Friday, February 26, 2010

Google Indoor Maps

Some time ago I pointed to an interesting company, Micello, who's focusing on mapping the inside of building. They start where Google Maps and Street View stops. It looks like they weren't the only one's that thought this was a good idea... Google seems to be working on this too.
"According to a new rumor, Google could soon take Street View indoors and allow its users to walk into virtual stores."
- Is Google Planning to Take Street View into Stores? (Updated) (view on Google Sidewiki)
UPDATE March 26, 2010: Also refer to this post.
UPDATE 15-10-2011: Why is indoor navigation so hard?

Breakout Session at Intranet 2010

Will you be at the Intranet 2010 conference in Utrecht, The Netherlands on March 16? If so, I hope to meet you there. Last year I gave a breakout session. This year my colleague Jan van Veen and I will also be giving a breakout session. It is titled 'Social Media and Internal Communication'. We promise it's going to be interesting and we are looking forward to your questions and remarks!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Knowledge Management Definition

Recently I organized an Océ-internal seminar about Information and Knowledge Management. I invited prof. dr. Robert de Hoog (of the University of Twente) to kick off this seminar with an introduction to information and knowledge management. He has a very interesting and pragmatic approach to these fields. De Hoog has written a lot about knowledge management, definitions and practice. This definition resulted from his pragmatic approach and could also help knowledge management department and knowledge managers do the right thing. I'm curious what you think of it.

Here's the definition (my own translation from Dutch):

Knowledge management is the management task consisting of a structured cycle of activities to identify, initiate and track interventions/actions, optimizing the use of knowledge in business processes, considering the positive and negative aspects of knowledge.

An example of a positive aspect of knowledge is: it can grow. A negative aspect is: knowledge is power.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Scale or Vision

IMG_1569 I've been wanting to share a thought with you for some time now. Here goes!

Every now and then (too often in my opinion) you hear managers of companies say: "We need scale, we need to expand to be profitable." This remark leads to a new acquisition (sales channel e.g.) or a merger.

This statement puzzles me. I understand what it says, but I tend to disagree with it. It sounds like: The Bigger the Better. We all know and experience this doesn't have to be true. It can be true. This statement simply implies that it is true. Or am I mistaken? Is this a statement that is economically and logically correct? Please tell me if I'm wrong.

So, I disagree with this statement (for now). And I think it tends to mask an underlying problem. Talking about scale moves a company away from thinking about vision. Why does our company exist? What are we good at? Who are our competitors? What do we want to be good at? Etc. When you have a sound vision, you can define a roadmap to get there. Being bigger (growing) could be a path towards the future, but it doesn't have to be.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Viral Aspects of Yammer

Some time ago I posted about Océ's enterprise microblogging initiatives. As you know Jan van Veen (Corporate Communications) and I are leading this project and enjoying it!

Recently Jane McConnell, the intranet guru, left a new comment on my post "Implementing Enterprise Microblogging with Yammer". She wrote:

Hi Samuel,
Good post. I'd already seen it, but now I have a specific question:
You talked about updating the org chart and it being a viral touch for spreading the use of Yammer. Could you explain a bit more. I didn't get exactly the relationship.

Good question. I was a bit short on this interesting topic.

One of the things I find interesting in technology adoption is: How do you get people to use a new tool or technology? Sometimes it's because everybody is using it. Another reason could be because it's superior technology with better features. One of the most interesting adoption strategies is making the technology or tool viral. Yammer does this. It uses an implicit invite mechanism.

Here's how it works. When you sign up for Yammer, you are presented with a list of people already in the Yammer network you signed up to. So, you select the colleagues/friends you want to follow. But when you sign up you can also fill in an 'org chart'. Basically Yammer asks you to fill in who you work with (colleagues) and who you work for (manager). If all Yammer users fill this is an org chart can be generated. Which is interesting.

Even more interesting - not many Yammer users realize this... - is the fact that when you fill in this org chart by filling in the email addresses of the people you work with and for, this is an implicit invite to them to join the Yammer network. So they automatically receive an email saying: Hey, person x joined Yammer and says he/she works with or for you, please also join this vibrant network. With one click he/she is in the network. In this way Yammer grows quickly. At least lots of people hear/read about Yammer.

I think this is a smart feature. Of course word of mouth is a powerful way to get people to join a network. But sometimes they need a little help.

Jane, I hope this helps!

There's No Success Quite Like Failure

Very interesting Wired article about problem solving, objectivity, creativity and innovation. Two great (and true to my knowledge!) quotes from this article:

The best way to solve a problem? Try explaining it to somebody outside your field.

And the second one:

"But experiments rarely tell us what we think they’re going to tell us. That’s the dirty secret of science."
- Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up | Magazine (view on Google Sidewiki)

From Atoms to Bits and Back

Oof, really have to get back to blogging... I've been very busy with a product creation process re-engineering project. In general terms it's business process re-engineering. Recently the business team release their process descriptions, way of working descriptions and requirements to manage the processes. I'm in the Architecture Team, but also one of the Functional Team members. So now it was our turn to take the requirements and flip them into a functional specification. Interesting but cumbersome work...

As I tweeted I'm also reading Chris Anderson's book 'Free'. And I'm really enjoying it! One of the interesting remarks he makes is: every that goes from atoms to bit will be 'free'.

But Chris Anderson doesn't stop thinking. In the last Wired issues he says the following. Very interesting stuff!

"Peer production, open source, crowdsourcing, user-generated content — all these digital trends have begun to play out in the world of atoms, too. The Web was just the proof of concept. Now the revolution hits the real world. In short, atoms are the new bits."
- In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits | Magazine (view on Google Sidewiki)