Innovators in Social Media

BusinessWeek published one of the first articles we have seen about a trend we commented on last year – social media inside the enterprise.  Social media will provide a powerful new way to enable organizational development and change management inside companies, particularly those with borders created by siloes.  No World Borders has been following these trends for years and it is gratifying to see mainstream media cover them and legitimize them. At Ford, Scott Monty is using social media to remake the automaker’s image—and reinvigorate its culture. It started out with a simple question, on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter: Who should we profile as a Voice of Innovation for social media? Names poured in. Some commenters treated it as a vote, some as an essay contest. Others, including marketing maven Seth Godin, objected to the whole exercise. Sorry to be a curmudgeon, he wrote. But I really like BW best when they lead the discussion, not referee it.

Still, this process was bringing in names—lots we’d never heard of—and telling us about people doing all sorts of things with social media. What was wrong with that? Only one thing. As some commenters pointed out, we cast too wide a net. Social media, after all, extends from freewheeling entrepreneurs who build new software applications to consultants laboring inside giant corporations. It includes people who use it to push a product and those who use it to further an idea or just themselves. How could all of these innovators fit into a single category? They couldn’t.

So we divided social media into four categories and picked a representative of each. They are:

    Toolmasters: Imaginative techies whose schemes and applications open new doors and lead to insights. Our toolmaster is Noah Brier, who works days in New York at Barbarian Group, an interactive marketing shop. By night, Brier, 26 (as of 2009), pieces together new social-media apps, including Brand Tags, a web page that shows brand names and invites visitors to describe each with a single word or phrase. The more a word is repeated, the bigger its type, making it simple to see what folks think.

  1. Eyes to the World: People innovating with social media to help others. Beth Kanter is our pick. She uses every avenue on the World Wide Web to raise funds for Cambodian children through her own charity, the Sharing Foundation. And she shares what she learns with nonprofits everywhere. Kanter, 52, is also a Net pioneer. A longtime employee of the Boston Symphony, she plunged into the Internet in the early 1990s. She started tapping friends—and friends of friends—through her blog while adopting two Cambodian children in 2000.
  2. Crowdstrappers: Entrepreneurs or consultants who harness new approaches in social media to reposition or invigorate businesses—either their clients’ or their own. Here we select Eric Brown, who has turned his apartment business in Royal Oak, Mich, into a social media laboratory. Brown, 49, has no training in social media. But he believes in openness and hopes that the ease of communicating through blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, can turn him into a better landlord.
  3. Hidden heroes: These are people working inside old-style enterprises and use social media to change the culture and operations. Our choice is Scott Monty, who heads up social media at Ford Motor (F).

You’ll see more on the first three nearby. Meantime, here’s a fuller story on Monty. When Ford came looking last year for a social media maven, Scott Monty had an answer for the auto giant:


Monty, a consultant in Joseph Jaffe’s Crayon consulting company, had been living in Boston for 20 years. He worked with many blue-chip clients, from Coca-Cola (KO) to American Airlines (AMR). Why move to work inside an auto company—in Detroit?

He gave it thought. Here was one of the most storied brands in American culture asking me to do what I liked doing specifically for them, and I said no. I’m still shaking my head about that. When he reconnected with Ford, he said yes—and since July, Monty has been busy on blogs, on Twitter, and in the hallways of Ford trying to revive the culture of a suffering industrial giant. His boss, Chief Executive Alan Mullaly, compares the transformation of Ford to changing the tires on a car going 60 miles per hour.< Monty’s challenge, as he sees it, is to communicate to the rest of the world the same lesson that he learned himself: that Ford is not a stodgy company tied to the past. I realized that I’d fallen victim to the very thing that Ford was trying to combat, he says. There were assumptions I’d made that just weren’t true anymore. These are the things I struggle with every day. We’ve got a big perception problem to overcome.

His first goal is to humanize the brand, giving Ford as many faces as possible. The most prominent face, of course, is Mulally himself, who appears to be a willing experimenter. Last month at the Detroit auto show, Monty says, he collared the CEO coming out of a meeting and asked if he would answer some questions on Twitter.

