Here is the final report for feedback. We thank all contributors and welcome comments on the project and on the policy recommendations.
Tuesday 14th September we presented the results of the E20 study to the EC.
The workshop provided not only validation but real insight. All the presentations are available on Slideshare .
My take-out from the workshop (on top of the study findings) were:
– Ken Ducatel, EC lead on the digital strategy, provided the big picture and stressed that the study was actually more important than the EC originally thought
– it’s quite clear that E20 has not yet delivered large scale impact. Lee Bryant described the current status as early, patchy and tool centric. In our study, we struggled to find SME cases of E20. Employee adoption is viral in some cases, more difficult in others. Incentives to participation and sharing are not always effective.
– the market is very small but growing fast, Europe lagging behind both in supply and demand. EU start-ups cannot compete with US counterparts also because they have much less ressources from VC.
– together with VC, public procurement is a key are of policy activity. Current procurement approaches still are ineffective to leverage the growth of successful SMEs. New approaches to procurement have to be
designed, as well as to research and innovation policy, in order to reach out to real innovators.
– the software market is changing, margins are much lower and vendors should offer services on top of tools in order to be profitable. It’s therefore important to experiment with new business models
– E20 is an important area of attention but certainly not a key policy issue for governments. But the picture changes when you consider E20 as a specific case of innovation in software. The question then is: why did Europe miss out on this trend just as in many others? Why are EU companies much slower in adoption than US ones? Why did such innovation not come out of EU research? In general, this makes me think: is EU research funding more suitable for hardware and infrastructure rather than software? Is there evidence of this?
– success stories in open innovation such as 100%open were only possible because NESTA was arm’s length from government, otherwise it would have been difficult to justify politically to work mainly with large companies. In the end, SMEs benefit from this because they can participate in open innovation value chain, selling to large companies. This shows the importance of arm’s length body and trust in innovation policy.
The workshop went very well also because we invited 3 external, real-life speaker: Mart Van Der Kerkhof from Allen and Overy, a legal company who uses E20; Antoine Perdaens from KnowledgePlaza, a small E20 startup; and Roland Harwood from 100%open, the UK open innovation agency. This made the workshop much more meaningful and exciting, so I will keep on doing this. On top of this , we had two very insightful peer reviewers, prof Steinmuller from SPRI and Wim de Waele, CEO of IBBT.
My goal for the final report is to streamline the evidence, make a good business case for e20, but most of all looking at lessons learnt from the study that can help EU innovation policy switching from sevendipity to serendipity.
When looking at the case studies and the product offering, it is not always clear “what is different and what is new” about Enterprise 2.0.
In the study proposal, we came up with the following table. Is it accurate? Is it complete? Is it clear enough to distinguish Enterprise 2.0?
|Traditional Enterprise apps||Enterprise 2.0|
|Mission||Enable pre-defined groups/teams working closely together and/or relatively formal collaborative relationships.||Enable individuals to act in loose, ad-hoc collaborations with a potentially very large number of others.|
|Relationship to organisational hierarchy||Tools reflect the organizational hierarch and roles within them.||Little link to organizational hierarchy|
|Control of structure||Centrally imposed and generally rigid controls||Emergent (=emerges and evolves)|
|Content originated by||Specialists with authorisation||All users – also emergent|
|Control over users||Users/participants are fixed and their roles pre-defined.||Roles by choice and can evolve over time (emergent)|
|Control mechanisms||Formal, rules||Norms, examples|
|Change of content timescales||Slow||Rapid|
|Delivery model||Typically on premise commercially licensed software||Range of delivery models including on premise, cloud, commercial, open source, stand-alone, suites or add-ins to E1.0 systems|
|Range of participants||Colleagues with similar or complementary job roles||Anyone in the organization and potentially outside (e.g. customers)|
|Links between participants||Peer or hierarchical||Links can be strong to non-existent (or ‘potential’) within the group|
|Typical tools||Knowledge management, knowledge repositories, decision automation||Blogs, wikis, social networking, prediction markets|
Update: The most up-to-date version of the typology is published on p.14 of the Interim Report.
I’ll admit that when I first read the term ‘typology’ in the EC’s tender for this research project I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. I knew it was something to do with organising things by type, but beyond that I wasn’t sure. I looked it up and found that a typology is a “classification according to general type” (http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=typology) or a “systematic classification of types that have characteristics or traits in common” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/typology). That sounded reasonable, but the thought that followed immediately was: “Is this something that can be done with enterprise 2.0 use cases?”
