Social Media Policy Almost = Blabbing Policy

March 18, 2010 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

After reading 10 Social Media Commandment for Employers, I was reminded of Blogging Policy = Blabbing Policy, a blog entry I wrote back in 2006 when the the "conversation" in the blog-o-sphere started to center on corporate blogging policies.

I don't care to debate the merit of each of the commandments, but do take issue with the concept at all. The fact that, in the past, there was consideration (by anyone) of corporate Blogging policies makes the point perfectly clear:

Companies don't need a FILL IN THE TREND HERE Policy, they need a Communications (Blabbing) Policy and a related Conduct Policy which governs employee behavior with respect to trade secrets of all forms and terms for legal and ethical conduct.

There is one facet of Social Media policy that could be worth special coverage in a communications policy. Specifically, certain employees who get involved on a business development level with potential partners could be a good target for your competitors' monitoring. If those employees, be they researchers, strategists, or CEOs are visibly connecting to a given set of like individuals from a potential partner's company, the likelihood of a potential partnership or business deal could be anticipated by your competitor.

So, if the formation of an incipient business to business relationship is covered by an NDA (or should otherwise be confidential), company employees ought to be careful about forming "following" or "link" type connections with individuals from the counter-party and, I believe, its perfectly in-bounds for a corporate "communication policy" to specify ground rules for "public gathering," rather than calling out social media specifically.

Garry Kasparov on Computer Chess and Enterprise 2.0

February 19, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Image Professor Andrew McAfee posted a very good business analysis of points made by Garry Kasparov in his Feb 11, 2010 New York Review of Books article on Diego Rasskin-Gutman's book Chess Metaphors: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind. Kasparov's summarized of his own thoughts as a Chess Grandmaster and world chess champion playing against - and losing to - IBM's Deep Blue chess computer. But the interesting part comes when Kasparov talks about a recent match open to grandmasters who were allowed to use computer chess programs of their choice to augment their own chess skills: "The surprise came at the conclusion of the event. The winner was revealed to be not a grandmaster with a state-of-the-art PC but a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time." McAfee quotes Kasparov and continues:

My favorite aspect of these 'freestyle' competitions was the specific type of human creativity that led to victory. Instead of pure chess genius, it was something much closer to business process design brilliance. The overall winner was a team that contained neither the best human players nor the biggest and fastest computers. Instead, it consisted of "a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time. Their skill at manipulating and "coaching" their computers to look very deeply into positions effectively counteracted the superior chess understanding of their grandmaster opponents and the greater computational power of other participants."

Kasparov was surprised at this outcome and I have to confess that I was as well, despite my deep conviction that a well-designed process is a potent weapon. I didn't think that smart process design — in this case, a process for determining the "best" chess move — could overcome both cognitive and computational deficits. But it did, even in this domain where brains and calculations would appear to be the only things that matter. As Kasparov writes of this amazing result, "Weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process." I think that's my new motto. - Andrew McAfee, Harvard Business Review, Feb 18, 2010

Read McAfee's Did Garry Kasparov Stumble Into a New Business Process Model for his excellent analysis and conclusions. I commented: Thanks for a great post on what it means to augment rather than automate business processes! Doug Engelbart devoted a lifetime of work to investigating how technology can augment the abilities people to address complex and challenging problems, including but not limited to business (see Engelbart links below).

The Kasparov quote also gets to what I believe is the heart of the Enterprise 2.0 value debate:

• ERP / MRP / BI and other enterprise IT systems deliver value based on optimizing flow of transactions, optimizing management of predictable processes, or providing analytic insight. ROI calculation for optimizing automated processes is straightforward - and managers are comfortable estimating the potential business value of better analytics.

• Enterprise 2.0 systems augment the ability of organizations to recognize and deal with opportunities, exceptions (and threats) which aren't predictable but have high enough value and occur frequently enough give companies who execute well a sustainable competitive advantage.

I believe the two points are connected. Expensive analytic and reporting systems are of little value if discoveries made can't be turned into actionable insights. Senior management should weigh how Enterprise 2.0 techniques can augment their people's ability deliver value using the expensive transactional and analytic IT systems that they already have or want to create.

Related

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 Augmentation quotes and links

Enterprise 2.0 Schism Why I believe that Doug Engelbart and Peter Drucker are Patron Saints of E2.0

Augmenting Human Intellect: Remove the brick

ImageIn 1962 Doug Engelbart wrote the paper he calls his bible: AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT: A Conceptual Framework. It is both a roadmap of his lifework - and a white paper presented to ARPA and other agencies for funding. In 1962 Doug could not cite examples for the use of computer systems to augment the creative and problem solving abilities of humans - he was in the process of inventing that - but he could perform a de-augmentation experiment which he used as a counter example. He tied a brick to a pencil and demonstrated that his handwriting became much slower and much less legible. My paraphrase of Doug's research objective: Remove the bricks that limit our ability to write, work and communicate effectively by providing computer systems that augment people's natural abilities to write, work and communicate.

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010

January 30, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Image"DOUG Engelbart sat under a twenty-two-foot-high video screen, "dealing lightning with both hands." At least that's the way it seemed to Chuck Thacker, a young Xerox PARC computer designer who was later shown a video of the demonstration that changed the course of the computer world." from What the Dormouse Said, John Markoff.

Doug Engelbart has been recognized as a great figure in the history of technology with awards including the National Medal of Technology presented by President Bill Clinton for: "... creating the foundations of personal computing including continuous real-time interaction based on cathode-ray tube displays and the mouse, hypertext linking, text editing, on-line journals, shared-screen teleconferencing, and remote collaborative work."'

Doug is also noble figure. Doug's research has a moral purpose, reflecting the skills and attitude of a great engineer and humanitarian: If the world is faced with complex, intractable problems that challenge the ability of individuals and nations to solve, what can I do to help people fix what's broken?

Doug's research focuses on how computers can aid people's ability to think and work as groups as well as individuals - what Doug refers to as Augmentation rather than Automation. This involves understanding how problem solving groups actually behave - and how introducing new technology changes behavior and vice versa. This led me to nominate Doug along with Peter Drucker as a patron saint of Enterprise 2.0; the phrase is flip but the thought is serious. Please send 85th Birthday greetings to Doug today.

I'll let Doug speak for himself in the opening paragraphs of what he calls the bible of his research agenda, AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT: A Conceptual Framework from Oct 1962:

By "augmenting human intellect" we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by "complex situations" we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers--whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human "feel for a situation" usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids.1a1

Man's population and gross product are increasing at a considerable rate, but the complexity of his problems grows still faster, and the urgency with which solutions must be found becomes steadily greater in response to the increased rate of activity and the increasingly global nature of that activity. Augmenting man's intellect, in the sense defined above, would warrant full pursuit by an enlightened society if there could be shown a reasonable approach and some plausible benefits.1a2

This report covers the first phase of a program aimed at developing means to augment the human intellect. These "means" can include many things--all of which appear to be but extensions of means developed and used in the past to help man apply his native sensory, mental, and motor capabilities--and we consider the whole system of a human and his augmentation means as a proper field of search for practical possibilities. It is a very important system to our society, and like most systems its performance can best be improved by considering the whole as a set of interacting components rather than by considering the components in isolation. - AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT: A Conceptual Framework, Douglas Engelbart October 1962

And notes from a conversation with Alan Kay - one of the two thousand people who attended Doug's Dec 1968 Demo, and went on to shape the world of technology as we know it.

Alan Kay At PARC one of the goals was to do NLS as a distributed system and all of the ALTOs had the five-finger keyboards as well as the mouse on them. We basically loved NLS and we'd done a few modifications which we thought even sped up. NLS part of the interaction scheme on it was, I believe, because the analog mouse there was some drift in it, so one of the things that they did was to say what kind of a thing you were pointing at, so you'd say move character or move word or move paragraph and so forth. It was kind of a procedure where you gave the command first and then bug bug and then command accept. We realized at Xerox PARC that you wanted to have a speedy scheme for interacting and we thought we could go even one better by selecting the objects, so you'd select something you'd do something to, give the command and then, in the case of move character you'd go select, move, select and it would it with fewer keystrokes.

