have affected this shift in the way that companies approach their leadership? Rob: It’s evolving right now, and smart organizations are realizing that there is a shift in the locus of power from the traditional source of power being at the top of an organization; it’s really shifting downward, because knowledge is shifting downward to all levels of the organization. A lot of this is due to the increasing importance of lateral relationships, as opposed to vertical relationships. And that's a shift that I see happening, too; the old way was that information tended to flow up and down vertically in an organization from the top to the bottom. What I see now with the research I've done is that people actually have more important networks with people outside their organization, in a lot of cases, than they do inside, and I call these lateral relationships. So I may know more people in my competitor companies through social networking than I actually know in my own company, and that's changing where power resides in an organization. All of a sudden, the individual has more power.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan

Smart companies are the ones that are saying: “Yes, I see this happening, and I'm going to make the most of it. I'm not going to try and control it. I'm not going to try and reverse the trend. I'm not going to try and minimize the power of my individuals, but I'm going to maximize it. I'm going to, in effect, liberate them to do the right thing for our organization. And the result of that will be that they feel more empowered and they’re happier employees, and probably more effective.” Vanessa: And I know that over even the last 20 years, people move much more often than they did before that. And I think there’s a statistic that someone entering the workforce now would have up to potentially 30 different jobs within their career, where they move to different companies. So how does a company retain their best employees if those people are already connected to other organizations through these lateral relationships and have, in a lot of cases, stronger relationships with the lateral relationships? What things should they do to make sure that they’re retaining the people that are the most benefit to them and could potential be the most benefit to their competitors? Rob: I have a theory that most people leave organizations because they feel unappreciated. And that lack of appreciation can come in many forms. It can be a salary that's not competitive. But I think more often than not, it’s that people do good work and that isn’t appreciated or recognized. And so, what I think smart employers can do, while acknowledging that the employee has a lot of power now with all the relationships and networks that they have, is to really consciously try to be the most rewarding place to work. Go to your employees and ask “What would make you stick around?” Have that discussion and have people generate as a collaborative group a list of the attributes they want to have the organization reflect. It may not work for everybody, but I think if you create an environment where people feel recognized and appreciated in various forms that matter to them, you’re going to hang on to people. I was doing a keynote speech to an industry not that long ago, and I asked a question: “How many of you are connected to each other, even though you work in different organizations?” and all the hands went up. And I said, “How many of you could form your own company within an hour because of these relationships you have?” And again, hands go up. So, that's reality. Smart organizations are the ones that try to be that cooler place to work, the place that makes people feel rewarded and recognized, and it doesn’t make it worth their time and effort to go out and create something new. Vanessa: Do you think there are any downsides to liberating people?

Rob: Yes, it does come with some risks. You're liberating them to leave. You're liberating them to go to the competition or other stakeholders. You're liberating them to know a lot about your organization and then leave. You're, to some extent, enabling them to become your best competitor if they leave and join

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan up with other people from the industry. So yes, I would say there are risks, I'd rather call them than downsides. But I think you have to have the nerves to play in this game and still make the team that you've created within your organization the best place that these people actually want to be. Vanessa: What can organizations and their leaders do to make sure that they’re doing the right thing in harnessing their employees’ networks? Rob: Having the dialogue about what a network is and how networks can benefit the organization is really important, and then inviting people to think about how their own networks could help the organization without forcing them. But I think it happened organically in a lot of organizations. I know when I used to work at the college that I worked at and we were hiring people and looking for very a hard to find kind of applicant, we would help the Human Resources effort by using our own LinkedIn network, or what have you. So if there was a posting that Human Resources had put out for this kind of person, we could then share it through our own networks. And so, there is a vested interest because we wanted to get the best person into that role. And so, it made perfect sense to be using the networks that we can benefit from to help us help the organization, because, ultimately, everybody wins. Vanessa: When organizations are have determined their objectives for what they want their online social networks to do and they’re putting together a strategy, do they have to put the whole strategy together before they can start implementing it? Or is it better for them to start rolling out parts of it as they’re continuing to develop the rest of it? Rob: It’s a little of both, because there are certain things you can be doing right away, particularly in response to competitive pressures. If suddenly everybody in your industry has a Facebook page and you can’t come up with any compelling reason not to have one, then it probably makes sense to throw that particular thing up and see how it works, live with it for a little while, and then refine your objectives for that particular asset as you move along. It’s good probably to tie collaborative planning into overall planning. So presumably for most organizations, it’s probably an annual cycle. But I do think organizations, particularly today, have to be able to adapt on the fly and adjust their approaches and their tactics as they move along, and I definitely heard that in my research. There were some companies that were quite formal in their planning, and they had a five-year cycle, and it was adjusted every year. For those folks, it probably made sense that their social media collaborative strategy would follow the same kind of pattern. A lot of the smaller, newer or more high-tech oriented companies were constantly having to adapt to changes in the environment, changes in customer needs, changes in their competitors’ products. And so, their entire planning process tended to more fluid, and they would adapt things as they needed to. If there’s a

