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What corporations could learn from startups

June 24, 2013

Rainbow Bridge © Messiah Devinem FlickrI spent the past months becoming increasingly interested in sustainable innovation entrepreneurship. It is a bit far from my regular organizational change practice, yet it was a great opportunity to compare mindsets and gather some insightful ideas.

Here are some of the clues I spotted.

1 – The right to fail.

During project reviews, some venture capitalists look for evidence that entrepreneurs experienced some flops in the past. They don’t want to invest in ideas, but in men who grow ideas to businesses. When entrepreneurs suffered setbacks during previous startup creations and drew out the lessons from it, they are better equipped to drive a project toward success, and can be handed the necessary resources.

How can we translate this inside the corporation? In the English-speaking world letting people have room for error is not unusual. It can even be a pillar of the learning organization. ‘Trial and error’ originates in scientific innovation and was adopted as a motto by most computer engineers. The right to fail can also be traced, remotely, in the set phrase ‘quick and dirty’ which expresses the choice to get around a problem in an inelegant way, rather than address it the right way, spend more time than planned, or even worse, put other priorities in jeopardy.

When hiring talents, some recruiters ask candidates if they recognize having made mistakes through their careers and what they learnt from it. But in many companies, mistake is rather stigmatized and goes together with a strong resistance to change. And there, asking the question to candidates is rather to check how they would behave when facing attempts of destabilization than to ensure they are able to adapt. Short viewed.

2 – Create ecosystems rather than organizations.

Startups have to ensure that the right persons get connected to the project at the right moment. They need to be adaptive enough to quickly and successfully move forward. A startup might have to change its business model to address the market, or look for complementary technologies to get from a concept to being operational. They need to find the person who has the exact right expertise for a specific issue, who will join the team for a period of time. Such people do not necessarily join the startup as there might not be enough work for a full time job – and their involvement in multiple projects guarantee their insight.

How can we translate this inside the corporation? By both accepting ephemeral teams, letting them be quite autonomous and make their own decisions. It goes beyond the concept of intrapreneurship, when a project is isolated from the main organizational structure, get its own funding and the right to bend some of the standard processes. The idea is to operate this way for all kinds of innovations or projects. It might even lead to include partners or clients inside project teams.Of course we are far from the traditional corporate model. In the post When E2.0 transforms the organization chart, I mentioned some pioneering trials of this nature: as the discussion goes on with my contacts, I notice that this transformation is one of the most difficult but also one of the most promising. Executives backpedaled when committees were changed, this and other crises were overcome: when the organization really tries to operate as an ecosystem, it creates energy and motivation that cannot be found elsewhere.

3 – Hands-on rather than crunching numbers.

When a startup raises money from investors, it has to present some strong and credible business plans.  But we all know that these business plans are expected to last as long as a summer night’s lightning bug. Their aim is to solicit funding, full stop. Managing and developing the business will need a functional knowledge and the ability to put things in perspective. “Hands on!” will command the entrepreneurs.

In the corporation, management relies on reporting. Figures are asked again and again, and it is dreadful if there is no historical data to benchmark.  We compare internal data to market data, competition compares to us, then market surveys compiles all of this, then we refer to these market surveys; are we chasing our tail? From intermediate management level up, one loses sight from the real job of the enterprise if it is not translated in KPIs. “What can’t be measured can’t be managed” said Peter Drucker, and he should have added “and is not knowledgeable by executives”, even more as they hate being drawn in daily issues. While some famous CEOS started at the bottom of the ladder (think Jack Welch, Jim Skinner or Anne Mulcahy), often executives are distant from workers and day-to-day operations, and don’t value common sense and instinct in the corporate environment. Here too, entrepreneurs can inspire corporations.

Startups make a fascinating area, especially when they deal with sustainable technologies. It seems everything can happen, they can take us out of the gloomy set of crises we are living through. Of course, some of them don’t survive and risk is ever-present: here too, the spirit is light-years away from the corporate one.

This post was originally published in French in 01net here.

Billets publiés dans 01Net Entreprises (liste mise à jour périodiquement)

November 23, 2012

Voici la liste de mes billets publiés par 01Net Entreprises:

Les grandes entreprises devraient s’inspirer des start up 10/11/2012

Au moins trois idées très 2.0, issues du fonctionnement des start up, peuvent être récupérées par les grands comptes : accepter le droit à l’erreur, créer des écosystèmes plutôt que …

Manager: embaucheriez-vous un Mage ? 24/09/2012

Maîtrise d’environnements complexes, apprentissage de la gestion d’équipe : les jeux en ligne ne sont pas si loin des serious games. Leur mention sur un CV mérite qu’on y prête attention.

