The leading Crowdfunding consultancy
Call Us +44(0)7717 714 595

Business Continuity – a Social Media Approach

It is extraordinary how the mind set and thinking that underpins Social Media presents us with new and innovative approaches to addressing challenges and gripes that are still stuck in old style thinking. Business Continuity is a surprising one – but as I say that I wonder that I am surprised. It occured to me as I was listening to Clay Shirky on TED today. It is an old post by internet standards but a good one nevertheless on Institutions versus Collaboration

He talks about how institutionalising activity can be an obstacle, and evangelises the model of harnessing distributed individuals into collaboration, and how this is more effective. This rather goes to the heart of the Crowdsourcing model, and is enabled by Social Media tools and mindset. It also speaks  to methods we can  use in complex environments where institutionalised models are problematic and risky.

As an aside it is interesting to note that a 5-6 year old presentation speaks of blogging and tools like Flickr being rather cutting edge – how things move on!

What it reminded me of was a piece of old world thinking I came up against a few years ago when I was asked to prepare a business continuity plan for the organisation  where I was working at the time. It seemed the “Audit Committee”,  a somewhat conservative body intent on process and wedded to causality, decided we needed one and as my responsibilities included ownership of the ICT portfolio it landed on my desk. I explained that business continuity was rather more than IT suggesting, I thought helpfully, that perfectly working systems and an absence of people to use them would have rather more profound implications for the company so maybe HR should be leading it. This was not well received.

The job fell to me and so we went through the usual process of casting around for examples of plans for comparable organisations. What we came across were rigid and extraordinarily cumbersome and resource intensive to both produce and maintain examples. Most seemd to come out od teh semi autisitc thinking behind ITIL – bu tI  will elave that for another day – and it seemed to me that most had the rather breathtaking arrogance of apparently being able to predict with accuracy what the disaster was that we were to be presented with. As the unfortunate people at Fukushima have come to learn – that is not always possible.

We thought ther had to be a better way. It was apparent that what was needed was an approach that respond to events in front of you and to be effective it was necessary to not own that responsibility in the form of an institution.

We developed a very very simple plan that empowered and called upon as wide a group as was avaiable to respond to circumstances as they presented themselves and to provide, in as much as we could, a simple mechanism for devolved decision making and resilient communication methods.

The key was to have simple trigger events based ona series of very broad scenarios. In brief these were major loss of property, major loss of staff, major breach of security/reputation or any combination thereof.

No scenario planing – because we couldn’t sensibly imagine the scenarios. Not an enormous play book that was rigid and mechanistic. Not a vast manual in constant need of updating but simple rules in terms of a decision making mechanism that emphasised the importance of the individual in delivering continuity.

The resulting plan was a masterpiece of brevity but was accepted by the Audit Committee despite the fact that the external auditors said it “wasn’t conventional” and “didn’t conform” to their predetermined model or “industry standards” (yes they were indeed accountants).

But ther reason it was accepted was that it was remarkably effective, remarkably resilient and able to deal with almost any challenge – and proved to be so when needed.

It was adopted.

If we harness what underpins Social Media, a mindset that expects engagement  and an unspoken contract that values the individual contribution it liberates us in so many ways and makes us more efficient, more innovative and, in this case, more resilient.

If you would like to talk to us about our approach and how tapping into the Social Media mindset could help your business then use our contact details below to get in touch

  1. Around the same time when Flickr was considered to be cutting-edge, Bebo was in its prime – and its now all but extinct. Conversely many enterprises have thrived because of social media and, as you demonstrate above, there are important considerations for social media’s use with business continuity and crisi management – well worth the investment in our book.

    Best wishes, Warde Graham Financial Advisers Glasgow

    • @GlasgowFinancialAdvisers:disqus Thanks for the comment – yes the applications change remarkably quickly which is why we always emphasise that the most important aspect of Social Media to get to grips with is the mindset that underpins it.

  2. Excellent points here, Tim. I totally agree with the value and importance of people’s contribution to a business over systems and processes. Good people create much more value, are harder to copy, if they’re happy don’t break down and make the workplace a better place to be. Social media is the ideal communication tool to engage people with a business, directly and indirectly, to help it continue.

    Keep up the inspiring blogs!

    Dougal Perman, Inner Ear

    • Dougal – thanks for that. Yes the SM mindset and social media tools can shake up and find alternatives to so many aspects of business as you and I both know. There is so much discussion of Social Media from either the perspective of the tools that are currently popular, or solely sales and marketing and that misses out an array of other opportunity. Hopefully our Social Media Unleashed events will help to widen the debate.

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.


Call: +44(0)7717 714 595

Join Our Mail List

twintangibles Ltd is a company registered in Scotland with company number SC397987. Registered office is Blue Square House, 272 Bath Street, Glasgow, Scotland, G2 4JR

Correspondence Address is:
twintangibles, Blue Square House, 272 Bath Street, Glasgow, Scotland, G2 4JR