I came across two attempts to do something similar: a blog post by Bjorn Negelman explaining a classification of enterprise 2.0 use cases he created and an internal project at Headshift to catalogue and group use cases we had come across. I didn’t find either of these attempts completely persuasive: they both took the approach of trying to put the use cases into broad buckets such as ‘knowledge sharing’, ‘user engagement’ or ‘innovation management 2.0’. I felt that this was useful to an extent, but that a better approach would be to situate these archetypal use cases in a structure that spoke to something fairly fundamental about enterprise 2.0 tools.
After the initial research into the various use cases and a period of mulling them over, this was my first attempt at organising them:
The above attempts to define use cases by the sort of interaction they facilitate and where they facilitate them: within an organisation or between an organisation and its environment. Apart from my terrible handwriting, I didn’t think the bottom axis–degree of interaction–was quite right: one use case could contain both conversation and collaboration. The form of the representation also seemed to suggest that use cases in the bottom left are bad and those in the top right are good.
The Current Version
This representation organises use cases based on the sort of interpersonal tie they support and based on the size of the system that contains that interpersonal tie. I should point out a debt here to Andrew McAfee who first applied the idea of interpersonal ties to enterprise 2.0 (as far as I know).
I think this really does capture something fundamental about enterprise 2.0 (or at least the way I think about enterprise 2.0). Traditional IT facilitates formal processes, where the interaction is typically not person-to-person. Newer IT tools, and particularly enterprise 2.0, facilitate informal processes comprised of person-to-person connections and in so doing enable the breaking down of traditional organisational barriers.
Please do let me know what you think: have I left out important use cases? Are some of them positioned wrongly? Am I naming them at the wrong level of detail? Do you disagree with the organisation scheme entirely?
Note: I found Jacob Morgan’s collection of enterprise 2.0 case studies as well as Headshift’s own case studies useful when creating this.
There are no official statistics of usage of Enteprise 20: actually, the whole dimension of collaboration and knowledge exchange is missing from existing statistics, which instead focus on the old paradigm of e-commerce. See the screenshot from Eurostat below.
However, I came across interesting statistics from the Community Innovation Survey on the propensity of companies to collaborate in innovation (regardless of the ICT tools). The chart below shows that SMEs are fall less keen to collaborate than large companies (source: OECD 2008 Open Innovation in Global Networks).
If collaboration is a key aspect of innovation, SMEs suffer from competitive disadvantage with large companies. So my question is:
– why are SMEs collaborating less in innovation?
– can Enterprise 2.0 software have a meaningful impact on the propensity of SMEs to innovate, and thereby on their competitiveness?
We’re right in the middle of finding companies interested in being part of our research. We’ve got some very strong candidates that we think will make for some interesting case studies: more of that anon. Right now, I want to share a couple of thoughts that have occurred to me in relation to the conversations we’ve had so far.
People want to talk
The people running these projects want to talk to someone about them: they’ve been working hard trying to make the companies they work for more effective and efficient through, for example, better knowledge sharing, increased situational awareness or a more human workplace. They know they’re doing good work and they want this to be recognised, both internally and externally.
Do big companies make more use of enterprise 2.0 than small ones?
We’re trying to recruit 4 SMEs and 4 large companies but most of the companies we’ve spoken to so far are above the SME bracket in terms of size and revenue. There are a few reasons I can think of for why this might be:
- Sampling bias: We’ve publicised our research on this blog and on the Headshift blog and we’ve been talking to our friends and contacts about who they know who could be interested. Perhaps big companies are over-represented, in relation the whole set of enterprise 2.0 users, among the people who we’re connected to via these channels.
- Big companies want to talk more: Maybe big companies aren’t over-represented, but they are more interested in or have more time to get involved in this sort of research than SMEs do.
- Big companies use enterprise 2.0 more: enterprise 2.0 tools, platforms and services enable human connections over a larger scale. If you work in a small company, it’s easy to talk to the people you work with. You can bump into them in the corridor or the kitchen and chat to them in the pub after work. Perhaps as a company grows in size, these sorts of face-to-face connections don’t scale and the value to the business of using enterprise 2.0 increases.
I have no idea which of these, if any, is the correct explanation and I’m not sure whether we’ll answer this question during the course of the project. Interesting to ponder though.
As I said earlier, these are just feelings based on a small number of conversations and may be wide of the mark. If you have any views, please share them in the comments.