The Knowledge Worker Desktop.

Knowledge Work 2.0

by on Jun.13, 2009, under compliance, eDiscovery, enterprise 2.0, government 2.0, software for the knowledge worker

I am trying to get my head into all the buzz around enterprise 2.0 as coined by Andrew McAfee from Harvard University not too long ago and “re-defined” by him less than a month ago.

Leading up to the Enterprise 2.0 exposition here in Boston on  June 22-25, 2009, Andrew has published an interesting take on Enterprise 2.0 – “Toward a Pattern Language for Enterprise 2.0” – seen from an “academic language view” – he is at Harvard after all.

So is Enterprise 2.0 “just” another definition (buzzword) of an attempt to improve the orchestration of teams, people, content and collaboration?

I think the new 2.0 tools (enterprise 2.0 or government 2.0) are supporting a movement toward self-supported definition and ownership of processes by business (or governmental) stakeholders and project teams and we will see the emergence of simple process utilities rather than comprehensive E2.0 suites – “simple meaning easy-to-use/intuitive/inviting”.

As others have suggested maybe we should use the term knowledge media tools instead of social media tools for business and government. What is clear is that the knowledge worker is front and center in this drive towards simple support for getting the knowledge work done.

Jack Vinson has an interesting take on Culture and KM. The organizational culture need to change/adapt to supporting the knowledge workers in new ways and provide the tools and training they need to “let them get rolling”.

Too often knowledge workers are fighting a culture of control by management focused on FRCP, Sarbanes-Oxley, eDiscovery, HIPAA and other compliance requirements.

BUT can you blame management? – Very few of the new 2.0 tools are addressing these concerns. At cBrain we are trying to produce solutions where these concerns are embedded and transparent to the knowledge worker and I will discuss this approach in several future posts, so stay tuned.

To get back to Andrew McAfee’s pattern language, I find it a very refreshing way to look at knowledge work 2.0 – here is his original take on pattern language related to enterprise 2.0 work – see his post for more details:
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Patterns Where 2.0 Should Replace 1.0

2.0 1.0
Technology appears to have been designed for the user Technology appears to have been designed for someone other than the user — the developer, the boss, a lawyer, etc.
Only small amounts of time and training are required to become familiar with a technology It takes significant time and training in order to become minimally competent with a technology
Few steps are required to accomplish basic tasks; technology-based work is ‘frictionless’ Many steps are required to execute basic tasks; technology-based work has a great deal of friction
Devices delight, pleasing the eye and the hand Devices exist to accomplish tasks and are designed only for function, not form
Delays and latency are low; technology responds instantly Delays (especially at startup) can be long and latency can be high
Crashes are no big deal and are easy to recover from Crashes are time-consuming and costly / catastrophic
Relevant data is in the cloud, so it doesn’t matter which device the user employs Relevant data is stored locally at many devices, so it matters which device(s) the user has access to
Users navigate via search Users navigate via menus and directories
Work is accomplished via the browser Work is accomplished via many discrete applications
Technology accurately guesses what users want, is forgiving, and makes users feel smart Users have to guess what the technology wants. The technology is unforgiving and makes users feel stupid
It takes virtually no time to author (to contribute online content) and few if any approval loops exist It’s laborious to author, and many approval loops exist
At its best, technology is welcoming and empowering At its worst, technology is alienating, isolating, and frustrating


Patterns Where 2.0 is an Alternative to 1.0

2.0 1.0
Technology is used to execute spontaneous collaborative work Technology is used to execute planned / predefined business processes
Technology is used to share work and conclusions with others Technology is used to generate or analyze information individually
Technology is used to broadcast information publicly to people both known and unknown Technology is used to transmit information privately to known people
Technology is used to ask questions and solicit information and help from people both known and unknown Technology is used to ask questions and solicit information and help from a small group of already-identified people
Online content is the start of group-level work; it is work in progress Online content is the end point of group-level work; it is finished goods
Online content is generated by many people Online content is generated by a few approved sources
A person finds new colleagues by examining the online content they’ve generated and assessing its quality A person finds new colleagues by asking around an looking through official directories
Information sources give good answers to the questions users thought they were asking Information sources provide complete answers to perfectly phrased questions
Technology is used to create and diffuse new knowledge Technology is used to encode previously-generated knowledge

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Andrew is asking for feedback and I am sure we will see this concept evolve with a knowledge work focus rather than a technology focus.

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