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.

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Flexible Architektur, Usability und Wikis …

… war der Titel meiner Session am DesignCamp Cologne. Hier im Player ein Mitschnitt von Make.tv – als ein Teil der Live-Streaming Dokumentation. Und ja, wenn ich gewusst hätte dass ich ins Fernsehen komme hätte ich mir (Barcamp-untypisch) einen Anzug angezogen …

Folien zur Session folgen in kürze via Slideshare.

Update: though it seems that I linked the wrong video, it isn’t so. The make.tv player is your way into all the sessions they streamed at the #dcc09. So, hit Menu and use the fancy navigational buttons on the left and right to scroll through all the videos they are offering, you may start with my session anyway.

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Upcoming: LeWeb (and BarCamps, conferences and more too)

[EN] English title, alas a german post. Just some notes on various places and conferences and unconferences I am planning to attend. Well, they’re mostly in Germany, based at a german audience, hence the german post. But I am planning to attend LeWeb 2008 too next week, see you there my english speaking peers.

[DE] Nach der LeWeb 2008 nächste Woche und einer kurzen Weihnachtspause kündigen sich bereits die ersten BarCamps und Konferenzen des Jahres 2009 an:

Der Startschuss (no pun intended) erfolgt mit dem PengCamp in Mainz am 10./11.1.2009 – ein BarCamp rund um Kommunikation. Anmeldung hier, die Plätze sind begrenzt, man sollte sich beeilen wenn man Interesse an diesem kleinen, spannenden Themencamp hat. Gefunden via die Lokalmatadore Gerrit und Frank. Das Orga-Team hat mittlerweile auch eine Mixxt-Seite für das PengCamp eingerichtet.

Ein weiteres fokussiertes Themencamp wird dann ebenfalls das DesignCampCologne am 24./25.01.2009 in Köln, auch hier habe ich mich angemeldet, in erster Linie aus meinem Interesse am (Design von) Geschäftsmodellinnovationen. Meine professionelle Peergroup habe ich schon auf das DesignCamp hingewiesen, ich würde mich freuen wenn das DesignCamp ein Treffen vieler am “design thinking” Interessierter werden könnte …

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Designing for the Social Web

Joshua Porter of Bokardo announced Designing for the Social Web at New Riders (Amazon link):

Social design was the term I used when thinking about and designing for the social interactions between people using software. It was clear to me that web sites and applications were “going social”, meaning that they were realizing that improving the interactions between their audience was key to their ongoing success, not just having conversations with the audience themselves.

Highly interesting, thinking about design, design-thinking and social software are naturally interlinked (in me too, there’s frogpond and there’s bmid).

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Simplicity, adoption and WYSIWYG editors

I was having several conversations at re:publica on wiki adoption (and consulting) topics. Over time, we (that is Andreas Gohr, Christian Kreutz, Tim Bartel, me and sometimes innocent bystanders and fellow twitterati) covered wiki technology, design and a wide array of social software adoption issues. One of the central topics was the question of WYSIWYG editors and their relevance for wiki adoption.

This was triggered by this blog post of Tim Wang (which I found via Tim Schlotfeld), that referred to a short wiki comparison, culminating in this:

Regardless, lack of a WYSIWYG editor continues to scare off most users and therefore wikis lacking one should be eliminated from contention.

This unsettled me, and while I am hearing this argument again and again, I think that this line of reasoning misses some important points. It’s not only about leaving out many able and well-kept wiki engines by restricting evaluation to those with a WYSIWYG editor, and it’s not only about an obvious lack of real research with real users (sure, wiki syntax scares off people and Wikipedia is a miserable failure) – it’s about a fundamental misunderstanding of both efficient knowledge work and user interfaces. While WYSIWYG is supposed to offer clarity, simplicity and easy adoption I hold that this is exactly what wiki markup is good for.

– Wiki markup editing and its restricted user interface makes it easier to focus on content, much like the “dark mode” some people choose for real editing – basically because WYSIWYG editors distract attention.

– We want employees to focus on content, edit it quickly and use the wiki (and the intranet) in an efficient way – we don’t want our employees to fiddle with nice looking but irrelevant eye candy or with overblown full-featured editors like this:

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, once said, “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away.” Simplicity doesn’t equal low functionality, and is more important than comprehensiveness (and complexity). Smart web applications need to employ intuitive ways of interaction. Just look at these different user interfaces (by Eric Burke), showcasing common but different approaches to user interface design:

– People with relevant knowledge in the organization (yes, we’re talking about the “empty quarter“, often these are people close to retiring) need simple and clean user interfaces. User interface design ideas like usability, simplicity and clarity suit these people.

– WYSIWYG editors aren’t perfect yet – if  you’re just trying to format text you’ll be OK, but for more advanced stuff like tables etc. you need wiki markup editing anyway. Going the WYSIWYG way is risky too – think of initial user acceptance, that will  suffer when people get disappointed by their efforts at wiki editing. Yes, even when it looks like MS Word it ain’t the same, and becoming frustrated because the wiki obviously scrambles the nice looking word document you just copy-pasted makes for a really bad start. Granted, you can coach and explain this to your users, but then – why not teach them simple markup rules in the first place. Combine this with an explanation why dragging a picture into Word works but won’t (for now) work with a web-based application.

– Advanced users are going to use wiki markup language anyway, beginning wiki users may start with WYSIWYG but will learn soon that the other way is more efficient. When they have grasped a few simple techniques, such as putting ** around a text to make it bold or putting [[ ]] around text to create links, they can create great looking content with minimal fuss, and the look and feel of the wiki pages is consistent throughout the wiki. Providing the choice between both ways, allowing for quick changes between both modes of editing, is one solution. And yes, it’s no big wonder that both Confluence and Socialtext are offering both alternatives in parallel, simple and advanced (yes, that one’s wiki markup mode). Try both modes at the Socialtext WikiWednesdayStuttgart page. So the argument that adoption hinges on the existence of a WYSIWYG editor is flawed – wiki markup can be easily explained and adding some coaching efforts to an implementation project doesn’t hurt, explaining the rationale behind wiki usage etc. I have had decent successes with 15 minute short introductions, followed by “train the (peer) trainer” coachings, after all editing wiki markup editing is neither programming nor rocket science.

– What wiki users really need are standardized wiki markups (like wikicreole). This would make it both easier to export/import content between different wiki engines (and document processors like Word), and to write powerful and easy-to-use WYSIWYG editors. Until then we need to rethink some of our assumptions – especially about what end-users want and need. I see that people want to do their job easily and efficiently and that user interface information overload is a problem. So wiki markup is a solution, not a problem.

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