Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Social, location and gaming. Enterprise-ready?

I commented on Dachisgroup's latest post by Bryan Menell, The Equally Yoked Enterprise: Gaming the Plow

It's about tribes, location and gaming, referencing Foursquare and Alex William's post on RWW. The latter is interesting but the 2 years prediction made by Hutch is daring if not just wild. I'm employed by a sizeable enterprise and all my customers are (multi)nationals or Global100 companies, and I do get around - but
haven't seen or heard of more than a wiki here and there, a blog or two, and some Yammer use
It is getting there, sure, but very slowly. 5-10 years in order to become mainstream and settled, but not 2

There's a big difference between social and enterprise, however. The rule on the internet is absence: we connect across Usenet, IRC, peer-to-peer networks and now social networks. Why? Because we're disconnected by distance. The enterprise rule is the opposite: presence. We all stand in the same traffic jam in the morning in order to make it to the same location so we can sit next to each other and do (sometimes completely) different things
No, that doesn't make much sense anymore, even less and less these days, but still

So we can socialise across an enterprise, which is pretty much the same as striping a RAID array: connect the dots vertically as well as horizontally. Makes stuff a lot faster! and redundant as well

But can we use location within an enterprise? It doesn't make much sense to me in a traditional one, where you have one huge building that forms the single location for your enterprise, with a front door for visitors and a back door for suppliers
In fact, "knowing where your people are" might keep ye olde control centre in place even more than we like or need to

It's that very dullness and predictability that made people create their own "check-in" on Foursquare with their home as a base, including street name and number when checking in. Fortunately, PleaseRobMe put an end to that, actually proving that if you have nothing to say, just shut up. Location is no different there from Tweeting or IRL speaking

Looking at Foursquare, what's on the topic of incentives and impetus within an enterprise? Can't have enough of those really, as long as they're fair and square. It touches the knowledge idea I submitted into Ideascale for SBS2010: if you make knowledge sharing easy, cosy and fun, it will be so much greater and more valuable than plowing through KM silo's with faceless docs and presos by the (hundreds of) thousands

I find that there's always room for mindfulness / deepening relationships within an enterprise. Everytime I do, I'm astonished at the relative ease with which such happens, and the depth it can have. On a business level, but also on a personal level. Business intimacy leads to personal intimacy leads to an increased effort to "strive", "do your best"

I've also found that absence of reward and punishment leads to what I call "faceless bureaucratic institutions" that are one step away from extinction. And they hold very, very unhappy people that don't protest or object out in the open, but just do what they want in perfect isolation

I sure see lots of opportunities for a more mindfull approach towards "goals" or KPI's as they're sometimes called (how unattractive and generalised some stuff is, in enterprises - maybe even renaming some will help greatly). These (certificates, grades) are mostly tick-off-the-box and not very satisfying. I keep track of our annual grading nominations, go through them all (hundreds!) and make a point of contacting those colleagues I want to contact. Usually, they're very surprised and happy or even proud to be congratulated

I remember when a few dozen of us Dutch worked across in the UK, "taking the bus" home on Friday. People would drop everything on Thursdays around 2 PM because that was exactly 24 hours before the Friday flight home - online check-in time! and the fight-for-the-best-seat
I quickly spoiled all the fun by claiming a seat while booking, and making reservations up till 6 weeks ahead - I do like to win while cheating ;-)
But it gave us a common topic, and during the few weeks of "competition" every single one came up with smart ideas and sometimes dirty tricks to win - all in good fun of course. I was pleasantly surprised by the degree of pursuit of that goal

I see great use in forming tribes. It's a step towards hives, and this way it's a safe way to virtualise it within the existing enterprise, put it to the test, and tailor it to your needs. Because I'm absolutely positive that the 100K+ people enterprises will not exist in the very same form in 5 years from now

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