Thursday, September 13, 2012

11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra

11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra by Nilofer Merchant

I was introduced to Nilofer Merchant by a colleague at Stanford's Engineering School when I was looking for a new guest speaker and mentor for my class on Technology Entrepreneurship.

Nilofer kept my entrepreneurship class of Stanford students enthralled for a full 90+ minute class. In short, she was terrific! I asked her to come in and talk to them about marketing as the first guest speaker in E145 (Intro to Technology Entrepreneurship) for a crowd of engineers skeptical about the value of marketing in startups. By the end of her talk, she not only had given the students concrete things they could do in their own startups, she also had a line of students out the door staying after class to talk with her for longer!

So I was thrilled to read her new book on Creating Value in the #SocialEra

The book opens with a NYT-style obituary to the old ideas about Traditional Strategy still taught in some business schools.

Nilofer goes on to talk about how the Social Era is changing how businesses (both large and small) need to be thinking about strategy, organizing, connecting and engaging with communities. She does a masterful job of integrating all the various pieces from social media to open innovation to co-creation and collaboration that I had been seeing both in industry and in cutting-edge academic research, but typically only in isolation. Nilofer's contribution is to bring it all together to help executives and entrepreneurs to understand how these fundamental changes imply a whole new way of doing business from the ground up. My favorite analogy in the book is between 800-pound gorillas and quick, nimble gazelles. While many of us who teach and study entrepreneurship have given up on making the 800-pound gorillas more nimble and accepted a world where startups continually disrupt old industries while creating new ones, Nilofer's book outlines how even larger organizations can become more nimble and quick moving by breaking down walls and barriers, pursuing social purpose, leaving traditional strategy behind and changing the way they approach strategy in the #SocialEra. 

Great to have a new book to add to my Recommended Reading list for the year!