Pre-Conference interview: dbWiki – building a Web 2.0 corporate knowledge base

There’s another pre-conference interview (”Fallbeispiel: dbWiki – Umsetzung eines unternehmensinternen Lexikons mit Web 2.0 Technologie“) at the Enterprise 2.0 Forum site. Again it’s german language only, so here’s a short english language summary and brief analysis of the key points discussed.

This time Joachim Niemeier spoke with Dr. Matthias Büger, Vice President, Group Technology and Operations and Jamil Ouaj, GTO Communications of Deutsche Bank AG.

Topics of the conversation included:

  • the understanding of Enterprise 2.0 at Deutsche Bank, i.e. the focus of E 2.0 efforts – these include supporting collaboration between employees, and enhancing the social capital inside the company and in relation to partners and customers.
  • perceived benefits of Enterprise 2.0 – basically, leveraging and effectively using knowledge in social networks and communities. They pointed out that contributors can build up authority and expand their personal network in the bank, strengthening the employer (well, rather community of colleagues)-employee relationship. Well, I think that rationale is a little bit awkward. While I certainly can see the point I guess that for employees it’s important that their professional networks aren’t confined by the narrow limits of one organization (they’re no life-timers, are they?). And I am seeing more and more “natural optimizers of personal professional value” – these people value and master relationships no matter what company the other nodes are in, companies need to loosen up their borders anyway and they’re doing it in other places too (see bullet point #1 above)
  • Organizational barriers of Enterprise 2.0 (namely a lack of willingness, motivation and preparedness, like e.g. overly bureaucratic structures) and how to deal with them. Yes, it’s about fitting an ambitious concept into a context that’s not ready. Their basic advice is sound – fitting Enterprise 2.0 initiatives into the overall strategic setting. I found it more interesting that he called for a more rigorous project management than usual, but that’s probably due to the nature of the beast. Banks they put so much attention on risk management, governance and diligence that it seems hard to approach things differently. See, while I hold project management dear, I also like the light-weight aspects of Enterprise 2.0 and the swiftness it brings. Hence I would rather argue for the creativity and agility of “planned and controlled experimentation” than the security of coordination meetings, processes and all (“Abstimmungsrunden und Teilprozessen”).
  • finally, their wishes for the upcoming conference. This is something I fully join in: “let’s discuss this space, but leave the hype behind”

Enterprise 2.0 implications and digital natives

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?

Jenny Ambrozek @ E20Summit

… on architecting participation (“Structural Holes and Space between the Tools”), some notes (Jenny, you know I’ve got clumsy fingers), her blog is here:

– people is the thing that doesn’t change – it depends on your structures, on the ways work is organized, the choreography, the inner workings etc.
– we need to think simultaneously about technologies *and* organizations, these are intertwined, no thing like Ceteris Paribus here (it’s ans AND BOTH world)
– Jenny had some concerns with the Davenport/McAfee debate, like that it omits discussion about value creation principles – again people and the structures they’re working in

Some remarks on Enterprise 2.0 SLATES, then she’s looking at Organizational Network Analysis, referring to Valdis Krebs, Rob Cross, Patti Anklam and Nancy White (crazy, I follow these people too on a regular basis). Mentions the Dunbar number, Metcalfe’s law etc.

SNA reveals informal networks, which thrive in parallel to the formal, visible structure. Yes, this allows for completely different perspectives on the social world inside organizations, on influence groups, leverage points and patterns of interaction.

Jenny offers some more insights on the importance of choosing metrics right, like when measuring only the activity of wiki edits doesn’t really provide insight – you have to look behind the history of these edits, the changing alliances in the argument, etc.

To wrap it up, this is messy, complex stuff, the most interesting things are happening in the spaces in between. The notion of network thinking is a demanding discipline, perhaps one reason that able organizational development consultants are rare in this space, yet enhancing or leveraging social capital in the enterprise is a hugely important task.

