applying Web 2.0 tools and platforms inside organization may or may not — depending on who you are talking to — improve the way we collaborate, run our businesses, and even potentially tap major new veins of previously unexploitable worker productivity.
Not wishing to dismiss the potential benefits of web 2.0 applications for freeform social collaboration in business, I do think what is being experienced in relation to the use of these tools is heavily impacted by
- Organisational culture
These are the same elements that impact on knowledge sharing and collaboration as a whole - and they are all human.
Until we consider the human side of collaborative working online, Enterprise 2.0 won't get off the ground, let alone make an impact on the way our organisations function.
This is the state of play re: Enterprise 2.0 as I see it in my organisation in terms of shared Blogs, Wikis and Tags
It seems to be a no brainer that wikis are perfect for the collaborative creation of documents. The problem is that people aren't keen on changing what someone else has written without asking them/telling them they've done it.
When sending comments on a document by email, the person sending them knows that the person receiving them knows who they are, and can decide to implement the change or not. Just changing something on a wiki appears somewhat disrespectful of the person who has originally written something.
People need time to get used to this way of working. Probably not a good idea to start with a policy document, but start with creating a meeting agenda...
Knowledge sharing group blogs are a problem as people may not have the confidence to say "this is what we do" for fear that people will think it's a ridiculous way to work. They can't ask "what do you think to this way of working" and get immediate feedback - they're announcing it to the world/company/team without any understanding of how it will be received.
It seems easier for people to do this face to face. Having a focus or purpose for sharing information where all participants are equal seems to help, for instance, stating up front that contributions will be added to guidance for others in the team/company. However some just don't trust enough or aren't confident enough to share. This has to addressed in terms of developing trust and developing confidence.
A skill in itself if tags are to be meaningful for all. If there is different terminology for the same thing ie expenses form/travel expenses/car mileage claim, then all those tags need to be present for someone to find what they are looking for.
In business this is important - if it's not done well, people will stop using the application they are searching in because they can't find what they are looking for. Librarians get this, it's what they do. Leveraging librarians skillsets - getting them to develop/deliver training in search and retrieval skills seems sensible here (which I know many of them are already doing...).
If we concentrate too much on what Enterprise 2.o can theoretically do for or organisations, we do this to the detriment of acknowledging that the human element is key - people don't work in the way theory suggests.
If workers are to achieve what theory suggests they can achieve through web 2.0 technologies - collective intelligence, greater knowledge, greater awareness, improved performance, then they are going to need help to do this. And time....lots of time.