What is social about “social tools”?

Marc Eisenstadt, a fellow speaker at London Symposium on Social Tools for the Enterprise, wrote in the Symposium’s blog:
Personal ownership of content creation is critical: in our work with school children, parents, members of the local community, University students, corporate sponsors, and research colleagues, we find over and over again that empowering users to create their own content is the key to fostering engagement, creativity, and problem solving skills. (emphasis added)
Building on that, I’d add the technological innovation of weblogs will discover its full power in the enterprise when associated with the social innovation of communities of practice. Why? When we free the creative potential of flexible constellations of communities of interest and practice, it will boost their members’ identity, mutual care and professional pride. The emerging generation of social tools can be optimized for powering up that process. When that happens, blogs graduate from personal publishing tool and become a potent enabler of collective intelligence.
Right now, in many companies blogging is looked at with the same suspicion as personal webpages were in the early days of intranets. “Yet, another tool that people can use to express themselves but doesn’t it risk to get out of control?” Well, who is in control, anyway?


John Maloney, another speaker at the London Symposium on Social Tools for the Enterprise, abd the founder of the KM Cluster wrote in his newsletter:
The silent killers of effective knowledge leadership are the pervasive 20th-century traditions of linear, mechanical and reductionist thinking paired with their obsolete managerial behaviours of control, dominance and technocracy.
Top knowledge leaders routinely ‘suspend their disbelief’ to unlearn their harmful industrial-era habits and models. They learn from the emerging future through authentic conversation. 21st-century knowledge leaders actively pursue external interactions and continuously use genuine action/research networks to their strategic and collaborative advantage.

I couldn’t have said it any better. The most “genuine action/research networks” in the enterprise are the constellation of self-organizing communities of practice. In fact, the uncatchable strategic advantage of smart organizations is the collective intelligence of those communities. Technologists committed to their organizations’ sustainability and prosperity will optimize and configure the emerging crop of social tools to provide that strategic advantage. In their pursuit of that, they need to build close alliances with the leaders of business and people strategies.

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9 Responses to What is social about “social tools”?

  1. soulsoup says:

    What is social about “social tools”?

    What is social about “social tools”? from Blog of Collective Intelligence ..the technological innovation of weblogs will discover its full power in the enterprise when associated with the social innovation of communities of practice. Why? When we free …

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  2. Le blog collectif : un outil social

    What is Social About “Social Tools”? .

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  3. accessing the “collective intelligence”

    Commenting on George Por’s article, Steven Cohen discusses the value of blogging and other tools supporting collaboration in building a collective intelligence. While we have many blogging and other social software tools that enable the ‘creation’ of t…

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  4. Outils sociaux pour l’entreprise

    Compte rendu

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  5. Who’s In Control At Your Enterprise ?

    … and are they, really ?
    This is an interesting post, gleaned from George Por’s Blog of Collective Intelligence.
    <a href="http://kmi.open.ac.uk/p

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  6. Stan Skrzeszewski says:

    The interesting thing about’suspending disbelief’ in order to unlearn harmful habits and models in order to see the emerging future is that from the moment that you create a taxonomy of a future, such as declaring yourself for ‘collective intelligence’ you have created a model that instantly moves into the past. It is importent to ensure that in accepting any new belief, even in a potentialy beneficial are such as collective intelligence, you don’t enclose yourself in your self-imposed dogma and cease to look to the future.
    I very much appreciated the comment about ‘learning through authentic conversation’. The problem of course, is to know when you are engaged in ‘authentic conversation’. For example, there is a current tendency among many in Canada to assume that the Bush camp in the US is engaged in a form of inauthentic conversation, while the Democrats are engaged in a more authentic conversation.
    Once ego and dogma steps in, it is very difficult to distinguish between ‘collective intelligence’ and what satisfies my own belief system, and betwen ‘authentic conversation’ and what I take to be mis-directed conversation. Even mapping digital knowledge cannot overcome this fundamental human condition.

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  7. mark ranford says:

    Hi George, Whenever I visit your blog, I wonder why it took me so long, because you create great posts.
    What I particularly like in this one is your point on weblogs, as this for me has been a key point I try to stress about blogging. The critical aspect is that they are owned by the individual, and it is paradoxically this valuing of the individual that then releases the growth of the collective intelligence. Unfortuantely its so hard to communicate this, unless people blog they simply dont seem to follow the point. People dont seem to think its that big a difference between a discussion board and a set of blogs. But I think weblogs as you mentioned and Marc stated so well, are absolutely a critical element in releasing a new level of capability/performance in CoPs and CI. Wiki type tech’s definitely great for aggregation, but blogs are different and equally important, maybe more critical
    And btw, Im really happy to see you linking CoPs and CI so well.
    Finally can I link to your blog from a new CoP on CI that I just created? Youre welcome to comment at the wiki page, part of a new KM community were putting together, but its very basic, and really aimed at drawing in people from the KM community who are only just thinking CoP, and where CI is reall going to blow there mind, so its a bit like a gentle front porch for them to begin to absorb, rather than the study where buisness and leading thinking occurs… (analogy from Alexanders Pattern thinking approach to architectiture , the Intimacy gradient ) However having a leading thinker on CI such as your self have regular blogs posted, no extra effort on your behalf, would be great for such a membership.

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  8. Tout le monde en parle ?

    En ce dimanche soir où on nous repasse des reprises, je suis impressionné de lire les dernières statistiques de “Pew Internet & American Life Project” : “By the end of 2004 blogs had established themselves as a key part of online culture.” Avons-nous a…

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  9. andrew campbell says:

    CI’ers – ‘real knowledge resides in knowing what is best to be done.’ i find that marvelous and all i need to know 😉 Hope it contributes something to the wisdom here. love, andrew

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