Interview with Ana Neves about Social Now


I’ve interviewed Ana Neves about her upcoming Social Now event, taking place on the 7th & 8th of April in Amsterdam:

1) Another edition of Social Now is fast approaching. What can participants expect from the event?

Ana, imagine a fictitious company facing challenges related to knowledge sharing, collaboration, communication and innovation. It wants to improve its performance by making knowledge more easily accessible; wants to engage staff by empowering them to come up with ideas; wants to reduce costs by avoiding unnecessary mistakes. Does it sound as if it could be your company? I bet it does!

So, we have this fictitious company – Cablinc – and a series of business requirements. At Social Now you will hear how each one of 12 different tools can answer those requirements, by improving existing processes or by supporting new ways of working. Each demonstration will be a story of life at Cablinc.

The one, single company creates a shared language and provides the backdrop for all the 12 narratives. Each narrative is an illustration of how social tools can benefit organisations and an array of ideas of how to integrate these tools into staff’s daily routine. (No slides and no sales talk is allowed!)

There is a panel of three independent professionals who will ask questions about each tool. The panel is the same as last year because of your extensive knowledge and because the three of you – covering IT, user experience and business – have gelled so well thus creating a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.

The two keynote speakers are absolutely fantastic: Tim Walters will share the current state of affairs; Euan Sample will share his vision of the future. Peter Reiser and myself will provide some practical tips to promote adoption of enterprise social tools. And there are some more surprises to be announced.

Finally, and because the quality of an event derives as much from the speakers as from the participants, the programme includes plenty of time for debate and informal conversations (something lacking in other events).

2) Looking at the program it would seem that the event is very tools-centric. Companies that are already using social/collaborative platforms might think that the event is not aimed at them. What are your comments on this?

Many companies already using social / collaborative platforms admit they expected to get more out of them. We also know that, most often, these platforms do not rise to expectations because not enough people are using them. These platforms are introduced as something new, something staff should do / use on top of everything else. It is vital that these tools are presented as an integral part of staff’s routine, preferably as a way of making their life’s easier or as a way of enabling new / more satisfying work experiences.

Because of Social Now’s format, you get to hear, from those who created the tools, the sort of work processes that each tool promotes. It’s a great opportunity to find a match between the tool’s DNA and your company’s values. These will be demonstrated as part of the story each one of them will tell. The story will be set at Cablinc but you can easily pick it up and adjust it to your own company. Maybe it’s a more interesting way of gathering knowledge at the end of a project; or a easier way of creating end of year reports; or a more transparent way of collecting ideas from staff. You get the ideas, and you get the stories to take back to your colleagues.

3) After 2 editions in Portugal this year’s edition will take place in Amsterdam. Why?

I remember last year, at the end of the event in Lisbon, being in a nice restaurant on the waterfront. There were maybe ten of us – you and me, Jon FrodaSamuel Driessen (our amazing host, by the way!), Hans-Juergen Sturm (the first one to register this year), Stowe BoydPaul CorneyPhil HillAndrzej Marczewski – praising the gorgeous Portuguese food, the amazing weather and the magnificent views. And Stowe Boyd said to me something like “I love Portugal and Lisbon, but Social Now is too good and should not be buried in Portugal.”

And that is why I took it out of Portugal and brought it to a much more central location where, as previous participants said, it can be properly appreciated and can get the credit it deserves.

I know it’s quite hard to match Portuguese standards 😀 but I’m committed to still offer good food, great views (check out the venue Samuel Driessen help me pick in Amsterdam) and I’ve been negotiating with the weatherman so that we can have nice, sunny weather too.

4) Some final message or comments?

Social Now is different kind of event. Its format is not quick to explain and its programme makes it look like one long and boring session of sale pitches. Which is not! Those who attend it like it a lot and that is what makes me fight for it.

It’s really cool when, after attending Social Now, people describe it as an event “deceivingly about tools” or as the “X-Factor of enterprise social tools” (because it’s about the tools but also about the stories and the personalities behind each one of them). It makes the effort well worthwhile.


Ana has been kind enough to give a 15% discount on the registration ticket for readers of my blog (just register here and use the promo code guest to benefit from the 15% discount).

PS – as some of you are aware, I’m part of the event’s experts’ panel since edition #1 back in 2012 and am also currently part of the event’s Advisory Board.


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