Social Business Forum
Conceived and launched by OpenKnowledge in 2008, the Social Business Forum has become the Italian and international benchmark event on the topics of employee experience, customer engagement and digital transformation. In each edition we invited well-known speakers from around the world who have discussed a wide range of frontier topics. In 2019 we celebrated the tenth edition.

Xperience Obsession

11 April 2019

The X next to the title stands for 10, since it is the tenth anniversary, and for experience, a crucial topic today that will be the common denominator of four main areas of discussion: employee experience, learning experience, space experience and augmented experience.

Some of the participants of this edition: Barbara Cominelli, Ernesto Ciorra, Roberto Battaglia, Andrea Berton, Alessandra Cappello, Chiara Burberi, Mauro Spicci, Davide Fregonese, Ivan Ortenzi, Vittorio Ratto, Emilia Rio, Gino Garbellini, Bruno Pellegrinelli, Maria Serena Porcari, Brian Solis.

The Platfirm Age


The lexical shift was designed by us to highlight the formidable relevance acquired by the new digital platforms and the profound organizational transformation from “firm” to “platfirm”.

Special Guest, considering the theme, was Sangeet Paul Choudary, one of the co-authors of the best-selling Platform Revolution. The forum also saw the participation of Scott Brinker, author of Hacking Marketing and Barbara Cominelli (at the time working in Vodafone and now in Microsoft), who dedicated her speech to the conception of the physical dimension of experience.

The Platfirm Age is also the name of the Harvard Business Review Italy attachment published during the forum.

Embrace Digital Disruption


The thesis at the core of this edition was that digital disruption is inevitable, full of risks but also opportunities, and should be embraced without hesitation trying to get the best out of it.

opportunities, and should be embraced without hesitation trying to get the best out of it.

The thesis at the core of this edition was that digital disruption is inevitable, full of risks but also
The topic discussed: openness in leadership, ubiquitous marketing, reality data mining, next-gen digital workplace training & support, augmented storytelling, collaborative economies, social cloud computing.

The authors who have discussed them are also at the forefront of the current debate: Frederic Laloux, author of Reinventing Organizations; Vijayanta Gupta, head of industry strategy at Adobe; Michel Claassens, head of digital marketing at Philips; and again personalities like Sandy Carter, Samee Patel, Ray Wang, Bill Johnston, Laurence Lock Lee, and many others.

Be Social, Get Value!


The time had come to give substance to the digital transformation.

To fully express this passage, we called several guests of great importance. Michael Brito, the author of Your Brand: the Next Media Company; Lee Briant, in another very effective speech, showed how organizations can take advantage of social technologies; Ray Wang and Esteban Kolsky talked about the change of role of the Chief Digital Officer. Maria Cristina Ferradini, author of Umano digitale, tackled the problems connected with the cultural transformation that digital implies. There was also an exciting speech by Dave Carroll, the famous author of the video and song United Breaks Guitars.

This year as well, another attachment of the Harvard Business Review Italia, called #Social&Digital Transformation, accompanied the event.

Social Business Forum


Among the many interventions of international significance of this edition, at least three should be mentioned: Jacob Morgan, the author of The Future of Work, a reference text to understand how work changes in the social enterprise. Sandy Carter, at the time vice president of IBM and now vice president of Amazon Web Services, treated the topic of enterprise collaboration in an excellent way. And Bret King, the greatest U.S. expert on Banking 3.0 issues, explained the formidable evolution taking place in the world of banking and payment systems.

In that same edition of the forum, we produced another attachment for Harvard Business Review Italy: The Social Business Toolkit.

Social Business Forum


In 2012 we made a real quantum leap. In the digital universe it was a moment of great euphoria and turmoil. This led us to dare a little, leading us on one hand to develop our own interpretation of the extraordinary transformation underway, and on the other to get in touch with speakers of the highest level at worldwide.

This is how the Social Business Manifesto was born, which was also published as an attachment on the Harvard Business Review.

Among the prominent speakers: Steve Denning, author of The Leaders’ Guide to Radical Management; Frank Eliason, author of @Your Service; John Hagel, one of the leaders in social business thinking; e Ray Wang, the Californian expert in social technologies whose blog has a following of 10 million page views a year.

Social Business Forum


In the international debate the expression ‘social business’ had become the shared way (but still little perceived in Italy) to recall the many facets of the new collaborative practices in the companies.

The topics discussed in the forum were: employee empowerment, customer engagement and open innovation with the contribution of experts of the caliber of Sameer Patel, general manager at SAP, and Bill Johnston, director of global community at Dell. As well as other fellow travelers who at that stage had entered into a continuous debate with OpenKnowledge, such as Luis Suarez, George Siemens, Esteban Kolsky.

Enterprise 2.0


Innovation, social networks, emerging leadership models, participatory models, banking 2.0.

Even for the third edition, Italian and international experts were called to talk about these topics: from Alfonso Fuggetta to Massimo Pettiti, from Normal Lewis to Esteban Kolsky.

A series of business cases of great interest – such as those of IBM, Intel, Dassault Systèmes, Citroen, Telecom, Barilla – were also presented.

Enterprise 2.0


In the second edition we talked about how the new collaborative paradigms related to digital networks can impact human resources, research and development, marketing and sales.

A relevant theme in that forum was given by the so-called “communities of practice”. That year too we had important keynote speakers, such as George Siemens of the University of Manitoba (Canada), Ross Mayfield of SocialText, and again Luis Suarez.

Enterprise 2.0


From the very beginning we called high-level experts, and they all talked about a fundamental paradigm shift by touching on topics such as collaborative models, social networks, tagging, crowdsourcing, social learning, prediction markets.

Among them, Thomas Van der Wal, international expert inventor of the term “Folksonomy”, explained the dynamics of social tagging; Luis Suarez, a well-known blogger and evangelist on social computing at IBM, announced that email was outdated and needed to be replaced by new forms of communication and exchange in networks; Laurence Lock Lee who was already talking about Organizational Network Analysis and the organization as a living organism.