Social business : just a ROI issue ?

Villa.Few time ago, I was a speaker for the convention of the national association for social housing. The purpose of this post is not to present my speech about enterprise 2.0, but to give you a feedback of  what I have heard about social housing experimentations. Was the ROI the center of the experimentation, not really, others issues were more important. Let’s see which one…

Paris Habitat has launched a free network to connect all its tenants, whithout wonder how much it will pay. But the result is the set up of a local exchange system which strenghen the social link of the tenants, as well with the social housing landlord, with in the end less incivilities.

Many people who are connected, are people who haven’t any account on other social networks and discovered the world of the social networks through this network. Another social housing landlord, Habitat Haute-Savoie, explained that the tenants now don’t use other communication means than the Facebook page Habitat Haute-Savoie has opened. This new way has changed their relationship and the tenants have the felling not to be treated as numbers as usual, but like human being who can exchange. Then the tenants thank social housing on a daily base on the page. This new kind of interactions make move the internal process in the management of the request and the personal file.

Those conversations change the reputation of the social housing landlord, and make the administrative process easier and transform the organization. It’s one of the main impact of the social network, make the process evolve through conversations.

The employees of the social housing have accepted to take a risk, get new relationships with their stakeholders to make things move, without any idea of ROI. Just a vision, and a wish to conduct an experimentation. No ROI measured, but the desire to continue and strenghen the collaboration with the stakeholders. The added value exists, but so many times, companies refuse to set up that kind of social business project if they can’t measure a ROI, so they don’t.

If the ROI is a blocker, you’ll be always a laggard. That’s this mind set which makes the difference between innovating company and others. Take some risks, under controle, let it go and learning by doing. Of course you need measure, but you can’t measure everything for the beginning. The vision is more important than the ROI