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Living what I work

This post takes origin from two recent excellent articles I read:

When I read the first article, I felt that I was called in. Not because I am in marketing nor because I am part of any of these new approaches and committees.The McKinsey article makes some clear examples of what I call “formal engagement” (an engagement driven and pushed by the organization). But what is in for me?

I work for a company (IBM) and I am, obviously, attached to the success of my company in the market. But is it “enough” ? I mean, doing my job, trying to do it in the better way I can.. these are all good things. I am paid for this, after all!

But the article made me thinking as if I am on “the other side”. I am a customer now. (Well, I am a customer many times during my week!). What motivates me to be attentive to what other people try to sell me? What drives my choice in being more open to listening the message from Company_A instead than Company_B?

This is where I felt “called in”. Regardless from my place in the organization or the tasks I am asked to execute as part of my job…. am I able to deliver the right attention to customers and prospects and ease their life when interacting with me?

 

And here comes the second article.

Work can be more than a job when it stands for something you care about.

‘I’m feeling lucky.’ That’s certainly how I feel coming to work every day, and something I never want to take for granted

Again, Innovation and the experience Susan shared in the article, are great things. But, once again, the personal engagement in what I do, the passion I am doing it, is imho fundamental for both Innovation and for addressing the new market challenges.

I am lucky so far because I am given the opportunity to present, explain, share what I experiment each day. I am lucky because “I am living what I work”, meaning that I can really share what I think is a great way of working. The opportunity I have to talk and explain and share experiences about “Living Social” in the enterprise (and outside of it), reflects the experience I am doing each day. It is not something “I have to do because it is a good thing and because this brings me money in my pocket”. It is something that permeates my work life.

Get Social. What is in for me ?

During the last couple of months, I had several opportunities to talk about “Social Software” and “IBM Connections” to customers. In this period I found myself insisting on a specific concept which I tried to develop customer after customer.

The concept is, imho, very simple. Social Software in the Enterprise is about consolidating the intellectual capital (IC) of the company. IC does not comprise only what is stored in ECM; most of the IC is “transient” in the sense that it is shared among people, it goes hidden into a drawer, it gets forgotten into “C:”…
I think that the consolidation of IC is one of the major gains that Social Software can bring into the picture. Something that goes beyond churn, drawers, hard-drives. And, I think, that this may be one of the possible selection criteria that a company may use to validate the choice of a product: “does product XYZ help me to successfully consolidate the IC of my company?

What I tried to do was to reformulate that same concept for different profiles in the enterprise in order to try to address the question “What is in for me?” at different levels. This because we frequently get objections of the type:

  • “I do not have enough time to do it…”
  • “my people are here to work, not to talk…”
  • “Seems interesting… but what is the ROI of this?”

I have shared a previous post on this point, where I acknowledge the ideas I have found in a very nice article about being able to set the right priorities. I want to share my approach with you.

For Executives: What is in for me ?

Executives should care most about the consolidation of IC:

  • People join a company and leave it.
  • New opportunity arise where it is important to quickly deploy skilled resources.
    How to nurture skills? How to ensure that experiences become part of the background?
  • Each company needs to develop its differentiators in order to chase new market opportunities.
    Corporate culture is what makes the difference, it is the ground on which talents can flourish… How to build a corporate culture based on living experiences?

So, for executives the “What is in for me?” may translate into : how is it possible to consolidate IC and develop my corporate culture in an incremental way? What if people in the company would be able to contribute, each one of them with her own experience, a little glass of water to fill the ocean?

For Managers: What is in for me ?

A Manager has all the interest if her team would be a model in consolidating the corporate IC! Why shouldn’t she encourage people in her team to focus on what really matters for the company and, slowly but steadily, contribute to the culture?

I mean; of course it is fundamental that each person in the team fully concentrates on the priorities and on the schedule. Here we are not defending any anarchical idea whereby people develop long term personal  interests instead of doing their work: here we are saying that instead of leaving good ideas, great discussions, living experiences fall on a stony ground, it may be wiser to have them falling on good earth so that seeds could develop into flowers and trees.

A manager should be proud to drive her team to meet the goals of her company.

For Employees : What is in for me ?

And how does this translate for an employee?
Well, in the current work environment, where we are all deployed on different projects, we are doing several tasks at the same time and where it is more difficult to build strong relationships based on proximity and on long term planning, the possibility to be “the seed which brings a flower” is a career opportunity. It is source of recognition.

And, why not, it is also a possibility of developing interests that go beyond the small perimeter of the projects on which people are deployed (and that are not always chosen by employees….)

When you choose a Social Software platform for your company, make sure that you choose a platform that allows People (Executives, Managers, Employees) to properly build together a company culture by consolidating the corporate IC! Do not choose a platform which only allows people to collaborate or to partially share some information. Choose a platform that puts People at the centre of the experience. As my friend Louis Richardson says: “do not change your business in something different but make your business social!”

User as center of the Universe

I am slowly catching up with some articles I read and over which I wanted to comment. I am dealing with this one SOA needs RIA – Burton Group, because there are few sentences I liked and because it lacks, in my opinion, a proper “end”.

