Moving Social Business Forward With #E20S

Last week we enjoyed the first Enterprise 2.0 Summit in London. With 78 attendees it wasn’t a big event, but, as far as I’m concerned, it was a successful conference. Now we look forward to the 2015 Paris edition (3-5 February).

Last week we enjoyed the first Enterprise 2.0 Summit in London. With 78 attendees it wasn’t a big event, but, as far as I’m concerned, it was a successful conference. Now we look forward to the 2015 Paris edition (3-5 February).


This conference is the latest in a long line of #e20s conferences and meet-ups spanning already 6 years.

The first being during CiBIT in Hannover in 2008. In 2009 and 2010, Frankfurt was the lucky city. In 2011 there was no conference, but in 2012 the Enterprise 2.0 Summit returned, and was held in Paris, where it returns annually since.

@DT at #e20s
@DT at #e20s

The London event came about because David Terrar (CXO of Agile Elephant) saw the value in organising a Social Business event in London. Being a returning visitor and panel member of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit David already had close relations with Kongress Media, the long term organiser of #e20s.

The two teaming up to make the London event happen made perfect sense. Lucky for us, now we have two events. The next #e20s in London is already being planned, and will take place 22nd October.

Community Driven

Attending the 2013 edition of the Paris event opened my eyes to a wonderful community, and this does make sense. Social Business (or Enterprise 2.0, read Lee Bryant’s article about naming this shift in business) has to be, per definition, a socially driven movement. It’s simply too big to go at it alone, or to hog any information you have. Besides, you’d have the wrong attitude if this would be your plan.

This reflects on the events, before, during and after. Sure, it takes money to organise such an event, and there are sponsors and tickets need to be sold (get yours).., it is a business too. Next to the wonderful content, I feel the community is what makes attending worth while.

And for me personally, this means I can get out of it what I need. If I have a question, I can tweet it, or ask a speaker. There usually is a solution, or at the very least you’ll have a good discussion.


Although the field of Social Business is not new, ‘we’ have been transforming businesses for over a decade, the convergence of socially accepted changes and technology is driving this digital transformation to new heights.

And despite the fact that we sort of figured out the formula to have a successful change on a company wide scale, things are changing, we are learning and we are progressing.

These events are important, the story needs to be told. I still feel Social Business has the potential to change our world, and the more people are aware of the possibilities the better.

Of course, we have to take care not to become complacent, that we simply repeat what others say and take this movement for granted.

I don’t believe this is happening.

In this field technology never stops, the various software companies are always looking for that next edge, and start-ups are always working hard to get into this space. Microsoft and SAP are main sponsors of the Paris event, showing there is great interest from larger companies, plus, it shows that this 2-day conference is taken very seriously.

In London MindLink and Knowledge Plaza show that smaller companies also have great interest in the conference.

But the professionals also look to advance the field. Sure, reputation and personal advancement play part, but this happens in conjunction with finding new ways to approach projects. People like Dion Hinchcliff and Lee Bryant push the envelope, and are more than willing to share what they learn.

Is it worth it?

Screen shot 2014-12-01 at 11.05.25Yes, everyone I talk to says it’s a great event. It’s unique in its class, especially when you add the MasterClass, a premium choice held the day before the conference. And looking at the line-up for Paris, well, you could do worse.

You could make it a three day event (add a couple of days to enjoy Paris).

In fact, I believe this conference is a must for pretty much anyone, but mainly for those seeking a way to bring their business into the 21st century. Attending this conference will certainly give you a good birds-eye view of what Social Business is about. And with two days, it will be overwhelming, leaving you wondering where to start, if this “thing” isn’t to big.

This is a good thing.

The evolution of a business is never a small thing, and should never be taken lightly. And it doesn’t matter what size your company is, we take it one person at the time, so it’ll just take longer.
But, you will realise it is necessary, that you should give this proper attention. And you’ll also realise that you cannot do it alone, that you need help.

Advertisement, kinda

I know this post smells like a big commercial, and in part it is. On one hand I do have a vested interest in the conference (although not a huge, or financial one), I am a part-time member of the Kongress Media family, and I really do want these events to be successful.

But my interest stems from becoming part of this amazing community, where I’ve met so many wonderful people already, and made some great friends.

And, most importantly, I feel strongly about the message, and I do advertise that as much as I can. Everybody should be aware of the fantastic possibilities once you start adopting Social Business practices.

So, take a look at the conference agenda and the masterclass , make up your own mind (and register today). I promise it’ll be worth it.

If you have any questions.., please do ask. I’d be happy to answer them, and if I can not, I’ll tell you who can.



The Agile Elephant in The Room

It’s interesting to see that despite economic downturn, people are still starting up new businesses. Entrepreneurship, it seems, is hard to kill.

I knew I had a photo of an elephant somewhere
I knew I had a photo of an elephant somewhere

I don’t believe we are still in an economic crisis, in fact, I believe there’s always been a fair measure of exaggeration by governments in order to push other agenda’s (raising taxes, cutting expenses or giving business a reason to downsize), but that’s just my suspicious mind. Nevertheless, starting a new business takes courage and audacity, especially in these times.

In Social Business, however, the momentum seems to enable a wave of new, and exiting, undertakings.

