Clay Shirky on Cognitive Surplus

Great thinking about the web’s underlying trends (and some promises for the future) in this talk by Clay Shirky at the Web 2.0 Expo (here’s the edited transcript, here’s a post by me on his new book). Nice quotes in there, like this one on innovation in the digital economy:

The way you explore complex ecosystems is you just try lots and lots and lots of things, and you hope that everybody who fails fails informatively so that you can at least find a skull on a pikestaff near where you’re going. That’s the phase we’re in now.

Bookmarks for April 18th from 21:27 to 21:42

Social business pinboard links for April 18th, syndicated automagically:

  • The Network Singularity: Organization Networks – Rather unbelievable how limited network comprehension is and how slow people gain a network mindset. it is a real problem. Changing the org chart, moving the nodes and connections, in an effort to improve performance, is primitive org/social network analysis (SNA). People are often dismissive of the org chart. However, organizational hub and spoke network configurations are critical for continuity, resource allocation, governance and so forth. Org charts are often the formal networks of the organization.
  • Get Your Team to Work Across Organizational Boundaries – Brad Power – Harvard Business Review – A social media platform like Handshake or a three-day process workshop are just tools to help build and maintain teams that work across organizational boundaries. These tools need to be complemented by new behaviors of the CEO and C-Suite, shared objectives and measures, and a governance structure and management processes to implement changes together and monitor and celebrate progress. These institutional changes are huge. Yet, as shown in the MITRE and patient journey examples, the best way to compete is to get everyone working together across boundaries to solve customer problems. Question: What experience have you had in building teamwork across organizational boundaries?
  • AIIM2012 Clay Shirky Keynote | Collaborative Planning & Social Business – The title of his talk was “To Make Sense of Data, First Make Sense of People“. His central theme is that for a business, knowledge management is not purely knowledge management, and is becoming more & more associated with people management.  Change is getting messier, more human, and more social.  New tools and techniques are needed, and are becoming available for problem solving.
  • AIIM2102 Dion Hinchcliffe Keynote | Collaborative Planning & Social Business – Dion Hinchcliffe has been a luminary in the social technology space, however with this talk “Mobility First: New Opportunities” he has shifted into being an evangelist for mobile computing.  For a very good reason: the shift to mobile computing is the most dramatic technology transition in history.  Ever.   What follows are my notes from the talk.

Lotusphere 2011 – press conference notes

Finally, I am coming around to blog my notes from the Lotusphere 2011 press conference.

I won’t regurgitate any press releases, you can easily find them at the IBM Lotusphere press room, rather it’s notes about the questions (and consecutive) answers (with an occasional snappy remark by me, of course).

So what was in there? First, recapitulations of the things we’ve heard already at the opening session, ie. the importance of mobile social business (stressing that clients will be there for all major mobile platforms), the upcoming Project Vulcan-enhanced new Connections next, Sametime next and everything next, and the announcement of new programs to help partners embrace the “growing social business market opportunity”.

I think that “embrace to leverage” is good, needs some coaching and education and IBM is stepping up their efforts, see eg. the Become a Social Business site, aimed not only at customers but also at partners et al. Fitting that they’re taking great efforts at also educating and motivating IBM staff. As Paul Greenberg tweeted: “They are not only eating their own dogfood, they’re breeding their own dogs!” – yes, and it’s a great investment too: “IBM aims to train 50K of its employees on #socbiz this year, so they can be more effective and help others” as Larry Hawes says correctly.

In the question round it started off with an analyst asking how IBM prioritizes open standards – and which ones?

Alistair Rennie chose the safe road and answered that – whether inside or outside the firewall – with standards there’s always a spectrum (or as I would say, there’s legion to choose from and some of them don’t catch on even if they are very cleverly devised and all). So, for IBM HTML5 is a big one, OpenSocial, OAuth, Activity Streams and more. This parallels what eg. RIM is thinking (there should be no Apps needed for the web, native access is cool because it also allows you to employ your existing tools) and is mirrored as well in the provision of the Social Business Toolkit (more on this later, I have to sort out some things on this, like seeing through my notes from Charlie Hill’s sunday morning talk “Executive Insight: The IBM Social Business Platform”)

How long will it take for widespread adoption?

Again Alistair Rennie took to it – explaining that IBM sees it as a business-driven thing (and I say is obviously grounded in it’s approach, you better be when you’re that old …, no need for too much revolutionary /missionary zest), where you need to be able to act sensibly and contextually relevant. But the social business mindset can be applied to a wide variety of business processes and the advantages are tangible (sure, they are I say) so he’s optimistic about adoption.

