Waving bei der LeWeb

leweb logoKleine Sünden werden direkt bestraft – nachdem ich gestern nicht nur ein Google-T-Shirt bekommen, sondern auch kritische Fragen beim Google Wave Workshop gestellt habe fehlt die Hälfte meiner Eingaben in die Dokumentationswave von Tag 1 der LeWeb

Klar, wir sind noch in der Alpha-Phase aber das kann es doch wirklich nicht sein. OK, vielleicht schafft es der Wave-Server ja doch noch die Änderungen wieder hervorzuzaubern – wenn nein sind das wohl die Nachteile wenn man sich “on the cutting edge” bewegt.

LeWeb ’09 – posts 1 thru 23

sitting among my fellow LeWeb bloggers

No, I’m only joking – there ain’t 23 posts by me on LeWeb by now, but I’ve collected some neat stuff at my posterous blog. Not exactly material for the generic frogpond feed but it’s probably interesting for some of you. Tasty snippets and mostly short comments:

Finding and filtering LeWeb ’09 content

It’s going to get crazy really soon, so here are a few pointers for those of you who want to follow things as they unfold:

Really crazy gets the athmosphere pretty good, a real avalanche of tweets (and I’ve switched over to the closer group of official bloggers and tweeters for relevance) – good to have some overview posts as well. Steph has a pathfinder to find your way …

LeWeb – post 0


Good morning from Paris, some miscellaneous learnings and observations from the evening before LeWeb:

  • 1664 is the name of a beer at Harry’s bar, that’s not the price but it’s close enough
  • the eggheads from Orange Research Labs don’t have egg-shaped heads (and they are no real eggheads)
  • socializing before an event is turbocharging the experience of the event in itself – thanks to all who made this possible
  • Paris metro lines shut down operation way too early

Looking back at the E20SUMMIT – part 4: selected learnings

Enterprise 2.0 SUMMITOK, now and right before LeWeb starts tomorrow it’s finally time to post the remaining parts of the summary posts on the E20SUMMIT. I mean, LeWeb will no doubt lead to an avalanche of posts and tweets, cleaning up all the drafts is essential preparation.

I’ve been looking back at the Wave use at the SUMMIT, at books and reports, and the social networking aspects of conferences, read people before – and I’ve already said that it’s been a good conference, with a lot of good discussions, and engaged people attending! We developed and discussed some great insights, and I want so say special thanks to all who contributed. Simon Wardley said that Enterprise 2.0 is a direction, not a state – and we’ve explored a bit of the road ahead together.

This is so necessary as Enterprise 2.0 in my view is a question of competitive advantage. And while you (and companies) don’t NEED to change, it’s a good idea to change and adapt proactively. Hence, Enterprise 2.0 thought leadership has to deal with the naysayers and the Crockologists – and this push-back is good because it forces us to think through our positions and lines of argumentation, to look at the subject from different angles and perspectives and to sharpen our understanding of both technologies and implementation approaches.

Of course there’s a place and rationale for Enterprise 2.0, and the many case studies provide ample support. Yet, we shouldn’t stop there and assume that uptake will happen naturally. It won’t – corporate resistance is real, thus finetuning Implementation and Adoption is important. Some learnings include that social it’s a bit of a tricky wording, like Andrew McAfee said during his keynote in San Francisco. Yes, words are important, and if you want to be effective it’s essential to test one’s own and the client’s understanding. Gil Yehuda argued that it’s a good idea to speak with the words your organization understands, ie. use the terminology that best resonates with the audience. And don’t use social or E20 like a mantra or mental short-cut, this will work only inside the E20 echo chamber. So we need to talk about tangible business values before we talk about technology, implementation or organizational change management. Yes, finding a non-IT team to run and foster the initiative is one good starting point. Plus, be not too picky about technologies or “solutions” – the best bet may lie in integrating different tools and let the usage emerge. We don’t want to recreate silos and “isolated effort” issues again, do we?

One of my take-aways has thus been that it’s incredibly hard to choose between a “start small – think big pilot” and a “skip the pilot” approach. Yes, it’s necessary to demonstrate quick successes – but both can work and both are potentiually risky, yet for different accounts. In the first case resistance may argue that E20 only works in this special small group of E20-geeks (are they the right ones to drive enterprise 2.0? Too many IT-people from Mars will alienate the business folks from Venus …), in the second case roll-out steps and ideas for more general adoption throughout the enterprise must be thought and budgeted ahead. In both cases the best idea seems to be really adaptable, and willing to employ various transition strategies and ideas. We’ve repeatedly learned that frontal assault is foolish – eg. fighting against email is alienating (on the contrary it should be used as a transition tool) and should be replaced by a more guerilla like adoption approach.

