Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New Language New Times New Innovations

Have you ever looked over your son or daughter's shoulder to see what they are writing or recording or saying on their Facebook Funwalls, MSN instant messenger, Blogs, Wikis, You Tube, Skype, social bookmarking, virtual world games, RSS feeds, and now Mashups....etc?

New words create new language in new times -- and with new sources of energy, toolkits, and ways of thinking - new innovations are seeded. Who would have ever thought that FaceBook would one day be potentially worth $30-40B - only Google or Microsoft can afford to purchase this ten pound gorilla.

Just think of the new language, new tools, new ways of socially interacting to communicate. Most of these new words are creating new language to reflect the Enterprise of the Future, and reinforce we are in fact living in a new time.

Humans are evolving in their forms of communication and increasingly becoming more dependent on the web for all forms of personal and business interaction.

However, we are also in a generational gap that is widening, as most late baby boomers are not as familiar with Web 2.0 social mediated approaches to working; or if they are, they are rapidly scrambling to catch up.

The implications are significant. In the war for talent, we need to attract the best and the brightest. However, they want to work in cool places with cool toys and work in cultures that are fun, collaborative, and transparent. My dear friend David Ticoll likes to say The Naked Organization, the title of his most recent book, written with technology futurist, Don Tapscott.

Many organizations are simply unprepared for this evolution in the meaning of work. Far too seldom do I find senior executives rapidly embracing and leading by using Web 2.0 approaches to either share business strategies in wikis to encourage open and transparent iterative engagement, or blogging daily and letting employees know real time about the good wins of the day and the big worries that you need them to be attentive to.

One CEO I coached on this approach was Gary Wood, the prior CEO of Grand & Toy Canada, he not only listened - he executed his blog and did an audio blog recording and uploaded on a weekly basis, sometimes 2-3 times per week. He was not longer not visible to his employees - as they knew if he was in the office, or at a customer site, or in a board meeting. This open communication helped to position his leadership style more transparently, and demonstrate new ways of leading in his goals to transform the organization. Gary is a leader that we will have to watch what he does next, as for sure he will strive to be innovative in his communication practices with his employees.

Fluid, open and utterly transparent or naked dialogue is not a skill most boards or C level executives are used to or comfortable with. So many of the business schools have trained a generation of leaders in control theory, business contingency, risk management, and compliance rigor that these new perspectives on Enterprise 2.0 are to many unsettling and uncomfortable.

We are, however, starting to see enterprise businesses look closely at how these new social mediated approaches called Web 2.0 can improve their collaboration capabilities for information sharing and to extend the enterprise's reach. Hence, the new term floating around - called Enterprise 2.0 is in, simple terms, recognizing how to apply web based commmunication approaches to achieve more rapid, agile, and collaborative organizational capabilities.

In a recent Enterprise 2.0 study conducted by the American Industry Information Management (AIIM), with sponsorship support from leading content providers like: Core Media, Day, EMC, OpenText, Social Text,and Spring - in their Enterprise 2.0 - Agile, Emergent and Integrated Report, a number of key questions were asked regarding market adoption of Enterprise 2.0 approaches. I have highlighted some of the more salient findings in our continued journey to understand new language, new times and new innovations.

1.) How critical is Enterprise 2.0 (use of social mediated tools) to your organization's overall business goals and successes?
10% indicated - Imperative
34% indicated - Significant
27% indicated - Average
18% indicated - Minimal
11% indicated - Not at All

2.) How well is Enterprise 2.0 understood in your organization?
41% indicated there is no clear understanding
33% indicated they are vaguely familiar
14% indicated they are not sure how this is different from Web 2.0
13% indicated they are well aware and are expressly addressing it


When we wrote our book in 2006 on Collaboration Commerce, , we were researching how blogs, wikis, podcasting would start to revolutionize business process and human interactions and ultimately customer interactions.

Unfortunately, most companies do not have a clear understanding of how to integrate Enterprise 2.0 approaches into their business strategies and business operations.

I am seeing daily in our client work, or speaking engagements, the same perplexed faces that I remember seeing in the 1980's when personal computers were in their early adoption lifecycle phase. Who can imagine doing business today without their personal computer, or their blackberry (more like crack berry), given the addictive nature that the RIM has on active users.

What is perhaps the most rewarding finding from this recent report is that the number one benefit that organizations see for Enterprise 2.0 is to increase collaboration.

Over 69% of the surveyed respondents indicated the number one benefit was to increase collaboration in their organization. This was not a surprise to me as we saw this in our earlier research but the affirmation feels good as our early hypothesis as to the core of Enterprise 2.0 is based on trust, reciprocity which enables collaboration and hence commerce (exchange of value).

The second major benefit was to increase knowledge - or increase awareness of what we know (56%).

Then the usual benefits one would logically expect followed in order of importance increasing agility and responsiveness (56%), Faster communication (55%), Increase Innovation (39%), Reduction of IT Costs (36%), and Accelerate Brokering of People (21%).

In terms of where organizations are in their implementation of Enterprise 2.0 approaches; it remains clear that we are still in the early adoptor phase. You only have to go to a dinner party and ask how many of you have a personal blog or a business blog at work and some will say they have a personal blog, but seldom do you find professionals blogging daily at work, uploading information on YouTube to share with employees for learning purposes, etc.

The majority of organizations are in the mostly adhoc usage phase (35%),over 21% are in the strategy formulation phase, and 28% are in the balanced approach phase -- which really is as vague as you can get - something is happening, a little official perhaps, but some evidence of progress.

Measurement of value in these tools is primitive, with the majority of Web 2.0 approaches not having an effective measurement approach. Over 77% of the organizations surveyed did not have an ROI approach to implementing these solutions or have demonstrated an acceptable level of return.

The biggest barriers to implementing Enterprise 2.0 approaches consistently, like in every other change transformation program, reinforced: lack of knowledge understanding, corporate culture, lack of a business cae, immaturity of technology, cost, lack of interest, and resistence from senior management and IT as the most frequently reported challenges or impediments to implementing these approaches.


There is no question new language is rapidly evolving. We are entering another generation of the web as we integrate elements of the experience economy with rich media, gaming, and 3D virtual worlds which collectively are altering our customer and employee experiences.

Few organizations are embracing virtual worlds at the speed they need to. At 2bevirtual , a company I founded last year, we have been conducting global research on virutal world experiences with CMP Media out of NY which will be issued in a new book later this year. When I thought the language might take a pause - there is even more new language to understand in virtual world experiences as teleporting takes on a new meaning, inventory of all my personal artifacts, virtual real estate etc.... New innovations in every industry can now be found with Web 2.0 and new approaches to collaboration in the Enterprise.

If you have any stories or questions on Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 (The Organization of the Future), please do drop us a comment back, we welcome your perspectives, insights, questions. What is important to understand as we have much learning to do together.

We are always much smarter as WE!.

Clearly a new world order is unfolding, with new language, a new time, and more importantly, new business innovations are being seeded ...all in the shifting currents of time.

No comments:

Bookmark and Share