My takes on the Enterprise 2.0 Summit

As you may certainly know, I was I Franckfurt last week to attend the Enterprise 2.0 Summit. Like last year I found this edition very dense and highmy qualitative. Many things have already been written since thursday so I’ll only highlight a few points a found essential.

1°) It’s all about the format

Even when you have very interesting cases, it all depends in the way they’re presented. The format that forces the speaker to be very factual in 20 minutes before answering the audience during the next 20 minutes makes things very operational. Enterprise 2.0 has been around for a couple of years now and, in my opinion, the time of inspirational discourses saying “believe of die”, “have the faith” is over. Attendees are expecting facts, numbers and the ability to discuss with the speaker in order to raise the points that really interest them and don’t want show homes and fireworks. Since nearly all the attendees were practitionners, we had the opportunity to  listen to very valuable conversations, much more than when speakers at talking to the echochamber.

There were also expert sessions that were more about stragegy but, once again, no soliloquies. Each keynoted ended with a panel and a discussion with the audience. The best way to make sure tha expert talks benefit to the audience.

2°) Europe loosings its hand-ups and finding its way

We often consider that european businesses are more cautious than others when it comes to experimenting new things and more shy when it comes to talk about their initiatives. It seems that times are changing. With Océ, Renault, BMW, Deutshe Telecom, BASF among others, I saw the best case gathering I’ve ever seen. Most of all we we told all the mechanisms of their projects, had insider views and avoided the syndrom of many presentations when, at the end, we tell ourselves “What a great case ! But…in fact,  what did they do, how, and what were the results ?”. During the discussion that followed my session on cultural boundaries, Lee Bryant said that it was high time that european businesses use their difference as a lever and forget the usual reflex that consists in saying “it works in the US so it won’t work here”. I think that it’s the way things are going, considering the way the cases were presented : technical, explaining the whys and the hows. Much more rational than inspirational what is also a demonstration of how they were conceived and implemented with a focus on sense and value rather than engagement and passion.

Still in my session discussion, Lee said that european organization must stop having a defensive attitude toward “imported” concepts. That’s what’s happening. I say enterprises happy to have met their european peers and saying “finally we’re on the right way and, unlike what we could think, we’re not left behind at all”.

Toujours dans la discussion qui a suivi ma session, Lee Bryant disait qu’il fallait cesser d’être sur la défensive systématique face à des concepts “importés”. C’est ce qui est en train de se passer je pense. J’ai vu des entreprises heureuses d’avoir du rencontrer leurs pairs européens et repartir en se disant “finalement on est sur la bonne voie, et on est loin d’être en retard comme on le pensait”.

3°) More processes, less community management

It confirms what I wrote after the last Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston and even reinforces it. In Boston some raised the question of tackling business processes but there were still some doubts about how relevant it was to enterprise 2.0. In Franckfurt it was a no-brainer. The need for tying any project to business processes was obvious for anybody. And the workshop I conducted on business processes and enterprise 2.0 was full in a few minutes so I had to refuse people. Does it mean that community management is not seen as being outdated ?

Not at all. It was mentionned in every case and in many keynotes but as a part of a global system, not less, not more. But one thing is sure : it was not the first concern of conference attendees who were more intereted in project design, its mechanisms, the way to deliver concrete and measurable benefits. I can’t remember having heard many questions on this subject and Bjorn Negelmann,  recognized after the conference that attendees did not even consider it a a future skill set.

In my opinions, both have to articulate. But there’s been an historical focus on community management that made people forgot about the other part of the issue and, most of all, employees need to start from what they know to move toward new models.

I’ll elaborate more on my workshop in a future post but you can already refer to this old post and read Samuel Driessen’s notes.

4°) Enterprise 2.0 is only an intermediary step

Both the opening keynote by Richard Collin and the closing one by Lee Bryant stated that we were heading toward a real transformation of enterprises, working models and value creation models. Will enterprise 2.0 be what will help use achieve these changes ? No. It’s only an intermediary step that help to bring some new tools, behavioral and management changes in the workplace before using them as a lever to transform organizations. It’s about small improvements before a wider and deepper transformation.

That makes much sense for me. Even if we are awate of the scale of the transformation that’s needed, the more reasonable way to achieve it is a soft shift rather than a breaking change. That’s what explains the new rooting in employee’s work flows before going further. As Lee said, entreprise 2.0 is rather a Trojan, even Trojan Mices.  And, as he noticed, no organization has experienced any organizational big bang yet….except, in my opinion, those who had the right DNA and started to work on their organizational model years ago before the dawn of enterprise 2.0.

5°) Welcome to Paris in 2011 !

We used to have a yearly annual E20 Summit in Francfort and a few one day local E20 forums across Europe. The first edition of the parisian E20 forum took place in last march and was a real success so we were about to start working on the second edition. Things will change in 2011 since, the European Summit willbe moving to Paris in October, what makes us cancel the forum in order to keep all our energy for this 3 days event. From a personal point of view I’m at the same time happy and proud to host an international event in my city and I’m looking to working with the other members of the advisory board to make it at least as successful and valuable for attendees as the Frankfurt event used to be these last three years.

Stay tuned, I’ll keep you informed as the organization will progress. The dates will be known in a couple of days.

enterprise 2.0, enterprise 2.0 summit, Enterprise 2.0 Forum, conférences, business process, culture, management, changement, community management,

Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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