ME2: Social Collaboration Myths

I just had one of those “I’m writing an email and I really should be sharing this more broadly!” moments…so I thought I would write a ME2 Tuesday Edition since I’ve been a ME2 slacker lately.

The questions I was posed had to do with concerns over the use of various enterprise social collaboration tools, which is natural. I don’t fault the questions nor the questioners, because this is new to folks and if you haven’t experienced it first hand yet, probably difficult to recognize.

These same concerns are being asked at all enterprises that are investigating the use of social-based platforms to do business. They are great questions to ask, and gladly I had some data to provide some comfort. The primary questions asked were the following:

  • Will people spend too much time and not get their work done?
  • Will people misuse / abuse the technology to say inappropriate things?
  • How do we make clear that these tools are for “business use” only? And will people be able to make that distinction?

First, let me start by referencing this Andrew McAfee Harvard Business Review article – “Shattering The Myths About Enterprise 2.0″. It covers some of the concerns listed above. Specifically the information around Myth 1…and here’s my personal summary of that myth:

Myth 1: E2.0’s Risks Outweigh the Rewards
  • Risk perception: “What if people post hate speech?”, “What if people criticize leadership strategy?”, “Don’t these technologies make it easy for valuable information to seep out of the company?”, “Won’t employees use the collaboration software to plan social events instead of for work activities?”
  • Why these risks rarely come to fruition:
    • Attribution of content is the norm in business social collaboration software, not anonymity.
    • Sense of community amongst participants results in quick community reaction to abusive use of the platform.
    • In addition to organizational leaders, community leaders with earned influence can shape fellow employee’s behavior within the platform.
    • Many people have been active in public online forums and have learned how to act appropriately in online / transparent contexts.
    • Compare to email which is mostly private. Contributions to an ESSP are monitored by the entire workforce, thus the temptation or false sense of security to conduct inappropriate communications is less. If anything, this could lower the risk of non-compliant virtual communication.

Next, in terms of limiting usage to “business use” communication only…I offer some caution. While we don’t want this to become viewed as another “Facebook” for employees, encouraging and allowing some interaction that is fun and non-work related (but still within the rules of conduct policies) is a good thing. It helps the virtual environment thrive by building relationships, which then encourages more comfort in business-related sharing.

It seems every company example I have read about that has existing social networks supports this notion vehemently as a critical success factor. The underlying argument – “People talk about non-work topics in meetings and around their desks, why wouldn’t we encourage that in a virtual environment as well?” It really helps with building a sense of community which promotes further business benefits…and I’ve seen this occurring within our internal blogging and micro-blogging community where professional sharing and personal relationship building are balanced very well. Others out there have similar experiences or testimonials to add here?

Now a personal testimonial…a couple of years ago before I got into internal blogging, following internal blogs and enterprise micro-blogging…when I needed a mind break I would read external websites about sports, news, television, etc. But recently I’ve noticed I do much less of that and I spend more of my “down time” at work reading other people’s blogs and posts instead. I still need that mental down time to be effective at focusing deeply on my work. But now, instead, I am using that time to learn about the work of others, build virtual relationships with people I wouldn’t meet or work with otherwise and occasionally teaching / helping others with their questions along the way as well.

So my internal social interactions have replaced my non-work distractions more than they have replaced me focusing on my work deliverables / objectives.

And at the same time, having those connections helps me complete my deliverables / objectives with more community input and help (crowdsourced) along the way!

Any other Enterprise 2.0 practitioners out there seeing similar benefits? Anyone out there who has experienced the opposite and found themselves less effective due to the “vacuum” that is social networking at work?

ME2: The 4C-able Future

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my regular foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind. I am realizing as the weather gets nicer and my golfing activity picks up, this may become a bi-weekly / monthly type post instead of a weekly Monday post. Too hard to sit a computer when I could be spending my time outside playing with my kids or hitting a little white ball all over the place!

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

The 4C-able Future

I am going to start out by saying this is really corny, and I recognize that. But it basically summarizes my primary outcome for working in an enterprise environment: 4C’s – Community Collaboration with Consolidated Consumption. We have collaboration capabilities  in place already, but when I listen to employee struggles and study what is missing vs. what is needed…it boils down to being able to collaboration more easily across the organization (cross-silo communities instead of just within team structures) and being able to consume all the data/activity/conversation occurring that is relevant to the person in a simple, aggregated fashion. Simple as that. Corny, but a nice succinct way to describe my desired outcomes.

Top Reads/Tweets of the Week:

Departing from form a bit this week because I have been a little too busy to keep up with anything interesting on Twitter, other than this nice summary of the best reads related to Enterprise 2.0 for the past month. But I’ve been debating something in my mind for the last month or so and I think I’ve finally come to a conclusion.

Last summer I decided that if I was going to have a “professional presence” in the social media space, my moniker of @GolfinBP just wasn’t going to cut it. I wanted something that identified with me as a person a little better than just me as a golfer / fan of golf. So I created a new account that is @TheBrycesWrite. I would have just dropped @GolfinBP, but I was quite happy with the following I had established as a sports fan (primarily NFL and golf related people) and I didn’t want to mess with losing that. Plus, as I advertised my “professional presence” a bit more I didn’t think people would be interested in my ramblings about the Colts, my toddlers, The Masters and my incredibly overwhelming DVR habits! And this was before Twitter enhanced the lists function, so I also wanted a nice segregated “feed” of the very different content I followed with each account.

So I have been trying to manage each since then, mostly talking personal topics as @GolfinBP and reserving any E2.0-related tweets for @TheBrycesWrite. But I think the time for that has come to an end. I don’t regret that I did it because I was still testing the waters for what I felt comfortable interacting with in a public forum related to my work, but I have become a bit more comfortable with that now and I understand better where my boundaries lie for what I should and should not discuss in public. This blog has also been an exercise in learning how to discuss interesting content while respecting the boundaries I need to consider as an employee of Lilly.

Thus, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be shifting my tweet activity to @TheBrycesWrite full-time and attempting to get some of my @GolfinBP followers to come with me (as well as attempting to ditch some of the unwanted ones as well ;) ). And I’ll be making better use of lists to aid in my ability to consume what I need based on what I am looking for at a particular point in time (Enterprise 2.0, Football, Golf, Friends, TV, etc.) So THAT should be a fun process! I am sitting at 1,496 tweets on the @GolfinBP account, so maybe I’ll just stop at 1,500 even! That will be tough given that tonight is the NCAA championship and this is Master’s week. Not sure I can go completely cold turkey!

But really what it means is that my @TheBrycesWrite account will become much more active now!