Now, the abortion that happened after PARC was the misunderstanding of the user interface that we did for children, which was the overlapping window interface which we made as naive as absolutely we possibly could to the point of not having any work flow ideas in it and that was taken over uncritically out into the outside world. So we have many systems, like Lotus Notes and many mail systems that when you say replay it comes up with a window over the very thing you were reading as though there weren't any connection between these things. So this is an abortion to me, but its basically part of the whole feel. Whereas our notion was that you start the kids off on this fairly simple, naive thing and then there would be an actual progression where you would get up to this several commands a second kind of thing that you could do with NLS. If you have ever seen anybody use NLS it is really marvelous cause you're kindof flying along through the stuff several commands a second and there's a complete different sense of what it means to interact than you have today. I characterize what we have today as a wonderful bike with training wheels on that nobody knows they are on so nobody is trying to take them off. I just feel like we're way way behind where we could have been if it weren't for the way commercialization turned out.

Doug Engelbart Well, strangely enough, I feel the same. It's part of the thing of the easy to learn and natural to use thing that became sort of a god to follow and the marketplace is driving it and its successful and you could market on that basis, but some of the diagrams pictures that I didn't quite get to the other day was how do you ever migrate from a tricycle to a bicycle because a bicycle is very unnatural and very hard to learn compared to a tricycle, and yet in society it has superseded all the tricycles for people over five years old. So the whole idea of high-performance knowledge work is yet to come up and be in the domain. Its still the orientation of automating what you used to do instead of moving to a whole new domain in which you are going to obviously going to learn quite a few new skills. And so you make analogies of suppose you wanted to move up to the ski slopes and be mobile on skis. Well, just visiting them for an afternoon is not going to do it. So, I'd love to have photographs of skateboards and skis and windsurfing and all of that to show you what people can really if they have a new way supplied by technology to be mobile in a different environment. None of that could be done if people insisted that it was an easy-to-learn thing.

So, moving your way around those thought vectors in concept space - I'd forgotten about that

Alan Kay You said that, right?

Doug Engelbart I must have, its so good. [laughter] Its to externalize your thoughts in the concept structures that are meaningful outside and moving around flexibly and manipulating them and viewing them. Its a new way to operate on a new kind of externalized medium. So, to keep doing it in a model of the old media is just a hangup that someplace we're going to break that perspective and shift and then the idea of high performance and the idea of high performance teams who've learned to coordinate, to get that ball down the field together in all kinds of operations. I feel like the real breakthrough for us getting someplace is going to be when we say 'All right, lets put together high-performance, knowledge-work teams and lets pick the roles they're going to play within our organizations in some way in such even though they operate very differently from their peers out in the rest of the organization they can interact with them and support them very effectively. So there are roles like that that would be very effective and everyone else can sortof see because they're interacting with these guys what they can do. And suppose it does take 200 hours of specialized training - that's less than boot camp.

One of those boxes on that paradigm map about deployment was really coming down and showing you that special purpose teams are one kind of thing in the way that they can propagate and very different from moving a group of people who have an existing set of staff and processes and methods and skills and equipment and trying to move them all together. It's practically an impossible task to do that in any significantly large step without having casualties. They just aren't all equipped to mobile in that space. So, there's a lot to go with that and it all stems from looking at today and saying 'why do we accept that?' That's the modern thing, its almost a religion. In any other company I'd be afraid to bring that out. Maybe I'll have to run from you too... from Notes from the Panels The Brown / MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium, October 1995

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

Doug Engelbart Resources

DougEngelbart.org: The Doug Engelbart Institute was was conceived by Doug Engelbart to further his lifelong career goal of boosting our ability to better address complex, urgent problems. It contains an excellent history, archive of papers, photos and other published resources as well as links to Doug's current projects.

Douglas Engelbart Interviewed by John Markoff of the New York Times Outracing the Fire: 50 Years and Counting of Technology and Change Computer History Museum oral history interview, March 26, 2002.

Doug Engelbart Video Archive: 1968 Demo - FJCC Conference Presentation Reel Dec 9, 1968 Internet Archive, the so called Mother of All Demos. See also From Pranksters to PCs chapter about Engelbart's 1968 FJCC demo from John Markoff's book What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, authorized excerpt.

Video Archive MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium: A Celebration of Vannevar Bush's 1945 Vision, An Examination of What Has Been Accomplished, and What Remains to Be Done. Oct 12-13 1995, MIT. Talks and panel discussion with Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay and others. See also ACM Interactions summary (free access), transcript of day 1 and day 2 panels.

Doug Engelbart's copy of Vannevar Bush's 1945 As We May Think, with Doug's 1962 notes scribbled in the margins.

Tuesday Dec 9, 2008 | Forty years after the Mother of All Demos Engelbart's demonstration of the Augment shared screen hypertext and video system developed by a team at SRI under Doug's leadership. Links to videos, interviews and other resources

AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT: A Conceptual Framework By Douglas C. Engelbart October 1962 (SRI AUGMENT, 3906)

And yes, Doug also invented the mouse, and used it in his 1968 demo. But introducing Doug as the inventor of the mouse is like introducing Leonardo da Vinci as a guy who knew how to make good paint brushes.

Related

re: Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People

December 17, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Update Dec 17, 2009: Facebook's controversial ex-post facto revision of member privacy settings along with the revenue driven rise of apps like Farmville (as well as sleezy internal promotion) lead me to revisit this, see Blog1232: Facebook: A Carnival Midway not a Neighborhood?

Facebook: A Carnival Midway not a Neighborhood?

December 17, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageOliver Marks wrote a very good post: Facebook: The Legal Rumblings Start Dec 17, 2009, on the Facebook's potential legal exposure due to its controversial changes to member privacy capabilities and settings. My comment: Oliver -- Very good followup on Facebook's awkward (to put it mildly) changes to selective privacy capabilities which were a large part of their differentiation vs Friendster and MySpace.

With over 70 million folk apparently hooked on "social" games like Farmville, targeted ads that seem to belong on late night TV, and incredibly lame attempts to nag folk get their friends to use Facebook more (giving "viral" a new and flu like meaning), I see Facebook becoming a downscale carnival midway more than a neighborhood. They certainly have a right to do that.

Originally I thought the equally lame and manipulative privacy changes would just contribute to the downmarket feel of the place.

But as you point out - EU privacy laws may land them in legal entanglements too.

Facebook is becoming a bad example rather than a good example for use of social software in the enterprise - or anywhere for that matter. Look out below!


My point is that Facebook has every legal right to attempt to develop, market and monetize a site with whatever privacy and promotional rules it wants - and let customers vote with their feet. But changing rules of an established site by eliminating privacy related permissions can run into legal trouble as well as losing trust that makes people comfortable continuing to use the site.

Facebook seems to be floundering and flailing into the greedy vision of "a closed Internet with ads" that has been the graveyard of AOL, Friendster and others, see the Onion Video Internet Archaeologists Find Ruins of 'Friendster' Civilization. Even worse - Facebook ads, apps and promotions are increasingly loud, spammy and sometimes offensive. Google does a pretty good job of mixing advertising that's not too obtrusive with their services - and the certainly makes money. Facebook should learn from Google.

I believe that the popularity of social sites on the public Web and the value of internally and externally facing Enterprise 2.0 collaboration comes from a skilled combination of affordances that make spaces more or less inviting and suitable to some intended purpose. Great architects of physical places know that people bring expectations and norms about the kind of behavior that's appropriate and enjoyable to any physical space - and that's a lesson that public Web and Enterprise 2.0 designers need to learn and use.

Related

The Social Facebook Fiasco Oliver Marks, Dec 15, 2009. Analysis. "...the effect of these Facebook fiascos are a confused business audience, some of whom would like to see an ‘enterprise Facebook’ in their corporate environment…if they could get a handle on Facebook’s ever mutating terms of service."

