The future is already here for the mainstream global economy, built on open data, mobile and social connectivity, and the wisdom of crowds. The social sector, by contrast, is showing few signs of the future, continuing to operate in an increasingly outdated paradigm that places a premium on control; a reliance on experts and one-way communication flows; and exists purely in the physical world.
It is important that we become aware how our micro-decisions affect what we do online. What are we paying really attention to? what are we really focusing on? Are we following a specific direction, contributing to something of value, achieving something or just losing ourselves and out time among all the things one can do, find, share?
This article asserts that curation of content will be one of the main ways we will find the best information in our world of information overload. Whatever happened to the idea of the semantic web? Seems like the “Human” is still much better at finding value.
Post on Triple Pundit on online collaboration lists some of the limitations of current crowd-sourcing efforts, and asks:
[H]ow can we use social media not just to inspire more flavor names but more of what matters? How might we leverage the power of the crowd to change what it means to build a brand and be a brand in the wired age?
The author’s conclusion is to build real communities for co-creation:
Based on our experiences to date, we believe private communities like The Collective offer a compelling way to move faster on more substantive issues. And when it comes to sustainability, specifically engaging conscious consumers offers a more effective way to gain perspective, explore new ideas and identify opportunities in any number of mission-critical areas, from supply chain optimization and certification to sustainable design, category growth and positioning strategies.
So for us, the crowd is out. The collective is in. Here’s to putting the “social” back in social media.
The post Why Do Farmers and Nomads Fight? uses a very interesting metaphor to show how the physical characteristics of a resource affect the optimal way to manage it.
Protecting apples and farm boundaries from those who will take them away from you makes sense. Protecting stories, smile, and knowledge makes less sense. Sharing them gives them life — and this is usually what you want to do.
Computer code and trade secrets fall into an interesting category. Are they objects that are owned or concepts that live though sharing? Most people I work with these days have a very clear answer to this. Some are clearly Yes, some are clearly No. Farmers and nomads.
I am involved in an exciting new initiative that works to overcome collaboration problems. This new initiative (that emerged from ParticipationCamp) is called OpenKollab and we set out to providing a space where projects can get support for answering these questions. OpenKollab is both a community and a platform, with a mix of technologist and process oriented people driving it. Check out the wiki and tune into the IRC channel #openkollab and get involved if you believe in openness and want to experiment with new forms of collaboration.
Questions we should ask: How do our projects share data? How do our projects share users? How do our projects share impact? How do our projects connect with other projects? Should we be collaborating on another project rather than inventing another wheel?
Here are a couple of posts, which I think help thinking through what tools are needed within an organization to make workflows more open and transparent and most of all more efficient and effective.
In The Future of Collaborative Networks, Aaron Fulkerson from Mindtouch shares his definition of a collaborative network:
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.
He argues that social media applications are not good tools to solve organizational problems, but often add another layer of disconnected data and application silos. Oliver Marks agrees that there is a “need for flexibility and interoperability with existing applications and [that there are] crucial differences between consumer oriented social life networking and business focused collaboration networks.”
Patti Anklam goes so far as to talk about a tension between connection and collaboration and argues that there is a need to balance both in an organization. Her lesson:
[Y]ou can develop a good social network inside the organization to satisfy the needs for connecting, but when you want to collaborate, you need a tool that provides more rigor for content and task management.
So the solution is to have two separate applications? How will they interact or will they be two silos? What happened to interoperability? Can’t there be tools that can fulfill both needs?
Viral effects are a form of feedback. Viral effects aren’t about “viral marketing”. They’re about the transmission of stuff from one actor to another — in a classic increasing returns pattern: 2 people, 4 people, 16 people, 256 people you can pick your own exponent. That stuff can be flu bugs — or better stuff, like information, reputation, money…anything. The sky’s the limit in a hyperconnected world.
I just realized that I never posted a summary and the lessons learned from the Realtime Virtual Collaboration Workshop I helped organize.
Here is the main summary in form of a presentation we prepared.
Important to note that the organizing group is continuing to work together and will soon give birth to a new enterprise called Radical Inclusion. Radical Inclusion focuses on inter- and intraorganizational collaboration as well as online conference and seminar services to bridge online and offline conversations to create value for organizations and communities.
Interesting talk in the face of the ongoing events in Iran:
Clay Shirky shows how Facebook, Twitter and TXTs help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors however briefly. The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics.