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

From the blog

Enterprise 2.0 Conference Highlights – Day Two

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las NievesAnd we continue further with one of the last blog posts I will be putting together as part of the Enterprise 2.0 conference event highlights. Yes, indeed, I am almost done with this series of blog entries sharing with you folks what I learned throughout the event that took place in Boston a few weeks back. This time around this article will be dedicated to some of the key learnings I went through during Day Two of the conference.

As you would remember, not long ago I shared a blog post on what to expect from Day Two itself and, by the looks of it, it promised to be a pretty intense and fully packed up day. And it surely was! So with the same format I did for the conference highlights for Day One, here you have got my main key highlights of what I learn that day. It may turn out to be a rather long blog post, so you may go and grab a cup of coffee, just in case …

Applying the Social Dimension to the Lockheed Martin Mission

with Andy McAfee (As facilitator) and Christopher Keohane and Shawn Dahlen; probably one of the best sessions from Day Two; at least, one where I learned plenty more from one of the Enterprise 2.0 stars from last year; looks like Lockheed Martin  are doing just fine; starting small, building from there and currently having 65 open communities, with a nice blend of digital natives and digital nomads participating rather heavily (With a 40 year old blogging star included!); all provoked thanks to both a bottom up grassroots effort as well as top down leadership one diving into the conversations as well as providing full support to those initial grassroots efforts.

The interesting thing from the entire session that Andy kept moving along at a fast, but rather intense and engaging pace, was when both Christopher and Shawn commented on something that didn’t permeate much through the live tweeting taking place, but that I thought was rather fascinating. And that was how apparently at Lockheed Martin personal, non-work related, knowledge / information exchanges are not encouraged by the communities themselves; in fact, they self-regulate them out of the work environment.

Whoah!!! Yes, that’s what I thought myself about it! Back then I made this comment over at @elsuacon: "Am I the only one who’s concerned LM doesn’t understand the power of social capital to strengthen ties & build trust?" and a few weeks later I am still standing by that statement!

Social capital skills are essential in any corporate environment, more than anything else because, whether people like it or not, when knowledge workers go to work they bring their whole selves, both the business person and the private-personal one (With their thoughts about their families, their kids, their pets, their house, their car, etc. etc.); so actually filtering out when you go to work yourself as an individual is not only counterproductive, but also will slow down your business, because right there you are not helping employees to build further up on their trust levels by those social capital exchanges at a much faster pace. You are eventually slowing down your business without knowing it.

I am not saying that you would not be trusting your colleagues, that will still be happening, of course, but that trust-building will be taking place at a much slower pace, yet with a huge impact on the company. We need those social bonds, we are social beings, after all, and we need to connect further on in multiple levels with our colleagues and if you start capping those social non work related interactions you may not be getting the most out of not only the social tools people will keep using, but of the people themselves. A knowledge based enterprise will not thrive without social capital and those social, informal and trivial interactions. They are, always have been & will be, the glue, the key to a very successful corporate environment.

The Future of Social Messaging in the Enterprise

With Irwin Lazar (Moderating the panel) and Al Literati, Dan York, David Marshak, Fernando Egea, Marcia Conner, Mike Gotta and Tim Young as speakers; just as I thought, far too many people wanting to talk for such a short session, but overall lots of great insights indicating, once again, something I have been saying for years and which makes me feel content that vendors are coming around to terms with it: it’s never been about the tools, but how people make use of them to reach out to other fellow knowledge workers to collaborate and share knowledge with a purpose, i.e. a specific context. And social messaging is a clear example of that premise. Just as much as all of the other options available out there.

Another interesting take from this session came about when Mike Gotta mentioned how most of these social messaging options still lack in the fields of security, compliance and data leakage (Amongst several other risk management assessment factors).

Yes, it’s probably one of these areas where tools need to be fully compliant with such regulations, but it is also important to realise how both education and facilitation play a key role in empowering the knowledge workforce to work smarter (More productive) with less effort; to trust them ("How many companies out there are hiring untrustworthy people?" -great quote from Marcia) to do their jobs, to self-govern themselves, because, after all, and unless a business says so, you are eventually hiring professionals who should behave like professionals.

So eventually, and thank goodness, the current corporate environment is starting to shift towards more people centric organisations, encouraging plenty of people practices and use cases and eventually starting thinking more of a participatory culture, letting the employee be the ambassador! (Great thoughts, once again, from both Marcia and Mike! Funny enough … what I have been doing over the last couple of years and what I have been advocating for all along throughout all of my years involved with social software evangelism. (Yeah, you can imagine the kind of healthy ego boost I got right after the panel was finished, eh? hehe)

Does Social Media and Marketing Matter?

With Peter Kim, as the moderator of the panel, and with Ben Foster, Greg Matthews and Morgan Johnston as the speakers; unfortunately, due to a couple of other commitments I had to skip this session, but when talking to people throughout the day about it, it seems as if it was a really good one! And I can surely vouch for that, because later on that evening I had the great pleasure of having dinner with both Ben and Greg, amongst several other folks, and the conversations were some of the best I had throughout the entire week.

On what topics? Mainly on social software adoption, since both Ben and Greg seem to be doing very similar stuff to what yours truly does on a daily basis and it was great to see how each and every business seems to be facing the very same challenges and obstacles, regardless whether you are in I.T. or not; examples like cultural barriers, using community building programs as major drivers of social software adoption, variety of choices and what to stick around with, etc. etc. seem to be far too close. And I suspect we all learned a few tricks from there onwards. I know I surely did! (Perhaps another blog post in the making over here … hehe)

Initially, I had put together a blog post with the rest of the remaining sessions, but then realised that would have made this entry far too long than what it is already. So I am going to split it in two articles and finish this one off as Part I, to then continue with Part II shortly afterwards. So, like some folks out there would say … to be continued …

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