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Workspace Collaboration: A New Hope May 25, 2007

Posted by Jeff in collaboration, corporate.

I work at a large company and not a day goes by when I don’t think that there has to be a better way (or in some cases, just *some* way) to efficiently share information between a large group of people spread across different teams and different time zones.

One of the things that I find surprisingly difficult is explaining how to improve corporate collaboration to other people. I never really considered myself to be on the cutting edge of the web and software development. I mean, seriously, I just started my first blog in late 2006! (At least 50 million blogs behind being considered an early adopter.) But I find that I am often met with blank stares when I mention Web 2.0 to my co-workers – never mind talking about some of the defining technologies and tools that people are using everyday on the Web. I believe (hope) that this is primarily because a large, corporate IT environment has a tendency to be so conservative that it prevents it’s own people from benefiting from these new advances that are ubiquitous in the “outside” world. It’s not that people don’t want to know about these things – but there is rarely any incentive for them to try. In fact, not only is it often difficult to introduce these new ideas and technologies, but even simply using them can be seen as lazy and wasteful in such a conservative environment.

The good news is that even though I don’t consider myself an overly optimistic person by nature, I truly believe that there is a real opportunity with social computing and Enterprise 2.0 to move some pretty big mountains and change some of the underlying culture in large organizations.

On the other hand I am not optimistic enough to think that it will be quick or easy.


1. jameskeylim - May 25, 2007

I was happy to find your blog Jeff. It’s an important area that you’re talking about.

I am a web strategist working with enterprises and one of the most important things in Web 2.0 adoption is culture.

The culture has to come from the top leadership in order to be effective. Anything lower and it will not be quick or easy.

2. Jeff - May 28, 2007

James –
I completely agree with you that culture is one of the most important things when it comes to Web 2.0 adoption. While I also agree that corporate culture is usually a reflection of the executive leadership team, I also think that waiting for the culture to trickle down from high above does not create a particularly “agile” organization.
I have some further thoughts on this topic – I think that you have just given me something to expand upon in a future post… thanks for the feedback.

3. jameskeylim - May 30, 2007

Looking forward to your future posts on the subject! I do agree the trickle down can be very slow from high above. My hope is that competitive market conditions can also force a healthy change. With leaders like Cisco and SAP announcing that they are adopting Web 2.0, I’m hoping that will give many other leaders the motivation.

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