Implementing E2.0 (Enterprise 2.0) is a big enigmatic puzzle that poses great problems, going by the various accounts and horror stories I hear from others.
The stories are interesting and humorous but not much helpful to those seeking to implement E2.0 or trying to understand what it is all about.
Why is that? These are some of the issues I found:
1. Found some advocates extremely busy trying to figure out the subtle differences between a wiki, blog, microblog, status update and then losing their way in the middle of all that unable to understand as to how all these would fit in and for what purpose. They jostle with the idea of fitting all these neatly allowing a solution to emerge on its own.
2. Found others extremely busy sorting out the technical parts and pieces and playing with jargons like traceability, conversational data, making work observable, matrices etc etc. Amazed as to how they love their endless circling around these lovely words like a gull or an flight not allowed to land on the runway.
3. Then found some more serious people with somber authoritative tones voicing their thoughts on even more serious issues like Social Learning, Collective Intelligence, Sharing and the next evolutionary step from the now disdained term Knowledge Management, blah blah blah…
4. And I also found some, the creative lot, incessantly impressing that design and architecture as the most important parts of the whole thing. They say that it is something like building an organizations like a sophisticated auditorium or a Olympic stadium or like my humble house to say the least (of course that might not qualify for such lofty design ideas).Wonder why organizations need to bother about building for themselves a grand mall!
5. Lastly found some Gurus who are thinking analytically and deeply perhaps to classify organizations fit for E2.0 implementation or classify those not competent enough to receive the blessings and grace of E2.0.
Wow! This is mind boggling but exotic stuff. Surely it is something like getting into a deep and dark rain forest only to lose one’s way (unless he is guided by a satellite).
My only question then is ‘Will top management of any organization go for it? Would they be convinced by all these grand talks of innate beauties of E2.0 that can’t be even seen and understood unless deeply loved?” Why would organizations love to waste their money playing with such exotic technology or technology platforms only to be dumped after the play is over like a shredded toy?
Unfortunately, I think the advocates of E2.0 are all missing a fundamental point.
To my mind, E2.0 is all about organizational transformation or more commonly known as change management. But this is change management of a different sort. This aims to harness the minds of people (don’t mind where they come from — customers, employees, suppliers, society, freelancers, experts….) put to productive use. This is done by inverting the famous organizational pyramid to unleash the power that lies at the bottom of the heavy pyramid.
Are such dramatic changes necessary? Oh! yes. The fundamental methods of doing business has taken a U -turn making it necessary to embrace the changes. But embracing change is always a painful process for most organizations tied together by rigid structures backed up by equally rigid mindsets. It is so painful at times to see organizations abort a change initiative half way like aborting unwanted pregnancies.
There must be something to soften the blow or impact of changes. E2.0 comes in handy. I believe, E2.0 if applied properly, would soften or dampen the blow that comes with any change,
Why? Because in this case, change follows the development of collective awareness, simplification of the jobs, doing away with obsolete ideas and allowing people freedom to express themselves within the given contours of organizational constraints and politics. People change imperceptibly without knowing that they are changing their work habits and behavior.
So the reason for change/transformation comes right at the top of the agenda of E2.0 implementation. This is followed by a basic design, which must then be followed up by slow and gradual implementation that makes room for design updates and refinement against upcoming and ongoing constraints within a given operational context.
This is how I envision E2.0 implementation. I believe that it has nothing to do with the size or complexity of an organization or how well one knows technology and its beauties. It has everything to do with willingness of the management to free up the otherwise latent and wasted energy of their organization to thrive on collective wisdom of customers, employees and societies keeping their ears close to the ground.
However, this needs internal boldness of top management to be free of the traditional shackles of irrelevant and now generally obsolete general management thoughts and ideas that have prevailed and guided us for the past 60 years. Time to ‘bury the dead’ and move on since those ideas were all built on an ‘exploitative’ bend of mind creating more pain than pleasure for employees who willingly or unwillingly gave the best part of their productive lives to the organizations they worked for. Tunisia showed the way as to how people hate authoritarian regimes and rigid hierarchies. People’s behavior in organizations are not much different. The days of such regimes and structures whether for organizations or nations are numbered. Organizations have little choice but to embrace change more so with profit margins constantly under squeeze.
Therefore organizations are to be designed differently before we embark on the designing E2.0 for an organization. And this type of design is completely different to the organizational designs we have had so far known and used.
This is what I dream. I believe E2.0 has the potential, if done right and for the right purpose to change the world of work and the lives of people and the way organizations thrive and sustain themselves. I might be wrong. But then who knows? Do you stand for the change initiative?