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan new social media tool that comes online, like Google Plus, there’s no way they could wait a year for the next planning cycle to respond. So it depends on the overall way that the organization plans. Vanessa: So, for example, if they were going to create a training program for their employees to liberate them and make them ambassadors of the company, the “what not to do” and “what always to do” would probably be the things that they would roll out together, and then have that be kind of some of the early training and then adjust that as they expanded on that idea. Rob: Absolutely. I think it’s really important to get the things you should never do out there and the things you should always do. And for a lot of companies, that's already there. You do not use the fax machine or email to transmit anything that is potentially offensive or contains certain kinds of company information or is confidential. That just really migrates over to the new technology, because there’s nothing that revolutionary about things like social networks. They are just another version of the telephone, the fax machine, email; things that we’ve all just adapted to as new technologies have come on stream. Vanessa: Do you think that different departments would have, as you expanded those, things to always do or things not to do, do you think that there’s a different between different departments? Like for example, with Marketing, would they have one set of expanded “to do’s” and “not to do’s,” and would Sales have a slightly different one? And would Customer Service have a slightly different one? Rob: Yes, that makes sense. There’d be a core set of principles that the entire organization lives by. But then each department is going to have a refinement on those things that will vary. That can be a really great argument for having a collaborative team with representation from different departments or functions in an organization as the group that helps define and steer these policies, because everyone does have a different viewpoint. An organization’s research and development area, for example, may be very sensitive to proprietary information getting out there, whereas the customer service area might be really oriented towards listening and being the first to sense any unhappiness in their customer base. So they come at it from very different viewpoints. And so, having a collaborative team that’s got representation from all areas is a very good approach. Vanessa: It just makes me think of the department store Nordstrom, that has a traditional policy of always taking anything back that somebody brings. I've heard stories of them taking things back that they never even carried in their store because they wanted the customer to be happy. So you could do that kind of a thing with an online strategy as well, kind of create, “These are kind of our always do’s for these different departments.” Rob: That’s a great idea. Individuals are then empowered to enact those policies in a way that makes sense to keep a customer happy, just like you

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan described with Nordstrom taking things back. If the goal is a happy customer, if we're all agreed on that, then by all means, let’s get at that however we each can do it. Vanessa: Did your research uncover stories of how companies are liberating or empowering their employees to engage their personal online social networks for the benefit of the organization? I know you were talking about you all helping find people for job openings that you had. Rob: I think a lot can be done to see where the employees’ resources and goals personally align with the organization’s, and you can get a lot from that overlap. So, for example, if I'm on a team and I want to hire a really talented person in this particular area, that's my personal vested interest because I want to work with this person, and I want to have them as part of our team so that we get that much better, and I'll use my personal resources to help that happen wherever it’s appropriate. So it’s that alignment between personal resources and organizational resources. I don't think you should ever force anybody to be using their personal resources. But where there is an alignment and if the company culture is such that that's encouraged, it’s going to definitely be to everyone’s advantage. In my research, I talked to one CEO of a high-tech company, and he said that his employees’ connections are extremely valuable to the organization, and he encourages them to use whatever resources that they can bring to bear to help out the company. And it seemed to be working really well. He called them “edge connections,” connections that weren’t directly coming to the company itself, but were rather connections that were got through the individuals who worked there. This CEO said it was absolutely critical for them to make use of those connections to get products announced out in the marketplaces. So through their employees’ Facebook status updates, LinkedIn status updates and Tweets they were able to help the company get the product out there. And everyone wanted that, because everyone succeeds with the company succeeds. So, that was an example of where it was really helpful. And the employees were really happy to do this. That was the other thing; it was a small organization. It was very democratic. Everyone felt like a stakeholder in the success of the organization. And they were pleased to help out the organization any way they can. Vanessa: So a way that a company might take advantage of some of these edge connections would be in the example of filling a job opening. If they had a posting online of the job description that would make it easy for employees to share that job description with people that they thought would be a good fit. And if there’s a new product that's rolling out, the marketing department could give a little template that people could paste into their Facebook or into their Twitter updates

