Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This week in links - week 44, 2008

"The 3 ways I expect Web 2.0 to change collaboration – and are you there yet?" by James Dellow:

Firstly, at high level I expect Web 2.0 to change collaboration in the following ways, listed in order of value they bring:

1. Make collaboration technologies more fit for purpose – Rather than a radical change to the tools we had in the past, Web 2.0 technologies, like AJAX and Rich Internet Application (RIA) approaches, are used to improve usability and accessibility – the results are tangible but in effect we are just building a better mousetrap, not introducing new modes of collaboration;

2. Add new functionality to existing collaboration functionality – Adding new, but incremental changes to the collaboration functionality we already have, this might include improving findability and awareness through social feedback mechanisms and content syndication to providing new ways for manipulating information, such as mashups – however, we still haven’t changed the fundamental patterns of collaboration, even if this makes it better; and

3. Support new models of collaboration that didn’t exist before – What the old collaboration technologies didn’t do so well is support emergent needs (Web-based tools like eRoom and Quickplace started to do this, but are still relatively inflexible compared to the Web 2.0 generation of tools), reflect the need for boundary spanning or boundary agnostics collaboration systems and enable dynamic people-to-people and conversational collaboration – however, the challenge is that while the impact should be a radical change to the patterns of collaboration, it may also be technically less tangible because it becomes more about how we use Web 2.0 technologies, rather than what they are.

"Collaboration Requires Systems that Talk" by Evan Rosen:

Collaboration involves breaking down barriers and silos. For this to happen, both people and systems must talk. Unnecessary manifestations of hierarchy, fear and formality create barriers that poison collaboration. I made that point on the first episode of CNBC’s “Collaboration Now.” You can view that video clip from the show here. Sometimes, though, we take the systems part for granted. Highly-collaborative organizations get the culture part right, but they also make sure that the organization uses common systems and processes. Proprietary systems and processes accessible to a single function or business unit reinforce information hoarding, which inhibits collaboration.
"User Adoption" by Dean Thrasher:

If you want your Enterprise 2.0 deployment to work, you have to focus on user adoption.

The hard truth is that if you want an Enterprise 2.0 application to succeed, you must be prepared to sacrifice everything to delight your customers. And these sacrifices will include treasured organizational imperatives. You’ll have to do things like:

  • Annoy the corporate counsel by emphasizing sharing, not security
  • Irritate senior management by stressing flexibility over process
  • Anger “low badge numbers” by promoting expertise over length of service
  • Frustrate the IT department by favoring ease of use rather than ease of deployment
You’ll find yourself in the midst of turf wars and political infighting. There will be squabbles over budget and resources. Change management and training will consume months, if not years, of your time.

"Bosses 'should embrace Facebook'", BBC NEWS:

Companies should not dismiss staff who use social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo at work as merely time-wasters, a Demos study suggests...//...Attempts to control employees' use of such software could damage firms in the long run by limiting the way staff communicate, the think tank said.

Social networking can encourage employees to build relationships with colleagues across a firm, it added...//...However, businesses are warned to be strict with those who abuse access.

Firms are inceasingly using networking software to share documents and collaborate in ideas, the research found...//...They are part of the way in which people communicate which they find intuitive," he said.

"Banning Facebook and the like goes against the grain of how people want to interact. Often people are friends with colleagues through these networks and it is how some develop their relationships."

Using technology to build closer links with ex-employees and potential customers could also boost productivity, innovation and create a more democratic working environment, Mr Bradwell added.

"In today's difficult business environment, the instinctive reaction can be to batten down the hatches and return to the traditional command-and-control techniques that enable managers to closely monitor and measure productivity...//...Allowing workers to have more freedom and flexibility might seem counter-intuitive, but it appears to create businesses more capable of maintaining stability."


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