Carl Spies - Bio


CarlSpies- Social Business Facilitator

"There's no such thing as a social media strategy, only a good business strategy that is aware of networks"



Carl Spies is seasoned social business strategist, a complex multidisciplinary approach emerging from social online networks that seek to help leading brands extract real value from social media/network trends and technologies to engage customers beyond the corporate firewall, and mine social capital behind it.


He has spent the last six years establishing himself as a thought leader in systems thinking and social business design while working with clients ranging from Standard Bank, Vodacom and South African Breweries to eBucks, Microsoft and Samsung.


Carl is recognised as an accomplished provocative facilitator and technical consultant having advised many organisations in South and West Africa, coordinated top-level community events and addressed national and international groups on a wide range of critical social business topics. He is well a seasoned design thinker with broad insights at the intersections of social science, online community development and value innovation using proven network effects.




1. Experience


Relevant Social Network Projects Carl has lead:

(platforms: intranets, ideation (crowdsourcing) systems, LMS, branded communities)

ABSA - A shared services strategy network which refined and cascaded department strategies online.

FNB - Learner management system for the Institute of Extreme Customer Service.

Hollard Insurance - Hollardtopia - Social Intranet

Kelly Personnel - Social Intranet

Microsoft - Ideation Platform to crowd-source ideas from the community.

RMB - Internal platform to query and collaborate on scaling the internal culture after rapid expansion.

SAB - Learning collaboration platform.

Standard Bank - Blue Connection - the core social intranet (including gaming elements to increase adoption).

Telesure - Let's Connect pilots platforms.

(and external social community platforms for :Converse, Toyota, eBucks and Samsung)



Social Software: Acquia Commons (Drupal)

Microcontent: SocialCast, Twitter, Yammer

Social Networks: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, SocialText

Media: Flickr, Youtube,, GetGlue

LocationPlatforms: Foursquare




2. Knowledge and Skills


Relevant Models he is trained in:

SCRUM: Agile Product Development + Project Management

Cognitive Edge: Complex Adaptive Social Systems - Sensemaking using Cynefin.

User Experience Design - Flow Interactive.

NeuroSematnics - linguistic and cognitive models of user experience.

LAB - language and behaviour profiling (to develop archetypes from the network members).

VizThink - Dave GrayCynefin - Dave Snowden - Complex Adaptive Systems - Sensemaking

Biomatrix - Organisational Change using network effects and systems-thinking.

StrateX - designing execution strategies and developing channels to cascade them throughout the workforce.

Spiral Economics - a model based on the Claire Graves research - exploring the dynamics of value creation from individuals to the entire stakeholder ecosystem.


Training Courses Developed:

IXCS 3 Day Intensive - WesBank - Customer Service

A 3 Day MBA in Social Business (for Terrapin) - covering B2B, B2C social network concepts and tools.




3. Services Offered


Rapid Prototyping of Social Networks - with rapid feedback and agile metrics.

Workscapes - performance support social networks (incorporating informal learning)

User Experience Mapping - Designing network elements to fit staff profiles.

Lunch 'n Learn Sessions - from frontline to C-suite level audiences - succint explorations of current social business elements e.g. #SoMoLo

Intrapreneur Sessions - designed to build capacity with internal teams to rapidly identify, design and test social network initiatives.





Mari Eagar hired Carl as a Social Collaboration Strategy Consultant in 2010/11:


"Carl Spies combines strategic thinking with design thinking to create a unique approach in social business design. He implements strategic initiatives using a people centric and collaborative approach, which ensures successful change in people’s behavior to support the implementation thereof. Carl’s work is based on deep research of theory as well as significant experience in social technologies, therefore making his solutions robust, credible and implementable.


An example of his strategic contributions and social design thinking skills can be seen with the openaxyz method and toolset where Carl contributed to the original conceptual design which was focused on the application of design thinking in the strategy domain. He also visualised and developed architecture foundations in openaxyz such as the social group module and the visualisation features, making the product unique in the market place. He is able to move other people’s ideas into unique, differentiating insights and innovation."

-Mari Eagar CA - M Phil Leadership (cum laude) and Member of the Canada-Southern Africa Chamber of Business.