Sunday, January 11, 2009

On the road to Enterprise 2.0

The Road status tool was built by volunteers, during the bad weather. It is a small, simple example of realizing a potential that we rarely quantify, by making use of new social media tools.

The map with its road segments can be reused for other applications. Our next step, after completing the geo-tagging of roads, is to enable ad hoc loading of photos as well as text to the map. By anyone.

There are other next steps.

Implementation of simple new tools and initiatives such as these can only accelerate in the next few years. It is all about fulfilling the emergent expectations of participation among people within and without the enterprise - in this case, the government.

Enterprise 2.0, defined by Harvard Business School's Andrew McCaffee as "The use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers" helps fulfill the organization (in this case, the govt administration)'s strategic objectives, with limited overhead. It also potentiates people on the margins - in this case citizens. In old corporatespeak terms, this is win-win.

Issues of ownership and liability have to be ironed out along the way; one role of the organization is to trade off sole responsibility and ownership for the involvement of many. This give and take has to be negotiated with awareness and some grace, and in fact negotiating the changing relationship is a large part of the communications exercise. The humanizing notion that lubricates this change is the growing notion that we are in it together.

What is emergent is not a new socialism, but a new recognition of, and ability to deliver on, the nature of group behavior. Along the way, the nature of the org and the constituency changes; we need to measure this change to maximize benefit.

On BOWEGOV, very interesting work so far, and I am pleased to be part of it. Finding some fascinating & rewarding group/personal interactions all along this road.

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