Et si les neurosciences pouvaient aider le changement ? 20/08/2012

En aidant à comprendre le fonctionnement du cerveau, les neurosciences donnent des clés pour comprendre, anticiper et lutter contre la résistance au changement dans les organisations. La discipline … Version anglaise ici

OWS, Anonymous, Wikileaks – trois idées applicables par les entreprises 02/07/2012

A l’instar des mouvements de contestation comme les Anonymous, des salariés en entreprise seraient tout à fait susceptibles de s’auto-organiser pour contrôler, notamment … Version anglaise ici

Le talon d’Achille des projets d’entreprise 2.0 : une courte vue 06/06/2012

Pour réussir, un projet 2.0 a besoin d’une vision d’entreprise clairement définie et d’un appui suffisamment long pour achever son déploiement.

Comment le 2.0 transforme l’organigramme 07/05/2012

L’organisation 2.0 est non seulement plus agile mais elle déplace les pouvoirs et les responsabilités. Version anglaise ici

L’iPad : outil professionnel pour tous 19/03/2012

Les répercussions du succès de l’iPad seront sans doute multiples, que ce soit en entreprise ou à l’école. Des tendances se dessinent déjà comme le Bring your own Device (BYOD), la réalité …

DRH : trois tendances à surveiller 06/02/2012

Ça y est. La période des kick-off est passée, nous entrons dans le vif de l’année, et nous allons bientôt vérifier la validité des plans pensés à l’automne. Selon moi, trois…

Zéro e-mail : une nouvelle stratégie qui va faire des émules ? 02/01/2012

Il y a quelques mois, Atos annonçait vouloir remplacer la messagerie électronique par d’autres outils dans l’entreprise. Si cette stratégie a d’indéniables qualités, les difficultés …

Entreprise 2.0 : cherchez la technologie, trouvez l’humain 07/11/2011

L’entreprise collaborative est trop rarement perçue comme la transformation organisationnelle qu’elle est pourtant, avec tout ce que cela implique de … Version anglaise ici.

Could neuroscience help organizational change?

September 3, 2012

Flaming Lotus Girls Neuron (c) SanFranAnnie in Flickr

This summer during a lunch on a terrace with a friend, one of the guru 2.0 of a French multinational company, we speak about organizational change (yep, even on a terrace in summer…). The issue that concerns us here is how to tackle inhibitors and resistance to change, at a general level, and efficiently. At an individual level, it is possible and quite simple to target each person’s specific needs. If we look at, as an example, the transformation toward collaboration and collective intelligence, the needs may vary from one person to another, from succinct information- for someone already well involved in social networks – to a structured training on tools together with a constructive dialog about benefits expected for the corporation, for the teams and for the individuals, along with threats and best practices.

But during a major strategic change, no corporation can afford to approach individually each of employees, not to mention customers, partners and other stakeholders. A standard program will miss to cover the whole range of individual needs or will become a Rube Goldberg machine. To circle the problem, an idea could be to target people’s ability to address and digest change. Neuroscience brings some interesting ideas to consider here.

Since I’m going to be part of the Organizational change and neuroscience panel at the Neuroleadership Summit in NYC in October, I ask my friend why, according to her, around here many corporate executives seem perplex about neuroscience, while in the Americas there is a growing interest. Her answer comes straight: one can see neuroscience as a manipulative set of tools, and it is not clear how it really works.

I’d like to use this post to revisit some generally accepted ideas.

Neuroscience: spectacles rather than a magic wand

Neuroscience’s objective is to study the brain functioning with the help of the most up to date medical imaging technology. It is a scientific practice that supports other domains, such as cognitive sciences (psychology, AI, philosophy, linguistics, sociology, anthropology), and quite shyly but increasingly some more practical domains such as politics, economics or marketing. All domains use it to validate their models or explore new thinking. Speaking about neuroscience to the corporation thus means that traditional practices will be strengthened by brain study results. Using neuroscience findings independently, haphazardly, would just be like using a language without grammar: it is not workable, given the complexity of our environment. For example, knowing that stress generated hormones kill the short term memory, or that one of the location of automatism is the limbic territory has no practical direct use.