What are the ideas to help people filter through the information avalanche? (this wasn’t the exact wording of the question, but close enough -I thought it a bit awkward, ie. remember the notion of Clay Shirky – filter failure, not information overload)

Two elements – one filtering (yes, analytics, applying semantic analytics to extract meaning and act upon it), the other (predicitive) analytics – especially important when you think of the synchronization of activity streams on mobile devices. You don’t want all info tidbits presented there, so you need to differentiate the super-important or urgent from the rest. So you filter stuff in the back, then push the best onto the device. The exact methods to do this are in the working, but it’s essential that this filtering and high-lighting is done in an open and transparent way.

Concerning organizational change management – what is IBM doing to help people understand the importance? Does it reshape fundamental (departmental) organizational processes? What are IBM’s experiences?

Hmm, here I didn’t get the whole answer, but I am pretty sure it revolved around demonstrating benefits, educating and coaching (see above on what IBM is doing, yes) and the need for an (internal) team of ambassadors (think what the BlueIQ team has done for IBM) who explain, show and tell, … Alistair also pointed out that while it always depends on the context, ie. industry and business segment, IBM has brought a row of clients to #ls11 that can give insight into what they’ve done, so go ahead and talk to them.

So what is part of Project Vulcan?

Short answer: last year it was a project not a product, this year there’s tweaked products, ie. Notes next is heavily Vulcan vision influenced. Equally the mobile solutions (there was talk about this at ls10 for sure, see eg. my write-up of last year’s analyst briefing), the provision of the Social Business Toolkit etc. So basically Project Vulcan is everywhere …

There were more questions on Symfony, the dangers risks of social software, ie. downsides of transparency, and also on how much IBM is investing and expecting to earn. Needless to say that this last one was asked by a guy from (I bet you knew that already, huh?). He got a short answer, ie. core focus, big play, big expectations (I bet you knew that already too, huh?). The longer answer involved some grounded reasoning around the benefits not alone being in saving money, but eg. also driving down cycle-time, time to market etc. And there was a nice remark on CSC seeing social business is working and consequently not putting the numbers on close scrutiny all the time. So much for this zombie-alike recurring theme of “We can’t do this as long as we don’t have numbers” (aka the RoI discussion et al.).
ps. very geeky picture above (“it goes to 11, we checked”) by The Original Turtle

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.

Here comes everybody – true on many accounts

Steve Cunningham is summarizing books via video, nicely produced as he’s using a mixture of visualizations and “key point”-slides. And he’s asking his followers on Twitter which book he should tackle next, cool.

Here he’s reviewing Clay Shirky’s “Here comes Everybody” (btw, he claims to not being related with Ward Cunningham):

Nice blurb too:

Question it answers: Why we are going through the biggest change in how we communicate the world has ever seen.

Why you should care: Most books on “new media” focus on the what. This is the only book truly dedicated to the why.

Oh and btw, you may enter into my writings on Shirky and more videos via this post: Clay Shirky on Cognitive Surplus

Rückblick auf CeBIT und Webciety09

Zeit für eine persönliche Bilanz der CeBIT ’09. Und nachdem ich aus Hannover eine ausgewachsene CeBIT-Erkältung mit nach Hause gebracht habe ist es nur fair auch die Aktiva-Seite der Bilanz zu betrachten.

Ich muss vorausschicken dass es bei der Einordnung der CeBIT sehr auf die persönliche Perspektive ankommt – und ich muss sagen, dass meine Erwartungen mehr als erfüllt wurden.

Das mag zum einen daran liegen dass ich als Enterprise 2.0-Berater ohne Kaufabsichten auf eine Messe gehe, meine Informationen über neue Technologien, Produkte (oder Gadgets …) erhalte ich zumeist recht effizient via Internet. Damit stimme ich nicht in die häufige Klage ein, dass nicht viel neues präsentiert wurde.

Wichtiger ist mir die Weiterentwicklung der Messe zu einer “Fast-Konferenz” – und die Bereitstellung eines Rahmens in dem themenorientierte Gespräche möglich werden. Gerade die Webciety bot diesen Rahmen, dem Messefazit von @homofaber in der HAZ schließe ich mich also an: Kleiner, feiner, konzentrierter. Ich bin mir sicher dass der – dieses Jahr relativ kleine Bereich der Webciety – nächstes Jahr wachsen wird. Sascha, Cedric und Björn haben mit der Webciety ein Highlight der CeBIT ’09 geschaffen. Und da die “Verbindung von Internet und Gesellschaft” spannend bleibt … zudem, wo sonst würde sich ein Treffpunkt für Blogger und andere netzaffine Menschen anbieten?


