Having previously worked with a few greeks for the last 13 years (up until 2 months ago), I always wonder whether I should mention the phrase "it's all Greek to me" - but I will here...
Not because Enterprise 2.0 and related bits are greek to me (and sadly, I still know essentially no Greek in all this time - or at least not "polite company" greek), but because technology in general, and components of Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 specifically, are terribly misunderstood if they are even known in the slightest.
In many cases, "average business people" (one sample is kept in Geneva, or so I hear), have absolutely no idea what defines these worlds, let alone what an "Enterprise 2.0" world would look like TO THEM and their BUSINESS. Not as pure ideas, or saviors of us all, but "rubber hits the road" actual systems that let people accomplish things, hopefully, useful things.
How to change this?
For the time I've spent in the software industry, much of the time, my job is almost always, one way or another to convert heavy technical talk into "business-speak" and vice versa. Translating between managers and workers - suppliers and buyers - usability specialists and database designers - etc..
I'll be honest - my entry point into this world was from an IT background, and if it wasn't geek, it wasn't me. Eventually it dawned on me that I should start understanding what our analysts, consultants, and BUSINESS people were talking about and help to translate that into the solutions that we ourselves (this was at Delphi Group) were deploying inside. Bad things happen when business and IT collide - sadly, this happens frequently. Painful business all around. Not good!
Coming to a handful of points here... Ready?
Point one - talk the talk:
Take the time to "learn the lingo" - those who do, have a much happier career path ahead of them. Those who don't, well, are the first to get their jobs outsourced. If you can't make sense of the technobabble or business-speak in the world, find someone who can, and have THEM get you up to speed. Use books, blogs, seminars, consulting, whatever it takes, but you need to be continuously learning or you will be irrelevant to the world, soon enough.
Point two - don't let INVENTION get in the way:
Thankfully I've seen and done enough over the years to realize something fairly important - to me if not to just about everyone...
I (personally) do not have to INVENT all of my material from scratch. INNOVATION isn't (always) spontaneous creation out of nothingness (a high bar I call "BIG I" Innovation).
"Standing on the shoulders of giants" isn't just a neat catchphrase - it's something to very seriously consider. As a "creative person" - I must admit that irritates me sometimes, but as a "do-er" - hey, there is only so much time my life, and not every situation warrants creating from scratch.
Incidentally, on this point and the point below, look at my colleague Carl Frappaolo's recent post on "The Feminine Side of Knowledge Management."
Point three - acknowledge you aren't the only source in the world:
I've been an "industry analyst" and consultant for a while now. I love talking to press and explaining with great gusto how smart I am and how nobody else can provide the insight can. And hey - given that they're on deadline and *I* happen to be the guy that could answer them in time - voila! I am! Same when doing training, research, or any other work - it's awfully tempting to put on a "God Hat" and ignore everything else out there...
But then again, there are plenty of people out there, as smart or smarter, and if I was really the only person with some particular insight, then well, we're probably all in trouble! The world is bigger than me... or you... or your company... or your home page. Acknowledge that. Leverage it! Maybe you don't believe in the Wisdom of Crowds concept. Perhaps the Academic world is the only pure place in the world. Or only open source makes sense...
Point being - seriously - you are the company you keep, and a marketspace of ONE, whether you as an individual, or you as a company, isn't all that interesting. Keep the bigger, broader world in mind, and trying to pretend that nothing else matters isn't doing the world justice. It's just not the way things (really) work. This is EXTREMELY important in the Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 mindset. More on that as time rolls along...
Back to Greek vs English
With that overall buildup (did you feel it?)- let me point to a few resources I heartily recommend if we are to keep getting "Enterprise 2.0" off the ground:
First - I stumbled onto "Bokardo" - a fascinating company and blog about Social Design (and Social Media, etc.). Check it out.
B - My initial stumble lead from Bokardo to "Common Craft" the originator of two great (in content and in fun) videos on RSS and Wikis (embedded below, but also found [with other videos] at "the commoncraft show" as well).
and III - no, there's no three for now. Just checking to see who's paying attention!
So, videos next - then scroll past those and continue reading...
RSS in Plain English
Wikis in Plain English
There you go - quick, painless, might even have stuck in your head. Guaranteed that at least some readers here will now shoot this around to colleagues, maybe even friends and family, to help explain these things.
As I've said before on this blog and elsewhere - there's a lot happening out there in the big wide world (not just the world wide WEB), and there is much to cover. My goal is to keep expanding my resources, networks, and discussions, and I invite you to do the same.
In our Market Intelligence unit at AIIM, we are brewing up some research on Enterprise 2.0, so would love to hear from anyone who has tried and died, or tried and begun to succeed in using RSS, Wikis, mashups, "traditional" content management, portals, and the big ol' universe of orbiting concepts in this space.
Help me help you in pulling out the information that will help all of us get to some solid footing this wave of thinking keeps gathering momentum. What questions do you have? What have you experienced? Think it's hogwash? Revolution? Madness? Join the discussion - there's a lot of work to do here!