From the golf bag of @GolfinBP:

With Butler in the NCAA Championship tonight and The Masters starting this week, I couldn’t talk just one sporting topic. So going with two.

Sports Minute I:

My wife and I earned our MBAs at Butler a few years ago before we had our children. Less than 2 years after we finished undergrad (at Miami of Ohio), she told me one day “I’m bored, we either need to have children now or go back to school.”  I said “Where’s the application?!?”

So needless to say this is a great week for our schools. Butler plays tonight in an improbable run to a chance at the National Championship, and Miami hockey is the #1 seed in the Frozen Four tournament and playing on Thursday night this week for a chance to play for the championship. I am going to be at Miami’s campus on Friday, so I certainly hope they win so the mood is good around campus.

Also, my wife’s sister is a student at Duke and we were down there to visit this past Thanksgiving. So I am sure the family/school rivalry jabs will be flying across Facebook tonight during the game! Should be a fun evening for all of us (well, except my brother-in-law, who is a Kentucky fan an expected the Wildcats to be in this position and is probably still sulking a little, but I can throw some jabs his way too just for fun).

Sports Minute II:

I am going to do my best to talk Masters and not focus solely on the whole “Tiger returns” thing like every other medium you might read…darn…just did it.

I usually pull for Phil Mickleson at the Masters just because I know how exciting watching tournaments and listening to crowds is when he plays well. But this year I have another sentimental favorite: Ernie Els. I know he wants nothing more than to win at Augusta and he is playing really well lately. Plus his recent public work to raise money for autism and coming out and talking about his family experience with a child with autism is pretty cool stuff. So here’s hoping Ernie has a great week! If only Ernie were on Twitter! Love following pro golfers on Twitter.

ME2: Practice Safe Social

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind.

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

Practice Safe Social – Another Enterprise 2.0 Benefit

One consistent theme from my work interactions last week was with a few different teams beginning to research the use of external social media to conduct their respective business affairs. The other consistent element, from my own informal observation, is that most of the individuals on those teams have limited experience in social media beyond Facebook interactions within their personal inner circle.

This is the reason why anytime a team / person approaches me about utilization of external social media for business purposes, I encourage them to first experiment as a team with our internal social collaboration community (of course my hidden agenda is driving further adoption by intelligent individuals in the organization!). Emerge yourself and/or your team in the style of communication, the syntax of the tools and the etiquette of the community…because much of that environment internal to organizations is rooted in behaviors adopted from and technology emulating the recent and rampant success of Web 2.0. Taking the time to learn those behaviors in what should be a more forgiving environment, particularly if your role is representing a large corporation in a public forum, is valuable experience. Plus there are likely individuals participating that have some Web 2.0 proficiency that can help shape those external engagement efforts.

So if you are building a business case for expanding the Enterprise 2.0 footprint within your organization AND if you know that your organization is still maturing its external social media presence (who isn’t, really?)…then add this to your bullet list of benefits.

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

I am as guilty of this as anyone…but if I am walking somewhere and I see someone confused, I am not the type to stop regularly and help unless they look to be in severe distress. I am always amazed within “social collaboration environment”, however, how willing and anxious people are to help others with a question or experiencing confusion in that environment. The percentage of “help provided to those in need of help” to me seems higher than real life. Has that been studied yet?

Serving as an example the last two weeks, we have had a bit of a bump in members within our micro-blogging environment. Most are not only new to the environment, but to communicating using social tools period. And as those folks have jumped in, it has been nice to see so many positive examples of people sharing links to best practices or help guides, answering questions AND gently pointing out corrections to syntax (ie proper use of “@” or “#” in a post) for those trying to target their communications. For any decision-makers concerned about social media tools being a gateway to abusive conversation…there are 900x more examples of the community encouraging one another and probably being more helpful to one another in a social collaboration environment than they are in person (if they are anything like me!).

Top Reads/Tweets of the Week:

  1. @dhinchcliffe: “Q&A: Enterprise 2.0 changing the way we work http://bit.ly/avixCx New interview with @amcafee” – Great interview and succinct answers from Andrew McAfee about Enterprise 2.0.
  2. Jacob Morgan: The Impact of Collaboration on Enterprise Business Performance – Nice write-up by Jacob and a great resource to review for practitioners advocating Enterprise 2.0 methods.
  3. @ITSinsider: “blogged Enterprise 2.0: The Next Narrative http://is.gd/aI5oR” – As I said when I retweeted, “Get your popcorn ready!”  Should be good stuff.

From the golf bag of @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

So as is my tradition for at least 8 years, I take some vacation time on Thursday and/or Friday on opening weekend of the NCAA tournaments to enjoy two of the best sports days of the year. But this year it was combined with an extremely busy work week that took every minute to keep up with my commitments. So when I arose Saturday morning and took a quick inventory of what I had missed…I had 150+ unread emails, 800+ unread articles on Google Reader, ~20 internal blog posts I wanted to check out, MIA from Facebook and close to zero time in work or personal micro-blogging world. The nice thing about all of that?  I felt obligated to check and understand nearly all of those emails…but the social sources were voluntary consumption for my own interest/benefit that I could consume and filter I as I saw fit.

BTW…Villanova and Kansas losing are probably the best things that could have happened to my bracket. Granted I missed those picks, but downstream it really works in my favor. I am now a huge fair weather fan of Kentucky, Kansas State, Ohio State and anyone that will beat Baylor really soon.

TV Minute (re-purposed):

This really has nothing to do with TV, but I thought this story was better than anything I saw on TV this week. Another unique story about why I like using Twitter as a news source these days.

Last week my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin were vacationing in Hilton Head, South Carolina at the Palmetto Dunes beach. I usually am dense to the whereabouts of people other than myself (and sometimes I struggle with that too), but for some reason the fact they were there stuck with me. On Monday after watching 24 and heading to bed, I decided to check Twitter real quick for the latest. “Breaking News: Airplane crashes on beach in Hilton Head, SC…killing male jogger http://……..”

Whoa. Sinking feeling. “Hilton Head’s a big place. But weird this was posted and weird I decided to check instead of going to bed (it was almost midnight and I had to work the next day.) I’m sure it is somewhere else on the island.”

Click on link. “Plane crashes on Palmetto Dunes beach.” Double whoa. Time to make some phone calls. 15 minutes later I had confirmation that my family was fine.

Ends up my family members were okay, but the plane crashed on the beach right outside the place they were staying, and they had been in that area on the beach only 60-90 minutes before the plane crashed. Later in the week during a presentation I was giving someone from the audience asked me why I regularly look to Twitter for my current news instead of other more traditional sources (Google search, CNN, newspaper, etc.) and I immediately recalled this example from just 3 days earlier. Real-time news travels fast.