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan that linked back to a website, or something like that, to help give them ideas of how they could help the organization. Rob: That's a fantastic approach. That way, people don’t have to over-think it. You've got something, this is coming from marketing. It’s already approved. The language is right. The link works; it’s been tested. Then it makes it easy for everybody just to share that out. So anything that can be sort of pre-defined or pointed at is easy for people to mention on their own networks. If organizations can come up with things like YouTube videos and other content that is easy for their employees to share, that would be one strategy of how to take advantage of the extended personal connections and personal networks of their employees. One of the organizations I studied was a college and they had an event where they invited everybody to do video blogs, or any kind of blogging that they wanted about the organization for 72 hours. They empowered anyone who wanted to create content. It was students, faculty, anybody could tell a story about the organization or do something that they found interesting. And so, all this wonderful content was user generated, and I believe they’re still using it. They do the event every year. The event results in so much interesting content that can be edited and reused. And it created so much awareness about the organization and the stories within the organization, and how the organization had impacted lives. It was brilliant. Vanessa: contest for rolling out, employees ways. And so, an organization could actually do that almost more like a their employees. If, for example, they had a particular thing they were or something they were promoting, they could have a contest for their to create buzz around it that then could be used in multiple different

Rob: That would be great. And also you’ve got that whole idea of showing people that they’re appreciated and recognizing them and it could come out of that contest. Vanessa: I want to talk a little bit about how an individual becomes an influencer and how that can help a person individually, as well as how it can help an organization as a whole if they teach their employees how to become an influencer. Can you describe what you feel like an influencer is and how somebody can become one? Rob: Well, in a lot of cases they probably already are one to some extent. I like to call these people champions or lead players or alpha users. So probably there’s somebody who’s way on top of Twitter in the organization and by asking around, you'll very quickly figure out who they are, or somebody who’s way on top of LinkedIn and knows how to use it more than everybody else. Harnessing the power of these people can as simple as encouraging those alpha users to come forward and giving them a way to share their knowledge through things like a lunch and learn session or creating a one-page guide on how to use technology, or leading a seminar at a company retreat. Smart organizations make

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan sure these people feel recognized and appreciated, and that they’re encouraged to share their knowledge with everybody else. So to some degree, I expect the influencers are already there. They just may not have been empowered to share their influence and enable other people to learn how to use technology as well as they do. Vanessa: Do you think it would serve an organization to encourage people to become an influencer if they’re not already? Rob: Definitely. If there’s a gap that the company has identified and they said, “We're looking for somebody who can help us understand why LinkedIn should matter to us,” and they put out a call for that person, it may be the case that there is somebody who has a little knowledge or is willing to take on the extra learning involved to become that influencer. So I think, yeah, putting it out there and having that discussion is very useful. Vanessa: What about people in an organization who just don’t see the benefit in learning new things like social media? Is there a benefit to the organization to educate those people as to why it could be helpful to them individually as well as to the organization? Rob: To some extent, yes. I had a mentor who used to say: “One-third of the people in your organization will jump on whatever train is leaving the station, because they like new and exciting things, and one-third will never jump on that train because they don’t, and it’s the middle third that you should try to influence.” And so, I think that using the really eager third of your organization to influence the middle third is probably a really good use of time by creating either mentorship arrangements or training. Sometimes, you also have to raise the awareness of people about just how helpful their networks and other resources may be; they often don’t see themselves as influential in that way. So, for example, it may be the case that somebody has a network of 35 people on LinkedIn, but they’re all extremely influential. They’re thought leaders. They’re journalists. They’re heads of state. I mean, that person, once they know that it would be helpful to the organization to have the ear of those people, they can be encouraged to come forward. So a lot of it is creating this culture where you see everybody as being helpful potentially to reach the organization’s objectives. Vanessa: It sounds like that we’re talking about the need for education and effective communication; that we're educating people as to what they can do and how they can do it, and then communicating what we want them to do, why it would be important for them to do it, and how it could help the organization. Rob: Yes, absolutely. And then recognize their efforts and reward them, and show them that they’re valued and that their contribution’s important. Educate, communicate and reward; it’s a 3-pronged approach. The rewards that you use don’t need to be expensive. It can be just as valuable for somebody to be featured

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan in a newsletter. I've heard this from people over the years time and time again that they really just wish that their hard work was acknowledged and they were recognized, and that maybe it’s just a public bit of praise; thanking them at an annual event or an employee of the month campaign, or genius of the week. Just have some way of recognizing people who come up with a new way to do something, or a new way to help the organization.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Chapter Six: Encouraging collaborative behaviors - Leadership begins at the bottom In this chapter we discuss how online social networking is creating opportunities for organizations to shift how they manage themselves. Encouraging collaborative behaviors can result in benefits for the organization, its customers and other stakeholders. Individuals at all levels have a role in leading that change. Vanessa: What do you mean by leadership begins at the bottom?

