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. Just software.
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 way:
“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? Emphatically no.
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