Enterprise 2.0: part 3 – the gap between employee and corporation

The following article is also published through pharmaphorum and is the third in a series about Enterprise 2.0.

As with a lot of technological innovations, business is often behind adopting them compared to consumers.  This was the case with the telephone, with the adoption of email and today with new and social media. Now, when social computing is becoming mainstream, businesses are considering how to deal with this within their own organisation. The question therefore should not be if a company should adopt social computing (aka Enterprise 2.0), but more when.

As discussed in the previous episode of this series, many employees struggle in managing the enormous amount of information they have to process within their jobs. And the infrastructure that offers that information is not helping them in doing their jobs, on the contrary.

“Many employees struggle in managing the enormous amount

of information they have to process within their jobs”

Some facts:

Forty-two percent of our economy is based on ‘tacit interactions’, which means exchange of information and knowledge directly between knowledge-workers (source: McKinsey). Most of this information is in these people’s minds, and not recorded in a database. In other words, a lot of this information is not secured.

Twenty percent of their valuable time, knowledge workers are searching for information required to do their jobs. Indeed, searching, which does not imply that they always find what they need. Which makes sense, because part of that information is not available, as explained above.

Eighty-five of the current available IT infrastructures cannot be accessed by most knowledge-workers (source: Gartner). That means that if relevant information is available somewhere in the database, they do not have the permission to access it.

The gap between the adoption of new technology, in this case collaborative and social interactive media, between the corporate world and the consumer world has never been so apparent. Cloud computing, mobile, social media, we’re all familiar with it in our private lives. However, within our daily work, this is very often not the case. Cloud computing, for example, is by many organisations perceived a scary, insecure and non-compliant phenomenon.

This is what we call consumerization of technology. New (information) technology first emerges in the consumer market before it enters business organisations. And when it enters, it is in most cases received with scepticism and distrust. IT departments are frequently hesitant in adopting these new technologies, especially if it implies loss of control or, in other words, empowerment of the user. When I was still working in the pharma industry I was always surprised at the ‘glass-is-half-empty’ approach of IT, when proposing experimenting with new and social media. While I sincerely expected, maybe naive, that this technological revolution should ignite the passion of every IT-worker.

In fact we’ve reached a point of no return. More and more employees, especially the digital natives, expect free access to information, the ability to connect with co-workers andto share and exchange knowledge and experience, all online. As they are used in their personal lives with their friends and family. As long as the current IT infrastructures (i.e. the intranets and portals) don’t allow or facilitate this, they will take the initiative themselves to create that space. Already, employees ask their IT departments to give them access to their email and intranet through their personal mobile devices. Just because the company does not offer smartphones to all employees, but the sales force. These employees will get very frustrated if their request is not honoured. While the only reason for asking is helping them to do their job easier and better.

“Cloud computing, for example, is by many organisations

perceived a scary, insecure and non-compliant phenomenon.”

Talking about the employee, what is motivating him (or her)? What really drives him to do his upmost to fulfil his tasks? What makes him get up in the morning? Is that salary? Is that a large bonus if mission is accomplished? Or is it something else?

Since the middle of last century behavioural scientists have investigated human motivation. Before that it was thought there were basically two main motivators: biological motivators(hunger, thirst, sleep, sex) and extrinsic motivators (reward and punishment). An interesting experiment by Harry Harlow and Edward Deci with monkeys demonstrated there is a third motivator: intrinsic motivation through joy, happiness and passion. This is the motivator for us humans for playing the piano, for photography and oldtimers. For developing software, which we are so proud of the we’re willing to give it away for free. We’re willing to spend hours of our free time and willing to spend significant amounts of money in these activities because of the satisfaction it gives us. Interesting enough, ever since the industrial revolution, businesses have only adopted extrinsic motivators, such as salary increases and bonuses and never really explored the possibilities of intrinsic motivators. While more than forty years of behavioural research has demonstrated that this is not the way to motivate people. Although the carrot-and-stick approach worked successfully in the 20th century, it has become obsolete in motivating people in the current changed environment. This brings us back to the conclusion we made in the previous episode. Create an environment where employees can excel and improve their skills, where they can choose the path to fulfil their tasks and goals as long as it also serves a higher purpose. Also known as as the three elements of true motivation: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose (source: Daniel Pink – Drive, the surprising truth about what motivates us)

 “IT departments are frequently hesitant in adopting these new

technologies, especially if it implies loss of control or, in other

words, empowerment of the user.”

So now the urge is clear. Business organisations need to change, significantly. In the way they communicate with their employees, how they are motivated, in the way their workforce is empowered and in the way they are organised online. But where to start? That’s what I will discuss in the following episodes. First I want to ask you to take a look at your own organisation. How are you organised online? What functionalities does your intranet offer? Is it interactive and does it allow collaboration between co-workers. The figure below comes from the congress Intranet 2011, which was held in March recently Utrecht, The Netherlands. It represents the development of the intranet from a one-directional information source to a social operating system that contains all kinds of collaborative applications which drive internal and external work. Can you indicate where your company’s intranet is?

Enterprise 2.0: part 2 – the world around us has changed, forever.

The following article is published through pharmaphorum and is the second in a series about Enterprise 2.0.

The digital revolution has changed the world we live in. During the first wave of the revolution, back in the nineties, we gained access to an incredible amount of information. During the second wave, which started in the early 2000’s, we were able to add information ourselves –  our experiences, opinions, thoughts, comments, ratings and reviews about products and services. Today, the digital revolution has become mobile, where we hold the internet in the palm of our hand with smart-phones and iPads.

Many companies, especially B2C, jumped on the bandwagon of interactive communication, where they saw great opportunities for their marketing activities. But, as discussed in part one of this series, it’s more than just the additional marketing channel that makes the revolution. It has an impact on the way we are organised as a business,  and this goes as deep as our blueprint, our DNA and our identity. This revolution is cultural.

Looking more closely at the changes around us we can identify six trends. These trends reveal the need for companies to prepare themselves for a major change: to reorganise themselves from Enterprise 1.0 to Enterprise 2.0. Let’s take a closer look at these six trends.

“…it’s more than just the additional marketing channel that makes the revolution.”

1. Information overload

As a result of the digital revolution, the amount of information that we have to manage is increasing at an almost daily level. Information that frequently is difficult to find on our intranets. In addition, managing our email is a continuous struggle for many. Who doesn’t have a sort of love-hate relationship with their inbox? The amount of energy wasted within companies with data management is enormous. Although interactions costs (e.g. real life meetings) go down, the volume of interactions is headed towards infinity, leading to unproductive complexity, frustration within the workforce, increased bureaucracy and unmanageable communication (Fig 1, electronic survey McKinsey Quarterly 2005).