ME2: Spring Forward Edition

I am breaking form this week and going with a short version instead of my typical format because I lost an hour today and I have a really hectic week to prepare for! So think of this one more like a journal / reflection of the key things on the tip of a practitioners mind…and will likely ask more questions than provide any answers for anyone:

Enterprise 2.0 Stuff

  • One of my favorite weekly tasks is working with a group of folks to identify the best blog posts written within Lilly to publicize to the internal blogosphere. As I peruse the various blog entries that have been written I discover bloggers I have never read before, learn about projects and issues within the organization I wasn’t aware of and I typically take the time to comment on a few during the process where I have something intelligent to contribute. It is always  nice way to start off my week!
  • At Lilly we have many different buildings on our campus, and multiple campuses for that matter. In the last few weeks a few Foursquare users have begun to create locations for our buildings and have been checking-in regularly. It is a very small community, but a little game of #mayorwars has emerged. It has gotten a few of us thinking about ways to make practical business use of this in the enterprise. I know how business are using it to attract customers, but how could enterprises use for their internal employees? The employee engagement aspect is obvious, but what other ways can you think of to leverage location awareness on a corporate campus? This post offers one idea, but I’m wondering if any other creative uses out there?
  • I’ve been doing some prep work for some consulting with our internal recruiting department. While it is easy to study examples of how other companies are utilizing social media for recruiting and teach about effective ways to use external social media tools, the non-obvious element to consider teaching this group is creating increased awareness of internal social collaboration capabilities for two reasons: 1) For communicating to potential recruits the capabilities we have available for working effectively with peers and 2) As a safer “practice” environment for social tool interactions that they’ll need to utilize communicating with prospective employees.

Fun stuff:

  • Loved watching the PGA Tour event at the Doral Resort in Miami, FL this weekend. I have played two rounds at that course and watching an event on TV when you are familiar with the course changes the experience. I’ll still never forget standing on the tough 18th tee needing a par to shoot 79…and hooking my 2nd shot into the water! Double-bogey, 81. Now I want to got back and get it next time! Nice win by Ernie Els too.
  • Michael Emerson, Dr. Ben Linus, incredible on LOST this week. I actually watched that episode twice. So in the 2004 flash-sideways Ben and his Dad left the island…hmmm. Pretty significant revelation there, no doubt.
  • I am watching The Apprentice with Donald Trump in the background while writing this, and I am imagining getting 10 minutes in his boardroom to try and make the case for increasing the social collaboration presence in his organization. Tip #1: Don’t tell him that Rosie O’Donnell believes in it (not that I know if she does or doesn’t). But he has no love lost there.
  • This NCAA tourney is going to be fun for me, because in one form or another I have at least an indirect vested interest in the following teams: Kentucky, Butler, Ohio State, Duke, Louisville, Purdue, Notre Dame, Pitt. Sometimes that interest is in hoping that team loses!

Have a good week all. I’ll certainly be ready for some basketball come Thursday afternoon.

ME2: Network Effects in Action

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind. Today I am providing an algorithm for predicting what time of day on each Monday this blog entry will be posted: Weekend weather in Indianapolis good = Late post; Weekend weather in Indianapolis bad = Early post. Playing outside is too much fun! And sometimes I’ll take the kids out with me too.

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

Network Effects in Action

As I was brainstorming the content for today’s post, I kept coming back to the amount of activity I received late last week on my Horizontal Collaboration post from February 22nd as a perfect real-life illustration of the very concept the post was trying to convey. Let me explain:

  • I published that post on February 22nd, and tweeted its existence one time as @TheBrycesWrite. At the time I only had approximately 55 followers on that account. My blog posts also get syndicated to my personal Facebook account (~200 friends) and the 2.0 Adoption Community website. The post had approximately 45 total readers through March 4th, 32 of which came from the 2.0 Adoption site!
  • I also posted it that same day to my internal Lilly blog for Lilly employees to read, and posted an “advertisement” on our internal micro-blogging platform (probably reached ~150 eyes that way). I also sent a couple of emails to individuals in the week or two following with a link to the post. I have had 44 total unique readers of that post since February 22nd just inside Lilly’s walls.

So the immediate reaction could be anti-Horizontal Collaboration – because a post publicized to a huge online public virtual audience (external web / Twitter) generated the exact same readership as the same content in a much smaller community (my existing Strong/Weak ties within Lilly). “So where is all the serendipity, knowledge discovery, Potential Tie conversion, bigger inner circle benefit you keep blabbing on about that a large transparent social network presence should bring?”

That’s when March 5th happened. Susan Scrupski (@ITSinsider) came across the post by chance and re-tweeted it. That resulted in 10 subsequent re-tweets from people following Susan to their respective followers (some of which have fairly large follower numbers compared with my “modest” 68 – admittedly bumped a bit by last week’s activity). By my calculations (adding up the total followers of those accounts, then calibrating to some percentage of overlapping followers and non-active followers) that the approximate reach of that post increased from ~500 people to over 15,000 people!  So what has happened with reader activity (outside of Lilly) since then?

  • Between March 5th and this morning (3.5 days) the post has been read approximately 131 times.
  • Between Feb 22nd and March 4th:  ~4 views / day
  • Between March 5th and March 8th:  ~33 views / day
  • So an 30x increase in “reach” resulted in an 8x increase in “hits.”

Now I am not a statistician, so there is probably some flaws in this experiment to consider it rock solid, but it is certainly eye opening for a few reasons:

  1. Knowledge and Expertise Management – Content doesn’t speak for itself anymore because there is sooo much of it out there. If you want to achieve reach, you need to create Weak Ties with individuals that have a much greater reach than you have! And the more you do that, the more you can sit back and watch the power of the network do work for you, instead of you having to spend significant energy trying to accomplish that same reach on your own. Large organizations without effective Horizontal Collaboration networking and consumption capabilities will lack the ability to leverage this phenomenon.
  2. Self-Filtering – You mean a 30x increase in reach ONLY resulted in an 8x increase in hits?? I actually find that encouraging data for critics that complain that a heavily populated social network will result in employees being overwhelmed with information they have no interest in consuming. Sure, a lot of information can come their way, but people will naturally apply an “applicability” filter on top of their automated social network connection filters. Do you feel like you can get away with only consuming 25% of the emails that others target to you specifically? Do you think people will thrive by merely consuming 25% of the serendipitous knowledge that appear within their social network activity streams that they have elected to target on their own?
  3. Network reach – Think about the capabilities available inside of your organization vs. those available to you in the external world right now? Do you have the ability to leverage a network effect like this example for innovative ideas / cross-silo collaboration / knowledge sharing inside your firewall?  Tools can’t make this happen without willing people able to leverage them appropriately, but willing people can certainly be obstructed from maximizing their value without the tools to set them free.

