This year, SharePoint Conference attendees were impelled to “Work like a network”. Listen, Adapt and Grow. Work this way (as our software is designed) and you’ll be more productive.
This could just be linguistic nitpicking. You have to be brief in messaging, and there could be an implied “when you work like a network you will Grow” rather than it being a command. Or it’s messaging meant for the attendees to pass on since the speakers are mostly preaching to the choir at this conference. But I sense some hubris building around IT (and a vendor at that) knowing the smarter way to work.
Even if I believe organizations can get collaborative work done more efficiently with activity steams and social graphs (which I do) that doesn’t mean I have the ability to make it happen. Change management is a dark art. And a practitioner must throw a lot of things into a cauldron to change how people work. Technology is certainly an enabler, but there’s also top-down messaging and setting a good example, bottom-up interest, metrics and incentives, visioning, business process redesign, HR implications, regulatory restrictions, and dealing with the winners and losers in the new way of work. And probably a warty frog and pinch of Eye of Newt for good measure because the same ingredients that work in one situation often fail in another.
Humans are social by nature. Solitary confinement is considered punishment for a reason. We were working like a network long before computers existed and before we were told to. The compelling argument to me is that now the software can finally do what you naturally want to anyways, and fit seamlessly into your ways of work, rather than forcing you to change how you work to fit the software.