Fig 1: Struggle with communication complexity (based on survey McKinsey Quarterly, July 2005)

*80% of those reporting “communication unmanageable” admit having difficulty fulfilling their key responsibilities.

2. Limited access to interactive technologies 

At home, we are used to fast internet connections, enabling us to upload, download and consume video, connect to our friends and family through social networks and talk real-time with each other via Skype. Coming to work, many of us still experience something different: websites such as YouTube and Facebook are blocked as non-productive sites, Flash videos cannot be viewed as the flash player cannot be installed and if you’re lucky to access online video, then frequently bandwidth is the limiting factor of a smooth experience. And that’s not all, the hardware available to the average workforce (computers, mobile phones) are very often seen as costly devices pressing on the annual budgets, rather than devices that improve people’s performance. Back home, the workforce emits sighs of relief, setting themselves behind their brand new and beloved iMac.

3. Cloud computing

More and more services are offered through ‘the Cloud’, which means that databases, file services, email and applications are available through external online servers. No software is required to be installed on the user’s computer, other than a web-browser. Examples of Cloud applications are Hotmail, Google Docs and Salesforce.com. Advantages of cloud computing are that the  applications are accessible anywhere at anytime from any platform (desktop, laptop, smartphone) with the latest versions of the software available. Moving from the comfortable, ‘behind the firewall’ applications to cloud services that are out in the ‘big bad world’ is a tough choice to make for many organisations. Again, the loss of control is bothersome to them, while it may serve the employee’s productivity and in the end can lead to significant cost savings on license fees and service contracts.

“As a result of the digital revolution, the amount of information that we have to manage is increasing at an almost daily level.”

4. Generation gap 

As a result of the digital revolution we can divide the current population into two generations: digital immigrants and digital natives. A digital native is someone who is born after the introduction of digital technologies, let’s say around 1980. A digital immigrant is someone born before the introduction of digital technology. The difference between these two groups is the way they adopt these technologies and integrate them in their lives. With the speed of technological developments increasing, more and more digital immigrants struggle keeping up, leading to conflicts between managers and supervisors (DI’s) and the younger workforce (DN’s).

5. Social, social, social 

Social networking has surpassed email both in number of users and in time spent (Morgan Stanley, Internet Trends, June 2010). This means that people prefer social interaction through online networks over the rather one-dimensional and more impersonal email. But a Facebook group or a Twitter account is no guarantee for successful participation in the communities of your customers. To achieve that you need to do more. “You need to socialise”, according to Brian Solis, Principal at Futureworks and one of the prominent thought leaders in social media.“As a company or as a brand you need to participate in the conversations in such a manner that you’re not only of added value, but that you also involve your customers in your marketing and service activities.” Because of that social media will have an enormous impact in the organisational structure of a company. “Any division within an organisation that is effected by outside influence is going to have to socialise”.  Eventually social media instruments will become as mainstream as email is today, but before that organisations will need to go through a process of cultural change.

6. The Network Society 

Modern society is in a process of becoming a network society. Through the internet we’re constantly connected and becoming less dependent on face to face communication. It’s as Jan van Dijk describes in his book The Network Society that the internet brings interpersonal, organisational and mass communication together. This means we’re moving from centrally and hierarchically organised companies (e.g. Sony, Microsoft, Shell) to true network organisations (e.g. Facebook, Google, Amazon). The main difference between the two extremes is that in the latter the user is more in control and wants to be involved and engaged. This is illustrated by the development in the music industry over the last decade. Music is booming, and artists and consumers have taken over control from big corporations.

These six trends are disruptive to any industry, including pharma. These trends scare CEO’s and management teams. Losing control over their employees and the way they work gives them nightmares. But is that justified? Can we allow ourselves to perform ‘ostrich politics’ by sticking our heads in the sand, hoping it will all pass in a few years? Or is now the time to pick up the challenge and start redesigning our organisations?

“…the volume of interactions is headed towards infinity, leading to unproductive complexity, frustration within the workforce, increasedbureaucracy and unmanageable communication”

Most companies still have an organisational structure designed for the 20th century: hierarchical, directive, silo-structured and sales-driven (aka Enterprise 1.0). Especially in our ‘knowledge-intensive companies’ we need to mobilize the minds of our workforce in such way that we offer them freedom to do their jobs, give them access to information, provide them with a network that enables them to connect with peers and the likeminded and stimulate collaboration and co-creation (aka Enterprise 2.0). Not only will such company create an environment that motivates people and retains talent, it also will lead to an increase in net income per employee.

So the challenge is the organisational redesign of our companies. Moving from Enterprise 1.0 to Enterprise 2.0. The key is the employee. Because, as with the music artist and the music lover, that’s where the power is. Create an environment where your employees can excel, where they feel empowered and acknowledged. Give them autonomy to reach (and surpass) their goals, allow them to master their skills and give purpose to what they do. With that you’ll give your workforce the drive to get up in the morning and go to work, motivated.

What do you think is key to establishing Enterprise 2.0?

SXSW 2010 – And what about corporations?

That ‘interactive media’ has trespassed the masses seems obvious. Comfortably from your couch being social, or may be even in the office checking how many eggs your chicken has laid in Farmville, when the boss is not watching. But what is the situation anyway in the office? To what extend have social media tools been adopted in corporations? Wouldn’t it be a great asset if we could be a bit more ‘social’ there, too? Sort of the digital version of the water cooler conversations. Or on a serious note, may be these tools can help you finding that one person fitting in your team, or may know something of great value to your project.

Earlier we wrote several articles on ‘Enterprise 2.0’ a term coined first by Andrew McAfee. Enterprise 2.0 describes the use of web 2.0 technologies in an corporate environment. And by no means this is the water cooler chit-chat, but tools to make several business processes much more efficient.

McAfee is Principal Research Scientist at the Centre for Digital Business on MIT Sloan School of Management (put that on your business card), has a doctorate from Harvard Business School, two Bachelor degrees, author of the book ‘Enterprise 2.0’, bblogs on his own blog and on teh blog from Harvard University ‘HBR Voices’, has written more than 100 articles and case-studies, is columnist at the Washington Post, the Financial Times, is one of the fifty ‘Most Influential People in IT’, one of the hundred ‘Most influential executives in the technological industries’, and is a most wanted speaker on congresses and conferences.

Next to that is Andrew a nice and passionate guy. We spoke with him on SXSW2010 about Enterprise 2.0, his ‘tipping point’, why he uses the Groundswell upside down, the ever-returning question about ROI and why offline communication remains important.

SXSW 2010: Brian Solis – Organizations need to socialize

Social Media has changed the communication landscape and also the world of business has noticed that. But a Facebook group or a Twitter account is no guarantee for successful participation in the communities of your customers. To achieve that you need to do more. “You need to engage”, according to Brian Solis, Prinicpal at Futureworks and one of the prominent thought leaders in social media.

