Bookmarks for March 20th from 15:28 to 17:53

Social business pinboard links for March 20th, syndicated automagically:

  • The Hard Science of Teamwork – Alex "Sandy" Pentland – Harvard Business Review – patterns as a way of making sense of group behaviour (and I'd say emergent phenomena galore)

    "People should feel empowered by the idea of a science of team building, The idea that we can transmute the guess work of putting a team together into a rigorous methodology, and then continuously improve teams is exciting. Nothing will be more powerful, I believe, in eventually changing how organizations work."

  • The Architecture of a Social Business : Enterprise Irregulars – Elements of a Social Business Architecture
    – Social Media Platforms
    – External Social Business Services
    – Service Delivery
    – Social Foundation
    – Systems of Engagement
    – Systems of Record

Linear vs. iterative models of implementation

Morten Hansen did the opening talk at yesterday’s Virtual Enterprise 2.0 Conference – and I must admit not everything resonated with me.

For one this linear process of 1. get clear about your business case, evaluate opportunities, 2. identify barriers 3. tailor a solution, ie. “get a grip on the levers and pull” is only sounding easy – in real life these mucky Enterprise 2.0 implementations are rarely linear, clearly set out and easily manageable, ie. easy to plan for, to control and to measure.

Mostly I’ve seen iterative and “perpetual beta” initiatives – and that’s not a bad thing to have at all. Ideally it allows for rapid learning from pilots and prototypes, and the gradual emergence of patterns of collaboration that make sense to the organization (be it a team, a department, whatever). In my mind this freeform, emergent and adaptive approach is also instrumental in “instilling both the capabilities and the willingness” in people – after all Enterprise 2.0 is not a classic IT-project that can be rolled out – and it’s complementing the freeform and emergent nature of many of the tools, systems and environments we employ to meet business objectives. A linear model of implementation might be good for selling and appear rational at first sight, but it’s not realistic and – I really hate to say that – merely academic.

Anyway, most of his other thoughts and ideas are vastly agreeable (“bad collaboration is worse than none”; his advice on evading collaboration traps like over-collaboration, the underestimating of costs, hostile cultures, solving the wrong problems et al.; the meme of disclipined collaboration as a whole; his focus on nimble interpersonal networks and the advantages of T-Shaped people) and are of value and interest to Enterprise 2.0 people of all kinds. So, yes, seems I have to get me the whole book after all, for now check out the (a bit sales pushy) video with Morten from BNet below:

It’s the dream of any organization to have all of its departments working together harmoniously for the greater good of all. But is collaboration within a company always a good thing? Author Morten Hansen thinks not and provides a guide on how to avoid common collaboration traps and how to create an environment in which collaboration can thrive.

Le Web Bright Spots

He highlighted that community is not a tool (saying that you are a tool for approaching it like that) and that you need to leave your ego at the door to make it happen. I also love that he stressed the importance of letting go of control and letting leadership emerge naturally.

via Tara at

Nice perspective on day 1 of LeWeb – interpreting LeWeb as a community and not as a conference is fitting in here too. One can’t manage and control a community, but one can provide the infrastructure that allows for emergence (freeform conversations flourish here, even when it’s sometime hard to find individual people) – but that’s a minor disadvantage of any huge conference.

Curating networks at conferences is probably an open task – Techweb and O’Reilly did a little bit this with crowdvine at the Web 2.0 Expos – but leveraging the content and interest networks like Pearltrees is trying might be another lever.

Social Networking on Intranets

Ready or Not, Here Comes Enterprise 2.0

As people embrace social media in their private lives, they naturally expect to use similar tools within the enterprise. This is especially true for younger workers who use these tools in everyday life. Open communication, collaboration, and content generation are as much a part of their standard toolkit as using a computer or mobile phone. So, how should companies deal with the increasing expectation that Web 2.0 will drive Enterprise 2.0?

* Taking the slow road means that companies will risk losing workers who expect innovation in the outside world to reflect directly on how they communicate at work.
* Going for quick adoption means that companies must find ways to overcome the risks to corporate culture that adopting these tools can entail.

via Social Networking on Intranets @ Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox

Jakob Nielsen on the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 – yes, things take time and 3-5 years is a sensible timeline for anything related to changing organizations.