Facebook's Privacy Move Violates Contract with Users Kaliya Hamlin, Dec 15, 2009. Guest RWW post reviews the changing "social contract" offered by Facebook - and points to Second Quarter 2010 planned availability of Facebook's Social Graph API as the motive for the privacy change.

Privacy groups file complaint with FTC over Facebook settings Larry Dignan, Dec 17, 2009. A very concise summary of Facebook's Dec 2009 revision to privacy settings offered to members.

Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People I decided to describe Twitter as one of three distinct places on the Web where I socialize every day: the public commons. The others two are my neighborhood (Facebook) and my workplace (the 300+ spaces on Traction Software's TeamPage server). Compares and contrasts patterns of connections and the social architecture at work and in public places.

Ask an Engineer: What do you think of the Facebook Terms of Service Flap? Analyzes the Feb 2009 Facebook terms of service revision flap based on the difficulty in defining privacy policy based on two different and irreconcilable sets of expectation on what should happen to data previously shared by applications if a member subsequently revokes permission to share.

Clarity Amid the Hype What's different about enterprise Twitter? Most of this carries forward to consideration of What's different about enterprise Facebook?

Borders, Spaces, and Places How to model permissions and borders to enable collaboration where there's a natural expectation of privacy crossing many spaces - for example a law firms simultaneous collaboration with each its clients as well as internal groups. Permissions and borders need to be simple, scaleable and secure to work for internal and externally facing E2.0 collaboration.

How big a deal is Enterprise 2.0? What do you mean by "Big"?

November 22, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Image
I'm flattered that Professor Andrew McAfee cites Enterprise 2.0 Schism in his Nov 20, 2009 blog post Enterprise 2.0 is Not THAT Big a Deal, kicking off a neat discussion on serious points behind my tongue in cheek analysis. McAfee agrees that Enterprise 2.0 is a big deal - but "... I don't see E2.0's tools, approaches, and philosophies making obsolete managers, hierarchies, org charts and formal cross functional business processes". There's no need to use a 2.0 version for the Enterprise, but:

I yield to almost no one in my belief about the power and utility of ESSPs [ Emergent Social Software Platforms ], but I just don’t think they’re going to transform the structure or purpose of the enterprise. As I wrote earlier, I don’t see E2.0’s tools, approaches, and philosophies making obsolete managers, hierarchies, org charts, and formal cross functional business processes...

I want to be clear: Lloyd’s post is fantastic: grounded and very thoughtful. He’s not in the enterprise-as-slime-mold camp. And I definitely agree with him that Enterprise 2.0 is a big deal. So what’s the right way to describe its impact?

Here’s my take: ESSPs will have about as big an impact on the informal processes of the organization as large-scale commercial enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, Supply Chain, etc.) have had on the formal processes.

This is not a conservative statement. Enterprise systems have been a huge deal for organizations. They’ve turned reengineering from a whiteboard exercise into an unignorable reality for many, many companies. And Drucker was right when he said that “Reengineering is new, and it has to be done.” - Andrew McAfee Nov 20, 2009

I happily replied:

Andy -- Thank you for the kind words as well as the thoughtful analysis. I agree strongly with your take that the impact on the informal processes will be as large as the impact of large scale commercial enterprise systems on formal processes.

I differ a little by including daily working communication, awareness and alerting (the way people work - not workflow or transactional communication) along with the ESSPs as having a large impact on the informal processes of organizations.

It's an interesting - Peter Drucker style - question to see how this plays out over time see my Drucker Centenary post which really should have been titled: "What questions would Peter Drucker Ask about Enterprise 2.0?"

On the 2.0 question: I always took the "2.0" of Web 2.0 as a tongue in cheek observation that the way people use the web and their expectations have shifted dramatically even though there is no "version" you can associate with the emergent phenomena we call the Web. "Who rolled the version?" on the Web is a funny and enlightening question.

I wouldn't expect organizations to use "2.0" as much more that a rallying cry, koan or plain old kick in the pants to take a look around and see what's changed. That's useful too.

Euan Semple commented:

Great post Andrew. I think what is happening IS a big deal but have been wary of labelling it Enterprise 2.0 as this makes it too easy to make it "other" and ignore it or assimilate it - bit like what happened to KM. I don't think our current methods of organisation are inevitable and I don't think we have even begun to see the effect of networked ways of thinking on how we relate to the world. This is why when asked recently how long I thought it would be before the full impact of what is happening works itself into organisational life I said fifty years.

I replied:

I agree with your 50 years - if you start the clock running with Doug Engelbart in 1968!

More seriously - for a major shift in enterprise use of technology I believe 10 years (from early adopter to common use) is closer : From "We have a Web Page" in 1993 to Web Commerce Bubble of 2001; Rare use of inter-enterprise email 1988 to universal by 1998; "Enterprise 2.0" in the broad sense 2006 to 2016. Pretty close to Engelbart + 50 years!

The evolution of the Web itself is an great example of an emergent phenomena. It started from TBL's very austere protocols and concepts though unpredictable and intertwingled rounds of innovation in how the Web was used the tech layered over it (search engines+), see Reinventing the Web for my view as early Web skeptic.

I believe the motivation for changing informal processes of organizations will come from a combination of: 1) people's expectations on how things can and should work from their direct experience with the public Web (as well as internal examples); 2) a measure of strategic thinking about how patterns of work and management can change based on new technology and expectations - in the spirit of Drucker and Engelbart.

Very few individuals in an enterprise are experts in ERP / MRP / Supply Chain Management etc so the feedback and demand cycles that drive human factor improvement and evolution of these systems are very weak. I have very few constructive comments on improving my payroll system and only whine about its eccentricities and complexity.

However everyone is a social animal and brings that experience to work every day. That's the "social" in social software that will drive evolution and adoption of new enterprise technology - with the public Web as a practical benchmark.

Euan replies:

I'm sticking to 50 years from now! I was thinking of the impact on how we structure organisations rather than just common adoption of technologies. Still think that will take a long time.

If I'm wrong I hope I'm around to settle the bet in fifty years!

Related

Tuesday Dec 9, 2008 | Forty years after the Mother of All Demos
And here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 | Dealing lightning with both hands...

Peter Drucker and Enterprise 2.0 | Drucker Centenary

November 19, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageEarlier this week Oliver Marks wrote an excellent post on his Collaboration 2.0 Blog: The Purpose of a Business is to Create a Customer' - Peter Drucker Centenary. Oliver celebrates the Nov 19, 2009 Centenary of Peter Drucker's birth with two of his favorite Drucker bumper sticker quotes: " ‘Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes‘ and ‘There is an enormous number of managers who have retired on the job‘, which somehow seem to fit together very well." then uses these quotes as context to discuss the disturbing findings of the 2009 Shift Index report and followup analysis by John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davidson of the Deloitte Center for The Edge. Please read Oliver's full post - you'll like it. Oliver was also used kind words to build on my earlier Enterprise 2.0 Schism post. Here's a slightly extended version of the comment I posted in reply, along with my two favorite Drucker bumper sticker quotes and several links to celebrate Drucker's birth and life.

Thank you for the kind words and for pointing out the HBR Drucker Centenary issue. My "Enterprise 2.0 Schism" post was fun to write - with tongue firmly in cheek - as you note. But it also expresses some serious beliefs.

For me the key Drucker quote is: "The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary human beings to do extraordinary things."

The scale shift that ubiquitous Web tech enables as well as bottom up participation in E2.0 initiatives are both necessary - but neither are sufficient to distinguish "Enterprise 2.0" from the Web we see and use every day outside work. I believe the difference lies in the shared purpose which drives people to create or join an enterprise and work together over time, along with the need to manage use of scarce resources to a shared end.

By definition an enterprise is a purposeful undertaking that generally requires many hands, expertise and capital that aren't easy for a non-purposeful group to gain and apply over time. This make the "social ecology" of an enterprise different from other groups.

In saying "2.0 modifies how the Enterprise works, not the technology," I take the rhetorical position that the technology which underlies E2.0 - specifically the ubiquitous Web as a platform - is a necessary enabler which provides the first chance to practically apply many of the principals of open work, distributed work and effective collaboration over time that Drucker and Engelbart have advocated for the past fifty years.

