“There was a chemist, Kekule, who worked for decades trying to figure out the structure of the benzene ring. One night he went to sleep and he had a dream of a snake swallowing its tale, and he woke up and said, That’s it! That’s the structure of the benzene ring!
So his student said, Not bad, you go to sleep, wake up, and you’ve got the structure of the benzene ring.
And Kekule said, Visions come to prepared spirits.”
David Milch, speaking at the Paley Center for Media, 10/4/2004
In the world of enterprise social networking, and the tech world in general, we sometimes play Buzzword Bingo. Everyone has at least one buzzword that makes them cringe, either because the way the word sounds, how often it is used or because the word is not appropriate for the situation. At the moment, the word that is being used to describe the positive consequences that often arise in a “pull society” (see Learning to Pull by Richard Hughes for more info.) is serendipity, or a “happy accident”. I’m not a fan of this word, because I think it undermines what is really happening.
For the record, I know that several factors of the above scenario are disputed (it was actually a day-dream, Kekule was kidding, etc.) but I think the way Milch tells the story does a great job of illustrating what happens in a “pull society”.
We have been extensively using our own ESN, Clearvale, for some time here at BroadVision, and I have seen many projects, queries and general thoughts written as blog posts. While responses come from expected places, such as within the community the blog was posted, or from a team member from the author’s same department, many discussions occur company wide, with ideas and answers coming from every department. When this happens, it’s not serendipity but the result of preparedness. The more people that are “pulling”, the greater the pool that is being drawn from, the more intelligent and creative the answers. Likewise, people begin to respond to other responses; with the whole process allowing for far greater opportunities then might be produced in a series of emails or chatting by the coffee pot.
The above image illustrates our new SET program, which will help companies go beyond the step of simply creating a Clearvale network. Participants of the 90 day SET program will learn how to transition into a social enterprise, one that is in a constant state of preparedness, getting the most of its talent and resources. For more info about the Clearvale SET program, please visit: http://www.clearvale.com/mkt/en/set.php.