Just read an article in WELT Kompakt on my plane back to Munich (forced to go analogue, you know). And it inspired me to some thinking around enterprise 2.0 (how surprising)

The Internet – a cultural experiment 
an interview with Peter Kruse on how the web changes polotics and society
Die Welt Kompakt, November 5th 2010 (printed edition)

In the context of the current demonstrations around the transportation of radio active material to Germany and the “Stuttgart 21” project Peter Kruse was referring to how the web has changed the dynamics of networks. Adding my perspective on a social media inspired workspace I could see some similarities in current and for sure further development.

It’s not just individual driven anymore – now shared subjects can ‘mobilize’ groups and drive change

Q Before the internet it [political protest] worked differently?
A It had to. Collaboration was a lot more identity than subject driven. Assuming that you and I had a certain interest in environmental protection in common the most likely thing to do would have been to join a respective organisation. We would have met with like-minded people based on a shared identity to increase our potential impact. Over time a resilient network would have developed that would have resisted a crisis as well. In the past strength was developed through a grown identity. In the web strength develops a lot quicker but with less sustainability.

My take To change things and drive new subject corporations had to be founded or division within existing organisations that linked people with a shared subject (and most probably a goal) together. The organisation and hierarchy was the driver. In an enterprise 2.0 new subjects can be developed through a group of people with a common interest – a shared passion. If the operations are less focussed on hierarchical order but more based on a networking approach people can and will find each other to participate in the development of the business. However, adding sustainability to this will be a managerial challenge. Otherwise an organisation will get lost in crowd sourcing craziness. As soon as a certain subject enters a stage where attention and structured development could really turn it into an asset for the company the chance has to be taken and the network driven approach has to be (carefully) changed to a more corporate like way of working. But even then the group dynamics – and in particular the identity with the shared task – has to be maintained in order to avoid the feeling of ‘oh whatever, now the managers think they will take care of it’.

[…]

Q Does the internet re-politize the world or hasn’t protest turned to be more of a happening?
A The interest in public affairs has declined in the past. Currently we’re experiencing a turn in this trend. […] Currently we’re experiencing that the interest especially in regional and local affairs is back. Administrations should open themselves towards e-democracy. Citizens want to and will be more involved – with our without the institutions sake.
Q So the political agenda will now be set by the internet?
A Agenda setting so far was primarily the job of mass media. It seems that this is now increasingly moving towards the networks. One major reason for that is the rapidly increasing amount of involved people and the speed of focal points though resonating effects.

My take Agenda setting – what do we do, produce, market, sell and how we do it – has been management job forever. Now, with the size and decentralisation of companies increasing more and more it’s becoming a challenge to unify the entire organisation and have ears and eyes always on the right market at the right time in the right internal context – for management. If you now involve each single individual in this process a company becomes increasingly powerful. The offering can be sparred against market interest, demand and trends. Without forcing one department (market & competitive research) to be on top of everything. Combined with my take from above this can turn a tanker into a group of powerful and agile speed boats (I know…a constantly stressed picture…). If an organisation would be able to turn all information workers, sales people, marketeers etc. into researchers, business developers grouping themselves in an agile and demand addressing way…it could be one pillar of the new boost in productivity and business acceleration levels that will come after Kaizen in the manufacturing industries.

Seems like enterprise 2.0 will stay my passion for quite a while…it’s so fascinating! 🙂

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