I just came across an article in Social Computing Magazine “Enterprise 2.0: Identify Problem, Find Solution, Then Tools.” They are a little late to the party. To combat the wide spread worst practice of “provide and pray” as in providing a social technology and praying something good comes of it (which is worse than “build it and they will come” because you aren’t building anything), I’ve been talking to and with clients about having a business purpose for specific community-based efforts for well over a year. See this post and “How to Apply the PLANT SEEDS Framework for Enhanced Enterprise Web 2.0 Adoption” (The P in PLANT is for purpose).
However, this struggle between the emergence purists and the enterprise planners is important. Emergence is messy and failures abound but purpose planning doesn’t scale well. The good news is that a good strategy can and should address both. In talking with NASA about their social computing efforts I formulated a strategy approach I’m calling “No, Go, and Grow.” I’ll be publishing the details late this year or early next year. The very brief summary is this:
No. Say no (verbally or most likely through policy guidelines) to those that just want a technology if they have no well defined purpose or if social technologies and a community-based approach are not the right solution for their purpose or their target community. You may say yes to a different solution.
Go. Say “go for it” to those grass roots efforts that have an appropriate and well defined purpose where the characteristics of the purpose and target community make success highly probable and risk acceptable. I’m working on defining those characteristics.
Grow. IT and business should define or embrace a subset of purposes that are deemed highly valuable to the enterprise and should dedicate resources to grow a specific community by building a social application. Although this may start as or be put forward from a grass roots movement this is an enterprise supported effort.
I will also be presenting the details of this approach at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 16 – 18 March 2009 in Orlando, FL. Here is my draft blurb for the pitch.
Enterprise 2.0: Building a Social Applications Strategy for High Business Impact
Social applications draw their strength from their emergent nature, community focus, and flexibility to innovate. This sounds antithetical to strategy and planning. But it isn’t. Enterprises are starving to exploit new social methods of mobilizing communities to achieve radical, not marginal, business impact but they are just now beginning to understand how to catalyze communities for significant enterprise gain. This session concentrates on how to build a clear strategy for Enterprise 2.0 success that can lead to a highly collaborative enterprise and promote emergence without encouraging chaos. Key issues include:
- What are the key principles of E2.0 that enterprises must embrace to elevate business performance?
- How can enterprises build an E2.0 strategy with high business impact?
- What are the emerging best practices and big mistakes in executing on E2.0?