KMWorld 2008 – People Drive Web 2.0:Participation Reconsidered


Peter Andrews, Innovation Strategist & Senior Consulting Faculty Member, IBM Executive Business Institute

The needs of the previous generation are very different from today. In today’s context, things change very quickly. Major Web 2.0 tools include:

  • Blogs and podcasts
  • social networks
  • mash-ups and wikis
  • tags and syndication
  • virtual worlds

The problem is that many executives don’t get it, so the executive blog is awful, and the audience is lost immediately.

  • Web 2.0 is a terrific way to enable talent, and to get talented people engaged
  • The tools offer better search, help to establish reputation and trust, and help you stay up to date

Peter measures the audience by asking about their organization’s attitudes toward Web 2.0.

  • Most organizations see the opportunity and are exploring options;
  • very few are actively engaged, whereas a minority see it as too risky or irrelevant.

People with great talent are what’s important. It’s all about the people – the new kind of worker is talented, demanding, motivated, savvy and impatient. They are not interested in paying their dues.

Over half of people at IBM are like this – they’ve been with the organization for 5 years or less. How do you serve these people? They think and operate very differently. Forget about free enterprise. Think enterprise-free:

  • Workers identify with peers, not the organization.
  • Their career is their network.
  • The firm is defined by the knowledge of the workforce.
  • As long as its fun, they’ll keep showing up.

The new model is to pull in people from all different discplines to enable creativity and innovation. How is IBM adapting?

  • The majority  of IBMers collaborate using social software, collaborate, draw on p2p expertise
  • Blue pages is the employee directory with lots of information about that person, a picture, their reporting chain, background and skills
  • Anyone can (and is encouraged) to blog externally (just don’t do stupid things); these are used extensively to identify expertise
  • BlueTube and podcasting for knowledge sharing and dissemination, and to build communities of interest
  • WikiCentral which is maintained by communities of interest, with glossary of acronyms, forums and discussions.
  • IBM in Second Life, which improves remote conversations, improves training and abstract knowledge transfer.
  • Small Blue social networks are emerging; speeds finding expertise and leveraging networks of individuals.
  • Jam technology are structured brainstorming exercises to leverage the wisdom of crowds

Peter thinks that there is work to be done in terms of building trust in social networks. How participant reputations are ranked has some loopholes that need to be addressed. Also, there are considerations that are important:

  • legal concerns
  • security and intellectual property
  • trust and credibility
  • fairness, credit and HR concerns

In the new world, these issues are still important and need to be dealt with. Web 2.0 is all about the talent of people:

  • visibility and reputation
  • develop deeper relationships
  • connect with peers
  • influence the conversation
  • learn more directly

What’s Peter’s view of the future:

  • need some convergence of social media tools – which network do I join? there are too many to choose from, and it’s impossible to keep them all up to date
  • smaller, more real-time pieces of information; see this with Twitter
  • identity management – how to manage our “characters” in Second Life vs. FaceBook vs. LinkedIn

Peter’s final words:

  • Cuture nd individual needs are cntral to understanding
  • Engagement, authenticity, ownership, talent and power are the new keys to success.