I believe that emergent phenomena which Prof Andrew McAfee includes as a core part of his definition of Enterprise 2.0 are significant and different in kind and structure from anything seen before in any enterprise - based on the speed, scale, simplicity and ubiquity of the technology combined with expectations and experience grounded in the public Web. Speculating on how management could embrace but not squash these phenomena to "create more customers" is a good Druckerian question.

But I also believe that the most likely path to large scale adoption and use of this enabling technology will come from small to mid size groups within an organization who intentionally use it to improve their own ability to get work done - rather than in direct pursuit of emergent benefits. They can (and by mandate should) open the direct and indirect record of their work to others who then may become better aware of what their enterprise plans to do, is doing or has done - and who knows what. I really like Jon Udell's term for this principal: Observable Work.

I believe this bottom up and pragmatic adoption model parallels lessons learned from bottom up Knowledge Management versus the failure of top down KM, and lessons learned from the history of the simple, practical Web itself versus failed dreams of more sophisticated universal hypertextuality.

The benefits that are new in kind are emergent, but the path to broad adoption and acceptance will be based on mutual consent, compelling benefits to those who do the work, leadership, and experimentation in activities that have a clear business purpose - designing, building, selling, maintaining products, providing services to clients, customers and partners.

It's presumptuous to guess what Peter Drucker would say about the relationship between the technology, techniques and phenomena we call Enterprise 2.0 and its potential to change the patterns of work and management of an enterprise.

But I believe it's fair to ask: "What sort of hard questions might Peter Drucker ask?" David Rendall (of the UK's National Health Service, Orkney) tossed a nice Druckerian question to Carmen Medina during the followup discussion to her Enterprise 2.0 and the Context of Work keynote at TUG 2009 last month:

#tug2009 Question for Carmen: how do those collaborative networks balance with clear lines of responsibility e.g. in healthcare? from TweetDeck @davidrendall

For example, the decision on course of treatment for a particular patient is yes or no and may be life and death. You want many people to be able to contribute to that decision - including the patient - but ultimately someone has to accept responsibility for that outcome. In all enterprises decisions between mutually exclusive courses of action need to be made - up to and including "bet the company" decisions.

See the video (time 68:20) for David's question. Then follow Carmen's response and a fascinating discussion that includes FAA experience in understanding and mandating training on cockpit resource management to make air crews aware of how to communicate effectively in high stress situations. Planes have literally flown into mountains when a junior officer was not willing or able to alert a senior pilot to a critical issue while the senior pilot was dealing with the same or an unrelated emergency.

Drucker would hold management ultimately responsibility for the course of action and outcome. But how to make best use of the experience and judgement of a distributed, experienced and self-directed organization is not a simple question, particularly in a crisis such as the mortgage credit crisis (or South Sea Bubble) where madness rather than wisdom of crowds is part of the problem. In my opinion Drucker was often at his best when expressing and defending contrarian opinions that he considered morally right as well as intellectually correct. See Schumpeter and Keynes which Drucker wrote on the Keynes Centenary.

Drucker makes the point that innovation in how an enterprise (profit or non-profit) works - how it provides motivation, support, leadership and resources to its members to "Create a Customer" - is as important as innovation in whatever else an enterprise delivers.

I hope we'll see more good work (like John Hagel & John Seely Brown's The Only Sustainable Edge) that focuses on E2.0 style business innovation based on Drucker's understanding of what drives success.

PS - My second Peter Drucker bumper sticker quote for the day: "A manager's task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant--and that applies fully as much to the manager's boss as it applies to the manager's subordinates."

Peter Drucker Centennial

'The Purpose of a Business is to Create a Customer' - Peter Drucker Centenary Oliver Marks, Nov 16, 2009

Entreprise 2.0 : Les promesses du management moderne enfin tenues ? Cecil Dijoux, Nov 11, 2009

The Drucker Centennial - The Drucker Institute, Claremont Graduate University

The Drucker Centennial: What would Peter Do? How his wisdom can help you navigate turbulent times - Harvard Business Review, Nov 2009

Books and articles by Peter Drucker

Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices - Peter Drucker (Paperback edition 1993)

The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials) (Paperback 2008)

The Theory of Business - Peter Drucker, HBR Sep-Oct 1994 ($)

Schumpeter And Keynes - Peter Drucker, Forbes May 1983 (cover story) A superb essay comparing the two greatest economists of the 20th century, written in the centenary of Keynes birth. A Drucker classic on the relationship between economics and innovation.

Related

Enterprise 2.0 Schism

CIA and the NHS: Common features of “high risk, high reliability” organisations - David Rendall, A Web that Works, Nov 3, 2009

Carmen Medina: Enterprise 2.0 and the Context of Work | TUG 2009 Keynote

As We May Work - Andy van Dam

Mind, heart and hands: Lifelong learning and teaching in the digital age - Jon Udell on what he memorably calls the principal of Observable Work April 2009

Reinventing the Web

Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Enterprise 2.0 Schism

November 9, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Image I have to confess that I've enjoyed watching recent rounds of Enterprise 2.0 discussion and mud wrestling. The fact that so many people enjoy debating definitions, values, doctrinal principals - even the existence of Enterprise 2.0 - makes me think that E2.0 might best be framed as a religious debate. With that in mind, I'd like to introduce a new and exciting element: schism.

I hereby declare myself an Enterprise 2.0 Strict Druckerian. I believe that "2.0" should be considered a modifier of Enterprise rather than an allusion to mere Web 2.0 technology - which is what an Enterprise 2.0 Strict Solutionist would have you believe.

I further declare: No, it is not "all about the people" - which is what an Enterprise 2.0 Strict Proletarian would have you believe. Without the enabling technology of the Web, plus search engines and other affordances based on Sir Tim Berners-Lee's innovation, the Strict Proletarian would find it difficult to fit the inhabitants of McAfee's inner, middle and outer rings into the same room, get them to participate in the same conference call, or exhibit their "emergent" behaviors using typewriters, copy machines, faxes and email. Speed, scale and connection patterns matter and the technology that spans these barriers is neither trivial nor insignificant to the phenomena Strict Proletarians value.

I believe that although both technology and broad bottom-up participation are necessary to achieve the Drukerian vision, neither element alone is sufficient to achieve the noble end of re-engineering how ordinary people work together to achieve the ends of enterprises they choose to affiliate with.

As Peter Drucker said: "The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary human beings to do extraordinary things." Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices Chapter 28, The Spirit of Performance, p. 361 (1974)

I nominate Peter Drucker and Douglas Engelbart as Patron Saints of Enterprise 2.0 (Strict Druckerian). If you don't know who either of these gentlemen are, I suggest you click their Wikipedia links for two pretty good short biographies.

Peter Drucker constantly advised businesses to give employees direct control over their own work and environment, with teams of "knowledge workers" responsible for work toward goals stated as broad business objectives rather than prescriptive plans. Drucker stated that management could only achieve sustainable profits by treating people as an enterprise's most valued resources, not as costs. In later years he described his role as "social ecologist" rather than management consultant.

"Marketing alone does not make a business enterprise. In a static economy there are no business enterprises. There are not even businesspeople. The middleman of a static society is a broker who receives his compensation in the form of a fee, or a spectator who creates no value.

A business enterprise can exist only in an expanding economy, or at least in one that considers change both natural and acceptable. And business is the specific organ of growth, expansion and change.

The second function of a business is, therefore innovation - the provision of different economic satisfactions. It is not enough for the business to provide just any economic good and services; it must provide better and more economic ones. It is not necessary for a business to grow bigger; but it is necessary that it constantly grow better...

Above all innovation is not invention. It is a term of economics rather than technology. Non technological innovations - social or economic innovations - are at least as important as technological ones.