As a matter of fact, the goal of neuroscience is observation rather than intervention to change behaviors. Regular disciplines take care of this. As an example, neuromarketing does not aspire to spur buyers neurons on making them buy unwillingly, but rather to understand how they make their buying decisions, and then hand over to classical marketing. Among other emerging practical disciplines, neuroeconomics aim at understanding why, while we have access to a phenomenal amount of validated knowledge, bad decisions are made and lead to multiple crisis.

The four different brain layers vs. change

Neuroscience validated and completed theories about the brain structure, including for example those like evolutionary psychology from the neurobiologist Henri Laborit. We now know that reptilian complex, the eldest in human evolution, is the location of instinctive states related to survival, including calm action, escape, fight or inhibition (as when an animal plays dead to elude a predator, it is a totally instinctive reaction). The next area, called palleomammalian complex, probably dates from the origin of mammals, manages relations in a group. The neomammalian complex that big apes share with us is the main location of consciousness, moral values, temperament and personality. All these areas work in automated mode, more or less conscious. The last area in the human evolution is the prefrontal cortex, which evaluates the environment and action means around the clock, elaborates new strategies and is the location of creativity.

Cecile Demailly and Dr Riadh Lebib, Research Scientist at Institute of Environmental Medicine

For many of us, change is exceptional and the prefrontal cortex is rarely at the helm; it seems that our evolution is not complete from this point of view. Automatisms from other layers of the brain are rather efficient from known and simple situations. When a new situation or a peculiarly complex one arises, if we address it with automatisms, the response will not be adequate. It will generate stress, which is just the human version of instinctive survival states managed by the reptilian complex: anxiety, aggressively, discouragement, etc.

For people who are involved in a corporate change there are two ideas to draw from the above: first, it is worth to dampen impacts of change by building it in a way that will generate as little stress as possible. Second, it will help to develop people’s ability to face change, i.e. teach them to call upon their prefrontal cortex. This can be learned, just like a sport, through theory, practice and training.

Neurosciences and organizational change

Getting back into our terrace discussion and to the issue of facilitating change at an overall level, here are some typical assignments I deliver inspired from the IME’s[1] neurocognitive and behavioral model:

  1. Understand and anticipate resistance to change: when one knows that it is not possible to change a behavior without unlearning the old way, and that unlearning is far more difficult than learning from scratch[2], one has to acknowledge how difficult changing usages and practices can be. Here, the idea is to match the planned change to the corporate culture. For example, a transition toward more collaboration and collective intelligence should work more easily in a corporation that already values collective frames, such as team spirit, leadership, emulation, or care for the corporate impact on the society and the environment (corporate sustainable responsibility). It should work less well when these traits are lacking, and in rather individualizing cultures such as those based mainly on observation, research, innovation, sales or security.
  2. Evaluate the corporation readiness to change: being used to organizational change is an asset, of course, but it is not enough. Many studies about stress show that it inheres in a decline of adaptability (it is both a cause and an effect[3]). Knowing the level of stress in the organization can be very useful to prepare a change. Benchmarking the stress level against national data will give a first assessment[4]. We then can identify more precisely organizational stressors, such as an uneven distribution of power and responsibility, or opaque areas in the information flow that hinders problem identification and solving. Focusing specifically on these stressors will help planning preparatory actions and improving change facilitation.
  3. Facilitate change: here, the process consists in developing adaptive skills of people who will be impacted by the change. With both theory and practice, we can strengthen and sharpen specific aptitudes that constitute adaptability, such as curiosity, acceptance and hindsight, reflection, personal opinion.
    On of IME’s missions was to help educate student pilots from the French Air Force. Those have been trained to decrease their sensitivity to stress (stressability) with exercises increasing their ability to call upon the prefrontal cortex. As a result, trained pilots exhibited less anxiety, lower cardiac rhythm, and better decisions in the flight simulator, addressing complex situations with half errors and six times more innovative and adaptive strategies on average[5].
    This kind of exercise can complete a traditional change facilitation program which usually mainly consists in communication and operational learning. Whether through including it in the operational courses, or by setting a specific learning module. Participants will benefit of an increased capability to address complex and new situations, – and that will prove useful for the change to bear, but also for the daily work life.

This post was first published on the French IT news site 01net here. For other French posts published on 01Net, check here.

[1] Institute of Environmental Medicine and its partner the Institute of Neurocognitivism

[2] Reported in many scientific studies. One can read for example « The Brain Falters When Rules Change » on

[3] Fench: Le bon stress n’existe pas English translation by Google Good stress does not exist

[5] Fornette, M.-P., Bardel, M.-H., Lefrançois, C., Fradin, J., El Massioui, F. & Amalberti, R. (in press). Cognitive adaptation training for improving performance and stress management of airforce pilots. International Journal of Aviation Psychology.

