If creativity is "just connecting things" then let's face it... this maybe a creative B(log)ramble! I have just read Design Sojourn's post entitled Designing Products that will work with Web 2.0 strategies. That got me thinking about using Web 2.0 to allow for distributed design and development of innovative new ways of innovating new products, services and experiences! I looked at O'Reilly's Web 2.0 blog that labelled the second avalanche of web activities as Web 2.0, which got me thinking about the lost chapters in Rich Gold's Plenitude... the 3 Spaces I referred to here. Gold refers to the...
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At the millennium, we were facing a tough journey across the competitive landscape. Accelerating avalanches of change -digitisation, globalisation and spiritualisation -were engulfing those who were not agile enough to exploit insights, creativity, innovation and design. In our case the teams making the journey were evolving from local, through regional, to global cross-functional, trans-organisational people distributed in time and space. My insight was that projects went off-course, even if people were originally aligned with the project vision and goals....as new information became available to distributed individuals and there was a delay in interpreting it in a group sense there was alignment drift and actions become discordant with the overall theme. Any software, systems and process that can help increase opportunities for collaboration and minimise vision decay would be worth looking at. Groove Networks had just announced Groove, described as collaboration software for ad-hoc workgroups, but experience had shown that just acquiring a group tool does not mean it will transform the culture of the organisation.
John Burkhadt wrote "....... I hadn't realized how much I depend on Groove now. It has become fundamental in the way I get work done.
For example, I work closely with another engineer. I'm constantly sending him messages and chatting. Often we're in real-time and we'll have a chat window open and we're debugging stuff and dropping new binaries in the space. We can do so much together so quickly that it becomes natural and the tool is suddenly transparent. I think it got so transparent for me that I took it for granted.
Certainly using Groove let alone exploiting it turned out to be a challenge that we tried over a long period on a few key projects. We soon realised that Groove is a platform. We could reference documents, do email, instant messaging. We wanted to have a sketching facility to support design activities and found a simple tool that had been created as a plug-in which was useful. NetMeeting as a standalone application was, at that time a challenge as we could not cross corporate firewalls..and it was difficult to keep addresses. However we found that using it as a plug-in gave us Groove security plus a way across firewalls, linking our trans-organisational teams! Another plug-in worked like Skype, and then we embedded ALIAS PortfolioWall. After the tests we determined that clear articulation of potential benefits to the team users was key to getting attention (case studies helped). Web-based training facilitated getting people on board.. flexible tool "add-ining" was useful to enhanced utility as we discovered emerging opportunity. But at the end of the day IT support and senior executive leadership was essential. Where these were not available people lost enthusiasm and project benefits were brushed aside by political correctness... who determines and what triggers individual bonuses? Doesn't mean decisions were wrong (corporate values) but may not be in the interests of creativity, innovation and good design in a changing world. Groove has moved on and is now in Office 2007 as Groove 2007.
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But to ensure Iterative Capital is deployed effectively we need to allow the growth of what Tudor Rickards calls Teams from Heaven that have a
Strong platform of understanding,a
Shared vision and live in a
Creative climate; with shared
Ownership of ideas, develop a
Resilience to setbacks and include people who are
Network activators and as a total team...
So is Web 2.0 the answer.. or part of the answer
if we regard it as the gravitational core.. a platform then we need to be able to operate to expand our user insights by using the iterative capital generative capability of web 2.0 -based philosophies and tools to generate a suite of tools that facilitate and enable the potential for creative teams to form... to coalesce around an insight, idea, concept and make it into a winning experience in terms of how 'things' are done and what 'things' become. We need a SpaceBook that facilitates teams (extended and core) to seriously play and create new things that have value.. that value potential being created by understanding the intersection of need and technology earlier in the process.
Certainly Web 2.0 can be a platform for superior Design and Innovation networks which I have discussed here... whilst this is a basic model it will be populated with knowledgeable detailing which is informed by the interaction of the key organisation's culture internally and externally.... which may be the key to success or failure in the longer term.
Fritjof Capra in The Hidden Connections writes that Culture is created and sustained by a network (form) of communications (process), in which meaning is generated. Culture’s material embodiments (matter) include artefacts, and written matter through which meaning is passed from group to group over time.
To truly exploit the potential of new and emergent tools, technologies and processes people that make up the culture and its organisations must learn to do things differently in order to generate artefacts, written matter, etc. that make new meaning... and this takes time.
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To facilitate this artefact building we need social interaction and co-ordination; and tools that help the group do the things they need to do. One of the beauties of network-centric tools is that one can observe the activity that takes place and see who is more active, or less active in the chaotic interactions that make up design and innovation and then ask people "Why?" in order to enquire "Why do you spend a lot of time or hardly any time?" Of course it does need to be empathic enquiry in order to learn what is going on rather than direct enquiry which may elicit reactive group-speak that does not add to the knowledge for action.
So maybe Design Spacebook is what we build; maybe Facebook is the platform. So all we need do is decide what we want to build on it! But we need to remember that to use social systems in an innovative way we need to support not only the processes of networking and negotiation, but also of enabling. Enabling the development of competences around goals and tasks is a leadership skill; deploying leadership enables members to strive to be the right people for the task, doing whatever it takes to achieve!