Live blogging the Enterprise 2.0 forum – part 1

Some notes on the talks at the Enterprise 2.0 ForumKongressmedia put together a nice agenda and group of speakers. Check out some of the tagged and tracked tweets at Twemes. I and some others were microblogging too.

Suw Charman-Anderson started off the event, I can’t give a full report of her extensive talk, so just some tidbits. She offered sound advice (I am agreeing on all accounts, this is boring I know, but hey, I guess we’re just having “shared understanding”). And I really understand and value her effort to make things understandable, but not too easy at the same time.

  • provide the pilot group with gripping stories, let them become evangelists (“each user can become a trainer”, yes, we’ve reached a lot if we’re at this point )
  • on success factors for adoption: all in all it’s preferrable to focus on user-centric adoption (yes, evangelists, catalysts, whatever we call these pivotal people)
  • on the importance of leadership in E.0 projects (I guess that’s herding cats) – yes, leading by example is important (yes, I too talked in my workshop yesterday about the importance of having both method- and power-sponsorship)
  • Enterprise 2.0 change management needs to be in for the long haul, this is a long term engagement thing
  • nice metaphors too – “trojan (wiki) mouses” that sneak into corporations

Next up were Oliver Nitz and Rupert Petschina of Web Innovation Institute and Telekom Austria AG. They were presenting on the potentials of social software for making internal processes more effective. There was a nice metaphor and “storytelling hook” inside their presentation, i.e. the picture of a hen shed that reminded me too that I really need to blog about Lee Bryant’s “Free the Battery Humans” presentation at this year’s reboot and some thoughts I evolved since then.

Next up was JP Rangaswamy, again no full account of the talk, but some points. Suw did an extensive post (“Enterprise 2.0 Forum: JP Rangaswami“) on JP’s talk, extensive coverage and recommended. I guess typing on a whitey Mac goes a lot faster than on my dull PC box.

  • cost of repair and cost of damage as equation to look at while implementing wikis
  • nice story on Space Shuttle design limits that derive from long-ago decisions, i.e. designing the width of rail gauges
  • we’re in the middle of big shifts, like e.g. distributed ability and power to publish, Internet as a nice copy machine
  • my price for best quote goes to JP calling to “throw the policies away” (if they are restricting you to adapt to the changed contexts).” Yes, there’s no point in following out-dated modes, when we’re in disrupted mode
  • one central guiding principle for corporate wiki implementation: keep the cost of transmission and reproduction low

On organizational pathologies, JP showed a spy manual on how to interfere and disturb – and even when the audience was giggling we all know that these are timeless issues in corporations. What once was sabotage is now normal mode of work.

Then, it’s Alexander Warta from Bosch, talking about opportunities for corporate wikis and experiences at Bosch:

  • it’s not about nifty tools, rather it’s about a new paradigm (knowledge works needs to be self-driven and distributed)
  • What they did? Many things like e.g. supporting expert debriefings, international expert’s collaboration and much more
  • presented the results of an inter-company study on wiki use (done by the Bosch team).

Perceived Challenges? He’s systematizing it into seven fields of tension:

  • individual effort <-> social, collective benefit
  • awareness <-> privacy
  • current information <-> trustable, sound information
  • structure <-> freedom (and freeform emergence of structure)
  • usability <-> functionalities
  • participation <-> coherence
  • media boundaries <-> media integration (binding it all together)

BTW, I have asked Alexander to present these results and some of his experiences at the upcoming WikiWednesday Stuttgart. Come and join us if you’re close.

Next up, and last talk before lunch is by Matthias Büger of Deutsche Bank (I blogged about the pre-conference interview here: “Pre-Conference interview: dbWiki – building a Web 2.0 corporate knowledge base“) but he asked the audience not to tweet/blog/whatever his actual talk. OK, no problem. Now off to lunch and “networking d’enfer”

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”

Changing organisations via Enterprise 2.0 – pre-conference interview – Festo

There’s a third pre-conference interview (“Fallbeispiel: Enterprise2.0@Festo – Biographie eines Projektes“) at the Enterprise 2.0 Forum site. Like its predecessors (see more here and there) it’s german language only. So – again – it’s probably a good idea to do a short english language summary and analysis of the key points discussed.

This time Joachim Niemeier spoke with Arne Schümann of Festo didactic (Festo as a whole is best described as a family-owned global player – and, full disclosure – I know this company a little bit. One reason is that it’s main branch is located only about some 15 km from my home, another one being that some friends of mine are current and past Festo employees).

