Thursday, February 14, 2013

Professional communities and the pace of time

Acceleration, by Hartmund Rosa, should be compulsory reading in business school, and it was actually recommended to me by the CEO of a client.

Hartmund Rosa defines three causes for acceleration, technological acceleration, social change acceleration and acceleration of the pace of life. These are major trends, and even though they are some times softened by havens or deceleration (relative deceleration), they are trends that corporations need to cope with to compete in an increasingly social market (I am using compete in a positive way, like in compete to provide the best customer experience ...).

Put it in another way, leaders must ensure their company moves faster than any other if they are to survive.

But acceleration is also, and foremost, a dangerous trend. I tend to think of it alongside other trends like the second economy or the third economy. It is already producing some frightening results, and the existing business mindset, without deep changes, will only make things worse.

There is reason to be optimistic though. Michael Fauscette writes in Enterprise Irregulars that community building is the major initiative for 2013, in the social technology field. This is important. Because communities are one of the few spaces where time is deep. In fact, communities can accelerate time around them while providing a slow conversation space, a somehow protected environment, where relationships, genuine caring, subject interest, shared responsibility, mutual trust, provide the virtual equivalent of the ancient British Clubs ... Communities are the new people-centric environments, where people have the possibility to reclaim mastery of time.

Which reminds me of a great insight from my friend Alain Garnier, "social technologies are moving the focus of work from space to time".

What I am more concerned about is how companies will manage to develop the community managers (I prefer host or owner, or the French "animateur") in their existing HR processes. The only answer I have today, I have called it unleadeship.