Grow your wiki goes free

Seems like I missed out on quite a couple of things lately (in the world of Enterprise 2.0 you better not go on holidays or spend endless days refining lengthy papers and other scientific work, or spend time with clients and writing proposals … so I need to blog more over the next days and play catch-up).

One of the missed things being the announcement by Stewart Mader (author of Wikipatterns book, find my favorable review and related posts on my very own wikipatterns takes and talks here) that he’s now offering (freelance) specialist wiki consulting. Thomas, Luis, Stephen and others were so much faster than me. Whatever, I think this is a good move and I heartily welcome Stewart to the small circle of (networked and vendor independent) wiki and Enterprise 2.0 consultants.

Congratulations Stewart, and I look forward to see you again, last time in Varese time was much too short – maybe we’ll venture in a project sometime. Don’t forget I am still owing you a nice german beer :*)

Seeing the light of the future of work …

Luis now provides a nice, little video recorded at his German “See the Light – Thinking Outside the Inbox” tour, speaking of the benefits of innovative collaboration technologies and dropping corporate email, all in all a motivational show. I attended the Stuttgart event and blogged some observations about it then (“Enterprise 2.0 on z/OS“)

[…] covering the background of why I got started with this, what it has been like, the kind of implications I have been exposed to on a daily basis, what social software tools I use on a regular basis to escape e-mail, and, most importantly, how you yourself can get things going as well to re-purpose the way you process work related e-mails. In short, I cover all of the stuff I have written about over here, but perhaps a bit more from the perspective on how it is all down to changing one’s habits as far as sharing knowledge and collaboration is concerned

See the Light – Thinking Outside the Inbox from Luis Suarez on Vimeo.

And here’s the other video Luis did, called “The Future of Work“. I promised to blog about this earlier, but various things have slowed me down (sorry, Luis). Whatever, here it is

The Future of Work by Luis Suarez from Luis Suarez on Vimeo.

[…] the Future of Work and the kind of impact that Social Computing is having within the corporate world today to help drive further into the next level the way we collaborate, share our knowledge and innovate!

Upcoming: Registration for BarCamp Berlin 3

Yes, the venue for the BarCamp Berlin 3 is secured and hence the opening of the registration is near, i.e. August 31th or September 1st …

This small Morse riddle contains where it’s going to be – but as it’s already solved I can easily say that the venue is the main Berlin office of Deutsche Telekom (Hauptstadtrepräsentanz”, i.e. Representative Office). More information and the starting signal for the rush to fill 300-500 places will be announced at the Barcamp Berlin 3 blog and via Twitter probably too. As usual, register with Mixxt for an account on the Barcamp Berlin 3 network and then enter yourself for the actual event days.

As last year, the BarCamp Berlin 3 is scheduled right before the Web 2.0 Expo Europe – I am thus looking forward to meet an international crowd that week.

So let’s talk about BarCamp and tag it right. Official tages are bcberlin3 and hashtag #bcberlin3.

Changing organisations via Enterprise 2.0 – pre-conference interview – Festo

There’s a third pre-conference interview (“Fallbeispiel: Enterprise2.0@Festo – Biographie eines Projektes“) at the Enterprise 2.0 Forum site. Like its predecessors (see more here and there) it’s german language only. So – again – it’s probably a good idea to do a short english language summary and analysis of the key points discussed.

This time Joachim Niemeier spoke with Arne Schümann of Festo didactic (Festo as a whole is best described as a family-owned global player – and, full disclosure – I know this company a little bit. One reason is that it’s main branch is located only about some 15 km from my home, another one being that some friends of mine are current and past Festo employees).

To me the main “learning” from the interview is that changing organisations via Enterprise 2.0 is both hard and (potentially) extremely rewarding (yes, also in terms of ROI). Now onto the topics of the conversation:

  • Festo had a headstart with their Enterprise 2.0 project as they already had experiences with (personal) knowledge management, life-long (e-)learning, collaboration …
  • Enterprise 2.0 is not about technologies, it’s about perceptions, attitudes and “modes of work” – well, yes, some paradigms (and principles and methods too)  stay – but there’s a need to adapt some of those, i.e. give them the place and importance they deserve …
  • Hierarchy is an ever-present issue in implementation, seen vs. the evolving trends that supplant formal and stiff hierarchy with heterarchies (and/or meritocracies, sociocracies, …). Now I am really looking forward to the actual talk by Mr. Schümann, I want to know more about how Festo dealt with this. BTW, I really I liked the mentioned term “guided autonomy”, sounds a lot like a “roman law” of Enterprise 2.0-aware design of organizational structure. We’ll see, I sure don’t hope it ends along the lines of “Regulierte Selbstorganisation”, i.e. overregulated and face-value self-organization that’s OK only when dealing with “blue sky” situations …
  • Organizational proponents and supporters of Enterprise 2.0 – seems to be an integrated effort of various stakeholders. Interestingly, at Festo the distributed local branches had more interest than the headquarter. Yes, good point – these scattered outfits will profit the most from improved communication and collaboration.
  • Factors that are speeding up change, Mr. Schümann is rightfully calling for an optimal balance of bottom-up-grass-roots and top-down-supported implementation.
  • „Don’t talk about it, prove it“ – start with actual (pilot) implementations to demonstrate the benefits. Well, yes, that’s what I am saying … so small wonder that his rant “most Enterprise 2.0 consultants are way too theoretical” doesn’t really bother me – I’m a proven Geek Enterprise 2.0 consultant (TM), but I’ve blogged about the E2.0 consulting value proposition here and here before
  • And finally, the need for effective change management in the context of Enterprise 2.0 – well yes, said that before too – here (“One word as a focal point for change – Collaboration“) and here (“Cultural change and developing collaboration capabilities“)

Enterprise 2.0 implications and digital natives

Cool, Björn did an extensive wrap-up of the interview Joachim Niemeier did with Prof. Dr. Michael Koch of the Universität der Bundeswehr, Munich (here’s the german language full text of the interview, here’s the corresponding post by Michael Koch).

