E2.0 Stag Party

An Enterprise 2.0 project is sufficiently different from a traditional knowledge management or IT project that it can be a little disconcerting at first. Some experts recommend what seems like a 1960s free love approach — anything goes and, by the way, I’m ok and you’re ok. At the other extreme are the traditionalists who believe that introducing any innovation within an organization requires lots of constraints to ensure safety.

If you’re starting a new E2.0 project, which approach do you take?   Neither.

I’d like to commend to you the “stag party” approach described by Ron Donaldson in his post Lines in the Sand.  He starts with the following statement:

A complex system requires boundary conditions, not too tight that they constrain and not too loose as they allow unacceptable behaviours.

He then goes on to list the rules his son’s friends agreed on to govern their stag weekend.  You should read these rules.  They are both funny and intensely pragmatic. Ron Donaldson called them “[b]rilliant, self organising, self regulating and in everyone’s best interests.”

Coming back to your E2.0 deployment, can you reduce your concerns  to a small handful of rules? What minimums does Mum (or, as is most likely in your case, senior management) require?  Do these rules protect the most vulnerable and valuable while still permitting sufficient flexibility for learning, growth and enjoyment?

From his postmortem of the stag weekend, it’s clear that the rules worked.  Everyone behaved appropriately for the context and, while there were some perfectly predictably after-effects, everyone survived and even enjoyed the experience.

It seems to me that if we can ensure that with our E2.0 deployments, we’ll have done pretty well.  What do you think?

[Photo Credit: Jack Spellingbacon]

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