Please retweet :)

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

Just because people recognize and encourage the benefits of “working out loud” and sharing transparently does not automatically translate into behaviors that epitomize the philosophy. Changing your core behaviors and habits takes time. I often catch myself putting something in an email message that after the fact I wished I had published using a different medium. That’s partly why I contrived this weekly blog format, to provide myself with a routine I could rely on to “train myself” to share my thoughts with more regularity instead of falling back into old, less collaboratively-responsible communication means.

Internally we had a blogger challenge herself to a 30-day blog post challenge – one post a day for 30 straight business days. And the posts had to be thoughtful each day, not just a funny Dilbert cartoon of the day, for example. She also wasn’t challenging  her readers to do so, she was just trying to spice up the process a bit to stay in the habit. But a funny thing happened – at least 3-4 other people were inspired by the idea and have taken on the “the challenge” for their own individual blogs. The result has been a daily stream of thought-provoking posts from the participants, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the trend extend to a few other people before too long. I myself have not joined the challenge as of yet, because I don’t want to saturate the market, if you will. But maybe as this first round slows down in 25 or so work days, I’ll jump in to the challenge myself to see if we can motivate a few other bloggers to practice “working out loud” too.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. Social Media is key at the 100 largest Fortune 500 Companies – Jamie Pappas: Jamie summarizes some great data on the use of external social media by large organizations. I don’t have any data to support it, but I believe that transforming the “inside the firewall” culture to be more accepting of social collaboration amongst one another will begin to increase the comfort and aptitude to using external sources for effective customer / patient / partner / shareholder interactions. Benefits: Greater reach than almost any traditional medium, Lower entry cost than most traditional mediums.
  2. Webciety and Enterprise 2.0: A snapshot of today’s social computing conversations – Dion Hinchcliffe: Including some data on the dreaded ROI question – like the example where IBM “…cited that new collaborative technology had reduced the email volume in the company by 28%.”

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @Greg2dot0: “RT @carrieyoung: Microblogging will fade. We expect 2 C it as a feature of a fully integrated platform that has hooks across the enterprise.” – We’ll be watching this closely over the next few months because of the engaging and effective nature of short-form sharing and when / if / how the more powerful micro-blogging capabilities become incorporated into broader enterprise social collaboration platforms. I personally don’t want to see it “fade” as a capability, but only as a disconnected platform amongst other capabilities.
  2. @ITSinsider: “How innovation is measured at CSC. One of the best case studies in e20 from a conservative, traditional org. http://is.gd/9BRHo #e20″ - Anytime we can learn from the success CSC has had, that’s a good thing.

From the golf bag of @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

Holy spring-creep, Spiderman!  (That was a subtle shout-out to Camilo Villegas winning the Honda Classic this past weekend.) I received an email that my weekly golf league starts on April 8th! It was just 3 weeks ago I was shoveling my driveway nightly. My game is in no shape to take the course in defense of our league tournament championship from last season. I think Tiger and I are going to be on a similar training regimen over the next 4 weeks to return to action – Tiger focusing on the Masters at Augusta, me focusing on my 9-hole Big Divots Golf League at the historic Sarah Shank golf course.

TV Minute:

Obviously the voters for the Oscar’s didn’t read my blog post about Avatar, otherwise it would have won hands down. If only I could have gotten Ashton Kutcher or Oprah to retweet that blog post history, James Cameron would be “king of the world” yet again. I am sure he is really hurting financially as a result of that lost opportunity.
Top Reads of the Week:

  1. Tiger’s Comeback tougher than Ali’s – Bill Simmons: With football season being over, my non-work related reading is a bit down…and the golf I am reading about has to do with a guy that isn’t even playing yet! My apologies to the guys out there playing and living well. I am ready for Phil to play some more!
  2. PhRMA’s FDA Comments related to the Social Media hearing: Progress on the topic!

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @wingoz: “Chilean earthquake changes earths axis. Wow. http://bit.ly/duytno – Does this mean we won’t have to “fall back” next week? I don’t like losing an hour.
  2. @jimmyfallon: “Gatorade ended its relationship w/ Tiger. They checked his cell & found texts from Powerade & Vitamin Water.”
  3. @golfinbp: “Luke’s random and worrisome quote of the night (stated with sweet 3yo voice): ‘When I get my real light saber, Abby will be dead.'” – Heh, kids. Where do they get this stuff? Certainly not from me!

ME2: Social Features or Social Network?

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind.

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

Social Features or Social Network?

A distinction I think that will become more and more important in the next 12-18 months will be clarifying to business decision-makers the difference between software that has social features and software that is an effective social network. We are starting to see more and more announcements from major enterprise application providers that they are introducing one or more of the following basic social features within their platforms, using the Enterprise 2.0 moniker along the way:

  • User Profile / Expertise Search
  • User web publishing (blog / wiki / file sharing / link sharing)
  • Commenting on content
  • Rating / Recommending content
  • RSS feeds
  • Status Updates / Micro-sharing
  • Tagging / Tag Clouds
  • Bookmarking

Until this market shakes out a little more, this could lead to confusion among those only partially paying attention to conclude “I have this enterprise platform with blogs, tagging and tag clouds, thus I don’t need to invest in any other capabilities touted as a social network.” The business case WE then have to make is not about what the specific capabilities are or are not in varying platforms, but if our enterprise environment has anything that is capable / effective at helping cross-silo collaboration communities grow virtually and thrive? Without the following complementary capabilities to go along with the above list of social features, in my opinion, your enterprise and its organic virtual communities within will continue to feel unsatisfied and will continue to yearn for other collaborative options:

  • Community concept with opt-in membership (self-declared Join / Follow)
  • Aggregated Consumption – Filtered Activity Streams of your colleague AND community connections, in one easy to access place
  • Engagement – Features that engage users to continue conversation and contributions (timely and relevant notifications, participation points, highlighting popular contributions, etc.)

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

This week my example is more of an anti-example. I’m not to the point yet where I am shouting from the mountains that email is dying and it has no place in the workplace anymore, because I don’t believe it. But what I do see and what I do prefer as a user is the trend that email is becoming more of a notification system and less of a conversation medium. For folks comfortable with email as a work day workflow mechanism, using email as your “news feed” for keeping up with relevant collaboration activity can work well to drive early adoption of more social tools (by being notified of activity and then linking to the source for further participation), particularly for mobile devices.

But each day I continue to see examples of extremely long emails that contain project status updates, organizational newsletters, brainstorming results in tables / diagrams, etc. within the body of an email and not captured in a medium better suited to later retrieval, central updates and sharing with broader audiences…particularly when better tools for doing so are available. Another illustration that just providing the tools is not enough, but educating and providing examples of it working is a constant grind to get people out of the “email for everything” mindset.

