3 Core Social Business Learnings and Aha moments!

Last night I was at a holiday party, and my colleague asked me "what are you going to blog on tomorrow?"  So I told him I didn't know but as the night went on, and he asked me questions, he received a lot of value from a few simple learnings so I thought I'd share with you and hope I deliver value to you as well!

1.   #IWillRideWithYou    The tragedy that occurred in Sydney Australia broke my heart.  But one thing that came out was a powerful and positive use of social media.   After the tragedy, there were some women from certain faiths that were fearful about the repercussions to them.  So a group started the hashtag that assured that "I will ride with you!" to support them.  This use of social was a reinforcement that social is a positive force!

2.  Social Selling.   I was struck this week by 2 phrases that I heard from major Fortune 100 companies and start-ups.   The first was that ABC is now not Always Be Selling but now it is Always be connecting.   The second was your Networth is your Network.  Powerful Tidbits!

3.  Images are currency.  Images have surpassed text as the currency of choice in social conversations.   This week alone in numerous conversations I heard about how companies are using emojis, emoticons, and stickers as integral parts of their social media conversations.  Have you heard of the Unicode Consortium ?   I just learned about them and found over 200 new symbols.  And from my techy meetings, I learned that  emojis are "code", not images, so metrics can be driven through textual tools.

What were your AHAs this week?  Please share!


As a social tool, LinkedIn is growing in Influence

I love the research from the Global Web Index and today's aha moment was around LinkedIn.   As outlined in our GWI Social report, LinkedIn’s active user figure has increased by 50% in the las6 months.

Did you know that 30% of online 16-64s have an account on LinkedIn?  And 1 in 8 have said they have actively used LinkedIn within the last month.

In fact, 1 in 10 online 45-64s are active on LinkedIn – making it the second oldest network in terms of its age profile and giving it a user base which is similar to Facebook’s.

What’s more, a quarter of LinkedIn’s active users are in the top income quartile, while almost half say they tend to buy brands they see advertised. In both cases, this puts LinkedIn ahead of Facebook – giving some indication as to why the social networking giant is after a bigger slice of this premium audience.


Easier mobile app development tools take over SmartCamp Europe Regionals

Our final SmartCamp Regional event for the year was held last week in London. We had 9 startup finalists; that's the largest SmartCamp Regional we've ever had! Eight countries across Europe, including Israel, were represented. It was a truly amazing event!

Watch this short video about the SmartCamp Europe Regional!

The results produced two winners who will be going on to the SmartCamp Global Finals: Kinetise and WakingApp. Congratulations to these two startups for winning what proved to be one of the most competitive SmartCamps ever!

There is a common thread between these two startups. Both are native digital app companies with mobile solutions that allow anyone to create a mobile app, even if they don't have hardcore programming skills. Drag and drop features are evident in both solutions, making it much easier and faster to deploy the features you want and need into your mobile app.

But why make mobile app development easier for non-developers? According to Piotr Pawlak, CEO of Kinetise, it is "because of the developer shortage. There is simply not enough engineers in the market" to keep up with demand.

Kinetise and WakingApp have tapped into the future of mobile app development, and I couldn't be more excited to have them compete at our Global Finals! You can follow them on Twitter @Kinetise and @WakingApp.

The People's Choice Award went to Magick, winner of SmartCamp Nordics. It's clear to see why they are so popular since their mobile, browser-based financial trading solution makes it so much easier to perform financial trades, especially in the foreign currency exchange trade. Something tells me you'll be hearing more about Magick, like in financial magazines! You can follow them on Twitter @MAGICKnu.

And I'm so thrilled that Andiamo, one of my favorite startups, received a Special Mention during the event. Andiamo, our SmartCamp London winner, has a solution that uses 3D scanning and printing technology to create orthotics for children in a fraction of the time it took with previous methods... and cheaper, too! They are literally improving the lives of so many children and their families with this innovative solution. Congratulations to Andiamo and continued success! Follow them on Twitter @AndiamoHQ.

Follow my blog post for more on the upcoming SmartCamp Global Finals for 2014!


Content transformation and Fire fighting: Two startups make it to Global Finals!

What do two startups, one with a solution in content transformation and the other with a solution in fighting forest fires, have in common? They are both heading to the SmartCamp Global Finals! Stelae Technologies and Insight Robotics won our SmartCamp Asia Pacific Regional!

Stelae Technologies, winner of SmartCamp India, has an automated solution that enables an end-to-end workflow for information management. With at least 70% of cost savings over current solutions, theirs is one platform for multiple file types (PDF, Word, ASCII, etc.) and enables rapid turnaround times for converting files into multiple output formats (XML, S1000d, XBRL, etc.).

So, imagine if you had access to a single platform that enabled you to create, manage, and convert multiple file formats. That would be a huge time and money saver!

And I really love what Insight Robotics, winner of SmartCamp China, is doing to prevent forest fires. Just last year in the United States, over 9.3 million acres of forest were lost to fires! Just think of how many acres globally are lost! Thankfully, Insight Robotics has a solution to address this global problem.

Using thermal imaging sensors and advanced artificial intelligence vision technology, Insight Robotics solution allows fire fighters to quickly locate a forest fire, giving them a jump at extinguishing the flames. So precise is their solution that is can spot fires as small as an area of 2m x 1m within 5km radius!

Congratulations to Stelae Technologies and Insight Robotics! I'll see you both at the SmartCamp Global Finals!

Helpful links:
Stelae Technologies -> http://www.stelae-technologies.com/
Insight Robotics -> http://www.insightrobotics.com/


Social Business Is Growing and Morphing !

I was re reading the recent ibm.biz/SocStudy on social business impact!  If you haven't read it, please take the time to comb through it!

Some things that struck me! 

First, enterprises are rapidly adopting, investing in and achieving business outcomes from social.  In fact, Pacesetters, those who are exceeding in the market, are 4x more likely to embed social into both their internal and external processes!   43% of the best embed social into their processes but we need more to think this way!  Social is not a channel, but a more effective and efficient ways to transform business processes!

But how do they approach social?   Organizations tend to deploy clusters of capabilities together, each aimed at achieving a specific goal.  Most are driving both internal and external collaboration but the #1 social entry point for most organizations deploying is on a client engagement mobile app.

To ensure success, these organizations are building, educating and protecting the workforce.  82% of these companies also recruit their employees via social networks.

However, most of these organizations are using social analytics to support their decisions, not for making decisions.   For instance, 70% of those who are deploying social analytics still DO NOT USE THEM to influence marketing decisions - still rely on gut feel!!!!

Employees are critical in the battle for mindshare and relationships online!  43% of those deploying rely on employee evangelists to spread the word

Visit ibm.biz/SocStudy to read the full study and start driving your social business impact!