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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

Enterprise 2.0 experience: 5 misconceptions

March 28, 2011

This article was originally published on the Boostzone Institute’s blog on March 2010.

Sometimes when participating in the launch of a brand new initiative, a disruptive one, you may feel a bit like the sorcerer’s apprentice and not too sure how to make things happen. Donning your wizards robe and hat, you go ahead with what seems to be the right things to do, while eager to see how others are doing, and learning from the early experiments. In the past week’s meetings I had with several companies moving into Enterprise 2.0, lessons learned were at the centre of the discussion: what, in the transformation effort, is different from originally expected?  Here are 5 misconceptions that came up in the discussions, all valid considerations.

Misconception 1. Enterprise 2.0 mimics Web 2.0
Because both the term and the concept ‘Enterprise 2.0’ was coined from ‘Web 2.0’, and because the technology behind both have the same roots (‘cloud roots’ if I may), because the web outside inspired the enterprise inside, one can think it is just a transposition. Then comes the vision of a plethora of technical features, employees becoming geeks, or staying behind and dragging down the organization, anarchical deployment and use. It did happen to start-ups in early growth phases, but it doesn’t happen to enterprises, because we’re on a different paradigm: we’re  improving an ecosystem. From what I see from corporations who are running the transformation, it gets careful thinking and backing. Moving to Enterprise 2.0 does not change the enterprise’s culture, values and unique specificities, but helps reinforce them. Here are 3 examples on how each organization may get different results from deploying E2.0 within its own patterns: Accenture uses it to invigorate its practices, focus on sharing and exchanging information (and especially the ones they do create), the central pattern is a knowledge network; IBM fosters  innovation and collaboration, getting the employees around the world to unleash their creative thinking and leverage each other’s ideas, the central pattern is collaborative innovation; and Sogeti concentrates on teaming, on sharing and leveraging expertise and experience, the central pattern here is rather corporate efficiency.

Misconception 2. Enterprise 2.0 is a technology issue
As you may already imagine from the above argument, E2.0 is far more than just a technology issue, or the choice of the right technical solution. Technology is the engine: how you will use it is what gives it value – like for a car or a computer. E2.0 is in fact a broad corporate change issue, with dependencies on the corporate culture, a need to be consistent with the corporate strategy (or to update the corporate strategy to make the most of this new paradigm), and organizational impacts, since both hierarchical and transverse work streams will be impacted. It cannot be worked as a normal legacy systems transformation project: while most of the time the CIO is in charge, he must work with the rest of the organization and especially the executive team and HR to make the transformation successful.

Misconception 3. Employees need to be trained before being able to participate
While a minimal training is mandatory (technical: what is a forum, a blog, vs. email, a wiki, etc.; and non-technical: what is collaboration, what are communities, etc.), one can hardly learn and understand the new paradigm without diving into it. The momentum will not come from training at first, though it is indispensable during the transformation. It will come from a common expectation for the organization’s transformation. Remember Enterprise 2.0 is about network and collaboration, and apply the virtuous circle of situated learning: the more people participate, the more they learn, and the more they identify with the wider group, becoming more motivated to participate further.

Misconception 4. Let’s offer it ‘inside’, to prevent employees  joining it ‘outside’
You probably know this argument: what ever happen, people will join the Web 2.0 movement and go on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other Ning things, so let’s offer similar tools internally, so that employees are not tempted any more by the siren’s song. Capture energy, prevent leaks. This argument is still a main one for some solution vendors, while experience has shown that it somehow misleading. First, see Misconception 1, people won’t find ‘inside’ – the empowered enterprise’s ecosystem – what they look for when they go ‘outside’ – extra-curricular activities, communities of practice, etc.-. Both environments are complementary, rather than rivals. Second, having employees ‘fluent’ in 2.0 environments may be a plus – the more they practice, the more they become skilful, adept and efficient – see Misconception 3 – so it is good that they are also present on Web 2.0 platforms. Of course, the corporate policy might help them understand how to represent their company, what to do, what to avoid. And third, last but not least, no company even the biggest can survive isolated: customers, competitors, ideas, insights, research, inspiration… all these are ‘outside’. Being able to go and grub around in the world and fetch intelligence back is an asset.

