The Social Intranet (Whitepaper)

image Recently intranet expert Toby Ward of Prescient Digital Media published an interesting whitepaper 'The Social Intranet. Key Factors for Intranet 2.0 Success; Social Intranet Success Matrix'. The whitepaper is based on Toby's expertise in this area and an extensive survey.
I'm not going to summarize the paper. Just go ahead and read it. It's worth your time. I do want to share three interesting points from the study:
  1. Intranet 2.0 is cheap. 49% spent less than $10.000 on socializing their intranet. Of course we know social software is relatively cheap. Cultivating it isn't, by the way. But because it's cheap no big investments have to be done to try new media. This is great; you can start right away.
  2. The survey showed that just 29% of the organizations rate the tools as good or very good. Hmm, maybe cheap isn't always good...
  3. And only 33% of the organizations experimenting with social media and intranet have executive support. This is understandable as social media usually bubbles up from the bottom. But I do hope this percentage will go up soon. Executives should understand the power of collective intelligence and transparent communication.
The whitepaper is for free (after filling in some personal information).
And a final note: our work at Océ in this area is also mentioned (bookmarking and idea management)!

Company Thought Leader Blogs

mixer I've been looking around at how companies use blogs. I see several types of blogs:

  • A company blog, sometimes a blog per country (written in the local language)
  • A page with an overview of official company bloggers. Usually these blogs are focused on product or market areas.

Some of these companies have several more bloggers, but they are not listed on the official blog page. These bloggers often clearly state they work for a certain company, but 'the musings on my blog are strictly personal'.

For some reason I find this strange. Why aren't these blog posts (with disclaimers) also listed on the page with official blogs? I think this has something to do with the old style of 'managing' communication. The official company blogs are basically controlled posts, somewhat different from official press releases (they have comments...!), but still pretty much the same.

In this model it would also mean that all our talk about our work and the company we work for with friends and family should consistently have a disclaimer. But it doesn't. It's not natural. Talking about your work and the experiences it brings is natural. Basically all this talk controlled and non-controlled is good. It's building your brand. It's showing to the world you have employees who are smart (- even when they convey disappointment about the companies vision or strategy). Your employees are your thought leaders. The communicate the culture of the organization to the world and take the feedback they get from friends and family back to work.

So if this is mixed in real-life, let's also mix it in our official communications.

What do you think? Do you know of companies that already actively mix communications? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Update May 31, 2010: Stowe Boyd recently wrote a great post about this topic underlining my point. Thanks, Stowe! The ReadWriteBlog also picked up his post.

Winning a Prediction Market

normaldistr Prediction Markets have intrigued me for some time now. I've been reading about them in books such as 'The Wisdom of Crowds' and 'We are Smarter than Me' and 'Wikinomics'. The examples they give are inspiring. But still I find the number of examples, also on the Internet, quite limited. And I think I understand why now. I'll explain why below.

But first something great happened to me some time ago. For one I joined the 2.0 Adoption Council. Which is a great group of enterprise 2.0 practitioners and enthusiasts. It simply is a group of people in this area that want to learn from each other. And then recently the 2.0 Adoption Council set up a Prediction Market. Ah, this is great, I thought, it would give me the chance to experience a Prediction Markt in practice. So I jumped in!

This prediction market was focused on Enterprise 2.0 business and technology. Several statements in this area were put up and the market kicked off.

Every participant got $10.000 to use as virtual money. You could put money on a certain statement based on how convinced you were you'd get it right. But before you did that you'd be ask what the probability was the statement would come true.

This Prediction Market ran for a couple of months. The results will be used in a broader survey of the Enterprise 2.0. But now comes the greatest part of this whole experience: I won the Prediction Market! Wow, I knew my predictions weren't crazy, but with all these smart people in the e2.0 field I didn't think I would win. But I did. Here's a link to the post to prove it!

Back to why aren't prediction markets so visible? For one I think because we're still learning to use the "low-hanging fruit" of web 2.0 in enterprises. Like wiki's, blogs, rss and bookmarking. How do we use these interesting platform in daily corporate practice? How do we get employees to understand their underlying concepts? Etc.

Another reason is the fact that although the idea of a prediction market is easy to understand, actually participating in one isn't. It's not extremely difficult, but it not easy to just click away. You have to have some understanding of statistics. You have to understand how a normal distribution works.

