Jon Hicks - FOWD London 2008 from Future of Web Design on Vimeo.
Nice work, Jon!
We're planning an "intranet lunch" at The Team (I'm not scared to link there now, but watch this space), where we'll be inviting a few customers in to float some ideas we've had. I'll be able to share these ideas once they've been shared with the customers, but in the meantime I've been thinking about the ways in which intranets could be used.
For me, the most interesting function of an intranet is to serve as a medium for serendipitous discovery. In medium to large size companies, especially those which are growing (and yes this applies to The Team, too) information flow becomes an important problem to solve. Not only are more levels of management inserted between senior decision makers and those at the coal face, but it becomes harder for customer facing people to share knowledge between themselves as well.
In addition, as layers of management increase, it becomes even more important for customer facing people to be empowered to innovate, to respond to market conditions and customer demands rapidly and effectively. The chances of this happening increase rapidly when staff are aware of each others skills, problems, experience...and availability.
Senior management has to put tools in place to help this information flow around, and the humble intranet has an important role to play in this. It ain't just about recording information for reference (such as a directory), nor is it just about nourishing existing connections (such as the broadcasting of rules and regulations). It's an opportunity to evolve the way that people collaborate, innovate and succeed.
There are now dozens of existing social tools that can support this objective, and these tools are designed in such a way that they can be integrated into an intranet with virtually no effort. And they're free! Almost every company has people who blog, tweet and tag - they're already sharing stuff, and it's a valuable and quick win to integrate this activity into an intranet. In turn it makes the intranet a more interesting place to visit, increasing traffic, contributions and serendipitous discovery. It's like an un-vicious circle.
On first impression, Twitter in particular looks like a frivilous waste of time. I'd argue strongly against that...I've found it hugely valuable in my past and present jobs knowing what's going through the minds of my colleagues. An individual tweet might have very little value. But when you overlay the twitter streams of a select group of people, serendipitous discovery abounds!
This recession will be great for free and open source because of the shortage of cash. Last recession saw the mainstream legitimisation of open source operating systems...because it was clear and away the most cost-effective choice. The saying I use is, "come for the price, stay for the quality". Perhaps this recession will legitimise many of the applications (CRM, finance, etc.) higher up the stack.I think he's made a good point, but the impact won't be quite as high as he - or I - would like. The fact remains that the most important factor in a choice of technology is confidence in the technology. Large software vendors will continue to court the people making the decisions, giving them misplaced confidence about proprietary software, disarming any financial concerns through spreading FUD about TCO.
Open source services and cloud computing will benefit from the tight financial situation where conditions will favour opex and not capex. It wil be nigh impossible to borrow to buy hardware or a major software license. An open source software product is free to get through the door, and services around it are delivered from opex not capex. Similarly, cloud computing lets a company pay a little to use someone else's enormous capital investment.The comments are worth reading, too.
The poll also showed that the Obama camp had a stronger organisation on the ground, with 43% of potential voters having been contacted by Democratic supporters, while only 33% had heard from McCain supporters.We're watching a future case study as it unfolds. Some social software helps people make connections with people they've never met. And some helps people to establish and nourish relationships that exist in real life as well. Obama's focus on the latter is leading him to The White House. Lessons abound!
It's my view that increasingly, bloggers (and maybe journos too) simply don't want our help. Many bloggers - particularly those who cover tech - love to discover new things and experience them on their own, unaided by PR.Steve, it isn't so much that bloggers (or even the traditional media) want to find their own story. OK, maybe that's a small part of it, but mainly it's that we react badly to anything written in a commercial tone of voice. Look at this random press release.
Me: "the main role of advertising is to use emotion to override informed descisions"I think it's a really interesting point, and as usual polarising an opinion sparks off the grey matter nicely. It really has been nagging me. But why?