In the October issue of Fast Company magazine, Linda Tishler profiles David Butler, who she describes as the man with a nearly uncontainable design challenge. Among other projects, Butler is behind the new Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain, which can serve up more than 100 varieties and brands of coke products - and style to boot.
System thinking is what led him down that path - as in system that stimulates behavior that produces results. A chain of interdependencies and a a more expansive way of looking at problems, and to deal with complexity.
In our conversation about being connected, Ryan talks about the perceived diminished value of a single connection with social media. Point well taken. There's the point that I hammer home all the time about how social media and relationships are a contact sport. A connection is a valuable thing, and here's why:
- as people, we are social
- organizations are organisms
- we're modular in that we think, talk and do
Therefore, we scale through relationships so not any one of us can become the point of single failure in the system. And this is a lesson that marketers have learned only as it relates to *them*, not to you, just yet. And yet, with system thinking, marketing has a tremendous opportunity to lead again.
One of my favorite ways of expressing integration, especially as it relates to social, looks like this:
- marketing team
- service delivery team
- customer touch points
- product development
That is a system which changes behaviors for all participants - internal and external - and can yield higher results, one connection at a time. Systems thinking is defined as a framework that is based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best be understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation.
For example, a community is a system for creating, sustaining and evolving relationships between people. It starts with a common ground, requires help to get off the ground, then a set of guidelines (put them in too early and you lower the level of energy and visibility), and that is where you get to the point where you can measure business impact over time.
A question and an assignment
The question is - how can you use the tools at hand in your organization to apply system thinking? You don't actually need to talk about or even use social media at the onset. All you need to do is find a way to integrate, elevate and expand at the service of the business.
The assignment is - for this community to thrive, it's important that you visit the about you page and/or fan page on Facebook, find one or two or more people you resonate with and think you want to help and make the connection.
We'll be back here on Sunday to talk about how the relationship between PR and media needs to evolve.
Next week, we'll dive in the parts of being connected.
[image courtesy of surinamensis2000]
© 2006-2009 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.