Enterprise 2.0 is a set of means…


After a few days of slow blogging, it’s time for me to begin what will be the main thread of following week : some details about my definition of enterprise 2.0.

Let’s begin by the beginning and have a look at the first part of the definition “enterprise 2.0 is […] a set of means”.

To put it in the context, I remember the proposed definition is :

Enterprise 2.0 is the implementation of a set of means that support the forming of people-driven dynamics in order to adapt the enterprise to the challenges of knowledge economy and societal evolution under the constraint of its culture and context.

A set of means ? What kind of means ? Are we only talking about tools or are there much more things to consider ?

Of course we’ll talk about social computing tools, but the means are far behond tools : it’s also what makes tools usable.

I classify the mean in a few categories (even if I admit this could be improved and refined).

– Organizational means : if you want people to adopt 2.0 behaviors, you have to set 2.0 rules. You can’t ask your people to be responsible, autonomous, innovative in a command and control company. Imagine the way you want your people to interact and build the organization pattern with relevant process and workflows to make it possible. E 2.0 still need process and you have to be very precise on the organizational framework to generate freedom.

E2.0 is not the end of process, it only needs fexible ones that give people sense of responsability.

It you don’t align your organizational framework with the way people are supposed to interact in E2.0 you will face two dangers : you won’t reach your goals in terms of efficiency, and the risk of advent of a defiant culture is real (“only promises, they want us to ….but in the other hand everything in the company prevent us from changing”), with the results we can guess : demotivation and loss of implication.

– managerial means : what is the manager role in such an organization ? Management by fear or sensemaking ? Punish failure or passiveness ? How to increase the standing of people who have relevant initiatives ? Make people understant that a manager is the one who succeeds when he makes his people succeed. Arbitrate between control, autonomy, cohesion. Switch from “I’m a good manager because my teams do everything I ask” to “I’m a good manager because I teached them of to be efficient…without me”. Make trust a central value in the company. Set framework rather than rules. Change “command and control” to “connect – trust – check.

Is empowerment back ? Perharps….

You will also have to find the relevant metrics to measure performance and efficiency, find how you’ll evaluate the individual and the group, have in mind that a local evaluation is a non sense in an organization where people interact trans-locally to create value at a global scale.

– technical means : all the above is made to favor interactions between people. Since we admit the intranet is the only place where all employees can meet in a huge and scattered company, we have to implement tools that can support such interactions. I insist on the term “support” : if the managerial and organizational pattern doesn’t match the behaviors implied by social tools, all the blogs and wikis will be useless. Tools are supposed to be used within the organization, not against it.