This has been one of my highlights for the conference, sadly I have been bugged in between by annoying internet connection problems, so this writeup is rather sparse. Anyway, I will exchange some words with Jenny later on, there’s a get-together scheduled at the end of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit, some beers are definitely doomed …

Bookmarks for April 5th from 12:55 to 15:05

Social business pinboard links for April 5th, syndicated automagically:

  • References+ von Siemens BT: Die Fallstudie auf e20cases – References+ ist eine Web-Anwendung zum weltweiten Austausch von Wissen, Erfahrungen und Best-Practices innerhalb des Siemens-Intranets. Nicht die IT-Anwendung als solche, sondern die derzeit ca. 8.100 Mitglieder umfassende Nutzer-Community bildet den Hauptfokus zum effizienten Wissensaustausch. Im Sinne von „Social Networking“ möchte References+ Siemens-Mitarbeitende über organisatorische, hierarchische und geographische Grenzen hinweg vernetzen und diese zur direkten Kommunikation untereinander animieren. Es kann beobachtet werden, dass der dadurch initiierte Wissenstransfer nicht nur über die Anwendung, sondern auch parallel dazu über rein bilaterale Kommunikation stattfindet.
  • Collaborative BPM: Key components for success – TIPS FOR SUCCESS WITH COLLABORATIVE BPM In terms of managing the human element, Palmer says it is vital to have someone to assist the process. But he emphasizes that the person filling that role should function as a facilitator, rather than as a dictator. “You will never achieve a situation where everyone is equal in the process, but you need someone to focus on democratizing it as much as possible,” he says.
  • Innovative initiatives and challenges on management – 1- Eliminate the pathologies of the formal hierarchy
    2- Redefine the work of leadership
    3- Reduce fear and increase trust.
    4- Expand and exploit diversity
    5- Expand the scope of employee autonomy.
    6- Create an internal market for ideas, talent and resources

    These are some of the challenges that will be released every day if we want that the ideas overcome barriers due to its implementation. The bet on creativity has to be done and win.

  • Netz-IQ: In der Gruppe intelligenter als einzeln | doubleYUU GmbH & Co. KG – Auf der einen Seite kluge Gruppe, auf der anderen Seite der tumbe Mob? Wie ist diese Diskrepanz zu erklären? Für ihre Untersuchung nutzten die Forscher einen Intelligenztest, der auf abstrakt logischem Denken basiert, die soziale Intelligenz wird also nicht  gemessen. Daher lässt sich die vermeintliche Gruppenintelligenz nicht auf gesellschaftliche Fragen übertragen. Das Web 2.0, in diesem Fall Facebook, bietet vielen die Möglichkeit als „Opinion Leader“ aufzutreten und Gruppen zu bilden. Diese Gruppen sind zwar ähnlich, wie in der Untersuchung von Microsoft, homogen; befassen sich aber mit Fragestellung bei denen es nicht darum geht logisch zu denken sondern zwischen gesellschaftlich falsch und richtig zu entscheiden. Das ist in der Gruppe genauso komplex, wie für eine einzelne Person, egal ob off- oder online.
  • CK2C Communities Guide – home – Capitalizing Knowledge, Connecting Communities (CK2C) Communities Manual Welcome! CK2C and have developed this online manual to support communities and collaboration. CK2C is a US Agency for International Development project to strengthen knowledge sharing and learning in natural resources management. We have compiled the resources on this site from the US Agency for International Development , building from the "Communties@USAID Technical Guide" and other sources, as a one-stop manual for starting, maintaining and closing down online communities. It is a work in progress and we are looking for feedback. For comments or to request permission to edit pages – please write to

Enterprise 2.0 as a field under construction

The Enterprise 2.0 conference is over and it was all worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, the talks and above all meeting so many people whose work I value and follow. And Boston as a town is fun too, I am now sitting in the lovely Coop Bookstore at Harvard place, hooked up on the Wi-Fi to see how Denmark is doing against Cameroon and to blog and tweet. So what’s the score for Enterprise 2.0, now that another important event has passed?

