BLUG, the unknown gem on my doorstep

BLUG, the annual Belgium/Luxembourg user group held in Antwerp was a great success and although Antwerp literally is only 45 minutes from where I live this was only my first BLUG.  It has left a big impression! We are more then a week on but I’m still going over it in my head.

It was a great event. The organization was excellent, the venue catered exactly to the needs of the event, the sessions, the speakers, the food, the socializing, the people, …. I could go on and on. Simplest to say: it just came together. Theo & staff did an amazing job and deserve all the credits (and MORE) everyone has been sending them!

BLUG to me was about learning, meeting people and discussing ideas. Being able to talk to and exchange ideas with so many that are right there in the trenches, implementing Social Business, learning as they go and muddling through all the caveats and problems that they, as true pioneers, encounter on their way. Because lets face it. Although we all talk about it it is still a relatively small contingent of modern businesses that are actually doing it.

That is the funny aspect with things like this. If you focus so much on it you start to lose sight on the larger picture and to be frankly, the larger picture is that a lot of our customers really haven’t seriously thought about implementing Social Business yet. So we try to show them the benefits, take them by the hand and help them grasp this great new concept of….what?

Social?!?“Well what is social, and more important why should I?!?

So I talked and I listened and I discussed. Debating ‘social’ on the social panel with Paul Mooney and Luis Suarez, listening to the Belastingdienst with their amazing business case (truly, if you get a chance to go see one of their sessions: DO! It’s worth it), IBM’s own business case as presented by Laurent Boes, talking to partners, community members and others during intermissions and delivering my own session…

It was all just one big roller coaster of impressions and ideas. And the one thing I found was that although the basic principles are more or less the same to everyone: Respect for the role of the individual within the business Eco-system and empowerment of the employee to participate and connect – the way people envision how it should be implemented still differs greatly.

Do you control, or not? Do you steer or do you let it evolve in itself? Do you need to change your corporate culture first or do you let the social process change your corporate culture? It all just depends on the people, the business and the situation. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to Social Business and although I already knew this, BLUG has certainly reinforced that to me.

I learned so much from so many these two days. Information I will be taking along to customers, in projects and to my own corporate social environment. So yes, my head is still spinning from two days of BLUG. It is sparking new thoughts, it is exciting and it is daunting. I still know so little and can learn so much. Thank god for events like BLUG, Social Connections, NLLUG, AUSLUG and many others like it for offering this to all those that want to improve their knowledge! Because let’s face it isn’t that what ‘social’ is all about? Connecting, sharing and collaborating!

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