In his Jun 2, 2013 blog post, Chess Media analyst and author Jacob Morgan asks: How Open is Too Open? He asks "Would you be comfortable working in an all glass building where people can see everything you do and every move you make?" Jacob outlines the benefits of transparency: "Keep everyone on the same page; Build trust and fostering better relationships; Allow employees (and customers) to contribute ideas and value when they see the opportunity to do so." Jacob recognizes that a balance needs to be struck, but not being transparent enough may do more harm than good. He ask: "How open is too open?" I agree with the benefits Jacob outlines, and believe the answer to Jacob's question depends on the answer to a critical question: "Transparency for what purpose?" I'll start the ball rolling in with this post, including some real-life customer examples.
In Co.Design May 24, 2013 Peter Morrison of Jump Associates writes The Future of Technology isn't Mobile, it's Contextual. He says that the way we respond to the world around is based on situational awareness. "The way we respond to the world around us is so seamless that it’s almost unconscious. Our senses pull in a multitude of information, contrast it to past experience and personality traits, and present us with a set of options for how to act or react. Then, it selects and acts upon the preferred path. This process--our fundamental ability to interpret and act on the situations in which we find ourselves--has barely evolved since we were sublingual primates living on the Veldt.
The Manhattan Project, Atlas, and Polaris projects are cited as roots for traditional phased stage-gate Project Management, but didn't use that model. New high innovation projects shouldn't either; think agile that scales. Read this fascinating 2009 paper by Sylvain Lenfle and Christoph Loch of INSEAD, cited on Twitter by Glen B. Alleman who calls it "breathtaking".
Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology. This year I've chosen to write about Suni Williams, NASA Astronaut and US Navy Captain currently commanding Expedition 33 on the International Space Station. I hope young women reading about Ada Lovelace Day now are encouraged by her example to pursue their dreams where ever they may lead - here on Earth or as the first Earthling to set foot on Mars.
"I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow." - Neil Armstrong, The Engineered Century. I was sad to hear about the death of Neil Armstrong on 25 August 2012. I'll always remember meeting Armstrong at an event for high school science students in the spring of 1966. He'll be remembered forever as the first person to set foot on the Moon on 29 July 1969. He coolly navigated the lunar lander to the surface despite computer alarms, avoiding rocks at the planned site, and landing with gauges showing about 20 seconds of fuel left. But that wasn't his only close call as an astronaut. In March 1966 Armstrong and David Scott successfully returned Gemini VIII to earth after a runaway thruster spun the Gemini and attached Agena target vehicle to a roll rate of about 300 degrees per second, making chances of recovery "very remote".
It's common to read about corporate culture as a big barrier to successful adoption and use of social software in business. It's easy to understand people's reluctance to change and adopt a new way of working. There are many good reasons to be wary of the promised benefits of change if you don't have relevant direct experience ("I've used this and it works"), clear examples, trust in your organization, and trust in your leadership. Books like Jacob Morgan's new The Collaborative Organization offer great practical guidance, examples, and answers to important questions. However, most social business advice makes a common and good-natured assumption that your organization is healthy - or at least has good intentions - but is just hard to convince. That's not always true.
"All of this has led me to believe that something is terribly wrong with e-mail. What’s more, I don’t believe it can be fixed," writes New York Times columnist Nick Bilton - not pictured on right - in his July 8, 2012 Bits column, Disruptions: Life's Too Short for So Much Email. He's cranky just because he received 6,000 emails this month, not including spam and daily deals. Nick says: "With all those messages, I have no desire to respond to even a fraction of them. I can just picture my tombstone: Here lies Nick Bilton, who responded to thousands of e-mails a month. May he rest in peace."
Mathew Ingram recently wrote Why links matter: Linking is the lifeblood of the web. He makes a strong case for the value of open linking - giving credit to original sources - as an ethical imperative. He also points out the collective benefit, quoting Om Malik:
If you're attending E20 Boston 2012, please drop by Traction Software's booth 418 to say hi and learn what Traction TeamPage can do. If you're interested in social task management, integrating systems of record and systems of engagement - or just using social software in the context of work, talk the folk at Traction Software who know how to help you succeed. That's where we started and that's our enduring goal.
