Friday, July 30, 2010

Location for Business: 3D Required

oceuk Location-based web services are hot these days. Even though the amount of people is limited, but growing rapidly. I enjoy using and experimenting with Foursquare. Currently I can't give you many examples of how location-based services have helped me (except for the fact that I'm Mayor of six places and I was awarded some cool badges...). But I'm sure I will be able to soon. I think it's just interesting to use follow this area and see how others are using it to generate business.

For companies I think there are many ways it can be useful. For one location-based services can be used as a people finder. And if you relate interests/expertise to those people, it's also an expertise finder. At least you could know where to find a person with/without a certain expertise. Current location-based applications will give you a 2D map telling you where to find that person.

One thing I hope will happen is that location services will also be available in 3D (Layar with Foursquare is a good start). Most companies have multi-floor buildings. Being able to see if the person you're looking for is on the first or second floor is helpful if not crucial. I'm curious when the first service will pop up that can do this. Or did I miss something and are there already applications doing this?

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Endurance

IMG_0886 If you're not from Holland, you probably don't know the largest walking event in the world is currently going on in Nijmegen, my home town. It's called the 'Vierdaagse' (in Dutch. Literally: the 4 day one) or 'the Walk of the World'. It's a great event for participants and spectators. The whole city of Nijmegen is flooded with people from all over the world (people from 67 countries participated this year!). Men and woman of 65 years and older have to walk 30 kilometers for four days to get a medal. Men younger between 16-65 have to walk 4x50 kilometers. And ladies walk 4x40 k's. Very long walks, that require lots of training, focus and determination!

Yesterday I volunteered to give water to the walkers (- you may have noticed my tweets/here are some pictures). I love doing that. It brings back lots of memories of the hardship and joy I experience walking 4x50 two years ago. It's great to see about 45.000 people walking by focused on reaching the finish, which is today.

Standing there yesterday, a question popped up, that I also had during my course about 'realistic influencing'. In our work a lot of time is spent on convincing others and influencing employees, managers and groups. I love doing that. Just like the walkers you have an end goal in mind, you are determined to reach the finish. And many reach their goals. But some don't. During this year's Walk of the World about 3.000 walkers had to stop due to blisters, fatigue, etc. They had to make the hard decision to stop.

And here's my question: When do you decide to stop influencing and convincing people that e.g. social media/KM/information management is a good thing for business? When do you decide that convincing an employee, a decision maker or a company is wasting your time and energy?

Focus on Social Media Philosophy

Luis Suarez, one of IBM's well-known social media evangelists and email killer, has a really nice post titled "Forget social strategy, think social philosophy: Hippie 2.0". I hope you go ahead and read it. I'd love to hear your thoughts about his post (by leaving your comments on Luis' blog). I'll insert my thoughts here (that don't only apply to social media, by the way):

Nice post, Luis! I agree talking about the underlying philosophy and/or concepts of social media is insightful and helpful. I find talking in this way to employees and managers helps. As an IT manager in the company I work for said: "When deciding to do an IT investment let's not talk about money/ROI first, but first make a decision based on the story." In your terms: The philosophy should make sense and be understood first.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Enough Information

paper When do you have enough information to make a next step or a decision? As you may know I love to process lots of information. Depending on the type of information I'll dive into it deeply or just dip my toe in it. After processing lots of information deciding when enough is enough has become easier for me. But it's hard for me to describe when I stop taking in information. Dave Snowden's Cynefin model has helped me in this sense. (By the way Snowden is currently summarizing the Cynefin model/approach/concept in several posts.

The Cynefin model basically says: look at cause and effect. Is the cause and/or effect clear? Is the relationship between both clear? Depending on your answer different 'next steps' should be taken. For instance if the relationship between cause and effect is completely unclear. This is the complex domain. Probing is the thing to do. Don't go a read volumes of books and articles. Probe and see what happens, then act, etc.

Even though I love to read lots of information I don't believe in perfection. That's one of the great things I learned from social media. Don't think you will be able to write a perfect report, blog post or book. Don't think you'll be able to process all the relevant content before you start communicating your opinion about the topic. Release as early as possible to get early feedback, to learn more quickly. Listen, think, share and learn.

How do you decide you have enough information? Do you have a problem to 'release early'? If so, why?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Moving a Cloud Drive (Dropbox)

dropbox Recently I did something stupid and I want to share it with you to keep you from doing the same. (Or maybe I'm just the only one who would do this...)

For some time now I'm a happy user of Dropbox. Dropbox is basically your personal hard drive in the cloud. I'm using it to store a large part of my personal files. Dropbox works via a website, but you can also approach your files via Windows Explorer (as your other files categorized in folders).

Recently I had to move my Dropbox folder to a different part of my computer (corporate disk quota problems...). After thinking it through a bit I thought: Ok, I can just copy this folder to elsewhere. If things go wrong I'll still have them in the cloud (because Explorer syncs my files with my files on the internet/in Dropbox). So I copied them and everything seemed to be OK.

But every now and then we have a corporate sync tool making sure your corporate files can be accessed everywhere/everytime when you disconnect your laptop from the next. This sync tool did his job and because I copied the files it thought: Ok, I'll just delete them all as you wish.

Even more painful was the fact that someone had shared two folders with me to collaborate on some files. These were gone as well...

A bit of panic broke out then... All my personal files are gone! What happened?! I know and understand now that I should never have COPIED those files, but I should have MOVED them. If you go to Dropbox 'Preferences' you can easily see the current Dropbox folder location. And just behind that location there's MOVE button... Using that button makes sure the folder copying goes OK and you don't loose your personal files.

Oh, and how did I get my files back? Well IT makes snapshots of my drives every hour and saves them for some time. I was able to find the right snapshot and copy my files back to the Dropbox folder. Hooray for our IT department!

Hope this helps.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Realistic Influencing (part two)

Some time ago I blogged about a course I followed: Realistic Influencing. I promised I would write about day three as well. Here's my list of learning points:

  1. When in a discussion you have opposite conclusions look for facts and criteria (refer to previous post) you agree upon and/or have in common and starting talking from there.
  2. Remember to summarize someone's criteria when you think you see one and ask for feedback to see if you're correct.
  3. We all have several different voices in our head. You can give them names. Like my Einstein voice telling me to be creative, think out-of-the-box, etc. But this voice can have contradictory voice telling me to be pragmatic for instance. Talk about these voices out loud in a conversation, it helps people understand what going on in your head. It also buys you time.
  4. Situational LeadershipIIDuring the course we also looked at Hersey & Blanchard's situational leadership matrix. I really like that model. It's a great model to use to talk with your manager about how you want to be managed or how you experience his/her management. Striking is the fact that if you e.g. think you are delegated a task but your manager coaches you, you fall back one or two development levels. I've had the experience several times in my career.
  5. standpunten realistisch overtuigen points of view flowFinally we went through the 'point of view flow'. This gives some context and flow to the influencing model I wrote about in the previous blogpost. I found the two different phases, pacing and leading, interesting. Because usually people are good one or the other: pacing is easier for softer people, leading for macho's. This flow says, you have to try to do both. And during the whole process 'rapport' is important: being in sync with the other (watching his body language, truly listening, etc.)

I really enjoyed this course, not just because of the interesting theory, models and flows. But also because of all the assignments we had to do to translate theory into practice and learn!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Practical Research on Future Workspaces

FWS-booklets1-150x150 I've been wanting to point to a series of booklets about the future of work. These booklets have been put together by Novay. One of Novay's projects is about Future Workspaces. They have been and are conducting practical and fundamental research in the are of the new way of working. The booklets contain many insights from there work. The booklets are great to give away to management.