This is teaching me to be more patient as I realize this takes time. I am thrilled to see gradual adoption and new examples of people starting to utilize superior conversation mechanisms, but I want it faster and more often!! Serenity now, serenity now.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. A Collection of 50+ Enterprise 2.0 Case Studies and Examples from Jacob Morgan – I’ll make this my only link this week since it has so much stuff.  But a nice collection of real world applications of Enterprise 2.0 activity. Again, about a month old, but I read it for the first time this week!

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @Mashable: “HUGE: Facebook Secures Patent for News Feed – http://bit.ly/cmn89j – Not sure this will turn into anything, but consider the possible Enterprise 2.0 ramifications if Facebook decided to be difficult with this. One of the key usability elements of drawing employees to such a capability is aggregation of connection-driven content/conversation…a nice use of news feeds!
  2. @hebsgaard: “10 emerging Enterprise 2.0 technologies to watch — http://bit.ly/9Tq1fg #gov20 #startups http://bit.ly/dmlint – Couldn’t help call out the relevancy to the use of the term “social features” when discussion a trend in Enterprise platforms…and “activity streams” beings called out as important to the industry (aka News Feed!..see above).

From the life and times of @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

So did anyone watch the exciting conclusion of the Waste Management Phoenix Open? No? Well, I have to admit I didn’t watch much of it either even as a huge golf fan because it was on at the same time as that hockey game yesterday. What most don’t know is that PGA Tour stop is probably the most fun golf television you get outside of the four majors (The Masters, The British Open / Open Championship, The US Open, The PGA Championship) due to the raucous crowd surrounding the 16th hole. It’s an NFL crowd at a golf event, the one and only such environment on the tour. But it has been very unlucky from a scheduling perspective in recent years. For the last few seasons it was always played on the same day as the Super Bowl, and finally this year with some schedule changes I am sure tournament sponsors were ecstatic to highlight that environment to a large TV audience! But then USA vs. Canada: The Rematch happened, Sunday at 3pm EST. Oops. Sorry Waste Management. I bet your ratings got trashed.

I think this video of  Tiger’s Hole-In-One during this first PGA Tour season tells most of the story. And that crowd behavior wasn’t just because of his great shot, they act like that constantly on the weekend and end up intimidating every golfer that comes through. Better luck next year sponsors! Hopefully you don’t end up opposite Michael Jordan’s first game back after he un-retires again and plays for the Charlotte Bobcats next year…against LeBron James.

TV Minute:

I proclaim proclamations: For the most part I thought the Olympic action was “tremendously tremendous.” But I found the opening and closing ceremonies to be overwhelmingly underwhelming.
Top Reads of the Week:

  1. LOST Cast and Creators Give Scoop to Fans on the End from Watch with Kristin at E! Online – #5 says “Some IS coming to the island.” And here I thought Jacob’s statement was just a metaphor for convincing Jack to come to grips with his destined role to the island. What do I know?
  2. Crosby beats Miller in OT to earn gold for Canada – You didn’t happen to see this game did you? Anyone, anyone? I am not an avid hockey watcher, but something about the speed, intensity, unpredictability and lack of commercials during periods made this great sports television! Way to go to both teams.

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @SI_PeterKing: “RT @MikeVacc: And now, thus mandatory historical reminder: in ’80, US trailed Finland 2-1 after 2 periods … Thanks, Mike.” – This was posted at the beginning of the 3rd period of the Gold Medal hockey game between US and Canada.
  2. @ProFootballTalk: “More details on the possible overtime changes http://is.gd/9opkK #NFL” – Hopefully some changes get passed on the NFL overtime rules. Much overdue now that field goal kickers are so much more efficient (distance and accuracy) these days vs. when the rule was created.
  3. @EricStangel: “USA Canada – Al Michaels is running to the microphone right now. ‘Come on, let me say something about another miracle!!'” – Immediately following the goal for the US that tied the game against Canada.
  4. @golfinbp: “Dang. The one night I get out, I can’t get foursquare to check me in! At Fleming’s in Indy. Shout. #nevergonnabemayor” – Seriously, this was a big deal. With children the ages of 3 and 4 and no immediately family within a 2 hour drive, we really don’t get out much. I was just excited to use my new Foursquare Blackberry app. Come on, man!

ME2: Horizontal Collaboration

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind.

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

Horizontal Collaboration (AND Vertical Collaboration)

I have been using the term “Horizontal Collaboration” recently to describe to colleagues a key objective of our Enterprise 2.0 efforts – better enabling cross-silo community collaboration. This illustration also incorporates Andrew McAfee’s E2.0 Target Analysis concept to demonstrate the opportunity of encouraging culture and technology to better enable Horizontal Community Collaboration – significantly higher throughput of converting Potential Ties into Weak and Strong ties.

I am not pretending that the Enterprise 2.0 “movement” invented communities. Workers in the corporate environment have certainly operated in horizontal communities longer than I’ve been around, however, the means by which these communities have had to populate/share/communicate/persist have been a rate-limiting factor. Community originators and participants have been forced to work with business capabilities and culture rooted in Vertical Collaboration, resulting in high entry barriers, poor participation and attempts at knowledge sharing left poorly consumed, etc. Technology tools targeted at Horizontal Collaboration in combination with more transparent work behaviors can turbo-boost the benefits of organic communities within an organization.

It is also important to point out that advocating Enterprise 2.0 / social collaboration isn’t necessarily the equivalent to denouncing all forms of Vertical Collaboration. Each have their value and their place for particular types of work. Advocating Enterprise 2.0 / social collaboration is the recognition that we’ve found something effective at filling in the knowledge gaps left by traditional Vertical Collaboration methods that prevent organizations from maximizing the capacity of their people. Thus, encouraging the use of capabilities and behaviors that fill those gaps – Web 2.0 / social media inspired methods proving to be effective for Horizontal Community Collaboration – will complement your traditional collaboration methods well.

The trick then becomes 1) Aggregating the user experience of both styles of collaboration as to not add clutter to already inundated employees and 2) Education on easily identifying the unique merits of each method and how to make choices to maximize their contributions within each.

