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“)

One Response to “Changing organisations via Enterprise 2.0 – pre-conference interview – Festo”

  1. […] Joachim Niemeier did with Arne Schümann of Festo. It’s here at my personal site: “Changing organisations via Enterprise 2.0 – Festo“, while you can find the german language fulltext of the interview here at the Enterprise 2.0 […]

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