Misconception 5. Participation should be encouraged by objectives (or rewards)
Because the modern corporation has sustained good results with the management by objectives mantra, one can be tempted to use that process to facilitate Enterprise 2.0 adoption.   This commonly shows as a false-good-idea, a potential ‘faux-pas’ that may turn the effort into a big flop. When deploying Enterprise 2.0 into the corporation, what we seek is adoption, which will result in new work behaviours, strengthen the ties, allow  pooling of  skills and expertise, bring new ideas to light, etc…; and indeed adoption is very sensible to any attempt of control. Short story: an internal community is opened around the subject of Customer Satisfaction. The management is truly interested in getting results, hence it wants its employees to participate, and thus, actively encourages employees’ involvement. Employees get this as a mandatory task that will be checked during year-end appraisal, and they step in the community to ‘please’ the management, rather than because they are interested in the subject or may bring insights to the discussion. At the end of the day, the volume of participants is important, but most contributions are limited to “I agree”, “That may be right” or “Good idea”, i.e. no value add, a waste of time for other members, plus a spiral of disinterest for the few people really engaged with this subject. Lesson learned: one must definitely seek other means to foster adoption, such as viral adoption, value added animation, situated learning, or collective immersion events.  Also, remember that between 1% and 20% of people usually actively participate in Enterprise 2.0 initiatives, depending on the ‘centrality’ of the corporate culture and other factors, and forcing the participation may only get a negative result.

Thanks Didier C., Pierre M., Willem G. And Christian S. for sharing with me their corporate stories.

Community Manager or the Art of Ambiguity: an introduction

March 21, 2011

This article was originally published on the Boostzone Institute’s blog on March 23rd 2010.

What is discussed here is the Enterprise 2.0 Community Managers view, focusing primarily (although not exclusively) on the internal side of it, rather than the social media marketing individuals.

Last fall, Dion Hinchcliffe wrote about the online community manager as the “jack of all trades” in his blog, and his view generated some discussion among Boostzone members and fellows. Hinchcliffe’s diagram is rich and exhaustive, with responsibilities spanning 11 different areas, as diverse as can be, ranging from Platform Management to Brand Management and Staff Development. Among the reactions to the graph, Dominique Turcq liked the approach but thought it made it an unsustainable job and therefore community management should not be just a job definition. I worried about putting all these responsibilities on one head (or even one community management team) and argued that rather the entire organization should take the E2.0 train, and share the load. Philippe Masson, commented that in his past responsibilities as Capgemini’s global leader of the strategy consultants community, with a team to support the assignment, his focus was more fundamental: provide a shared aspiration for the community members, entertain a climate of trust amongst them, and promote the value and fight for the values of the community with group executives.

Then last week, I was asked again about the optimal E2.0 Community Managers’ role description, and how to recruit some. Corporations express some real concerns behind questions about this role:

  • Is this role really needed – isn’t planning for E2.0 mainly deciding about the tools and the content?
  • About the boundaries, in the new paradigm where managers are asked to become team animators – who does what?
  • The Enterprise 2.0 is not a community, nor even a community of communities, it is much more fluid than this, and so is there any use for community management?
  • As a resource, wouldn’t such jobs be an overhead and just go at the next bump in the economy? Any resulting risks?
  • Is there already a market for skilled Community Managers and are they becoming rising stars that companies will hunt and fight over?
  • What authority and power should they have? Could they be trainees? Should they be seniors or executives?
  • Should they be dedicated to this role or can they do something else?

A list of questions addressing different areas, from different contexts, which leads us to presume that there are no standard job description, nor generic rules to get it organized.

Organizations which are still very hierarchical, with information flowing through strict paths, will stumble even more on the Community Management concept. Anyway, the question can be seen from two perspectives: how should the organization address the issue, and what are the main tasks and skills for a community manager (or a community management team).