“As a company or as a brand you need to participate in the conversations in such manner that your not only of added value, but that you also involve your customers in your marketing and service activities.” Because of that social media will have an enormous impact in the organsational structure of a company. “Any division within an organization that is effected by outside influence is goiung to have to socialize”.  Eventually social media instruments will become aminstream as email is today, but before that organisations will need to go through a process of cultural change.

Brian was at SXSW to promote his latest book ‘Engage’, in his words the book that starts where the current scial media books stop. “There is not a single book that goes into this depth, that tells you how to apply social media to your job, how to get resources, how to measure it and how to get support.” We spoke with Brian about his book, about cultural change and about SXSW 2010.

Enterprise 2.0 – Not if, but when do you start?

“My products have hashtags”, as Ramon de Leon -the brilliant pizza baker from Domino’s Pizza indicated. Ramon was the true rock star who shook up the congress “Enterprise 2.0 – RIP or ROI” in Amsterdam on January 27 and 28. But there were more oneliners on this congress we attended:

“Know what ROI means? Return on Ignoring”,
“You’re best Social Media tool is as good as the person sitting behind the keyboard”,
“I have a click-and-kill behavior against newsletters per email”,
“To whisper works better in social media than to shout”,
“Let people love you, that’s all you gotta do”,
but the best remains: “My products have hashtags.”

With an audience of about 50 people and on stage quiet a few remarkable names (i.e. Google, Vodafone, Philips, Airbus, SWIFT, SAP, Lego, Nokia, Kodak, Roger Smith Hotel). A small but intimate setting with a promising program. And they delivered the promise. The intention of this event wat to give insight in new and innovative strategies for better performance within the organization by using social media engagement.These strategies, not only focussed on the external customer or as part of the promotion of product, but also for communication internally.

Vodafone kicked off with a presentation by Eva Buschkrei (VP Entertainment, Communications and E-Commerce) about the social media campaign around their new service Vodafone 360. At the introduction Vodafone first aimed for users via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, causing the initiation of the conversation. “It’s more about the people, than about the products”, said Eva, embracing the importance of Word of Mouth for Vodafone.

Mobile is going to play an increasing role, as Eva indicated. Georges Edouard Dias (L’Oreal) adds later: “If you don’t use mobile, then you’re an idiot! Use mobile in your brand conversations and you’ll find the way to the heart of the customer. It’s as close as you can get!”. Vodafone still has no clue about how to measure the ROI of Social Media (wow, where did we hear that before?) and has thus introduced Social Media Currency. Five questions which should offer immediate answers on why you are recommended by other people:

  • Social Authority – who is talking about you?
  • Social Conversations – with whom do they talk about you?
  • Social Sentiment – how do they talk about you?
  • Social Network Valuation – positive versus negative?
  • Social Conversation and Referral – how can you benefit from that?

In my view this provides a rather good insight into ROI, especially if your goal is to bring your product or service under a broad attention.

Return on Investment. Each and every congress it’s a topic. And never somebody was able to answer the ultimate question satisfactory.ROI is difficult, especially for communication-activities. “What you really shouldn’t do is looking at the number of HITS”, said Matteo Rizzi from SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). “HITS means ‘How Idiots Track Success'”. For SWIFT the use of Social Media is more aimed at reducing costs than to increase revenues. The value is also much more in teh ‘intangible benefits’ and much less in the ‘tangible’. Last year SWIFT has introduced their platform for innovative collaboration, Innotribe. Innotribe makes use of the power of the community by bringing together customers, vendors and partners to share knowledge and ideas. Innotribe makes this possible by facilitating in crowd-sourcing, mash-ups and cloud computing. “It made the dinosaur move”, according to Matteo. As we speak Innotribe has 1,712 members. That doesn’t seem a lot but in this industry it’s certainly an indication that there is a need for collaboration. It has also resulted in the development of Mindtagger, a nonpublic concept, by which people with the right expertise connected through tags.

Kees Mulder prefers to speak about Return On Ignoring. He hints to the more than 1 billion active users on social networks which an not be ignored anymore. Kodak, almost had to shut down themselves (revenues in traditional photofilm from $15 billion to $300 million in 10 years!) just realized the changes on time. They appointed a ‘Chief Listener’ which had the task to listen to what was said about Kodak online, as a kind of airtraffic controller. Based on that, ways were sought do profile the new Kodak – especially through these new media. An example of this was the ‘eyecamera’ which created a lot of buzz – not in the last place because it was an April’s Fool-joke. “It’s all about the 4 Social Media E’s: Engage, Educate, Excite and Evangelize. Key here is to use OPM; Other People’s Money. That has saved Kodak from a certain death and since then the brand went through quiet a shift.

Co-creation Classic
Lego already understood end of last century how important it sis to listen to your customers. In 1998 one of the robots of the just launched Midstorms was hacked by a few students from Standford University, to ‘improve the product’, sort to speak. Lego had two choices; sue or listen. They chose the latter. “We knew we owned the trademark, but we realized that we didn’t own the brand. Our customers do”, said Tormid Askilsen who was working for the company around that time. Lego realised that there are many users feeling connected to the brand which are more than willing to help designing new stuff. The essence of Lego is: ‘being able to express something that I see in my head so that other people can see it.’ The story of Lego obviously is well-known, but still nice to hear from first hand.

Phillips is still struggling to implement social media in their marketing activities. Hugo Raaijmakers and Marco Roncaglio gave a surprisingly smooth presentation about the development of a Social Media strategy within Philips. The current initiatives such as for example Facebook are too fragmented, too much ad hoc and inconsistent to be effective. Especially if you compare it with competitor Samsung. Besides that, there are no guidelines and there’s not team directly responsible for Social Media. Time for a strategic plan, Hub & Spoke, which is strongly based on Forrester’s POST method. Philips has chosen for a combination of ‘bottom-up support’ and a ‘top-down steering’. This means that local social media activities are being stimulated but streamlined through guidelines and at the same time creating awareness at senior management level. Especially the latter is important because without this support each social media activity is doomed to fail. What was surprising however was that Philips only focussed on social media for external activities and not at all for internal usage (they later wrote us an e-mail explaining that they do have internal activities)

First internally, then externally
Not starting internally is a missed chance according to us, because a company devoted to external use only may oversee crucial parts or -even worse- damage itself severely. Next to that, in many organizations little attention is given to the communication with the internal customer, the employee. Especially when compared to external communication. An interactive platform for internal communication is a win-win:one gets experience with social media and improves internal communication.
“If you don’t have an Internal Communications Department, start one tomorrow”, said Sean MacNives van SAP. Sean has followed this principle, with success. Within a year SAP developed a strategy and a social media platform which is used intensively by the employees. Guidelines were desgned and adapted according to the dynamics of the platform. In this case a lot of experience is gained which can be utilized externally as well. “When you start Social Media internal before external you’re as authentic and real as possible.”

