Setting the path to an open and agile enterprise

Bjoern Negelmann (Conference Chair for Kongress Media) offered me this interview I publish below while he is preparing the next Enterprise2.0 Summit planned in Frankfurt (Germany) October 26.-28.,2010. I was invited by Kongress Media to be one of their Ambassadors and I accepted right away as entrepreneur, “noosphere” enthusiast and wiki evangelist. I will add short comments to Bjoern’s responses (I’m afraid I would have be a very bad ambassador 😉 )




Q1 The Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2010 is focused on “Setting the path to an open and agile enterprise”. Lot of buzz about enterprise and openness, but after more than one century of secret process, patent, industrial spying, in 2010 what the enterprises could gained by openness? 

Briefly – openness supports a more holistic understanding of the enterprise to internal and external stakeholders. With everybody microblogging about their work efforts internally, documenting and sharing the results of their project efforts in wikis and interconnecting with different peers in the internal and external realm – the value generation of the enterprise becomes more transparent for those who are allowed to view it. If there are any potentials of improvement anybody can get involved and give his or her input and suggestions. This allows not planned and executed solution finding and generation beyond political and organizational boundaries. So again – openness leads to speeding up time-to-market and improve the flexibility and agility the enterprise acts on the market!

My point of view: JP Rangaswami wrote:”For information to have power, it needs to be held asymmetrically. Preferably very very asymmetrically. Someone who knows something that others do not know can do something potentially useful and profitable with that information.” This time is over: information can no more be held asymmetrically because of the Internet. Value will no more be generated by “scarcity” but only by “conversation”.
Q2 What is the concept of the Enterprise 2.0 SUMMIT in Frankfurt? As I could see from the webpage there are 3 days of program with a lot of international guests and a bunch of corporate people speaking about their project. 

Yes – indeed I think the most differentiating point of the E2.0 SUMMIT in Frankfurt is the number of corporate representatives on the speaker’s list. The E20 SUMMIT is not the conference about the E20 visions – not at all. It’s about the practical insights of the first movers and the solutions towards the challenges of E20 projects. These two aspects are forming the two tracks of our two day conference. Then again each track is divided into different sessions with short talks and a lot of discussions. Additionally there are three keynote sessions on strategic questions as e.g. “what are the characteristics of the manager 2.0?” and an open space workshop where the participants are getting involved to talk and discuss their detailed questions. Optional the E20 SUMMIT provides two pre-conference workshops about “social messaging” and the “social networking culture”.


Q3 What will be your most favourite session of the upcoming event? 
This is hard to decide but spontaneously I would say that’s the session on the question of how to overcome the cultural boundaries in E20 projects. This is a session we already did last year but it is so relevant that we have to talk about this year again. Behind this session there is the discussion about E20 projects in international companies. As the E20 projects in larger corporation within any European country is always also an project within an international setting – this is very relevant and also distinguishing from discussion in the pure Anglo-Saxon context – with everybody have the same mother tongue and nearly the same cultural values.
My point of view: International Enterprises headed in European Countries are very lucky to experience the european “melting pot” every day. They are trained to pay attention to conversations over the borders…
Q4 During the preparation of the E20 Summit did you notice any new tendencies compared to your work for the previous E20 Summit? 

Well – yes – the E20 idea is more widely spread. There are good practices from first movers – mainly with E20 initiatives focussing on some specific use scenaries as “improving the general information flow by micro-blogging” or “making the corporate knowledge more transparent by documenting projects into wikis”. With this the discussions about the challenges of E20 projects become more specific – we are not anymore discussing about the challenges of “adoption” but about the challenges of “rewarding systems”, “community management” and new “leadership models”.

Q5 About speakers, what is from your point of view, the main differences between European and US speakers?(what about Asia speakers)?

That’s a great question. Honestly said we haven’t had any Asian speaker and always only a few US speakers as we are mainly focussing the practical insights of the intra-European context. But comparing the Europeans and the Americans it would say the main difference is in the “point of view” of the subject. Though it might not be representative as we always invited only US speakers for overview talks but in discussions with them and other US experts in the E20 field I would say they stick very much towards the high-level E20 discussion. They tend to argue very much on the big cultural changes and less on the specific, hands-on details. Especially the German corporates they want to know the specific details of how to set up the community management or the leadership model first – before turning the “big” wheel of the changement of the corporate cultural. At the end for a successful project you need both – but the approaches are different.


My point of view: for me the most interesting part of the e20Summit. I used to imagine US managers as “solution-makers”, always with a check-list in hand. But you are right I forget their “pioneer spirit”, their preference to change the world (in a pragmatic way, far from the french way…)


Add Yours →

Isabel – thank you for the questions.In addition to your comment above – I have one more remark: While "scarcity" of information might not the problem anymore, the vice-versa "abundance" will take the part – as it needs efficient techniques to "filter" and comprehend the new complexity of information. So – the problem of power still might not be solved but changed – from the power of access to the power of processing. For this new problem the collective intelligence can be a solution – but then you need the skills to handle the collective intelligence.Regards. Bjoern

Oui, c'est vrai Bjoern.<div>From the enterprise point of view the focus will be on skills to handle &quot;conversations&quot;, symetrical flows of information. Waiting for practical experiences outcomes during the E20 Summit to give us a &quot;beta-model&quot; of a business driven by conversations.<br> <br></div>

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