Sunday, 20 September 2009

My thoughts on 2.0


Training Wreck   I recently commented on a couple of posts on Dan Pontefract’s Training Wreck where he provides his perspectives on the 2.0 meme (web 2.0, enterprise 2.0, learning 2.0, Claire 2.0 etc…).

And I thought I would post here to expand on my response:

“2.0 can mean a couple of things. One is that it simply refers to any significant, qualitative vs quantitative shift over the ways things were done before (otherwise we’d be talking about 1.1 not 2.0). But then work 2.0, culture 2.0 could mean anything. So I don’t think that’s a useful route to go.

But I’d suggest that the other way of looking at this, and the only way I can see to bring these terms closer together is that they’re all about ’social’. Web 2.0 = social technology, enterprise 2.0 = a more social way of organising etc.

In fact, as we’ve discussed on your previous post, HR in a 2.0 World: Leading vs. Following (, they’re all about generating social capital.

Just a personal view of course!”


I’ve previously provided my own view on a few of the 2.0 components listed by Dan:


However, I do tend to agree with Dan that ‘2.0’ is used a bit too much these days, particularly when there is little cohesion between these different applications.

Take Dan’s Enterprise 2.0 and Work 2.0:

  • Enterprise 2.0: “The use of emergent social software platforms within companies”
  • Work 2.0: “The shift from a 9-5 workday to a flexible workweek inclusive of work locations.”


What’s the similarity between these, other than the 2.0 variants of each terms are somehow more modern?  (This isn’t a criticism of Dan’s analysis, simply of the framework he’s working in).

My other criticism of this approach is that it leads us to be overly utopian.  Eg:

  • Culture 2.0: “The shift from white ivory tower hierarchical / manage by fear structure to one that is wirearchical, heterarchical, flat, connected and community-driven.”
  • People 2.0: “Employees will seek out an employer that provides an experience, a second family, a place to feel valued, the new ‘employee’ will not be institutionalised.


I believe we can make a step-change to a qualitatively different way of managing organisations without requiring businesses to become social paradises.

My suggestion, that I made to Dan, and I’ve made previously on this blog too, is that resolving this tension requires us to link a single factor to all 2.0 components.  This will allow us to define all components upon this single common factor, rather than having to create lists of attributes for each one.

I then suggest that this single factor is a more social approach, based upon connections and relationships.  As evidence of this conclusion, I point towards the fact the web 2.0 (the originating component) is also called the social web ( / social media / social technology etc).

But that’s a bit vague, so the further refinement that I make to this, is that each 2.0 component focuses on creating social capital.  So web 2.0 is technology that enables the development of social capital, enterprise 2.0 is an organisation than invests in the development of social capital, HR 2.0 is the management of people in a way that leads to the development of social capital, etc.

This view may not (yet) have wide support, but it does have the considerable benefit of consistency!



Technorati Tags: Dan Pontefract,Training Wreck,Web 2.0,Enterprise 2.0,social capital


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