Rob: What I mean by leadership begins at the bottom is the idea that anybody in an organization at any level is capable of acting in a leadership way and should be encouraged to do so, situation by situation. This is really facilitated by online social networks, because it may in fact be the case that the younger and more junior employees in an organization are actually the ones that are the most networked with other people in other organizations and in other industries. Your mailroom worker may have the biggest number of Twitter followers, or is really networked on Facebook and can get the company connected to sources for ideas or signals from the marketplace, happy customers or unhappy customers. That person is capable of leading that effort with some coaching. I think that traditional leaders have to start to get used to the idea of surrendering control and letting some of the power drift downward and sideways through the organization. And that's where I think smart organizations are going to have an edge, because they’re anticipating that, and they’re already starting to empower their people at all levels of the organization to be making connections and using those connections intelligently. Vanessa: Do you think bigger organizations that have shareholders and have to answer to the board of directors; is it harder for them to release some of that control, versus organizations that maybe are a little bit smaller and more agile in the way that they manage their day-to-day operations? Rob: Probably there are more constraints on publically traded companies that have regulatory and filing obligations, and those mean that they have to be more careful. It doesn’t mean that they can’t do these kinds of things, but they have to do them consciously and with guidelines that they really do a good job of training their people on, and making sure that everybody understands where the no-go zones are and what things are acceptable, and then still giving people some latitude to move in the acceptable range of behaviors. Vanessa: Why do you think it’s difficult for leaders to understand the idea of leadership beginning at the bottom? Rob: One of the traditional sources of power has always been the formal hierarchy that has leaders at the top issuing instructions downward. And in those sorts of top-down organizations the decisions usually flow downward. What we're seeing with social networks being so widespread across organizational boundaries is

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan that the knowledge base is really dropping down in the organization to all kinds of levels, not just knowledge being held at the top, but being distributed to all levels of employees, who may have vast networks out there and a vast brain trust that they can be drawing on to pull ideas into the organization. I think some of the resistance is really just tradition. The power base that used to be there for leaders at the top is now changing. And I think the smart organizations are the ones that get on that early and realize that and encourage it. And so, the source of power for leadership becomes more of a facilitating role; encouraging, coaching, setting guidelines, but really turning people loose to use the power that's in their hands. Vanessa: When you were doing your research, did you find that some leaders were embracing this concept of the power coming up from the bottom, the leadership coming up from the bottom? Rob: I did find that, particularly a couple of organizations I talked to. One CEO in particular was very interested in harnessing the connections that his staff had and saw himself as being in the role of encouraging people to do the right thing, but then letting them do it in their own way. So when a new release was getting ready to go out, he’d rely on his team to start building some buzz for it, start finding people who could be early reviewers of the technology, using all kinds of social media and personal connections. So if people are on Facebook or YouTube much of the day, he doesn’t need to know or care, because he sees that they’re getting the results. And he doesn’t want to be telling them how to go about getting the results, but just letting them know what the results that the company wants are and sharing those, and letting people use their own approaches to getting the results that the organization needs. The attitude was: “If somebody isn’t getting results, I'll get that signal immediately and I'll deal with it. But if they are getting results, then I don’t need to interfere or get in the way of what they’re doing.” Vanessa: It’s interesting that the staff were really encouraged around product releases. And so he encouraged them to build relationships before they needed people to spread the word; he was encouraging them to be on social media whenever they felt they needed to be on it to build those pathways that then would make it easy for people to share it when they had something that they wanted to promote. Rob: Yes, and one thing with these types of knowledge workers, is that they often know the best way to get something done. It’s pointless to have them sitting there eight hours a day doing the wrong thing, simply because the top management thinks that's the way it should be done. People who are at the cutting edge of their own knowledge work are in turn networked with people who are doing the right things. They’re doing the best practices. They’re developing new ways of achieving results. And so, turning those people loose with some really concrete guidelines is a great way to make the most of the talent that's in the organization.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Vanessa: Can you describe what you mean by a knowledge worker?

