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Emergence

One of the objectives for lean thinking/processes and agile methods is that we don’t know everything from the outset –  that facts appear as we go along, as people get involved, and we’d better construct the way we do things according to that reality. We certainly need to apply that thinking to Enterprise 2.0 introduction into organizations and corporations. Indeed it should be one of the objectives of that introduction to  better facilitate the fact that things emerge – accept that, embrace it and plan for it.

Applying the principle of Collective Intelligence as Internet/hypertext/www pioneers Vannevar Bush, Douglas Engelbart and Tim Berners-Lee promoted.  To collaborate, gather collective info and associative linking was one of the initial objectives of the hypertext model and the Internet, and not publishing static html pages or the print centric approach of documents as knowledge workers have struggled with so far in the MS-Office / file centric world (see: “Whatever happened to the web?” by Burton Groups Peter O’Kelly)

Professor Andrew McAfee defines Enterprise 2.0 as

Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.

Emergent means that the software is freeform, and that it contains mechanisms to let the patterns and structure inherent in people’s interactions become visible over time.

If intelligence/information is to emerge, we need both the right thinking, culture, environment and tools to achieve that. We need to facilitate for the Information Item and look at the emergence and gathering of intelligence not just as a document, but a collection of compound, associative information items. The focus will be on the development of collective/collaborative content and the tools/workplace should be ideally constructed for that

In that spirit McAfee’s emergence definition over, I would propose the following guiding principles:   (pls help me too expand/improve this)

  • None of us  is as smart as all of us
  • Anybody that feel they contribute value should be allowed to comment, not only allowed but also encouraged.
  • Respecting everybody’s opinions – and especially the person expressing the opinion is an obvious one. The first thing you should ask if you don’t agree or can’t understand is “what have I missed here?”
  • None one opinion is sacred or cannot be challenged – until the leader has concluded and asked for loyalty towards the decision.
  • The feeling that your opinion will be threatened if you involve too many, is a hindrance to the basic governing principle of an open, innovative, learning organization.
  • There should be no constructed silos to protect own territory or theories. In fact if the system/infrastructure impose or include silos, the optimum benefit of E2.0 is counteracted. This does not mean that certain sensitive info can not be protected, but it should be user-generated, on-the-fly and perhaps time-dependent protection, not an up-front closed/protecting structure.
  • Apply the principle of The Wisdom of Crowds – meaning that in stead of just chasing the expert – the one individual or the one company – we should stop hunting and instead ask the crowd (which, of course, includes the geniuses as well as everyone else). Chances are, it knows.
  • Any work we do is at one stage or another (if not all) collaborative in nature
  • When we collaborate our work is enhanced and enriched (given more value)
  • In any work we do, somebody (or something?) else in our workgroup/company/related companies or organizations (even or most surely competitors)/country/the world, is/has been/will be working on the same or related issues.
  • Collaboration is the only true form of information/knowledge gathering
  • Knowledge not shared is worthless
  • True collaboration will give more value to and from the knowledge worker

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