Fellow Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Council member Stan Garfield shared with us this week his incredible Communities Manifesto. And I thought his table (copied here) was a great educational tool for clarifying the reasons and benefits of Horizontal (Community) vs. Vertical (Team) collaboration of a person’s work/knowledge:

Communities Teams
Purpose
  • Learning
  • Problem-solving
  • Innovation
  • Mission accomplishment
Motivation
  • Voluntary
  • Assigned
Duration
  • Ongoing
  • Finite
Interaction
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Reusing good ideas
  • Solving problems for one another
  • Brainstorming new ideas
  • Sharing documents and files
  • Using a shared calendar
  • Attending regular conference calls and meetings
  • Maintaining a list of team members
  • Editing shared documents
Alignment
  • Practice
  • Interest
  • Responsibility

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

Most blogs that are authored and published within Lilly’s collaborative environment are either 1) Authored by a single person or 2) Authored by a small group of people but for the intent of pushing knowledge out to people not a part of the small group.

This week I came across a team using our blog platform in a slightly different manner and I thought it was clever. They had a team blog they used for communication within their team amongst one another, but they had the security open so others could read and benefit from their internal team conversations. The team was using this technology platform in place of an email distribution group (no more Reply-To-All-athons!). Obvious benefits include single instance of a message instead of many, transparency of responses and resulting conversation and long-term storage for history retrieval.

Sample (and generalized) interactions within this blog include:

  • “Team, I’m over booked this week, can I get some volunteers to help me with these 4 tasks I am not going to be able to get to….?”
  • “X task is complete. You can find the results stored in Y at this link.”
  • “I can’t remember the ingredients to product Z. Does anyone know what they were or where I would look to find out?”
  • “Don’t forget to stay up to date on your safety and compliance training by Feb 1!”
  • “I have completed the work to get equipment X replaced. The new machine will be installed and ready for you to use in 3 weeks.”
  • “Thanks to everyone for such great work today!   We have the following 3 outstanding requests that need to be escalated: 1, 2, 3″

Email distribution lists with many replies and difficult to track response threads drive you crazy? Consider this approach if possible for you.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. The Business Value of Social Networks – “Value creation has thus been shifting from protecting proprietary knowledge, to fostering collaboration, both within the company and beyond its boundaries, in order to help the firm participate in as broad and diverse a range of knowledge flows and thus improve its competitive position.”
  2. Social Media in Life Sciences – Not new, but I read it this week!  “The Social Workplace – Employees who actively share their knowledge emerge as experts, and companies that encourage employees to share their expertise build stronger peer-to-peer networks, accelerating internal productivity gains.”  My experience with the Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Council is certainly a testament to this statement.

ME2: Can We Afford Not To?

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind.

From @TheBrycesWrite:

Can We Afford Not To?

As of late I chuckle when I read so much in the E2.0 world about the inherent struggles associated with making a business case and driving adoption of new capabilities. Don’t get me wrong, I am not discounting the validity of those challenges, nor that I have experienced them in the past and will definitely have to work very hard on each in the near future. But as of late, my work time seems to be consumed by the opposite problem…new people/teams/projects coming out of the woodwork every week yearning for improved ways to collaborate…and wanting on board with my efforts ASAP. It’s a good problem to have, but I am beginning to feel the aches in my neck that Hercules probably felt about 6 months into carrying the world on his shoulders.

The problem lies in the fact that most people discover my project through a colleague of a colleague of a colleague. In such a large organization (sans horizontally-effective collaboration tools) it is difficult to make everyone aware of “coming attractions.” So what happens when people are desperate and frustrated with what is available to them and no immediate hope on the horizon? They find their own way (unlike my beloved Colts). Sometimes their “own way” includes going through the proper channels to implement a collaboration tool for local use, not knowing that introducing disparate social collaboration tools would be detrimental to the critical mass benefits we want to achieve. Other times their “own way” is using external tools where the data security and control risks aren’t well explored or mitigated. I at least have the luxury of describing what is to come to subdue localized efforts or inappropriate use of external tools for the greater cause…but I worry about organizations that aren’t yet to the point of being able to answer “When will then be now?” with “Soon!”

Can they really afford to not be closing in on offering their enlightened employees Hope 2.0?  (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

How long will intelligent and creative employees who are tired of wasting their time and energy with less efficient methods of collaboration wait idly by? It is way too easy now with the publicly available tools, many of which are free. And introducing corporate policies that “Just Say No” may work temporarily, but likely at the expense of employee engagement and ultimately productivity.

So back to the “driving adoption will be a struggle” concept…I am focused on it for sure because I understand that not everyone falls into the “already converted” camp that I describe above…but the reality has been for me that “herding the cats” has proven to be a huge time-consumer early in our E2.0 implementation efforts…and over time as we are able appease the self-converted with some capable tools…then our focus can shift to driving adoption for the next wave of employees via demonstration of real value and real business use cases identified not just by me, but also the people who showed some patience and afforded us the opportunity to deliver on the hope we promised.

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

One of the most common themes I read from new internal bloggers is “I’m not sure anyone will read this or if anyone will care what I have to say.” Sometimes there is truth to that because we are all busy with our day jobs, but occasionally we all benefit from working out loud because of the potential for serendipity and ability to retrieve that conversation for future reference.

Just this week we had an example of an employee frustrated with how convoluted managing the security settings within a collaboration space had become. She blogged about her observations of the site (many security layers, individual items managed separately from the overall site, many people with admin controls applying different security strategy), how she was tasked with trying to fix it and asked if anyone had any advice on how to ease the pain and confusion.

In relatively short order a few people commented on her blog (including myself) with best practices on simplifying security management (like starting out more open than closed). She responded that the feedback was timely because she had a meeting coming up…she presented the suggested concepts to her director and team and they agreed to move in a similar direction. Benefits: 1) Quicker to learn from experience of others than reinvent the wheel yourself and 2) Easier to convince others your idea is a good one when based on the experience of others instead of developed from scratch.

And to top it off, that virtual conversation will live on as data and if anyone else ever poses a similar question, maybe they’ll find it via enterprise search or maybe they’ll ask a community with a member aware of this blog post…who can provide a link instead of reinventing the conversation all over again.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. EMC Enterprise 2.0 Case Study Webinar – I’ve been a little link heavy on these webinars the last couple weeks, but it is warranted. There is great experiential data in these things that any practitioner should steal from shamelessly. Great job by Jamie.
  2. Critics Say Google Invades Privacy with New Service – If you haven’t been following the buzz on Google Buzz this week, this is a nice summary of the primary issues encountered. To Google’s credit, they have been quick to respond to these serious issues…probably faster than most would expect from a functional delivery standpoint. But it makes you think about speed vs. quality. Google is often used in case studies about how to deliver innovation quickly. And more often than not they have done so well. But examples such as this are what keep most of us operating more conservatively.
  3. What Really Motivates Workers? – “What’s my motivation?!!??” Progress. What’s my point? Read the first section of this blog post again.