Organization perspective: beyond community management, a need for governance

Organizations that have already started their transformation are taking mixed routes, but they all have a predominant and critical idea in mind when it comes to community management: foster adoption, i.e. get  participants onboard and make them contribute and find usefulness. In short, make it all alive.

For organizations in the early stages of adoption and deployment, often a steering committee shares the duties: it gathers the heads of transformer functions such as IT, Communication and HR, heads of client functions such as R&D, Marketing or Sales, project management, and community management. The Enterprise 2.0 project managers lead areas distinct from community management: technical interlock, coordination between vendors and internal IT development team, deployment planning, just to mention a few. The Steering Committee works even better when a champion and top executive leads it, and when it incorporates a few prime evangelists. The higher the steering committee members are in the organization chart, the better. They do not need to meet often, as once they are identified it gives the two key players, the community manager and the project manager, the necessary support to make decisions and impact the organization (be it to obtain resources, engage sustaining programs or elaborate further organizational transformation).

community management

This type of structure becomes less formal in more mature organizations, though basically the roles continue.

Community manager skills and task

The community manager, as pictured in such an arrangement, is both the adoption leader and the voice of users – toward the other members of the steering committee, and beyond when necessary. Animation must be subtle, since a community is not an audience and a community manager must step aside from users. Her/his daily tasks are online introductions, offline encouragements, as little moderation as possible, spread the news of the value of Enterprise 2.0 in everyday’s business life, and of the successful initiatives that are rooted there. Adoption is the number one concern, mainly in early stages: it is good to organize some relays such as ambassadors (can also be called advocates, or many other titles) and early adopters. Ambassadors may become more important as the organization appropriates the Enterprise 2.0 model, and have roughly the same duties as Community Managers, although they probably will be more visible as they are closer to the users, and community management will not be their primary role.

Community management may be a thankless role when there are complaints or when executives put pressure to ensure success, and as such holders need a very resilient character. The art of stimulating participation is difficult to master: help each and everyone to step forward in their collaborative identity, without being in the front line, always add value, avoid moderating as much as possible though do make the ethics known.

Some clues … to adapt to the context

  • Yes, community management is needed in Enterprise 2.0, although it may not be linked to specific forums or groups but addresses the wider community engagement.
  • Community management is less about simple animation, more about backstage work to ensure the ecosystem is healthy, alive and useful to its inhabitants. As such it leads to generating value for and from the community. It may be relayed by ambassadors, themselves being super-users and mentors to others, and doing it on top of their regular job.
  • Whether it means a dedicated roles depends on each case; but they must have direct access to the organization’s decision makers, and get listened to when they follow-up on the wider community’s life.
  • Community managers probably can be hired externally, yet they must catch up with the culture and the history – at least recent – of the organization.
  • Over the time, community management might become less formal and fade, however ambassadors will carry on.

One of the community managers I know defines her role as making it useless: she tries to drive enough momentum into the organization, so that she may eventually hand over the very small compulsory portion of her work to anyone atop of the organization, without jeopardizing the result. The ultimate ambiguity.

Is Enterprise 2.0 the neuro-organization?

March 14, 2011

This article was originally published on the Boostzone Institute’s blog in August 2010; a version in French is available here: Entreprise 2.0 et cerveau, quels parallèles ? .

Using metaphors enriches understanding and provides insights that are not only theoretical, but also incredibly practical. Gareth Morgan, in his book “Images of Organization”, mentions the Brain as one of them, among many others. It didn’t strike me as an interesting analogy until recently, when one of my neuro-psy teachers drew neurons connections on a chart. Dependant on the brain territory, you either get neuron highways, i.e. structured and persistent connections, or a fully meshed design where connections can be established on demand, in virtually an infinite number of ways.

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) connections schema caught my eyes: isn’t it similar to what one can draw when picturing the most recent form of an organization, whether you call that Enterprise 2.0, the Collaborative Organization or the Connected Corporation?