OWS, Anonymous, Wikileaks – 3 insights enterprises may consider

July 10, 2012

Hacker – image (c) Throbedscribe, Flickr

Could corporate workers self-organize spontaneously, just like activist groups, to confront ethical breaches?

Occupy Wall Street, Anonymous, Wikileaks. The buzz around ‘wild’ initiatives of a new type is decreasing, while the crisis keeps getting bigger and bigger. Gloomy economic and politic al efforts to get out of a suffocating general mood are probably heavy enough to bear, until fall.

Why this post? Because corporations and leaders need to look beyond their direct environment to acquire a better understanding of the world, and take better decisions. The very first tool of any decision maker is to picture a representation of the macrocosm in which he operates, even including elements that seem unrelated or not directly impacting their area. Whether you call this systemics, scenario planning, butterfly effect, complexity, chaos theory, emergence, or new trends, it’s intellectual gym that fosters adaptability. And it is becoming increasingly essential.

I will be proposing here – with humility, debate is welcome – three ideas inspired to me by the cyberactivism. With the risk to offend some of my appreciated clients and colleagues, I have a soft spot for these movements, because from protestation they try to create a better world precisely where it seems impossible. Like sand in the gears. Like David fighting Goliath. Like many heroes from Jack Vance, for science-fiction amateurs.

1 – The silent majority raises a voice

OWS peacefully denounces capitalism abuses. Its members are just like you and me citizens who work, of all age and social groups, not only students, unemployed or troublemakers. Wikileaks, with the help from journalists and many volunteers, makes sensitive information public in the name of freedom of information and of the right to know. Wikileaks has numerous supporters who host mirror sites or archives, like Liberation newspaper in France. Anonymous supports OWS and Wikileaks causes by shutting down websites: among others, they attacked sites of eBay, Mastercard and Sony. The organization also supports other causes like the Arab Spring or fighting against child pornography by hacking websites; that’s where the name ‘hacktivism’ comes from (hacking+activism). They are backed by an emerging social movement, which is spontaneous and elusive, without hierarchy nor leaders nor spokesman.

Cyberactivism movements only recently spread to become a source of information for news businesses and not just a source of scoops. Their broad reach might be due to the fact that all three movements target concerns that most of us have in mind: is the world freewheeling, with politics, economical organizations and enterprises powerless or making it worse?

The silent majority now has one (or more) mouthpieces. What could happen similarly in the business world? Well, such initiatives could burst at a smaller scale and target ethical breaches, fairness issues or sustainable development contempt. Educating the Public Relations department on crisis management to be ready to talk to the media and stakeholders might not be enough. Even less as dissenting initiatives might grow internally only. How to prevent that? By working on root causes of potential problems, rather than strengthen defense mechanisms … And if this means challenging the primary activity for some enterprises, well, at least it deserve some thinking.

2 – Self-organization is not a myth

Self-organization is an emerging phenomenon, not a myth. We are discovering that it does not need a well-oiled complex process to exist, but much rather a sound motivation and collective communication tools. 50 years ago when the first research on systemics started and when socio-technical systems theories were drawn, we thought of a new era in organizational development. The idea was that each team, each worker in the team could engage more in broadening his tasks range and in self-managing. P&G was a pioneer in the 60s. Soon after two pitfalls appeared: first, every worker wasn’t ready for more responsible autonomy, even for a better wage and more sense in his work life. Second, managing teams were not all that ready to hand over their domination and control.

We still find here and there implementation of this model: Whole Foods, W.L. Gore or MorningStar, for example, or Argentina’s fábricas recuperadas movement (workers self-management) in response to the 2001 crisis. That can even make us think that the Enterprise 2.0 can exist without technology, like at Semco or Groupe Hervé.

In the cases of OWS and Anonymous, however, there is no strategy or process to self-organize, but rather spontaneity, balancing and repeated adjustments. That’s the case too for Wikileaks and the mirror sites. Cyberactivists have an intimate understanding of their common goal, this is what holds them together. They also have an emergency feeling which is their fuel. Internet is the flux and the action tool. Each and everyone find his own way to contribute. From that I submit a second proposal: self-organization in the enterprise could come to life without the involvement of executives and managers, if a common goal and urgency feeling appears. We should keep an eye on that.

3 – If the emergence of collectiveness slows things down it’s good!

