By Shannon DiGregorio Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
Winter is a great time to plan to be away from snowy (very snowy today) Massachusetts. Our co-founder Rachel did just that and spent last week at IBM Connect 2014 in sunny Orlando, FL, and will be jetting off to Paris (which might not be balmy, but it’s Paris) next week for the Enterprise 2.0 Summit.
These are two very different events and I wanted to get the scoop from Rachel on what drove her interest in each. Below is a short interview with Rachel – highlighting her views on both events and recommendations for conference goers in general.
The focus of this year’s IBM Connect was “Energizing Life’s Work,” – how did you see that theme play out through your experience there?
There were literally hundreds of events – from panels like “Avoid Being a Social Zombie in a Global World” to multi-day innovation and design labs; the event definitely had a hands on feel. I got to take part in several interactive events, really targeted at applying expertise and case studies to real-life challenges. Personally, I walked away energized by the number of interactions I had that are already lending themselves to collaboration. One quick example – I took part in a great lunch roundtable celebrating Community Manager Advancement Day and walked away already discussing the possibility for an ebook. Everyone there was focused on applying the discussions and interactions back to their life and their work immediately, and it was exciting to see – and energizing!
Seeing a large enterprise like IBM shine a spotlight on social business is refreshing. What do you think was the key social take-away for attendees?
The event was so large I don’t feel like I can pinpoint the key take-away, but there was a sense of “this is now” in every meeting I had and every session I attended. Enterprises are focusing of social business as a vital component of a successful strategy – certainly a shift from where they were five or even three years ago.
Worth noting is the Social Business Symposium – an education package for undergrad and grad students. I took part in an interview focused on internal collaboration that will be distributed on the Social Business Symposium platform (a newly launched website) with interviewer/host Peter Cardon, Professor at USC. I haven’t seen the finished product yet but I love that the discussion of social business and community management is making its way into the curriculum of both undergraduate and graduate programs.
You interacted with a lot of new faces through some of the events you took part in. Can you share a highlight?
I was lucky enough to host the CMAD roundtable and a “Social Buzz chat” in the IBM Connect Social Cafe. But as with many events, a lot of the conversations came from one-on-one discussions as part of bigger events. At lunch we had fun discussing what creature our communities reminded us of – and what creature we would prefer it reminding us of. My favorite response was that one community culture was like a bunch of monkeys – very intelligent but just wanting to have fun – and the community manager said their preferred creature would be ants – individuals working in concert to do something they could not do alone.
I also got the opportunity to catch up with some of our members and clients and dig more deeply into their challenges and opportunities, which I can never get enough of as I find the process of transforming businesses and cultures to be fascinating.
I’m already looking forward to Connect 2015 – and thinking about trying to plan my calendar to fit even more in. There were so many sessions that I would have loved to take part in and want to take advantage of next year.
The Enterprise 2.0 Summit is next week in Paris. Can you give us an overview for anyone not familiar with the event?
The Enterprise 2.0 Summit is held in Paris and is primarily focused on enterprise and social business practitioners in Europe. This year the main theme is “Getting Social Enterprise Ready” which I think will include how organizations adopt and adapt technology solutions, as well as how companies implement social business across the organization. As part of that, I will be running a workshop on internal community management training – something I’m very excited to deliver as we recently finished developing this course with a client and I believe it is the first of its kind focused on addressing the needs of community managers focused on internal employees.
You’ll be speaking on a panel “Driving the Engagement & Adoption” can you give us a sneak peek on the discussion?
In an interview with Rogier Noort on the Enterprise 2.0 blog I share that the three hashtags that best describe my talk are #motivation, #ability and #triggers. I’ve found that striking the right balance between those things will increase engagement and they are part of a template we’ve built called an “Engagement Recipe” which uses the research of B.J. Fogg, founder of Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab.
The panel also includes some great social business names – Björn Negelmann, Claire Flanagan, Guillaume Guerin and Laurent Pantanacce. More than anything I’m looking forward to the different perspectives on engagement that each person brings to the discussion.
Final question, a softball. Besides the great conversations and connections at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit what are you looking forward to in Paris?
I truly am most excited about connecting with new and old friends in Paris – Enterprise 2.0 Summit is chock full of experts and peers that now have lots of experience to share. However, our team member Maggie has spent a lot of time in France and she’s been psyching me up with the talk of macarons and wine bars – I’ve already planned a number of fun dinners with clients and partners that will be a little bit business but more than a little bit fun.
Thanks Rachel! Have a great time in Paris – we’ll post a recap when you’re back!