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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Individual Value Required

Interesting post found via the Communities and Networks Connection - The Future of Collaborative Networks by Aaron Fulkerson, CEO of MindTouch. 

Aaron's main point is that enterprise 2.0 software or enterprise social software should not focus on:

social networks or social software, which is focused entirely on enabling conversations

Instead, Aaron points to what he calls Collaborative networks:

Rather than focusing on socialization, one to one interactions and individual enrichment, businesses must be concerned with creating an information fabric within their organizations.  This information fabric is a federation of content from the multiplicity of data and application silos utilized on a daily basis; such as, ERP, CRM, file servers, email, databases, web-services infrastructures, etc. When you make this information fabric easy to edit between groups of individuals in a dynamic, secure, governed and real-time manner, it creates a Collaborative Network.

Collaborative Networks are focused on groups accessing and organizing data into actionable formats that enable decision making, collaboration and reuse.

Social Networks' Characteristics Collaborative Networks' Characteristics
One to one Group to group
Social interaction centered Objective and content centered
Achieving personal objectives Achieving group objectives
Individual enrichment Operational excellence
Results immeasurable Results measurable


While I agree that making information that is currently in application silos available is really important, I feel like Aaron has missed two really important issues:

Adoption Rate = Perceived Usefulness (PU) * Perceive Ease of Use (PEOU)

Aaron may not have meant this, but he seems to suggest starting with a focus on group value, achieving group objectives.  I'm sure some people will buy into that, but I believe it's a much easier sell if you first focus on individual value.

1 comment:

test said...


I concur with your observation.

Although it is ideal for corporate sponsorship to organize and structure networks, this is always an uphill battle. The more organic development would be that people find the answers when they need it might it from an individual or database. However, the productive networks are those that overlap corporate needs and individual needs.

Conversation is the DNA of networks; not the network. The network and data are only facilities to promote meaningful conversations.

The “productive instances”* (for corporate sponsorships) do occur when conversations meet business needs. Productive instances are only by products of thousand folds of one-on-one conversations (like Tweets) between people and groups. We would NOT realize those “productive instances” if we only aim for them; natural human filtering process.

I may be wrong, but why is there a tendency to relegate conversations as a consequence rather than the goal of networks?


*Productive instances – I just coined this to express a view. Others’ might own this phrase. Are there discussions on productive instances elsewhere?