Recently Forrester revealed that only 11% of the marketers they surveyed had an established budget for innovation. They concluded corporations need to step it up to avoid “Innovation Starvation.” I advocate an important first step is to invest in training dollars and cultivate knowledge workers that exhibit “social smarts.”
Forrester’s report was based on a relatively small cross section of 45 marketing executives; approximately half of their in-depth interviews were conducted at companies with more than $1 billion in revenue. No surprise! Companies like Coca Cola, Nestlé, Mondelez, 7-Eleven to name a few, are making the financial commitment to fund innovation to discover the next big thing. Conversely not all companies have the marketing budgets of these giants. However, one key to innovation is to stay in tune with the rapidly changing technology and consumer behavior.
Enter the new era of knowledge workers that exhibit “social smarts.” Corporations need to create cultures that encourage its employees to fully integrate social media into their day-to-day operations across the entire organization; social media as a business tool to facilitate market insight, external and internal communication, engagement and collaboration.
Step One: Provide your employees with the resources and training they need to develop “social smarts.” Allocate time and assign trainers (external or internal) to work on getting your employees up to speed and comfortable with the leading social media platforms. Develop individual routines for each employee that are relevant to their job to assist then in evolving into a knowledge worker – relevant news feeds, appropriate LinkedIn discussion groups to join, people of Twitter to follow, etc. Create a company intranet to further assist in the process.
Invest in “social smarts” and innovation will follow. Is your company prepared to take the first step?