Tag Archives: Trust

Let it grow!

When building up the Enterprise 2.0 – do you trust organic growth or do you actively drive adoption? I’ve seen this question discussed in some blogs, and also heard it on the Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2010 in Frankfurt.

Let me give a botanical answer to this question. If “trust organic growth” means “build the platform and see what happens”, you will get the business equivalent of ruderal species. These are the first plants to colonize lands that have just been disturbed, e. g.  by a fire or construction activities. While this event overstrains the established plant population, some highly opportunistic species take the chance. You might compare them to the innovators in the Technology Adoption Lifecycle.  These specimens will be a tremendous help when your wiki, network,  etc. is all fresh and needs being populated. But they will not be enough.

When I think of organic growth, I don’t see a ruderal community of some fast growing plants. I see a healthy mixture of many different species, all thriving and flourishing. To get such a lush greenery, you actually have to do something!

Let it grow organically means prepare the soil, sow some carefully chosen seeds, maybe transplant some larger specimens, administer the right amount of water and fertilizer, make sure every plant gets enough sun, cut some shoots where necessary,  provide climbing trellises when needed – and let the plants do the rest. Don’t get impatient: grass does not grow faster if you pull!

Applied to the business, this means you can – and should – do a lot to drive organic growth. Every company is a different ecosystem. Here’s what we did at my company:

  • Preparing the soil: Instead of skipping the pilot, we made it a content pilot (as opposed to an IT pilot).
  • Seeding: We invited some key communities to the pilot and helped them create interesting conversations.
  • Transplanting established specimens: We approached stakeholders with existing stand-alone solutions and involved them into developing our network.
  • Water and fertilizer: We regularly share best practices and success stories. We also help to transfer communications and workflows to our network – this gives people a reason to use it.
  • Sun: Visible commitment from top management does wonders for user adoption!
  • Cutting shoots: Has not yet been necessary.
  • Provide trellises: We provide consulting and encourage exchange in regular face-to-face events.
  • Do not pull: Participation is voluntary.

If you want to know more details, check out this presentation. We have shared it on various occasions, the most recent was when I talked at the German Multimedia Congress in Stuttgart. The slides will be updated regulary, so it might be worth coming back from time to time.

Considering that we only started real cultivation a little more than six months ago, our garden has thrived quite nicely up to now. Let’s see how far we can drive organic growth – I’m dreaming of a luxuriant park!

Enterprise 2.0 Summit – some key learnings

This blog is still “in statu nascendi”, stimulated by the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Frankfurt. What a great event, absolutely energizing and inspiring! I’ll try to share my thoughts and conclusions here, bit by bit. Let’s start with some key learnings:

  • Enterprise 2.0 is not limited to applying Social Software to the enterprise. It’s a new way of doing business and managing a company.
  • If Social Software is introduced to a company, usage patterns evolve: First people try the new tools, then they gradually modify their communication and interaction, until (if you’re successful) they finally integrate the software into their business processes.
  • Integration of existing business processes is a key success factor for early adoption. If you do not achieve this, people will perceive your Social Software as “extra work coming on top” and – even if they use it – you will end up with more silos.
  • After having successfully established some existing business processes to your social software, you can start facilitating the emergence of totally new ways of doing business – lightweight processes with human intelligence thrown in. This can transform the way we work and create even more value.
  • Cultural or organizational change is seen as essential. I agree, that’s what will happen if we are successful. However, I would still not talk to people about change. Most of them do not care for change, it scares them. BUT: they care for improvement, so that’s what we should talk about.
  • Convincing is not the right strategy for an Enterprise 2.0 Manager. If you feel people need convincing, just move on.
  • Cultural differences need to be considered – but they can also be used as an excuse. You need to look carefully.
  • There is no easy way around language barriers. You need to find the right balance between corporate “lingua franca” and local languages for local content.
  • You should not, under any circumstances, underestimate the need for education and guidance. However, this will probably happen in the early phase of Enterprise 2.0 adoption. Due to the exploratory nature of the game, you cannot prepare everything in advance. Just don’t despair and develop it as you go.
  • When it comes to information protection, we tend to overestimate the risks of new channels and underestimate the risks of the existing ones. If you empower people by education, you will find that a culture of trust is safer than a culture of control.
  • After successful adoption inside the enterprise, the inclusion of partners and customers are logical next steps towards a more mature Enterprise 2.0.

Kudos to all the brilliant people at the Summit who helped me learn. This summary in particular was inspired by Richard Collin, Samuel Driessen, Frank Schoenefeld, Bertrand Duperrin, Luis Suarez, Oscar Berg, and Lee Bryant.