Rob: Anybody who works with ideas and works with information, which is more and more people, really, in an organization these days. And I think taking the broad definition of information as being all the signals that are out there, the more you sensitize all the employees at all levels to be listening for information that could be helpful to the company; whether it’s at a dinner party or through their social media connections, or it’s their own personal experience with products and services. With that broader definition in mind, almost everybody becomes a knowledge worker. Vanessa: What are some of the benefits that organizations get from adopting that approach of leadership begins at the bottom? How do you shift rewards to encourage collaborative behaviors? Rob: I think what you do is you empower everybody in the organization to be what I call a CEO, or a Collaborative Engagement Officer. And that means that it’s suddenly part of everybody’s responsibility to be thinking in terms of how the company or organization engages with its various publics. And that includes somebody who may have had a job where they were rewarded for showing up for eight hours a day and doing routine work; that was what the reward system was based on. Their job could potentially be enriched so that they’re now watching and listening and interacting with people that are stakeholders in the organization. Their job gets that much more interesting, and they’re getting rewarded for more than just showing up and punching a clock, but really thinking with the best interests of the organization in mind. Vanessa: What can leaders do to make the most of collaborations?

Rob: First, they have to set it as a priority, and again, it has to come from the top and it has to be modeled by the people at the top. As a leader, you can’t be non-collaborative yourself, and then tell everybody else in the organization that they should be collaborative. You have to model those behaviors yourself. You have to be willing to go out and meet with people at all levels of the organization and show them visibly how you collaborate. So maybe you publish an article in the blog about your meeting with somebody else in the industry and the things that you learned and the ways that you’re going to co-operate. So I do think cultural change has to be led, and that the senior levels of any organization really have to be modeling the behaviors that they’re trying to encourage. Vanessa: What are the risks of not doing this type of collaboration?

Rob: I think the biggest risk is that your competitor will do it, while you are still debating it, and you'll be left behind. Some organizations will be pulled into this kind of thinking late, and others will be ahead of the game. I think the biggest risk is by not being aware of a shift in where knowledge resides in an organization and also where power resides in an organization. If you're caught sleeping when that

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan change happens, you may be cut out of some really powerful collaborative opportunities and, ultimately, just get left behind. Vanessa: Do you think there are some industries that are more likely to be left behind than others if they don’t use this collaborative approach? Rob: There are probably some organizations or industries where secrecy still is really important. For example, someone with a propriety technology that could be used to make nuclear weaponry, or very heavily regulated financial industries where everything has to be kept behind closed doors and the information has to be kept safe. Those types of organizations are naturally going to be a bit late to the party; that's just the nature of their industries. And I don’t think that necessarily is going to change overnight. Their challenge is going to be: “How do we, given our constraints, creatively make the most out of the opportunities that we have here to be gathering information, sharing information, and tapping into a broader base of intelligence than we have within our own organization?” Vanessa: Why do employees have more power than their leaders in a collaborative world? Rob: Because frankly they could easily set up their own business. They’re so networked with people in other organizations who know a lot, they could actually be in business for themselves with those networks almost overnight. So it may be the case that someone in the middle or lower levels of an organization actually knows more people and has more access to ideas and connections and resources than the overall organization itself, because you have all of these linkages that are going on between people, and other people in other organizations, other countries, who have really interesting skills of their own. So I think what’s happening now is really that the employer is becoming more like a middle person. Knowledge workers and people with a lot of knowledge and connections are asking themselves, “Why am I'm making less money working for this employer, when all they’re giving me is a few benefits, and a place to go in the day in a cubicle? I could really be doing that out of my home and working on an electronic network basis with people all over the world.” So, that gives them more power, because really, they could be in business with some really talented people almost overnight. Vanessa: And so, what do organizations need to do to make sure that their employees don’t just jump ship and do that, don’t just go gather their own network together and become competitors? Rob: It’s a great question. I would say that many of those people we're calling knowledge workers, are in love with ideas. They love chances to learn more,

