Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turning things around with Enterprise 2.0

9:47:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments
Following up on my previous post "When will the recession end? I know the answer", here are two good examples of positive, constructive thinking in the name of Enterprise 2.0.

"Enterprise 2.0 Recovery Plan" by Andrew McAfee:
I asked myself what I would do if I were put in charge of IT as part of the turnaround effort at a big US automaker. To be a bit more specific, I imagined that one of the big 3 American auto companies was taken over tomorrow by enlightened and aggressive new leadership whose only goals are to restore the company to operational and financial excellence. This leadership is enlightened (in my book) because it believes firmly in the power of IT to help businesses achieve their goals and differentiate themselves in the marketplace, and will fund and fully support whatever initiatives I propose (this is a complete fantasy for several reasons, but thought experiments aren't supposed to be constrained by reality.).

So what would I propose?

As I got to work and tried to deliver results and benefits as quickly as possible, I'd be guided by a set of principles, many of which I've discussed in this blog:
  1. The company 'knows' the answers to our questions.
  2. Most people want to be helpful to each other, and to the company.
  3. Expertise is emergent.
  4. People are busy...//...This implies that any new tools need to be perceived as 'in the flow' of work, rather than 'above the flow.
  5. Weak ties are strong. Weak-tie networks are great places to look for novel information and introductions to valuable people. And social networking software (SNS) is a great tool for building, maintaining, and exploiting networks of weak ties.
  6. The ability to convert potential ties into actual ones is valuable.
  7. Platforms are better than channels, for a lot of reasons. Channels like email hide information; platforms like blogs, wikis, Facebook, and Twitter make it visible, persistent, and widely consultable.
  8. Search is the dominant navigation paradigm. People navigate online content by typing words into search boxes rather than navigating through menus. This implies that we should do everything we can to make sure search works well.
  9. The mechanisms of emergence should be encouraged. For search to work well, online content needs to be heavily interlinked. So people should be given the ability to link to content they find valuable and encouraged to do so. They should also be encouraged to tag, vote, rate, and to all the other things that help identify what a particular piece of content is about, and how good it is. In addition to this explicit work people also vote on and rate content implicitly as they browse through it.
  10. Anyone can learn the new tools, but they need to be educated, trained, and encouraged.

"Recession 2.0, Meet Enterprise 2.0"by Joe McKendrick:

I don’t intend to join the gloom-and-doom crowd, because I believe the economy is very diverse and resilient. However, it is an inescapable fact that business growth moves in cycles — up and down. In the event of a downturn, let’s ponder the role of our hyper-networked space in managing through tougher times. We may have not seen anything like it.

Let me start with this thought: It’s not 1975 anymore.

Workers are no longer those powerless pawns, locked into 9-to-5 routines, subject to the whims of their employers.

We no longer depend on our coworkers down the hall; we now leverage resources from across the globe.

Many employees simply may not even need a full-time employer anymore. In 1975, the idea of going the entrepreneurial route was not a realistic option for most workers.

Now, it’s possible to start an innovative new business with virtually little or no investment, employing Web-based resources. It’s now possible to run an entire business on Web 2.0-based services — from infrastructure to databases to business intelligence and analytics. Many are free, the rest only charge on an incremental per-use basis.

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