Forgive the lack of humility writing about consultancy when I have only been at it six months or so but some people have said they'd like me to write more about my experiences and already a number of revelations, at least to me, have become apparent:
1. It is not about me doing what I did at the BBC for clients. For one thing it wasn't me who did social computing at the BBC - it was thousands of people. It happened because of the coming together of many, many factors - most of them outside of my control. What I bring is the stories - the wins, the losses, the fights, the insights and the moments when everything came together. Passing this on to clients is what I aspire to being good at.
2. My history didn't stop when I left the BBC. I have learned more in the last six months than in the last year about people, organisations and what are the blocks and enablers when it comes to the business use of social computing.
3. It is not certainly not about technology. It is about a shift in expectations of work and our roles as individuals. Yes I can help with which tools do what and can even be used as a blunt instrument which which to beat your IT department but if you put in £250 of software or £250,000 that is not your issue.
4. This stuff is not organisation specific. People use the fact that the BBC was a communications organisation to excuse themselves by saying "It was easy for you but we could never do that here".
Firstly it wasn't the "communicators" in the BBC who took to this stuff to begin with. It was people in support roles - researchers, technical people, administrators and so on. Secondly, and more importantly, it was people who had a need to talk to other people and who found that things got easier by doing so.
Every organisation, no matter how regulated or profit motivated employs people and those people need to trust and communicate with each other to get things done. This stuff puts those abilities on steroids.
5. Lastly "top down" and "bottom up" are misleading when talking about this. I have been lucky enough to talk to people from all walks of organisational life in the past six months from rigidly hierarchical orgaanisations to loose networks of autonomous professionals and from chief execs to new entrants. It is immensely reassuring to me that they all find the same things appealing. The ability to be heard, to be listened to and to be effective. I believe we can help them to do that.