Are our brains more evolved than our enterprises?

According to the Triune Brain theory revisited[i], the very first brain development was the Reptilian territory, dedicated to survival: act when everything is calm, escape, fight or play dead when there is a death threat. Second layer was the paleo-limbic, when mammals started to live in herds: it manages relationships in the group. The third brain territory that developed was the neo-limbic cortex, where our character and temperament sit, and where among other things our values are formed and referred to – this territory is present today in a limited number of mammals brains. The PFC is the last evolution stage of the brain and only exists in human brains, and a few apes: it helps us face complexity and new situations. It also manages pure creativity, when one is able to think beyond what-he-thinks-he-knows – see double loop learning from Chris Argyris, for example. That is how it creates new routes of neurons on demand, and how many more connections are kept alive than in other territories.

A small joke among neuro-psy practitioners is that politics are at the paleo-limbic stage, our education system is at the neo-limbic one, and the enterprise is trying to overhaul that same neo-limbic stage. A vision of hope.

Are we making the most of our brains? Forget the old rumor saying we only use 10% of it – this was in the 80’s when we didn’t know what the 90 other per cent was doing. They work at 100% . However, the whole brain does not hold the reins all the time. Where the neo-limbic territory governs automatic responses and actions based on a data bank of known situations (or supposedly known) related to given behaviors, the PFC benefits from a virtually infinite database of very diverse tokens and recollections in which it can search, evaluate and compare. The thing is, most of the time the neo-limbic governs, while the PFC is backstage – even sometimes when it should conduct. It is just like if the PFC has yet to accomplish its full development.

Parallels with todays corporation? The neo-limbic looks like the corporate culture and the processes, whether they are explicit or implicit. The PFC looks like the collaborative and collective potential – when there’s a whole world of talents and knowledge to mine and the power of connections to leverage. The former runs our organizations, the latter may have hints for innovating and solving pervasive issues – though not fully sure how to use it, not sure where it will lead.

Decision-making constituents, action impetus



Who usually drives? Limbic territories: Relationship in the group, character/ temperament/ values, automatisms Corporate culture, processes, hierarchy, policies, norms & rules, etc.
Who can help adapt, progress, change? PFC: complex and new situations are its field, with fully meshed neurons networks and a versatile memory, able to process on-demand – no automatisms there, it is mainly adaptation, creativity and innovation (that are lost in case of lobotomy) ?
Could it be the power of connected people, collaboration and collective intelligence?

Adapt or die – where the power of networking could fuel agility

One easily sees benefits of being able to put the PFC to work: adapt to any situation without chains or barriers, benefit from our total intelligence in any circumstance. Human beings who can do this are very few – as mentioned above, our brains have not yet reached this development level. One can train and improve though, this is some of what we learn to facilitate in neuro-psychology.

One paradox of using the PFC is that one has to let go the effectiveness and efficiency duty in order to become more effective and efficient. A clue is that serene people are in much better shape to address edgy situations. Easy to write, hard to grasp, harder to do!

Back to our comparison, a conjecture would be that the enterprise has to get ready to welcome what may come from collaboration initiatives, and get the most of it. That is, without planning ahead what the result should be, or how it should work. Just wait and see. And, it has to feed it with real and serious problems.

In both cases, brain and corporation, it does not mean the other layer (the neo-limbic / the corporate culture and processes) is off work; it just implies that both layers need to work together and rely on each other.

How can the enterprise get there? Probably one very important ingredient is a culture of change. Because whatever situation you address, there will always be a new and more complex one coming. The power of connected people needs to be tapped, but not tamed: new forms of collaboration, new forms of collective intelligence have to be fed with new issues.

The corporation does not age, but it can eventually die. It may become rigid, make errors in terms of adaptation, and then collapse – most corporations expire before they reach 40 years old[ii]. And in these times where everything accelerates, it is more than urgent to cultivate adaptability, even if it means welcoming uncertainty as a resource.

