Thursday, November 22, 2007

From Web 2.0 to Enterprise 2.0

Yesterday I was at the first Enterprise 2.0 conference in Holland. One day people from a wide range of enterprises got together and talked about web 2.0 inside the enterprise. Vincent Everts talked us through the day and lively introduced the speakers.

The first speaker was René Jansen who talked about his research with the University of Amsterdam and his company Winkwaves. Web 2.0 according to René is all about connecting people on a common theme. This insight is very meaningful, we should take those theme's as a starting point for collaboration. While most companies will start with their hierarchy. The important measurement for success being the true interest of people. You should find out whether the passion of my coworkers is in the hierarchy or common theme's.

IB'M showed us Connections, a Lotus Notes based application that allows the employees to have profile pages, community pages, blogs and dogear. It looked quite nice and this product is for sale right now! The people of IBM are using this product now on the intranet and the usage stats looked very impressive.

An interesting case was made by Frank Smilda on police investigations using web 2.0 tactics. They are giving away information on cold an hot cases, letting civilian investigators join in cracking the case. The results looked very good. They were talking about adding a lot of standard web 2.0 tools to the service. This was actually driven by bloggers who were already using general public to solve crimes.

Off course Micorsoft told us a lot about Sharepoint and their vision about software. It will be on your machine and as a service (SaaS). The question will be if this is true. Today we are more offline than online but this will change and there will come a time that we will always be online! Then SaaS will be the only option, I think.

Wim Scheper talked to us about the repeating facts of history and why enterprise 2.0 is here to stay. When standardization and interchangeability get into play the competition between firms gets going. Enterprise 2.0 is about these two things so they will stay!

The keynote was by Rod Beckstrom, the author of the starfish and the spider. He talked about the decentralization taking place in companies right now to get more flexible and competitive. Enterprise 2.0 is actually a decentralisation thing in IT, no hierarchies should apply in Enterprise 2.0. The power of wiki's in this movement will be very big. The structured wiki being the top species in wiki-nation (according to wikimatrix) and thus prevailing over other species. Decentralization actually encourages the forming of small world networks in organizations.

So a great day came to end. The thought that stuck the most was the power of communities and the (small world) networks way of organizing your company. I am looking forward to the next enterprise 2.0 conference in Holland!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Twitter for ideasharing

Should you use Twitter in your company to share ideas? Twitter is about what are you doing today, but what if you are brainstroming and getting ideas? The beginning of a new idea should be short and shared amoung people inside and outside the company. So far Twitter seems to be a good idea. People will react to your ideas or get their own new ideas. This is possible with twitter, you can send messages to people and they can post their own ideas. Ideas occur in all sorts of places, now only form behind a computer. Twitter can do this, allowing you to send text messages! But, what if I want to read all about one idea, or want to rate an idea of follow up on an idea. This cannot be done with twitter.

The thing is for the start of an idea twitter is fantastic, for the second phase of an idea twitter is to simple. But here is the great part, Twitter is open as all apps should be. Why not combine the simple but great Twitter funcionality and the functions of a site like IdeaFactory or IdeaExchange. Both being based of sites like digg. And start the discussion and rating of an idea over there. All the content about the idea is together and still online.

Start an idea on twitter, pass it on to another site when the idea seems good, react to it, rate it and make it! If you make this business idea happen think of me ;-). This is a great way to start an idea, collaborate on the idea online and share it with people around the globe.

this blogpost was made in collaboration with hendri van 't ende

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Workshop Learning From Games

I am organizing a workshop together with Marinka Copier on December 19, which we have entitled Learning From Games. You can find the call for participation here.

What we would like to do in this workshop is explore this new field and investigate what organisations can learn from the design of virtual gaming worlds and the emerging types of behavior in and around these games. It will be an exchange of ideas as well as setting some goals for research in 2008.

With participants coming from the game design field (Utrecht School of the Arts) as well as business (IBM, Ordina and Nyenrode Business Universiteit), it promises to be an interesting exchange. More about this later.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Virtual Worlds and Communities of Practice

A couple of weeks ago I presented in a teleconference organized by CPsquare, a network of people involved in building communities of practice in both public and private organizations*. Etienne Wenger, who first coined the phrase "communities of practice" along with Jean Lave, is also involved in CPsquare. You can find the presentation I used over here. The discussion focused on the relevance of virtual worlds for knowledge-based organizations. The discussion with this group was interesting, but it is also evident that further research and a deeper understanding is necessary to turn these ideas into practice.

Some interesting points from the discussion:
The misfit between the new networking skills (especially prominent in the new generation) and the old organizational structures was acknowledged. Examples were given of young people leaving an organization because of this, which further stresses the need for organizations to better accomodate these new skills.

The possibility of transferring skills that you acquire while playing a game like World of Warcraft to an organizational setting was met with some skepticism. This of course depends on how you view World of Warcraft: is it a "just a game", completely separated from your "real life", or is it one of the many networks in which you participate. Following the lead of people like Marinka Copier, I tend to take the latter approach.

*Thanks, John Smith, for organizing the discussion.