The mouse that roared
That there’s no need being a multinational to be successful with Social Media proved Adam Wallace from the Roger Smith Hotel. This hotel based in New York used to be small and unknown. But now it has grown to a hotel with true fans which make the Waldorf and The Four Seasons look at it with envies eyes. How did they achieved that? By being open and transparent showing people what’s happening around the hotel. By being active on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube. By speaking to potential customers directly. Because they will start talking about you, such as Chris Brogan and iJustine. No smushbags in the Social Media space. “The biggest ROI is to look back and look at everything as if we were the customer”, said Adam Wallace, head New Media Marketing. Also the employees of the hotel play an important role. “The people that provide our service are the ones creating our brand, not me”, outlining the authenticity of the Roger Smith Hotel.

A congress needs to end with a big bang. Something sticky, something impressive. More often than not this doesn’t happen, and many congresses fade away in the darkness of our day to day business. Intentionally planned or not, Ramon DeLeon was that big bang. Franchise entrepeneur from Domino’s Pizza in downtown Chicago knew how to turn

the audience upside-down. With a overwhelming presentation he showed the audience how he, as an owner of 6 pizza shops, knows how to deal with Social Media. Just before his presentation he placed this on his Facebook wall:

“AWESOME Pizza Deal!! To the 1st person who responds to this status update, how ever many minutes it took you to answer “ME”, that is the price you pay for Two Large Pizzas with anything on it plus any Two Side Items (my stores only).”

Within two minutes people responded. Nice deal for $2. This is Ramon. Ramon ‘gets it’. “We need customers to tell a friend about us. We want to wow our customers”. And the proof is in eating the pizza ..eehh.. pudding. When a rather distasteful video is placed on YouTube by two (now former) employees of Domino’s negative publicity takes over.Everywhere in the US Domino’s sees revenues falling. Except in downtown Chicago. On teh contrary, more pizzas were sold! “That doesn’t happen at Ramon’s”, said his fans, and continue eating truckloads of pizzas. What is his secret? “Passion”, Ramon told us afterwards, “passion and love for my customers. I don’t have to promote my pizzas. I make contact with my customers and they will find out I make pizzas”.

After two days it’s clear to us. For companies it’s not the question if, but when are they going to start with Social Media. Start with a sound strategic plan, convince management and start internally to gain experience. Then go play outside. Doing so might provide yet another advantage: loyalty from young employees. This is the way they communicate, and providing these possibilities for them might become important in a time where switching jobs is getting easy again. Because after we crawl out of the misery called Recession and after all those babyboomers are spending their hard-earned money on their retirement activities, who’s gonna work, still?

Blogworld 2009: Human Business and a Guinness World Record


Social Media has definitely grown out of its infancy. Although, according to all the geeks that attended the first integrated edition of Blogworld and New Media Expo in Las Vegas. More than 2500 bloggers, podcasters, consultants and other new media mavericks visited Sin City for 3 days to talk about and share experiences on Social Media. Close to 300 speakers gave dozens presentations and panel discussions on a large variety of subjects. Without going into detail of all of them, I will give you the highlights of the conference.

Twitter rawks

If there was one subject that was mentioned in almost every discussion then it was Twitter. With great passion Twitt-lebrities like Laura Fitton (@Pistachio), Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) and Aaron Strout (@aaronstrout) shared the power of Twitter. “The power of unisolating people”, according to Laura. “And it’s not about the writer, it’s not about the number of followers you have but it is about the message you share. People are made to socialize, also in business. For that it is important to surround yourself with inspiring people. Twitter is a great tool for that.”

Guiness World Record

Thanks to Twitter a Guinness World Record was set during Blogworld. The highest number of social network mentions within 24 hours. And last Monday the record was confirmed by Guinness World Record: a total of 209,771 social network mentions of #beatcancer in one day via Twitter, Facebook and blog posts. As a result eBay/Paypal and MillerCoors offered a donation of $70.000 to four non-profit cancer organizations (Spirit Jump, Bright Pink, Alex’s Lemonade, and Stand UP to Cancer). As the campaign continues, you can still donate and help promote this initiative via Beatcancereverywhere.com.


More good causes-support from eBay/Paypal. Their booth was completely dedicated to this theme. One of the good causes was Shoe4Africa, a non-profit organization aiming at ‘empowerment through sports and education, creating unique health initiatives, and promoting AIDS awareness.’ Cornerstone project is the development of a children’s hospital in Kenya, which will be the first public hospital in Kenya and the largest children’s hospital in Africa. The project is supported by Anthony Edwards, who sat in the keynote Celebrity panel. Although not yet very active in Social Media, Edwards understands the difference he can make as a celebrity using Social Media to spread the word around this project. So at Blogworld, he lost his Twitterginity and made his first tweet. Follow him on @anthonyedwards4. We also had a short interview with him which will be published shortly.

Dutch presence
And of course we ran into Vincent Everts, a webexpert and trend-watcher. Vincent presence at Blogworld was to promote yubby.com, a video aggregator the collect videos from over 30 popular video sources. Previously known as Dik.nl, but you can imagine, not a name that would work well in the US (although, flickr didn’t change its name for Holland…) And of course, Vincent not only did his upmost for yubby, he also worked on his own brand. Being very present at various sessions and as member in one of the panels, the success of his quest was confirmed to be successful during the closing keynote. When one-time talk-show host Guy Kawasaki asked the audience who has not heard of Jenny the Blogess, Vincent raised his hand as one of the few. Guy looked at him and said ‘oh, that’s that guy in the white suit’. An interview with Vincent will be launched shortly.

Chris Brogan

If there is one Social Media guru that is reaching superstar status without losing it, it’s Chris Brogan. I think he is the most mentioned, quoted, RTweeted and appreciated speaker of Blogworld 2009. And true, Chris is a very sympathetic and respectable person, but moreover, he is a visionary and true knowledge expert in the field. His keynote on day one was for me the most inspiring of all sessions. ‘Stop tapping each other on the back, but get out there and start working. There is so much to do out there’. And he is right. Social Media has grown out of its infancy. As much as we liked the pioneering atmosphere at New media Expo 2007, those days seem to be over. Social Media is becoming true business. Moreover, we shouldn’t call it Social Media anymore. It’s Human Business.

For more details go to Chris’ blogpost on his keynote. Here you can find the entire keynote (and all other keynotes).