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan to work with ideas. And I think an organization’s just got to try and be the coolest place to do that for these people. With most employees there’s a certain amount of inertia and a comfort factor with staying where they are. Not everybody wants to be self-employed or set up their own business, for one thing. But beyond that, I think just being in a really cool place to work with ideas, with very leading edge policies around how you get your job done. And how your results are measured and rewarded is going to be really helpful to keep good employees. Vanessa: Let’s talk a little bit about the etiquette of collaboration. What are some things that people need to do to be more polite when they’re collaborating, particularly online? Rob: The number one thing is to thank people for their input. And I see this a lot on LinkedIn in the Q&A section, that people will ask a question and they’ll get 30 or 40 really well thought-out helpful responses. And then they never write a simple thank you to the people that have helped them out. In LinkedIn, there’s a feature where you can rate your answers as “good” and “best” answers. And those are rewards that people can then use in their own profile on LinkedIn. Most people don’t seem to do that, and to me that's just a basic, entry level courtesy. Somebody whose time is probably quite valuable who takes 20 minutes to type out a really thoughtful answer should be thanked, at a minimum. So, I think that's number one on the etiquette thing. And I think overall, we’ve gotten very sloppy about basic courtesy on these networks. Being well-mannered and just thanking people for their contributions, I think is one of the most important. The bottom line is that the online social networking work is not any different than the offline world. The rules of good behavior haven’t changed, and the words please and thank you are just as important as ever.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Chapter Seven: Transforming the enterprise - Goodbye to hierarchies and silos In this chapter we discuss the potential for online social networks to transform organizations by shifting the locus of power from traditional hierarchies to distributed networks of knowledge workers, and the resulting effect of breaking down organizational silos. Vanessa: silo? Can you describe a little bit about what you mean by an organizational

Rob: A silo is something that happens when information tends to only move vertically up and down in a single department or a single organization. And there are a lot of negative effects that come with that. One of these negative effects is that departments in a single organization don’t collaborate or cooperate and share information with each other, because they end up in this vertical orientation from top to bottom within their own tiny little part of the organization, so that there’s no information sharing. And so, one of the things that happens is that organizations get a lot less efficient, and they get a lot less effective at problem solving and innovation. So by breaking down those silos, which is happening as a result of using social networking tools, you get more efficiency, you get more effective problem solving, and you get increased innovation; so the fewer silos, the better. The reason silos probably existed in the past was just the need to keep information protected. But very, very little information is protected anymore, and even less probably needs to be protected. It’s that secret sauce idea we talked about before, because really, few things that need to be kept secret in a department or in an organization; and so, why not be trading on those bits of knowledge with other stakeholders and people who can then give you something in return. Vanessa: Do you think part of the problem with the silos is that people don’t see the information if they’re not part of that particular silo? If they see something outside of what’s in their silo, they don’t think it’s their responsibility, so they don’t do anything about it. Rob: Absolutely, and that comes down to a sense of responsibility for information. Sensitizing employees that they do have a responsibility to understand the importance of information and intelligence and use it and gather it in ways that help the organization is a great way to go forward. Once you've empowered people and given them that sense of authority, then if they see a problem or opportunity, they know they ought to do something about it. But also letting them know what the procedure is, if they see a problem; this is who you should go talk to about it or here is what the procedure is. So if you have this kind of problem, either, “This is where you go to take care of that,” or, “This is where you go to let somebody know about that.”

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan As part of my thesis, I've developed a framework of suggested best practices, or at least a starting point, that people can use to start to formulate their own policies and procedures. These best practices revolve around notions like training, diffusion, planning and others. Readers who are interested can find that framework by accessing my thesis document and checking out section 5.2 for a summary of the framework. Vanessa: If somebody follows the suggestions that we’ve outlined in this book, what are some of the benefits that they will enjoy both as an organization and maybe even personally? Rob: I think as an organization, they’ll become vastly more efficient, because they’re sharing all the intelligence within the organization, but also trading intelligence with other organizations. That leads to greater efficiency, because you don’t have one department like marketing, who’s keeping secrets from another department like R&D, who’s coming up with new products, who’s keeping their information secret from finance, which needs to cost these products. The organization’s overall knowledge improves dramatically, by sharing information laterally and not just vertically. They also become a more competitive organization because they’re quicker able to sense signals out there in the marketplace of where things are going, what customers are saying, what other stakeholders are saying, what’s happening to other organizations in an industry, or even to other industries. So they get tapped into a much bigger cloud of intelligence that can make them more competitive because they’re quicker to sense what’s going on. And I think the other way that smart organizations improve is that they tap into a lot more brains to solve problems that are not secret problems. And so, somebody can go on LinkedIn and share a particular problem they’re having with a technology or with a marketing approach and gather all these expert opinions from around the world, and then bring those back into the organization. Vanessa: Do you think as people get more used to working in this collaborative manner that they actually get more ideas? Rob: Definitely, because otherwise you're always drinking from the same small pond if you're only looking internally for new ideas. By opening up that part of the organization that can be opened up to a broader number of minds around the world, you’re definitely going to get far more new ideas and more innovative approaches. The way to get better ideas is to actually look outside of your particular industry silo, too; talk to a different industry or somebody with different responsibilities and see how they solve a problem, and then figure out how that type of a solution might apply to the problem that your particular organization or a particular department is having.