The accepted theory is that collaboration and collective intelligence are there to boost the enterprise reactivity, make it more agile, quicker. But we are in a world that goes much faster than our ability to even think the transformations needed to adapt our society and organizations. A counter-power that takes time to think about complexity and find where it’s getting out of hands is a real boon. Because enterprises have neither time nor resources to do that. And a good counter-power has to be collective and untamable.

Internet and 2.0 technologies can accelerate communication but also, more broadly, generate a real collective consciousness and slow down wild horses. By wild horses, I mean ill-conceived projects, greedy rather than sustainable strategies, growth as a flagship where balance would be much smarter, reactiveness rather than proactiveness. I then contradict the fact that 2.0 technologies will deliver more swiftness: when they are correctly used, they should slow down decisions and innovations and make them better-advised.

Two years ago, I was often asked the following: “How will we gather all these alerts and good ideas that will be posted on the collaborative platforms and social networks? Should we create a cyber-intelligence department, focusing internally and externally? How to set up the process to redistribute asap all good ideas to the right people in the enterprise? Because they don’t have time to watch …”. I’m not asked this that often any more, which means we are learning: no need for a process as soon as the ‘right’ people, labs, etc. are themselves involved and engaged in the collective way of work . Whatever time they need to do so.

Voice of the silence, spontaneous self-organization, collectiveness that slows down things for a better result – are these three ideas I developed above ringing a bell?

This article was translated (forgive the hectic English) from its French version published on 01Net business here: OWS, Anonymous, Wikileaks – trois idées applicables par les entreprises. For other French posts published on 01Net, check here.

When E2.0 transforms the organization chart

May 30, 2012

This post was originally written for the French online news 01Net then published in the newspaper 01 Business & Technologies’ Opinions section, page 30.

image courtesy of Flickr user Stephenccwu

There used to be a time when people were appalled by the idea of flat organization charts and traditional enterprises morphing into startups. Then the concept of the ‘social’ organization was born, and because the term connotes politics in several countries, it elicited alarming reactions. Over time, we believed there would be no impact. This is proving wrong.

The org chart: a strategy tool for the Enterprise 2.0 too

Beyond depicting the original intent, drawing an org chart is practicing strategy. It can unveil qualities and spot defects inferred by the corporate culture or the strategic plan: such as shunted information or decision channels, bottlenecks, inherent silos, cross-functional departments hacked or diverted from their missions, unbalanced distribution of power and responsibilities, and so forth.

Taylorism recommended to dedicate structure to yield a strict and scientific system, and as a result rigidified the organization. Later, the matrix organization and its evolution, the multi-dimensional organization[1]. The Emergence and Evolution of the Multidimensional Organization. California Management Review., did bring flexibility, especially for the industry and service sectors. Yet even with a matrix or multi-dimensional organization, the modern corporation is far from being agile enough to adapt rapidly to market changes and accommodate abrupt changing market conditions.

Is it utopia to implement the Enterprise 2.0 without touching the org chart?

It is rational to consider the Enterprise 2.0 as more agile: free circulation of the information, more autonomy and initiative allowed and encouraged, and an increased action potential thanks to collaboration. Still, if the pre-2.0 organization mapping  remains, its synergies and predilections will remain too. As well as its antagonisms and unfit areas. It has become more agile, smarter, but it holds the same binding chains.

It is leaders and strategists’ duty to think up how to rework the structure to make the most of collaboration and collective intelligence. I recently facilitated a strategic planning exercise in a pharmaceutical multinational company. The objective was to increase the market reach with no or very little additional resources.   It was almost a survival assignment for a company growing at a double digit rate, yet having to take account of a crisis involving innovation hazards and a tough competitive environment. The plan under consideration was to create virtual communities to address niche markets internationally, or new geographical areas, without stripping too much the organization. A traditional organization, with dedicated teams and support functions, would have required too many people.

A proposal for the org chart 2.0: a virtual layer blanketing the traditional structure

A number of companies have tried this approach. Among them Cisco is a known case study. The communications device manufacturer carried out a thorough transformation in 2008 to be in a position to launch much more market-oriented initiatives. Budget and resources needed for large projects are distributed to working groups and boards, assembled in councils. The overall functioning has become entirely collaborative. The old organizational skeleton remains as a support canvass, but without the old model responsibilities and powers. Even though the company has re-enforced a hierarchical escalation process to address paralysis risks that come with rival resource requests, the working mode remains fundamentally collaborative.

