Five years ago, Forbes magazine published an article entitled, “From Social Networks to Collaboration Networks: The Next Evolution of Social Media for Business.”
To re-purpose a key phrase of this article (underlined sections are my variations),
the biggest value that social networks offer goes beyond being marketing channels to push communication to leaders and Vincentian family members. They are morphing into new channels for collaboration and innovation. Social networks are becoming unique touch points to engage communities, start conversations, recruit new members, and develop new innovative ideas. Branches that successfully leverage social networks are doing so to engage their communities in conversation explicitly to tap into their brainpower and energy. They ask members to participate in brainstorming with them so they can learn how to be a better evangelizing force, or support the values and issues of the community.
This is also the next phase for the Vincentian Family. The majority of our social media initiatives are used to “push communication.” This “top-down” or “inside-out” model stifles participation and fails to creatively engage the talents and abilities of the large majority of the members of the Vicentian Family.
Continuing, the article notes the divide between the generation that holds positions of leadership and those that are now joining the Vincentian Family.
The benefits of a collaboration networks are limitless. These networks breed co-creation, shared value, and cultures of collaboration that can be leveraged beyond the network. The new generation of Millennials and Generation C (connected, computerized, and community-oriented) have fully adopted the collaborative mindset as their own. They are educated, interactive and collaborative and have grown up using social networks as a tool for brainstorming and problem solving. This reflects a broad shift in generational thinking that is taking place. The broadcast generation from the industrial age is being met by a collaborative generation from the new knowledge age. The old ways of staying within the four walls to solve problems, guarding company information and developing products, services and solutions in isolation are gone.
But are they gone in the Vincentian Family? How can we respond to this opportunity?