Monday, April 18, 2011

The Inevitable Future of Content Management

We have "known" for decades that tv screens would eventually become flat enough to be wall-mounted just like a painting. I remember reading about flat-screen tvs in a magazine about future technologies when I was about 12 in the beginning of the 80s. The idea has probably been around ever since the television was first invented. It has always been a matter of time until we would have flat-screens tvs.

For me it's kind of the same thing with content management (although not as many people are as interested in the future of content management as they are in the future of tv technology). In the future, content management will become like air, invisible to users. The content will be automatically managed. We won't have to spend any thoughts on how to manage our content. We won't have to care about different formats or types of content, where the content is stored, or what version of it that is the correct one. Instead we will be able to concentrate entirely on how to communicate effectively.

A less distant future will look something like this:

  • Library services such as version control and checkout/checkin are happening behind the scenes. The services available for any type of content, whatever tool is used to produce it. As users we don't have to care about such things as resolving editing conflicts and backing up our information. Sometimes we browse our content from a timeline perspective to see how it has evolved. We can turn on playback and choose to stop at any point in time to look at how the content.(Remember the playback feature in Google Wave? Although Google Wave failed miserably, this was one of the features that lived on.)
  • Nothing is deleted. Ever. We still sort and filter things away to keep the things we need in close proximity and the things we don't need away from our attention, but most of it is done automatically as the systems we use learn what kind of information we are interested in.
  • We are using light-weight collaborative tools for creating, aggregating, and sharing content. Editing is not even a mouse click away; it is within a touch or swipe with a finger or two. We do it on any device. 
  • We have said goodbye to native formats and hello to standardized open formats. The standardization of content formats was the key to enable reuse and seamless integration across applications and platforms. Native formats was a 20th century plague which we have put behind us.
  • Cloud-based storage and automatic synchronization services enables seamless working across any device. The physical storage location became irrelevant when we could access our content from anywhere and know that it was managed in a secure way.
  • To avoid information falling inte the wrong hands and to keep information integrity, information protection has been implemented on content level and all authentication uses our digital IDs. The content cannot be manipulated or accessed via an application that doesn't support security standards and authentication using trusted digital IDs.

Apparently, in some respects the future is already here. It just needs to be distributed evenly. Eventually content management will become like air, just like we now have wall-mounted flat-screen tvs. It's just a question of time.

Friday, April 15, 2011

3 Great Talks On What Really Motivates Us

Here are three great talks about what motivates us and makes us more productive, efficient and encourages the "right" (wanted) behaviour to create or reinforce the desired company culture. If you haven't seen or listened to them before, the approximately 30 minutes it takes to do so will give you a significant return on investment! If you have, you might enjoy the highlights below.

"Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us" (Youtube animated video) by Dan Pink, author of bestselling "A Whole New Mind" and "Drive".
"We are not as endlessly maniputable and as predictable as you would think...as long as the task only involved mechanical skill, bonuses worked as be expected; the higher the pay the better the performance...but once the task called for even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward led to poorer performance...This defies the laws of behavioural physics! This isn't that anomalous. This has been replicated over and over and over again by psychologists, by sociologists, and by economists...If you don't pay enough, people won't be motivated...The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table."

"Revolutionizing Company Culture" (ITunes podcast) with Ann Rhoades, CEO of People Inc and author of "Built on Values: Creating an Enviable Culture that Outperforms the Competition"
"I have always believed that monetary rewards are very short term. I am a huge believer in rewarding people for the right behaviors and not necessarily incentivizing them with cash... Mary Kay who started Mary Kay Cosmetics used to say that if there is something that is more important to people than sex - it's recognition, and I love that saying. She said recognition and rewards that are not monetary but are really meant, are so much more impactful. When great leaders that I've known say thank you it means so much to people and as long as they're making a reasonable salary, that's more important than a one time event with cash."
"Productivity Secrets of a Very Busy Man" (ITunes podcast) with Bob Pozen, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and author of the HBR article "Extreme Productivity" (not yet published).
"Probably the most important overriding principle [to being more productive with your time] is that you have to be focused on results, not on time spent...the réal question is what you produce, not how many hours you put in...At one point in my youth, I was a lawyer billing hours and I would say that that really does create a perverse set of incentives. If you really are fast and can figure out a good solution quickly, you are in a sense penalized because you are not being able to bill as many hours."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Social Business Timeline

I have created a timeline showing events, people, resources and ideas that help explain why and how concepts such as Social Business and Enterprise 2.0 have emerged. You are most welcome to make your contributions to the timeline.


I believe the timeline will be helpful for anyone who is trying to understand or explain Social Business and Enterprise 2.0 and to show that they build on ideas and events which have emerged during a relatively long period of time.

I have added a few events, starting almost two centuries ago with the birth of steel baron Andrew Carnegie. Many of the lessons he learned on his journey to become the world's richest man in the end of the 19th century aligns with the core ideas of Social Business. I am sure there are ideas or events dating much further back that help to explain why we are now "socializing" enterprises with the use of information technology and you are welcome to add those.

If you haven't seen it already, don't forget to watch the video with Arthur C Clarke from the BBC Horizon tv programme in 1964 where he predicts that the knowledge worker will be liberated from the physical workplace in the year 2000. He sure was right that the technology would be available to us by that date, but I believe he underestimated the time it takes to change deeply rooted cultural norms, behaviors and management models. Change takes time - it doesn't happen automatically just because the technology is available to us. But the existence of technology makes change possible.