Many training organizations I speak with are intrigued by
Enterprise 2.0 technologies and their promises for creating a viral
collaborative community within the organization. At last count, there
were more than 400 companies out there touting ‘e2.0 technologies’ … everything
from wiki and blog products, to products that promise a safe Facebook-like or
Twitter-like platform that can be rolled out behind your firewall.
Admittedly, some of these products are quite impressive, but
they all share one common thread. They are all enabling technologies.
Early efforts with these products are mixed at best.
Many early adopters or experimenters with these technologies report a lack of
success in creating a sustainable collaborative environment.
McKinsey, in a white paper entitled Six Ways to Make Web
2.0 Work,published in February 2009, observed the same phenomenon and described it this
“Perhaps because of the novelty of Web 2.0 initiatives, they’re
often considered separate from mainstream work…Thus, using Web 2.0 and
participating in online work communities often becomes just another “to do” on
an already crowded list of tasks.”
Does this mean that social environments can’t work in the enterprise?
But I am suggesting that there is a better way.
There are three ingredients to creating a sustainable
collaborative environment: 1) enabling technology; 2) abundance of
content; and 3) enthusiastic community. When brought together, these three
ingredients can produce a delicious collaborative result.
So the call to action for those learning professionals
seeking to leverage collaboration to drive new levels of learning is
simple. Think about starting not with the enabling technology, but with
your existing content and your existing active community of users who are
already coming to your learning destination. For instance, if you are
currently using a product like Books24x7 from SkillSoft, why not think about
the millions of pages of professional reference content that you already
license as “seeds of discussion” for a thriving collaborative environment.
Social collaboration offers great potential to help informal
and formal learning, but the most effective path to accomplishing this will be
to leverage what’s already working.
By: John Ambrose