Some links on social media applications within organizations

As part of my talk yesterday at the Social Media Strategies conference, I made passing reference to a number of stories, blog posts, bloggers, thinkers, and writers. It’s an occupational hazard of being a former professor.

I’ve written about different elements of yesterday’s talk over the course of various blog posts over time. Here are links to some of the most directly relevant together with links to other items I referenced:

Finally, I drew on a number of smarter people than I on the topics of expertise and organizational change. Here are some good entry points for further reading.

Seeing Organizational Patterns : A New Theory and Language of Organizational Design, Keidel, Robert W.
Keidel is an organizational theorist/designer who builds a very practical way of thinking and talking about organizations around the simple observation that all interactions in organizations can be understood in terms of the blend of control, cooperative, and autonomous ways of relating that organizational members can engage in. For the sports-minded, Keidel maps these three basic relating choices to the sports of American football, basketball, and baseball. He builds a nice case that organizational design choices can all be understood in terms of how these three fundamental relationship choices are mixed and blended.

Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Lave, Jean
Jean Lave is an ethnographer working as part of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center. In this volume, Lave explores learning as primarily a social phenomenon and builds a very practical theory of how apprenticeship forms of skill acquisition and learning work in the real world.




Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware, Hunt, Andy
I’ve become a general fan of Andy Hunt’s pragmatic programming series of books. They are useful well beyond the narrow area of software development. In this new book, Hunt offers a useful introduction to the Dreyfus model of expertise and how it applies in the general context of knowledge work.




Quality Software Management (V1) : Systems Thinking, Weinberg, Gerald M.
The first of a four-volume exploration of the particular and peculiar challenges of managing the development and implementation of software. The first volume introduces fundamental notions of how to model and think about complex systems and how they respond to change. Weinberg adapts Virginia Satir’s family therapy theories to the environment of complex organizational environments.




Quality Software Management (V3): Congruent Action, Weinberg, Gerald M.

While all four volumes of Weinberg’s work are valuable, this volume on what Weinberg describes as “Congruent Action” is the most useful for understanding organizational change in concert with Volume 1.

Social Media Strategies Conference – presentation on internal communities

Here is the presentation I did today at the Social Media Strategies conference going on at the Stanford Court in San Francisco. We got some excellent input and interaction going. There should be a full size version of this graphic linked to this version.


I did this presentation using MindManager 7.0. It mostly worked, but not as well as I would have liked. The link to the MindManager file itself is below:

MindManager format file: Internal communities mindmap

Pay it Forward on LinkedIn

Here’s an excellent idea. I’ll be on the West Coast on the 29th (I’m speaking at the Social Media Strategies conference), but I’m sure I’ll be able to fit this into my schedule for the day. This comes to me by way of my long-time friend and colleague Keri Pearlson (who might get one of those recommendations).

My dear friend and Enterprise 2.0 Evangelista, Susan Scrupski, has posted an idea  that I m passing along to you. She s titled it LinkedIn Pay It Forward Day . She s suggesting that next week, on October 29, 2008 we all go visit the LinkedIn Page of someone in our social network and write a recommendation for them.

Susan explained, Everyone has worked with someone in their network who is deserving of a positive recommendation. The randomness of the recommendation will make it satisfying for you and the recipient.

Giving someone the gift of kind words is a wonderful idea. My daughter s class did that one year around the holiday time. It was free, and you should have seen the smile on the faces of the kids when they came home with their gift. My daughter put hers up on her wall and had me read it to her for months.

The idea of paying it forward is very appealing. As Susan mentions, in this economic environment, so many of our friends and colleagues find themselves out of a job or fearing that they may be. A gift of kind words is a great gift indeed.

I m endorsing her idea. I ve just put a note to myself on October 29 to go write a recommendation for someone in my social network. Let s all do that.

Pay it Forward on LinkedIn
Sat, 25 Oct 2008 04:14:42 GMT

Technology Leaders Association presentation

I’m presenting today to the Technology Leaders Association meeting in Chicago on the topic of “Technology for Us.” I’ve uploaded my slides to Slideshare.



I’ve also tagged a number of links at delicious; both of sites we may check out and references to follow up materials. Those links can be found here.

A workbook on doing disruptive innovation effectively

[cross posted at FASTForward Blog]

The Innovator’s Guide to Growth: Putting Disruptive Innovation to Work, Anthony, Scott D.

The Innovator’s Guide to Growth is the newest installment in a series of books articulating and explicating Prof. Clay Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation. This hands on guide packages some of the insights developed as an outgrowth of the consulting work of Innosight, LLC, the consulting firm founded by Christensen to pursue the practical insights from his research at the Harvard Business School. If innovation is part of your current or prospective job description, this needs to be on your shelf (after you’ve read it, of course).

Christensen’s theories of disruptive innovation appeared first with the publication of The Innovator’s Dilemma in 1997. During the worst excesses of the dotcom boom, every start up business plan including an obligatory head nod to Christensen and an assertion that their business model was truly disruptive. Who doesn’t want to be innovative; ideally disruptively so. Christensen and his colleagues have continued to develop his theories in The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth, Seeing What’s Next: Using Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change, and now The Innovator’s Guide to Growth.

Christensen distinguishes two forms of innovation — sustaining and disruptive — not in terms of their technological features but in terms of their relationship to markets. The distinction in summarized in the following diagram reproduced from The Innovator’s Guide to Growth.


In essence, Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation flows from recognizing that the pace of technology improvement is generally more rapid than the capacity of users in the market to take advantage of those improvements. This differential is what open possibilities for differing approaches to innovation.