The organization 2.0 might then be a reallocation of power and responsibilities to a virtual org chart that comprises agile components. It is tacked onto the matrix organization which serves as frame; virtual teams last only as long as their mission, and then are fragmented and their resources are distributed into new virtual teams.

How about you – how would you draw your corporation’s Org Chart of the Future?
Many thanks to Susan Scrupski for proofreading this post, much appreciated

  • [1] Stoelhorst, J.W. & Strikwerda, H. (2009). The Emergence and Evolution of the Multidimensional Organization. California Management Review.

E2.0 Practitioners’ reading list: 77 books and articles

May 24, 2012

In case you have nothing to read this summer …

This list was built after I asked a few good contacts of mine about books or articles of reference to read on Enterprise 2.0, the type that could be referred to corporate leaders. Susan Scrupski shared my request public on Google+ to see what could come from crowdsourcing. I was rather targeting organizational change and organizational strategy, though the list came back broader and richer, and the result is great as you will see.

I’d like to thank ‘the crowd’ who completed my original list, quite short in comparison since it had less than 10 titles. Many thanks to: Ana Silva, Andrew Knevitt, CheeChin Liew, Future Labs, Gordon Ross, Jachim Stroh, John Freeman, John Stepper, JP Rangaswami, Luis Suarez, Mark Eggleston, Martin Koser, Meg Tufano, Nigel Barron, Nilofer Merchant, Oscar Berg, Samuel Driessen, and of course Susan Scrupski. In case you want to see who recommended what, the main crowdsourcing thread is here: Google+ thread.

I splitted the list by theme; groups might not all be consistent, since most books cover a wide range of themes; feel free to comment. You may also find the same list in CiteULike, an academic tool wish some 2.0 features, pictures, links to Amazon, allowing to comment and rate books, sort (by tag, author, year, etc), export or complete the list. The list below is ordered by Themes (Change, Complexity, Information economy, Leadership, Networks, Organization, Social capital, Social media, Society, Technology adoption) then by author surname. My own shortlist (red or to read) is highlighted in navy blue.

Change (and crowdsourcing, collective intelligence, collective innovation)

1. Scott Belsky. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality. Portfolio Trade, reprint edition, March 2012.

2. Tim Brown. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. HarperBusiness, first edition (us) first printing edition, September 2009.

3. Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Crown Business, 1 edition, February 2010.

4. Jeff Jarvis. What Would Google Do? HarperBusiness, first edition first printing edition, January 2009.

5. Barry Libert and Jon Spector. We Are Smarter Than Me: How to Unleash the Power of Crowds in Your Business (paperback). Pearson Prentice Hall, 1 edition, October 2007.

6. Thomas W. Malone, Robert Laubacher, and Chrysanthos Dellarocas. The collective intelligence genome. MIT Sloan Management Review, 51(3):21–31, 2010.

Complexity (and self-organization)

7. Paul Cilliers. Complexity and Postmodernism: Understanding Complex Systems. Routledge, 1 edition, March 1998.

8. Steven Johnson. Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software. Scribner, August 2002.

9. Ralph. Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics: The challenge of complexity to ways of thinking about organisations (6th Edition). Prentice Hall, 6 edition, June 2011.

10. David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone. A leader’s framework for decision making. a leader’s framework for decision making. Harvard business review, 85(11), November 2007.

11. Mitchell M. Waldrop. COMPLEXITY: THE EMERGING SCIENCE AT THE EDGE OF ORDER AND CHAOS. Simon & Schuster, 1st edition, January 1992.

Information economy

12. Max H. Boisot. Knowledge Assets: Securing Competitive Advantage in the Information Economy. Oxford University Press, USA, December 1999.

13. John S. Brown and Paul Duguid. The Social Life of Information. Harvard Business Review Press, 1 edition, March 2000.

14. James Gleick. The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood. Vintage, March 2012.

15. Carlota Perez. Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages. Edward Elgar Pub.

Leadership (and management)

16. George Binney, Gerhard Wilke, and Colin Williams. Living Leadership: A Practical Guide for Ordinary Heroes (Financial Times Series). Financial Times Management, 2 edition, April 2009.

17. Stephen Denning. The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century. Jossey-Bass, 1 edition, October 2010.