[i] Among other, by the Institut de NeuroCognitivisme in its neurocognitive and behavioral approach
a Royal Dutch/Shell survey of 1983, the Fifth Discipline, Peter M. Senge


Are modern organizations more zen and more change-ready?

March 7, 2011

Transformatorphoto © 2009 Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig | more info | Wylio

Two organizations with the same activity in a common transforming market: the former has been acquired several times, had its strategy adapted to enhance competitiveness and align with the headquarters, offers high wages and employee retention programs ; the latter offers reasonable wages, has a stable strategy (even a strategy of stability). One could think the first one will better motivate its employees, nevertheless instinctively we understand it is not that simple: the actual issue is about the work atmosphere, which is not only influenced by the wider business environment or financial results. Several factors are in play, and in this instance, the second organization is more zen, less stressful for its employees and executives, and has better medium and long-term durability prospects.

Occupational health versus neurosciences: making the enterprise Biocompatible

In France, the concept of psychosocial risk factors is spreading : it is on the agenda of Human Resources as well as of Corporate Social Responsibility, and has full attention from enterprises and government organizations, as we saw in this recent round table of HEC au Féminin (French).Other countries have a similar focus: see for example updates from the World Health Organization.

Last year, the Institute of Environmental Medicine (IEM) ran a national survey in France whose conclusions are even more interesting as they are analyzing the foundations of welfare and ill-being, not only the symptoms, risks and individual factors. To summarize:

  • Job roles must adapt to people who hold them and vice versa, to allow deep and durable motivation – I’d say, to formulate it differently, that talent analysis should be extended to include personality analysis
  • Information needs to move freely, transparently and appropriately: upstream to allow work to be done, and downstream to improve both individual and organizational synergy. We can see commonalities with Lean management, however here all type of jobs are included as well as an active and continuous constructive feedback about the job, through transparency. Beyond reporting, it touches the very functioning of teams and the corporate culture.
  • Responsibilities and power need to be balanced, for each job and at each organizational level, to avert frustrations and drifts which can surface as power struggles, always hard to live with and usually counterproductive, or a discrepancy between one’s daily tasks and the “heart of function”.

The IEM puts all this unders the concept of biocompatibility at work, and it is obvious that more than the individual and his job, the entire organization as a system has to operate in a healthy way.

Beyond the enterprise’s health: change readiness

The survey report and the tool behind it engaged me more from a corporate adaptability view point than in relation to the psychosocial risks factors. Indeed, when one works on organizational change, a prerequisite is to delineate if the organization can welcome a transformation. And when analyzing the corporate culture, neurosciences and tools such as the IEM one are of value: a healthy enterprise will be more open and will better adapt than a stressed one, whatever is the change to implement. Not only must what makes the strength of the organization be respected, but one needs to detect and compensate its weaknesses to avoid putting it at risk with a growing distress, if not an identity injury or loss.

Are collaborative organizations less stressing, more agile ?

In addition, the « healthy information circulation » dimension leads one to think of the collaborative organization: have enterprises who undertook this change eliminated some of the stress factors, are they as a consequence more agile?

A while ago I reflected on parallels between the different layers of the human brain and the evolution stages of the enterprise (Is Enterprise 2.0 the neuro-organization?): it led to a picture of some potential similarities between the prefrontal cortex, the last in the brain’s evolution, and collaborative organizations due to their ability to connect people and groups, circulate information independently from the organization chart, and allow collective intelligence. The prefrontal cortex is also the area of the brain called upon to address complex or new situations, those which may otherwise generate stress. One can infer that collaborative organizations might well be less stressful and more agile than traditional organizations.

Now when looking at the other two dimensions depicted in the IEM report, responsibility-power balance and jobs suited to people’s deep motivations, there is no a priori evidence that modern organizations might be better there than traditional organizations. Nevertheless, we know that a well deployed collaboration increases people’s autonomy and initiative ability; it seems that collaboration then allows balancing each person’s responsibilities and powers, eventually. There remains the adequacy of jobs to people (to their personalities, beyond their talents): if the enterprise allow its employees to move jobs and maintains a list of openings (which should be the case when the organization communicates correctly), we’re on the right path.

