Paradigm Shift: Designing the Social Business


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Bob Thompson chats with David Armano of Dachis Group about designing the “social business.” Topics include:

  • Social media as communications channel vs. paradigm shift
  • Should a social business include collaboration within an organization (Enterprise 2.0) and outside (Social CRM)?
  • Cultural changes required for an organization to develop a “hive-minded” mentalty
  • What the CEO should do to help support a shift to a truly social business

Recorded on Sept. 14, 2009.

Further reading: Re-designing Your Business Culture

David Armano
Dachis Group
David Armano is a Senior Partner at Dachis Group, an advisory firm focused on Social Business Design. He is both an active practitioner and thinker in the worlds of digital marketing, experience design, and the social web. Author of the popular Logic + Emotion blog, he is best known for his distinct brand of visual thinking. Follow David on Twitter.


  1. Great interview, Bob.

    My key takeout – David’s point that social business design “is less about the words, but what happens when you string them together”.

    In my opinion there is a huge opportunity to provide an order of magnitude improvement to the way business is done.

  2. I think the example of the plane in the Hudson is a good example of one facet of the social media paradigm. Another aspect is how Twitter and Facebook have given people the means of taking their behavior from a computer environment to a mobile device. Large groups of people can speak exclusively or publicly via text messaging. This type of collaboration was really never before possible. As a first hand example, our Formula 1 podcast group, @fpodder has become the extension of conversations between people that met and communicated in forums and group live chat. Now, they continue to share thoughts, ideas and laughter via Twitter. Followers from Norway, Japan, Canada and the US all follow the greater conversation and jump in when they have an opinion. As a result of this technology, their behavior has been permitted to change significantly.

    The notion of Social Business Design seems to be inevitable. The internal portion of the social in business equation is about understanding the online expectations of stakeholders in their personal use of the social space and translating that into the business environment. Indeed silos and maintaining power seem to be the largest obstacles to overcome, lest we get into the ‘legal’ department, which may have a virtual stronghold on any good idea. But for one moment, imagine what it would be like if your company ran on a system like Facebook? There are still permissions, and still private messages, but the ability to communicate, collaborate and share at that level of intelligence would be incredibly agile.

    Perhaps the best way to get a CEO or CFO on board with a potentially expensive infrastructure that would be to: a) help them recognize that consumers do not see the difference between licensees under a single brand, b)don’t appreciate being shuffled around between departments to accomplish simple things, c) now expect a higher level of service, transparency, and accessibility online, and d) work your agency to help sell this through!

    In the end, business collaboration could be the win or lose success measure for many companies. If analytics isn’t in-step with marketing, if customer service isn’t listening to Twitter and conversing with brand, and if product isn’t in sync with manufacturing, and the rest of the supply chain, then you have a company of little more than mice running on wheels to power the technology engine, not leveraging capabilities and efficiencies. Which . . . may suit some, but won’t win the race.

  3. As we know that social medial marketing builds up a channel for both seller and the consumer to discuss and sell their product through social network. It is also known as internet based advertising system. So, I would like to discuss some things that are to be kept in mind.
    1. Before proceeding to any further process of social media marketing, first we need to build a link or network. Building relationship is necessary before selling products. Spending some time with your client is important.
    2. Another important element of social media marketing would be sell without selling. It is not good to be pushy while selling products but you could share your interest with whom you like to be social networking.
    3. The last but not the least things for social networking would be focusing on relevant content as per consumers need which can also involve remarketing process. If you can get the old visitors to your site then you will be able to sell your related products to those people who seem to have interest on your products.


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