In the organization of a business enterprise, innovation can no more be considered a separate function than marketing. It is not confined to engineering or research, but extends across all parts of the business, all functions, all activities." Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1974)

At a 1934 Cambridge seminar by John Maynard Keynes, "I suddenly realized that Keynes and all the brilliant economic students in the room were interested in the behavior of commodities, while I was interested in the behavior of people." Peter Drucker, The Ecological Vision, p. 75-76, (1993)

"A manager's task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant--and that applies fully as much to the manager's boss as it applies to the manager's subordinates." Peter Drucker, Managing for the Future: The 1990's and Beyond (1992)

In an equally distinguished career, Douglas Engelbart has been enormously influential in creating and inspiring the creation of technology we use today (far beyond his invention of the mouse), but Doug's goals have always been expressed in terms of improving the abilities of groups to address complex, difficult and important problems:

"By 'augmenting human intellect' we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by 'complex situations' we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers--whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human 'feel for a situation' usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids." Douglas Engelbart Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework, Introduction, (1962)

On the term "social software", I believe it's fair to blame it on Clay Shirky - who had the misfortune to introduce a term that's perfectly respectable for a sociologist who studies how technology influences group behavior:

“It's software that supports group interaction. I also want to emphasize, although that's a fairly simple definition, how radical that pattern is. The Internet supports lots of communications patterns, principally point-to-point and two-way, one-to-many outbound, and many-to-many two-way.” − Clay Shirky, A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy O’Reilly Conference (April 2003)

If the term "social" must be deprecated, I hope its banishment takes with it all Social X marketing buzzwords, job titles, twitter tags, and the well-earned disco ball reputations of the so-called Social Media gurus.

On "Return on investment" debates, I believe that Taylorist time-and-motion studies would show gains that exceed the modest costs of introducing and using Enterprise 2.0 software. However, for knowledge work where the potential business value is much greater than transactional (e.g. reduced time to handle a purchase order) value studies are difficult to design and far too easy to fudge. Long term experimental studies measuring business improvement are even more difficult:

"A very important surgeon delivered a talk on the large number of successful procedures for vascular reconstruction. At the end of the lecture, a young student at the back of the room timidly asked, 'Do you have any controls?' The great man hit the podium and said, 'Do you mean, "Did I not operate on half the patients?"' ... The hall grew very quiet and the voice at the back of the room very hesitantly replied, 'Yes, that's what I had in mind.' The surgeon's fist really came down as he thundered, 'Of course not, that would have doomed half of them to their death!'...The room was then quiet, and one could scarcely hear the small voice ask, 'Which half?'" - Dr. E. E. Peacock, Jr., University of Arizona College of Medicine; quoted in Medical World News, p. 45 (September 1, 1972) quoted by Edward Tufte in Beautiful Evidence (2006)

I believe the value of Enterprise 2.0 techniques comes from small to mid size groups within an organization who intentionally strive to improve their own ability to get work done, while opening the direct and indirect record of their work to others who then may become better aware of what their enterprise plans to do, is doing or has done - and who knows what.

Finally - having demonstrated the unerring truth of the Strict Druckerian position regarding the nature of Enterprise 2.0, I declare both the Strict Solutionist and Strict Proletarian interpretations to be false, heretical, and anathema. Living in our tolerant and civilized times, I found it difficult to imagine an appropriate way to separate those who obstinately cling to these heretical beliefs, until I ran across this nugget:

Nike does "email archeology" to decompose email thread to expose one part of a specific collaboration. :>) @lehawselive (4:20pm Nov 4, 2009)

So if you don't agree with me, I hope you spend the the rest of your corporate life decomposing email threads from your corporate archive into Google Waves or Traction TeamPage comments where others can benefit from your labor if not from your ideas.

More

[ And so much more. It's the Web - you could look it up - or follow the fun on Twitter ]

Related

Afterword

This was far too much fun to write. I hope I haven't needlessly offended anyone, but I'm also happy to defend the essence of the Druckerian position in more serious terms; Enterprise 2.0 is a big tent and I hope it stays that way.

I also value the term Enterprise 2.0 for a reason over and above the Druckerian fantasy. Unlike terms invented to express a desire to sell software to managers (X Management - you do want to manage X don't you?), Enterprise 2.0 expresses a simple, grounded wish:

"I wish the software I used every day at work allowed me to find what I want; discover what I need to know - along with surprises; and connect with people I don't even know to get my job done, learn more, and work in an enjoyable place." or much more narrowly: "Why can I find what I need with Google on the Web, but have to pull teeth to find anything useful when I go to work?"

This is a grounded wish since everyone in business has a direct basis for comparison - what they or their children see, use and enjoy on the public Web every day. This doesn't mean that expectations, behavior, and (uh sociology) of the public Web and the internal/external web of connections used in an enterprise are the same - but they are comparable with respect to desired experience.

To the extent that corporate barriers dash expectations, read Peter Drucker on how to get rid of those barriers or find a better employer.

To the extent that enterprise technology differs with respect to needs for privacy, finding information in a link-deprived environment and sharing access to confidential sources or legacy applications, Enterprise 2.0 offers the opportunity for vendors and community projects to create products that respond to that simple, grounded wish and measure the difference.

I'm not sure where Professor Andrew McAfee sees himself in this ecclesiastical model. I'd be happy to support his claim to any sub-numinous position.

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

Update 6 Jun 2013: In the original version of this post I used Strict Technarian to refer to those who believe there is a purely technical - specifically Web or Internet - solution to every problem. Since then the term solutionist has gained popularity, generally through the acerbic criticism of Evgeny Morozov. I switched the awkward Technarian to Solutionist.

Although I don't agree with all of what Morozov says - or the way he says it - I believe solutionist is a useful term. See James Temple's 3 April 2013 SFChronical.com column Why Silicon Valley needs critics like Morozov

Update 21 Nov 2014: Enterprise 2.0 - Are we there yet? Is there a 'there' for Enterprise 2.0, or is it more like shaking a sleepy beehive?

Introducing Proteus (demo)

November 2, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

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Traction Software Director of User Experience Michael Angeles introduces Traction's new Google Web Toolkit (GWT) based Proteus user interface with a brief tour (video below).

See also

TUG 2009 Providence | Thank you!

November 2, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageI'd like to thank all of the Traction customers, partners and friends who traveled to Providence last month to make TUG 2009 Providence as enjoyable as it was enlightening. Special thanks to keynote speakers Carmen Medina, Chris Nuzum, Stewart Mader and all of the customers and partners who participated in the Oct 14 Main event. And my personal thanks to everyone on the Traction Software team who worked so hard to bring TeamPage R4.2, the Oracle RDB backend, Attivo Advance Search, and the Proteus Google Web Tookit (GWT) UI to life. I don't know what we'll do to top TUG 2009 next year - but TUG members provides some excellent ideas! See TUG 2009 Providence | Keynotes by Carmen Medina, Chris Nuzum and Stewart Mader for links to TUG videos, slide shows, interviews, tech talks and more, along with how become a TUG member and join the conversation. TUG registration is free and open to the public.

ImageYou're also welcome to review the the TUG 2009 dinner menu at Gracie's Restaurant in Providence. This year we had an outstanding five-course tasting menu with paired wines at one of Providence's best restaurants. Gracie's was kind enough to give TUG folk the main restaurant when we outgrew the event room. In past years, TUG events featured two full McGrath's Rhode Island clambakes (lobster, clams, mussels, corn etc seaweed steamed over a hardwood fire) and a crab fest. Between Gracie's and the good folk at the Hotel Providence, TUG members this year were well nourished physically as well as mentally and we'll carry on the tradition at future TUG events!

Where's Greg?

October 21, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageYou may have noticed a slow down in blog posts by Jordan and myself, and attributed that to our work for TUG 2009 Providence last week, and you'd be partially right (but it was fun - as you'll learn). You can also blame our slower blog posting to time spent on Twitter, both as individuals: @roundtrip (Greg Lloyd) and @jordanfrank and using the Traction Software corporate feed @tractionteam (which broadcasts the title and a shortened link to new content posted on TractionSoftware.com as well as original tweets).