Well, I think it’s still a field under construction, all systems normal – but it’s also promising and rapidly evolving. This industry is forward-looking and the value of the field is now validated (not by numbers or cases – 1.500 attendees are pretty impressive still, as are the numbers of exhibitors – but rather by the quality and matureness of the talks and discussions and by the case studies and experiences of those engaged in it). It’s now necessary to really show and tell companies how to leverage it (less complicated for tools, way more complex in terms of Enterprise 2.0 paradigms, principles and methods) to improve business performance, processes and overall company fitness. Now, more companies begin to make significant investments in Enterprise 2.0 platforms, following the early adopters. And they all know that they are in this for the long haul (and plan for a longer journey without shortcuts, avoid cargo cult imitation and thus may head for sustainable success).

Some of my other learnings include:
– I like this town, its systems of public transportation and the attitude of its people, though there are times when you wonder a bit. I don’t like that you have to pay the equivalent of 6€ for a regular beer, on the other hand this is probably a good thing too …
– a new acronym – HiPPOs – the Highest Paid Person in the Organization via Andrew McAfee’s keynote (on the four tensions of Enterprise 2.0). I like funny metaphors.
– live-waving and -documenting during a conference is demanding (I either need more collaborators on this or a time-machine, hint). Some more thoughts on this later.
– interesting that both sessions I probably enjoyed the most were kind of “sandwiching” the actual conference, ie. the Monday all-day workshop of the 2.0 Adoption Council and Thursday’s Enterprise 2.0 townhall meeting. This mustn’t worry the people in between like the keynote speakers – the format of discussing in a smaller group like on Monday is very hard to beat.

In the townhall meeting (acting as both “time to look back and review” and forum) we agreed that integration, processes, (organizational) culture and finally metrics and the corresponding approaches to (understand) the measuring of success must be topics to watch more, as they were spared a bit from this year.

Besides this, what was missing from the mix at #e2conf that can be dealt with next time? Legal and technocratic aspects of Enterprise 2.0 (or they were sailing out of my sight, hmm, I heard some small mentioning of compliance). Dealing with the technological underpinnings (good thing). And more interestingly: Tackling the complexities of organizational psychology and the changing nature of leadership in a social web world. Organizational development and its established and able set of methods and tools (this one really should be a natural fit as its paradigms and principles are very fitting to those of Enterprise 2.0 and it may inform and help us dealing with that big, hairy thing called culture).

So I am now planning for the next #e2conf planned for Santa Clara in November (the call for papers is open). I would love to be there again and am thus thinking of handing in a proposal (there’s an idea that emerged between the european crowd in a pause outside the Westin, it needs some flesh but it sounds interesting so far 😉

ps. Yes, visiting the refurbished frogpond has to wait till next time in Boston. Above the sad reality of my trip there on Friday, all empty and no ducks or frogs in sight. But construction work is necessary at times, and it helps in building a nicer environment for us all …

Looking back at the E20SUMMIT, part 3: Books and reports

Yes, right – one of my small observations at the E20SUMMIT deals with “printed paper” – and it’s importance for the advancement of Enterprise 2.0.

Gil Yehuda said at the SUMMIT that we need to choose the right words and a common vocabulary when communicating (with the C-level I think especially). It’s probably a matter of media channel too …

51j8gUn2YoL._SL500_AA240_One of the books that was discussed quite a lot was Andrew McAfee’s book “Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for your Organization’s Toughest Challenges” (Disclosure: I am going to write a detailed review soon, after all I was given the book by Andrew’s agent at HBS Publishing knowing that I’m a blogger and would probably write about it – no further arrangements have been made and I am writing my honest opinions anyway). Apparently he signed and sold hundreds of them at last weeks Enterprise 2.0 conference, the stacks look impressive for sure (see the photo by Dion Hinchcliffe who managed to be among the first in line …)

41tyESTxbUL._SL160_AA115_Next up with various recommendations from various people was Morton Hansen’s book “Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big Results” – funny how everybody thinks this might be interesting for me 😉

I should probably check it out as well, but I may have to wait until my trip to the U.S. for Lotussphere to lay my hands upon one.

