Jan 25, 2011

Enabling Participation: More Art Than Science (Collaborative Thinking)

Mike's follow-on post to social media adoption in the workplace. He offers some practical approaches to fostering adoption.

I've argued the degree to which an employee participates above and beyond what their job entails is a daily decision. There are times when we can direct people to communicate, share, and collaborate. We can basically conscript some level of participation based on an employee's role, nature of their work activities, and their expectation of getting something in return (e.g., a good review, being paid, keeping their job). However, as knowledge management strategists have learned long ago, there are limits to what we can command people to do - especially when it comes to what's in their heads, and asking them to volunteer in contexts such as a social network site.Understanding the psychology and sociology behind participation remains largely unknown within the enterprise.
Having personally been involved in delivering collaborative applications for over 20 years and been admonished as a "bad dog" by end user communities that hated it when I said the words "collaboration and sharing," I can say first hand that the way to adoption is a combination of Mike's suggestions. The combination of which depends greatly on the make-up of the company, its culture, its business, and its progressiveness.

I also think for IT there's the high-road lack-of-transparency path. If you've ever seen the IT Crowd you know the deep communication gap is between IT and the user community ("...you don't want to end up in the middle of invalid memory..."). In the end, as Mike points out in his previous post, productivity and technology is not about the technology you deploy or the productivity concept you're trying to improve, it's about getting people to change their habits and creating the net effect of collaboration, communication, social enterprise, fill in the blank. As IT providers we need to become less enamored by our amazingly fun jobs. Yes, for us the end is the technology but for users the end is getting their jobs done with the least hassle. Sometimes leaving out the "you're going to collaborate" or "let's do knowledge management" or "time to be a social enterprise" is your friend. I've found huge success to adoption when I roll up my sleeves and assist users in learning how to use the tools I provide to do their jobs. That goes from the highest to the lowest rankings in the organization.

Enabling Participation: More Art Than Science (Collaborative Thinking)

Jan 24, 2011

Changing IT Mindsets From Deployment To Adoption (Collaborative Thinking)

Hear, hear!

We should not be so enamored by what we think is our current right answer from a technology perspective that we forget the non-technological things we need to enable so that people (and the organization at large) can realize and sustain the value derived from use of the tools.

Within many organizations, the plan-build-run philosophy still frames our view of IT – once a system is implemented (i.e., deployed), the project is “over” – resources are reallocated, budgets are closed out, systems go into some type of maintenance mode or await the next release cycle of new development. We then wait and watch for the results promised by the project (e.g., ROI). Often those results are based on metrics that examine cause-effect impacts and improved business outcomes. We want benefits to be self-evident quickly. We tend to struggle when project results are subjective, can only be inferred, or correlated to improvements that take more time to emerge than anticipated.

Changing IT Mindsets From Deployment To Adoption (Collaborative Thinking)

Jan 18, 2011

UPDATE: Improvements to Permissions for Address and Mobile Number - Facebook Developers

In a later-in-the-night (11:25 PM PT) blog post, Facebook has backed off - for now - on allowing developers to access to users contact information until it makes sure it appeases privacy wonks (like me) and users concerns.

Over the weekend, we got some useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data. We agree, and we are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so. We’ll be working to launch these updates as soon as possible, and will be temporarily disabling this feature until those changes are ready. We look forward to re-enabling this improved feature in the next few weeks.

I applaud Facebook's willingness to re-visit a feature and disable it until they have vetted it with their customer, maybe next time they can do it without all the bad media. Of course this is attention getting and in this Web 2.0 world why not just throw it over the fence and see how rabid the dogs are instead of taking a closer look beforehand.

BUT, as I posted yesterday, we all must assume responsibility for the protection of our private information, or a Peter aptly puts it, "we are the IT department of our lives."

I must say things are getting more transparent and the privacy controls on Facebook are starting to be much more useful these days. For more useful info on how to protect your privacy on Facebook go here. To see what types of info an application has access to on Facebook watch this short video on the Application Dashboard.