Yet, there are also a bit more manageable tasks and requirements. This arena comprises playing and integrating with established IT and corporate information systems. One major implementation effort and open task is enterprise search integration, being SOX compliant, and dealing with the various challenges and implications, concerns and sorrows for E2.0 deployments. The “cloud” (be it SaaS, hosted, etc.) in particular is tricky enough – see e.g. the EU Data Protection Directive and the questions of privacy it poses (yes, European perspective here, we’ve had lots of good discussions about the different challenges with E20 in Europe versus the US.)

[…] If you want to put data in the cloud that includes personal information of EU residents (and that might be something as simple as an email address or employment information), and the data will flow from the EU to almost anywhere in the world, you cannot simple throw the data in the cloud and hope for the best.

Another learning focusses on the discussions of measuring collaborative performance – the scheme of how to measure effectiveness vs. efficiency presented by Kjetil Kristensen was insightful and stressed that effectiveness of collaboration efforts is often overlooked and neglected. Yes, the value of collaboration is not collaboration itself (and sometimes you don’t people to collaborate at all, think Chinese Walls in investment banking etc.) – the values of communication and collaboration across hierachical levels and “official tasks” are various: Thinking together, not thinking alike should be the goal, while buidling up mutual understanding. Tricky, huh?

And here’s one link to the adoption and implementation issues from above: As knowledge and understanding of one companies’ vision of E20 is created in the conversation it’s essential to engage many stakeholders in the conversation, if only to connect the efforts with the actual business needs of the people. Gathering diverse perspectives and having meaningful conversations on the opportunities ahead ensures shared vision.

OK, now I’m off to Paris, it’s been kinda hard

Knowledge worker workplaces, toolsets and configurations

This entry is part of Thorsten Zörner’s christmas calendar blog carnival – my task is to add something interesting for Dec 8. Thought this is an opportunity to write about something more general than usual. Still there’s collaboration and knowledge-worker content in here, stand by.

Let’s see, we all know toolsets they are fascinating, and as I’ve just set up my new travelling machine, ie. an ultra-portable 10,1″ screen laptop, it’s time to do a write-up for my other machines as well. These include home office workstations, ranging from desktop machines and servers to the notebook and the netbooks. So below you will find my short list of collaboration and communication tools and set-ups. For consultants this seems to be easy only at first sight (yes, of course mobile and on-site work is an important element), but my tools comprise much more than a mobile phone, a laptop with Powerpoint and a dark suit.

Now, fascinating tools aren’t the only reason for this post, there are at least two more: some time ago Ute linked to a survey by Dirk on what is the ideal IT-workers workplace, and last week I’ve been to the first meeting in the planned Stuttgart CoWorking space. As we’ve been dicussing what one needs for a likeable and efficient workplace (from coffee corners, open office spaces vs. silent single rooms, meeting rooms and a library) some other recent posts I earmarked lately were creeping up. And these are shining a little light on the trends and future of distributed knowledge work, and maybe even on the nature of work on the web …

Lilia Efimova wonders what happens when “[…] we move from a physical space into a digital one. […] First is about understanding what is missing when the work becomes distributed […] The second one is about emergent solutions – articulating how exactly tools facilitate things ‘around work’ that enable it.”. Here I think that she touches base with the CoWorking idea: “name […] those things – those that provide us with time, space, opportunities and excuses to engage into informal and non-goal oriented interactions. Are they spaces? activities? contexts? structures?”. I can live happily with the notion of coworking space, but it’s of course also about adaptive contexts that allow for the emergence of structures and coordinated activities.

Then Domic Basulto identified 5 top trends for the new way to work (“creativity and innovation are more valued by employers people than ever before and the traditional notion of work as merely an economic activity is being supplemented by ideas about happiness and well-being”). Obviously it’s been me who deleted employers and replaced it with people.

Yes, and I think that toolsets and work configurations are essential to living and working happily and productively. Even more for a collaboration and Enterprise 2.0 consultant who should test and evaluate the future of work first-hand …

So here’s how a productive and happy workspace looks for me:

frogpond workplace

This is my home office setup, three screens, two computers (server and desktop), a large desk, decent lighting (ergonomics is important, there’s a window to the left but on a winter’s morning it’s of little use). You don’t see the coffee machine, you don’t see the packed bookshelves to my right and you don’t hear the music playing in the background.

