Posts Tagged ‘Y Generation’

Citatet er fra AIIM’s undersøgelse Collaboration and Enterprise 2.0 fra slutningen af 2009 og det er et citat, som jeg, siden jeg læste undersøgelsen, vender tilbage til igen og igen.

For det første er det hovedrystende sandt. Kender vi efterhånden ikke alle den situation, at vi i vores arbejdsvirke må nøjes med inferiøre værktøjer i forhold til dem, vi er blevet vant til på internettet? Vi er blevet vant til Web 2.0-universet, hvad enten vi kender begrebet eller ej, og muligheden for at kunne søge og finde alt på et splitsekund, at kommentere på venners Facebook-status, på deres Twitter-update, på LinkedIn. Vi ved efterhånden mere detaljeret, hvad vores venner i udlandet laver LIGE NU end vores kollega 10 meter længere henne.

Jeg har haft dette oppe i mine diskussioner med adskillige store og små danske virksomheder i løbet af de sidste 2 måneder og reaktionen er, næsten over en bred kam, at det er så sandt, så sandt og at de fleste faktisk meget gerne vil gøre noget ved det. Ikke kun fordi der efterhånden er ved at opstå et medarbejderpres, men også fordi det giver forretningsmæssigt voldsomt god mening.

Hvis nogen af jer kender Gmail, så ved I, at man nu modtager kontekstrelaterede Google Adwords, mens man læser emails. Hvis jeg fx læser en email fra min kone, hvor hun foreslår en lille sviptur til Paris (gid hun gjorde), så handler reklamerne i højre side om feriehuse i Frankrig, billige flybilletter til Paris osv. Dvs. jeg får ”pushed” relevant information lige ind i mit synsfelt.

Jeg forestiller mig, at virksomheder på samme måde skaber platforme, der ”pusher” helt konkret kontekstrelevant information til sine medarbejdere på tværs af applikationer både inden for firewallen og fra skyen. Så slipper man for, at det samme projekt uafhængigt af hinanden igangsættes 3 gange i samme organisation inden for blot 18 måneder og forventningerne er øget produktivitet, øget arbejdsglæde, øget videndeling – og øget Return On Information.

Hvad er jeres tanker om dette og har I taget initiativer i denne retning?

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by one of the most passionate and well-informed airline observers, The AirObserver’s Blog, last week. It’s now online here. I talk about the challenges faced by traditional carriers and low cost carriers alike when dealing with digital natives (Generation Y and Generation Z). I would personally like airlines to put a lot more effort into understanding digital natives and coming up with more great initiatives like Southwest, Cathay and Virgin.

Another couple of inspired guys are Chris Brogan and Shashank Nigam.

An incredible amount has been and is being said about the two terms Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 – and recently discussions in leading blogs about the two topics have moved to the mutual dependency of those two concepts.

If you listen to Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at MIT (video below), you’ll learn that, crudely defined, Enterprise 2.0 is Web 2.0 inside the firewall. And according to Stowe Boyd,

“Enterprise 2.0 has been a simple and useful metaphor that assumes that Web 2.0 technologies (like contemporary social media, social networking, social tools, and the underlying set of technologies that make up the Web 2.0 model: open source stack (LAMP), web as a platform, open APIs, and so on) can be beneficially applied in the enterprise context. This means the eventual displacement of various enterprise technologies and business practices by new ones, strongly influenced by what is happening and working in the open (not enterprise) web.”

Nothing weird or controversial there. I can fully subscribe to those definitions.

What I want to examine in this post is:

  1. To what extent successful deployment of Web 2.0 requires Enterprise 2.0
  2. Generation Y as an Enterprise 2.0 driver in its own right

To what extent does successful deployment of Web 2.0 require Enterprise 2.0?

