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Working Together or Collaborating Using Social Software

Working Together, Wherever They Are STEVE LOHR from The NY Times (reg req)

The second round of Internet innovation appears to be here. Companies large and small experienced soaring productivity in the 90's as the Web made worlds of information available at the click of a mouse, and the Internet drastically reduced the cost of communicating and doing business with someone on the next floor or the next continent. That cost-cutting payoff continues to spread. But in the next wave, companies are embracing the potential of networked computing to let workers share their knowledge more efficiently as they nurture new ideas, new products and new ways to digitally automate all sorts of tasks.

Companies are drawing on collaborative models that first blossomed in nonbusiness settings, from online games to open-source software projects to the so-called wiki encyclopedias and blogs to speed up innovation. This networked collaboration is creating new opportunities and disrupting industries. New styles of work and, in business schools, new theories of innovation are rising.

The open-source software projects - social software (blogs, wikis) and ideas (collaboration, innovation) that Mr. Lohr refers to are the ones we have been trying to pass on to businesses for the last two years. Whew! We have a lot invested in this new breed of software as well as the ways it can be applied to improve productivity, innovation, and collaboration.

Although Mr. Lohr didn't say it, this is all web 2.0 stuff. Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow has summary of Tim O'Reilly's brainstorming session at Foo. It is a list of the attributes of a classic Web 2.0 company - that would be us.

  • Attitude, not technology
  • The Long Tail
  • Data is the "intel inside"
  • Hackability
  • Perpetual Beta
  • Right to Remix (some rights reserved)
  • Software that gets better the more people use it
  • Emergent user behavior not predetermined
  • Play
  • Granular addressability of content
  • Rich user experience
  • Small pieces loosely joined (web as components)
  • Trust your users