E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on Week 30 (Shape Your Future – Day 1)

I know that you may be wondering with that title above how I can combine something that is happening this week in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where I am attending & presenting at IBM‘s Shape Your Future innovation event with the weekly progress report from last week on my giving up e-mail at work. Well, you will have to excuse me on that one, but I thought it was just perfect timing, specially with that title, and more than anything else, because of what has happened last week, which has helped me Shape My Future for the next few months (Or more… Time will tell…) and what I have just experienced on the first day of the event. But let’s get things started where they should.

If you have been reading the last couple of blog posts on the weekly progress reports, you would know how now that I have settled down on the regular 20 to 30 incoming e-mails a week I thought it was a good time to get things going with another challenge, still very much related to what I have been doing over the last few months, but a new challenge, nevertheless: to reduce that incoming number of e-mails even further and take it to the limit of 10 to 20 a week. Yes, you have read it right. 10 to 20 e-mails a week!

Well, I am now happy to report how I have been able to reach that new challenge as of last week! Yes, that is right! On week 30 I got the number of incoming e-mails down to… Ok, let’s see the progress report:

Yes, indeed! 20 incoming e-mails during the whole week! Just brilliant! I must admit that I thought it was going to take me a bit more time, but then again I have been able to divert most of the conversations coming through e-mail and into various other social software spaces and the end-result is that I am game on my challenge already! That mark of 20 e-mails or less! And right on the first couple of weeks! Fantastic!

So what does that have to do with IBM’s Shape Your Future- you may be wondering, right? Well, I have been attending and presenting at the first day of that IBM innovation event that uses the motto of "Shape Your Future" by pushing innovation into a higher level and, in case you may not have seen it, I have been doing some live twittering over at @elsuacon (Or go and search for #shapeyourfuture in Twitter) and from the various tweets you would be able to see how we are still a little bit behind in pushing that innovation into new levels.

Don’t take me wrong, innovation is happening all over the place. It is one of the commonest buzzwords used all over nowadays, but if you come to think about social innovation and how these social computing technologies help influence not only the way we collaborate and share knowledge, but also the overall corporate environment, we are still a little bit behind. Can you imagine that over the nearly 500 people there perhaps one or two, counting myself in there!, may have been using a computer throughout the event, connected to the Internet to share with the rest of the world what happened? Hummm, I guess you don’t find conferences like that any more, right? Specially when you get approached by someone who thinks that you are so lonely at the event that you decided to open up the Mac and get connected! Well, not really, I was so excited with the overall event that I opened up my Mac, enjoyed the awesome free wireless at De Doelen, and shared with the world what was happening! And live! Never lonely, my friend! My social networks are always with me, wherever I may go! Even at events like this one!

At the same time earlier on today, I gave a 10 minute presentation as part of a track on Social Innovation, where I introduced the topic of "Thinking Outside the Inbox". Yes, my own way of shaping my future within the corporate world. The session was very well received and had lots of questions for just those 10 minutes, but the best part was after the session was finished when I got approached by a number of different folks sharing with me their stories on how they themselves have been gradually moving away from corporate e-mail. And there I was thinking, this is just great! Not only am I getting lots of positive feedback, I am also getting to hear stories about how other folks are doing similar things, to what I am doing, at their own companies. Problem is that they are not sharing those stories! And we need more! We need to ensure people understand what that social innovation is all about and how it is actually happening as we speak!

That is, how we need to keep pushing the limits on the ways, methods and tools we have used to traditionally collaborate in the past and how they may need to be redefined, if not re-purposed altogether! So, to me, the biggest key learning I got from this first day is that this kind of social innovation is truly happening all over the place (Check again through #shapeyourfuture), yet we are not doing a very good job at sharing it with other people. We need to go out more; we need to engage with other knowledge workers by sharing our experiences at the same time that we would want to not only exchange information and knowledge, but also share our learnings throughout the whole time. Somehow I feel that is where our next challenge is going to be as knowledge workers. Not only absorbing that knowledge, so that we can apply it accordingly, but also we need to be capable to sharing further on those social innovations as they happen. Because after all, who would want to re-invent the wheel nowadays, if we know there is one out there we could re-use that is doing just the perfect job!?!

Thus, don’t be shy! Share your story, share with all of us how you are shaping your future adopting and embracing these social computing tools, because there is a great chance you will not be alone. And, even better, there is always a place for you to connect with others while you are sharing those experiences. Why? Because we have all been there! We just need to get the word out more often!

"The Enterprise of the Future is Hungry for Change" (That was just one of the really nice quotes I have been exposed to during the course of the day, and not sure what you would think about it, but I just can’t wait for it to happen! Can you?)

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