In writing about Web 2.0, Clive Thompson coined the phrase ambient awareness. He said, “Each little update, each individual bit of social information is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But taken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of people’s lives.” I have no quarrel with his assessment and even like the phase ambient awareness.
Lew Platt, former CEO of HP approached the same idea with a different thought: “If HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more profitable.” As I’ve considered both men’s assessment on collaboration and knowledge management, I have begun to form my own definition that is a compilation of their thoughts and those of others.
In my experience, successful application in a business setting of Web 2.0 and all the technologies surrounding the space (a.k.a. – Enterprise 2.0), is really about using social computing platforms to make relevant information not simply more accessible. But to have it flow throughout the organization as a byproduct of organizational activity such that a shared view of the business is derived by all participants in the social computing environment. Just as we do not give conscious thought to breathing or maintaining our body temperature, the creation, dissemination, and maintenance of tribal knowledge can be made implicit in daily activities through application of social computing platforms.
If such an environment can in fact be fostered, what benefit is to be had? I anticipate the benefit will come in two forms:
· Capitalizing on the viral spread of innovative ideas in a rapid, iterative, entrepreneurial fashion.
· Better decision making by improved contextual awareness for each and every business decision.