I'll continue to blog notes that take more than 140 characters here. But for peek at what's I'm tweeting about Enterprise 2.0, KM and more with my trusty iPhone while having coffee at Seven Stars bakery, please follow @roundtrip. Here's a sample of recent tweets:

ImageOn Twitter you can also follow the Traction-Software List of Traction's team members, customers and friends. See Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People on how I use Twitter, Facebook and Traction TeamPage every day.

Structuring for Emergence

September 23, 2009 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

Enterprise 2.0 Social Software is appealing for many reasons, but a core value is the facilitation of emergence. Many in our community may quibble with McAfee's definition of Enterprise 2.0 but I think all will agree that the need to support emergence is a key trait. However, an emergent discussion shines a light on the interacting role of structure and emergence.

Bas Reus started the discussion with Self Organization Defined which gathered 42 comments. He continued with our interview, and a really nice interview inspired write up on Coordinated Chaos. Paula Thornton continued with E2.0: Unleashing the Potential where she says structure should be "Minimized, not Eliminated." In comparison to a lava lamp, Thornton says "Emergence does not evolve from nothing -- it requires structure."

In fact, structure lays the stage for the emergent outcomes - and can lead to very different consequences. The Emergence page in Wikipedia talks about how emergent order relies on the interaction rather than co-existence of the parts that come together in a system. In Thornton's lava lamp example, its the interaction of goop and liquid in a closed system of a certain shape and temperature that make the emergent outcome effective in its goal of being delightful to the eye.

Similarly, the Emergence page in Wikipedia, uses the example of ripple patterns in a sand dune. Sand and wind alone do not create the ripples. There are wider forces including the overall weather patterns and the shape of the underlying earth that leave this dune with a beautiful, emergent, pattern rather than a pile of sand.

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Emergence is especially appealing to people who've come from rigid software systems which demand that work flows go through a prescribed process. It makes people work through a prescribed flow rather than work in the flow of content and dialog.

As one concrete example, I just got off the phone with a Fortune 100 customer who has happily made the transition from a document approval process done in a workflow system, to an approach where documents for approval are posted for anyone to comment and then considered approved when enough of the right people have weighed in. Their comments act as a digital signature and compliance goals (in their context) are met. This is a simple, emergent process, that frees the group from having to constantly fine tune the rules of a rigid workflow system.

In a project management case, Glen Alleman, the blogger at Herding Cats, just posted PM 1.0, PM 2.0, How About Just Project Management where he argues that "irrational emergences has little chance of succeeding, no matter the current buzz word tool or process." It's not adequate to drop a project team in a Wiki, there are certain basic artifacts and structures that will point the emergent discussions and collaborative content development in a direction that results in emergent order rather than chaos.

To enable a collaborative culture, all arrows seem to point to a conclusion that Control Doesnt Scale, but that you have to balance best practices and starting structures to achieve the most fluid, most intuitive outcomes that facilitate collaboration rather than confuse it with starting structures (or lack thereof) that misalign the natural processes that are used to work in the flow of communication and collaborative content development.

2.0 Adoption Council | Neat Tweet!

September 22, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

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Susan Scrupski (aka @ITSinsider) tweets Sep 22, 2009: reading a great preso by a Council member. great testimony for e20 vendor Traction Software @TractionTeam

Thanks Susan! Susan recently founded the 2.0 Adoption Council to bring together managers of large enterprises who are early adopters of Enterprise 2.0. See this 2.0 Adoption Council Intro. She describes the Council:

We are a collection of managers in large enterprises that are charting the course for 2.0 adoption. Although we may use different platforms and tools, we all share a common enthusiasm for bringing a new way of working to our representative companies. We call ourselves “internal evangelists” and some say we have one of the most difficult, yet exciting jobs in the global marketplace...
The 2.0 Adoption Council is a self-service community of passionate early adopters. From members with over 100K seats under management to members experimenting with departmental deployments, we all share a common goal of delivering 21st century collaboration and social connectivity to the enterprise. In a recent survey, our members indicated 36% are managing budgets between $500K and $1M; although another 40% is still in the planning stages and can’t assess their total budget spend.
... We are not admitting sellers of IT software or hardware products, consultants, agencies, press, or analysts into the 2.0 Adoption Council. The group exists as strictly a peer support channel for customers to help each other and share experiences. We will be launching an external community soon for all friends and fans of the global enterprise 2.0 movement.
To apply to become a member of the Council, send us an inquiry on LinkedIn and we will get back to you in 48 hours.

We're delighted that Traction TeamPage customers are active and articulate members of this Council, and encourage Enterprise 2.0 early adopters to follow @20Adoption and join the 2.0 Council.

To hear more from Traction TeamPage customers - and two great Enterprise 2.0 keynotes - also put the 13-16 October 2009 Traction User Group Conference on your calendar!

re: At What Scale Can Web Services Survive?

September 16, 2009 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

9 Months later, I have an answer: 300 Million Users. It's good to see that all that traffic can add up to enough dollars to sustain the service. I wasn't looking forward a cash crunch at FaceBook leading to the dismantling of the network of friends I've spent a few hundred (or maybe a thousand) clicks putting together.

As We May Work - Andy van Dam

September 7, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

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On April 17, 2008 Professor Andy van Dam of Brown University delivered the keynote address of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2009 Tokyo. Andy's title is a play on Vannevar Bush's July 1945 essay As We May Think. As We May Think inspired creation of pioneering hypertext systems by Andy, Ted Nelson, Doug Engelbart and others, leading to Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web. The creators of these hypertext systems originally envisioned an environment where individuals could write, link, comment on and share what they wrote as well as search and read what others had written - core capabilities of what we now call social software for the public Web or an Enterprise. Andy's keynote is a personal history, and a vision of how the Web provides a new context for work as well as public communication, socialization, commerce, scholarship and entertainment. For the full slide set see As We May Work (.ppt 8.8MB), posted here with Andy's permission.

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I've known Andy since 1967 as a teacher, friend and trusted advisor, and thank him and Rosemary Simpson for their thoughtful work on this presentation.

Related

The Rise of Enterprise 2.0, Andrew McAfee | Video | Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2008 Tokyo
Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
Reinventing the Web
Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Is Twitter Like Going Out for a Smoke? - And Other stories

September 3, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Bill Ives posted an interesting post Is Twitter Like Going Out for a Smoke?, responding to a Twitter / Water Cooler analogy by Arie Goldshlager and a smoker's network analogy pointed out by Stewart Mader and Gil Yehuda in Lessons from New York Smokers. I commented: Bill -- An interesting post and topic! I think there's likely an interesting history (and sociological studies) of how informal groups form and cross-link in businesses and other organizations.

The most interesting groups seem to be cross-functional and distributed - with some difficulty before the Web and email, with less difficulty now.

A few examples:

1) Watercooler - physically collocated, somewhat cross-functional (but often cube neighbors)

2) Smokers - physically collocated, cross-functional and cross-hierarchical

3) IT Tech support, Admin Assistants - folk who talk a lot with a wide variety of others in the enterprise, and have their own network or grapevine of contacts with their peers.

4) The NCO / Chiefs network - Anyone whose been in the military knows that NCOs (Sergeants and Chief Petty Officers) use an informal network of local - and globe spanning - contacts who know what's up and how to make something happen. This probably dates to Roman times.

With the advent of cheap and ubiquitous Web technology, it has become easier for networks to form, keep in contact, and scale beyond previous limits of space and number of participants.

Is there a Doctor of Sociology in the house with a few good references?

A few of my notes with links on

Connections & McAfee Bullseye model of strong, weak, potential ties
Connections

Twitter: world's largest floating cocktail party, coffee break, and trade show happy hour
Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People

[ In the interests of non-smokers and former smokers everywhere - no smoking photo with this post! Join the followup conversation on Twitter ]

Project Artifacts - Risks, Issues, Questions, Requirements and more

August 14, 2009 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

Glen Alleman at Herding Cats offers really nice distinctions in Risks and Issues Are Not The Same. In the course of working with a lot of teams as they deploy TeamPage as a project wiki, I've seen a wide range of terms for project artifacts. The more these concepts are discussed and hashed out, the better.

