“Who watches the watchmen?”: looking for Enterprise 2.0

Back from Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Frankfurt (Germany),  Thanks to Bjorn Negelmann and Cathrin Gill for this opportunity.


I put here my cold-takeaways. Please give me your feedbacks.

1. The format of the summit was a real good surprise: 10 minutes pitch followed by discussions, open-space workshop, networking space during the day and after dinner of day one. Great opportunity to meet and discuss with companies’ evangelist and consultants. I was happy enough to talk with @sagenet (Jenny), @elsua (Luis), @frogpond (Martin), @aponcier (Antony), Joachim Linder from http://komblog.de, Wendelin Auer from http://www.kkundk.de/, Felix Schröder and his CEO from http://justsofwareag.com, Juliet from Bausch, @JeanYves, @andgenth, Juliette Girard from Renault, Richard Collin, Rolf Schmidt-Holz…All embracing persons, very enthusiatics about the summit and the subject, Enterprise 2.0, but very realistic too. Companies with a long lasting internal communication are even working hard to turn upside down their habits. They are still looking for transversal, fluent, agile conversations all over the company (nobody talked about connecting companies communities with customers or providers).

2. As an entrepreneur I know that business is just about customers. Processes inside the company are aimed to deliver the product or service customers are waiting for. According to cases studied during the summit, big companies (Renault, BASF, T-System, Deutsche Bank, Société Générale, IBM, Bayer) are experimenting social platforms, community buildings behind their “firewall”.

starting from the inside (internal initiatives aimed at employees) to gain proficiency in order to move to the outside (externally connecting and engaging in communities with customers and other partners) seems to be the norm. (source:http://artlifework.wordpress.com/) 

What these companies are fearing? Is the “firewall” protecting them 100% from critics, leaking, legal issues? Where are their best allied: inside the company or outside? They are doing a great job, their products are fantastic, so they can meet the “public” with confidence, nothing to hide. Do they know that the most creative and profitable industry sector, fashion, is NOT protected with copyright. (see: http://www.ted.com/talks/johanna_blakley_lessons_from_fashion_s_free_culture…. ). Remember what Rolf Schmidt-Holz pointed out opening the summit, about people inside companies : “…You find out that you have fantastic people, mostly not at level one….Excellent people need to be treated excellently and it means giving them space, freedom”. He was speaking by hart, from his experience on the ground.

3. One workshop was dedicated to “Network analysis”. Information, knowledge, pull/push information, network design, bottom-up, …companies as Lee Bryant showed up are delighted with designing processes aimed to put limits to employees’ responsabilities.

But what if the network is a rhizome, each employee a knot (maybe a crux) and the flow between two knots completely free? Forget about tree and graph, listen the noise, see what “knots” are growing, what piece of information become re-used and is integrated as a knowledge…[1]

Enterprise 2.0 phenomenon like many others current movements (open gouvernement, open foodies, commons…) are disruptive in essence. Are we on the verge to embrace “The perfect society” as described by Socrates?:

“…The perfect society relies on laborers, slaves and tradesmen. The guardian class is to protect the city. The question is put to Socrates, “Who will guard the guardians?” or, “Who will protect us against the protectors?” Plato’s answer to this is that they will guard themselves against themselves. We must tell the guardians a “noble lie”. The noble lie will assure them that they are better than those they serve and it is therefore their responsibility to guard and protect those lesser than themselves. We will instill in them a distaste for power or privilege; they will rule because they believe it right, not because they desire it.” (source:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quis_custodiet_ipsos_custodes%3F)

[1] A simple wiki is able to give all these informations: 
– listen the noise with “Recent Changes”, “watchlist”, “New Pages” delivered by email or RSS
– see what knots are growing with Users tracking on each collaborative article
– see what information becomes a knowledge thanks to “search” or “semantic tools”
You can also plug-in all “apps” (like IPhone apps) to test whatever type of collaboration or integration (ex: mobile inputs, twitter or facebook integration). This is agile, versatile and low cost.


* great post which sum-up the Summit with quotes:


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