I've read an advance copy of Jacob Morgan's upcoming book, The Collaborative Organization: A Strategic Guide to Solving Your Internal Business Challenges Using Emerging Social and Collaborative Tools. I'm very happy that we decided to give Enterprise 2.0 Boston folk a chance to meet Jacob and get their own free, signed copy at Traction Software Booth 418 next week. Jacob says: "The purpose of this book is to act as a guide for executives, decision makers, and those involved with collaborative initiatives at their organizations". I believe he hits the mark with a book of lasting value, as do reviewers including Vivek Kundra, former Chief Information Officer of the United States; Erik Brynjolf, MIT Center for Digital Business Director, and others.
Thanks to Jacob Morgan, Chess Media Group for his Tweet this afternoon while we were chatting on the phone. Last October Jacob reviewed Traction TeamPage in his Emergent Collaboration Vendor series, and liked what he saw, including TeamPage pricing. He said: "I had the pricing explained to me so I understand it but I think it would be helpful if they made it easier to understand for all site visitors because it really does make sense." We agree on both points! In updating the Buy page, Chris Nuzum used Apple Store product configuration pages as benchmarks for clarity and ease of use.
From Nora Ephron speaking at Brown University, President's Lecture series, "Adventures in Screenwriting" April 24, 1997. Paraphrased notes by Greg Lloyd: I took my first journalism course in high school. The fellow who taught it left after two years and opened a hardware store in LA. I think I was the only person he taught who went on to work as a journalist.
Happy Birthday Doug! A perfect gentle knight of technology as well as a pioneer and great inventor. Doug Engelbart's 87th birthday - today - is a fine day to watch the video of Doug's talk "The Strategic Pursuit of Collective IQ" embedded below. And a great day to (re) read Doug's "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework" 1962, see DougEngelbart.org. My favorite Doug quotes and links, see Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 from two years ago.
I just joined the Nov 2011 W3C Social Business Jam and added a discussion topic: Seamless integration can work like the Web. I'm on deadline for Enterprise 2.0 next week in Santa Clara [ see you there ! ] but will try to steal time to jump in to a live IBM Jam while it's open (through Nov 10, 2011 8pm EST).
Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology. I've chosen to write about Betts Wald who was a branch chief in the Communications Science division of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) when I first met her. I joined NRL in 1974 as my first real job - after serving in the US Army when I was drafted as a graduate student at Brown. It was a great experience. NRL was full of wildly talented, energetic and brilliant managers who knew how to get impossible things done in engineering and government, and taught that skill to their teams. Betts was one of the best: leading and inspiring her team, running interference, providing just enough technical guidance (i.e. to avoid permanent damage) while constantly encouraging and developing her team's talents. Women in science and technology should be encouraged to consider career paths as leaders as well as individual contributors: Betts is a great role model. Although I never heard Betts shout: "To the difference engine!", except for the pipe it would be in character. And I'm not certain about the pipe.
Hat tip to Professor +Andrew McAfee for pointing out Do Happier People Work Harder? my nomination for Required Reading of the Day (#RRD). Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Steven Kramer an independent researcher wrote a great New York Times Labor Day opinion column. They cite sobering results from a Gallup-Healthways poll of 1,000 adults every day since Jan 2008: "People of all ages, and across income levels, are unhappy with their supervisors, apathetic about their organizations and detached from what they do." They also suggest that the problem is manageable - by what I would define as great enterprises.
I enjoyed reading Dion Hincliffe's Putting Social Business to Work and G+ discussion led by Luis Suarez on Laurie Buczek's The Big Failure of Enterprise 2.0 Social Business. I agree that top down - and isolated - Social Business parallels the faults of top down - and isolated - Knowledge Management. I like Laurie's analysis and recommendations, including her top level: "Make social tools part of the collaborative workflow." This is good for both social business and knowledge management. The question is: how to extend the fabric of work?
