Olivier at Headshift has a good post titled “Enterprise 2.0″ Performance: Exploitation or Exploration?” Reminds me of a post I had done way back in 2004 called Revisiting Knowledge Management – Presence, Communication, Collaboration = FLOW. And that was pre-Twitter, pre-Facebook, pre-so-many-new-web-2.0-tools. How amazing it would be if we could turn random ideas, thoughts and our life experiences into organizational assets. And to be able to use freely all available social media to allow information to flow seamlessly from one employee to another. These are enabled today by social media tools like blogs, wikis, VoIP, IM, social networks, twitter, bookmarking, newsreaders etc.
Some excerpts from Olivier’s piece today:
“The key focus should be people and information flow. So the first thing we have to consider is that communication and HR are not two elements one has to put on the backburner. Trick is that it is a lasting tradition in many organisations. For instance, IT people still put communication processes on the backburner and favour operational processes. They don’t understand that knowledge work cannot be limited to processes, that it is multi-faceted communication flows around processed tasks that make things work. Meetings, e-mails, phone, IM, blogs, wikis, information aggregators and filtering devices wrap defined task oriented programmes up. The former help employees use the later, more efficiently.”
He goes on to make the points that for real innovation, you need and open mind and an appetite for exploration. And today, IT departments are creating artificial scarcity by imposing upon and restricting employees to a set of tools, when they are really in the know on what tools are most relevant for them. “Instead, it might be clever to take advantage of employees who enjoy web 2.0 at home, for years now.”
“If we live in an economy where innovation is a key factor of performance and competitiveness, we have to accept exploration and reprimand exploitation. We have to unleash the innovation that lies dormant within the firewall. We have to favour pilots, contextual applications, open-source, information and application mashups. The corporate information world needs no more systematic enterprise-wide stuff. Reductionism does not create relevance, it creates scarcity and underperformance. Relevance is created by situational applications, social software, interaction design, user-centricity and some basic features like APIs and personalized pages as Intranets (see Portaneo Enterprise). The corporate world needs no more old routines hidden behind new tools. Stop confusing documents and information. Stop forcing people using only emails and Enterprise Content Management. ECM reduces workflow to permission and conversation to versioning. Emails create confusion in conversations. This replicates ageless routines. Replication does not create performance in a world of innovation.”