Archive for March 2009

Lawrence Lessig at “Meet the Media Guru”   Leave a comment

Here is what I got from yesterday’s Meet the Media Guru meeting:

  • A long, well phrased, argument that dependency on money conditions politics which then fosters people’s mistrust in the political institutions.
  • At the end, an apology of the internet as a two-way communication platform bringing back to people the power to mobilize and challenge authority long lost with broadcast media (recorded music, really, before radio and TV)
  • Within it, a tantalizing hint that some of the features making the internet free are essential for this mobilization and empowerment role. I noted down three – free software, free network and generative application platforms – and I know I skipped one.

What I came looking for and I am still missing: what are these features, what makes them good to empower people participation and mobilization, how best to defend them against would-be and actual, hapless or hapful regulators?

I understand Mr. Lessig has moved on from fighting for the net to fighting for independency of politics from money (corruption). This effort makes him less relevant to the context of free net defense he was summoned to contribute.

Even in its own right, his money-independency argument is well put for the United States, where lobbying is legal and the case needs to be made that politicians, institutions and citizens are better off with lobbying-independent, money-independent politics.

In Italy, monies to politicians are illegal per se, and the assumption of value and lawfulness behind lobbying is completely beside the point.

Looking forward to better occasions to help defend free internet.

Posted March 27, 2009 by Gianluca Marcellino in Uncategorized

Enterprise 2.0 in Crisis Times – notes from the Milan Politecnico event – 2   Leave a comment

The first panel discussion, with speakers from large businesses that have practiced this, turns out more convincing than introductory keynote speeches. The value of injecting 2.0 collaboration patterns in the enterprise appears much more credible from them.

However mediated and embellished, specific real life experiences have a completely different impact from polls and conclusions drawn from polls.

Some lessons:

  • fostering innovative work patterns in highly regulated organizations – like banks, production processes – is clearly challenging, starts out of core processes first
  • use patterns and tools for real work, idle use of tools and patterns around work is whitewash
  • if you touch consumers – and we all do – 2.0 is now. If you hire employees, and all will, too
  • enterprise 2.0 technologies as disruptive and organization-wrenching as PC adoption

Reminds me of the old Apple ad with the company board startled at watching employees walk out with their personal computers. Their, personal, computers.

The second panel discussion, among IT vendors and services companies, is unimpressive.  Asks I welcome:

  • set aside 2.0 slogans and get going – Enterprise 2.0 is just modern enterprise
  • pay the same attention to employees as you do to customers – that’s when employee empowerment will make sense, including 2.0 work patterns

Posted March 25, 2009 by Gianluca Marcellino in Uncategorized

Enterprise 2.0 in Crisis Times – notes from the Milan Politecnico event   Leave a comment

Everybody and their neighbour is here. Mostly gray suits – and grizzly hair, of course: baby boomers obviously bent on driving our way yet another wave, trend, meme.

Ladies are comparatively frequent (10 per cent, perhaps) and younger. A faint blink of diversity – good.

Few key lessons from the results of the survey being presented to introduce the debate (Mariano Corso, Stefano Mainetti):

  • Enterprise change is driven by individual’s adoption of 2.0 tools and practices
  • IT architecture impacts are significant, full support is possible now with significant vendor engagement
  • In the end business and organization will change
  • Crisis – too valuable to be wasted – will help accept, then drive, then sustain structural change paid by short term benefit

Looking at my business, I do see some points strongly validated:

  • impact of individual user adoption – see the company having been taken by storm by IM irresistibly pushed by executive assistants, just few years ago
  • this view very much supports our company’s Technology Vision issued in 2007, 2008 and now 2009 – we read it there first
  • much of what we wrote and understand has been slow in coming: within the organization and with our clients
  • crisis will help

Posted March 25, 2009 by Gianluca Marcellino in Uncategorized

Italians do IT better – as in “Information Technology”   Leave a comment

At family reunions it’s always the remote cousins that left the nest long ago and got around who are best at seeing what you all are, back home, and what you have become.

Here is a valuable story – in Italian – about differences in culture between innovation milieus and our home, most notably the obvious Silicon Valley, Most valuable is probably Fabrizio Capobianco’s assessment of the competitive *advantages* – mind you! – of the Italian environment for developing innovative software. “Da noi si fa il design dei vestiti, il design dei mobili, e il design del software…” = “Here we design clothing, we design furniture, and we design software"…”

Some clichés, but refreshing all the very same.

I like to think I work for a business that has proven, in a very, very different way, the same point.