To risks and issues, you can add questions, requirements and ideas.

In some contexts, the terms are changed but mean the same thing. For example, in a software development shop, Requirements are Features and Issues are Bugs.

Quoting a DOD Risk Management Guide, Alleman describes risks as "a measure of future uncertainties in achieving program performance goals and objectives within defined cost, schedule and performance constraints."

He describes an issue, by contrast, as "impediments to the progress of the project."

As he notes, people often have a hard time distinguishing between risks and issues. For that matter, there is a fuzzy line between issues and questions.

When I helped John Evans at ShoreBank deploy his TeamPage system for IT Project Management, we spent considerable time figuring out which artifacts he would need in his project wiki and blog. I wasn't sure if we should include both Questions and Issues - and though that if he could tell me the difference, then we could use both.

"John, what's the difference between a Question and an Issue?"

"That's easy. Issues are showstoppers. Questions are accelerators."

That was as good a distinction as any, so we included both items. Characterizing Issue as show-stopper in John's terms or impediment in Glen's terms works really well. Over at KUKA Systems, the enterprise applications teams setup an Issues blog for each enterprise system. This opened the door for people to contribute and characterize issues as they came up, and a transparent way for the team to comment back on how they will be resolved.

Here is a list of basic project team artifacts that teams may include a in a blog or a wiki:

  • Milestone: A point in time (that often moves!!) around which a set of requirements and other project artifacts and activities are aligned.
  • Requirement: A description of a actions or processes that must be taken to solve a problem. Alternate terms may (accurately or inaccurately) include feature, specification, or objective.
  • Risk: Defined above as a measure of future uncertainties in achieving program performance goals and objectives within defined cost, schedule and performance constraints.
  • Issue: An impediment or showstopper along the road to building against the requirements associated with a milestone. An issue may be the manifestation of a Risk.
  • Idea: The alter-ego of an issue, an idea is a suggestion for actions or changes that will improve a system that is working or otherwise on track to be built. An idea may turn into a requirement or be referenced by a separate requirement.
  • Question: A knowledge accelerator. Usually, a person can figure out the answer to a question through experimentation or research - but can get a faster, better answer by asking a crowd.
  • Status Report: An update on progress against requirements, issues, and other activity.
  • Bulletin: A resource that is an important touchstone in the project. This may include a basic working policy, documentation of a team process, or other key information.

When it comes to wiki and blog technology as the basis for project team collaboration and communication, there is a good fit because of how all these artifacts are continually updated, reflected upon, and added to a system. In that light it's obvious how the context offered by a wiki and blog approach beats "traditional" project team tools which generally include email, word documents and task lists.

Skiing on the Slope of Enlightenment

August 12, 2009 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

At our market launch in 2002, I recall all kinds of skepticism passing off the wiki and blog markets as a fad. Today, with a complete social software platform and the most robust wiki framework on the market, we are skiing on Gartner's Slope of Enlightenment. Gartner reports that Social Software suites are headed for the trough of disillusionment (a good and necessary transition before hitting the slope of enlightenment), though our customer case studies show little illusion about the tangible and necessary business value delivered by Traction TeamPage. » Read Gartner's press release and ReadWriteWeb's report. ReadWriteWeb's writeup.

Compliance and Enterprise 2.0 - For the right reasons

July 13, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageBurton Group analyst Mike Gotta writes Compliance Doesn't Sell E2.0 … But It Should in his personal Collaborative Thinking blog. Mike summarizes a June 2009 E2.0 conference interview with Alexander Howard, quoted in Compliance concerns dog Enterprise 2.0 collaboration platforms. Howard asks:

Can an enterprise leverage collaborative software like blogs, wikis and microblogging platforms and retain compliance? It can, if collaboration platforms are built in-house from selected technologies, as opposed to an all-in-one suite from an Enterprise 2.0 (E20) vendor. Enterprise 2.0 compliance, in other words, is something best baked in from day one?

Mike says:

"The enterprise is tougher than consumer environments because of so many contrived regulations. There should be higher expectations of the enterprise 2.0 vendors to prioritize the features that will help enterprises manage compliance."

When asked if E2.0 Vendors "get" compliance, Sameer Patel said:

"Nope, not yet. It may be overkill, but spending 10 minutes with enterprise content management vendors or the IBM collaboration group exposed how little E20 has attended to this."

I certainly agree that Enterprise 2.0 compliance is something that needs to be "baked in" rather than tacked on. In my opinion, failure to address compliance and security can block use of Enterprise 2.0 technology in contexts where the greatest value, greatest potential for innovation - and most sensitive information - lives.

And I'll claim that Traction Software really "gets" compliance for reasons that accept, but go beyond regulatory requirements.

An ad-hoc wiki used solely within an IT department may not need much more than the basics. But to use Enterprise 2.0 technology widely within or crossing firewalls, authentication and security (including permission models around activity streams) are absolute requirements - particularly for highly regulated industries such as health care, pharma and finance.

Boundaries that make sense, WebDAV file versioning, Page / content moderation, audit trails and other compliance related capabilities are also crucial when working with external clients (including supplier and resellers as well as customers) or in contexts such as R&D or project management where the payoff for Enterprise 2.0 innovation is greatest, and the distinction between work-in-progress collaboration and an internal or externally binding agreement (or consensus) is important.

It's great to have wiki pages open for general editing wherever possible. It's also great to support the most open possible work-in-progress draft collaboration while creating a plan, budget, or other agreement that will be become binding on all parties when agreement is reached.

But it's also important to be able to distinguish pages that represent an agreement at a specific time - the approved budget, product specification, reseller agreement in a way that can't be confused with casual work-in-progress (or prankish) change.

People who want to be able to use wiki pages for reliable reference to the current approved budget, specification etc need to be able to distinguish the "last stable / approved version" and any work-in-progress drafts. Otherwise how would you know if a change that cuts the budget of a new project by 25% and schedule by 2 months is real, a proposed change, or just a prankish edit? If you're serious about using Enterprise 2.0 technology across the board, you need to address these issues to get work done, as well as satisfy the letter of the law.

Traction TeamPage has permissioned activity streams - for tag clouds, search results, email digests, RSS/Atom feeds and web navigation as well as microblogs. Features like WebDAV file versioning, Page / content moderation and detailed audit trails have been "baked in" to support use of Enterprise 2.0 technology in the context intentional as well as emergent practices.

"Baking in" support for these capabilities makes it possible to support wide open draft collaboration as well as "latest stable version" publication in the same collaboration space, as well as permission boundaries that disappear when you have permission to cross them but act as secure and reliable barriers when privacy counts. For example: clients of the same law firm can have separate spaces which become reliable barriers between clients but which slide down automatically for when members of the law firm with rights crossing all client spaces search, navigate, comment, link and tag anything they see.

Try to do this by slapping separate Social Software and ECM products together and you'll likely end up with something that works like JFK's description of Washington DC: "A city that honors the traditions of Southern efficiency and Northern hospitality."

We didn't go to all this work just to satisfy checklist requirements - I honestly believe it's what's necessary for widespread use and adoption of Enterprise 2.0 technology.

For more on related TeamPage features, see:

Boundaries that make sense - Patterns of collaboration.

Permissioned activity feeds - Including tag clouds, search results, email digests as well as rss / atom / microblog feeds

Moderation and work-in-progress collaboration - Enabling collaboration on content where consensus - or binding agreement - counts.

Audit Trail - Edits, tags, names, email and more.

And where this comes from Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

How 1.5 is Greater than 2.0

July 9, 2009 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

I found Tom Davenport's discussion of Why 1.5 is Greater than 2.0 by way of Bill Ives in Mixing Old and New School Communication. Davenport talks about the social reasons in favor of a blend between social and traditional approaches. I think an answer to How 1.5, in this context, is Greater than 2.0 is both social and structural.

The Social Side of 1.5

Reinforcing the social example, Davenport says that when seeking therapy "You'd listen to what the medical establishment prescribes for your ailment, but you'd probably also check out blogs, wikis, and other patient-generated content and communities."

