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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Increasing collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation

7:06:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg , , No comments
In "Questions to Ask Before Replacing Corporate Email", Dennis D. McDonald addresses the problem of using e-mail as "the one and only" collaboration tool:

"For me a bottom line issue is understanding the costs of introducing new technology and replacing old technology, given that the old technology — email — is not going to disappear (nor should it)...//...How long these extra costs will need to be incurred will depend upon the organization and the speed of adoption, and complete adoption won’t occur overnight ...//...These additional costs need to be weighed against the savings of time that emerge when it is found that efficient use of collaboration software actually reduces not only the number of (inefficient) emails associated with certain types of activities but also the meetings associated with certain types of tasks."
In "Build It (and they won't come)", Marc Solomon debunks some myths about "knowledge hubs" and shares his insights about how to get your users engaged as participants (to make them share their knowledge).

"The perennial, time-tested truth is that people who love to learn don't share that love for what they learn (or care to share). How do we make it worth their while?...//...Turning users into contributors requires that we architect searches that highlight who the contributors are along with the volume and nature of what they're contributing."

"No 12 step program can move forward until the addict admits that they have an addiction -- in this case relying on email to provide a dashboard-like visibility into what's fresh and noteworthy on an organizational level. How can the addict be weaned from the isolation of 1:1 asynchronous communication so that their comfort zone includes RSS readers, search alerts, and subscription feeds for staying on top of their priorities and moving targets."

"Enterprise systems are saddled with the tags we force on them to label their content baggage. But the more control we exert on our metadata the more pressure we put on our producers to execute our elaborate coding schemes. At what point can we introduce commonly accepted web 2.0 fare as folksonomies, tag clouds, and ability to aggregate these terms by their popularity?"

"One of the self-fulfilling failures of expert-finding deep dives is that when you ask for volunteers your most sought-after domain leaders are already snowed under -- why would they volunteer their protected time to be officially pegged for all to see on your corporate radar? One of the many benefits of connecting metadata to search is that the engine can quantify thought leadership based on business need -- not based on who volunteers for guru status in a given topic."

In an article in BusinessWeek, "Life on the Edge: Learning from Facebook", authors John Hagel and John Seely Brown argue that "social network provides important lessons for executives—and a key forum for innovation and experimentation":

"Dismissing Facebook as irrelevant to business would be dangerously shortsighted. Yes, it is on the edge of traditional business activity, but it is an edge where new approaches to business are being tested and refined. Like most edges in the business world, it may look marginal at the outset, but has the potential to redefine business more broadly over time...//...So what lessons should more traditional companies take away from the early Facebook and SocialMedia experience?"

  • "Create more edges. The decision by Facebook to open up its platform to third-party developers unleashed a torrent of innovation that continues to expand...//...By offering application developers easy access to millions of potential users, Facebook spurred broad innovation in a short period of time."
  • "Provide better ways to connect at the edge. Brokers like SocialMedia attract diverse participants at the edge and provide mechanisms to catalyze new insight and share knowledge. "
  • "Demographic edges are fertile grounds for business innovation...//...Younger generations can be important catalysts for business innovation, both because they often uncover unmet needs earlier than older customers and because they are more willing to try a new product or service."
  • "Experiment and iterate rapidly. The power of Facebook as an innovation platform is that it costs so little for an application developer to introduce an application and generate quick market feedback. This environment encourages lots of experimentation and accelerates learning."
  • "Social, technologic, and economic are inextricably intertwined. Facebook succeeds because it satisfies profound social needs to connect and be acknowledged via an easy-to-use technology platform. It also carefully manages the economics of its business to avoid upsetting the social order."


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