Serving Multiple Generations Presentation at the Legal IT Leadership Summit

This morning’s keynote session is “Serving Multiple Generations – The Role of Web 2.0 and Strategies for IT.” Andrew McAfee is the presenter with myself and Jason Lichter as co-panelists. The session is planned to be released in a wiki later this month.

Andy got into this space three or four years ago when he first heard about web 2.o. At first he was skeptical. He finds companies are very innovative and that they are even better at talking about how innovative they are.

Andy was going watch wikipedia and see it an example of the implosion of the web 2.0 movement. Much to his surprise, it did not. I fact, he found the entries to be incredibly useful and informative. His next thought was how this could useful inside an organization as opposed to the world-wide web.

His definition: “Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.” This is not an incremental change, these are novel technologies and approaches. They offer more than incremental improvement in areas of innovation, collaboration, knowledge sharing, collective intelligence, search and discovery.

There are a few underlying trends that are key to the nature of the change. Social software is new way to look at these. There is the network effects and Metcalfe’s Law. There are free and easy platforms for communication. There is a lack of up-front structure. There are mechanisms that exist to let structures to emerge, so you can find the information you are looking for.

He distinguished between channel technologies and platforms. Email is a channel communication. It is point to point, invisible to others and cant’ be consulted or harvested. Websites are a type of platform; it is universal, visible and consult-able. The problem with the platforms is that you need to know technology and have security rights. Now there are free and easy platforms that remove the expertise and cost associated with the website.

Andy told the story of Wikipedia and Nupedia. He then moved on to del.icio.us and showed us his del.icio.us tags. He compared the del.icio.us tags to the taxonomy of the early days of Yahoo. He pointed out the del.icio.us tag page that shows the most popular tags and which you share.

In talking about clusters and tags it highlighted the powers of the next version of Universal Search and Vivisimo’s semantic clustering.

Andy moved onto the business benefits of Enterprise 2.0. He focused on his Enterprise 2.0 Bullseye. He moved on to the story of the cost savings at Intrawest based in internal blogs: Intranet case study: Intrawest Placemaking.

He moved on to adoption challenges. The biggest is overweighting the advantages of the incumbent and the under-weighting the new. Something new needs to be ten times better for people to shift to the new. Dion Hinchcliffe mentioned this on his Introduction to Social Computing at the 2007 Enterprise 2.0 conference.

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