Social Business Design [Infographic]

A social business is like a city. Build yours one neighbourhood at a time.

by Mark Smiciklas |

I’m fascinated by the evolving thought leadership around the subject of social business.

I believe in the idea that organizations adopting the use of social technology, flattening their corporate structure and making the shift towards less siloed communication and operational models will be in a better position to achieve their business objectives as the marketplace becomes more digitally connected.

As an idea or concept, social business is complex. The folks at Dachis Group offer this definition:

Social business draws on trends in technology (e.g., powerful mobile devices, widespread availability of high-speed Internet access, low cost of data storage), work (e.g., always-on culture, globalization), and society (e.g., propensity to share). Companies should care about social business because they can improve business outcomes (i.e., increase revenue or decrease costs). The core principles touch on all areas of a business, whether for business-to-customer engagement, employee-to-employee collaboration, or supply chain optimization. Making social business work requires focus on a company’s culture, connections, content exchanges, and measurement and analytics.

Unfortunately, as the term social business begins to move along the same popularity arc as “social media” it is getting overused and mis-defined to the point of clouding people’s ability to connect with its meaning and context. Recently this reached a boiling point for my esteemed colleague Jason Falls who proclaimed that the term “social business” is bullshit.

Semantics aside, social business presents a set of important ideas that organizational leaders are incumbent to discuss and understand. A post recently published by Dave Gray really helps crystallize the idea of social business design. In The Connected Company Gray uses a series of “city” metaphors to clearly explain how a social business is a “complex, adaptive system.”

His post inspired the following information design. My goal here is to present a visual interpretation of these ideas aimed at building high level understanding and prompting discussion. Let me know your thoughts and ideas about social business. Does it make sense or is it “bullshit”? The comments are yours.


social business design infographic


Map Artwork: Patrick Hoesly via Flickr

Infographic Icons: The Noun Project


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About the Author

Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas is a Digital Strategist, author and President of Intersection Consulting; a Vancouver based digital marketing agency that teaches organizations how to leverage the dynamics of the web to achieve business goals. Mark is also the managing editor at and is an established marketing and social media practitioner recognized for his visual thinking and practical strategic approach. You can connect with him on Google+.