The Value Hierarchy of Web 2.0So, here are the quotes I liked most:

  • “We firmly believe the user experience needs to be a first level priority at the same level as SDLC, platform languages, SOA and security.”
  • “If the business depends on people and people depend on information technology, then the interface between people and information technology — the user interface — naturally has to be very good. If you have an ineffective user interface, you’re going to have a less effective organization.”
  • “…people are the platform. IT is ephemeral. It continues to change over time, but what does not change in business is that the quality of any organization depends on the quality of its workers.”
  • If developers think the goal of SOA is to provide agility in assembling loosely coupled Web services into an application that provides real-time sales data to managers and marketers, they are missing a key component in the Burton view:  “The idea is to make user experience the end goal of any IT initiative and not an afterthought.”

http://hinchcliffe.org/img/useruniversecenter.jpg

I, personally, subscribe to all the above statements. They remember me a very nice article I read a couple of years ago, from Dion Hinchcliffe, titled The Web2.0 Trinity: People, Data and Great Software. The pictures in this post are both taken from Dion’s article, and I use them consistently in my talks around Web2.0 and the evolution of Desktop technologies.

Going forward, there is another quote that my few readers may appreciate:

“We see the next step as RIAD, the rich Internet application desktop. Here you need to look at Adobe AIR, Google Gadgets, the Microsoft Widget Library, to see resident applications that provide you with a visual experience associated with RIA.”

This is even more close to what I have often written in my blog: moving beyond the browser (as we see it today) towards a mechanism where applications, delivered via the web, will be executed locally. GREAT !

What seems missing to me is the very last part of the article

In Burton’s view, the future of the UXP is in using Web widgets, portable chunks of code and gadgets, miniature objects that can be placed on a Web page to provide dynamic content.

With widgets and gadgets, real-time sales data is on the sales manager’s desktop without requiring him to do multiple click-throughs to find a table or chart, the Burton analyst said.

What I think is missing is the name to this approach, a name which already exists. It is called Mashups, isn’t it? What is needed is the possibility to define those widgets in a standard way and be able to mix and match them in different contexts: a Portal, a Mashup environment, a Rich Client, the desktop even….

From "You" to "Them"

Of course, this is NOT the official cover for the POY of Times. But it is a very interesting story (thanks Dvir for having sent the pointer). Quoting the article from Times:

[timePOY_coverImage.jpg]"Don’t get me wrong: all the things that made You You in 2006 are still there. All year long, You were YouTubing, Facebooking, Twittering, chronicling Your life and community, scrutinizing the candidates and the media, videotaping Yourself getting upset on behalf of Britney Spears.

But who made the big noise in the Web 2.0 world this year? It was Them. The professionals, the old-media people, the moneymen — all of Them, conscious that there was profit in Your little labor-of-love socialist paradise. Story of Your life, right? You make the discoveries, They make the Benjamins.

So if 2006 was the year of You, 2007 was the year of Them. Big media companies (like this one) stuffed their sites with blogs, podcasts and video. "

This is, actually, true. And I think that, overall, this has been a good progress for everybody.

How to get Immunity against e-mail?

I thought I would share another couple of sentences I read in a book have very much liked. The book is another masterpiece, The Tipping Point. In the afterword there is a little chapter, titled "Beware the Rise of Immunity". The following are excerpts from there:

The fact that anyone can e-mail us for free, if they have our address, means that people frequently and persistently e-mail us. But that quickly creates immunity, and simply makes us value face-to-face communications – and the communications of those we already know and trust – all the more.

When people are overwhelmed with information and develop immunity to traditional forms of communication, they turn instead for advice and information to the people in their lives whom they respect, admire and trust. The cure for immunity is finding Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen.

During this period I am seeing many posts around "Resolutions for the New Year" which explicitly state that inbox-zero is one of the priorities. So, we could say that

The proper use of Social Software can actually be the cure for immunity. 

social software for businessAnd Lotus Connections can actually provide a big help in looking for Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen inside your community.

The Power User wears Prada

The Devil Wears PradaYesterday I saw the movie “The Devil wears Prada“.

You remember when Miranda asks for the yet-to-be-published copy of Harry Potter?
The way in which Andy manages the situation, by delivering two copies of the book to the twins before they take the train and giving an additional copy to Miranda, anticipating her objection and exceeding her expectation, is so great that I could not resist from immediately thinking to a sentence that I often use in my presentations for Lotus Connections or Web 2.0:

It’s not what work you expect Employee #1234 to accomplish per person-month of work……
It’s the work you never expected would happen, that suddenly creates new business

I hope that no one has to do impossible things in order to really create a new opportunity, but the example was so sharp and sticky !
It really, I think, makes it clear that it is important, today, to be innovative and clever in whichever action we do, in order to apply the passion that is inside us.

Java on the desktop is already here!

I have been surprised when I read this article: James Gosling (Sun) : « Java sur le poste client n’est pas à la hauteur aujourd’hui ». It is in French, so I translate the title here:

James Gosling (Sun) : « Java is not ready today for the desktop »

Strange, isn’t it ? The “father of Java” who, 15 years after, makes such a big statement!Well, the reality is different, as we all know.
Eclipse is there and it is there since sometime now. Eclipse is no more only an “open development platform”, but has become ‘a platform for building and deploying rich client applications”: it is called Eclipse RCP. Many people are developing rich Java applications for the desktop (and for the mobile market also) based on Eclipse RCP:

And, not least, IBM is building the new generation of its products based on Eclipse RCP!

The Universal Managed Client for SOA, called Lotus Expeditor. A platform for building enterprise applications and enterprise mashups that bring the power of SOA towards the desktop and devices

The new Lotus Notes 8 client, which brings the possibility of building Composite Applications centered around the collaboration tools

Lotus Sametime, which provides a new frontier for Unified Collaboration and Communication

Sun may not be ready. But the world is not waiting in order to make Java evolving! And Java is bigger than a trade symbol.

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