978-3-446-41800-4_299812157-86Frank Schoenefeld’s book “Praxisleitfaden Enterprise 2.0. Wettbewerbsfähig durch neue Formen der Zusammenarbeit, Kundenbindung und Innovation. Basiswissen zum erfolgreichen Einsatz von Web 2.0-Technologien” is one german language entry into this field, at the SUMMIT he said that there may be an english translation coming up … (Disclosure again: I was given the book by Frank Schoenefeld, all other rules and remarks stay the same as above …)

Last one in the list of “newly published” paperworks is the 20Adoption Council‘s first report on how to “roll out e20 in a large enterprise”. Sounds interesting too, and I should ask Susan or Gil about it sometime soon …

The 2.0 Adoption Council is conducting ground-breaking research on its members. As each member is screened for eligible membership in the Council, our data set is among the best in the business for early adoption of 2.0 technologies and practices.

[…] Who should buy this report?

  • CEOs, CIOs, and CFOs now engaged in or planning an 2.0 strategy and execution
  • Companies competing or partnering with 2.0 platform and solution vendors
  • IT managers charged with providing 2.0 capabilities to their enterprise workforce
  • Vendors developing community management strategies for their customers
  • KM, HR, R&D managers interested in how to leverage 2.0 for the enterprise
  • Venture capitalists, analysts, investment bankers, and advisors in the 2.0 consulting arena [this sounds pretty much like me, huh?].

PS. another meme I thought a bit present at the SUMMIT was “social business design”. One personal reason for this was the presentation by Jeff Dachis at the E2Conf in San Francisco I listened into the week before, another one Lee Bryant’s presentation on new forms of leadership in decentralized organizations (where he employed Dachis Group visualizations of social business design archetypes) and last reason’s Dion’s observation in both masterclass and closing note that it’s about competitive advantages (and those are the focus and goal of business model innovation and design) primarily when we deal with Enterprise 2.0.

That said I thought it cool to link to some more books on my reading list, as much from the design thinking as from the business model innovation sphere. Beginning with Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience, and Brand Value by Thomas Lockwood which was recommended to me at the SUMMIT, then it’s A Fine Line: How Design Strategies Are Shaping the Future of Business by Hartmut Esslinger and Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and inspires Innovation by Tim Brown of Ideo up on the slate.

41l9ZH-gCdL._SL500_AA240_And last but not least it’s The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the next competitive advantage by Roger Martin where it’s time to add another disclaimer: I am going to write a detailed review soon, after all I was given the book by Roger’s agent at HBS Publishing knowing that I’m a blogger and would probably write about it – no further arrangements have been made and I am writing my honest opinions anyway (be it at my other blog Business Model Innovation and Design or here).

Well, after I’ve finished my little series on E20SUMMIT learnings, part 4 coming soon.

Upcoming part 2: Change Management, collaboration software suites and thinking about innovation

A small overview of the next things I am up to, but first a short retrospective on last weekend when I participated in the RTVC, a premiere virtual workshop on Change Management (methods, tools, whatever, overall ideas). Results are getting collected, systematized and refined by the team at the Change Management Toolbook (namely Holger Nauheimer, who was instrumental in coming up with this experiment). So far I have filled three wiki pages with notes (and transcriptions of the chats I participated in), will try to filter out the nuggets soon.

Tomorrow and the day after I will be in Düsseldorf for the 2009 DNUG (german Notes user association) conference – this time the topic is „The Innovative Enterprise – Generating Value in a Smarter World“ (yes, we’re talking about a smarter planet here, too). Two disclaimers: I got invited by IBM to this event, and IBM is a customer of mine – anyway all tweets and blog posts are still my own opinions and all, you know the deal.

Well, I guess that the Web 2.0 (heck, Enterprise 2.0) will permeate all keynotes, workshops and even the networking (geek) talk. Definitely looking forward to this, especially to see and hear more about the more general vision “smarter working”, but also what Kevin Cavanaugh, long time IBM manager will say about composite applications (mashing up mashups?), what’s the business with Linux desktops, Lotus collaboration approaches, cloud computing vs. on premise, integration et al.

Some other highlights of the program on Tuesday (some of them on conflicting time slots, alas):

On Wednesday it’s a day of workshops for me (well, sometimes you have to integrate with Sharepoint), preceeded by keynotes: