The One Year Club: Five Things Companies Learn After a Year of Enterprise 2.0 Adoption

enterpise 2.0

I’m attending the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. I’m sharing my notes from this session. At the outset, organizations are often eager and excited about the benefits they anticipate from cultivating adoption and use of social and collaborative tools. But talk to those same organizations six months or one year after they’ve started, and you’ll hear a different story. Some organizations have experienced measurable success, others are struggling with a range of adoption and use issues, but all will tell you to watch out for several factors they didn’t anticipate.

  • Stewart Mader, Founder and Senior Consultant, Future Changes
  • Thomas Vander Wal, Principal & Senior Consultant, InfoCloud Solutions (speaking, just briefly, from a remote, undisclosed location.)

The issue of lack of capacity is re-thinking how you use the space. He used some urban design analogies, including community adoption and reliability. (Stewart’s wife is a landscape architect.)

Stewart advocates focusing on solving small day-to-day issues instead of trying to change the enterprise. Changing the enterprise is scary to most people. Mass collaboration is not the right way to go. (Wikipedia is a bad model for Enterprise 2.0.) Smaller groups of people who trust each other works better for collaboration.

Collective, community, collaborative, sharing listening and holding onto are each different activities. Different Enterprise 2.0 tools are better at some of these activities and not so good at others.

When focusing on the group, you need to know what type of interaction they need.

Never underestimate how busy people are and how easily they may dismiss a new tool.

Another myth is the 1-9-90 rule (1% create most of the content, 9% do some, and 90% are passive.). Its true for the internet, but not true inside the enterprise. (I also found this to be true. There is much more contribution when focused on a group.) Tools focused at the enterprise as whole, as opposed to working groups, will have fewer contributors. The tools will not have a hockey stick adoption curve that you see on the web. You will see steps of adoption inside the enterprise. You may see spikes of activity, especially after a presentation their use. But that use is merely exploratory.

Rules are for impatient people. See what works and adapt to the use. A pilot is the stepping stone to demonstrate utility and value. Case studies are nice, but internal use stories are much better. Adoption happens at the lunch table. Hearing it helped solve a problem for a person they know is the best sale tool.

Enterprise 2.0 tools are like swiss army knives. They do lots of things. You need to find the best uses. Give people permission and encouragement to find the best uses.

A wholesale replacement can often been seen as being out in left field. People do not like big changes. People have an easier time adopting tools that ease an obvious pain point. You need to fix a problem. The problem is a need. Focus on day-to-day problems.

Tools are the foundation. You need them. But you need to know how to use them.

Stewart ended with his analogy to dog “messaging.” See more: What Can Location-based Social Networks Learn From Dogs? Stewart seems to learn a lot about messaging from his dog.