At a time when many people are discussing the definition of enterprise 2.0 and its ROI, I think it would be better to go back to the basics : making value. In fact, if only a few people really care about the definition, companies (remember our purpose is to help enterprises, not to build the best definition) only care about making value, whatever the name of the concept is.
Basically there are two ways to create value : by doing something better than the competitors, cheaper, and doing something the competitors don’t.
About the first solution, we have to admit companies don’t really need our help. There are many methods aiming at building optimal process (even if they don’t work as well as expected). Doing more with less ressources, improving scalability is what companies have been doing for decades and there’s nothing new about that.
But, if we consider the second point, facts show companies below expectations. Decreting innovation and continuous improvement is not enough to make it work and it needs a specific way of working (just ask people at 3M…)
The point is companies have been so far in the first way that opportunities are marginally cheaper in the second. The second point is an innovation driven organization is built, there’s a real risk of breaking essential parts of the enterprises structures : innovation is here but the organization can’t produce what innovation brings. Improvements are brought but they imply regression at the periphery.
Building an organisation on innovation, serendipity and only on that is heresy. But keeping doing “the way we’ve always done before” in today’s context is a nonsense too.
So what to do ?
The answer is quite simple : exploit both ways but keep in mind that the first goal is to create value and build a competitive advantge in ordre to avoid negative interactions.
And this is not as complicated is it may sound. The first thing to do is to follow the existing processes and identify when people are left to their own devices and have to interact with others to find an information, some ressources…to make it short, when they have to rely on serendipity. Then set the tools and build the organization context that makes serendipity possible.
That look very simple and in some way it is. There’s only one and only barrier : realize that a part of what’s need in the day to day job isn’t in the traditionnal intranet and there’s no way to automate problem solving that’s to say there’s value outside of the processes provided the organization can take it over.
The barrier is not technical or organizationnal : it’s mental and is caused by the refusal of changing paradigm. And in the economic competition winners will be those who’ll acknowledge value cans be found outside the processes.