How To Develop A Social Innovation Network

Nigel Fenwick
Vice President, Principal Analyst
November 23, 2010

Customers already use social technologies to wrest power away from large corporations. Now employees are adapting social technologies in pursuit of innovations to support these empowered customers; Forrester calls these employees HEROes (highly empowered and resourceful operatives). By designing social technologies as part of their Innovation Networks, CIOs and their IT teams help establish new Social Innovation Networks — innovation ecosystems employing social technologies to enhance HEROes' innovations. These Social Innovation Networks help drive faster, more effective innovation across the enterprise. And CIOs must rise to the challenge of nurturing and developing these networks while structuring their IT teams to fully support them.

In an earlier post, I described how we’re entering a new era of social innovation. Building on these concepts in subsequent research has led to the latest report “CIOs: Support HEROes – Create Social Innovation Networks Using The PACT Framework” (and yes, I’m guilty of introducing yet another acronym).

PACT: Process, advocates, culture, and technology

A Social Innovation Network is an innovation ecosystem that uses social technologies to enable HEROes to innovate and collaborate. And CIOs play an important role in helping develop effective Social Innovation Networks. The PACT framework outlined in the report suggests CIOs should begin with understanding (and developing if necessary) the innovation process which determines how ideas are moved through the organization. The next step involves developing a group of advocates to help drive adoption of the Social Innovation Network throughout the enterprise. Next comes culture because without an empowered culture the Social Innovation Network will fail to deliver the expected innovation. And finally, technology  — but not just a single technology. The Social Innovation Network relies upon a number of social technologies as an integrated system for innovation (see the graphic below).

How is your organization supporting innovation with social technologies — share your insights below or on Twitter @NigelFenwick.

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