During a conversation with David Terrar (@DT), at #e20s, we explored the current Social Business market development, and I asked him about his new venture; Agile Elephant.

Not The Right Term

David explains, “We ran an event in 2013 called “Patchwork Elephant”, which was part of Social Media Week London. We had eight speakers talking about Social Business, or Enterprise 2.0. And it turned out these terms are somewhat difficult to explain to business people.

We don’t have the right term for Social Business yet, people confuse this with Prof. Yunus’ version, where an enterprise has a social purpose. What we do, is use social tools to make business better, more effective, do better teamwork, and connect with our employees, teams, customers in a better way, with less resources.

It used to be Office 2.0, then Enterprise 2.0, and has evolved into Social Business (as coined by Peter Kim). To me, it seems “Social Enterprise” is a more appropriate title. Although, this one too is associated with the enterprise having a social purpose. So, a proper, unifying name is still to be found.

David continues, “We’ve been going at it for a while now, at least as far back as 2006, already 8 years now. And we’re really getting traction, but the actual change will be 10, 20 or maybe even 30 years in the making.

This explains why people (and big business) are venturing into Social Business. Social Business is not just a change, or a project. It’s a fundamental evolution of the way we work. And that takes time.

So why “Agile Elephant”?

David @ #e20s
David @ #e20s

The first reason we started Agile Elephant is that something is just about to hatch. Social Business is just about to cross the chasm, and start to become more mainstream.

We feel the optimism that something is going to change. And we either want to jump on the wave, or, if the wave doesn’t start, we want to help start the wave.

Based on the conversations I’ve had during (and before) #e20s, I had the distinct feeling that this line of thinking is inherent to Social Business. It’s not enough to ‘just’ make money, or to ’just’ have a job. This ‘evolution’ is a passion to those I speak to.

We call it Agile Elephant because we think this topic is the elephant in the room, also based on a number of books about change with an elephant as the metaphor, but also about the parable of the Elephant and the Blind Men, where one feels a wall, the other a rope, the other a tree and so on.

The point is, this topic viewed differently by different people, it’s complex. That explains the elephant. The agile part comes from using a lean, agile, approach to a project.

Social is a custom business. One size does not fit all, quite the opposite, every company requires a different approach.

This is part of the Agile Elephant Manifesto, as David explains, “We have a thirteen thesis manifesto to lay out the important things of getting Social Business right. It’s the Agile Elephant approach to Social Business.” This is good for a business to have, but also, like the Ten Tenets of Social Business, provides a great reference for fledgling Social Businesses to see what is involved with this change.

Here’s the list:

  1. We want to transform “business as usual”
  2. Business has become a social object
  3. There are no one size fits all solutions
  4. Social business needs to work across the entire value chain
  5. Treat people as Individuals, not nodes or cogs
  6. It’s time to get real
  7. Stop talking technology, start talking results
  8. We need to focus on the practical and the pragmatic
  9. Don’t worry about what we call it
  10. It’s the people, stupid!
  11. Learn from what has worked so far
  12. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it
  13. Our approach should be in “perpetual beta”

I invite you to read the entire manifesto on the Agile Elephant website.

From The Top

The combined wisdom of Agile Elephant’s three founders provides the company with a solid foundation. Here they have extensive knowledge of business processes (such as ERP and CRM), which they can combine with their thorough understanding of Social.

Businesses need to change from the top, business goals need to be aligned with social goals, business problems should be solved with social tools, and all of this needs to be connected in order to get the right statistics, proper big data, and much better results across the board.

I really enjoy these developments. Companies that start up with a unique and fresh look on the way we do business, the way we work, and ultimately the way we live.

Spin Doctor for #e20s

spin-doctor-smallWhen I visited the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Paris (in 2013) I was surprised by the amount of quality content (presentations). I learned a lot those two days. And not just about Social Business as a theoretical practice, but also about it’s real world value.

The greatest bonus, or advantage, of being active in this field is that you’re surrounded by people who understand the benefits of social. They are social. They have to be social.

This means they’re open, not closed.
They’re helpful, not obstructive.
They’re friendly, not arrogant.
They’re supportive, not opposing.

All in all, I had a lot of fun, which was a first for me at a conference.

#e20s Meetup

When the schedule for the Meetups was made available, and there was one in Brussels, I simply had to go.

Present was a small contingent (Bjoern Negelmann, Rawn Shah and Frédéric Williquet) and the topic was, of course, Social Business and the upcoming Summit. There was also some regular chitchat, and all-in-all it was a pleasant evening.


I suppose my showing up, being part of the evening triggered enough in Bjoern to ask me to be part of the Ambassadors team for the Summit. This is why I’ve been Tweeting and writing about the Summit so much. That, and the fact it is my favourite conference.

I take that role pretty serious, I do find it to be an honour to be asked. This might sound a little too Klingon for some, but it’s true nonetheless.

Spin Doctor

And then there’s that. Born out of a necessity, my predecessor moved on to a different project, the role was offered to me.


So, there it is my friends, prove that being active in a community has its rewards.

And this is an important lesson too, because it strikes at the very heart of social. If you do nothing, share nothing, ask nothing.., you will receive nothing.
At the other end of the spectrum, every seed you plant will yield some result. And these results can either be reaped by you at a time of your choosing, or something unexpected pops up or falls down.

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. – The Beatles