Ein lesenwertes Review zur Webciety von Ingo und Stephan habe ich im Weblog von netformic gefunden, einige schöne Bilder finden sich im Fotostream CeBIT 2009 von t3n.

Die Webciety-Area (eine Wortschöpfung bestehend aus Web und Society) in Halle 6 sollte einen passenden Rahmen schaffen, um mit den CeBIT-Besuchern den aktuellen Stand sowie die nächsten Entwicklungsstufen unserer vernetzten Gesellschaft zu diskutieren. Aussteller und Bühnenprogramm u.a. rund um die Themen Tourismus-, Gesundheit-, Wine- (?) und Politik 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 Summit: Future of Workspace, Micro-Blogging & Social Aggregation bis hin zu pre:publica: Webciety – Wandel der Gesellschaft (hier geht´s zum kompletten Programm auf der Webciety-Area). Dies ist mit diesem Format – wie ich finde – sehr gut gelungen. In mehreren moderierten Vortragsreihen täglich mit jeweils passend ausgewählten Gesprächspartnern wurde so kontrovers diskutiert, wie es mir auch bei dieser bahnbrechenden Veränderung  unserer Gesellschaft angemessen erscheint. An einer sogenannten Twitterwall wurden sämtliche Twitter-Beiträge (Tweets) LIVE abgebildet. Zudem stellten Unternehmen aus und luden zum Gespräch ein, welche für entsprechend innovative Ideen, Software und/oder Dienstleistungen in diesen Bereichen stehen.

Weitere Fragen, Bemerkungen und Beobachtungen folgen in einem Follow-Up Post, hier nur der erste Hinweis auf die Mitschnitte der Panels (u.a. mit Clay Shirky, Dion Hinchcliffe und Gunter Dueck) bei Neben den für mich besonders interessanten Panels mit Dion (Enterprise 2.0, ja) empfehle ich die Aufzeichnung von Clay Shirky im Gespräch mit Frank Schönefeld (“5 myths about the change of organizations”):

Aufzeichnungen sind prima, denn leider habe ich einige der Panels verpasst  – insgesamt waren meine drei Tage einfach zu kurz (bspw. habe ich weder den Baden-Württemberg Gemeinschaftsstand und auch nicht die “Forschungshalle 9” sehen können). Aber ich war alle Tage sehr beschäftigt, u.a. weil ich eine Reihe von Videointerviews zum Thema Enterprise 2.0 geführt habe, die Björn und ich in kürze hier und im enterprise2open-Blog veröffentlichen werden.

Und das leitet auch zum abschließenden CeBIT-Fazit: Wo sonst als auf einer Messe wie der CeBIT (bzw. ihren fokussierten Teilbereichen wie der Webciety) kann man es schaffen in so kurzer Zeit so viele Interviews mit so vielen (Enterprise 2.0-Experten) Menschen zu machen:

Leveraging unexpected uses (of Twitter), more proof

Well, just got another proof for the benefits of social media serendipity and being well-networked. Right after posting the TED talk by Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter) on my Business Model Innovation blog (posted it there because I deemed it more relevant from an innovation management perspective than from an Enterprise collaboration perspective) I did see this tweet by Ross Mayfield of Socialtext and another one retweeting a comment by Clay Shirky to an observation and warning Ross just posted. Sounds more complex than it is in fact. Quoting Ross comment on his very own post here is just that, a nice little addition to my BMID post on serendipity which will show up over there via Trackback, yes, I said it pays to be networked).

@replies were invented by users of twitter as a convention to address a tweet to someone. Then some 3rd party clients like Twhirl implemented them, and then Twitter did. They are valuable ways of stringing together Tweets into a conversation. When someone @replies your username on twitter, you see their message in your replies tab. The problem is that anyone or anything can do so, so you may have a ShamWow message in your face.

Now, I am not going to mourn the loss of Twitter (not on a day on which I have crossed the treshold of 1000 followers, yesyesyes). But balancing spam and keeping those very welcome serendipitious effects is what we need to achieve indeed. I for one am not willing to give up on Twitter, even when I know this situation too. And this reminds us how lucky we are in our nice little corporate settings, no wiki vandals, no spammers on the microblogs … yes, the good life.