18. Jason Fried and David H. Hansson. Rework. Crown Business, March 2010.

19. Seth Godin. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Portfolio Trade, first thus edition, April 2011.

20. Gary Hamel. The Future of Management. Harvard Business School Press, 1 edition, October 2007.

21. Charlene Li. Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead. Jossey-Bass, 1 edition, May 2010.

22. Daniel H. Pink. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead Trade, reprint edition, April 2011.

23. Pekka Viljakainen and Mark Mueller-Eberstein. No Fear: Business Leadership for the Digital Age. Marshall Cavendish Corp/Ccb, September 2011.


24. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi. Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means. Plume, reissue edition, April 2003.

25. Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler. Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives – How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. Back Bay Books, reprint edition, January 2011.

26. Malcolm Gladwell. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Back Bay Books, January 2002.

27. John Hagel, John S. Brown, and Lang Davison. The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion. Basic Books, April 2010.

28. D. Krackhardt and J. R. Hanson. Informal networks: the company behind the chart. Harvard business review, 71(4):104–111, 1993.

29. Howard Rheingold. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. The MIT Press, revised edition edition, November 2000.

30. Duncan J. Watts. Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. W. W. Norton & Company, 1st edition, February 2003.

31. Etienne Wenger, Nancy White, and John D. Smith. Digital Habitats; stewarding technology for communities. CPsquare, first edition edition, August 2009.

Organization (and enterprise, strategy, collaboration)

32. William Bratton and Zachary Tumin. Collaborate or Perish! : Reaching Across Boundaries in a Networked World. Crown Business, January 2012.

33. Ross Dawson and Steve Bynghall. Getting Results From Crowds: The definitive guide to using crowdsourcing to grow your business. Advanced Human Technologies Inc, December 2011.

34. Cecile Demailly. The business impacts of social networking. White paper, October 2008.

35. Cecile Demailly. Speeding the adoption of corporate social networking. White paper, May 2009.

36. George Gonzalez-Rivas and Linus Larsson. Far from the Factory: Lean for the Information Age. Productivity Press, 1 edition, August 2010.

37. Morten Hansen. Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, CreatFure Unity, and Reap Big Results. Harvard Business School Press, May 2009.

38. Dion Hinchcliffe and Peter Kim. Social Business By Design: Transformative Social Media Strategies for the Connected Company. Jossey-Bass, 1 edition, May 2012.

39. Scott Keller and Colin Price. Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Wiley, 1 edition, June 2011.

40. Thomas W. Malone. The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style and Your Life. Harvard Business Review Press, April 2004.

41. Nilofer Merchant. The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy. O’Reilly Media, 1 edition, January 2010.

42. Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant. Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World. Que, 1 edition, September 2011.

43. Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese. The Collaboration Imperative. Cisco Systems, San Jose, CA, 1st edition.

44. Evan Rosen. The Culture of Collaboration. Red Ape Publishing, 1st edition, January 2009.

45. Euan Semple. Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do: A Manager’s Guide to the Social Web. Wiley, 1 edition, February 2012.

46. Clay Shirky. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. Penguin (Non-Classics), reprint edition, February 2009.

Social capital (and knowledge management)

47. Ronald S. Burt. Brokerage and Closure: An Introduction to Social Capital. Oxford University Press, USA, October 2007.

48. Robert L. Cross and Robert J. Thomas. Driving Results Through Social Networks: How Top Organizations Leverage Networks for Performance and Growth (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership). Jossey-Bass, 1 edition, January 2009.

49. Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright. Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization. HarperBusiness, reprint edition, June 2011.

50. Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton. The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action. Harvard Business School Press, 1 edition, January 2000.

51. Mario L. Small. Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life. Oxford University Press, USA, reprint edition, October 2010.

52. Douglas Thomas and John S. Brown. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. CreateSpace, January 2011.

53. Martijn van Oorschot. How People Get Lost In Organizations: On Communication And Organizing. Eburon, August 2007.

Social media (and marketing)

54. Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith. The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change. Jossey-Bass, 1 edition, September 2010.

55. David Amerland. The Social Media Mind: How social media is changing business, politics and science and helps create a new world order. New Line Publishing, January 2012.

56. Seth Godin. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Portfolio Hardcover, 1 edition, October 2008.

57. Dave Gray and Thomas V. Wal. The Connected Company. O’Reilly Media, September 2012.

58. Peter Hinssen. The New Normal. Mach Media NV, first edition, September 2010.

59. Arthur L. Jue, Jackie A. Marr, and Mary E. Kassotakis. Social Media at Work: How Networking Tools Propel Organizational Performance. Jossey-Bass, 1 edition, October 2009.

