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Category: Posted: May 29, 2012 0 comments

In complex environments, weak hierarchies and strong networks are the best organizing principle. One good example of complexity that we can try to fathom is nature itself. Networks thrive in nature. As Howard Bloom stated in a speech at Yale University:

One the many lessons bacteria teach with their colonies of trillions is this. When it comes to groups, Nature does not favor tribes, she favors size … She favors humongous social groups that network their information so well that they form a high-powered collective intelligence, a group brain. ...

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Category: Posted: March 26, 2012 0 comments

There are few best practices for the network era workplace, but definitely many next practices to be developed. A good place to start is with an integrative performance framework that puts formal training and education where they belong: focused on the appropriate 5%.

Jay Cross calls the new performance environment a workscape:

Workscape: A metaphorical construct where learning is embedded in the work and emerges in “pull” mode. It is a fluid, holistic, process. Learning emerges as a result of working smarter. In this environment learning is natural, social, spontaneous, informal, unbounded, adaptive and fun. It involves conversation as the main ingredient. ,,,

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Category: Posted: March 08, 2012 0 comments

Everyone talks about collaboration in the workplace today but what does it really mean? How do you get from here to there? Every snake oil salesman is selling socialsomething: enterprise social; social learning; social CRM; etc. For me boils down to three principles.

Narration of Work: This means actually talking about what you are doing. It’s making your tacit knowledge (what you feel) more explicit (what you are doing with that knowledge). Narrating your work is a powerful behaviour changer, as anyone who blogs regularly can attest. Of course, I mean personal or professional blogs, not writing articles just to...

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Category: Posted: February 15, 2012 0 comments

Over the past year I have been working on change initiatives to improve collaboration and knowledge-sharing with two large companies, one of them a multinational. In each case, implementation has boiled down to two components: individual skills & organizational support. Effective organizational collaboration comes about when workers regularly narrate their work within a structure that encourages transparency and shares power & decision-making. I have also learned that changing work routines can be a messy process that requires significant time, much of it dedicated to modelling behaviours. 

My Internet Time Alliance colleague, Jane Hart, notes, ” … as for the... 

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Category: Posted: February 10, 2012 0 comments

A guiding goal in much of my work is the democratization of the workplace. Democracy is our best structure for political governance and I believe it should be the basis of our workplaces as well. As work and learning become integrated in a networked society, I see great opportunities to create better employment models.

So is it possible to have Enterprise 2.0 or a Social Business without a democratic foundation? Is the employer/employee relationship the only way we can get work done? In describing Enterprise 2.0, Andy McAfee, who originated the term, says that our work...  Read the article
Category: Posted: December 15, 2011 0 comments

Curtis Ogden at The Interaction Institute provides a very good summary of the differences between network-centric and hierarchy-centric thinking, called Network Thinking:

  1. Adaptability instead of control
  2. Emergence instead of predictability
  3. Resilience and redundancy instead of rock stardom
  4. Contributions before credentials
  5. Diversity and divergence
One major challenge in helping organizations improve collaboration and knowledge-sharing is getting people to see themselves as nodes in various networks, with ... Read the article
Category: Posted: October 20, 2011 0 comments

The Dachis Group’s latest XPLANATiON of the attributes of a socially optimized businessis a pretty good answer to the question, “What is social business?”

Looking just at the key differences in the info-graphic, I’d like to dig into “Why” these differences are necessary:

Greater acceptance of risks & failures: This is how complex problems are addressed, and all businesses are dealing with more complexity. As I mentioned in leadership emerges from network culture, a Probe-Sense-Respond approach is necessary. Dave Snowden underlines the fact that over half of your probes will fail and hence the need to have a culture where failure is an option. It’s what Dave calls “safe-fail”: “We conduct safe-fail experiments. We don’t do fail-safe design. If an experiment... Read the article
Category: Posted: October 19, 2011 0 comments

Even five years ago it was not the norm to work at a distance. Employers wanted to keep workers on-site, when it made no sense, as this post from 2005 noted: virtual work, but we need you onsite. Virtual work is no longer limited to mostly free-agents, as many salaried employees today work at least part-time off-site. It’s becoming the norm and bringing change with it, even though that change may not be visible.

When people work at a distance, an implicit shift occurs. They have to be trusted to get the work done. Management also shifts from measuring time to measuring results. A new culture emerges. It becomes more trusting. Trust is the glue that holds creative organizations together, not rules and regulations...

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Category: Posted: October 15, 2011 0 comments

I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Robles at Innotribe and his recent post on It is Time to Evolve, got me thinking and making some connections. Dan starts with the big picture:

How the world really works

The Internet and social media have shifted the factors of production away from land, labor, and capital to a higher order of human organization.  This is what we need to be talking about.  People today produce things with knowledge – social, creative, and intellectual knowledge.  These are the factors of production for that 99% of the value that exists on Earth.

Dan goes on to say:

How can we expect to create any type of fair and rational economy from a bunch of invisible stuff milling around the parks?  There is no escape from Market Capitalism and no path to Social Capitalism without a Knowledge Inventory, period.

The knowledge inventory link above takes you to a... Read the article
Category: Posted: September 30, 2011 0 comments

I’ve been looking at ways to explain why social learning is so important for business today. It comes down to the fact that what we know and do inside our organizations is insufficient to address external complexity or to be innovative. In Leadership 2030, the Hay Group identifies six fairly obvious, but worth repeating, megatrends, all of which will require more innovative approaches to work:

  • The balance of power is shifting to the East
  • Climate change and scarcity of resources is a mounting problem
  • The war for talent rages on
  • Accommodating growing individualization, requiring more social workplaces
  • Embracing people who are digitally adept
  • Harnessing Nano-Info-Bio-Cogno technologies
Connecting the diversity of markets and society to the organization, instead of creating firewalls, is a major challenge for leadership today. How do you maintain the integrity of the organization while embracing the... Read the article