The Davos Question Going Dutch

Last week, from the 23rd until the 27th, the annual World Economic Forum took place in Davos Switzerland, entitled: The Power of Collaborative Innovation. The Forum conducted an experiment with YouTube, asking people from around the world to answer “The Davos QuestionWhat one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?
More than 2 million people took part, and business, government and civil society leaders from the Annual Meeting posted replies. Among those submitting video responses: President Shimon Peres of Israel; President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal; President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan; former US Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger; and rock star Bono.

An interesting development! What would happen if the the Davos Question goes Dutch? Let’s say for instance that the Dutch government poses an open ended positive question to it’s citizens like (par example) “what do you think should be the main ambitions of our country to make it even better?”. In our opinion, it should be open ended so that the reactions can be as diverse as possible. It should be a positive question because it creates a positive spiral effect (the Self-fulfilling prophecy), just like a negative does (“recession thinking”).
If 1% would react, that would mean approximately 160.000 people. The result would be a “sentiment of the people of Holland”. This doesn’t mean the government gives up control on who’s leading the country. What it does mean that it creates another channel in which it’s connected with it’s citizens.

So why is this channel different and what makes YouTube a good choice? Video is a “real medium”, you see real people saying real things. You can see their emotion and get your own feelings going. A questionnaire, in comparison, does not have this added value. When “23%” of the people think climate change is important you do not feel anything. When 200 people post video’s crying that the world of their children is ruined, you feel the pain and want to act. YouTube is one of the most popular websites at the moment, because of the added value it has (amongst others). Positive side effect is that video postings are not anonymous, your face is on screen. If that is not the case, no one will watch your video! Besides that Youtube has a function to flag video’s as inappropriate so people can ‘remove’ video’s when people make offensive video’s, so misconduct is taken care off.
With YouTube you can make a great combination using tags on video postings. These tags can generate a tagcloud of feelings or issues that are hot at the moment. An aggregation which results in “the sentiment”, realtime. Everybody can view what is hot and what is not! And this is available right now, it is virtually free and it is available for everybody with a computer and broadband (75% in The Netherlands according to CBS in nov 07).

Get the conversation going! If you open up this channel you have to respond to get the conversation going. The World Economic Forum did just that. In a fictive example for instance, the Dutch government could use video messages for existing classical communication channels: during political programs on TV or debating the hot topics in parliament; as well as leaving a comment on YouTube. Make it a business-as-usual input-channel. The World Economic forum started this conversation around a conference and it is still going. Once you start the conversation just keep going, why stop? If the question is good enough the answers will change over time but the question stays hot! If this really goes Dutch, we’ll dive a litter deeper into the critical success factors.


YNNO meets Israel

Yesterday Robbert and I had a meeting with Sagi Chemetz, CEO of Blink, an Israeli consultancy firm on Enterprise 2.0. Sagi was on a vacation trip to Amsterdam and had time to visit us in Amersfoort. We talked for two hours about Enterprise 2.0, our companies, projects and the concepts. The main conclusion is that our visions on Enterprise 2.0 are different because of our starting point; actually quite complementary. Blink is a company who looks from a communications and PR point of view. YNNO looks at Enterprise 2.0 from a Knowledge Management perspective. Blink focuses on the outside of a company, we look at the inside.

Our main topic buzzed around the opinion that Blogging is a good way to start interaction within a company, outside-in as well as inside-out. We concluded that this could have big consequences for its internal operations, with big reputation risks! Introducing a blogging mechanism means relatively little IT investment (compared to for instance a corporate wide ECM implementation), but a relative huge change in the attitude of an organization. We discussed potential reputation risks of introducing E2.0 in one of our earlier posts.

In retrospect of our meet-up, it’s good to see that the 2.0 technology is in fact an excellent accelerator for people to connect, from all over the world. Our encounter yesterday was the proof of concept. It’s not just about technology, but about connecting people, sharing different idea’s and the likes.


