Happy New Year!   Just as last year, these are my top views for things companies should check out in 2012!

1. It’s all about the Process, baby.   The most successful companies deploying social are those that don’t put social over to the side, but having social embedded directly into the workflow.  Having social help make workers more productive or customers feel more engaged by leveraging natural actions, is a powerful way to get social used.  For instance, embedding social into customer service with social analytics or into talent management is the best way to adoption. Are you adding social into an already packed day?  Or are you embedding it into a process to make your company more engaging and productive?    Don’t let 2012 go back without thinking through this with your company.

2.  “Inside Out”.   In 2012, there will be more and more deployment of social inside corporations, big and small.  In the IBM 2011 trends study, for the first time more companies are deploying and using social tools and techniques inside their company then outside for marketing.   The question for your company in 2012 — how will you use social inside your 4 walls.

3. Adoptation is a forethought. Many companies learned in 2011 that you cannot build it and they will come, whether for employees or clients.   But that is not the case. You need to think through education, governance, metrics, and communications.  Adoption needs to be a forethought.  It takes planning.  This is why IBM has designed an Adoption Adovacy program to teach clients on the best practices of adoption.   Make this a requirement for 2012.

4.  Frictionless social gestures.   One of the most common reasons that people give for not using social tools is that it is too hard. They don’t like the interface.   I believe that 2012 will be the foundation of “frictionless social gestures”.   I love the new Facebook features that allow sharing automatically of your likes, dislikes, and what you do online.  No clicking anything.  This will be a future trend.  Experiment with it in 2012.

5.  Visualize it.   Infographics have simplified and visualized vast amounts of information. Guy Kawasaki uses this form of information regularly.   How will your company simplfy and leverage in 2012?   There is so much information you must get your point across quick!   What about QR codes?  Let’s let the infographic tell the story.  Do you use them?  I am adding to my business card in 2012.

6.  Codependence: SoLoMo.  Companies in 2012 will require a Social and Mobile plan that is integrated. Too many companies separate these thoughts, to their detriment.   The best look at leveraging social capabilities on mobile devices and leverage things like Local checkins to drive more client value.  Create a SoLoMo strategy early in 2012.

7.  Participant, not spectator.   Clients today do not want to sit on the sidelines.  Those days are over.  They want to move from spectator to participant.   I love the new Augmented Reality.     Althought I have only seen Starbuck’s use it to date, I predict that more and more this will be used to drive participation not just customers being participants.  Can you envision how you could leverage inside your company for onboardin, and outside your 4 walls?

8.  New Job Roles Grow.   The prediction is that Social will drive 5x the number of job types over the internet.  And these job types will be business and IT combined skills, unlike the Internet that drove many IT related jobs.  What job types do I predict for 2012?   Social innovation managers driving crowdsourcing, Social Analytics helping to analyze the tons of data now available, and even Social Customer Service managers.  This is addition to the influx of community managers of 2011.   I also predict more universities will be adding certifications helping to drive the social trend.  Do you have these roles in your company?  Should you?

9. Surprise Innovation.   I am constantly visiting clients and they are surprised by the innovations that are brought on by Social.   Coming to mind from 2011 are the Lowe’s example of how to sell a paint tray, or Sun Life Trust with the innovation meter.   In 2012, more and more companies will use crowdsourcing and surprise themselves in the results. Have you planned for crowdsourcing in your plans for 2012?

10.  Fun is required. Gamification Again.  Yes, this was on my list for 2011.   And it is growing every year.   It is simple actually.   The average age of a gamer is 35.  It has an 80% higher recall than lectures, or blogs.   It is fun and matches the next Generation Today.   What’s not to love.    Try it now with simpling gaming.   Don’t miss it in 2012.

11.Design for loss of control.    The world in 2012 will be one of adaption.  Cultural change is required for Social.   Companies must be more transparent and nimble.   Transparency requires that permission is not required.   BYOD demands the use of what you want.  And Cloud lets you get it anywhere.  Are you ready for this?  Can you plan for loss of control? Yes, but it will require a cultural transformation.   Do you have a culture plan?

12.  Your audience is now an audience of audiences with audiences.   Do you know who the opinion leaders are?   They will reach the next audience who reach the next.   This is true internally and externally.   Make sure you discover who those influencers are and build a relationship with them in 2012.  

Please come and see me at IBM Connect in Orlando January 15-17!!   http://www-01.ibm.com/software/collaboration/events/connect/

My best selling book is a great learning tool … let me know what you think!