Trend for 2010
On the exhibition floor, there were several companies that demonstrated applications based on aggregation of content. We already mentioned yubby.com as a video aggregation site, but aggregation goes beyond video. Zemanta is an application that helps you look for content related to the blogpost you are writing. While you’re writing, it ‘looks over your shoulder [..] and gives you tips and advice’. It analyzes your content, suggests keywords and related articles. With Zemanta, your blog becomes more visible and generates more traffic.
Regator goes even further in aggregation. There is an enormous amount of content available within the blogosphere. Regator ‘gathers the world’s best blog posts and organizes them in a way that’ makes it easy to find the things you need’. This selection is not purely done through some fancy algorithm, but through a team of editors. Yes, real people that search the web for valuable content. In fact, they decide for you what’s valuable or not. Regator uses criteria like regular updates, topical, well written, originality and whether or not your blog is ‘awesome’ based on which you can be added to the selection. The last criterium is rather vague and subjective, but that’s admitted by Regator.

Content is still king in new media. But finding the right content becomes like a monk’s job. For that we need aggregation, and we predict aggregation becomes the trend for 2010.

Audio Bummer
Was it all highs in Vegas? No, there was definitely a bummer. As there were more than 5-6 simultaneous tracks, you had to make up your mind what session to attend. Obviously, that was challenging as interesting presentations were scheduled at the same time. At New Media Expo in the past all participants were given the opportunity to download the audiotracks of all presentations. For free (or better, at no additional fee). Blogworld changed that policy: audiotracks are now available for $15 per session. Not funny. I can’t split myself up in 6, but feel that I have paid close to 1200 bucks to make all these sessions possible. Therefore I plead that all participants should have access to all recorded sessions (at least audio). And I was not the only one complaining about that. Organizer Rick Calvert should make up his mind or consult Tim and Emile Bourquin, former organizers of New Media Expo.

Another disappointment was that there was not much on the use of New Media for internal communication, in our view the way to learn what New Media is, to gain experience and in addition, to improve your internal communication, which in many organizations is underdeveloped. Truly win-win. A separate track should have been developed for this topic. Hopefully the organization considers this for the next edition.
Further, there was a strong focus on blogging, too strong to my liking. New Media is more than just blogging and Twitter. The focus overall was too much on the technology. There was hardly any attention for the development of a New and Social Media strategy. If we really want to go out there and help companies adapt New and Social Media, we need to understand that this is key to success. From that perspective I didn’t really hear anything new in these three days.

Conclusion for Blogworld and New Media Expo 2009: a lot on technology (and then mostly blogging) and too little on strategy. A lot of panels, some good and some which had a tendency towards too much ‘incrowd’. Some very inspiring speakers, a good atmosphere and at night awesome parties. Overall, a more than average event. Rick Calvert only has to solve this audio issue and I will certainly consider attending Blogworld and New Media Expo 2010.

people blogworld

Hello, it’s US again!

statueofliberty-copyYep, it’s that time of the year again. The time you realize you already worked your butt off during the first half of the year but that you have to work even harder the second half of the year. And that you won’t survive without a mental break if you don’t refill on time. Don’t get us wrong, we love our jobs and we regret everyday we didn’t start DigiRedo earlier. But everybody needs a break, so now and then.

So what do we like when we take a break? Relax, enjoy different cultures, amaze ourselves, learn new things but most of all, have fun. We at DigiRedo think we have found our perfect break. Like last year, and the year before, the New Media Expo (NME) is around the corner. And we are ready to go! 150This year however, the NME is bigger than ever. In 2008 Tim Bourquin, founder of the NME, decided to merge ‘his’ conference with the BlogWorld Expo, resulting in the -rather creatively entitled- BlogWorld and New Media Expo, the singlelargest congress about all things new media on this planet, and no doubt on any galaxy far, far away. In three days, 6 simultaneous tracks and more than 150 speakers this congress will for sure blow our minds. And the fact that it is in Las Vegas is of course the icing on the cake.

So in October we’re off to the US. But going to a congress alone can not be considered ‘relaxed’. Even not for NewappleMedia Nerds as ourselves. That’s why we decided to extend our trip to California a few days and head over to San Francisco as well. We always wanted to go to this supposedly laid-back city, and while we’re there visit the cradle of modern computer-technology: Silicon Valley. Visit the Mothership of Apple in Cupertino is every AppleFreak’s wet dream and obliterates any other attempt to impress other AppleFreaks. Like going to the Apple Store in Japan for example.

people blogworld

And while we are in the US, why not attend the next congress? Or even present on that congress? Indeed, coincidentally the US version of EXL’s Digital Pharma is just two days after the BlogWorld & NME. We have been invited to give a new preso on Enterprise 2.0 in pharma, and we will be sponsoring the event with video coverage. So after the 39 degrees Celcius (102 F) environment of the Nevada dessert we’ll fly back to the East coast to participate in the 3rd Annual Digital Pharma Congress in New Jersey. My talk will be an extension of my Barcelona preso, of course with new information.

Preso bulletpoints

But the good thing is that EXL has decided to put the ‘S’ of Social in this congress and wants a more ‘unconference’ approach. Spearheaded by our friend Shwen Gwee who will be chairing the conference, EXL hope to achieve more participation, engagement and dialogue. It’s up to the presenters and moderators to achieve that.

It’s ging to be an exciting trip. Leaving on October 8 to New York, stay one day in the Big Apple. Fly to SanFran on October 10 for our Silicon Valley trip, and arrive in Las Vegas on October 14 for the BlogWorld and NME Expo. Four days later (October 18) up in the air again to New Jersey and participate in the Digital Pharma congress. Finally returning to base on October 22.

Obviously we will be providing plenty of blogposts and video coverage of our trip, like you’re used to from us.

My two cents on Google Wave

imagesWe all face the same challenge: too much communication. E-mail overflow, status updates on Facebook, Tweets, blogs, RSS. All scattered around on the internet. We might have embraced these new communication technologies a bit too much. That it what Google might be thinking when they started the development of Wave almost two years ago.

Wave is supposed to solve the ever increasing tsunami of data. Being active in the introduction of an internal social network I whole-hearted agree with these imputations. One of the main topics of discussion there is the fact that people do not want to have more tools to communicate, they want less. So obviously I was eager to find out what Google Wave has to offer. And let’s face it, e-mail is soooo 1995…

First let’s have a look at what Google Wave actually is. I couldn’t find ‘Google Wave in Plain English’, so I’ll give it a try myself (alternatively you can watch the entire keynote -1 hours, 27 minutes, see below- looking at two dreadfully bad presenters in which they explain the entire thing. Recommended for New Media Specialists or if you want to play guru at parties).

