The Yin and Yang of Enterprise 2.
0, the scruffy-neats, and INNATS
The success of user generated content sites and communities such as MySpace, Wikipedia and the Blogosphere leads many to question the merit of imposing any structure on collaboration.
Bill asks whether To Align or Not to Align? How Structured Should Enterprise 2.
Jim McGee charts The Newest Battle Between the Neats and the Scruffies:
The technologies of blogs, wikis, and social media that collectively comprise the emerging notion of Enterprise 2.
0 celebrate scruffiness as the essence of success in knowledge-intensive enterprises. The claim, backed by appropriately messy and sketchy anecdotal evidence, is that a loose set of simple technologies made available to the knowledge workers of an organization can provide an environment in which the organization and its knowledge workers can make more effective use of their collective and individual knowledge capital. Grass roots efforts will yield value where large-scale, centralized, knowledge management initiatives have failed.
Jim admits to starting life as a Neat, but over time he is slowly converting to the Scruffy camp.
But Jim hasn't entirely let go of the Neats.
Yesterday, I posted a case study about an IT project team at ShoreBank.
A basic label structure for the team in the ShoreBank case provided a framework and set of expectations to set the group on a path of sharing meeting notes, status reports, issues and other material that relate to given milestones.
The key was the provision of "just enough" structure in the collaborative environment, along with freedom and flexibility to be creative with content structure through the use of labels, links and content display.
Andrew McAfee recently wrote an entry titled "It's Not Not About The Technology (INNATT)" to explain how technology alone can't solve problems but that INATT (with one Not) "denies that there can be improvements, incremenmtal or radical, in the ability of technologies to accomplish important goals.
As pundits and consultants argue for INATT, they also argue for INATS, pointing to a few examples like Wikipedia as their benchmarks for a structureless approach.
The Scruffy approach says Knowledge work isn't predictable, but starting from scratch every time devalues the very point of knowledge: to learn and adapt our processes in order to perform faster, produce better products, and improve our livelihood.
A hybrid approach leverages what we learned, while offering the creative room to solve new problems and develop new and better ways of structuring our collaborative work.