This cuts to the social issue where the Health 2.0 social community of patients augments the Health 1.0 information infrastructure born out of research and fact finding.

The "Web 1.0" approach in this context is, like traditional media, a (more or less) trusted system. Non-traditional news sources and blogs that don't have as much editorial oversight and don't have stringent guidelines for validation serve a social role by calling out traditional media while traditional media also serves as a validation backstop for rumor that could otherwise overwhelm social media.

The Structural Side of 1.5

The evolution of the Web 2.0 and it's Enterprise 2.0 counterpart is fascinating as the social and structural components reinforce eachother.

From a structural perspective, the "web 1.0" approach picked up where "KM 1.0" fell down. With a traditional taxonomic approach to organizing information, the web would be a different (and less useful) environment altogether.

That a flat, disorganized web of pages and links published by people operating independently could outperform a well planned information infrastructure was shocking to many but is a clear and obvious outcome.

In the "Web 2.0" scenario, blogs (and blog like systems like twitter) add more pages, more links and a timeline to the web. This just reinforces and improves upon the Web 1.0 structure.

Enterprises will lag as most haven't even gotten from KM 1.0 to Web 1.0 information approaches, but hopefully they can make up for it when deploying E2.0 in force. While doing so, a key takeaway for enterprises here is following a plan that relinquishes control while mixing "blog" conversation, "wiki" knowledge product, and ample opportunities to link and annotate enterprise information resources such as ERP, CRM, PLM and HR systems.

What's Social About Software? And Why It Matters.

June 25, 2009 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

Innovation starts with words, and ways to convey them.

Given a platform for communicating, Communities and Project Teams come together around the identification and discussion of problems and facts. The result is forward progress through Decisions, Plans and Discoveries.

Blog & Wiki page based publishing, with integrated discussion and tagging, open the door for innovation at a scale and with fervor we can only imagine.

See my presentation from Enterprise 2.0 2009 for more on the evolution of written communication and how blogs and wikis bring us up a re-usability, distribution and authorship power curve that will do for teams and communities what the printing press did for scientific communities.

Having versus Using Enterprise 2.0 Software

May 15, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

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Gil Yehuda wrote a very good post today Enterprise 2.0 Thoughts to end the week. He talks about Enterprise 2.0 maturity, second wave adoption, focus on work, and levels of the conversation. It's a great post you should read in full and reflect on. One particular point caught my attention; Gil says: "... having a wiki, forum, blogs, etc. on the intranet and using a wiki, forum, blog effectively to improve the transparency and productivity of collaboration are very different indicators of progress."

Businesses (or vendors) who say “We have a wiki; we have a blog; we’re an Enterprise 2.0 company” remind me businesses in 1995 who said “We have a web page; we’re an internet company”.

I like Andrew McAfee’s analysis in general and his specific observation - backed by studies that he cites: “… since the 1990’s a combination of the Web and IT spending on enterprise information systems has shifted the ability of businesses to recognize and deploy good ideas; that this has raised the pace and level of competition, making effective innovation more valuable, and more strongly differentiates winners and losers in competitive markets.

McAfee further claims that the Web and IT changes they analyze appear to be step functions:

This new, nastier competition does not depend on continued IT innovation. It only depends on continued managerial innovation. If all the technology vendors were to close up shop tomorrow competition in all industries would not eventually revert to where it was prior to the mid-1990s. The current IT toolkit lets companies propagate business ideas faster, more broadly, and with higher fidelity. That’s all that’s necessary to increase the pace of competition, and to keep it high. Of course, the tech vendors are not about to shut themselves down and we’ll see a lot more innovation from them; this will only serve to further increase competitive nastiness. But technology innovation is the icing on the cake of managerial innovation. - Andrew McAfee; Curb My Enthusiasm

The technology of Enterprise 2.0 is most significant as an enabler of new patterns of communication, collaboration and awareness that astute businesses can use to gain a sustainable competitive advantage. I believe this is very similar to W. Edwards Deming’s work which enabled businesses in Japan and the rest of the world to gain great competitive advantages by continual improvement of processes and systems.

Related

Andy Keller talks about Traction's use of GWT | Video

May 13, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

May 12, 2009 5:38pm rotkapchen Great explanation: Traction Director of Engineering Andy Keller tells why Traction's chose GWT (Google Web Toolkit) for TeamPage's new interaction layer. View video inline below or youtube.com/watch...

Video by Paula Thornton, Experience Design Strategist
Twitter: rotkapchen
LinkedIn: iknovate

See where this choice led:
Traction TeamPage 5.0: Social Software for Work
Traction TeamPage 5.1: Social Software, Meet Project Management
Action Tracking and Project Management

And particularly Traction TeamPage Videos

#E2L09 Innovation Starts with Ideas. Wiki will Cross the Work 2.0 Frontier When TeamPage 5.0 Carries Ideas into Action.

May 8, 2009 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

These case studies are a taste of how ideas and issues turn into action, how tasks evolve from conversations and how boundaries have to appear to disappear for W2.0 ideas to meet E2.0 execution. See you at E2.0.

Can't stuff the Web back in a box ...

April 19, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

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On April 16 2009 Oliver Marks wrote The CIA's Collaboration Growth Curve & IBM's Lotusphere ecosystem connecting three topics: 1) the transformation of the CIA's collaborative practices; 2) how this relates to the concept of the collaboration curve introduced by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown (JSB), and Lang Davison, and 3) his reaction to IBM's Lotusphere Comes to You roadshow event in San Francisco that day. It's a great post which motivated me to add a comment which I expanded a bit below.

I've added one key quote for context on my comment - please read Oliver's full post for his insightful analysis.

Oliver writes:

John Hagel III, John Seely Brown (JSB), and Lang Davison discuss their concept of ‘the collaboration curve‘" on harvardbusiness.org, and there are some interesting parallels to the cultural and process challenges of the CIA’s historically deep rooted processes, as they relate to Intellipedia.

There’s a classic story in economics primers illustrating the power of network effects. It tells how the first fax machine gave little value to its owner–after all, there was no one else with whom to send and receive faxes. As time went by, however, the value of that first machine increased as other people bought fax machines, and soon its owner could send faxes to the far corners of the earth, and receive them in return.

The point of the story is how the value of a node in a network rises exponentially as more nodes are added to it. These are called network effects.

Now let’s add a twist to the story. What would happen if, at the same time more fax machines joined the network, each machine rapidly improved its performance? The result would be an amplifying effect on the first level of exponential performance. One exponential effect occurs from growth in the number of nodes. A second amplifying effect arises from the improving performance of the machines themselves.

Fax machines, of course, don’t perform better as you add more of them to a network. But people and institutions do. And that’s where the concept of network effects gets more interesting–when we apply it to how people might perform better.

Oliver -- I think the three parts of this post fit together very well, particularly the network effects and the collaboration curve theme.

The JH, JSB, and LD quotes make the point: People and institutions are the 'nodes' that can enable a collaboration network to perform better as you add more of them to a social network ('social' in the broad sense - not party time).

But I think it's also important to note that the Web has become an open platform that allows the work product of collaboration networks to be created, linked, annotated, signaled, searched and analyzed at scale that would have been unimaginable in the heyday of Lotus Notes. In that respect the Web *is* like the "self-improving fax machine" whose limits we won't see for a very long time.

You muse: "... on the idea that the agility of modern enterprise collaboration techniques and technologies are arguably far more powerful when consciously assembled to achieve given objectives, as opposed to people attempting to work within the manufactured framework of a product suite, when watching the Lotus demos."

I believe that's right. In every previous generation hypertext system, the ability to read, search, link and communicate came with a terrible price: it might work well, but only if you were willing to put everything you wanted to work with into some sealed box, and convince everyone you wanted to work with to use the same box.

Ironically most successful collaboration box that the Web allowed people and institutions to escape was -- Lotus Notes. If IBM focuses on building a product suite rather than a platform that works with and like the web I think there's a problem.

See Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
based on a 2007 debate / discussion between - Mike Gotta and Andrew McAfee.

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