Share and Grow – sincere, open, likeable Swedish innovators – you will be sorry you missed it

Conferences, seminars, trade shows, events – the hype this spring are Social Media events. Most of these are focused on understanding social and what it can do for business, still making the point that it really is good for business. But it is – so why do we keep arguing that point?

There is the travelling road show of SMW – Social Media Week which hit the Nordics last week – and then there is SSMX.

SSMX grupp

It’s different. It’s owned by the delegates and it’s as flexible and unpredictable as a friendly amoebae – constantly evolving. These people – and the rest of us – are here growing as a professional, growing our business, growing our influence by sharing what we do with others. Very social.

Sincere – Open – Collaborative – Interested – Authentic – Likeable

Sessions vary from a heavy focus on technical innovation to practical examples to workshops where we sit in a circle and discuss and challenge each other. All sessions are initiated and run by the delegates themselves. Many of them filmed on the spot to share with those not there – take a look at some of them, you will be inspired.

http://video.ssmx.se/

Disruptive Leadership

It’s a myth that the social innovator scene is dominated by young geeks and nerds. I attended a session at SSMX with @johanlange who wrote the book LUCKc taking lean one step further. Once again, one session evolves into a continued exchange, and I will now attend his follow up breakfast sessions in Stockholm discussing out of the box leadership.

Changing the outcome – through Twitter

It’s a myth that social enthusiasts are techies only. I attended a session with @johansbuzz showing just how significant the social presence is in times of crisis by example of the labour union’s perspective of the negotiations with the employees last fall that led to the agreement that kept Scandinavian Airlines flying – at a time where the ultimate worst case was bankruptcy. If you understand Swedish, there is a recording of the session

http://unionenopinion.se/2013/02/unionen-delade-med-sig-pa-ssmx/

Social Customer Service – #UnitedBreaksGuitars

We had an interactive session discussing social customer service by example of airlines. 40 people in the room contacted airlines via three different channels

  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. Contact Me Forms – Email

Before the session Datasift.com  had analysed 100,000 tweets to/from 33 different airlines to check how responsive they were.

The same winner emerged during the experiment: it took KLM 28 minutes to respond with a qualified/useful answer to the Facebook post. (More on this study and results/experiment in an upcoming blog. Lots of data to analyse.)

What is SSMX – and these unconferences – and how to fertilize innovation?

Try googling SSMX or look it up on Twitter #SSMX (once you learn to ignore a less favourable ongoing Twitter conversation in Japan which had a completely different, and definitely not business facing use of the tag).

Karin Bäcklund SSMX 2013

People share pictures – don’t we all. Here are some nice ones that are truly artistic by @deeped

But they share content, reflections, discussions, presentations, feedback, research and already now feel inspired thinking about how to contribute to the next major sharing event in this community. There are similar unconferences happening across the Nordics, as an example the WebCoast

https://www.facebook.com/webcoast

… in Gothenburg taking the conference out into the region.

Sweden is a big  country with long distances to travel, and not everything happens in Stockholm. Another not to be missed social innovation event is happening over a weekend on an island off the southeast coast called Tjärö. Bring your tent, and beware of the sheep

http://www.swedensocialwebcamp.com/

sswc-lounge.jpg

The most innovative countries in the world. Come see us.

Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland (and Australia and Canada) had the highest internet penetration/usage per capita in the world back in the early 1990s when it all took off. At the time I was a business analyst and spent a lot of effort trying to understand why.

Finally I know:  it’s because it was social.

It’s human nature to want to engage with others, and if you think about the geography and demographics of the above countries, there are a lot of people who are physically isolated from each other and/or the world. If you have to drive 80 km to the nearest library, it makes sense to search for your information online. If you have to drive 80 km to meet up with your peers after work, it makes sense to engage with them on Facebook or Twitter instead. (Especially right now, when there are extreme temperatures (on either end of the scale) in all of the above countries.)

There are many lists of innovative countries provided by various consulting groups and government and independent research groups. There is never a completely unbiased view; it all depends on the metrics. But it is remarkable that all lists, regardless of the research parameters, list the above countries who were Internet early adopters, in the top tier.

What is the Nordics secret sauce of innovation?

Those who say “it cannot be done” are interrupted by somebody already doing it

Sweden – and most Nordic countries – are not necessarily innovation-friendly in terms of startups. But if you are driven by the passion of your idea, and not just by a narrowminded focus on making profit early on, there is a pool of extremely well educated people, the Born Digital Generation, who take nothing for granted, and who just do it. Take a look at the list below to show just a few remarkable Nordics innovation achievements.

Want to be innovation-inspired?

Here’s my suggestion: join the Born Digital Generation in the Nordics on one of these upcoming social media events (listed below). And feel free to ping me @echristensen42 with more events so that the list can be expanded.

Increasingly, these events are not your standard-shelfware of conferences with speakers pitching their products or showcasing their own brilliance. The Born Digital Generation wants to own the discussion and even decide on the agenda through crowdsourcing – or in this case Friendsourcing. These people already know each other – through social media. The events are just a chance to have some facetime.

         
Iceland Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference http://www.rimc.is/en/ March 21-22 Great lineup of visionary speakers
Sweden SSMX – Sweden Social Media Exchange www.ssmx.se February 22-24 Unconference – agenda is friendsourced
Sweden SSWC – Sweden Social Web Camp http://www.swedensocialwebcamp.com/ August 15 – 18 Unconference – 450 creative minds on an island.
Norway Webforum http://web-forum.no/ March 14-15 Setting the stage for social in Norway
         

And here’s a reminder – a list of Nordic innovators you may or may not know were… Nordic (thanks to @dortetoft and Thomas Madsen-Mygdal for the comprehensive list):

  • Linux was invented by Linus Torvalds (Finland)
  • C++ was created by Bjarne Stoustrup (Denmark)
  • Microsofts C# (C Sharp) and so also the .Net-platform came from Anders Hejlsberg (Denmark)
  • PHP-scripting was created by Rasmus Lerdorf (Denmark)
  • MySQL was invented by a Finn and a Swede (not sure of their names, can anyone help?)
  • Ruby on Rails – we can thank David Heinemeier Hansson (Denmark)
  • Opera was built in Norway and Iceland (not sure of their names, can anyone help?)
  • Linus Torvalds (Finland) gave us GIT
  • The Danish company Umbraco provides the CMS-system on the Microsoft platform ( Niels Hartvig)
  • Skype was invented by a Dane and a Swede (Janus Friis, Niklas Zennström)
  • Oh, and don’t forget Spotify (Sweden), Angry Birds (Rovio-Finland) and Minecraft (Sweden)

More references:

http://bizzen.blogs.business.dk/2013/01/28/it-ivaerksaetter-norden-gor-det-godt-men-for-smat/

http://www.swedishtradehistory.com/Assignments/From-circular-to-the-internet/

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/communications-market-reports/cmr12/international/icmr-5.07

http://www.globalinnovationindex.org/gii/main/2012rankings.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-03/switzerland-sweden-are-world-s-most-innovative-countries.html

http://www.ideaconnection.com/blog/2012/07/highlighting-the-worlds-most-innovative-countries/

http://www.wired.co.uk/topics/wired-european-startups

Good people to follow if you want to be on top of Nordics innovation (feel free to add to list – ping me):

@annika

@hampusbrynolf

@trulytherese