In light of my mischiefous take on the tools landscape, I must concede that realistically it’s more like this:

It’s Not Just About Tools, But Tools Do Matter

[…] in truth, social software isn’t really about the tools. It’s about what the tools let users do and the business problems the tools address.

This is what we call the emergence of use, ie. grass-roots and self-organized and self-selected usage of social web instruments – and it’s helping adoption … so let users participate in actual “software usage and selection”

Posted via web from frogpond’s posterous

Andrew McAfee Talks About Enterprise 2.0 At Harvard’s Berkman Center

Found via aka George Dearing

Great discussion (and hilarious at times, too – just see how David Weinberger explains the rationale behind the IRC back-channel and see Doc Searls fight and conquer a sandwich as a bonus).

But what happens in this relaxed athmosphere is nothing less than a crash course in the motives and context of Enterprise 2.0 – and one can learn a lot from Andrew’s approach (eg. how he goes about to explain the benefits of E 2.0 to regular executives, think strong, weak and potential ties / Mark Granovetter; how business opportunity management can profit from “supported and facilitated” serendipidity; …).

Posted via web from frogpond’s posterous

Teaming up for innovation (and integration) …

Via Oliver Marks I found an article (free download at nGenera) who appeared in the November issue of Harvard Business Review (“Teaming Up to Crack Innovation and Enterprise Integration”) by Robert Morison of nGenera (yes, Don Tapscott is involved …), James Cash and Michael Earl of Oxford and Harvard respectively.

Picture to the left by Idris Motee who understands the need for interdisciplinary creative thinkers

Morison et al.s “idea in brief”:

Your company is continuously creating new generations of products, services, and business processes. These innovations require seamless collaboration across your firm’s different parts. But in most large corporations, innovation and integration are unnatural acts. Resistance stifles new ideas, and silos block cross-functional cooperation.

[…] explore how some companies are overcoming these boundaries […] establishing two new types of cross-organizational teams:

Distributed innovation groups (DIGs) – foster innovation throughout the company.
For example, they deploy intranet based forums and wikis to scout for promising ideas.

Enterprise integration groups (EIGs) – establish the architecture and management practices essential for business integration. For instance, they identify
integration opportunities, channel resources to them, and reconfigure Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to support ever-tighter crossbusiness collaboration.

To establish each of these groups, select a small number of talented people who combine broad business knowledge, technology expertise, and the social skills needed to build relationships both within and outside your company.

Yes, establishing tools and protocols is only the start. People and their skills (that includes leadership, being trustworthy and good at team building) are essential, especially when dealing with innovative tasks. And it’s more challenging when dealing with scattered (or even rivaling) business units.

So I liked the sound strategic thinking Oliver added – namely what separates the successful collaborative enterprise from those that aren’t – even more as he pointed out usage arenas like business intelligence, internal and external environmental scanning. These are memes worth expanding upon: one of the often overlooked benefits of Enterprise Social Software like wikis is that it both puts real time information to the front-lines of a corporation and collects the wisdom that is spread at the “edges” of the company:

[…] DIG’s could include, as examples, scouting for new ideas and untapped potential in current technologies, scanning the external environment for emerging technologies, Facilitating participation in idea forums, acting as an innovation expertise center, serving as an incubator for promising innovations and publicizing promising innovations and funds.


[…] why there are so many sparsely populated wikis and blogs slowly twisting in the wind in the corporate world – because they were set up as tentative trial balloons with no clear utility or guidelines for expected use. It’s trivial to set up a blog or a wiki from a technical perspective – you could do it in the time it took to read this article – setting up the internal use case to ’scout for promising ideas’, for example, takes a great deal more thought and planning.

The real challenge is in finding the key people […] these are the core resources that will drive innovation, adoption of associated methodologies and their enabling technologies and the successful execution of usage models.

People issues again, but it also reminded me of this (old) article by Rob Cross, Andrew Hargadon et al. (“Together We Innovate“) on the MIT Sloan Management website (and it isn’t about scouting for ideas inside the organization alone, right). It claims “How can companies come up with new ideas? By getting employees working with one another”,

[…] problems that stifle innovation. They share a couple of common themes: the failure to effectively leverage the expertise of employees (or their peers in partner organizations) and the failure to react effectively when new ideas do arise. But we’ve also found five steps companies can take to clear those barriers and start producing big ideas.

