The Business & Social Network
Watching developments throughout the social web is a story of never ending change. Whether you are a newbie or early adopter to all this social stuff, the predominant observation is that everything is fluid and change is the only element of consistency.
What Are the Elements of Change
At first we don’t see the magnitude of changes resulting from all this “social stuff”. We think if we just did better what we had always done, we would be OK. Then we realize we have to do something totally different, but we don’t know what. What we will need to do differently is shaped by the elements of change.
Today the elements which will drive constant systemic change appear to be:
These elements, and others, are the driving force of “systemic changes” that create disruption in all markets, society in general and fuel a new economy. Some of these elements are creating changes today while others will create the changes of tomorrow. All the elements, collectively and individually, will follow stages of systemic change for businesses and individuals globally.
Stages of Systemic Changes
Six stages of change characterize the shift from an old system to one that emphasizes interconnectedness, active learning, shared decision making and higher levels of conversational participation by all participants.
The six stages are:
Maintenance of the Old System: People and businesses focus on maintaining the old system as originally designed. They do not recognize that the system is fundamentally out of sync with the conditions of today's connected world. New knowledge about the value created by the new system needs to be incorporated into the hearts and minds of the people who want to cling to the old system and discount the value of the new one .
Awareness: Multiple stakeholders become aware that the current system is not working, as well as it should, but they are unclear about what is needed instead. Information about all this “techno-social stuff” begins to creep into the hearts and minds of the stakeholders which fuels possibility thinking.
Exploration: Individuals and organizations begin to study and try to apply “social tools” to their personal or professional needs or wants for improved value creation. They try new tools, talk to the “gurus of the moment”, read what others are doing and begin to test ways to use this “techno-social stuff” for different purposes. The exploration stage is generally applied to low-risk situations.
Transition: The scales tip toward the new system; a critical number of opinion leaders and groups commit to the new system and take more risks to make changes in crucial places. Adoption of “social tools” begins to spread like wildfire and new discoveries and possibilities fuel conversations about the possibilities both internally and externally.
Emergence of the New System: The possibilities become the reality and widespread use of the new system begins to attract people’s time, attention and consistent usage.
Predominance of the New System: The new system becomes the preferred system and adoption begins to touch all aspects of performance. Learning and knowledge gained becomes the fuel which accelerates the endless recycling of the six stages of change.
The cycle of change is speeding up. Just consider the political, social, cultural and economic waves of change surrounding us today. To prepare for the future and to seize opportunities one must understand the elements that are driving the changes and the stages of change.
Will you be prepared or surprised? What say you?