In this market oriented theory of innovation, there are three paths available to organizations interested in articulating potentially disruptive strategies. The first is to identify and target “nonconsumers;” potential consumers for whom existing technologies fail to meet their particular needs. The second is to identify existing customers where existing technologies are more technology than they needs. The final is to investigate potential consumers in terms of what Christensen’s theory describes as “jobs to be done” as a path to defining new products and services to perform these jobs. I must confess that I still find this path the least well articulated aspect of this theory.

Throughout this book, the authors start by recapping the essentials of Christensen’s theoretical arguments and proceed to develop the next level of operational detail it takes to transform strategic insights into execution details. If you’re an organization seeking to develop its own disruptive strategy, the authors here have worked out many of the next level questions and identified the supporting analyses and design steps you would need to answer and complete. The authors are clearly competent and talented consultants who are willing to share how they manage and do their work. Their hope, of course, is that many of you will conclude that you need their help to do the work. What is nice here, is that they are confident enough in their abilities that they are quite thorough in what they share. This volume is not a teaser; it’s complete and coherent. You could pretty much take the book as a recipe and use it to develop your project plans. On the other hand, the plans by themselves won’t guarantee that you can assemble a team with the necessary qualifications to execute the plan successfully.

The other thing that this book does quite nicely is identify the kinds of organizational support structures and processes that you would want to put in place to institutionalize systematic disruptive innovation.

Christensen and his colleagues are continuing to build a rich, systematic, theory of disruptive innovation. With roots in academic research, they are freely sharing their insights and their methods. The Innovator’s Guide to Growth is a solid workbook that will let you develop your own skill at doing disruptive innovation. Of course, the plan by itself won’t eliminate the need to gain the experience for yourself. But it’s a lot better strategy than to have to work everything out from scratch on your own.

Seven years at McGee’s Musings

Today is my seventh blogiversary.

Over time, we’ve seen a proliferation of tools and services that give us ways to connect and interact. Today we have Twitter, Friendfeed, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more. All are ways to improve our chances of connecting. As you can see in the sidebar, I  maintain some presence on most of them.

This space is the place where I try to get my thinking straight and immerse myself in the ongoing conversation of others trying to get their thinking straight. Some of them think in like-minded ways, others in very different ways, and all are important to the journey.

Social technologies must be lived in to be understood. You can’t understand from the sidelines. I think this is one of the impediments that larger organizations face in managing adoption. They are comfortable with the illusion of carefully crafted plans. They need to become reacquainted with the less well-marked paths of real learning.

What I said in 2005 is still true:

I remain interested in the challenges of making organizations better places for real people to work in and still believe that the effective use of technology makes a difference. I suspect that large organizations are nearing the end of their useful life and that the evolution toward new forms will continue to be painful and noisy. I worry about leaders and executives who choose to ignore facts and who can t or won t distinguish between the theory of evolution and the theory of who shot JFK. [McGee s Musings]

In years past, I’ve tried to acknowledge the interesting people I’ve managed to cross paths with as one of the primary benefits of choosing to participate in the read/write web. As those numbers continue to grow, that’s becoming unwieldy. I’m also reluctant to single out only those people who happen to blog themselves. Today’s environment is too rich for me to be that restrictive. Regardless of whether you’re another blogger on a similar journey, a friend by way of one of today’s social networks, a microblogger, or commenter here, thanks for participating and thanks for sharing. I will give one shout out to a new friend, Liz Strauss, to momentarily borrow her tagline…”you’re only a stranger once.” Tell me more about you and your experience.

Dueling philosophies: social media vs. knowledge management

Venkat Rao of Xerox recently introduced an important argument about the underlying differences between social media and knowledge management approaches inside the Enterprise. Here’s the way I described them at delicious. Both are worth a look, a read, and some thought.

Why do we continue to tolerate DRM?

The great folks at xkcd sharply summarize the fundamental problem with DRM (digital restrictions management in my view). I continue to be bewildered by the disconnects between the current legal environment, technological reality, and the pragmatic reality of making actual use of digital content.

Steal This Comic

I spent more time trying to get an audio book playing than it took to listen to the book.  I have lost every other piece of DRM-locked music I have paid for.

Steal This Comic
Mon, 13 Oct 2008 04:00:00 GMT

Speaking at the Social Media Strategies conference at the end of October

I’ll be heading to San Francisco at the end of the month to participate in the upcoming “Social Media Strategies” conference being held there on October 29th and 30th. If you’re interested in joining me, here’s a sign-up link that will get you a discount on the registration fee:

I’m planning on talking more about the notion of “Technology for Us” that I’ve been developing over the last several months. If you do plan on attending, let me know here so we can plan on connecting face-to-face.

Tracing links to insight

An excellent example this morning of the wonderfully organic way that our evolving social and technological environment supports learning and sharing. I checked out Twitter this morning by way of TweetDeck and found this item from Liz Strauss:

LizTweet I trust Liz so I check out Saul Colt on Twitter and go from there to his blog where I discover this blog post:

Seriously…drop what you are doing and watch this….

it is that important!

I want to be Gary when I grow up!

The end result is that I get a good 15 minutes of insight into the changing nature of branding and brand building as affected by the landscape of social media. I also get some new sources of potential future insight and reinforcement of the quality of Liz’s insight and advice. Repeat this cycle regularly and you build up both a coherent picture of what is going on now and a perspective network that you can use to continue to monitor changes as they unfold. An excellent return on a few moments of my time and attention. Add a few more minutes to compose this post and you’ll benefit as well.