Wednesday, June 20, 2007

90% People; 10% Technology

Jessica Lipnack (NetAge) moderated a panel of Milton Chen (VSee Lab), Bill Ives (consultant), Dan Somers (VC-Net), Jeff Stamps (NetAge) and Tom Witkin (SiteScape). Milton was connected through a VSee application.

Jessica started off have the audience introduce themselves.

My Notes:

Milton started off the panel. VSee is a free audio and video conferencing service through a peer to peer system. Focusing on telepresence, he questioned when is a smile not a smile? How big a picture and how much quality to you need to recognize a smile as a smile. He also advocates teleconferencing from his office. The things in his office makes him smarter and easier to integrate with the conference.

Tom's presentation was entitled: Out of the Cool? In his organization, he found that a cultural change was needed to increase collaboration. Then he found that the technology was not "cool." He thinks people spend too much time assembling a taxonomy that is put in place before the technology was put in place. Users then have to spend a lot of time figuring out how to put their information into the taxonomy. Every user gets a blog, a wiki, a photobook and a guestbook for their personal space. The expectation is to share the space with a few "buddies" then to expand to sharing it with a team.

Next up is Dan. He advocates a Chief Collaboration Officer. He point out that people need training on which collaboration tools to use and how to use them. The tool is like a baseball bat. Without training, the bat is just a very destructive weapon. He also advocated rewarding altruistic behavior. People should be rewarded financially for collaborating and sharing. Regular measurement and training is the key to success; run collaboration audits. You need measurable results.

Next is Bill. In a survey of new hires, they said they got 90% of their information from other people and only 10% from the technology. There is more of a technology challenge inside the enterprise. IT systems are often set up to extract information from users, not make the information available back to the users. Knowledge management can evolve from the transparency of collaboration. Some things need to be kept from being transparent. Engage the users by finding out what they think should be transparent.

Last up is Jeff. He points out that you need to deal with introverts and extroverts. People are different and you need to deal with the differences among them. He is advocating a little different position than Milton. He has been working on a project for 18 months and never had a telephone conversation; all communication went through email and wikis. Milton was preaching the benefits of face time. Some people communicate better through the written word; others through the spoken word.

An audience member brought up the point that Web2.0 often allows a fair amount of anonymity. That will not be true in the enterprise.

An audience member asked about the use of Avatars (Second Life). Jeff thinks there is no infrastructure to support the collaboration, but thinks it may happen.

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