Lloyds TSB pilots social media


James Gardner, head of innovation at Lloyds TSB, writes consistently on his blog Bankervision, disclosing some of the key issues involved in innovating in a major bank. In a recent post New ways of collaborating at the bank, James writes about how Lloyds TSB is piloting social media such as blogs. Some excerpts from his below show how blogging can change how corporations work.

We have one blog, for example, that documents the trials and tribulations of a member of the team that is implementing the social media pilot for us. Along the way there have been a couple of roadbumps, of course, and this particular blog offers the opinions of the team on the ground as things have gone wrong. It is a very positive and welcome read. Quite often, one doesn’t have a deep understanding of the real issues that caused the problem in the first place. Sometimes, you want the details without all the unpeeling that goes on before you can get them. This is a blog that does that.

We have a documented record of the set of things that have happened to us as we’ve rolled out a new service. The decisions that were made, and the problems that they’ve caused (or benefits we’ve realised) are published, searchable, and generally available. We’ve never had that before. It’s a corporate memory, and noone has asked our blogger to create it for us.

That kind of corporate memory is new for us. We’ve had only the mandatory ones that outline what the decisions were, who made them, and who validated them. We’ve not had visibility as to why.

It goes to something that Seth Godin wrote recently: the impassioned employee does things not out of fear, but because it is more fun to do something than not. In this case, there is potentially quite a lot to fear: retribution from line management, counseling about attitude, a range of other things. But in this case, none of those things have happened. The passion behind the posts is evident. Why kill passion? And in the meantime, our blogger is blazing a trail for the rest of us by proving that it is OK to have an opinion and voice it in public.

The link is from Charis Palmer of Online Banking Review, which will be launching a Banking Review Podcast series at the end of March with an interview with James. Looking forward to it!