You must have noticed how this summer was quiet in the enterprise 2.0 world. Of course, many people were on vacation (above all in France…), but there was a strange feeling. Something like emptiness, a kind of “end of something”. The end of a headlong flight.
The enterprise 2.0 has been knocking on companies’ doors for four years and, the most serious reports confirm it, ifÂ some successfully achieved their transformation, many are struggling behind. The traditional answer has always been the search for “the next big thing”, the trick that will make things change dramatically. The said trick used to be a new tool, a new feature. So the “hunt for the next big thing” kept going on for years. But it appears that this quest is running out of steam.
If we compare it with the “Tour de France”, it may be a high mountain stage. But the comparison ends here : in the “tour” you have to leave the others competitors behind. In our case, we have to help businesses to keep up inventors and visionnaries. We are forced to admit that, as thoughtleaders were climbing faster and faster (pursuing the “Next Big Thing”), those who needed their help to climb the mountain (ie businesses) lost heart, and got off their bicyle in the middle of the ascent. Hence a gap that is the contrary of what was pursued.
If the next big thing doesn’t work, would the answer be an old trick ? Saying that, I mean old traditional methods that makes that things change. They take time, courage, but remain essential because we’re talking about human organizations. Because it’s a human change that had to be undertaken at the human level first, not at the technological one.
Sensemaking, alignment, understanding, making things one’s own… so many words and concepts that may sound old-school but that sum up in a perfect way what things should be.
We often hear complaints because, beyond the concepts, what people need now is to execute. Jakob Nielsen recently issued a report (very interesting…but saying nothing we’ve never heard or read before), that brought interesting insights to whom tries to read between the lines. It says that, if awareness is easy, execution is much more difficult. And when being asked “what’s about your enterprise 2.0 strategy ?”, the answer is often “come back next year”.
Maybe there’s a forgotten step between awareness and execution : making businesses and, above all, people, make enterprise 2.0 become their own thing, buil their own enterprise 2.0 vision.Â Successful pilots seems not to be enough to carry on : consequences have to be drawn, people have to visualize what enterprise 2.0 means when applied to their day to day job, they have to think about their own enterprise 2.0 that won’t be the same as their neighbor’s. It’s a matter of culture, of context, of technical context, of industry, of people. Understand, make things become you own, visualize, conceive, explain. That’s what separates pilots and execution. A good project is nothing without execution, but execution is hazardous without a well conceived project. A successful pilot is not a project : it’s an experimentation that helps to build the project. No one can conceive what one can’t understand with a result he can visualize (and is ready to accept).
Whatever the technological side of the project may be, it’s impossible to get rid of the time that human change needs.
So I don’t think that any next big thing will help execution, but old basics used to be too often neglected.