This is the topic I was asked to speak on today at the Enterprise 2.0 conference. I knew that the topic would be somewhat controversial given the audience, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought my presentation was relatively innocent. You be the judge, my slides have been posted to slideshare, and are also available for download here:
The intense discussion/debate began on slide 4 when I offered a definition of Knowledge Management. The group launched into a debate on the merits of the definition, suggesting tweaks here and there. To a certain degree the group was arguing semantics. But as dialog went on it became clear to me that the need for a more personalized and "precise" definition for this, and Enterprise 2.0 (yes we argued about that definition on slide 6 as well), stemmed from a frustration with positioning these concepts within corporate strategies. As I have mentioned in previous posts, we found in the research conducted for the AIIM Market IQ on Enterprise 2.0, most organizations have used Enterprise 2.0 in an ad hoc manner, void of any strategy. When discussion with the audience moved to strategy, most in the audience agreed that their respective organizations did not have one. Fundamental to this, I proposed was the fact that "you" do not have a clear definition or value proposition for Enterprise 2.0. My point was that while the market may benefit from a standard definition of KM and/or E20, the lack thereof should not excuse any organization from developing their own working definition. Lack of understanding is cited as the number one biggest obstacle to wide scale adoption of Enterprise 2.0. Providing that level of understanding should begin with development of a clear definition of what is being proposed within the confines of the organization.
If "you" do not like or agree with existing definitions circulating out in the general marketplace, develop your own. Waiting for the market to provide the universally perfect definition only avoids the task of taking this issue on - by the horns - for the organization itself.
Other issues the audience debated were the role of Human Resources in E20 and KM, (popular opinion was HR should be a major player in strategy development) and whether E20 was revolution or evolution. While some conceded that adoption may be revolutionary within an organization, most agreed that progression to E20 both technically and from a business strategy perspective is evolutionary, which was the perspective offered in my presentation. Indeed, most agreed that an organization that had not made changes over the last 10 - 15 years related to IT strategy and business strategy would be hard pressed to leap frog into an E20 type environment.
All this at 8:00am in the morning, affirmed for me that there are many people out there - at least among those at this year's conference - that are passionate about Enterprise 2.0.