Monday, January 23, 2006

Sueroweki & 2.0 & open

January 23, 2006
Notes from James Surowiecki's Talk at Intelligent Television

Intelligent Television conference info here.

1. Openness bridges all of these mechanisms: open source, p2p, shared work.
2. Intelligence is distributed rather than centralized: the knowledge is spread out in many locations
3. Bottom up works better than command and control mechanisms
-- people are better at understanding their own needs than the top
4. We are better off casting wide rather than narrow
-- don't know where the info is much of the time
5. Open access to creativity, knowledge -- benefits are greater the more people are involved
-- when people learn more, we learn more.. it's anti-rivalrous
6. Be very hesitant to filter who belongs to community
-- don't keep people out
7. People act better the more info they have

8. The internet allows us to become technically able to do so much more
-- distributed info and aggregation are so much more powerful
-- possibilities are immense

9. Different ways to tap into open systems
--obviously people using open systems to make money
-- Innocentive.. people go to register as a 'solver' where 10. You then get access to a problem set
----- if you solve a problem, you get a prize, but he company owns your solution

11. Systems that allow people to give ideas and innovation a piece at a time are interesting, because lots of people contribute. Prediction markets and prices work this way.

12. Can profit from an open content system.. leave everything open and free and then make money from talking about this stuff..

13. People find pleasure from the value of competition
-- from contributing to the growth of the pool of knowledge

14. Many of these systems are inefficient, because in a strict sense, they are redundant..
but the point is that even though this is the case, if we expand our ideas of efficiency, it's tremendously efficient.

15. What are the challenges to these systems?

-- problem with model in that a network or self organized model, it's difficult for individuals to contribute due to echo chamber ants .. work in ways where they do just what the ant is doing ahead of them.. if they start walking in a circle.. they actually die.. worry that if humans imitate others.. we will degrade because nothing new happens.. group loses collective intelligence.. drawing knowledge from just a few
-- challenge is to keep the ties in the networks loose.. and open and flowing

-- profound counter to our most deep seated ideas around authority, knowledge and expertise -- people have a fundamental desire to pick "the expert"
-- traditional need to develop a product, and then show it after it's out.. instead of working with people all along..
-- traditional needs to develop IP are challenged

16. Arthur Miller in the Harvard Law Review just wrote an article saying that what we need now is 'common law' for ideas.

17. Tom Bergeron -- host of dancing with the stars on why people like this.. because it is about
"wholeheartedly uniting our skills is the basis for all human interaction"

18. Collective systems may work better when there is an answer people think they can find, verses when a lead user or expert may be better at finding the right thing.

19.. Our imagining of the 'genius' is the failure to see that works of art are actually based on others ideas ... works of art always borrow from other works of art.
Posted by Mary Hodder at January 23, 2006 08:12 AM

KM supplanted by community

Companies Struggle to Pass On Knowledge That Workers Acquire
Wall Street Journal (01/23/06) , P. B1; Thurm, Scott
Despite the transition of the work force to "knowledge workers," not many
organizations have proven themselves adept at sharing knowledge among
employees or pass it on when an employee leaves a post. There are many
solutions on offer from business gurus, most of them involving technology,
but there have not been many successes with them so far. Rather, it is
important to keep in mind the human aspect of knowledge
management--something discovered by London's water supplier in the early
1990s when it provided its inspectors with handheld computers eliminated the
central dispatch office. The problem with this is that the dispatch office
had filled an informal role as a place where inspectors could learn tips and
tricks from each other about doing their jobs, a resource so vital that
inspectors started meeting on their own at a restaurant and writing down
tips on a notebook stashed behind the counter. After Xerox heard similar
stories from copier technicians, who often learned more from each other than
from their manuals, and Xerox ended up providing technicians with radios so
they could confer with one another. Still, this sort of informal
knowledge-sharing is limited in scope and could be seen as somewhat
old-fashioned, which is why companies have been trying to collect tips in
central computer databases; the drawback with this is that it can be hard to
get together the critical mass to make this worthwhile. Xerox managed to
make this strategy a success through various means--including seeding the
database with headquarters engineers' tips, offering rewards for submitting
tips, and featuring the names of contributors so they could get recognition
from their peers--and today the Xerox "Eureka" system has about 70,000
suggestions and saves millions of dollars a year for the company. Other
companies are taking different approaches; for example, highly technically
knowledgeable employees of Raytheon's missile-systems unit are passing on
what they know with the assistance of a coach.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

essence of wikis

Wiki Essence

What makes a wiki a wiki? (Or, not everything is a wiki!)

(I love the hunt for "essences." The "essence" of a very long comment thread like the one on this excellent posting is that it becomes less about the posting and more a continuing expression of comment-thread-ness.)

