You know an article is going to be interesting to read when it starts with a great quote paraphrased from Clay Shirkey:
“Prior to the Internet, the last technological innovation that had a significant effect on the way people sat and talked together was the table.”
Two organisational development academics, Kathleen Iverson and George Vukotich (both from the Graduate Program in Training and Development at Roosevelt University), have had their paper ‘OD 2.0: Shifting from Disruptive to Innovative Technology’ published in the Spring edition of OD Practitioner.
With a paragraph that could probably be found coruscatingly burned into the heart of every business communicator who has tried to introduce social media and web2.0 technologies into their workplace, they say,
“In its infancy, Web 2.0 was viewed as another distracting element; a toy for college students and Gen Y workers that took them away from the important aspects of school and work.”
Oh how sadly true. But thankfully for us Iverson and Vukotich have continued to chisel away at the fear, loathing and apathy of the corporate decision makers and the fruits of their labours makes, no doubt, for an interesting program at Roosevelt.
“No longer limited to the physical water cooler to form relationships and share knowledge, workers can now interact virtually with members anytime anywhere. Those who telecommute are no longer invisible, but can create a strong virtual identity that makes them a highly visible and valuable organizational member. Knowledge sharing in the Web 2.0 organization will become viral, spreading from person to person, spanning organizational lines and geographic barriers.”
For the article they have created a fabulous table, comparing a number of web2.0 tools with various OD ‘areas of interest’. I cannot, of course, pop the whole table up here (copyright precludes me) but in the interest of whetting your appetite, here’s some of their thoughts:
Slidesharing (e.g. through Slideshare) impacts on the OD world of project management, knowledge management and best practices;
Virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life) impacts on meetings, conferences, team building, group process, culture building, training, networking and onboarding;
Twitter impacts on project management, communication, performance management, assessment, feedback, networking and relationship building.
They also consider wikis, blogs, delicious and furl, linked in, youtube, facebook, ning, bloglines and our beloved font of all online wisdom and knowledge, Wikipedia.
The table itself is worth the price of picking up a copy of the journal! It’s definitely worth printing out and popping up on your workstation so that you can remind yourself of all that social media is capable of within the workplace.
Iverson and Vukotich also provide a framework for web2.0 implementation within the enterprise which, while probably not anything new for the social media literati, would be helpful for senior/project managers to use as a first-pass draft of how they might implement some of the beloved tools of the social media community to which you, dear gentle reader, belong.
Let me end this post using the words they finish their rather good paper with:
“If you are not part of the online social network explosion, it is time to get on board; start by joining LinkedIn; get a Facebook account and see what your teenagers (or your neighbor’s teenagers) are up to; visit some blogs or start your own blog; create an avatar and wander around Second Life; add to a Wiki or create one of your own; at least check out Twitter; and of course, YouTube. As you become more comfortable in our new virtual world, consider ways that you might enhance your practice with these tools. Start slowly, document your results, share them with others, and contribute to the overall knowledge base of this exciting new frontier.”
Iverson, K. & Vukotich, G. OD 2.0: Shifting from Disruptive to Innovative Technology. OD Practitioner, Spring2009, Vol. 41 Issue 2, p43-49, 7p.