60. Guy Kawasaki. Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. Portfolio Hardcover, 1 edition, March 2011.

61. Amy J. Kim. Community Building on the Web : Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities. Peachpit Press, 1 edition, April 2000.

62. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Harvard Business Review Press, expanded and revised edition edition, May 2011.

63. Howard Rheingold. Net Smart: How to Thrive Online. The MIT Press, March 2012.

Society (including some US centric books…)

64. Nicholas Carr. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. W. W. Norton & Company, first edition edition, June 2010.

65. Bill Clinton. Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy. Knopf, first edition, first printing edition, November 2011.

66. N. Katherine Hayles. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. University Of Chicago Press, 1 edition, February 1999.

67. David Jones. Who Cares Wins: Why good business is better business (Financial Times Series). FT Press, 1 edition, December 2011.

68. John Kao. Innovation Nation: How America Is Losing Its Innovation Edge, Why It Matters, and What We Can Do to Get It Back. Free Press, 1 edition, October 2007.

69. Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. The Cluetrain Manifesto: 10th Anniversary Edition. Basic Books, anniversary edition edition, April 2011.

70. Jeffrey D. Sachs. The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity. Random House, October 2011.

71. Clay Shirky. Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators. Penguin (Non-Classics), reprint edition, May 2011.

72. Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World. Portfolio Hardcover, September 2010.

Technology adoption

73. Jaron Lanier. You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. Knopf, 1 edition, January 2010.

74. Stewart Mader. Wikipatterns. Wiley, 1 edition, December 2007.

75. Andrew McAfee. Enterprise 2.0: The dawn of emergent collaboration. MIT Sloan Management Review, 47(3):21–28, 2006.

76. Andrew McAfee. Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges. Harvard Business School Press, 1 edition, November 2009.

77. Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Portfolio Trade, expanded edition, September 2010.

E2.0 : seeking for technology, uncovering humans

November 21, 2011

This post was originally published in French on 01net.Entreprises, under the title E2.0 : cherchez la technologie, trouvez l’humain

Image courtesy of Ari Hekminen (c)2010 under Creative Commons Attribution / Flickr

In 2006, while the corporate world started to scrutinize the web 2.0 march, MIT’s Andrew McAfee coined the concept of “Enterprise 2.0” with the following definition:  “Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.” Since then, the topic draws passion from geeks, virtuoso users, communicators, and corporation theorists. A quest for the Holy Grail has started with a series of trials such as proving the ROI, comparing[1]  the best technical solutions and discovering the right adoption strategies.

Alas, even if enthusiasts still burst energy, one can hear complaints on the transformation heaviness and its disappointing results. Of course we know that the “if we build it, they will come” mantra rarely works, but still! … we could almost forget about our journey toward 3.0.

Enterprise 2.0 sponsors now admit that it is not that easy to engage users about new ways of working.  The executive team might at best see the transformation as a necessary evil, at worst as a fad, an expensive and subversive novelty. Enterprise 2.0 might often be considered an additional activity, time consuming, and for which objectives are not that clear. Some users balk at stepping up on subjects beyond their roles & responsibilities. While proximity management is easy to convince, because it keeps in touch, middle management shows little interest. And organizations who are ahead of the adoption curve (platforms installed, users trained) are still waiting for the idea storm, the blooming of collective intelligence and participative innovation. In short they wait for greater performance through collaboration.

But the real obstacle to implement the Enterprise 2.0 is mainly linked to the fact that this transformation is seldom seen as an organizational change. Enterprise 2.0’s original rationale was to make the organization more adaptable and alert. Each and everyone may look out, analyze the society, the market, his environment and then warn, propose, or think for the organization. This agility implies that employees will be encouraged to use their wits, their initiative, their autonomy, of while being guided by a vision and a clear and shared mission.

The crucial component I find in organizations who make the most of Enterprise 2.0 is that they challenge their employees, again and again, thought this channel. They call them up on major, transformative, strategic issues.  See for example the documentary “Google, the thinking factory.” What strikes me is their willingness to let individuals at any level, take over the enterprise destiny; for their brains are roped in and they are given nearly impossible challenges and they like it. It is an extreme example, but other organizations such as IBM, Cisco and many more follow that difficult yet promising path.

Curtis Carlson, president of the Stanford Research Institute[2], said:  “In a world where so many people now have access to education and cheap tools of innovation, innovation that happens from the bottom up tends to be chaotic but smart. Innovation that happens from the top down tends to be orderly but dumb.”  

So, shift: seek for the humans!

[2] Quoted by Thomas L. Friedman, columnist at the New York Times


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