On Aug 5, 2011, Andrew McAfee opened a public discussion on Google+ by sharing How Apple (unintentionally) revolutionized corporate IT by Aaron Levie. McAfee commented "Story from CNNMoney about how Apple is unintentionally revolutionizing corporate IT. About time, too." and asked "Does anyone doubt that the Cloud + mobile + social + new devices is going to have a huge impact on corporate technology infrastructures and costs within the next 5-10 years?" Off to the races...
Like many people in the tech industry, I've been happily exploring and enjoying Google+ for the past week or so (thank you Susan Scrupski for the early invitation). I like the Google+ bar, polished integration with Google Profiles, Photos, and Video, as well as the new Huddle and Hangout capabilities. And I'm looking forward to Google+ integrated Search. Nov 20, 2015 update: Google's updated Community and Collection model finally gives Google+ something like a shared Spaces as well as email-like Circles. Keep reading for thoughts on why Circles never caught on. - grl
Larry Cannell, Research Director, Gartner Group presented great slides and hosted an excellent webinar on July 7, 2011 based on his research and experience. Free registration gives public access to a recording of the Webinar and a copy of Larry's slides - at least for a few days (after than please check Gartner Webinar Archives). Please register and learn! Larry will also be leading sessions at Gartner Catalyst Conference 2011 San Diego, July 26-29. Larry's framework is very crisply stated, general and useful. The 65 slides include very helpful diagrams, examples, scorecard decision aids, and more. These are just top level points from my notes.
See the lively McKinsey & Company What Matters debate, Tyler Cowen: "Yes. The big gains in the 20th century resulted from transformative innovations that are much rarer today." versus Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson: "No. We’ve only just begun to reap the productivity benefits of digital technology." Read the analysis, lively comments, and jump in! My two cents (also posted as What Matters comment): I agree with Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson's analysis that digital technology - including but not limited to the Web, communications and computer technology - is a GPT that "leads to fundamental changes in the production process of those using the new invention." and whose impact on productivity will be felt over decades, not years.
There's been a lot of Web and Twitter discussion about the value of activity streams to promote broad awareness versus the potential problem of showing too much information and having important signals get lost in the flow. I believe that the best solution is to allow people to selectively zoom into activity streams, status and discussions - clipped by space, project, person or milestone - to focus on any particular activity in context. To focus more precisely, click a watch button to get notification when anything is added, changed, or discussed in a context you want to monitor carefully.
Euan Semple's Literate Business post of May 4, 2011 is well worth reading. In preparing to write his book, Euan noted "There's something wrong with the names we use for social web tools in business... whether Enterprise 2.0, Social business or whatever."
The Computer History Museum's This Day In History March 11 reminded me that today is the birthday of Vannevar Bush (born March 11, 1890), a distinguished educator, engineer, Vice President and Dean of MIT, and President of the Carnegie Institution. As World War II Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Bush managed all US wartime research, reporting directly to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After the War he was instrumental in creation of the National Science Foundation based on a 1944 request from FDR. Bush is also known as the author of a famous July 1945 Atlantic Monthly essay As We May Think, where he described a possible "new relationship between the thinking man and the sum of our knowledge" including the Memex - a literary machine which inspired the invention of hypertext twenty years later - and indirectly lead to creation of the Web. See the video archive of the MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of As We May Think for a great collection of talks by Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay, and others inspired by Bush and and his work.
Yesterday I read GigaOM analyst and editor Haydn Shaughnessy's Future of Work Platforms report (registration required, free seven day trial available). I commented: Haydn -- A very thoughtful and useful analysis – a combination that’s all too rare! I’m particularly happy to see your thoughts on observable work (see the full report for Haydn's excellent analysis).
Ever since Jon Udell coined the term, it struck me as good way to talk about practical benefits and a business purpose for collaboration. In my opinion it helps by pealing back issues of privacy in context and activity streams, along with subtleties required to support the social dance of getting things done, dealing with exceptions, and staying aware of what’s going around you without getting swamped. This is much closer to jazz than the world of canned business transactions. It requires a level of attention to ease of use and user experience that’s just as important but in many ways more challenging to do well in a business context than for the public Web.