Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 6 2010

What Google has proved to managers, is that people’s individual actions, if those actions are done in a transparent way, and if those actions can be linked, are capable of managing unmanageable tasks. Collaboration and collective work is best expressed through transparency and emergent, responsive linking. The mainstream business approach to value creation is still a predictive process designed and controlled by the expert/manager. This is based on the presupposition that (1) we know beforehand all the needed linkages, and (2) what is the right sequential order in linking and acting. Neither of these beliefs is correct any more. The variables of creative work have increased beyond systemic models of process design. It is time to learn from the Web.
Finding experts is a problem. Creating a closed stagnant database is a poor solution to that problem. But creating a dynamic system is a much smarter approach. First of all you get people answering questions — which saves time and money. And secondly, by leveraging social computing tools (and staying away from emails that hide conversations) it becomes clear who the experts really are. Employees might want to answer questions to demonstrate what they are capable of. And administrators can manage the system so that no one person gets too many questions...But having this kind of system solves a set of business problems that the old database would never solve.
...one of various options, but one that’s starting to grab more and more traction and become an indispensable solution to that everlasting issue of finding the right people at the right time with the right level of information / skills to help us answer even the toughest questions: Enterprise Social Software Micro-sharing/-blogging...Day in, day out, thousands of micro-messages get shared across and a good chunk of them are interactions taking place directly between experts and seekers of information. And all of that out there, in the open, public and transparent to everyone (Behind the firewall, that is…), so that people have got an opportunity to chime in accordingly, if there would be a need for it, or just learn along the lines.
Mark Tilbury: "We don't do workflow"
Content comes in different shapes and context. Some needs 'locking-down', other content is 'open', while elements develop as it is pushed, modified and enhanced. There is not a 'one solution' fits all process flow within each stream, nor within each site area within a community site. Some communities have areas which are controlled by a central team, and no-one else can update/add. They also have areas which are open and require no authorization or approval to publish and enhance. Other communities are more centrally controlled with some locked-down areas.

What we do provide is a 'governance structure'. Generally speaking the governance structure provides visible ownership for each area of a site. The owner is best placed to determine the requirements of content production for their area - from the user, risk and stream perspective. When we sit down with each 'owner' we then structure the content flow process and build as required. An overall 'steering group' would ideally determine the overall suitability of the workflow, however, experience suggests this is more a rubber stamping process.
Decisions that affect innovation are no different than other decisions. They are based on information. How much information, what kind of information, whether a company chooses to use certain information, and how well a company interprets available information, is the key to decision-making success.

Information isn’t always easy to obtain however, which is probably a good thing actually. Information - having it and not having it - becomes the basis for competitive advantage. You can only hope your information is better than your competitor’s.
Evan Rosen: "Smashing Silos"
In collaborative organizations, people interact spontaneously regardless of level, role, or region. This encourages broad input into product and service development, process improvements, and marketing campaigns. Rather than present a marketing plan or campaign after it's already developed, why not get sales, finance, and corporate communications involved early? Then the plan has cross-functional buy-in baked right in. And it's likely a stronger plan, because it reflects less-insular input.

In the product design arena, command-and-control organizations inform factory workers what they'll be building and how. These workers are on a need-to-know basis. Collaborative organizations engage factory workers in the design of the products and the manufacturing processes. This breaks down the barriers between product development and manufacturing and reduces the impact of silos. The collaborative approach also reduces product development time and ultimately produces a better result.
Harold Jarche: "Social computing in knowledge-intensive workplaces"
The lines are blurring between marketing and training just as they are between learning and working. The connectivity enabled by social computing gives us an opportunity to identify overlapping areas and redundancies in organizational human performance support. A unified support function, focused on really serving workers and helping them grow, could significantly reduce the 77% of CLO Magazine survey respondents who feel that people in their organization are not growing fast enough to keep up with the business.

Every department in the enterprise is part of the problem:
  • IT: for locking down computers and treating all employees like children, closing off a wealth of information, knowledge and connections outside the artificial firewall.
  • Communications: for forcing employees to use approved messages that do not even sound human.
  • Training: for separating learning from work.
  • HR: for forcing people into standardized jobs and competency models that do not reflect the person.
It’s time for all departments to become part of the solution.

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