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Ross Dawson dishes on E2.0; plus your chance to win his new book!

Ross Dawson
Today is an extra special day for us on the blog. We have two goodies in one. First, we bring you our latest Info Pro-file with Ross Dawson. Ross is globally recognized as a leading futurist, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, strategy adviser, and bestselling author.

One of our bloggers, Janelle, spent some time with him to talk about his approach to Enterprise 2.0, how companies should deploy it, and how it factors into the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Janelle also picked his brain on how he envisions our work lives in 2020, plus what he enjoys most about his job as he travels around the world and advises global organizations.

Catch their Q&A below. But before you do, allow me to tell you about our second goodie of the day. Ross's latest book is "Implementing Enterprise 2.0." We featured it recently on the blog, and think it's a great read to learn how to think about your E2.0 initiative and start rolling out a strategy.

So we're offering one free copy to our blog readers! The rules to enter the contest are simple. First, give our Q&A with Ross a read. Second, leave a comment about it. That's all there is to it.

But make sure your comment isn't just any comment. It's got to be awesome. Thoughtful. Insightful. Unique. The person who leaves the best comment will win Ross's book. So none of that "great Q&A!" That won't do. Impress us with your feedback and inside-baseball knowledge.

The contest starts now and runs til Friday, July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET. We'll read through all the comments the following week and pick a winner. Just give us some time with the Fourth of July weekend and all. (Who else can't wait for BBQing??) We'll announce the winner on the blog, so make sure you check in to see if your name is called.

You have your mission. Read on, and let's get the conversation going!!



Janelle: Welcome, Ross. It's great to have you here with us.

Ross: It's a pleasure to be here.

Janelle: So let's get started. You mention on your blog that your single biggest client-facing activity this year has been speaking to executive teams about the future of business. So what's the vibe out there? Do you think executives are on board with Enterprise 2.0 or is there trepidation about the unknown?

Ross: There's a wide spectrum. Some organizations are well-engaged and tapping the power of social technologies. And then there are those that are at the edges, who realize something is obviously happening here and we need to look at it and find out what the potential is. I have to say more broadly, there is still concern that things are changing, and in particular, the external pieces of social media and how companies can be vulnerable to conversations outside their walls. So there's a very wide spectrum. Everyone realizes it's on the agenda. Part of the task at hand is to shift those attitudes from concern to recognizing the potential.

Janelle: What would you say is the biggest roadblock out there when it comes to E2.0 implementation?

Ross: I don't know if it's a single one. But I think skepticism is at the fore. It might be at different levels of the organization or among different executives or different departments, but there is, I think quite frequently, this feeling of, why is it useful? Yes, certainly I see people using blogs or other social tools, but why is that relevant for business? So I think there is a skepticism, and that's part of why the business benefits need to be visible to overcome that.

Janelle: I want to talk about your latest book, which is "Implementing Enterprise 2.0." It's something that we covered on our blog at Inmagic and there was an excerpt that you had on your blog where you talked about six implications of Enterprise 2.0 for IT. And a couple that drew our attention were your points about how it enables end users and how the requirements for IT security and archiving have gone up. Do you see either of these as an impediment to E2.0 adoption or do you think they are necessary ways to help organizations operate?

Ross: Let's take those individually. First, end users are enabled. This is a really broad trend. It's power for the individual, power for consumers. In this case, power to the end user inside organizations. And the question is how to treat it. The implication for the technology department and CIOs is they can treat this as a threat-and some of them do, they say this is a loss of my control. But I think more are treating this as something fantastic. We are now able to give our users the ability to do things for themselves, rather than have a backlog of requests for us to do. And it lets us be more creative, which is more of an enabler. But I think in some organizations there is still a fear that this is going to undermine the power that the empire has. Security issues are not going to go away. So as you start to see more touch points, more activities, we do need to establish archiving, and still be able to make sure that the right touch points are covered within the boundaries of the organization.

Janelle: You recently keynoted at the Gartner Symposium. What are your thoughts on how E2.0 technologies meld into the Gartner Magic Quadrant? Do you think that that's a realistic way to classify organizations that might span a number of areas, or do you think it pigeonholes companies that might otherwise be classified in multiple areas?

Ross: Enterprise 2.0 encompasses a wide range of approaches, from enterprise blogging to RSS and a whole variety of other technologies. You can map each of those things along lifecycles in the Magic Quadrant. We're increasingly seeing a convergence across providers and vendors in Enterprise 2.0. Some are coming from a wiki platform, and some are coming from a blog platform, and some are coming from a community space, and some are coming from RSS or enabling information. All of them are starting to add on the other pieces which are making them more comprehensive offerings. In a way, it's more challenging to see exactly where and how different offerings play against one other as they start to come from different places and converge in a conversation in the middle. For example, many offerings might have some prosaic wiki tools, and then they're introducing micro messaging on top of that. They're not only at different levels of adoption industry-wide, but they're also at different levels of uptake within a particular organization. This makes analysis more challenging.

