Roadblocks and steamrollers | acidlabs Studios
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Roadblocks and steamrollers

Roadblocks and steamrollers

Some organisations see a necessity to roadblock attempts to introduce social computing, others climb aboard the Enterprise 2.0 steamroller and enjoy the ride.

My established position on Enterprise 2.0 adoption is well known – that doing so demonstrably benefits business from a number of places, including (in no particular order, and certainly not exhaustive):

  • better knowledge sharing and collaboration
  • employee enablement and empowerment
  • opening of communication channels between business and its clients (internal and external)
  • opening of communication channels between employess at all levels and their management
  • encouragement of a sense of community

This is set to be core subject matter for two upcoming presentations I’m doing – at the next Canberra WSG Meeting on 26 July and at the Institute for Information Management National Conference on 16 August.

Then, sometimes, I get a little sad when I have conversations like I had today. In essence, I was told about an influential manager at an organisation that I’ve worked for whose attitude was that their organisation would not adopt Enterprise 2.0 tools any time in the foreseeable future even inside the wall because they could not trust their staff not to be stupid and post incorrect information on blogs and wikis and that it was critical that control remained tightly on the process of creation and dissemination of information. As far as I understand, there is a pretty strict policy around this at this organisation and use of these tools is strictly banned.

This attitude is demonstrably blinkered, especially given the research and other material that’s appearing ever thicker and faster. Just a few examples include:

At organisations like these, alongside the top-down, command and control attitude, they’re obviously not doing any reading of recent literature. If they were, they’d realise how far behind the eight-ball they’re getting and they’d be trying to do something about it.

This attitude is more common than you’d think.

Stephen Collins
  • James Governor
    Posted at 22:51h, 28 June Reply

    graduates and skilled people are not going to join companies that are so blinkered. game over.

  • Shane Morris
    Posted at 23:04h, 28 June Reply

    I would have thought a key way to foster more trustworthy staff would be to not treat them like they can’t be trusted.

  • Stephen Collins
    Posted at 23:37h, 28 June Reply

    @James and Shane – I couldn’t agree with you more, and it’s more than a significant part of the reason I left permanent employment in the public sector and then went independent (in February this year).

    I’m very keen to do more (any) work helping organisations introduce social computing, but at the moment it’s straight contract work doing UCD and some IA work for a government organisation whose corporate view is exactly as I describe.

    Matter of fact, it’s the dominant attitude across the Australian public sector.

    I really need to get more (any) private sector freelance gigs! 🙂

  • Susan Scrupski
    Posted at 23:56h, 28 June Reply

    patience. these are still early days. education and building awareness is key.

  • Enterprise Social Computing: If not us, our competitors at Facibus Reviews
    Posted at 08:53h, 29 June Reply

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  • vanderwal
    Posted at 23:52h, 29 June Reply

    At the recent Enterprise 2.0 conference the people who actually opened the doors to blogs, wikis, and other social web tools (inside or outside the firewall) found they had competitive advantage over similar organizations. In places that were not competitive (government and some non-profits) they found that people were more efficient and projects and regular work were higher quality for knowledge based jobs.

    One panelist stated the only reason not to embrace these tools it you want your organization to be unsuccessful.

    That said, there is a huge culture shift that needs to take place in organizations around control from the top down. This takes time and it is an important part of my consulting, preparing for the culture shift (mostly providing a value trade for control with improved knowledge/intelligence.

  • Stephen Collins
    Posted at 07:59h, 30 June Reply

    Thanks everyone for the comments so far – it’s good to see that a good number of organisations are getting their heads around social computing in business.
    My strong feeling is that it is the conservatism inherent in the public sector, embodied in top-down structure, deep risk aversion and general bureaucracy that’s largely preventing social computing adoption at a organisational or sector-wide level.
    I am aware of several public sector agencies that have adopted these tools to one extent or another, and that’s encouraging. It’s the blindness in the illustration I provide that’s frustrating.

  • James Governor’s Monkchips » links for 2007-06-29
    Posted at 09:27h, 30 June Reply

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