Radical Transparency


The current buzzword in the markets is “transparency.” Companies want to be more transparent so investors, customers and partners can better understand the company. Some of this came from Enron, whose operations and financial statements were often called “opaque.”

With the growing Web 2.0 it is harder to get secrets as anyone with an internet connection can become a publisher. There are armies of “reporters” looking for the truth. Or at least saying what they believe, regardless of the factual basis.

Some companies are taking it further by making their operations and plans more open to the public. They are embracing web 2.0 to stay connected with their stakeholders. They are becoming more transparent. The Naked Corporation by Don Tapscott and David Ticoll offers an interesting perspective on this

Nobody sane strips down naked in front of their peers. Or maybe you do?

Air New Zealand’s current ad campaign is that they have “Nothing to Hide.” Maybe they took radical transparency too far?

Thanks to Mary Abraham of Above and Beyond KM for pointing out the Air Zealand videos: Why Are You Hiding?


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2 Responses to Radical Transparency

  1. Rachel Happe August 24, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    Hi Doug –

    This ad is a gem… and you are right, very few of us are ready to lay it all out there for our professional peers – and it is not clear that there would be any benefit either.

    Transparency – even for things like opinions about work-related matters – only happens when the people involved want to be transparent. I’ve know plenty of colleagues who prefer to deal with situations behind the scenes because that is how they feel they best get their point made. I think social software puts more social pressure to lay things out in public… but it’s only as good as its participants make it. So, yes, let us not get too carried away – having just spent the weekend on a beach in Maine, I have no interest in seeing lots of people in bathing suits, let alone naked :)

    • Doug Cornelius August 24, 2009 at 11:43 am #

      Rachel –

      Agreed. I think there is a benefit to being more open. But as the ad shows, full transparency can cause other issues.