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @cflanagan: “Proud of our fellow @20Adoption Council member @JamiePappas is doing a great job on the EMC case study #acweb3″ - Check out the #acweb3 stream for more great tidbits from this webinar. Reaction and feedback was very positive.
  2. @SameerPatel: “RT @labnol: stupid advice from entrepreneur.com ‘Don’t let family obligations become interruptions to ur biz success.’ http://bit.ly/96Lv1F – My bad advice of the day: “Don’t let Valentine’s Day get in the way of completing your Monday blog post :)”
  3. @gyehuda: “+1 RT @Gartenberg: If Microsoft released Buzz the the way Google did, the lawsuits would have already started” – I haven’t tried it yet and probably won’t. Just amazed at the amount of conversation that Buzz has created this week when I don’t really see it offering much that we don’t already have, just in a different place. Even without the security issues, I don’t get it. (Now I sound like my Facebook friends that say to me “I don’t get Twitter.”) Touche.

From @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

As disappointed as I was watching the Olympics opening ceremonies, I was equally riveted watching Apolo Ohno in short track skating the next evening. In his first heat he waited at the back of the pack for 12 laps putting you on the edge of your seat. Then like lightning he passed every other skater on the outside like they were on a leisurely Sunday evening stroll. I couldn’t tear myself away when he was on the rest of the night. During the medal run I actually jumped out of my seat for the last 3 laps like I was watching the last two minutes of a Colts game. It is such a fluky sport with the falls and pushing and jostling, but I can’t look away when it is on!

My whole life the Kentucky Derby has been the “most exciting 2 minutes in sports,” but it actually crossed my mind last night that a medal race in this event with Apolo in it might be better. It is so unpredictable, as evidenced by the two Koreans taking each other out in the last turn and handing Silver and Bronze to the two Americans, including Ohno. I want more.

TV Minute:

I have to admit I have watched just about every season of Survivor since it debuted ten years ago. Although for the last few seasons I usually would watch while multi-tasking (translated as Tweeting, Facebooking, Reading news on my mobile) because it wasn’t holding my undivided attention. This season they have brought back some of the past contestants from other seasons and branded it “Heroes vs. Villains.”  I couldn’t look away. They had great personalities and memorable people. I think there was only one person that I couldn’t directly recall from previous seasons. The rest of them left permanent imprints on my memory as interesting personalities or impressive players of the game. If you aren’t watching this one, I recommend you give it a shot. My favorite plot line: the budding love tryst between Coach the Dragon Slayer and Jerri the Black Widow. How could that not result in pure entertainment?

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. LOST Redux – For LOST fans, a recap of some key thoughts from LOST. I still want to blog on this myself when I can find a few minutes.
  2. Colts Past Doesn’t Matter, and That’s a Good Thing – Some closure on the Colts season.
  3. 14 Fantastic Free WordPress Themes – I’ve been meaning to check these out more closely but haven’t yet.

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @ApoloOhno: “Wow…historical night for me…I have absolutely NO REGRETS…thank you all for supporting me…I’m on cloud 9…skated a brutal hard race!”
  2. @MeganMurray: “RT @theresa_lauren: It’s okay, Canada. It happens to lots of host nations.”
  3. @SportsGuy33: “Serious question: Was ‘We Are The World 25′ an SNL Digital Short?”

Bonus Material:

Last evening my 3 year-old son was emptying anything he could find out of a closet in our computer room making a mess as is his norm. Well, one thing he pulled out caught my eye. It was a journal that I kept back in the mid-90’s while playing the Myst and Riven computer games (also remembering The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour as similar games). Anyone remember those? I was obsessed with trying to solve all the puzzles and mysteries in those games in late high-school / early college. I remember staying up into the wee hours of the night to play. My first entry was on New Year’s Eve in 1994. So it just goes to show how active my social life was back then!

Anyway, I bring this up for one reason…because of what I wrote in the final page of the journal back in March 1998 (college years): “I have now defeated Myst and Riven. I will play them again and document my results on my website this summer so I can share with my friends.” So I’ve been trying to find means to share my knowledge and learning for years!!??!…I was just meant to do this job I guess. Too bad I wasn’t creative enough back then to figure out better tools to do so!

ME2: Super Bowl Edition

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind. Notice I have re-branded already from “Monday Morning E2″ to just “Monday E2.” I’m not a morning person, and the sooner we I come to grips with that fact (including me) the smarter I’ll be.

From @TheBrycesWrite:

Game Changers

Boy did that Super Bowl take a lot out of me. So today is going to have to be short and sweet. All of my synapses are not firing correctly. So I’ll probably ask more questions as opposed to attempting to provide any answers.

In yesterday’s game there were two or three moments that could be called out as game changers…plays that completely shifted the momentum and likely the outcome of the game. Sean Payton’s decision to attempt an onside kick, and ultimately the success of that attempt, had a profound impact on Super Bowl XLIV. That was a game changer. Had the Colts gotten the ball as planned and put more points on the board, the Saints become the chasers instead of the chased. The Colts become the hunted instead of the hunters.

So to no surprise, I am in constant search for game changing ideas to create game changing moments (for the organization as well as individuals) that will generate excitement for and high adoption rates of our E2.0 / social collaboration tools. Is there such a thing as a momentum shifting game changer for efforts like mine? And how can I identify that opportunity so I can seize it and unleash it?

Quick hit ideas I need to develop include Seeing is Believing (demonstrable value), Word of Mouth (positive experience), Relieve Frustration (right place at right time), Make it Fun (completely new approach to generate interest) and Transformational (shift paradigm).  Like I said, short and sweet today. The trick is turning those concepts into something actionable, and soon. And I’ll need help from my friends to do it.

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

I haven’t yet seen a better example of a group of “Potential ties” coming together to produce tangible results than what is occurring in the Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Council. The webinar events shared the last couple of weeks are great examples of people collaborating to collate what they have experienced or are currently experiencing as the benefits of social collaboration for large organizations. Check out “The Before” and “The After” for examples of people coming together from disparate locations to produce tangible results for the good of others.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. Encourage the Use of Social Media at Work – Good to see this message becoming more popular instead of talk about all the traps to avoid or all the reasons not to allow employees to use social media tools at work. Even “The Office” this past Thursday poked fun at Dunder Mifflin’s new parent company coming in and blocking Twitter and the reaction it stirred in Michael Scott!
  2. Gartner Reveals 5 Social Software Predictions for 2010 and Beyond – Micro-blogging streams integrated into general activity stream is nice catch based on my limited experience with stand-alone micro-blogging communities trying to play in a larger collaborative structure. Adoption peaks at a sub-optimal level if “another place to visit.”
  3. Employees with Flex Time put in more hours – So companies can get more work out of their employees with less resentment? I’ve also heard anecdotes from other companies that have internal social networks, that they see more weekend activity in the network than they expected. Good or bad for employees? Is that a sign of improved engagement or danger of burnout? Probably some of both.