Let me add my two cents to the discussion, interpreting and expanding on one point I found especially interesting: His observation that just because students and young people are avid users of social networking applications, this has (at least for the time being) no direct business implications.

From my perspective today the students know a lot of tools and services as StudiVZ or Facebook; but IMO it is not clear to many students how these tools can be used effectively within organisations; therefore I believe that the students nowadays are not any further then the enterprises; but this generation will add some more pressure towards the enterprises in order to use social software tools – though they will not enrich the enterprise with some kind of application expertise.

Well, corresponds with my own experiences with students, derived e.g. from supporting a slew of university courses and related events with innovative e-learning and social media tools. Despite the successes we’ve had I hold that only some of todays students are “real digital natives (TM)”. Granted, most are accustomed to all kinds of services, and they use the internet as normal part of their daily lifes. But that doesn’t mean that

  • they know how to leverage these experiences for business purposes,
  • nor are they “naturally” active and creative web-people, and so I doubt that they all will (again oh so naturally) turn out to be active, creative and efficient participants in (business-oriented) Enterprise 2.0 intranets, social networks etc.

And so, while the pressure on companies to alter organizational cultures, processes and routines is surely mounting by Enterprise 2.0, it’s not alone young people entering the workforce that are causing this. Let’s keep this: age and gender are really bad indicators for “digital nativeness”, easy as they seem to be.

One might even argue that it’s rather people like Frank – well-educated, -networked and experienced knowledge workers – that are raising the pressure. Perhaps it’s the retirement of the baby boomers that should get most companies to think about Enterprise 2.0 – i.e. how to retain the considerable tacit knowledge and social capital these people have, how to enhance and retain their productivity (they’re going to work for another 30 years, don’t they?) and how to ensure that these knowledgeable people stay with us when other companies offer so much more flexibility, openness, transparency – i.e. have become Enterprises 2.0?

What do you think? I am not sure if this is a worthwhile discussion to have – and I sure am not interested in a long discussion about definitions and the like – but for understanding target groups for Enterprise 2.0 initiatives this might be interesting?

Enterprise 2.0 at Adidas – pre-conference interview

Here’s a short summary of the pre-conference interview (alas, german language) Joachim Niemeier did with Christian Kuhna, Head of Internal Communications of the adidas Group

The interview dealt with

  • usage areas of Enterprise 2.0 at Adidas
  • Adidas current intranet situation, and the aims and goals they are pursuing
  • who is engaged as an inner-company proponent of Enterprise 2.0
  • Mr.Kuhna’s expectations for the upcoming Enterprise 2.0 Forum
  • and more

Interesting stuff in there, some notes:

  • Mr. Kuhna’s professional background is in communication, he also has some experience in leveraging intranets and internal communities in M&A situations, i.e. the Daimler-Chrysler. Interestingly, he’s sometimes reminded by the “Enterprise 2.0 hot topics of today” of all the things that were envisioned before.
  • Adidas is aiming for a global intranet portal, which integrates a round of Web 2.0 ideas and technologies. Up to now they’re having a variety of heterogenuous intranets, which makes it hard for employees to find information, etc. Starting from this situation Adidas decided for a fresh start – and they’ve come far by now – during the next months the scattered solutions will be replaced by the new integrated intranet.
  • Adidas’ employees already have some experience with social networks and platforms (Xing, Facebook etc.) and the intranet team leveraged these competencies. He stressed the importance of easy participation, helping adoption off the ground. Yes, getting a voice on the intranet is getting easier and it’s no longer a monopoly of IT departments – we need to allow for easy, free-form, adaptive and emergent design of interaction and participation means. Now, we can be sure that this will also add considerable complexity …
  • How to explain the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 to senior executives? Mr. Kuhna recommends to start with demonstrating the changed nature of (internet based) communication and the emergence of communities. Sounds like a good idea – senior executive support is vital, complementing grass-roots adoption.
  • How will Enterprise 2.0 change organizations? Mr. Kuhna sees most of the changes as rather evolutionary, even when the actual speed of change is impressive. Yet I am not sure if I support this all the way, I guess it depends on how we define “most of the changes” – to me, some current changes in the context of 2.0 are going deep (well, whole industries are disrupted, but for Adidas it may yet be another thing)
  • One last thing that’s worth noting – one of Mr.Kuhna’s wishes for the future of Enterprise 2.0 at Adidas concerns „Budget“. Nothing new on that front obviously – awareness and understanding is nice, but budgets get the thing rolling …

Social capital theory – nicely explained

Via Bill Sherman I stumbled upon a CommonCraft video, that I missed upon at first sight.

Social capital theory nicely explained, that is, citing Bill:

Dr. Nan Lin,  professor of Sociology at Duke University, defines social capital as the ability to locate and mobilize resources within your network. It’s not just who you know, it’s who will actually invest effort to help you towards your goals.

In this video, Common Craft teaches the basics of social capital theory. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear aspects of Nan Lin’s social capital model, Ronald Burt’s structural holes theory, and Mark Granovetter’s “strength of weak ties.” […]