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Vanessa: How will innovation ability be increased with this new way of working?

Rob: Innovation ability will be increased because people at all levels of the organization can be tapping into a lot of great minds out there and a lot of different ideas. I always like to use the example of somebody who may work in an engineering capacity, but may be LinkedIn friends with somebody who’s a jazz musician or somebody in a totally different field, maybe in a medical field. So you end up drawing from different approaches that people have of approaching and solving problems. By being able to pull that in at all levels of the organization and then share it internally, you're drawing from such a bigger pool of minds that all have really interesting, different ways of looking at particular problems or opportunities, and you're able to tap into all of that. It may even be the person in the mailroom who pulls in the great idea from somebody they’re connected to in another country, in a totally different kind of company. Vanessa: What kinds of things can an organization put into place to reward that innovative thinking when people are coming up with ideas, and how can they decide which ideas merit being pursued or if it’s something that needs to have further exploration? Rob: Well, one thing they can do is set the tone of what they’re looking for with a contest or a weekly recognition program, where maybe somebody gets a box on the website with their photo, or something in an electronic newsletter that goes around to everybody, or gets a sign in the lobby of the organization. And then maybe a token prize, $50 or what have you, that is just a nice recognition that needn’t be costly. I think you get more of what you celebrate in an organization. And I think it’s up to the leadership to really decide what ought to be celebrated, because by celebrating it, you'll ultimately encourage it as a behavior. Vanessa: How will customer service be improved?

Rob: I think that comes down to the listening. These tools give us a great opportunity to be connected to customers and other people; opinion leaders and people who publish articles on your product category or your service. And so, by being connected and networked to all these people, you're in a position to hear what’s happening in their minds. And if customers really love a particular feature of the competitor’s product, or they really dislike a feature of a competitor’s product, or your products, then you're going to hear about it first, and that's going to give you the jump on being able to react to it in a timelier manner. For example, an organization that wanted to see what they had that their competitor didn’t have, or what the competitor had that they didn’t have, could do some focused listening on social networks, searching for remarks by customers and others. This would be a smart way for them to identify what people really liked,

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan what things people were missing from their competitors that their organization might be able to jump in and fill that spot. Vanessa: So not only listening to their own customer’s feedback, but also kind of being a fly on the wall for their competitor’s feedback through online reviews, and those kinds of things. Rob: I remember many years ago in the 1990s, I put together the first Internet marketing course that had ever been taught at our college. I remember saying even back then to the people taking that course: “You are being talked about. Your product, your company, your category, your industry is being talked about right now while we're sitting in this room. And you're either listening and picking up on that and acting on that intelligence, or you're unaware of it.” Smart organizations are going to be the ones that stay tapped in and hear things immediately as they happen, and then they respond to those things. So if you have an influential blogger who’s unhappy with something about your company or organization, you want to be the first to pick up on that and act on it and be seen to act on it, because I think what really frustrates a lot of unhappy customers and stakeholders is not feeling listened to. So the more a company creates a culture of listening and empowers its employees to be hearing stuff, and then bringing that stuff forward to people who can respond to it, that the better overall customer service is going to get. Vanessa: approach? Why will staff engagement be improved with a more collaborative

Rob: I think it comes down to treating staff with more respect and showing them that you're aware of the resources that they have. And that's going to help enrich their job, and I think make them feel more bonded to the company, because their job goes from, “We are rewarding you for coming and sitting here for eight hours and doing these prescribed tasks,” to: “You're now a CEO, a Collaborative Engagement Officer. Now part of who you are is a listener; somebody who can pick up on signals in the market, someone who can tap into your networks and bring ideas and interesting approaches into the organization.” My philosophy is I believe people like to be respected, given the scope to do what they know how to do well without being told how to do it, unless they need help. By rewarding them and recognizing them for the successes that that approach brings, we encourage more of the right behaviors. Vanessa: And I know from improv, one of our principles is “mistakes are good.” And we’ve talked quite a bit about the risks that are involved in giving people more freedom and liberating people and letting them make mistakes. So how can an organization have a philosophy of “mistakes are good” while still kind of setting guidelines of what is good or bad, but then knowing that even when people have the best intentions sometimes there’s going to be something that doesn’t come

