Andrew McAfee Keynote -- 4 Key Enterprise 2.0 Tensions

By John Mancini posted 06-16-2010 14:37



I greatly enjoyed Andrew McAfee's keynote at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference. During the keynote, he discussed 4 tensions that currently exist in the E2.0 space.
Tension #1 -- "Cargo Cult vs. Infrastructure"
During the years following World War II in the Pacific, observers noticed a curious phenomenon.  Natives on islands occupied during the war began to build elaborate but non operational airplanes, landing strips, and flight towers.  They apparently hoped that by repeating the actions they had observed during the war, similar results would follow -- namely that huge volumes of cargo and supplies would materialize.  
McAfee's point is that many companies approach E2.0 in the same fashion. They implement an E2.0 tool, send a note out from the CEO, and wait for the "E2.0 Cargo" to just show up, rather than approaching E2.0 as a longer journey for which there are no shortcuts.
Tension #2 -- "Focus on the inner or outer rings?"
McAfee's concentric circles of connections -- From strong connections to weak to potential to none -- are well known. The problem and tension for organizations is most past collaborative initiatives have centered around the inner circles -- cementing relationships that already exist -- rather than finding new ones.
Tension #3 -- A "HiPPO" or super organism?
Many E2.0 initiatives are HiPPO driven -- by the Highest Paid Person in the Organization (past Knowledge Management initiatives come to mind). A preferred approach is drive toward a super organism -- like a gigantic ant colony.  Huge ant colonies have a weird ability to act like they are being directed by the queen, when in fact they are not. They are a self-directed collective in the truest sense of the word. 
Tension #4 -- "Is your core assumption = Stability or Flux?"
The past models for IT automation have centered around standardizing and automating and replicating processes.  And then step and repeat. Is that how you view social technologies? Because if it is you will inevitably be frustrated.
Any misstatements of McAfee's thoughts above rest with me. Get the story from the horse's mouth....Buy his book.
I previously posted a few thoughts on the Enterprise 2.0 Conference via On the Floor of the Enterprise 2.0 Conference.

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