So, Why do we bookmark socially?

The post my colleague Robbert published yesterday got me wandering. I totally agreed on his conclusions, but I couldn’t help but ask myself the question: why do we act so socially nowadays? Twitter,, et cetera…. What ever happened to the ancient paradigm Knowledge = Power? And ask the expert, he knows best?

Well, my thoughts aligned quite quickly on this one and to say it frank: this paradigm is gone. Nowadays, it’s about Knowledge Sharing = Power. Probably this “new” paradigm was there “in the old days” all along. It’s just that, with the entrance of the Web 2.0 platform, the threshold for it to establish itself in full force has vanished.

Robbert explained the meritocracy principle already quite excellently in his last post. I want to dive a little deeper: it’s excellent to have good UFC, but, why does one want to be a good knowledge broker?

First, in my opinion, it’s because the networked society, demands us to be. It just not enough to have published so many articles in (1.0) magazines. The merits you get are more and more coming from the blogosphere. If you’re not there, you’re lagging behind. You’re still an expert, but a far higher percentage of users “read” the Internet, than they read the magazines. You have to do the math 1.0 + 2.0 to get the synergy going. Otherwise, you’re just not visible.

Secondly, the expert, or “the Einstein” who sits at his desk inventing and creating innovation is being overtaken by the crowd. Not because the expert doesn’t know, but because the crowd always knows. And know they can get together easily. Therefor, when you share, co-create, jump in, you, in reverse get shared with, are connected to en tied into the crowd that knows. No expert can ever “beat” that. As a matter of fact, just that last sentence is very “old paradigm”-like. It’s about mass collaboration.

Does this mean the “expert” is gone? No, it doesn’t. The “expert” is just tied to a strong network. The expert can become a primary knowledge broker quite naturally. Their blogs and twitters a read more frequently.

Does this mean that we should all connect to everyone and all become a heavy knowledge broker? No as well. Social Bookmarking is about being social. Just as you pick out your friends, you pick out your brokers. Your social network isn’t an automatic aggregation of people. If you do that, just use an aggregator like Digg. Thus, your network will grow socially due time, naturally evolving into the blogosphere of your interest.

If you’re reading this and thinking “Hmm, so what’s new about this?”; then you’re 2.0-certified. If you’re reading this an thinking “Well that makes sense!”; then you’re 2.0-certified. I just wanted to share it with you.


Article on Internet Consultation

Together with Vincent Wiekenkamp and Melior Hoekstra I wrote an article about Internet consultation by the Dutch government. This article was published in the ‘Financieele Dagblad’, a business newspaper in The Netherlands.


User Filtered Content is great!

Sunday I was trying to make sense of a remark Marcel de Ruiter made when we met last November. He said that having a social network was a great way to filter out important information. On sunday I did not get my thoughts right but today I saw a post on User Filtered Content from Ross Dawson and everything made sense!

Besides all the automatic or semi automatic filtering options Andrew Mcafee describes in SLATES a completely human filtering option is a great asset to the bundle. When to take into account who is liking what, you get a far better view of information. Example: I follow a few people on Twitter because I think they are interesting for me and I find links to conferences I did not hear about from another source. Delicious is another fine example. I follow my collegue Vincent amongst others. I can see his links and evaluate if they are relevant for me to. Almost all his links are relevant for me and thus he is one of my filters on information.

This way of filtering gets far better results than a search on google, a search on google is not filtered for what my friends or coworkers like! Extensions like Amazon delivers to me are from everybody in the world. Amazon supposes that if I read a book and most people also buy another book I might be interested. This would be more accurate if this is corrected for the people with the same interests. These people will be in social networks!

The reason this works lies in the meritocracy principles of the internet. On the internet we give more credits to people how say and do smart stuff than to people how only talk about saying and doing smart stuff. The people who get more merits from a person will be a great filter. The giving of merits is very personal. Vincent my coworker can get more merits than a professor in college.

