My thoughts from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston

As always with a conference like Enterprise 2.0 in Boston, the key notes are rarely the best part – which is such a shame as when I look back to my scientific days they used to be the highlight of all the conferences with great talks given from leading thought provokers. However, one particular highlight has been from John Hagel (@jhagel) who provided the most interesting stat – that only 20% of U.S employees have passion!

There have also been some great talks in the parallel streams and I have picked up some useful tips. The highlight of which was about failure by Kevin Jones (@kevindjones) who amongst many things helps NASA with their social media strategies.

Kevin talked about failure and how it is the best way to learn and achieve, and had some great points about intranets and social business including:

  • Involve the people in your organisation when deploying and phase the project – fail, learn, fail, learn, fail, learn. Basically this is evolution on a micro scale
  • Ensure that you cultivate a culture where you encourage people to try – if they post a blog or status update then never criticise
  • Don’t treat it as an IT project
  • Don’t give people an option. If you want people to submit ideas through a micro-blog on the intranet then make that the only way they can submit ideas. Think about it like your business processes that are successful, such as electronic forms. If you kept the paper process or email process then people would stick in their old habits.

Kevin’s final point was a key one and a point that was repeated, but not as often as I would like – don’t think social, think how can this help our business.

Rachel Happe (@rhappe) from the Community Roundtable also spoke in the same stream as Kevin and gave some great insights into building communities. Setting communities up within organisations has always helped foster innovation – now the social business tools available on platforms like Interact Intranet enable these communities to solve business problems more quickly and efficiently.

Interestingly she spoke about the barrier to growth not being the technology, but being in fact us and the rate at which we can digest knowledge – trying to listen to a speech, taking notes on my iPad and watch a twitter stream update at around 100 tweets per minute made me acutely aware of this fact!

One of the best snippets of information was in the questions and answer session. Rachel spoke about howStarbucks adopted ideation (the use of the intranet to gather ideas). They launched this based on the well-reported Dell successes but had too many ideas – which eroded trust as they could not process them all.


So they then used ideation in a much more focused way – in sprints by finding a problem and asking the Starbucks employees to answer that problem, leading to a much more successful outcome.

Some top tips from Rachel for community managers out there were:

  • Be a person
  • Form relationships
  • Don’t be to perfect
  • Be honest
  • Focus on the goals – why are people coming to the community you have set-up?

If you are looking at trying to set-up communities in your business (internally or externally) – the critical thing is to ensure they have a purpose and deliver quantifiable business value.

Other snipits from yesterday and updates from today can be seen on my twitter feed at@nigeldanson.