Have you noticed the breathless, starry-eyed approach of some Enterprise 2.0 advocates? To be honest, I’ve been guilty of it myself on occasion. In part, it comes from the excitement experienced when you first glimpse the transformative powers of social media tools and let your mind race ahead to the day when organizations operate differently — with real collaboration and transparency. For many, however, the distance between their current reality and this E2.0 dream is great and may seem impossible to bridge. Into this state of frustration comes what can appear to be the magic of E2.0. This has led some fervent E2.0 advocates to take an “if you build it they will come” approach or, in E2.0 terms, “if you provide it they will transform” approach. Their operating idea seems to be that social media tools are so easy to use and so viral, that once you introduce them into your organization they will spread like wildfire with little effort on the part of the knowledge manager. Unfortunately, too many of us are discovering that this is not necessarily the case.
In his report on the recent Enterprise 2.0 conference, Lee Bryant writes:
Adoption was a big theme at E20 this year, but I find the whole notion of adoption, which usually means software adoption, to be slightly problematic. What we really should be talking about is redesigning organisations and their networks to harness people power to get things done quicker, better and cheaper, and enabling businesses to scale in a better way. This, not tool use, is probably the goal of social business design and E20.
While he’s undoubtedly right, organizational redesign may be more of an assignment than most of the E2.0 magical thinkers were prepared to take on. In fact, they are still struggling to gain traction for their social media efforts and are beginning to realize that the tools are just tools and not magic. For these folks, Lee has a wealth of experience to share regarding Transition Strategies for E2.0 Adoption and offers some sound practical advice:
- Build quickly and iterate rapidly
- Add a social layer to existing tools
- Focus on quick wins, but be strategic
Do you believe in magic? If so, that’s nice — but don’t look for it to appear without serious effort on your part in the early stages of your E2.0 implementation. Rather, plan like a general while retaining the flexibility to adapt your approach and deploy your social media tools differently to meet the changing needs of the people in your organization. It’s that flexibility and adaptation that ultimately conjure up the real magic of E2.0.
[Photo Credit: The Rocketeer]