A final reason - that I could come up with - is many people think you need a very large number of participants for a prediction market to be useful and accurate. Crowdcast told me this is not true. They get very good results with groups of 50-75 participants.

So, we have some explaining to do, which is good anyway. My next steps are to look for areas within the company I work for and experiment with Markets. And, I'm also looking for money to go to the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. My prize for winning the Market is a full-conference pass! Now I just need to get their by plane and stay in a hotel somewhere.

The State of the Internet Operating System by Tim O'Reilly

This is why I love the blogosphere! And it proves the blogging is not (just) for dummies and show-offs. There's some real deep thinking and interesting interaction going on on blogs. Need proof? Read this post by Tim O'Reilly about 'The State of the Internet Operating System'. What a great piece! It gives a very interesting and inspiring overview of what the Internet is now and what it can do. Here are some highlights if you're still nog interested in reading it all:

Ask yourself for a moment, what is the operating system of a Google or Bing search? What is the operating system of a mobile phone call? What is the operating system of maps and directions on your phone? What is the operating system of a tweet?

Interesting questions, eh?! O'Reilly goes on to take a look at the competing Internet Operating Systems or The Information Operating System. An Information Operating System because:

The underlying services accessed by applications today are not just device components and operating system features, but data subsystems: locations, social networks, indexes of web sites, speech recognition, image recognition, automated translation.

O'Reilly goes on by deeping out these elements of the web. He also relates back to his paper 'What is Web 2.0?' in which he analyzed 'how the Web as Platform was going to be dominated by data services built by network effects in user-contributed data'. One thing he didn't stress as much then was that the data would increasingly be contributed by sensors. (As he wrote in his paper with Batelle about WebSquared).

He finishes his post with a couple of big questions:

Might an operating system of the future manage when and how data is collected about individuals, what applications can access it, and how they might use it? Might it not automatically synchronize data between devices and applications? Might it do automatic translation, and automatic format conversion between different media types? Might such an operating system do predictive analytics to collect or locally cache data that it expects an individual user or device to need? Might such an operating system do "garbage collection" not of memory pointers but of outdated data or spam? Might it not perform credit checks before issuing payments and suspend activity for those who violate terms of service?

My short answer is yes, I think it will. We are seeing and making it happen.

Too Much to Read

books Do you have too much to read? I do have that 'problem'. I simply find too many things interesting. And the Web isn't making it easier for me with all these interesting posts, videos, articles popping up in my feedreader and in Twitter.

I don't really perceive it as a problem though. I love the fact that all these different sources can be accessed so easily. But I do have to tweak my filter more tightly and take time to read. Another personal strategy is bookmark url's that seem to be interesting (after a quick scan) without reading them. I store them in my social bookmarking tool (Diigo) to read them when I need them. Bookmarking is my social filtering and storing machine. My extended memory. I store stuff that I actually read there (usually with highlights and comments) and stuff that I hope to read (or share) in the future.

What is your filtering strategy? Do you bookmark stuff you haven't read?

Do You Have an Asking Problem?

question Recently John Tropea wrote another great post "It's not about knowledge sharing, it's about engagement and context". In his post he pointed to an older article from KMReview (2004) by Nancy Dixon, "Does Your Organization Have an Asking Problem?". It's an interesting read (although I find the approach a bit too structured...). Anywhere, in her post I found some great quotes I'd like to share with you. They don't only apply to organizations, but to you and me as well. Here goes!

Knowledge sharing begins with a request, not with a solution. (...)

Managers sometimes tell me that people in their organization have a problem with sharing knowledge; but more often than not, people aren't "asking." The organization has an asking problem, not a sharing problem. When people ask, the sharing problem becomes moot.

How organizations talk about "asking" is critical. When company officials say to professionals, "Don't be afraid to ask for help," their words actually work against asking. Asking for "help" denotes helplessness.

Or at least it can. It doesn't have to. To me it's a state of mind. I don't mind asking even if people think I'm helpless. But how about you? Do you ask questions easily? And are people asking you questions?

Rupture - Are You Ready for the 21st century?

Nice video by Michel Cartier titled "Are you ready for the 21st century?" (Found via Luis Suarez on his blog - thx!)

Are You Ready for the 21st Century ? from Michel Cartier on Vimeo.