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @20Adoption – “Member @dpontefract on why Micro-Blogging is good for your company: http://bit.ly/9LmzEk #e2adoption #microblogging” – What he said.
  2. @cflanagan – “Battelle also found that watercooler allowed users to get used to E2.0 tools/ less intimidating #acweb2 /via @christyschoon-//Exactly!!” – In other words, don’t rip out all the “social.”

From @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

I was thrilled with the game last night right up until two coaching decisions completely shifted the momentum and significantly altered the outcome. Jim Caldwell decided to not lose, and Sean Payton decided to win.

Immediately following the goal line stand right around the 2:00 warning in the first half, the Colts got the ball back at their own 1 yard line with all three timeouts remaining. The Colts play-calling and clock management said to me “Even though we have the best 2:00 drill QB in the game, we don’t want to make a big mistake, so we are playing to run out the clock and punt.” I understand they were pinned, but it didn’t take them long to get out of the shadow of the goal line. At least throw on 3rd down there. It yelled “We are playing not to lose.” Conservative.

Sean Payton, on the other hand, made the gutsy onside kick call, playing to win. What a decision. Based on how the game was going and how it went the rest of the way, I think whichever team recovers that ball (and it was close, and who knows what happened under that pile-up) wins the game. It was that crucial. Playing to win. Aggressive.

Ball game. Season. Congrats Saints, New Orleans, Sean Payton and Drew Brees. Winter Olympics anyone?   (Note: Each time I try to type “Payton” I accidentally type “Peyton.” I am scarred.)

TV Minute:

I can’t wait to talk LOST, but not here. May to a separate post on that one. Too complicated to get into here. But my favorite scene from all the TV I watched last night happened on Big Bang Theory. BAZINGA!

Top Reads of the Week: (all Colts/NFL related in celebration of Super Bowl week)

  1. Peter King’s MMQB – My Monday staple (although I haven’t read it yet, will tonight, but always a great read.)
  2. Colts Left With Nothing – Bob Kravitz from IndyStar. I am getting depressed. Moving on.

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @golfinbp – “This is what Peyton was born to do. Drives like the one you are about to watch is what makes legend. #colts #SB44″ – Right before Peyton threw the game ending interception. Hmph.
  2. @golfinbp – “Colts D came to play! #colts #SB44″ – When the score was 10-0. Double hmph.
  3. @BrianRWagner – “http://twitpic.com/120w5y – Talk about a great pic: Drew Brees celebrating the win with son, Baylen. Have to enjoy this. Lasting memory.” – Okay, maybe not so bad the Colts lost.

Pandora 5.0: Avatar emulates Enterprise 2.0?

So last weekend I was allowed to get away to see Avatar because it was my birthday, and I have to say it was pretty impressive visually. I would call the storyline predictable, but strong enough to support the special effects and definitely worth your while to go see. Strangely enough, while watching, a parallel between this movie and Enterprise 2.0 dawned on me…thus this blog posting..

WARNING: I’ll write this with the best intentions of not giving away significant story points for those that have not yet seen the movie, but if you have any trepidation of spoilers for this very predictable story, maybe it would be best to wait to read this until after you have seen the movie.

So back to this relationship (whether intended or coincidental) between the Pandora moon and Enterprise 2.0:

Avatar takes place on a moon named Pandora, and it is primarily inhabited by wild beasts and the indigenous Na’vi people (the very tall bioluminescent blue people from the commercials). But what is unique about this land is that there is a mysterious connection between all living things, including animals, plants, trees and the Na’vi. The inhabitants of the moon can “bond” with one another to share thoughts and the Na’vi people can “bond” with trees to hear the voices of those that have passed. Eventually we learn that the makeup of the moon is effectively a huge interconnected neural network and all living beings have common anatomy to be able to plug into that network and “bond” with each other. Pandora is one big Social Network, or better yet, an Existence Network.

So, our main character Jake Sculley (who has been “matrixed” into a genetically engineered Na’vi body and dumped into the Pandora wild), uses his newly discovered pony tail with a mind of its own to “friend” his six-legged blue horse and his alien pterodactyl for public transportation. These connections between the living creatures on Pandora, and through the main source (the mother goddess, an all powerful tree named Eywa) are what help the moon thrive and the creatures to co-exist peacefully (except when satisfying their hunger by hunting, but always with utmost respect, of course).

It isn’t that groundbreaking to see how an entire world thriving in a connected environment relates to Enterprise 2.0…even if the connections are biological instead of technological. Differing tribes and species that might not otherwise relate because of space and communication gaps collaborate in peace thanks to a common network. They work together in unison for the good of their world instead of fighting one another for supremacy.

What I really found cool was how the natives of Pandora leveraged the Existence Network to overcome their invaders…money-hungry corporate Earthlings! This is the part where I may be delving into a little bit of a spoiler, so you may want to turn away now if you haven’t seen the movie yet….



Just when it appears that all hope is lost for the Na’vi people, despite their greatest efforts to fend off the superior human military artillery, you know there must be a happy ending, right? Jake (pictured above) pleas to Eywa on behalf of the Na’vi to help save not only their species but their entire world because he understands the power of human weapons. Eywa listens, and calls on her Existence Network of thousands of alien pterodactyls, elephant sized rottweilers and hammer-head rhinos to fight along side the Na’vi. You can see for yourself how that turns out…

Another parallel to the virtues of Enterprise 2.0 was when Jake tamed  and then “friended” the fierce Toruk (a dragon-vulture the size of an F-16) to prove his commitment and skill to the Na’vi people after he had been exiled. Only five other Na’vi had ever tamed a Toruk. Jake’s demonstration of skill and influence over this treacherous animal was enough to gain the respect of the Na’vi people regardless of his position or status. There were going to follow his lead based on his accomplishments as a warrior. Leadership and influence within the network was earned, not appointed in his case.

Watching the movie I couldn’t help but recall the concepts of 2.0-style collaboration were underlying themes to the feel good elements of this movie (although biological connections through a fiber-optic pony tail would be more like 5.0-style collaboration), and the primary weapons that gave the Pandorians an advantage over the command and control humans. Now don’t confuse this blog post as my undying commitment to using the movie Avatar as my “Real Business Use Case / ROI Example” for Enterprise 2.0…even I know better than that. But hey, who really needs extra excuses to write blog posts about cool movies and claim you are talking about work?

For my next post, I’ll discuss how much shorter the Lord of the Rings trilogy would have been if Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee had been biologically networked to the rest of the Fellowship of the Ring…