Social media, innovation and the digital dragon

Digitalization is making us ask ourselves new questions; what, how, who, where, when and why? It’s has slowly but surely been spreading it’s impact in even the smallest corners of all organisations. The digital dragon fly fast and brings new power. It can be both big and small, but most of all, it’s challenging us. Thanks to the challenge we ask ourselves new questions about strategy, leadership, management, employee branding and one billion other things.

How do social media stand next to innovation? Is social media an innovation, or just human beings communicating? An innovation is defined* as a knowledge intensive process of seeing and doing things differently. Social media is defined as helping people connect and communicate using digital devices.

At the moment over 40 per cent of the world’s population are connected online, more will be in the next few years. I’m a member of several online communities where we interact and share knowledge all the time. The discussions we have often help me to see things differently and as a result I do things in new ways. Social media is helping me to look at life and challenges in different ways.

Thanks to the centillion (it has 303 zeros) of connections in the world we share knowledge and thoughts in a way that have never been possible before. Where will this lead us? What does this mean to us?

In one of my workshops in December we discussed what you can control in social media. How much can an organisation really control what is shared about them online? Not that much is the answer. One person argued that they could control what everyone in their organisation shared about them online. My reply was: ‘If you are lucky you can do that by training everyone to behave and act responsibly online. And the opposite might as well occur.’

It’s possible to use our collective knowledge in new ways thanks to all new online connections. How to do this well is one of the most interesting organisational challenges at the moment, we all have so much to learn. Using social media in a smart way can lead to amazing inventions.

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To build trust in social media takes time, sometimes years, but it can only take one click to destroy it. Professionals and brands must consider how they are interacting and what kind of traces they leave behind. You might have noticed that you remember comments that are nonrespectful for a long time and nonemotional comments and updates just pass by.

I’m going back to Shanghai in a couple of days to run a workshop in digital leadership and I am looking forward to learn more about the current digital challenges that organisations have there at the moment. Let’s hope I get the chance to get the know the Chinese digital dragons a bit better.

If you would like to read about my thoughts about leadership you can read more in my book Digital Leadership: How Creativity in Business Can Propel Your Brand and Boost Your Results’ and check out my website www.sofiesandell.com.

Please also connect on Twitter: @Soffi_Propp

* I used the definition by Harri Jalonen in his academic paper DANCING WITH THE PARADOX — SOCIAL MEDIA IN INNOVATION THROUGH COMPLEXITY LEN

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Sofie Sandell portrait

Photographer Sandra Donskyte