Conclusion is the UFC is a great filter to have on information. The more people you ‘use’ as a filter the better. UFC must always be used in combination with other filters so the information that gets through the filters is of higher quality. To prevent a kind of groupthink you should sometimes get rid of all the filters and just surf around a bit! This gets you fresh ideas and another look at the world.


levels @ enterprise 2.0

There are so many topics around about enterprise 2.0. I am trying to make some kind of aggregation of all the information. When you look from an organizational unit perspective I see three levels:

– personal
– team
– organization

The personal level is about how does one knowledge worker work. What tools and principles does he apply in modern day work. The meet charlie presentation is a great example! I think Lifehacking and GTD are great ways to improve productivity (the formost objective in enterprise 2.0). I know GTD is not about web apps but it is a great way to work more efficient. Office 2.0 is an example what enterprise 2.0 at the personal level is all about, a list of tools is at the office 2.0 database. Be warned because these tools are a mix of all levels.

The team level is about collaborating with others. Social networking, wiki’s, online office, projectspaces are key topics in this area. Some are closely related to the personal level. Teamwork is significantly different because it is about working together and the personal level is solely about the work of one person. So google docs is primarily about teamwork, because sharing documents online with others is the best feature in google docs. Why edit a document in google docs without sharing it with others?

The last level is corporate level. The corporate challenge is to get principles in play like perpetual beta, emergent structures, openness. Thus giving a platform to workers and facilitating knowledge processes. Company level is more about the big principles and enterprise class tools.

In a company that wants to adress enterprise 2.0 you have to take on each level, because the combination will produce more productivity! If you have only organizational level enterprise 2.0 solutions in place but no solutions at the individual worker level you will miss out. They will have great ways to filter in the enterprise class content but still drown in email!

The levels are off course no chinese walls but an insight to thinking about your solutions in your company!

How do you look at enterprise 2.0, do you look at this form the same perspective or another?


Everything is Miscellaneous, or is it?

Enterprise 2.0 is (amongst other things) about iconic labels such as emergent, tagging, folksonomies, social bookmarking and, you could say, a new paradigm everything is miscellaneous. The third order of order. This pattern is evolving and blogs, books and webinars are picking up the pace. Does this mean that enterprises should loosen up and “Give up control“?

BPM focuses on identifying, designing, implementing and managing business processes within an organization. The realm of ECM focuses on achieving a centralized, structured, transparent and compliant (and more) digital working environment
. Combined, you could say the ambition of BPM and ECM is an organization being in control of what they do, how they do it and improving on that continuously. “Being in control“!

At first glance E2.0 and BPM/ECM sound quite like a paradox. But are they? In my opinion, they aren’t. James Surowiecki gives a beautiful hint of this in its bestseller the Wisdom Of Crowds. You need both structured centralization (or as he says “aggregation”) and unstructured (or niche-structured) decentralization. Explicitly: you can give op control in the niches of work, but you have to remain in control at the centre of it; as a whole.

As a matter of fact, the basis of giving up control is first of all having enough of it. The structured repositories of information, materialized through the implemented business processes, gives an organization a jumping platform to dive into the unstructured world. It’s the next step in digital working. After getting grip on these structured processes, what’s left are the unstructured ones. The characteristics of these processes are collaborative, knowledge intensive and highly unpredictable. Just suitable for E2.0 concepts.

What I find fascinating is trying to identify the design principles, or main beliefs, of the new Enterprise 2.0 concepts and identify the consequences of the digital working environment of today, 1.0. Bridging the gap between then and now.

An example thereof is implementing a social bookmarking principle for search an retrieval on top of the established taxonomies and metadata schemas for archival, process management and compliancy purposes. The result: best of both worlds. The organization is in charge of it’s processes and the team of three individuals somewhere within the company can find their specialized information the way they want to; the workforce cumulatively establishing a layer of social tags on top of the existing and rigid taxonomies.

Summarizing: not all is miscellaneous, but then everything could be.