“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when
we created them.” – Albert Einstein
Einstein was right. In order to solve our problems, be they of healthcare or education or the enterprise, we must look at them with new eyes. The advent of Web 2.0 technologies, social networking, and mobile and cloud computing has given us this ability. We can solve our problems more effectively, less expensively, at any time and with more humanity than ever before.
It may have started as just another smart buzzword, but when Andrew McAfee of MIT coined the phrase and defined the concepts of Enterprise 2.0 over the last few years, he started a movement. It has been a slow one, and one for which we do not yet have all the answers, but one that is increasing in breadth and significance every day. Some only break the surface by adding a “social” technology or two into the enterprise’s portfolio, but others see it as the birth of the “corporate ecosystem.”
It is no longer true that enterprises have finite boundaries. Outsourcing has, at least in theory, integrated other companies with their own cultures into most enterprises. Technology infrastructure has become available as a secure, commodity service to be subscribed to rather than a capital asset to be owned and depreciated. Innovating and keeping product pipelines filled has begun to require enterprises to crowdsource or openly innovate in some way. Customers are using social media and demanding their brands and companies do the same. All of these pressures are breaking down the enterprise walls and forming an ecosystem of people, knowledge and relationships.
I have found success in driving Enterprise 2.0 change into enterprises by “thinking big, starting small and scaling fast.” The first ensures an understanding of what is possible and what is most likely to deliver value quickly. The second provides a level of comfort to those who are skeptical and proves that value can be realized. The third is most important and generally does not end, but is a continuous improvement of tools, processes, information and behaviors getting us ever closer to Enterprise 2.0.