Then there’s the (software) technology configuration, ie. all the tools I use and employ (like Nancy I wonder if by looking at one person’s personal technology configuration, you can get a sense of what a community’s tech configuration might be). Well, here’s my microcosm:

  • my blogs are the centerpieces of my online world (both are running WordPress, besides frogpond there’s BMID)
  • Personal and business wikis – both are running Dokuwiki – this is my intranet and extranet
  • Gmail (two accounts, one private one, another one on Google Apps for everything business related), together with Google Docs, Google Reader, Google Sites and Google Wave
  • Skype and Pidgin on the machines below Ubuntu 9.10, Empathy on the 9.10 desktop. For IRC, Google Talk and Jabber stuff.
  • Twitter and identi.ca
  • Posterous
  • Tumblr
  • delicious
  • friendfeed
  • Xing, LinkedIn, Facebook and a myriad of other webservices
  • and last not least some P2-themed WordPress-powered blogs at various points both in the intranet and the extranet (for communication and collaboration with a range of individuals from a range of networks)

All this is managed and accessed by

  • GNU/Linux machines (I have XP dual boot set-up on the laptops, alas), Ubuntu Server 8.04 LTS, Desktop 9.04 and 9.10. Gnome mostly.
  • a nice selection of browsers (Firefox, Chromium, Opera, Midori)
  • and Adobe AIR powered Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop – still installed, but hardly used, sorry Loic
  • plus – and obviously because these are GNU/linux machines – there are some other tools that make up my configuration – mostly the standard desktop stuff like Filezilla, Gimp, Open Office or Inkscape, but also more consultant’s work tools like OpenProj, Dia and Freemind.

The funny thing now is that my setting is both really bound to my home-office physical location (these screens aren’t really mobile), and really virtual at the same time.

Being digital in the configuration of tools (mail, web services and all) makes it easy to be productive on the road and it’s lightweight. See, setting up the new travelling machine comprised nothing more than a clean install of Ubuntu 9.10, the setup of AIR and Tweetdeck and the addition of more geeky browsers (Opera and Chromium). Everything else is sitting happily on various servers, making it really easy for me to kick in an odd day in a coworking space, at the client’s site, at a conference or whereever my knowledge worker life takes me …

I need and enjoy it that way but I also guess that it’s a growing trend with others as well?

Information overload in Enterprise 2.0 and waving a hello to LeWeb

between a rock and a hard placeI’m stuck in the midst of conferences and end-of-year-accelerating projects, both adding to the workload (low-quality rock and the hard place picture of Homer ‘course copyrighted by Fox, obviously).

And next week will be filled to the brim with LeWeb. Still I wanted to conclude with me looking back at the e2conf in San Francisco and the E20SUMMIT in Frankfurt (yes, will post my other promised posts now …). One needs to use a blogging opportunity if it’s there, that is before all the interruptions that result from being better connected in this social web world will result in another dropdown of productivity on Monday morning …

This might well be one of the symptoms Kathleen Culver diagnosed at e20conf – that the attention erosion that comes with mutliple, real-time and intertwined activity streams may result in “an inability to perform deep analysis on whatever it is you’re working on”:

Research is suggesting the Enterprise 2.0 technologies might introduce negative impacts productivity, decision quality and job satisfaction, in addition to the positive ones. What do we need to be aware of as we unleash these solutions on employees?


Join me in challenging companies to address these soft challenges of Enterprise 2.0. Challenges that can potentially dilute the benefit of E2.0 and maybe even make employees less productive and happy. Either take a moment to consider these issues when plunging forward with deployments or add your comments to the blog so we can raise the visibility of these challenges.

On the other hand I am a great fan of Clay Shirky’s meme of “filter failure, not information overload” – thus I am constantly on the search for better tools to filter and sort. That said, this constant search may be adding to the overload again

logoYet I am expecting that the directory wave I prepared for LeWeb can help in collecting, systematizing and refining the various real-time content streams. Wave can be a very capable interactive venue, that’s allowing and enabling freeform collaboration, that is accesible and searchable by all, and that can help us master the “Information Candy Superstore” that LeWeb sure is going to be.

I told you already that I’m one of the official bloggers this year, hence you may find my writings, tweets and posts aggregated on many more places, Steph compiled some of the meta places to follow in here:

[…] You can also follow them all on Twitter with the official bloggers list. During the conference, you will be able to find all their posts about LeWeb’09 on a single page, with a single feed (thanks to Superfeedr). Another way to access their publications is through the LeWeb’09 Pearltree — just click on the Official Bloggers branch.