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?