Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Getting Value from the Masses

This week, I noticed the blog post by Scott Gavin [Enterprise 2.o Evangelist] sharing about the recent release of Ubuntu Brainstorm.

Ubuntu, the user friendly Linux distribution, launched Ubuntu Brainstorm this week. Inspired by IdeaStorm from Dell, the Ubuntu community can now suggest ideas and vote online. Its goal is to have a better idea of what Ubuntu users would like to see in upcoming Ubuntu releases.

As a user you can add your ideas or vote for your preferred ones, add comments and see their implementation status. The best and most popular ideas quickly rise to the top and can be creamed off for inclusion in future releases.

Upon reading the post, my mind immediately jumped to some unresolved questions about the ultimate utility of these online sites for engaging customers in co-creative efforts. Armed with this question in mind, I jumped online to refind an article that I had only recently stumbled upon by Wired author, Ryan Singel. In his article, “The Wiki That Edited Me” (Sept 7th, 2006 - WIRED), Singel recapped his experience of putting a draft story of his out on a Wiki site for mass contributions and edits.

As to the outcome, he says, “Certainly the final story is more accurate and more representative of how wikis are used.”

He asks rhetorically, “Is the story better than the one that would have emerged after a Wired News editor worked with it?”

I think not”.

The edits over the week lack some of the narrative flow that a Wired News piece usually contains…”

This outcome was my exact expectation. I didn’t expect mass collaboration to provide a narrative flow fitting for Wired! I did expect it [mass collaboration] to deliver accuracy and perspective to the topic – as it did.

Our challenge is to figure out how to bring “focus” and “narrative” to the value-added benefits of mass collaboration. I realize that this language may be too traditional but?!

What are your thoughts? How do corporations get optimal value from E2.o mass collaboration?


RTodd said...

The traditional standards of application deployment should not only “Not” be overlooked but I would add it is an imperative to the long term success of Enterprise 2.0 applications. For years, we have looked past traditional ROI measures in knowledge management type systems. I would argue it’s more of an issue of laziness than the lack of viable methodologies. The value of E2.0 can be measured at both a micro and macro level where macro focuses on the both the content (amount of information) and the usage (including reuse). Only with a long term strategy of growth in these two areas can one expect E2.0 to be successful. Just to be clear, I didn’t use the word failure. Not failing and success to two different components of any implementation. The answer is that traditional methods of evaluation should be embraced and encouraged with these system are going to stay beyond the hype cycle.

George Veth said...

rtodd -

Can you expound on - or - suggest any sources or posts to read about the micro and macro level measurements for CONTENT (amount of information) and/or USAGE (including reuse)?

RTodd said...

Honestly, the research is based on about 8 years of deploying various types of knowledge systems including repositories, registries, search, collaboration, social software, etc. Content is a generic term used to describe the amount of information held within the knowledge store. It may be the number of blogs, comments, wiki pages, profiles or collaborative sites. Google might refer to them as the number of web pages indexed by the engine. Usage follows that having content is great but people have to actually use the information in order to generate any value. Hence, the ying of content’s yang is usage. This can be measured in page views, reusable templates, time, references, links, etc. Bottom line is that if your E20 implementation can grow both sides of the equation over a period of time then you will find that elusive business value.