Improvements to Permissions for Address and Mobile Number - Facebook Developers

Jan 17, 2011

Facebook: Now sharing your home address with developers | Technology | guardian.co.uk

A pretty ominous perspective of recent Facebook API upgrades allowing developers access to more of your private information.

Facebook's future – if it is to meet the increasingly inflated aspirations of its 'incentivised' investors – is to use a combination of its scale and the acres of intimate information it holds about all of us to find the real money in targeted advertising. The strategy is to gradually open our personal data more and more, making open information the norm, desensitising us to any uncomfortable feelings we might have had about our personal data being released into the wild. In a few years, we'll have no qualms at all about getting our home address out there. Perhaps.
This makes Eric Schmidt's comments about being responsible for what we share more prescient. The moral of the story: if Facebook does a crappy job of enforcing access control then bad for Facebook in the long run, but it's more about our minimizing how much we share; basically the providers aren't going to make things private on your behalf. Then again I don't assume that my home address and mobile phone are not private, I'm sure they are on some public directory someplace. It's what my friend Peter O'Kelly calls social media literacy and that we are the IT department of our lives.

Facebook: Now sharing your home address with developers | Technology | guardian.co.uk

Jan 14, 2011

Why can't we all just get along?

I shouldn't be surprised by this comment coming from someone who considers communication in a broadcasting framework but I have to react to the comments that e-mail is "not great for communication" bit. It's not great for broadcast communication or even short messaging (like IM), but it is a perfectly wonderful tool for secure communication of rich content (i.e., more than 140 characters) that is more directed to the needs of the recipients.

Email, Dorsey explained, '[is] not great for communication because it's not focused on the most important thing. The subject is the message, and that's the message. The subject is in the message in the IM. It's bringing the content to you right away.
Sometimes the subject is not the most important thing - except maybe when it has NSFW in it - but subjects like "Talking Points for Today's Meeting" don't communicate the important stuff and I'd really hate to get that info in via IM.

I'm still amazed by the denizens of Web 2.0's urge to kill e-mail. Why? It makes no sense. All information and communication is not meant to be broadcast and shared with the world (this blog post is not one of those cases). Even IM is directed to specific individuals and tends to be pretty private. So why can't we have it all?

Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey On The Power Of Tweets

Burning Question: Why Do Emails Contain Legal Warnings? | Magazine

Ever wonder how binding those legal disclaimers are at the bottom of corporate e-mails? Not very binding but they may demonstrate intention, which is a stickier wicket.

So why do companies bother? The sad answer is that the verbiage relieves managers’ anxieties about how easily secrets can slip through the digital firewall, even though it does nothing to stop such leaks. But since everyone’s doing it, everyone will continue doing it.

Burning Question: Why Do Emails Contain Legal Warnings? | Magazine

Jan 10, 2011

IBM Is (Still) the Patent King in the U.S. [Video] | Fast Company

Kinda of a fluffy piece about patent trends. Of course anyone who's been employed at IBM knows IBM has always made patents serious business. I wish the article went more into trends in patenting especially with the rise of patent trolling. A couple tid-bits:

In second place in patent growth was Samsung, with 4,551--up 26% on 2009. And while Apple's patent tally only jumped up by 563 new patents, this represents a growth of 94% over the previous year...

IBM's figure last year is 20% higher than in 2009. While that's less than the overall growth of the patent archive--there were 31% more patents added in 2010 versus 2009--it isn't a bad sign for IBM at all, since the 31% growth in patent awards is the largest on record for the USPTO.

IBM Is (Still) the Patent King in the U.S. [Video] | Fast Company

Jan 3, 2011

Online impersonation banned starting in New Year - Santa Cruz Sentinel

An interesting California precedent. Let's see how it ultimately plays out...

Falsely sourced e-mails, tweets and Web posts have become ubiquitous online, and it's not uncommon for someone to create a Facebook or MySpace account in someone else's name. If this is done to 'harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud,' according to Senate Bill 1411, it will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

Online impersonation banned starting in New Year - Santa Cruz Sentinel