Janelle: How are you advising organizations as it becomes more evident that Enterprise 2.0 is not a one-size-fits-all solution?

Ross: I believe in the idea that every organization is unique, and these tools are enabling them to be more unique, to tap the power of their individuality. I use an implementation framework, which is intended to be a starting point for an organization to think through what makes it unique, what we can achieve from this, what our objective should be, what our concerns should be, and so on. An Enterprise 2.0 strategy must also build governance. Governance is unique in an organization, not just through industry and structure, but even the personalities of key individuals who can enable innovation inside the organization. This needs to be part of the strategizing process where we say, okay, we do have some new tools. We do have some new opportunities, and we need to govern that. Out of that I think quite literally flows some pretty clear directions.

Janelle: One of your speaking topics is titled 2020, The Future of Work and Organizations. Can you tell what that's about? Will we be able to teleport to work?

Ross: This is broadly looking at how the world at work is changing. One of the most important things we can seek to understand is the future of work and the fundamental things that change the way we work. Almost all work can now be done anywhere on the planet. That's because we're connected. Also, tasks, functions, and jobs are increasingly being automated as we start to see the exponential growth in processing power. So part of the new work model is greater choice in where we work. Just as many people will work from home as those from offices. The people we work with could be and will be anywhere on the planet. We'll also have the automation of tasks. And contrary to initial thought, this means that in one sense we are becoming more human. We'll continue to discover what we can do that's uniquely human, that cannot be automated. It's an opportunity to look at creativity and how personal relationships affect how we work.

Janelle: What do you enjoy most about your work? The client interaction? The media? The keynotes? The travel all around the world?

Ross: I enjoy all of that in the sense that I love new stimulation and new ideas. And so all of those things, particularly the travel and working with clients. I'm continually confronting new situations, new people, often new activities or new countries, and I thrive on that stimulation. The nature of my work continues to change, as does the nature of my clients, and so on. And I thrive on that diversity of my working experience.

Janelle: I understand you speak five languages. What are they?

Ross: Well, English is one of those. I grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, and learned and spoke French there. I took Spanish in school, and I spent a number of years in Japan and learned Japanese. And I also learned Portuguese because I love Brazil and I spent some time there. So, again, I think that's part of the diversity experience which I love. Learning a new language is part of finding new ways to think about and understand the world.

Janelle: And you have a blog-in English! What's the address?

Ross: My blog is RossDawsonBlog.com, titled Trends in the Living Network, and my website is RossDawson.com.

Janelle: Great. Thanks, Ross, for joining us today.

Ross: It was a great pleasure.

6 comments:

Ellen Feaheny said...

Trust, openness, adventure, share, do right, share, desire for breaking through the status quo with excitement with what is on the other side, and with diligence to also pay attention along the way .... For both execs and employees to agree on these elements is what it takes to really progress well - which is a "journey" and not one without warts ... but if indeed these ideals/values can be embraced as an org - the journey has some interesting reaches .. It'll be a tricky journey for all levels, but one worth trudging ..

Of course I am biased - I drank the E2.0 koolaid years ago. But there is proof in the pudding now (i.e., case studies).

Firenzi said...

E2.0 as realization of Economy of Knowledge model in an organization depends on it's corporate culture. Only everyone united and acting with prisoners' dilemma in mind will not only ease E2.0 way but also give a global knowledge leap boost.

Chris said...

I think the most important insight is that Enterprise 2.0 is not a one-size-fits-all product. E2.0 is a tool that needs to serve specific business processes, and those processes vary wildly from company to company.

It strikes me that the E2.0 movement needs more folks like Ross who put the emphasis on the hard work it takes to build a highly configured solution, rather than the "Field of Dreams" folks who simply advocate getting a tool out to the broadest possible audience.

Nigel Burke said...

Having followed Ross since his first book "Developing knowledge-based client relationships" - which incidentally only mentioned the internet very briefly - it is interesting to see how his thinking has developed and how he manages to tie-back cutting edge technology to basis management principles.

A key element of his first book was how real value creation happens where there is true co-development of ideas and I believe that ultimately this is the promise of Enterprise 2.0 however there are a number of practical obstacles which must be negotiated in reaching this point and hopefully Ross' book will help in this

DSchultz said...

I believe Implementing E2.0 comes down to what some others have said here....whatever you are doing....blog, wiki, etc...you need to be solving a business problem. Increasing collaboration is great, but what is the business problem that you are trying to solve. I think that is what gets the attention of senior management, particularly in these trying economic times.

Mike Cassettari said...

Thank you for all of your insightful comments! In case you didn't see our post announcing the winner, I wanted to announce here too. The lucky person is Nigel Burke! Nigel, just send our blogger Elena an email with your mailing address so we can send you the book. Her email is elena@gregoryfca.com. Look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers!

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