There's more to social than meets the eye. But "trivial" is a word I still hear frequently from business executives to describe the popular social technologies that have been so pervasive over the last decade.
But there is something else starting to happen as these tools are starting to be recognized for what they are really good at—improving intellectual productivity.
In-tel-li-gence: the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.
These tools are helping organizations and their employees become much smarter together, than they are apart. These tools are amplifying the collective intelligence of a group or a workforce.
Do You Know What You Know, or More?
"Knowing what you know" and then leveraging it for any corporate application has always been a challenge for business, or for any group of people for that matter. The bigger the group, the more difficult this gets—the high engagement and transaction costs between people get in the way. And moreover, many of the business management approaches that have evolved over the last century compound the problem. That is, they can act to even "dumb down" the group.
Small groups can sometimes mute these effects if given enough time. For example my wife of 30 years and I know very well what skills, information and knowledge the other one has i.e., we've built up meta-data information about each other's knowledge and skills just from the sheer brute force of having spent 30 years together.
We can leverage and apply our collective skills and knowledge more effectively together, than we can individually. Together, we're more than the sum of our individual skills, knowledge and intellects. But bring a 3rd, 30th or 300th person into this equation, and it quickly breaks down. That's always been the challenge for any business—until now.
Intelligence As A Service
Social technology changes this by eliminating the engagement and transaction costs between large groups of people. Social tools can enable group intelligence—at scale.
IaaS or "Intelligence as a Service" is the killer app of social technology—enabling companies and larger groups to finally harness and deploy collective intelligence. The ability to encode, store, retrieve and amplify the individual intellects within a group, instantly and without regard to distance, is the "secret sauce" behind social technology.
This capability is a game changer for business, and the world for that matter. For companies, this has long been the holy grail of business management, but it's proven to be just as elusive. Being smarter is good for any company. It allows businesses to sell more, innovate better, improve operationally, compete more effectively, be more profitable, etc.
Social knowledge management is not a gargantuan digital data repository, but a competitive advantage and enabling concept that can deliver and amplify the knowledge and intelligence of the "group mind." This is a phrase used to describe what a new tool called Jelly does, announced by Twitter founder, Biz Stone at CES recently.
A software company out of Austin, Bloomfire is also directly addressing this issue in the corporate enterprise market.
The New Collective Intelligence
The problem of enabling collective intelligence ultimately thrusts itself upon any organization, it happens as a natural consequence inherent in group engagement between people. The bigger a group gets, the more difficult it becomes to deploy and amplify it's collective brainpower.
But now an entirely new toolset is available to overcome these limitations. Biz Stone calls it Jelly, Craig Malloy, Bloomfire's CEO calls it...well... Bloomfire. I call it by what it's capable of truly delivering IaaS, or Intelligence as a Service.
The future of business is much smarter than it's past, and it needs to be.