In the basis Google Wave is a centralization of all forms of communication. Because of this centralization you can do cool stuff, as we will see later. When compared to ‘traditional’ e-mail (see picture 1) which is basically a copy of the snail mail concept, Google Wave connects everybody on one server (see picture 2).

Picture 1 - The traditional way e-mail works (courtesy of Google)

Picture 1 - The traditional way e-mail works (courtesy of Google)

Picture 2 - The Google Wave way (courtesy of Google)

Picture 2 - The Google Wave way (courtesy of Google)

What is Google Wave?

The information Google is providing is not too much, mainly because Google Wave is still in development. The keynote presentation (yes, I did watch it) reveals the following features:

A Wave can be compared to a sort of e-mail message on steroids. Looking at the interfce of Wave, you see a navigation on the upper left side (with inbox, archive, etc), Contact list on the lower left side, A pane in the middle with your ‘Waves’ and on the right side the selected Wave.


Plain vanilla e-mail is done by creating a new Wave, dragging your contact in the wave and start typing. When the recipient receives the Wave it can reply. Nothing new here. But the cool thing is that one can reply on paragraphs within the mail and start a conversation based on this specific paragraph. So you get a conversation within a conversation. All visually stunning and easy to see. But now the cool part comes: whenever the sender is typing her message, the recipient, if online and looking at the same Wave, can actually see the sender typing. Sort if instant messaging, but without the message ‘xxx is typing….‘. Of course, if you want to give your love message a bit more thought you can switch this off and use the traditional ‘send’ button.

Dragging pics into your Wave is as easy as drag and drop. Also here the recipient sees the pictures arriving the moment the sender drags them into the Wave. Impressive stuff, also if you realize that all is done within the browser. No additional software is required.

If you want to name the pictures, you can of course do so. And again, whenever you add text to a picture, the other person can watch it ‘live’. But Google has built in an even neater trick. The recipient can start adding text too, and then the sender sees it automatically. In this way you can really work collaboratively on a document (as opposed to the dreadful way Microsoft has implemented this in Word).

Sometimes e-mail threads can become pretty long. Ever received an e-mail of twenty pages, where you have to scroll all the way down to start reading? With Wave, where people can start a conversation within a Wave, things don’t get any clearer. Fortunately Google has thought of that too. There’s a playback button on each Wave, and a timeline. Just press the ‘Play’ button or drag the timeline and see the Wave being build up from scratch. See who replied on who, and when. Handy stuff.

A Wave can be embedded in a blog, wiki or any other website. So when you embed your Wave, it’s there to see for the world. Basically you can take your conversation public, viral. Whenever people react to your Wave on the embedded website it is shown on the website itself, but also in your original Wave. Same goes for Twitter. A nice integration with our all time favorite microblogging platform makes it convenient to have your tweets together with your e-mails…eeehh… Waves. Just imagine what this could do for enterprises, building up a massive knowledge database automatically.

Another nifty feature is autocorrection based on Google’s language database (should be pretty big by now) and, guaranteed WOW effect, autotranslation. Somebody is typing in French and it is automatically –on the fly– translated in English. Google Wave, where were you when I was on High School? Using these features involves including a ‘Robot’ in your Wave. Just like including people in your Wave you can add these Robots (little pieces of software) which enhances your Wave. A bit scary may be for novel users but -depending of the Robot’s feautures- proving very helpful eventually.

Wave is open source, so all can start making applications. Next to that companies can install Wave software independently from Google so that communication never has to go through Google servers and stays within the group you decide to share. Clever, Google, clever.

There is much, much more to tell about Wave, but I suggest you grab some popcorn and a bottle of beer and start watching the presentation:

So, will Google Wave have a future?

From a collaboration point of view I certainly saw some very nice features. Collaboration within a Wave, dragging just another person to the Wave if you want to get involvement, conversations within a Wave, adding features with Robots, taking the conversation outside the Wave. All features which will bring a rich user experience and endless possibilities. But the main challenge will -in my opinion- be twofold:

1. User adoption
2. Lock-in by Google

1. User adoption
Google Wave has a strong competitor. A competitor which is so adopted within society, from a cultural as well as a technological point of view: e-mail. And why is e-mail so strong? Simply because we all have it, we all know how to use it (which is obvious when I look at the number of e-mails in my inbox) and because the technology is not owned by anybody. So the success of Wave -any new technology for that matter- depends on the adoption and thus on the number of people using it. If nobody has Wave, with whom will I dance the Wave? Google of course realizes this, hence the decision to make it open source. They want as many people as possible to try, build and embrace it. Hoping for a tipping point.

But will my mother use it? Will she see the benefits of online collaboration? Will she take effort to go through the rather steep learning curve? I just don’t know. For the average Digital Native this won’t be any issue. But mind you, there are still a lot of Digital Immigrants out there, and they feel perfectly okay using e-mail. Even so, it is not too long ago that they mastered e-mail and I’m not sure whether they want to go through that again.

And what about corporations? More efficient communication, building up knowledge collectively, online collaboration. Which CEO doesn’t want that? But what a minute… this is technology from Google, isn’t it?

2. Lock-in by Google
In a recent Wired article (August 2009) it is explained why Google is set on a collision course with the US antitrust division. Being seen as the ‘new Microsoft’, the recently appointed head of Justice Department’s antitrust division Christine Varney is sure to investigate the accusations Google has received from various parties. According to Varney “[Microsoft] is not the problem. I think we are going to continually see a problem, potentially with Google”.

Whether these accusations are all true or not, nobody can deny that Google has gotten some power over the years. And in general society doesn’t like such powerhouses. I can imagine that also companies are reluctant to use technology which on paper might be open source, but you just never know.

In conclusion I think Google Wave could potentially be very big. It certainly has all the ingredients to become the next iteration of online conversations. I’m not so sure about adoption, which is the main critical success factor. I will certainly give it a try when it becomes available later this year, and I advise you do the same. If it was only for playing the early-adopter guru amongst your friends.

Additional reading:

First Impressions of Google Wavers, by Dion Hinchcliffe

What works: The Wave Way vs. the Web Way by Anil Dash

Introduction of the Community

Tell me,

and I will forget

Show me,
and I might remember

Involve me,
and I will understand

If you think this is a tagline of a new social media initiative, you’re right. If you think this is a quote of Confusius who lived 479 BC you’re right too. The man certainly had a clear vision about the way companies would work in the 21st century. And with this vision the launch of our Social Innovation Platform started.

You got to do it right from the start. Or at least do your very best. So launching an internal community -especially after weeks, even months of hard work- is a milestone you want people to remember. Reason for us to put some serious effort in this event.

