There are many curses related to social media. One is the time it can consume, but the one I have in mind is related to the fast and constantly evolving marketplace of services and tools.
Yesterday, I had a great session with companies that are looking into using social media for their innovation efforts. One of the things we discussed was the decline of some social media tools – FaceBook was actually mentioned in this category – and the rise of others.
This fluidity is frustrating for corporate people as they first need to spend time to understand a specific service or tool and then spend resources to build a platform – and in some cases only to see the relevance of the given service or tool to diminish. SecondLife was a good example 6-8 years ago and today I meet corporate innovators having the same doubts with Facebook, Twitter or other services and tools.
What should you do in such a case? Well, my advice is that you just have to accept these conditions. One of the participants in the session said that he feels there is a big pot of gold waiting on the other side if/when we can make social media really work for innovation efforts and if you want to reap this pot of gold, you have to go with the territory. This includes constant adaptions and experimentation.
Besides accepting this, there is one important thing you can do: Since you know that services and tools will continue to change and thus forcing you to repeat the process of understanding and building a platform, you could just as well turn this into a process of itself and continuously improve this. This could include steps such as:
• Explore the service or tool and the potential value it can bring your innovation efforts and decide whether it is worth investing resources (mostly time) into this.
• If deemed relevant, assess which internal resources that can be allocated in order to utilize this service or tool best possible. This also includes a plan for upgrading internal mindset and skills if necessary.
• Develop metrics that allow you to track whether expected progress is delivered. This could include tangible (i.e. contacts, ideas) as well as intangible benefits (change of behaviors).
• Develop a launch plan that opens up for adaption and experimentation when you begin using the service or tool.
• Launch, learn and iterate – constantly.
These are my early ideas – still processing. What would you add to this?