Correction - the latest postings will be found at http://www.collaborblabber.com. It may take a day before you can access it, due to DNS updates.
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The latest postings can be found at http://collaborblabber.blogspot.com/
(I've been meaning to do this for months - probably years, actually, but been too lazy/busy. When I upgraded my Radio Userland software recently, the WYSIWYG editing no longer worked. Lazy/busy won out yet again, but this time it was easier to move the blog.)
I've been tagged!
Thanks Mike Gotta, for asking me to come out to play. The blog-tag game was started by Jeff Pulver as a way to get to know bloggers beyond their standard blog postings. Sounds like fun to me.
Part 1 of the game is to divulge five things that few blog readers know about me:
1. I'm a high-school drop-up, now with a BS and Masters degree. Maybe I shouldn't dissuade you from thinking I was some kind of child prodigy for jumping into college without finishing high school, but it wasn't that big of a deal. Too often we assume things are "laws of the universe", when it turns out that almost everything is negotiable. You just need the imagination and courage to ask for what you want. Life Lesson: Creativity requires taking risks.
2. My first post-college job was as system administrator for the Cromemco miniframe that my government consulting company ran its business on. Here's my big confession: I DID peek at salaries. Everything IS negotiable, but here I learned that some people were stellar negotiators... and that I was not one of them :-( Life Lesson: Know your weaknesses; maximize your strengths :-)
3. The best decision I ever made in my life? Marrying my best pal over two decades ago. OK, so that's not really much of a secret. But it's just working out so well :-) Life lesson: invest in your passion!
4. I have a fortune cookie fortune taped over my desk that says: "Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." I'm not exactly sure what it means. Some days it seems so encouraging, other times it's just insanity talking. Maybe there simply is no recipe for success, so... Life lesson: Make your own Luck!
5. I haven't blogged in a month... because... I'm... addicted... to YouTube. Play is fun, and can be a really serious learning environment. That's one of the foundational concepts of the tech start-up I've been working on. It blends the fun of social networking with government agencies' education and outreach mandates. Wish me luck that this entrepreneurial effort lets me embrace the life lessons ab ove. I'm supposed to make my own luck, I know, but you can never have too much luck, can you? Life Lesson: there's always more to learn.
My thanks to Mike Gotta for filling in some missing context from an interview I blogged (see Business blogging - start with RSS-enabled Status Reports) recently. I have a terrific respect for Mike's long history in this new world of collaboration tools, but reporters often have space restrictions, and the quote that made it into the article left me wondering what was missing!
Here's what Mike wrote me:
I'd love to know what CIOs are doing today, too. I look forward to Mike's future postings on the topic.
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Are businesses figuring out yet how to manage information with blogs and RSS? "By Invitation Only" (CIO Magazine, Sept 1, 2006) gives us a peek at a few companies that are (IMHO) fooling around with it as an alternative to email and intranets. I'm betting that this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's tough to see what's happening on corporate intranets, where business blogs may be privately proliferating.
I found Mike Gotta's quote surprising in its lack of vision,
While CIOs may be just waking up to the potential power of RSS, Mike Gotta has been enlightening us on collaboration technologies long enough to see multiple uses in the enterprise. I have to assume that in this case, the reporter's translation was off base.
The problem is not a lack of vision (what could be in the future) nor a lack of application (what we can do now), but a lack of adoption. Busy CIOs are at the awareness stage, but given the compelling need for relief from information overload in today's knowledge-driven businesses, expect them to move quickly along the adoption curve.
One approach is to start simply with RSS-driven status reporting. This application shifts an already mandated task to a technology that is more easily consumed, requiring minimal behavior changes and a straightforward measure of success. Rob Boothby has a great post on this topic, and suggests an even easier behavior change: use email and cc: the project blog.
A manager would subscribe to the RSS feeds of each of his direct reports. The team lead for a short-term project would subscribe to categorized feeds of team members that pertain only to that project. An individual contributor might subscribe to his or her manager, coworkers, peers, and mentors in diverse parts of the company.
Management may attempt to control the flow of information so they can put their own spin on things, requesting group-based security to limit who can view their team's reports. Resist this request as much as possible, although compromise may be necessary for initial buy-in. In the long run, staff will adjust to the increased visibility of their reports, and an open communication channel will allow cross-fertilization of ideas throughout the company.
Beyond the internal usefulness, businesses that encourage intranet blogging can begin to mine the native talent looking for candidate external bloggers. The value proposition of carefully selected public bloggers is becoming more obvious as marketing objectives move beyond awareness towards engagement and relationship building activities.
What is your business doing with intranet-based blogs? What do you *wish* they were doing? Send me an email at email@example.com
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New research on Breaking Barriers to e-Government is coming out of Europe, and the tie in between eGov and adopting collaboration is becoming more clear.
Effective collaboration using Internet-enabled tools (virtual collaboration) supports communication across geographically separated locations, positively impacting Barriers 4 (poor coordination), 5 (workplace and organizational inflexibility), and 6 (lack of trust).
Barriers 2 (financial inhibitors), 3 (digital divides), and 7 (poor technical design) are also barriers to adopting virtual collaboration. Addressing these issues as a technology adoption project may provide a lower-risk lever for solving the larger context for each of these issues.
Then there's Barrier #1, Leadership failures. [Insert dramatic pause here.] Solving that one is much more difficult. One starting point is to assist in leadership awareness of the drivers and new demands of the knowledge economy. This is an education issue, but with the busy schedules of most executives in government as well as in commercial organizations, education will need to come through as many avenues as possible, including the media.
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"Until we show our people how collaboration and productivity tools can close more sales or help us meet more deadlines or build better products, they'll pay only lip service to this stuff." says Rob Preston, VP/Editor In Chief at InformationWeek.
Sounds simple, right? Consider the difficulties in calculating investment alone, which may include purchase price or licensing fees, installation and customization, and ongoing adminstration. So far, so good! You've deployed your collaboration tool... yet no one is using it. People don't want to make the effort to learn or use the new tools. Research shows that to get real value out of collaboration tools, you have to change your processes, and that takes additional investment. If you expect your users to adopt new processes, you'll also need to identify which processes they will drop, and overcome the natural human resistance to change.
Whether you use process reengineering or internal marketing to institute top-down process changes, or engage grass roots communities to accelerate bottom-up adoption, or some combination of both, you'll need to invest resources to succeed in technology adoption. Rebecca Wettermann, VP of research at Nucleus Research, considers the human aspects of technology adoption in another InformationWeek article.
So what happens when people attempt to follow Rob Preston's advice? Two possiblities are likely.
First, the "secret success-or-failure scenario" takes hold, and the results don't become public at all. It works this way: if the project is a success, they want to keep this valuable competitive knowledge a secret. If it's a failure, they want to keep this damaging competitive knowledge a secret.
On the other hand, if they do release the results of their fair analysis for a given situation, it doesn't translate to other environments. Arm-chair skeptics have a heyday and doubt is cast on the analysis itself and the company as a side affect.
If you were involved in a successful collaboration project, would you take Rob's advice? Does this mean collaboration requires a leap of faith?
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