Collaborative organizations and neurosciences which connections, which contributions?

To conclude, one can speculate that a corporate transformation for more cooperation, collaboration and collective intelligence will be easier if the enterprise is in good health ; and that this transformation will make it more agile and stress impervious. If the transformation is well led, and well digested, from the bottom to the top and for all organizational constituents.

Collaborative organizations and neurosciences which connections, which contributions? : this will be the theme of a Boostzone Institute workshop (in French) facilitated by Jean-Louis Prata, IEM’s R&D Director and one of my friends and mentors, on the 4th of March. If you are interested in the reflection and debate, don’t hesitate to join us: more information here .

As this post by @ceciledemailly was originally published on the Booostzone Institute’s blog in French, some linked resources remain in French; google translate or altavista babelfish may help the reader to understand more of these resources.

Les organisations modernes sont-elles plus zen et aptes au changement ?

March 1, 2011

Note: ce post a été publié à l’origine sur le blog de l’Institut Boostzone ici.

Deux entreprises ayant une même activité sur un même marché en pleine transformation : l’une a fait l’objet d’acquisitions en série, d’adaptation de sa stratégie pour améliorer la compétitivité et la rendre cohérente avec celle de la maison mère, offre des salaires élevés, a un programme de fidélisation des employés ; l’autre offre des emplois moins valorisés, a des salaires très raisonnables, a une stratégie stable (on pourrait même dire une stratégie de stabilité). On pourrait croire que la première sera celle qui motivera le plus ses employés- mais instinctivement on sent que ce n’est pas si simple : la question qui se pose immédiatement est celle de l’ambiance dans l’entreprise, et celle-ci n’est pas uniquement tributaire de la conjoncture extérieure ou des résultats financiers. De nombreux facteurs sont en jeu, et en l’occurrence dans cet exemple et avec des résultats financiers comparables, la seconde entreprise est plus zen, moins stressante pour ses employés et ses dirigeants, et a des perspectives de pérennité à moyen terme plus positives.

Risques psychosociaux vs. neurosciences : rendre l’entreprise biocompatible

En France, le concept de risques psychosociaux prend de l’ampleur : il est à l’ordre du jour tant du point de vue des ressources humaines que de la responsabilité sociétale, et fait l’objet de nombreuses attentions de la part des entreprises et des pouvoirs publics, comme l’atteste cette récente table ronde d’HEC au Féminin.

L’année dernière, l’IME[1] a réalisé une enquête nationale d’autant plus intéressante qu’elle utilise les neurosciences et la systémique pour proposer un baromètre très pragmatique : il analyse les fondements du bien ou mal-être, et pas seulement les symptômes, les risques, ou les facteurs individuels. En synthèse :

  • Les postes doivent être adaptés aux personnes qui les occupent et vice versa, de manière à permettre une motivation profonde et durable – je dirais, pour reformuler, que l’analyse des talents devrait être prolongée d’une analyse des personnalités
  • L’information doit circuler de manière fluide, transparente et appropriée : en amont pour pouvoir faire le travail, et en aval pour améliorer la synergie individuelle et organisationnelle. On retrouve des points communs avec le Lean management, mais ici il s’agit de tous type de postes, et d’une recherche active et permanente de feedback constructif sur le job en lui-même, par le biais de la transparence. Bien au-delà du reporting, cela touche au fonctionnement des équipes et à la culture d’entreprise.
  • Les responsabilités et les pouvoirs doivent être équilibrés, pour chaque poste et à chaque niveau organisationnel – pour éviter les frustrations et les dérives, que ce soit les rapports de force, toujours mal vécus et contre-productifs, ou le décalage des tâches journalières par rapport au « cœur de fonction » de chacun.

