Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business

Josh Bernoff, Ted Schadler

Harvard Business Review Press, September 2010

You know it’s happening within your organization. Your people, armed with cheap, accessible technology, are connecting with customers and building innovative new solutions. But who are these creative problem-solvers? How can you be one? And just as important–how can you lead them?

In Empowered, Forrester’s Josh Bernoff–co-author of the pioneering book Groundswell–and Ted Schadler explain how to transform your company by unleashing the mighty force of these HEROes: highly empowered and resourceful operatives. HEROes are vital to your company’s success, because in the age of Twitter, iPhones, Facebook, and an ever-evolving torrent of Web information, your customers now come to the table armed with more data and access than ever before. And in many cases, your company is overmatched.

The good news is that HEROes are already in your midst–one in three of your information workers already use easily accessible technologies that your company does not sanction. Empowered gives you a prescription for embracing this covert innovation and freeing your employees to maximize its potential for organizational success. Bernoff and Schadler introduce you to business leaders who have enacted HERO-based programs: like John Bernier and Ben Hedrington at Best Buy, who built an army of 2,500 tweeting employees to reach out to customers online; or Ross Inglis, who tapped into Internet computing resources to open an entirely new customer channel for Thomson Reuters; or John Stadick, who equipped 600 sales staff with iPhones and boosted profits at his construction rental company. At the heart of these HERO-powered businesses is a new pact between the critical employees, company managers, and the IT department: HEROes build new solutions to meet customer needs, management sets clear rules while encouraging more experimentation, and IT expands its role to both support and secure these solutions. The results will transform your business.

Fueled by data from Forrester Research, Empowered is packed with the business tools and information necessary to move your organization several steps ahead of the competition, including:

  • Statistical analysis of the 16% of customers who account for 80% of the online influence
  • The four-step IDEA process to transform customer-facing service, marketing, and mobile applications
  • A tool to score HERO projects on value and effort, to offer guidance on which projects to support
  • The HERO index: A scorecard of the industries and departments with the most–and the fewest–HEROes
  • Roadmaps for collaboration systems that stimulate and support HERO innovation
  • The game plan for IT’s new role as a key partner in technology ideas throughout the company
  • Dozens of case studies and examples from firms in every industry, from retail to business services

Armed with an arsenal of exciting and valuable new technologies, your employees are already transforming the way you do business. You can lead them or block them–it’s your choice. Empowered will help you make the right decision.

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About the Author

Josh Bernoff is senior vice president of idea development at Forrester Research and is responsible for identifying, developing, and promoting some of the company’s most influential and forward-looking ideas.

Bernoff is the co-author of the BusinessWeek bestselling book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (Harvard Business Review Press, 2008), a comprehensive analysis of corporate strategy for dealing with social technologies.  Groundswell has won critical acclaim: Abbey Klaasen of Advertising Age picked it as the best book ever written on marketing and media, and Amazon’s editors put it in the top 10 business books of the year.

In 2008, the Society for New Communications Research picked Josh and his Groundswell co-author, Charlene Li, as “visionaries of the year.”

Bernoff joined Forrester in 1995. In 1996, he created the Technographics segmentation, a classification of consumers according to how they approach technology. Forrester has used this segmentation as the basis of its consumer research offering, also called Technographics, since 1997. Bernoff is also known for 10 years of analysis of the television industry.

His research, analysis, and opinions appear frequently in publications like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He writes a column for Marketing News, a publication of the American Marketing Association, and blogs for Forrester and Advertising Age. Bernoff has keynoted major conferences on television, music, marketing, and technology in Barcelona, Cannes, Chicago, London, New York, Rome, Tokyo, and Sao Paolo.

Ted Schadler is vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. His work in over 13 years at Forrester has consistently focused on disruptive technologies and how senior decision-makers should harness them. Schadler uses quantitative studies and business analysis to identify and answer the technology questions of executives in business and consumer markets.

Since Schadler joined Forrester in 1997, he has had a wide and varied career as an analyst, research director, innovator, and business manager. He has been instrumental in analyzing the impact of Internet 1.0, open source software, Web services, digital media, broadband, cloud computing, smartphones, and collaboration. In 2000, Schadler launched and managed Forrester TechRankings, the precursor to the Forrester Wave methodology.

In 2009, he created Forrester’s Workforce Technographics methodology, the industry’s first benchmark analysis of how people use technology at work. This quantitative approach to understanding workforce technology has led to many of the ideas in Empowered.

Schadler has appeared as a technology expert on ABC, CBC, CNBC, NBC, and PBS, and his research and analyses have been cited in BusinessWeek, The Economist, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He has keynoted at business technology and marketing conferences worldwide.

Schadler’s background includes five years as a professional rock-and-roll musician for the Maryland-based band Crash Davenport, and 10 years as chief technology officer for a company building healthcare applications. He has degrees from Swarthmore College, the University of Maryland College Park, and MIT Sloan School of Business.