Cross, Hargadon et al. collect some network problems (and wrangle some ideas on how to solve them too):

1. No Communication […] the structure of the company keeps people apart […]
2. Bad Gatekeepers […]
3. Insularity […]

Check out the proposed “solution takes” – and see that these are about people and leadership in the beginning but include as well adaptivity & agility, connectivity and emergence (well, they don’t name it but it’s shinig all through, like when arguing that we need systems that allow for easy collaboration, in my book that means systems that can be personalized and tweaked to my very own needs).

Rückblick auf den ECM-Summit – Keynotes

Zweiter Teil meines Rückblicks auf den ECM-Summit – speziell auf die Keynotes von Ulrich Kampffmeyer und Lee Bryant. Dirk Röhrborn von Communardo hat diese bereits sehr ausführlich dokumentiert – vielen Dank dafür, ich weiß wieviel Mühe das Livebloggen macht, selbst habe ich nur vereinzelte Tweets absetzen können (ok, es waren rund 160 über die zwei Konferenztage …):

Ulrich Kampffmeyers Keynote über “Human Impact” fokussierte auf die Wechselwirkungen zwischen Mensch und (Software-)Technologien (im Unternehmen). Aufbauend auf Thesen wie “Der Mensch ist das Maß aller Dinge” wurde ein Bogen zu Herausforderungen an Wissensarbeiter (Information Overload, anyone?) und mangelhafter Usability von Mensch-Maschine-Schnittstellen gezogen. Das skizzierte  Szenario eines Generationenkonflikts (digital natives vs. digital immigrants) sehe ich nicht ganz so – ebensowenig teile ich den (kultur)pessimistischen Ausblick. Klar, man kann diese Sicht teilen, man muss es aber nicht. Ich sehe mehr die positiven Seiten bzw. die Möglichkeiten diese zu stärken. Ganz im Sinne von Charles Leadbeaters “We-Think” – das Web kann gut sein für Freiheit und Demokratie, dies ist aber kein Automatismus, sondern muss immer wieder neu erarbeitet und bewahrt werden.

Lee Bryant hat in seiner Keynote einen ähnlichen Grundtenor eingeschlagen – auch er sieht mehr die möglichen Wandelpotenziale von Social Software in Unternehmen. Dies ist auch dringend notwendig wenn “modern corporations bear the imprint of old organisational models and metaphors”. Während die veränderten Anforderungen und Umsysteme “Enterprises 2.0” benötigen haben wir “1990’s software and tools, coupled with 1930’s management practices”. Klassisches Enterprise Content Management (Create, Store, Manage, Distribute) ist so auch nicht ausreichend – es ist zu zentralistisch, zu unflexibel und motiviert nicht ausreichend zur Beteiligung. Wie nun vorgehen? Lee schlägt folgende Herangehensweise an Enterprise 2.0 vor:

1. try to harness flow & go with the flow as well, like eg. with leveraging internal and external feeds

2. leverage bookmarks and tags – building the base for

3. blogs and social networks (“social objects” that are shared within networks …)

4. group collaboration – intimate groups/teams organise knowledge in wikis and group systems

5. and last layer of the “knowledge pyramid” – personal tools, organise my stuff by tags, arrange in a portal, manage networks and feeds

“Feeds, flow and fluid navigation”, das erinnert auch an Stowes Vortrag bei der Web 2.0 Expo (“Better Social Plumbing for the Social Web“). Ja, dadurch können sich auch emergente Strukturen ausbilden, im Flow gewissermaßen – aber es braucht Freiheit und Ergebnisoffenheit. Plan- und Berechenbarkeit steht dem meist im Weg …

Eine interessante Frage kam dann noch aus dem Publikum – wie Mitarbeiter zur Beteiligung und Partizipation motiviert werden können? Lees Antwort war recht pragmatisch “give people the tools so that they can do their jobs better”.

Ja, das sehe ich ähnlich, ich würde noch ein “and step out of the way” hinzufügen, aber im Kern trifft das ins Ziel: Es geht darum mit Enterprise Social Software das “day to day corporate life” zu verbessern. In diesem Zusammenhang möchte ich gerne noch auf die Slides von Lees Talk bei der Reboot10 verweisen:

[…] about how [to] codify new freedoms within organisational structures and how we can create a win-win by helping humanise enterprises using social tools.