What’s Twitter? Mulally asked.

After Monty explained, he asked his followers on Twitter for questions for the Ford CEO. Mulally stayed with him and gamely answered a few. (True, there’s no sign of him yet on Twitter, but that could be a good thing: The guy is dealing with 2008 annual losses of $14.6 billion, and sales that fell 40% in January.)

Monty says he wants to democratize social media within Ford, deputizing tens of thousands of employees to represent the company. They have blogs, of course, and have reached out to all tech and green bloggers. But the challenge is less about technology, Monty says, than changing the culture of an organization, making it so that people aren’t afraid to speak up. It’s like being at a dinner party, Monty says. If someone says something derogatory about Ford, do you just sit there? No, you respond.

Michael F. Arrigo

Michael Arrigo, an expert witness, and healthcare executive, brings four decades of experience in the software, financial services, and healthcare industries. In 2000, Mr. Arrigo founded No World Borders, a healthcare data, regulations, and economics firm with clients in the pharmaceutical, medical device, hospital, surgical center, physician group, diagnostic imaging, genetic testing, health I.T., and health insurance markets. His expertise spans the federal health programs Medicare and Medicaid and private insurance. He advises Medicare Advantage Organizations that provide health insurance under Part C of the Medicare Act. Mr. Arrigo serves as an expert witness regarding medical coding and billing, fraud damages, and electronic health record software for the U.S. Department of Justice. He has valued well over $1 billion in medical billings in personal injury liens, malpractice, and insurance fraud cases. The U.S. Court of Appeals considered Mr. Arrigo's opinion regarding loss amounts, vacating, and remanding sentencing in a fraud case. Mr. Arrigo provides expertise in the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, Medicare LCDs, anti-trust litigation, medical intellectual property and trade secrets, HIPAA privacy, health care electronic claim data Standards, physician compensation, Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark law, the Affordable Care Act, False Claims Act, and the ARRA HITECH Act. Arrigo advises investors on merger and acquisition (M&A) diligence in the healthcare industry on transactions cumulatively valued at over $1 billion. Mr. Arrigo spent over ten years in Silicon Valley software firms in roles from Product Manager to CEO. He was product manager for a leading-edge database technology joint venture that became commercialized as Microsoft SQL Server, Vice President of Marketing for a software company when it grew from under $2 million in revenue to a $50 million acquisition by a company now merged into Cincom Systems, hired by private equity investors to serve as Vice President of Marketing for a secure email software company until its acquisition and multi $million investor exit by a company now merged into Axway Software S.A. (Euronext: AXW.PA), and CEO of one of the first cloud-based billing software companies, licensing its technology to Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS). Later, before entering the healthcare industry, he joined Fortune 500 company Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF) as a Vice President, overseeing eCommerce solutions for the mortgage banking industry. While serving as a Vice President at Fortune 500 company First American Financial (NYSE: FAF), he oversaw eCommerce and regulatory compliance technology initiatives for the top ten mortgage banks and led the Sarbanes Oxley Act Section 302 internal controls I.T. audit for the company, supporting Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Mr. Arrigo earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. Before that, he studied computer science, statistics, and economics at the University of California, Irvine. His post-graduate studies include biomedical ethics at Harvard Medical School, biomedical informatics at Stanford Medical School, blockchain and crypto-economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and training as a Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA). Mr. Arrigo is qualified to serve as a director due to his experience in healthcare data, regulations, and economics, his leadership roles in software and financial services public companies, and his healthcare M&A diligence and public company regulatory experience. Mr. Arrigo is quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Kaiser Health News, Consumer Affairs, National Public Radio (NPR), NBC News Houston, USA Today / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Medical Economics, Capitol ForumThe Daily Beast, the Lund Report, Inside Higher Ed, New England Psychologist, and other press and media outlets. He authored a peer-reviewed article regarding clinical documentation quality to support accurate medical coding, billing, and good patient care, published by Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and published in Healthcare I.T. News. Mr. Arrigo serves as a member of the board of directors of a publicly traded company in the healthcare and data analytics industry, where his duties include: member, audit committee; chair, compensation committee; member, special committee.

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