To me the main “learning” from the interview is that changing organisations via Enterprise 2.0 is both hard and (potentially) extremely rewarding (yes, also in terms of ROI). Now onto the topics of the conversation:

  • Festo had a headstart with their Enterprise 2.0 project as they already had experiences with (personal) knowledge management, life-long (e-)learning, collaboration …
  • Enterprise 2.0 is not about technologies, it’s about perceptions, attitudes and “modes of work” – well, yes, some paradigms (and principles and methods too)  stay – but there’s a need to adapt some of those, i.e. give them the place and importance they deserve …
  • Hierarchy is an ever-present issue in implementation, seen vs. the evolving trends that supplant formal and stiff hierarchy with heterarchies (and/or meritocracies, sociocracies, …). Now I am really looking forward to the actual talk by Mr. Schümann, I want to know more about how Festo dealt with this. BTW, I really I liked the mentioned term “guided autonomy”, sounds a lot like a “roman law” of Enterprise 2.0-aware design of organizational structure. We’ll see, I sure don’t hope it ends along the lines of “Regulierte Selbstorganisation”, i.e. overregulated and face-value self-organization that’s OK only when dealing with “blue sky” situations …
  • Organizational proponents and supporters of Enterprise 2.0 – seems to be an integrated effort of various stakeholders. Interestingly, at Festo the distributed local branches had more interest than the headquarter. Yes, good point – these scattered outfits will profit the most from improved communication and collaboration.
  • Factors that are speeding up change, Mr. Schümann is rightfully calling for an optimal balance of bottom-up-grass-roots and top-down-supported implementation.
  • „Don’t talk about it, prove it“ – start with actual (pilot) implementations to demonstrate the benefits. Well, yes, that’s what I am saying … so small wonder that his rant “most Enterprise 2.0 consultants are way too theoretical” doesn’t really bother me – I’m a proven Geek Enterprise 2.0 consultant (TM), but I’ve blogged about the E2.0 consulting value proposition here and here before
  • And finally, the need for effective change management in the context of Enterprise 2.0 – well yes, said that before too – here (“One word as a focal point for change – Collaboration“) and here (“Cultural change and developing collaboration capabilities“)

Enterprise 2.0 at Adidas – pre-conference interview

Here’s a short summary of the pre-conference interview (alas, german language) Joachim Niemeier did with Christian Kuhna, Head of Internal Communications of the adidas Group

The interview dealt with

  • usage areas of Enterprise 2.0 at Adidas
  • Adidas current intranet situation, and the aims and goals they are pursuing
  • who is engaged as an inner-company proponent of Enterprise 2.0
  • Mr.Kuhna’s expectations for the upcoming Enterprise 2.0 Forum
  • and more

Interesting stuff in there, some notes:

  • Mr. Kuhna’s professional background is in communication, he also has some experience in leveraging intranets and internal communities in M&A situations, i.e. the Daimler-Chrysler. Interestingly, he’s sometimes reminded by the “Enterprise 2.0 hot topics of today” of all the things that were envisioned before.
  • Adidas is aiming for a global intranet portal, which integrates a round of Web 2.0 ideas and technologies. Up to now they’re having a variety of heterogenuous intranets, which makes it hard for employees to find information, etc. Starting from this situation Adidas decided for a fresh start – and they’ve come far by now – during the next months the scattered solutions will be replaced by the new integrated intranet.
  • Adidas’ employees already have some experience with social networks and platforms (Xing, Facebook etc.) and the intranet team leveraged these competencies. He stressed the importance of easy participation, helping adoption off the ground. Yes, getting a voice on the intranet is getting easier and it’s no longer a monopoly of IT departments – we need to allow for easy, free-form, adaptive and emergent design of interaction and participation means. Now, we can be sure that this will also add considerable complexity …
  • How to explain the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 to senior executives? Mr. Kuhna recommends to start with demonstrating the changed nature of (internet based) communication and the emergence of communities. Sounds like a good idea – senior executive support is vital, complementing grass-roots adoption.
  • How will Enterprise 2.0 change organizations? Mr. Kuhna sees most of the changes as rather evolutionary, even when the actual speed of change is impressive. Yet I am not sure if I support this all the way, I guess it depends on how we define “most of the changes” – to me, some current changes in the context of 2.0 are going deep (well, whole industries are disrupted, but for Adidas it may yet be another thing)
  • One last thing that’s worth noting – one of Mr.Kuhna’s wishes for the future of Enterprise 2.0 at Adidas concerns „Budget“. Nothing new on that front obviously – awareness and understanding is nice, but budgets get the thing rolling …