Stumbled upon this very good summary from James Gardner of Lloyds TSB of the questions that face enterprises in deciding if they should ‘unleash’ the power of web 2.0 inside their corporations.
My favourite insight into all of this – which I think I originally heard from Euan Semple and James also mentions – is when managers say, ‘Should we really be giving our staff this level of ability to publish content?’
Of course, this is the illusion of a decision. Staff already have the power outside of the firewall and will use it as they see fit. And they’ll put their own systems in to do it internally – in Euan’s case several thousand BBC staff were, as I understand it, taking part in discussion groups running on a computer sitting under his desk.
And, since when did we enter into a pitch battle with the people who work in our companies? If you read any piece of corporate literature written in the 90s, you’ll undoubtedly find some contrite aphorism that “our people are our strongest (or only) assett”. Well shouldn’t we start acting like that?
The image at the top of this post (taken from Gaping Void like all of those in this article) is part of Hugh MacLeod’s great porous membrane post. Area B is the conversation which is happening about the company in the real world. Area A is the coverstation that is happening about the company inside the company. Besides the fact that you can prove any point using Venn diagrams, Hugh’s argument is that the membrane “X” is being eroded, whether corporates like it or not, every day. And surely that’s the way it should be. The question for companies isn’t “should we play along?” but “how do we get involved with this so that people understand what it is we care about?”.
A few other great cartoons from Hugh while we’re at it:
(I’ve never understood Creative Commons but these are all from Gaping Void and all the genius is Hugh‘s)