Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

What Does Corporate America Think of 2.0?

with 2 comments

In today’s SXSW Interactive session on Enterprise 2.0, Andrew McAfee, principle research scientist with MIT’s Center for Digital Business explained that Web 2.0, and what we’ve come to call the social media, is all about everything that enterprise companies are often not.

In his opening comments, he explained that the definition of “Web 2.0,” if there is such a thing, could best be characterized this way: freeform, visible, emergent, non-credentialist approach to getting work done (collaboration, innovation, search, coordination)…and all the technologies that support them.

Though he cited Gartner’s prediction that social software is becoming more of an enterprise reality in 2010, the corporate mindset isn’t necessarily inclined to simply jump on this bandwagon with no compelling reason.

As McAfee explained, the corporate mindset is typically risk averse, enamored of the status quote, burned (over and again) by tech hype, and unimpressed by novelty. Also, they’re interested in profitability, not social revolution. And they want to maximize their investment in IT, and are hostile to auto-obsolescence: both for technology, and their own roles!

His recommendations on breaking through to the CIO and their minions? Work to sway them with evidence, narratives, even theory. Play to their fear of being left behind.

Also, use comparisons instead of demos (this worked vs. this, which did not). And though it’s fine to present theories and frameworks, they need to be grounded in bullet proof work (case studies), and not just jargon.

Finally, put yourself in their shoes. Show that you understand their problems, anticipate and allay their concerns, and do NOT treat them like geeks or dopes.

You can learn more and meet some of your own peers by joining the 2.0 Adoption Council.

Written by turbotodd

March 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Todd, again, thanks for the summary of session I was unable to attend!

    McAfee’s point about businesses not being about social revolution–did he address the fact that more and more companies are, indeed, transforming their relationship with the public by showing they care about the same things their markets care about–helping to make the world a better place? Many companies are integrating their business strategy with “social revolutions” (e.g., how soda can make the world a better place). This is a huge theme at the SXSW 2010 conference and stems back to days when social technologies first began.

    Tiffany Winman

    March 15, 2010 at 5:49 pm


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