If you think about communities and forget the 2009 meaning of the word, the first things that pops in your mind is the sixties: hippies, make love not war, flower-power, ban the bomb, all happy together-kind of stuff. So there was our theme. For the more serious stuff we invited two top speakers (Wassili Bertoen, Director Deloitte Innovation and Marco Derksen Founder of Marketingfacts.nl) to talk about communities in general, community management and innovation through communities. For many people an eye-opener.

Then we presented the platform, only seen before by a few happy PowerUsers, in all its glory. Our Idea Platform, Podcast, Blog, Wiki, RSS reader and Polling feature. Enterprise 2.0 in reality. To put things into practice we arranged several laptops for people to test and start filling the platform.

People were impressed and dove into it enthusiastically. To be frank, I didn’t expect anything else. And that has nothing to do with the way the platform was built (well, a bit) but mainly because this is an enthusiastic group of people. The official BarbeQumunity might have helped as well.

The proof is in the pudding, so reality will kick-in soon. Will people actually start using it when back in the office? What kind of issues will we face with the (cloud) software? Will and can these be solved?

Questions, questions… But let’s first enjoy the moment. For a moment.

Explaining the Platform

Explaining the Platform

Live Tweeting!

Live Tweeting!

Where would we be without our camera?

Where would we be without our camera?

Does your company have a Facebook, blog or wiki?

IMG_0068The National Marketing Day in the Netherlands proved once again that marketing without the term ‘social’ is to no use. Well, talking about it actually. As hungry hyenas the Dutch marketers swallowed all with the name extension ‘2.0’. And the dutch marketers are not the only ones. We see this happening all over the world. Whether that is a good of bad thing is part of another, much broader discussion. Fact remains that companies now suddenly see that having conversations with their customers, preferably authentic and transparent, could prove extremely important. And that’s always a good thing.

But what about those employees of these ‘2.0-savvy’ companies? Or even those ‘1.0’ companies, still figuring out these new trends? To which extend has 2.0 communication penetrated within organizations? Let’s be honest. If 2.0 means that people create stuff in an open, constructive and transparent way it shouldn’t be difficult to imagine that companies jump into this like they did into Web 2.0. Which manager doesn’t want to have employees who perform much more in less time and come up with real customer-focussed products and services? And have fun along the way, too? At last, Cubicle Utopia!

Unfortunately, things won’t change overnight. But changes are imminent, that’s for sure. The rise of Generation Y/Millenials/Generation Facebook/Digital Natives (basically all the same) within the walls of corporations determines for a great deal the way we are communicating (or are going to communicate) between colleagues and higher management.This is the generation that doesn’t know that you could ‘dial’ on a phone and that music was distributed on a kind of plastic called ‘vinyl’. MP3, computer, internet, 24/7 availability and Facebook have found a place in their vocabulary. This will be the generation pulling the strings soon. And may be soon is sooner than you think. In the Netherlands 800,000 babyboomers will have to be replaced by only 450,000 GenY-ers. And in the US half of the workforce is marked GenY at the end of 2010.

What does this all mean for communication and collaboration? Time to find out on the fourth Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, USA.

Enterprise 2.0

IMG_0063The number of participants going to the Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0) Conference is growing steadily. No surprise, because in six tracks the organization promises all kind of inspiring sessions. How about ‘Implementing Enterprise 2.0: Exploring the Tools and Techniques of Emergent Change’, or ‘How to Build Collaborative Software That People Will Actually Use’? And let’s not forget ‘The Evening in the Cloud’. With these kind of titles I at leas was intruiged. Started three years ago with only 750 participants, now the world’s biggest event on Enterprise 2.0 with this year more than 1,500 participant of various nationalities (though no Duchies, to our knowledge).

Dion Hinchcliffe started the program on Monday morning with a three hour session about the current status of E2.0. Dion should know, since he is blogger on the popular ZDNet, has his own Enterprise 2.0 show, is President and CTO of his own consultancy Hinchcliffe & Company and in his spare time set up Web 2.0 University. A busy bee, to say the least. Passionately Dion explains that social media tools such as blogs and wikis are more or less accepted by the mass and that in some way many organizations are already experimenting. Mainly because for many people the border between work and private life is diminishing. Employees work from home and ‘Facebook’ at work. “But”, as he explains, “we are at the beginning of the curve. Plenty of opportunity to improve.” And to what should we pay attention, according to Dion? “Community Management, social media guidelines for employees, change management, increasing acceptance and measuring results are focal areas which every company starting with E2.0 should take very seriously.”

Results don’t lie. A sound E2.0 program may gain a better distribution and usage of knowledge, increased productivity (in some cases even more than 20%), transparent business processes and improved innovation. The advantages of E.0 are plenty, and Forrester Research estimates that this market will have a value of $4.3 billion in 2012. “Most probably this will be even more”, said an optimistic Hichcliffe.

But aside these halleluja-stories of course also challenges lie ahead. Plenty of challenges. Many of these challenges were discussed in most presentations and can be, in my opinion, broken down into the following subjects:

Company data not on the company servers, but outside the firwall. Very scary for most companies. Put many servers together and call it ‘The Cloud’. Cloud Computing is hot, sufficiently hot to dedicate an entire evening to this subject. In a panel discussion between users of cloud solutions and vendors (such as Google, IBM and EMC) it became obviously clear that there are many advantages (among other things scalibility, flexibility and lower costs) but that a healthy distrust remains. “I want to know exactly where your servers are located. Not somewhere in a country with a doubtful regime”, said a user to Rajen Seth, the inventor and developer of Google Apps.

Acceptation by policy makers
Making policy can be interpreted in many ways. For E2.0 roughly four groups play a significant role: Human Resources, Corporate Communications, Higher Management and IT. And not all are equally convinced about the advantages of E2.0.

IMG_0058A nice example from the audience: “My company loves video. We even have our own Youtube channel to inform our customers. However, when I type ‘www.youtube.com’ in my browser the site is blocked by IT. And thus I have to watch these company videos on my own computer at home. Still many companies do not understand that the majority of the employees can be trusted and can use tools like Youtube and Facebook in an honest way, perfectly in line with corporate guidelines. A nice lecture about this from Metthew Fraser, co-author of the book ‘Throwing Sheep In The Boardroom: How Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World’.

“Human Resources prefers to talk to customers instead of with customers”. said a frustrated Fraser. And this is exactly what I see around me all the time. Don’t expect any help from Corporate Communications either. Fixated in old thinking patterns most organizations still send out press releases in the name of… yeah, in whoms name anyway? “Just send this out in the name of a true person, with a face, and so”, Fraser preaches.