This is definitely a very good question and one that can’t be justly answered without making some assumptions. I would like to think of Web 2.0 as creating a strong dialogue with your customers (or “users”, which is becoming the Web 2.0 term of choice). It’s the culture of interaction and users expect authenticity, openness and responsiveness. They expect a good look under the bonnet, but they don’t necessarily expect perfection. In fact if they see and experience too much perfection, they immediately suspect “fake”. Imperfection is a fully accepted circumstance in Web 2.0 and tells users that this enterprise is human – after all. This is what some (most) managers still don’t fully understand. Letting go and exposing some of your imperfections is okay as long as you’re honest about it and tell people you’re going to do something about it.

Of course being honest and authentic requires you (the employee) “to know”. You need to know what the company strategy is, what your company’s position is on certain issues, how to respond to criticism, how to route questions you can’t answer, what tone to use , what media to get involved in (Facebook, YouTube, blogs, Twitter) and a lot more.

That’s where practice comes in. In his blog, “Practice inside to express yourself outside”, Gil Yehuda, guru and former software developer, compares living by Enterprise 2.0 to the very critical testing of software prior to release. He says, “one of the early lessons I learned as a technologist was the importance of testing before “going live”. As a developer and project manager I learned how carefully software must be tested — tested for functional correctness, usability, security breaches, performance issues, and failure conditions. Testing was a time consuming part of developing code, but the cost was outweighed by the value of getting it right. Moreover the cost of rolling out bad software was too high to risk. No one wants to test their software in production — with all eyes on you, and the cost of failure so high!”

The point is you don’t expose a 2.0 immature organization to Web 2.0. At best it will have absolutely no impact (which is actually what happens most of the time, when organizations decide they “have to be on Facebook”). At worst it can result in disillusioned users and the viral aspects of Web 2.0 spinning out of control.

From this perspective it would definitely be wise for organizations to introduce an Enterprise 2.0 culture prior to Web 2.0.

Generation Y as an Enterprise 2.0 driver in its own right

In previous blog posts I have talked about the labour market revolution taking place before our eyes; the growth in workforce numbers of Generation Y, the digital natives – soon to become the biggest labour market generation. This generation has totally different expectations to work and to enterprise software. They tend not to think in hierarchies, they think in networks and they expect enterprises to accommodate them.

I just read an interview with SunGard’s CEO Cristóbal Conde talking about flatter and better organizations. He says: “Collaboration is one of the most difficult challenges in management. I think top-down organizations got started because the bosses either knew more or they had access to more information. None of that applies now. Everybody has access to identical amounts of information.”

This is a brilliant point and Conde goes on to state that the management challenge is to establish a meritocracy in a highly dispersed environment (assuming that most organizations these days are virtual and/or geographically dispersed). He suggests the “answer is to allow employees to develop a name for themselves that is irrespective of their organizational ranking or where they sit in the org chart. And it actually is not a question about monetary incentives. They do it because recognition from their peers is an extremely strong motivating factor, and something that is broadly unused in modern management.”

SunGard uses very simply tools, like Yammer (which my organization, Akselera, also introduced a few months ago) and focuses on Enterprise 2.0 as a cultural exercise fully embraced and supported by top management.

A recent survey by the AIIM stated that 71% agree that it’s easier to locate knowledge on the web than on internal systems. This was across all employees and my guess is that among Generation Y it was close to 100%. The same survey found that 75% of all employees said that “better use of shared knowledge” was one of 3 top driver for Enterprise 2.0 initiatives in their organization.

Interestingly the survey didn’t ask the respondents if Web 2.0 was a business driver for Enterprise 2.0. It would have definitely been interesting to see “shared knowledge” and “Web 2.0” measured against each other.

Regardless, I think it is reasonable to conclude that:

  • Enterprise 2.0 does not need Web 2.0 as a driver.
  • Web 2.0 will have a much better chance of succeeding in Enterprise 2.0 ready organizations
  • And with the rapidly growing numbers of digital natives in the workforce, Generation Y and sound leadership should be viewed as a strong Enterprise 2.0 driver in its own right.

