Extending the best in our social business processes to experience flow



For years, business analysts and process consultants have been focusing on the work of creating value in our Enterprises and mapping and extending flow; the state of perfection, when everything happens as it should in our processes.

Lean Social Business

But most efforts to extend flow have focused on examining when bad things happen like errors, faults, disruptions to service etc.  Analysts look to extend value or flow by looking for and fixing the causes of problems or waste i.e. the opposite of flow.




But we now know that many of these well intentioned efforts at improving business flow have fallen short of what is possible because they do not look to find the root causes of peak flow; instead they look to find the opposite; when we don’t see flow.  At best, most of these efforts have returned the customer process to status quo but have not created new value.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYCociy29TA

Social business is about the organised human quest to create new value or social good, not just eradicate waste or fix problems and the social process of creating new starts with why, not how or what.  The best social businesses are creating new value by engaging their people to collaborate around strengths, possibilities, not problems, faults or errors.

Peter Drucker said that the role of a leader is to ‘align strengths, thereby making the weaknesses in your social business irrelevant”. This means focusing on strengths and extending them, not looking at problems.

The emerging social business knows that social is about relationships and emotional connections between people, not just about flow for customers but the flow experienced by workforce members when they are happy at work. The happiest workers are intrinsically motivated to give, to achieve mastery, to co-create new social good and to experience profound and deep connections with the Enterprise’s values and purpose – the why of their work.

We spent years looking to improve value by mapping what doesn’t work and we missed the point. In looking for what is broken or wasteful, we have missed the true question which is what works brilliantly, what engaged customers to flow, what makes our people at their happiest when working to create and deliver value  and how might we extend this good to become more of the norm.




Simon Sinek says that everyone knows what they do, some know how they do it but very few know why. He says the great organisations and leaders are great because they engage their people, clients and supporters around why.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4

Lean Social Business (LSB) is a whole new approach to building excellence and exceptional flow in our workplace and customer processes by starting with why and then looking to identify the highest level of flow in our current processes and then asking “what’s possible is we extend our best flow to become the norm and to innovate by reconfiguring our best to meet new opportunities?”


LSB is about fundamental questions such as ‘why do we exist’ ‘who are we’ ‘why are we in this business’ ‘what do we believe about the world and the way it should be organised’ ‘what is our destiny or purpose’. Few of the BPM or 1st Gen Lean projects we saw during the 90’s and early 2000’s delved into these deep and meaningful issues of life and work for people but today’s young generation of workers demand a more holistic rational and emotional engagement around why. We call this holistic social business flow.

True flow in the workplace is experienced when people feel a profound connection to the why of their work and the how and what of their work is in sync with the why. Because Social Business is, well ‘social’ and collaborative around shared meaning and value, it makes sense that our work to build and improve great social processes maps and draws out the why of our work, not just what or how.

Why does this matter? Because the evidence suggests that many BPM, Lean & Six Sigma Projects fail because they don’t engage people from the heart. They try and engage people from the head; the rational stuff around numbers and facts and problems but people are crying out to be engaged from the heart which is the space around working to your strengths , taking the best of the past with you and feeling a profound emotional connection to your work.




LSB is about experiencing a creative, collaborative community and making a difference to people’s lives; knowing why you were meant to exist in this life; your contribution and then mapping work processes which flow because they tap into the things that really matter  such as Kindness, Joy, Giving, Sharing, Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose.

The Emotional Economy at Work we are Thought Leaders and practitioners in this new space of Lean Social Business Design. We are collaborating with colleagues globally to fashion and shape the new approaches, tools and templates around the emerging space of LSB and providing practical ‘how to assistance’  to Enterprises to build great social processes which flow for stakeholders.


We have piloted LSB in business and local government agencies in Australia. One of these pilots resulted in our client receiving a sector award for Innovation – See the story of Big Mountain Shire



How Would You Deploy LSB in Your Enterprise?

At the Emotional Economy at Work, we will work with you to discover and map the best in your current social business processes, i.e. when your staff and customers have been at their happiest and most engaged with the process; when they have experienced flow and great outcomes. We then look to understand what makes the best the best in the social business and ask “what’s possible here, if we extend the process to become the normal experience for everybody i.e. continuous flow around not just efficiency but also innovation, meaning and happiness?”

We deploy the world’s best LSB mapping and innovation technology, Appreciative Inquiry (AI), to help you build you build your exceptional social business processes.  Many Enterprises, non-profit, social service and government entities are using AI engage their internal and external stakeholders – their ecosystem – to grow their social business by extending Enterprise strengths.

Here are some typical conversations our clients are having with LSB. If any of these questions resonate with your own social business journey, please feel free to CALL US TODAY


  • What is right, useful, successful, and uniquely good or ‘alive’ in our social business processes that we can build on?
  • What cases of ‘positive deviation’ (examples where the problem does not exist) can be spotted and learned from?
  • What is the absolute peak of best experiences / performance / to date?
  • What is in place within our Enterprise or Culture that supports the process to be at its engaging best for stakeholders?
  • When have our people experienced the best flow in their work and how can we extend this in our social business processes?



If you were to select a core social or customer process to map and extend strengths: one with the greatest potential for engaging flow in your business;

  • What process would this be?
  • What is the greatest possibility if you experienced more flow?
  • Who in your ‘ecosystem” should be involved with you in co-designing the future great process?