L’IME rassemble tout ceci sous le concept de « Biocompatibilité », et l’on voit bien qu’au-delà de l’individu et de son poste, il s’agit que l’organisation entière, en tant que système, fonctionne correctement.

Au-delà de la santé de l’entreprise : l’aptitude au changement

L’enquête et l’outil qui est derrière m’ont plus intéressés sur le plan de l’adaptabilité des entreprises que par rapport aux risques psychosociaux. En effet, lorsque l’on travaille sur un changement organisationnel, un préalable est de déterminer si l’organisation est apte à accueillir la transformation. Et lorsqu’on analyse la culture d’entreprise, les neurosciences et un outil tel celui de l’IME appliqué à l’organisation sujette au changement sont précieux : une entreprise en bonne santé sera plus ouverte, s’adaptera mieux et plus vite qu’une entreprise stressée, quel que soit le changement envisagé. Non seulement il faut respecter ce qui fait la force de l’entreprise, mais il faut détecter et suppléer à ses faiblesses pour ne pas l’exposer à un malaise grandissant, voire à une perte d’identité.

Transformatorimage © 2009 Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig | more info

Les entreprises collaboratives : moins stressantes, plus agiles ?

Par ailleurs, la dimension « circulation saine de l’information » mène tout droit à penser à l’organisation collaborative : les entreprises qui ont opéré ce changement ont-elles éliminé certains facteurs de stress et sont elles en conséquence plus agiles ?

Il y a quelques temps j’avais réfléchi sur le parallèle entre les différents niveaux d’évolution du cerveau humain et les différents niveaux d’évolution de l’entreprise (Entreprise 2.0 et cerveau, quels parallèles, aussi en anglais sur le site de Boostzone) : il ressortait de cette réflexion que l’entreprise collaborative présente des similitudes avec le cerveau préfrontal, tout récent dans l’évolution, du fait de sa capacité à connecter les personnes et les groupes et à faire circuler l’information indépendamment de l’organigramme, et à rendre possible l’intelligence collective. Or le préfrontal est aussi la partie du cerveau mise à contribution dans des situations complexes et nouvelles, génératrices de stress. On pourrait donc en déduire qu’une organisation collaborative et capable d’intelligence collective devrait être moins stressante et plus agile qu’une organisation traditionnelle.

Si l’on examine deux autres des dimensions proposées par l’étude de l’IME, l’équilibre responsabilités-pouvoirs et l’adaptation des postes aux motivations profondes de chacun, pas d’évidence a priori que les organisations modernes soient meilleures que les organisations traditionnelles. Néanmoins on sait que la collaboration bien déployée amène, de fait, une plus grande autonomie des individus, et une meilleure capacité d’initiative ; il semble donc que la collaboration permette aux responsabilités et aux pouvoirs de chacun d’être plus en phase. Reste l’adéquation des postes aux personnes (aux personnalités, au-delà des talents) : si l’entreprise permet à ses employés de changer de poste, et maintient à jour la liste des postes disponibles (et l’on peut s’y attendre dans une entreprise qui communique bien), une partie du chemin est faite.

Entreprise collaborative et neurosciences : rapports et apports ?

En conclusion, on peut supposer qu’une transformation de l’entreprise pour plus de coopération, de collaboration et d’intelligence collective se fera plus facilement si l’entreprise est en bonne santé ; et que cette transformation la rendra plus agile encore et plus imperméable au stress. Si la transformation est bien menée. Et bien digérée. De la base à la tête et dans toutes les composantes de l’entreprise.

Entreprise collaborative et Neurosciences : rapports et apports ? : c’est sur ce thème que Jean-Louis Prata, Directeur R&D de l’IME et l’un de mes amis et mentors, interviendra lors d’un workshop de l’Institut Boostzone, le 4 Mars. Si cela vous intéresse de poursuivre la réflexion et participer au débat, n’hésitez pas à vous joindre à nous : plus d’informations ici.

N.B. : cet article sera traduit en anglais dès que possible, un lien sera posté ici.

[1] Institut de Médecine Environnementale –