Recently, I've been using wikis furiously, and not because of the hype, but because of a need to work irregularly at a fine-grained level with separate sets of others. It's about having so much to do, and surprise, no great expanses of time for it all. It is about capturing combined effort, quickly turning rooms into pages. Not as things to do that get stuck in email, but as word-thought-action-stuff that gets riffled in the right direction over time. It's about drafting and finishing many small pieces and few larger ones through iteration, about holding the state of simple tasks and longer activities and so on. A little while ago, I cornered these same turns on wikis.

It's not hard to see the essence of a wiki in this, at least if you already know it. (It'd be equally not hard to sense the essence of blogs of an account I'll spare you.) Essences aren't about semantics or definitions. Essences aren't about all the whys, or the detailed mechanisms, but about whyness and howness in a, well, essential kind of way. They are about a sense for the heart of the matter and of its primitive beating.

Another essential point, I understand by now, that many people don't give a damn about essences.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

business blogs help reputation says sun

Sun Microsystems says blogging helped rebuild its reputation. Transparency, says Jay.

Interviewed at the Syndicate conference, Jonathan Schwartz, President and COO of Sun Microsystems said that blogging had played a major role in the revitalization of Sun's reputation. Like many other tech companies, Sun felt the backlash of the dot-com crash and has only recently started to recover.

"Imagine a company that had e-mail the day it started 24 years ago. When blogs took off, there was never a discussion of whether we should do this ... just how," Schwartz said.

Blogging allows you to look into a company, meet its people and see how it functions. It puts a human face on the corporation and makes it real. Schwartz said that this window into the company and the direct interaction with its employees is what builds the trust factor. And he emphasized that authenticity and transparency are keys to blogging success.

Sun has gone from the 99th to the 6th most popular server company, largely because it has embraced authenticity and transparency in its communication initiatives. “Companies that fight transparency will confront a competitive deficit,” said Schwartz.

“We've moved from the information age to the participation age, and trust is the currency of the participation age”, he said. “Companies need to speak with one voice and be authentic. Blogging allows you to speak out authentically on your own behalf, and in the long run people will recognize that. Do it consistently and they trust you.”

Blogging done right can be a positive force in building and maintaining a reputation in today’s competitive marketplace. But it has to be done in the spirit of open communication and with a willingness to let go of the “corporate message.”


* Increases search engine visibility and thus brand awareness
* Offers a direct communication channel to the public
* Builds credibility and trust
* Allows you to tell your story, uncensored by the media
* Makes your organization more “real” to the public


Take a look at the culture of your organization:

* Can you let go of the controlled ‘messaging’?
* Are you willing to be authentic and transparent?
* Do you have the resources – writers, time, budget - to create the content for a blog that others will find compelling?

If so, it may be time to start thinking about your corporate blogging guidelines.

Friday, January 06, 2006

from the CP Square Web 2.0 discussions

Noel Dickover - 02:32am Jan 4, 2006 GMT ( 6.) * Mark Reply

I think its almost essential that corporations adopt social computing

We've been collectively working on this whole problem of getting the organization to actually "know" what it knows. Its pretty clear at this point that there's only so much that structured approaches can do. While they work great for some things, they are truly poor at detailing all the "good stuff." Lessons learned, common, preferred and best practices, task oriented guidance, overview information and the rest of the stuff which hangs off a knowledge domain don't really work all that well in a structured environment unless the organization is willing to devote big bucks to a back-end knowledge support staff. Worse, even if well done, most are still divorced from the practitioners and experts which provide this stuff.

The social computing movement provides a different answer, one where the interaction is collaborative and self-organizing. This, I think, is a far better approach for detailing what an organization knows.

The big issue most larger scale corporations are dealing with is the massive growth in unstructured data (documents, presentations, emails. etc.). All organizations know that leveraging expertise, both in people's heads and in their information structures, is critical to success, but it turns out to be a very hard problem. I put a document in the resources section that provides an overview of some of the technology solutions organizations are using, including service-oriented architectures, portals and enterprise content management systems.

Trust seems to be the biggest barrier to adopting a collaborative view of an organization's information and knowledge. This involves a number of dimensions, including:

1. proprietary information: organizations have a hard time opening up their information infrastructure. for fear something important might leak out, so they tend to hoard their information instead, even if this means that they themselves aren't benefiting

2. Individual trust of the corporation: getting the key experts in an organization to participate in sharing their expertise online in a free-flowing manner requires the individual to move away from the "knowledge hoarded" = "power" mindset. Frankly, in many organizations, its absolutely in their interest to hoard information.

