Enterprise 2.0 for Breakfast in Sydney on Tuesday 11th May

James Dellow aka Chieftech (from Headshift/Dachis Group) and Alex Manchester (from Step Two Designs) invite you to join them for breakfast to chat informally about Enterprise 2.0 and related topics like Corporate Social Networks, Knowledge Management, Intranet 2.0 and Workforce Collaboration.

Come along to ask questions and share your experiences of introducing social computing to the enterprise!

Ok. This isn’t quite to the same scale of the The 2.0 Adoption (who recently joined the Dachis Group family of companies, along with Headshift). However, its still a chance to come along and take part in an informal peer forum to discuss anything related to Enterprise 2.0.

Please RSVP on upcoming or simple add a comment below. And of course, feel free to spread the word.

From Boxes and Arrows: Designing for Strong, Weak and Temporary ties

Our social web tools must start to understand the strength of ties, that we have stronger relationships with some people than with others. And with this knowledge they need to adapt.

There are three kinds of relationship ties:

  • Strong ties: People we care deeply about.
  • Weak ties: People we are loosely connected to, like friends of friends.
  • Temporary ties: People we don’t know, and interact with temporarily.

A great Boxes and Arrows article on the need design social apps to reflect the different needs of strong, weak and temporary relationship ties.

The focus here is on public Web applications, so I suspect some minor refinements might be needs if you were building an application being used within an organisation or some other network, where the trust dynamics are different. For example, inside an organisation roles and position in the hierarchy provides an additional trust structure to use (although bear in mind, it does not necessarily embody social capital based trust).

At some point this would probably also be a good model to add to the Project 8 materials, to provide more depth to the user experience principles we put forward.

Should government agencies move ahead with social media without a mandate?

Ben – the reality is that many federal government agencies were already making use of social media before the Taskforce was announced. In this respect it is not surprising that many have started to pro-actively address the issue of providing staff with guidelines, but still remaining consistent with current APS policy. Don’t forget that the APS policy addressing this area was also updated last year. While it would be good to see a formal response to the Taskforce’s report, I don’t think this should stop agencies moving ahead. The outcome of the Taskforce will be a decision about a whole of government mandate and supporting infrastructure for engaging online, not determining if agencies should engage at all. That, as we are seeing, is going to happen anyway.

I thought I would share my comment to a report by Ben Grubb in ZDNet.com.au about various Australian federal agencies moving ahead with developing social media guidelines. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was reading Ben Grubb’s opening point correctly:

Federal Government departments have revealed they are moving ahead to implement social media policies, despite the government having not yet responded to recommendations in the Government 2.0 Taskforce report.

You can read this as both a criticism and also as a matter of fact.

Actually, and as I was involved in writing a guide for government agencies that was commissioned by the Taskforce, I’m more concerned that:

  • Agency staff aren’t actually being engaged internally about social media – simply publishing a policy isn’t enough; and
  • Agency staff don’t have access to the right tools internally to support the level of online engagement that is emerging.

Personally its these issues I worry about and this is where a mandate is needed because words in a policy are cheap, but changing how government and how people within government actually work is another story (“Enterprise 2.0 for Government”, if you like).

Recommended – the Digital Nation documentary

Digital Nation is a US PBS produced documentary by Rachel Dretzin and Douglas Rushkoff, which examines the digital culture we how inhabit. There is a lot of focus on the impact of digital technology on how we learn and think, particularly the impact on the current generation of children and also virtual reality.

Rushkoff you might recall presented at the Headshift/Dachis Group’s Social Business Summit. He was also recently interviewed on one of my favourite podcasts, Australia’s ABC Radio National’s Future Tense. Both the podcast and the documentary are both well worth a look.

Hat tip to Radio National and a big thanks to PBS for allowing non-US residents to watch it online.

MISaustralia – The Scoop – Enterprise social media, featuring Anne Bartlett-Bragg

The Scoop – Enterprise social media

Posted: Mon 12 Apr 2010 5:00PM

Can social networking sites really advance corporate productivity and profile? CIOs must take these services more seriously if they’re to capitalise on this booming industry. The Scoop is joined by Anne Bartlett-Bragg, MD of Headshift Australia and Mike Handes, Innovation Lead for Collaboration Software, IBM.


What we need is open innovation for social good, not social media

I really haven’t a chance to fully reflect on the Social Innovation Camp experience (yeah, that was back at the beginning of March!) other than a resolution that if I get to take part next time, I’ll be picking a team and rolling up my sleeves so I can dive in and really contribute something substantial. I did end up helping out one project with a bit of emergency ‘wire-storming’ (i.e. collaborative wireframing, under time pressure using Balsamiq Mockups), but even just with my super user skills (as opposed to being a real hard core geek) I’ve realised that I could probably still have helped out more with actually developing a working prototype. This is based on the fact that what I saw at SI Camp was that rather than coding from the ground up, I saw the teams that were able to deliver working prototypes accelerate the development process by using tools like DrupalDjangoMediaWiki, and Pligg.

