Are you In? Unshackling Your Aspirations.

January 22, 2009 Appirio

Narinder Singh

Certain points in time provide a special opportunity to reflect and aspire to be better. For many of us, this comes with each new year – as we make resolutions to improve some part of our lives or who we are. As a nation, inaugurations provide a similar chance. In these moments, the collective consciousness of a country can define their resolutions for the future.

The Starbucks I’m In campaign has a simple idea, “What if we all did something”. Leveraging an incredible brand with reach into nearly every community; partnering with voices for change like the Hands On Network, Service Nation (and even Oprah !); and doing more than just talking about corporate responsibility – the I’m in campaign can play a powerful role in placing service into the collective psyche of a nation.

Pledging five hours of time to giving back and celebrating the commitment with a free cup of coffee is a simple first step. Undoubtedly those hours can have a substantial impact on the world around us. But the ripple of change caused in each person who participates is the real trojan horse of this strategy. How many of us have said, “Helping out at the food bank / hospital / children’s center / halfway house / community organization gave me a better sense of what’s really important in life?” Giving back can change how we interact with our family, neighbors, co-workers and broader society. Inspiring us to do this collectively can make the question “How are you helping?” as ingrained in our common sense of what’s normal as asking a person about their job, home, hobbies, place of worship or favorite sports team. That’s the big idea that can start with a simple pledge.

Appirio was fortunate enough to be a part of Starbucks’ vision by helping them use Force.com to tap into this collective voice. The press release describes what we built and the site itself provides a window into the details.

Yet what is most powerful about this story is how the cloud helped unshackle the creative minds at Starbucks from the legacy constraints of technology. Brilliant teams of people at Starbucks and the Salesforce.com Foundation thought about how connecting people could help them with their lofty vision. Their first, second or third thoughts were not on the mundane details of how to scale hardware/software/networks to accomplish this. They didn’t have the luxury of reinventing an architecture for integration. They did not have the option of being constrained to a waterfall approach that would expect the “requirements” be defined at the onset of the process. Instead “Building on the Cloud” with Force.com let them focus on the user experience and allowed one creative idea to build on another throughout the process.

We have written before that the future of how people in a business work together will be defined by understanding how people collaborate when they’re not working. A connected world requires that technology be built in a way that allows information, processes and ideas to be shared and collectively improved. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, YouTube and others have led the way in proving the power of the collective. Salesforce.com, Google Enterprise and other dedicated pure SaaS vendors bring that same vision to businesses. No longer can organizations settle for systems that are designed to be physically and emotionally closed. The opportunity to bring together your people, your partners, your customers…is just too important to constrain. We hope everyone will be inspired by I’m In. Most importantly to instill a sense of giving back into our collective consciousness, but also as an inspiration for how the cloud can help companies dramatically change their own futures.

We’re In, are you ?

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