From next week, you’ll find me at Headshift

I’m here at the Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum today and I think this makes a very appropriate moment to let you know that as of next week I will working with Anne Barlett-Bragg at Headshift here in Australia. 🙂

So who are Headshift?

"Headshift is Europe’s leading enterprise social computing consultancy. We have over 5 years’ experience in designing, implementing and growing next generation social software solutions. Based in London, we also operate in New York, Paris, Sydney, Rome and Zurich to serve the needs of international companies and local markets alike. Our team contains some of the best and most innovative minds in this exciting new field, and we have a strong network around the world that helps us locate additional expertise when we need it.

Our enterprise practice delivers smarter, simpler, more social IT solutions internally within large enterprises, knowledge intensive firms, government and third sector organisations."

Anne launched the Australian Headshift operation last year, and obviously our aim is to be the leading enterprise social computing consultancy here in Australia.

I have to tell you that I’m really excited about this new role and hopefully, if you already know me, you’ll agree this is a great fit. I’m looking forward to telling you more about Headshift and my new role in coming weeks.

Collaboration on intranets

In the last couple of months I’ve been working on number of different projects – with one major piece of contract work keeping me busy in Canberra right now – and while each has a different start and finish point, there has been a common theme in each related to the overlap of intranets (as we traditionally think of them) and collaboration.

Now, don’t get too excited. I hesitate to re-brand this space as Intranet 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 because its simply not as clear cut or as straight forward as that (after all, that’s why I’m involved). But there is no doubt that Web 2.0 is in some way influencing both what is possible and what people think is possible. The net result is a growing acceptance that intranets aren’t just places where you look for information but they are places where you can actually do work too. So collaboration doesn’t have to be something else or something different from the rest of the intranet, instead it is something that is either part of or has a clear fit with the overall intranet.

Still, every organisation is a little different. Even if collaboration on the intranet sounds like a good idea to people, there are always barriers that can get in the way of such a vision. Some of these barriers are justifiable, others are simply a fact of circumstance and occasionally because people are just stuck in old ways of thinking. But regardless, the process of change and our ability to work within any constraints while still providing an improvement to the state of the information workplace in an organisation is always more important than subscribing to a prescriptive model of pure enterprise social computing. Otherwise if we always aim for social computing perfection we might as well give up and go home.

What do you think? Is your intranet become more collaborative?

Don’t forget the Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum on Tuesday 24th February

I’m down in Canberra right now, but apparently the first meeting of the NSW KM Forum attracted over thirty people to hear Ross Dawson talk about implementing Enterprise 2.0 in the real world. If like me you couldn’t be there in person, Ross has kindly shared his slides online.

I mention this in part as a reminder that this was a warm up for the Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum on Tuesday 24th February. Along with some of my favourite Enterprise 2.0 peers, I’ll be there helping to run a mini-workshop as part of the Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum.

BTW the night before Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum, the NSW KM Forum will be holding an interactive session on online communities.

Innovative uses of technology to help people in trouble

I’ve always been interested in how people use technology for unintended (but positive) purposes. Two such stories I noticed over the Christmas break included some examples of technologies that were used to help people who had found themselves in a spot of trouble.

In the first, a Toyota Prius was used as a power generator during a three day snow storm blackout:

"The power lines were down, the neighborhood dark, but John Sweeney’s house was glowing with lights and his wife was watching television.

During an ice storm last week Sweeney, of Harvard, Mass., powered his house by hooking it up to his Toyota Prius. The Prius, a hybrid vehicle, starts the gasoline-burning mode of its engine every 30 minutes to recharge the battery with an internal generator. In turn, Sweeney ran his refrigerator and freezer, wood stove fan, lights and television off the car’s battery."

In the second example, an MP3 player used as torch by tourists stuck on a Swiss mountain – a spokesman for the mountain rescue service explained that:

"The two winter sports enthusiasts were found by the crew of the Rega helicopter shortly after midnight – thanks to the faint light of their MP3 player"

Did the designers imagine this use case for the technology they developed? Maybe in these examples its possible they did think about alternative uses, but I doubt very much that they became part of the design brief or marketing plan. On one hand this kind of innovation is amazing – particularly if its saves a life – but of course, it can be dangerous too. I use my mobile phone as torch all the time, but I’m not sure it would be a good idea for me to play around with connecting my car as a power source for my house!

To what unintended purposes are people in your organisation applying the technologies they have on hand to solve problems I wonder? Probably more than we think.