Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 2 2010

8:42:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , , , 1 comment
"Many organizations have now moved beyond the experimentation phase and begun embedding social media into the way they do business," said Victoria Mellor, CEO of Melcrum. "There is a fundamental shift happening with how information flows inside an organization. Peer-to-peer online networks are enabling real-time feedback from employees to inform decision-making, not to mention facilitating collaboration between remote workers," she added.
Top Management Must Be On Board – Although you hear about social media as a grassroots phenomenon on the internet, it is a different animal when it is grafted onto a corporate culture. Very little happens within an organization without top level support. They control the staffing, the communications channels and, above all, the budget.
There is only one objective in social media and it is common across all companies—even across the infamous divide between B2B and B2C: Create learning networks. And there is only one strategy for carrying out this objective: Find people who are good at developing and disseminating ideas to contribute to and facilitate those networks.
Social media are the tools that can help us develop emergent practices. They enable conversations between people separated by distance or time. The organizing framework for using social media for business is the learning network. Learning networks are not just for what we used to call training & development, but can also help us engage (not target) our markets.
...with the explosion of information, and flattening technologies starting with e-mail, I think that a CEO needs to focus more on the platform that enables collaboration, because employees already have all the data. They have access to everything. You have to work on the structure of collaboration. How do people get recognized? How do you establish a meritocracy in a highly dispersed environment?
Wal-Mart recently was able to cut a lot of costs through social networking strategies. “We conducted a blogging exercise on energy conservation,” he related. “We had more than 6,000 posts with ideas from employees, and saved millions in energy costs as a result.”
The open-ended nature of a weblog helps to capture emergent insights before they can be expressed systematically. In a way it is similar to brainstorming with post-its or to a spatial arrangement of papers on one’s desk: at early stages of developing ideas we can more easily say that something is relevant than to explain how exactly it connects to the rest.
People have always networked. Before the time of universities scholars depended largely on correspondence networks for the exchange of ideas. These communities, known as the Republic of Letters were the social media of the era, following astonishingly closely communication patterns of today...A “man of letters” may today be a man of tweets, blog posts and Facebook, but the principle is the same: The size and quality of the network matters.
When organizations adopt networked or team structures, they tuck these networks into existing managerial hierarchies. The basic hierarchical model and mindset remain in overall control. And, sometimes these networks themselves have what are called ‘worker hierarchies’ (Dean, 2007). These hierarchies can be more fluid than those outside the network, since people within the network/team often change leadership roles with each project. Ultimately, embedding networks or teams in to an organization can flatten the organization slightly, but not in a way that transforms the organizations or the employees’ overall influence within them.


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