Via Twitter I found this Webcast, sponsored by Cisco. It’s a +twenty-minute conversation with Jessica Lipnack (who also shared her experience in doing the webcast – “How BusinessWeek makes sausage, I mean, webcasts“, sic!) and Karen Sobel Lojeski, author of “Uniting the Virtual Workforce: Transforming Leadership and Innovation in the Globally Integrated Enterprise”:
This is an interesting discussion, that somehow bridges across time – connecting the old-timer “virtual collaboration” with the young guns of 2.0-enabled collaboration. No real conflict in there, like with Knowledge Management many good ideas were formulated back then, that are gaining visibility and traction now thanks to a wider diffusion of tools and connectivity (and a changed understanding and dare I say, acceptance of underlying principles and methods, too).
So, when the both of them are putting the fire on outdated management models I applaud them, even when I don’t agree with everything they hold (oh, this overdrawn focus on face-to-face, a few seconds before they’re saying that we’re having a romantic notion of face-to-face working). But this is normal, given that we’re talking about a really complex subject here, technologies (shared teamrooms, videoconferences, whatever …) are rather easy to figure out in comparison.
I agree with much that was said, but found some aspects of the interview strangely old fashioned. As you mention an over focus on face to face and,in my opinion, over emphasis on voice with almost total dismissal of the value of text. Textual communication is a great way of establishing credentials before the onset of stereotyping and prejudice, which they acknowledge with the “age” story and dismiss as counter intuitive. Maybe their view is biased by gender communication preferences.
Hmm, this gender stuff is a minefield we shouldn’t enter … 😉
But I am sharing your feelings about the general direction and take on virtual collaboration in the webcast. Like if shiny virtual collaboration teleconferences were more able than simple text-based collaboration in Wikis et al.
Granted, this “virtual workforce” stuff is interesting and I will check out the coming videos, but yes, there are efficient and simple ways already and we shouldn’t neglect them.
There’s a part in the video where they’re effectively saying that you have to choose few tools out of the range of tools, just to not overwhelm users (wiki or blog or microblog or whatever or …) – this doesn’t feel right, especially when we’re having simple tools with immediate benefits and relatively small adoption issues …
Maybe what they’re ssying is actually another indication for the need for integrated solutions, where all collaboration options are bundled under one label and user interface?
Well, I just found this – thanks so much, Martin. Gender communication preference, Ian? My, my. What did I say that undervalued the importance and preeminence of text? I’m a writer, for heaven’s sake. And I’ve been a huge advocate of online conferencing since I first came online in ’79, having joined via EIES, once of the earliest conferencing systems. And for the record, you didn’t hear me emphasizing face-to-face. The study we did for Harvard Business Review (“Can Absence Make a Team Grow Stronger?”) found that face-to-face was not a factor in the success of our survey teams. In fact, most of them never had any – fewer than 4% – and still they were very effective. OK. Rant over. And thanks again Martin. Terrific that you’ve posted this.
Jessica, I told him to not enter that minefield, glad I didn’t. Anyway and just for the notice, I’ve seen people (and I guess they’ve made studies too) that hold: “women are generally more able to thrive in the social web space”. This because of several traits, like e.g. being more able in sensitive communication, showing more willingness to understand discussion partners, etc. I must search for more information on this, looks quite sensible.
And you’re right, you and Karen didn’t push the F2F thing, rather you were saying that we’re having a “romantic notion of face-to-face working” to which I heavily nodded. Let’s say that it was Mr. Ellis who brought up the subject of F2F 🙂
i believe it was a bit rushed, and omitted some options that not many individuals talk about. Everybody knows that almost all new smartphones have internet, so why show that fundamental perform at its bear minimum. Scroll up scroll down zoom in zoom out. Actually? which new phone doesnt do this? How bout discuss how the textual content rearranges itsself. Additionally the texting, very poor review. Why didnt you mention you need to use the mic and text along with your voice? Disregarded ALOT of other extra vital options
Dare, indeed the video was even a bit old-fashined and old-school then, but acknowledge that more than a year has passed on top of that by now.
Totally agree that a lot has happened, esp. in the area of capable smartphones (hey, we can even use Skype on most of them by now …)