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

From the blog

Clay Shirky on Institutions vs. Collaboration – Business 2.0

Gran Canaria - Ayacata / The MonkEarlier on today, while I was getting started with my morning catchup routines, I got things going with my twitterings with this particular tweet: "Having one of those days where I keep questioning whether it’s all worth it pushing the limit as a 2.0 evangelist going against the current". Quite an interesting one, don’t you think? And perhaps a bit more loaded than what I thought it would come out as… Well, shortly after my good friend Jon Mell (From Headshift) shared the following tweet responding to that one I just shared above: "@elsua hold that thought, I should have a blog post for ya this afternoon."

And so I was intrigued… Knowing Jon, I was very intrigued. So I kept going along with my day and all of a sudden he goes and tweets back again the following tweet: "New blog post – Business 2.0 looking at business driving enterprise social software tools, rather than the other way round http://is.gd/YTjJ". And the suspense was over!

I right away head over to that blog post that he put under the heading "Business 2.0" and my head was completely blown away! What an outstanding reading! One of the best I have read through in a long while! Going through it felt good. Perhaps too good! But if you have been a knowledge worker for a while now getting exposed to social software in general and making heavy use of it you will know exactly what I mean and also you would come to the conclusion that exciting times are ahead of us! And I just can’t wait!

Here is one of the several precious gems that Jon shared in that article:

"Organisations need to trust these professionals, they will not be in the office from 9-5 every day. These are exactly the sorts of people who thrive on their personal networks, they are the people who you go to when you need to know what’s going on. Social software brings the same level of productivity increases for these people as type-writers and then word processors did for a previous generation of workers. It takes their natural propensity to connect, to share, to add value and extends it in the same way the internet extends our access to information."

To then finish off with this other one:

"It won’t be enough to hire knowledge workers to survive and thrive in this recession. Organisations will have to change their business practices to take advantage of their abilities, and provide them with the tools to be effective. Word, Outlook and even Sharepoint won’t cut it. They will need custom built social platforms, or products such as Confluence, Jive, Socialtext and Lotus Connections."

Those two quotes probably describe some of the stuff I have been doing for a long while now so well that it’s even scary! I probably wouldn’t have been able to describe it much better myself! And I bet that folks who see themselves as Knowledge Workers 2.0 in the current business world they would feel the exact same way. I am sure! And they probably wouldn’t be wrong…

So what does that blog post from Jon Mell have got to do with the first part of the title from this blog entry, i.e. with Clay Shirky? And that ambiguous title of "Institutions vs. Collaboration"? Well, believe it or not, quite a lot. Allow me to explain …

You will need to go into the TED – Ideas Worth Spreading Web site and check out a presentation Clay did back in 2005! around this very same subject, but perhaps with a bit more powerful message on how the process of knowledge sharing and collaborating was starting to shift from old models into new ones and all of that provoked by the emergence of social computing. And that dating back to 2005! The title of that presentation is Clay Shirky on institutions vs. collaboration and you will be able to find it over here (Embedded version below…) and, like I said if earlier on today, if reading Jon’s blog post was quite an inspiration and a burst of fresh air, Clay’s 20 minute presentation will be like being hit by Inspiration in its purest form! Yes, that good!

Needless to say that is one of those TED videos everyone who considers themselves as knowledge workers should watch; whether you watch it before or after reading Jon’s article it won’t matter; you will be ending up on the same sweet spot, only four years apart in time from one to the other! And you will be left with a single thought in your mind for a long while: exciting times are ahead of us and I am surely excited to be part of it all! And you?

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  1. Luis – Although I have complained repeatedly about my company being waaaaaaay behind the times when it comes to social computing, I am happy to say I started an occasional showing of TED videos this year, with some success. The first video we showed was this one. Everyone should watch it IMO. These are, indeed, exciting times coming for those of us who understand the nature of these transformations. We need to make sure that’s what they truly are – transformations; not reformations. I don’t, however, think it’s going to be possible to rearrange the deck chairs this time around.


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