Time to celebrate. Tonight’s not only the eve of the first millennium decade, it’s also the night where the last of Generation Z will be born.

Generation Z covers babies born between 1995 and 2009 and so tomorrow will belong to another, yet to be defined, generation. Generations are like decades. They’re extremely hard to define while you’re in the middle of them. Sometimes it even takes an additional decade to recognize unique trends and characteristics – usually when people make the first moves towards distancing themselves from the fashions of a decade. The eighties, for instance, were highly scorned throughout the nineties; people had bad taste parties and referred to the ghastly eighties.

Australia is a country having put a lot of effort into researching and trying to define Generation Z and the general consensus from down under is that they’re demanding and opinionated – they’re like Generation Y on steroids. As a father of 3 Generation Z girls I would tend to agree :-)

What I want to know from you is this: What do you think defines Generation Z? What are their strengths? Where will they be challenged? How do they consume? How do they communicate? How will they work? What do they expect from life?

I plan series of blog posts on Generation Z in the coming year. I invite you to join in!

Reading a great little book over the Christmas holidays, Listen to the Elephants (Lyt til elefanterne), by Anna Ebbesen and Astrid Haug. It’s about practical digital communications and how it all changed when it moved from analogue to digital. It’s full of fantastic examples (still only in Danish, but hopefully these two sharps girls will be translated soon).

Listen to the Elephants obviously refers to listening to your customers, or rather users, because users are someone who knows all about your products (sometimes perhaps more than you do); someone you’d like to chat with if you are truly interested in understanding your market situation and what you should be doing to make more happy users – and, well, yeah, make more money.

To the point: Here’s a voice of some of your hardcore users, Lundby (legendary Swedish dolls houses)! My two eldest daughters, both Generation Z, aged 9 and almost 11, got accessories from Lundby for Christmas to supplement their elaborate and ever-growing mini mansions at home. One of them also got a cool little Polly Pocket set and since we’re spending Christmas with my in-laws in Ireland, the two entrepreneurial girls quickly mixed and matched the two collections, because Polly Pocket happens to be roughly the size of a Lundby doll, about 10 cm tall.

When I pointed out the mix and match they simply said, “That’s what we do at home too“, and as their father I need to apologise for the language, “the Lundby dolls are really crap, especially the hair”.

Now that’s a fact I’d like to know about if I was the Lundby boss, but www.lundby.com is not exactly the kind of website that encourages dialogue or new ideas or feedback. As a first-hand student of Generation Z (and Generation Y) I know that they love to comment, to be heard, to be involved. So why doesn’t Lundby have a way to involve their users? I’d say girls between 6 and 13.

So, on behalf of my daughters: Lundby, listen to your users and do something about those dolls. Oh, and check out some of the cool web 2.0 ways of involving your users. They’d love it – and so would you.

Warning: The following statement is rubbish. As soon as you’ve read it, please erase it from your memory :)

“Twitter and social networks cost UK businesses over £1.38 billion per year in lost productivity”. This recent quote from a survey by Morse, a UK based IT consulting company, doesn’t even deserve to be referenced, except it has now appeared in newspapers worldwide. Companies who wish to lose their employee mojo, go ahead and follow Morse’s advice. Those who want to continue to attract the Y Generation, the Digital Natives, forget you ever read that statement.

As I have already mentioned in my earlier blogs about the topic, Digital Natives, and the rest of us really, expect to be able to check our Facebooks, our online bank account statements and book our weekend trips any time we want. But hold on, we also prepare customer presentations at 11 o’clock at night. We do that if we’re passionate about our jobs.

The real world example is Google and their 20 percent time. Google offers their engineers “20-percent time” so that they’re free to work on what they’re really passionate about. Google Suggest, AdSense for Content and Orkut are among the many products of this perk.

Just consider this: How many hours of lost productivity do you think Google has each year on that account? It’s around $400,000,000. And do you think Google considers it “lost productivity”? Or is it their mojo?