3. Recognition that knowledge is supposed to be messy: There is this strange dichotomy in organizations. On the one hand, most file shares are best described as vast information junkyards, yet whenever information systems personnel design content management solutions, they expect the resultant information base to be pristine. There is a HUGE percentage of failed ECM (enterprise content management) systems installed, that run perfectly, but are never used.

On styles & endpoints

There may be other ways to characterize communities when thinking of support technology. How about endpoints?.

If you look across communities and organizations you may observe individual communities that tend to gravitate towards a finite number of endpoints in terms of their style, evolution, boundaries, trajectories and interactions. Here are my sightings:

1) Business intelligence: this group sets itself up as a filter and gathering mechanism for the organization (eyes, ears & nose), builds and cultivates relationships with primary sources and evaluates secondary material, supplying informal or documented reports on target competitors, technologies, processes or market shifts. Think social search / bookmarks, collaborative annotation, notification, subscription.

2) Problem solvers / helpdesks: the community come to see themselves as an internal resource for hard problems and issues, they thrive on really tough questions and finding good solutions for complex issues, e.g. printing over a LAN. Think FAQ, Q&A, escalation rules, subscription.

3) Continuous learning: these groups exist to help and support the members learning. Insights are shared, awareness is generated and new knowledge may be constructed. Often this can become a sink hole, with little explicit return to the organization, most of the value is in the social capital or the tacit knowledge of the members. Think, wiki, web conference, collaborative concept mapping, visual thinking

4) Process keepers: groups that document, broker and arbitrate around large organizational processes. They particpate in negotiating meaning and deal in the boundary objects that move between the organizational silos. Think: CMS, business rules, expert systems?

5) Centers of excellence: the group strives to gain recognition through conducting cutting edge research, external publication, seeks patents and often spends more time in industry and scientific fora than facing internal customers. They may become a kind of intellectual ambassador and company status symbol. Think library systems, reference tools, ppt presentations, podcasts?, group blogs

This is not so much about how they interact as it is about who / what they believe they really are! - It is the group identity that drives technology selection, adoption / adaptation, user practice and tool mix selection.

Individual communities can arrive at their endpoint using, meetings, informal conversations, Q&A, f2f gatherings, meetups.......

Parables on Learning -- The Basic Principles

The Basic Principles

There are ten basic Principles of Learning that, when practiced, help us grow in understanding and make us successful in whatever we attempt to do. These ten basic Principles of Learning are really a series of actions that successful people people can take in their daily lives. In fact, since learning is such an integral part of living, these rules might more appropriately be called the basic principles of a good life.

Rules to Learn/Live By:

1. Ask questions
2. Collect wisdom (Esteem the learn-ed)
3. Don’t compartmentalize
4. Be free
5. Promote good character
6. Be open and clear
7. Have fun
8. See abundance
9. Embrace community
10. Be spiritual

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

josh - cost of wasting exec time

How Executives Stay Informed
LTI Newsline
q A new research report, "How Executives Stay Informed: A Study of Resources Used and Time Spent Locating Critical Business Information," by Bersin & Associates, finds that most senior-level executives spend hours each week searching the Internet in frustration for business-related information that will help them stay informed and current.

The largest group of respondents, 37%, reported spending four or more hours each week searching for information; 36% spent two to four hours each week on information searches.

"The most surprising finding in this survey is the large amount of time executives spend searching for information," said Josh Bersin, president and founder of Bersin & Associates. "At today's executive salary levels, four hours of search time can cost companies $1,000 or more per week -- not including the cost of lost opportunities, delayed decisions, or other work not completed. If you apply this estimated figure to Fortune 500 companies, the money spent adds up to $60M each year."

Other study findings include:

* 91% of executives routinely use the Internet when searching for business-related information. Respondents relied on the Internet more than any other source, including trade journals, books, newspapers, and webinars.

* 47% indicate that unproductive searches and the need to sift through "too much information" are primary challenges associated with using the Internet.

* A majority of executives spend four or more hours reading each week to stay informed and current. More time is spent reading at home or while traveling than in the office.

* 67.5% of respondents said they don't read books or articles in entirety but read summaries, skim, or read specific sections.

* 14.4% read seven to ten business books a year, 21.4% read four to six books, and 45.8% read one to three books. 74.9% of respondents said they'd like to read more, but are limited because of time.

"The highest, most mature level of corporate learning is learning on demand," said Bersin. "While executives would never use this phrase, that's exactly the way they learn. They want the ability to obtain highly specific, relevant information whenever and wherever it's needed. Companies should factor this need into the learning resources made available to their senior executives."

A copy of the full report can be downloaded at Of the study's 202 respondents, 43% were over age 50 and 40% were between 36 and 50 in age. The vast majority, 84%, were male. 49% of respondents had C-level or vice president titles; 51% had director-level titles.

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