Thanks, Marco, for pointing this out on fb. Now, let’s use this to drive innovation our ways and wrench this country from the dogs.

Posted March 25, 2009 by Gianluca Marcellino in Uncategorized

What’s in an enterprise online persona   Leave a comment

As I begin building my enterprise online persona, and gathering content to share there, I see two categories to start with. These categories complement basic information that makes up an individual’s online persona.

Interestingly, our enterprise and others provide incentives, recommendations and tools to add some specific items to an enterprise online persona. At this time, I believe most of this is a subset of what an individual online persona contains, and we need to find more and better items that complement this for use within the enterprise.

The two categories I am starting with are:

  1. my network of contacts within the enterprise
  2. some feeds from what I do personally, on the public internet and elsewhere, and want to share within the enterprise to help cooperation there.

I expect my enterprise online persona will then grow by gathering information on what I produce as I work and interact with my colleagues. That will likely become the core content of that persona.

What information do different enterprises recommend individuals to put in their online persona?

Posted March 16, 2009 by Gianluca Marcellino in Uncategorized

A First Finding from Enterprise Social Networking in my Company   Leave a comment

Initial exchanges with colleagues, including some directly involved in managing our own enterprise social networking platform, have highlighted a very possible example of a reasonable business requirement that requires some care to implement it in our collaboration environment of choice.

The requirement is about governing access to what each of us produces during collaboration, including the ‘event’ information that one has produced and posted some specific item. in some specific context

How important has this need been in other organizations, and how has it been handled?

Posted March 10, 2009 by Gianluca Marcellino in Uncategorized

Charting the Future of Enterprise Collaboration: my Company   Leave a comment

My company has a strong history of careful, still very open collaboration and sharing.

How will we help evolve advanced enterprise collaboration and keep providing a tangible example of its benefits?

The current situation is rich and evolving. Here are the main domains and what is happening on each:

  • Instant messaging and presence: we have recently rolled out enterprise level services and are gradually converging from controlled, secure adoption of personal services to enterprise ones.
    The former has been a valuable example of initial adoption driven by end users: in my community at least, executive assistants first spread IM as a great near-synchronous, presence-sensitive communication tool supporting multiple parallel one-to-one threads and that turned presence services into a fact and a must; corporate IT decision was then a matter of how best rather than if.
    I expect the next wave of convergence to the enterprise tools – and associated conferencing capabilities, below – to be driven by user choice more than by corporate IT mandate.
  • Knowledge and document sharing: we arguably wrote the book of pre-internet document sharing integrated with asynchronous communication, including one of the largest and most successful platform migrations. Current document sharing and publishing tools at the project and community of practice level have probably achieved the same level of relative excellence we were proud of on dedicated platforms back in the early Nineties – on a much more advanced capability of course.
  • Asynchronous communication: we were late in adopting email compared to the academic and research community and companies that were born in that environment. We have built a number of add-on tools over time including a thriving email-powered set of discussion forums and recently a “grapevine” application to generate, derive and rate ideas. This grapevine is contributing to our communities’ engagement as well as to their innovation.
  • Social networking within the enterprise is the latest addition to our toolset, and I look forward to exploring its applications. I expect personal profiling will be a strong enabler, and look forward to it enabling a further leap forward in the effectiveness of our collaboration culture.
  • WIki, blogging and other tools are now available and have yet to establish a significant presence internally. I expect presence above and personal profiling will help them take root.
  • Enterprise personal profiling has been a relatively recent addition to our toolset, and may turn out to be a key enabler of our collaboration culture now that our company is an order of magnitude bigger, more diverse and complex than it was when email enabled the first big leap forward in collaboration. Today, I can find experts and understand their focus much better than before, and engage them more effectively.
  • Communication and conferencing: we currently have an overlap of historical centrex-based, voice-only conferencing tool, plus two modern VoIP-enabled voice, application- and screen-sharing tool sets that we have adopted one after the other.
    Convergence and choice here will probably be a matter both of central ICT actions and individual adoption.

To this day, email has remained the lifeblood of, asynchronous, collaboration, empowering a culture of careful, still very, very open sharing and readiness to invest in seeking and sharing information that predates our email adoption by years: I remember experienced joiners being amazed at that back in the early Nineties of the last century, and seasoned professionals then remembering similar feelings at least a decade before.

I am now exploring two main threads:

  • sharing the grapevine idea-evolution application *across* ca ompany and its external partners
  • leveraging 2.0 social networking within the company

Posted March 3, 2009 by Gianluca Marcellino in Uncategorized

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