In this respect, while good ideas are important, I think the real benefit of the SI Camp approach is about testing those ideas in practice. In fact, allowing people to have the opportunity to play with an idea (rather than simply thinking or planning it) is an important step in the design process. This doesn’t mean that the prototyping process was entirely perfect or that we saw enough iterations of each idea this time around at SI Camp, however I’m confident this will improve with experience. In the end, my biggest take away from the event at this point was that the design process itself – rather than the social innovation ideas that came from it – has great value.

I actually think it would be interesting to now take the SI Camp concept and apply it in a more targeted way, to solve a specific need. Right now I’m reading the UK’s NESTA report on their open innovation approach, called the Corporate Connect programme. This isn’t restricted to the non-profit or government sector, although their open innovation ideas can perhaps surprisingly be applied equally to both the commercial and non-commercial sectors.

Two case studies in the NESTA report stand out:

Cancer Research UK ran an open innovation competition to crowd source ideas for new fund raising ventures, where the winning ideas themselves received seed funding from the charity to get started; and
Tesco (a UK supermarket chain) organised a ‘T-Jam’ to bring customers and external software developers together to design new online shopping applications.

I know you are probably thinking, what’s the link between Social Innovation Camp and these ideas? Well, both these ideas used Web 2.0 approaches as part of an innovation process that either created a social innovation (Cancer Research UK) or encouraged the use of a public good (Tesco’s shopping API – T-Jam, just like GovHack). Social good takes many different forms, but what has changed is the tools and techniques we have at hand to help those new ideas emerge. 

While on the topic of creating ‘social good’, this brings me to the Digital Citizens event I attended last night, about Social Media for Social Good. Personally, and while I wouldn’t criticise the event overall or the calibre of their panel (who had great experiences to share), I left feeling that I wanted more breadth in the discussion about creating social good beyond using social media for communication. It was of course primarily a digital agency and PR crowd at this event, so to an extent this was to be expected.


However, as someone from the non-profit sector commented to the organisers as they passed around a collection bucket, they don’t want donations… they want to tap more effectively into the ideas and experiences of the people in the room. This doesn’t change the fact that social media is affecting how the non-profit sector engages with the media, its supporters and the people they assist or support (and @KaraLee_‘s experiences with Headspace is a good example of how to do it right). But I think there is scope, as ‘digital citizens’ exploring this world that is emerging, to look beyond Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube.

To quote the NESTA report:

Open innovation represents – in part at least – a re-invention of the organisational models that we have come to take for granted. In a networked world where knowledge is becoming like water, it is no longer possible to ring-fence what we know or have invented and to create new value through internal means alone. Rather our networks and partnerships are increasingly becoming the key to value creation, above and beyond our inventive ability as organisations. 

Perhaps a better topic to discuss might be open innovation for social good?

Jevon MacDonald: Examples of Intelligent Middleware in the Realtime Enterprise

What if your existing enterprise systems, such as your ERP or CRM platform of choice, were to exist within a microblogging environment? The enterprise system becomes a collaborative entity empowered to add information and data to the stream when and where appropriate.

Three vendors have recently sparked my interest for what they are doing that goes beyond simple microblogging and collaboration.

Jevon talks about three vendors that have caught his attention:

  • Akibot
  • Brainpark
  • Tibbr

They remind me a little of past experiments with IBM Lotus Sametime ‘bots’ that could be used as a simple interface for querying data or pushing information to the right person at the right time through instant messaging. However, these new tools that Jevon has identified are designed to be more than simply passive or reactive interfaces – instead they are part of the stream of activity, interpreting or responding to activity in an intelligent way.

Of course, even integration of data to and from the stream can be useful. In the comments, Socialcast point out that Socialcast Ease offers integration with other enterprise and Web 2.0 systems through its API. I’m also reminded of Attensa’s Streamserver, although while this isn’t traditionally treated as a microblogging tool it offers some similar activity stream capabilities and also offers an API.

Also, having spent three days last week in a training workshop looking at IBM Lotus Connections and getting under the hood of its API, I’m conscious that there is a range of other social platforms ready and able to help integrate social and application information and activity.

But before we get too excited, Jevon makes a good point at the end of his post that its important we don’t use these new capabilities to simply create additional ‘noise’ for customers and people inside organisations (i.e. a positive filter failure). I’d also add that in doing this we should seek to get the balance right between human and computed intelligent middleware for the best result.