As times get tough, people get laid off and budgets get squeezed, the facility to try stuff in organisations gets increasingly difficult. The need for watertight, up-front business cases before you can even try anything is probably the most cited reason for failure to kick-start social media tools on intranets. In common with every other commentator on social media, I’ve given my views (here and here for starters!) on the whole subject of the ROI of social media investment.
The rather sad catch 22 situation is that when times get really tough, organisations really need tools that connect people quickly, that cut across organisations boundaries, and that facilitate real-time, fast collaboration and sharing … and yet, during tough times organisations instinctively cut off the blood supply to these solutions to save relatively small amounts of money in the short term.
I’ve always felt that social media tools, and innovation in general for that matter, have subversive roots. The most innovative companies seem to be the ones that are either prepared to tolerate a bit of subversion on the fringes, or actually encourage it. The danger now is that subversion becomes a corporate crime in the drive for short-term cost savings …
My advice to anyone who finds themselves in this kind of situation is … PROCEED UNTIL APPREHENDED!