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan across the way they intended it? So how do organizations treat those mistakes with grace and with caring, but without discouraging people from trying different things? Rob: I like the way you phrase that: “How do they handle it with grace and caring?” because that's exactly what I think has to happen. I forget who said this, but something like, “For innovative companies, you should fail early and fail often.” But I would add, “Don’t fail always and don’t necessarily keep failing.” So if you have somebody in the organization whose approach is to go into a very obscure chat room on the Internet because she or he believes that that's where the big answer is going to come from and it fails consistently, well then, that person might need some coaching within the organization, as you say, with grace and caring, to say: “Maybe that's not so fruitful…have you thought about this, or this? It would actually be great for you to buddy up with this person who is having some success and could use some help using these approaches.” But I think you're exactly right. It’s handling that with grace and caring, so that you don’t kill the enthusiasm that people will have for having some control over how they approach solving the problems that they’re looking at. Enthusiasm is so easy to kill and it’s so hard to build back up. Vanessa: Right. Do you think if an organization created kind of a buddy system or a small group kind of system that that would be a way for people to share ideas but still have a little bit of guidance as far as better things to try, versus not better things to try? Rob: Yes, definitely, and if you make those committees or working groups or strike forces, or whatever you want to call them, composed of people from different levels of the organization, including some of the people who have senior operational or strategic responsibility for the organization, then those people can act as a bit of a filter or a guidance person to suggest: “That sounds great, but this sounds even greater. Let’s go put some resources on this one first and let’s have a smaller number of resources on that one, and then we’ll check back in a month and see how we're doing on both.” Vanessa: So, if an organization was going to put a reward system in place for rewarding people that are trying different things with social media and trying different ways of sharing information, and wanted to create a reward for the employees that did that, maybe this committee would be the way that that gets reviewed; that they could have this committee of a variety of people from within the organization that then are the ones that review these social media entries from people that want to try things and want to be part of this reward system. That committee would be a way to do that. Rob: That's a terrific idea. I like that a lot, because then you can sort of have them vet the ideas that seem to work out the best. And then by promoting that throughout the organization, you start to encourage similar kinds of thinking. And that can lead to success overall, because you can have somebody who only

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan takes really far-reaching risks, and over time, if there’s no return on that, then that's probably the behavior that should be shaped in a different direction. Vanessa: How will competitive responses be improved when organizations are in this collaborative sharing type of culture? Rob: The biggest way is that not every organization will be on top of online social networks to the same degree. And so the smart organizations are the ones that are going to be out there early and sharing and trading intelligence the soonest. And those people are going to have a much bigger cloud of intelligence that they can be picking up on. So they’re hearing more signals. They’re hearing things sooner. They’re working with other companies and organizations to share information that can be helpful to each other. It leads to enhanced serendipity overall. So those kinds of smart organizations are going to migrate to the front of the pack competitively, because their customer service will be better. Their employees will be better problem solvers. Their employees will be more innovative, more networked to sources of problem solving ideas. And those smart organizations will just naturally move to the front of the pack. Vanessa: What do you mean by enhanced serendipity?

Rob: That's just the magic that happens when you pull together very different people around a problem. So, that's the idea where you have a research scientist who may be connected to a jazz musician, who might be connected to a medical professional, or a surgeon, or something like that. And you have all these different ways that people have been trained to approach problems and solve problems. It’s in that mix of different minds that you often don’t see in a single organization that you're going to get that really amazing “ah-ha!” idea, because one of the things with a lot of organizations is “like tends to hire like,” and you end up in a situation where people are more or less similar. And I've been in huge organizations where people are incredibly similar, and their hiring practices are such that everybody is the same. And they’re grounded in a methodology or an approach or way of thinking that is maybe very efficient at doing what they’ve always done, but isn’t so great at pulling in new and different ideas. And so it’s by interacting with different minds who look at things in different ways that you will end up increasing the likelihood of this enhanced serendipity that can result in those “ah ha!” breakthroughs. (END OF INTERVIEWS)

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Collaborative Intelligence: Conversations with Dr. Rob Duncan Conclusion: Continuing the conversation The topics in this book are a genuine passion for me, and I enjoy discussing them with others. Please feel free to be in touch with me though my website,, or though the various online social networks I hope we connect up on. I am also happy to speak with you and your team about these ideas, and to work with organizations who want to develop training or presentations on these and other ideas related to organizational goals and change. I hope that you will also share and discuss these ideas with others. Collaboration and innovation are dependent on discussion and the sharing of ideas. The greater the variety of minds that are brought to the discussion, the greater and more remarkable the results will be. Thank you for reading this book and the accompanying doctoral thesis (if you read that also). I hope you have found the information useful to you and your organization. I personally always feel that if I have extracted at least one useful or thought-provoking idea from something I have read, then I am ahead of the game. Hopefully that is the case for you! All the best, Rob Duncan

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