So, I'm back from vacation and have managed to catch up on all of my email.
And one of the main themes of this blog is that this kind of productive collaboration should be easier within Intranets than across the Internet. Enterprise 2.0, in other words, should be at least as powerful as Web 2.0. The informal and formal leaders of a company have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to shape both the processes of collaboration and their outcomes. If the digital collaboration platform turns into a shouting match or a random collection of junk they really have no one to blame but themselves.
If we're indicative of many "Enterprises," the biggest problem is the notion of "collaboration." Most people relate collaboration to email, Word documents, and meetings. So, when thinking of ways to improve "collaboration," the natural thought is to just try and create email++, Word++, and meetings++. This is how you end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on Web 1.0-style, monolithic collaboration "suites" like Oracle Collaboration Suite instead of turning to disruptive technologies that the Internet has already shown scale to the thousands and facilitate collaboration instead of just wrapping things up in complicated workflows and humdrum, clunky interfaces.
To get Enterprises to move to "Enterprise 2.0" is a huge shift in thinking. It's not email++; it is something entirely different. It's not monolithic software suites that enhance collaboration; rather, it is systems like wiki farms and iTunes that enhance collaboration. Systems that get better and better the more people use them — emergent systems that enable the Read/Write web.
JP Rangaswami has a good follow-up post to Andrew McAfee's piece in Does Social Software help Enterprises Dumb Down? where he describes "enterprise immune systems." I just thought the term was great in describing the avoidance of "Web 2.0" style collaboration tools in many enterprises.
The battle to bring "Web 2.0" style, emergent Read/Write properties, user-centric tools/systems to the enterprise isn't just evangelizing their properties. What is needed is a cultural shift to stop thinking about collaboration in terms of email++ and meeting++.