Enterprise 2.0 – are the differences philosophical?


A vigorous discussion continues on whether Enterprise 2.0 happens by itself or by design. Andrew McAfee says that he and Euan Semple agree “vociferously”. He also makes the very relevant point that “doing nothing” will only work well if companies don’t block access to online collaboration tools.

Dion Hinchcliffe points to organizations where the use of wikis and blogs has proliferated simply through user demand. He also notes that data is at the heart of corporate applications. As such, having many collaborative tools without a way to aggregate the information results in balkanization of corporate information. This is part of my point that higher level planning helps to unleash the power of participatory applications. He concludes his comments by saying:

“What’s a likely sweet spot for applying Enterprise 2.0 inside the firewall? Keeping adoption of your preferred tools simple within the complex landscape of your organization so users won’t prefer theirs; flatten your network as much as you can, open your systems using simple, open standards, and push the tools out fast (the network effect is pronounced with these tools so speed does matter). Make Enterprise 2.0 as simple as humanely possible for your organization in this framework, but no simpler.”

Dave Snowden distils the discussion to a “Weltanschauung for social computing”.He says:

“If you aim to influence, but not design evolution you have more control than if you attempt to design an ideal system.”

I absolutely agree. Corporations cannot design in detail emergent systems – this is an oxymoron. Yet they can influence these systems, by creating an environment that supports these high-value yet unpredictable outcomes.