The co-operation with IT is a different story altogether. I wrote in a previous blogpost that in general IT is not first in line to implement these new tools. That I wasn’t alone with my hypothesis became clear on this congress. At most, if not all lectures IT was mentioned as the major hurdle to take. Reason for this is beyond my understanding. Of course I understand the fear of placing data outside the firewall. But one should think that IT, of all disciplines, should jump on board of these new and exciting IT-related developments? Don’t get me wrong, there were a few examples where IT was not the problem, and even a catalyst to get things done. But these were exceptions to the rule.

The good ol’ ROI dilemma. Also here people were wary about how to measure Social Media. Do we have to measure it anyway? As a ‘best practice example’ the introduction of the phone after the Second World War was given. The US government had the ambition to put a phone on every desk in the country (that vision was later borrowed by Bill Gates and the ‘phone’ was replaced by ‘computer’). “Ridiculous”, people said. “Before you know it everybody is going to call everybody all day long.” Well, the phone came and the world didn’t collapse, nor did we morphed into a brainless communication creature (come to think of it, some of us did). Can you imagine doing your work without a phone? And did you ever see the ROI calculation of the phone? It reminds me about the same discussion I had on e-mail, internet and mobile phones. All difficult at the start but were eventually adopted without ROI calculation and changed the way we work. IBM had a nice suggestion to measure effectiveness of E2.0: Return on Contribution: how much views did a specific type of contet had. Anyway, we didn’t quite finish the discussion on ROI, and I have a feeling that this subject will emerge frequently on various congresses.

Acceptation by end users
E2.0 is all about sharing knowledge. As much as possible. But wait a second… What about the well-known and often abused ‘knowledge is power’ mantra? “Social Media causes the first real generation gap since Rock ‘n Roll”, I read in a tweet. “back then the older generation didn’t understand the fun of dancing with your hips. And now the older generation doesn’t understand the importance of sharing knowledge”. Whether it is this strong or not, fact is that a separation on the working floor seems inevitable. Time to focus on implementation.

Robbie and Madonna

A whole shopping list of challenges. Pessimistic readers might conclude after reading this blogpost so far that a marriage between Robbie Williams and Madonna is more likely than letting E2.0 succeed. Don’t worry, fortunately a lot has been said about acceptation and implementation as well.

IMG_0055A well-known condition of a successful implementation is linking the tool to a real business problem (as opposed to first develop the tool and find a business problem to use the tool later). A bit obvious but still very true. Next to that, find your evangelists and experts. People who get excited about these tools and developments. Give them a specific task when implementing. Another major motivator to consider is recognition. We human beings seems to be a but basic as far as status is concerned. Social Media can utilize this by implementing Reputation Management, for example.

Lee Bryant of Headshift provided in his presentation entitled ‘Transition Strategies for E2.0 Adoption’ an obvious though unique tip: “Don’t mention the S-word”. In other words, don’t throw difficult Social Media words like blogs and wikis to your people, but link them to existing tools. RSS technology? Just call it ‘e-mail which you don’t need to throw away’. Or how about Crowdsourcing: ‘your customers want to talk to you. And a wiki is ‘the intranet with big fat edit buttons all over the place’. Awesome!

The best tips however came from Gentry Underwood. Head of Knowledge at IDEO. Just his title alone must indicate that they take E2.0 pretty serious at IDEO. IDEO is a design agency. Design in the most broadest sense given the fact how his presentation was layed-out. In an all-inspiring session Gentry told the audience how IDEO has created their social platform themselves, based on existing technologies and tailor-made programming. Their platform ‘The Tube‘ was without doubt the most lickable, clickable and workable system that I’ve seen till now. All internal, so unfortunately not accessible to third parties. Also not for sale, regretfully for some interested people like myself. What Gentry did want to share was his vison on the acceptation by users. Outlined in 5 principles, learned by doing:

1. Build pointers to people
Put the employee centrally. Sound familiar but in reality difficult to put in practice. Everybody at IDEO gets their own blog, and on their profile page one can put personal info. The platform shows who’s available and how they perform.

2. Reward individual participation
Provide employees the personal recognition if they participate on the platform. Link this to career development and 360 degrees feedback.

3. Demand an intuitive User Interface
Employees not only ‘consume’ the information of the platform, they are also contributors. And if you can’t find your way around or need 200 page manuals it’s likely users are not going to share anything. Make sure the platform is easy to understand and minimum training is necessary.

4. Take the road more travelled
Integrate new procudures into the daily routine of people. For example, summarize the platform activities in a weekly e-mail, or place a flatscreen at the watercooler to showcase platform activities.

5. Iterate early and often
Life wasn’t perfect from the start, so don’t expect your platform to be. Start with what you have and implement small changes fast. Rather 15 small updates in one year than 1 major update each two years.

Especially this final point is considered Microsoft’s SharePoint Achilles heel. Looking at the Twitter feed I did notice some severe critical claims towards the patform. Guess it doesn’t really matter whether you are a diamond sponsor or not in the authentic and transparent E2.0 world. Especially the slow update pace (every three years one major update) and the ‘they don’t get it’ feeling was overall present. Nonetheless it remains the biggest platform on which intranets run and thus the biggest potential for breaking into corporations with E2.0. If they do it right.

Besides Microsoft there were plenty other vendors of E2.0 software. It’s still a very young field so vendors come and go. It still is unclear which vendor provides a solution for which business problem. But that’s charming in it’s own way too. Like in the old days of computer technology: so now they have this device, but for what are we gonna use it for?
I myself am involved in the implementation of an internal community based on innovation. From the collection and selection of ideas till the process of starting a project once ideas have been selected. But this platform needs to host our weekly podcast too, our blog and, while we’re at it, why not our wiki and RSS reader? We haven’t been able to find a solution which suited our needs for 100%, so we had to (re)design certain elements ourselves. But the solution we’re using now (www.spigit.com) is flexible enough to facilitate our requirements.


The E2.0 congress lasted for almost 4 days. Next to several very interesting sessions during the day also the evenings were accounted for. We could choose between various sponsored cocktail parties and tweetups. We came home with the belief that the E2.0 trend might be even bigger than Web 2.0 trend. Think of it: internal communication remains important, and sharing knowledge may become even more important. Companies knowing how to facilitate in these processes might find themself some interesting competitive advantages. But be cautious about the pitfalls, too. Many employees are critical towards new ways of working. Whether true or not, be careful with implementing too much, too fast and too technical. It all starts with the awareness that things need to change, and that things can change. Eventually people will accept that things will change.

3655641854_972f31d45a1We see around us that Enterprise 2.0 is still in it’s infancy. To create awareness we have the idea to organize a Enterprise 2.0 Bootcamp, somewhere in the Netherlands. Kind of ‘Enterprise 2.0 for dummies’. We don’t know yet the details but we want to keep it simple, straightforward and practical. Should you be intested, just drop me a line at erik at digiredo dot nl.

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