Monday, June 30, 2008

India and Kamasutra

Whats the entire fascination with Kama Sutra about? There is so much being said and written about the Kama Sutra, that one wonders how the world would have survived without the Kama Sutra. Not that i am being puritanical here. Its just that the Kama Sutra is a book about love, not about sex. Its about human nature, and about the more between the ears than between the legs stuff!

Lot of times, we in India are indignant about the stereotypes that we find ourselves labelled with. Whether it is being called Land of Snakecharmers, or the Land of Kama Sutra ... But, the impression is that in all probability, we are ourselves responsible for most of these stereotypes. Take the example of Delhi airport ... There is a duty free store at departure lounge has a book store (actually, more a collection of shelves than a store) where there is one full shelf dedicated to different versions of Kama Sutra. Different edititions written by different people ... in short, there were more copies of the book in those shelves than all the other books put together. Now, if this is not creating the stereotype, then what is?

On an altogether different note ... the variety of booze which is available in the duty free store at arrival lounge in Delhi is definitely more than at Changi! Cheers to that ...

Enterprise Apps and Web 2.0

Something i have been thinking about ...

What is the basic difference between business applications the way they have been around for decades now, and the social computing tools which are developing today?

Not many folks are talking about the possibility of blending the two (the focus seems to be more on the usage of web 2.0 tools ...). Which means that as of today, the two are being seen as two different independant entities. Which need not necessarily be the case as these evolve. Which is because, end of the day, they are both addressing two different aspects of the same thing.

The way i see it, the success of social networking has been essentially because they are built around people. In other words, users are central to social networking. On the other hand, the software, the apps, for example, that you see in facebook, are peripheral. And the relationship between the two is that the peripheral applications are pushing value to the central user.

On the other hand, enterprise software, or business applications are just that ... they are not focussed on the user. As we must have seen, these are built keeping business processes as the central aspect of the enterprise, with people being the participants in the business process (who are essentially performing some pre-defined, well documented work, which might benefit from SOA, or some such other software tool ...). However, as i have written about earlier, there is always some aspect of such straightforward computational processes which is not necessarily straightforward.

And this, to my mind, is the point ... there has to be, over a period of time, the melting together of these two concepts. There has, to a large extent, come the understanding in organizations, that business processes shouldnt be seen as being isolated from people. What this should mean is that sometime soon, there should also be an evolution of software which combines the two? I have written about how SAP is already trying to do this.

Welcome all thoughts about what shape you think this could take?

Encouragement - Continued

Some reflections continuing from the previous post ... and, encouraged by Bill Ives writing about the Enterprise 2.0 conference ... Some of the things i have been thinking about, and talking about for some time ...

If we were to look at three levels of management in the organization ... the junior, the middle, and the senior ... ok, ok ... so, this is a bit of an oversimplification, but not too much, dont you think? ... i find that the junior folks (call them kids in my old age?) are the folks who are usually gung-ho about adoption of some of the social computing tools which are available to us today. These are folks who have almost grown up with social networking ... who started using these while at school, or at college ... and, who effectively use a variety of tools for managing their connections. In other words, these are the folks who live in a connected world.

The top management (older than me, if you insist ...), are the folks who are looking at adoption of social computing tools from the business returns perspective ... and, more often than not, these are the folks who, uncalculable ROI notwithstanding, are not necessarily the folks who are against these tools (ok, so this is a generalization, so please take this with a pinch of salt!).

The challenge to adoption, what i feel, is where the middle management comes in. These are the folks who arent as adept at social networking, or computing, as the junior folks are, and these are the folks who dont necessarily see the bigger picture, and hence, in their domain of the limited picture, with an inadequate understanding of these tools, there seems to be a kind of lack of understanding of where social computing could lead us, as individuals, or as organizations. And this is probably the part which we need to address as much as any other.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Web 2.0 -- Encouragement?

There is an interesting post that Andrew McAfee has written ... What he is talking about is whether Is Management the Problem? based on interactions with early adopters in the web 2.0 space.

There is the fact that one would expect managers to actively oppose these tools. And this is where the findings which emerge from the discussion are quite surprising. However, in my experience, i have found that managers are not actively opposed to the emerging world of social computing. The key word probably is actively. Why i would say this is because at times, the resistance is more indirect, and couched more in terms which are nothing to do with social computing in the first place.

Having said this, there is much to be said about the busyness factor. The fact is that in organizations, adoption of a lot of the social computing tools is not what it is when you go outside the firewall. This again is not surprising. Reason? Simple ... The way people operate on facebook, or any place outside the firewall, is not really the same as within the firewall. Something i have read about, and written about, too ... While there are incentives to spend some time on facebook everyday, update my status, and catch up with folks, if not going through some fun apps. On the other hand, wheres the incentive to do things which are definitely not half as much fun, and that too, have something to do with work!

Given this background, there is the issue of adoption. And, the fact that social computing is as good or as lousy as its adoption is. Which is where the cookie crumbles. There is, on the one hand, the scenario where users have no reason to adopt some of the social computing tools (ya, some folks understand their value, but hey ... why change the way things are done around here?), and on the other hand, there doesnt seem to be too much encouragement for changing them on the other hand.

Interesting thing is, it seems that a lot of us are being proved wrong when it comes to managers discouraging the idea of social computing. This is quite encouraging. Though, i am not sure whether it is too early to declare that spring is here. Like i have written before, things are changing. Question is, to what extent will they continue to change? The nature of boundaries is changing, decision making is shifting, and these together are having their own impact on the way work is being done. Question is ... to what extent would such changes be welcomed? Especially when they could probably change the basic way in which work is done, decisions made, and maybe, just maybe, power reallocated. This is early days yet, so it might be an excellent idea to watch these trends.

National Identity ...

No, this is not a jingoistic post ... I came across an interesting post by one of the folks whose blogs i follow regularly, when it comes to KM ... Here Dave Snowden has written about The Assertion of Identity. Interesting post ... And, this is where i have a few observations. When Dave talks about the history of language suppression (if i may coin a term), India (or maybe i should say South Asia?) has been the land where a multitude of cultures, languages, traditions, have not only existed, but flourished.

So, whether it is poetry in Punjabi, or literature in Bangla, or theatre, whether written in Marathi, or poetry in Malayalam (no, i am not using this to list the various languages that are spoken), all have flourished. Today, though, there is a changing trend. There seems to be some kind of "McDonaldization" (again, if i may coin the term, unless someone beat me to it!) happening, with more and more people coming round to a Bollywood way of things. Nothing much to complain about here, except that we need to make sure this wonderful diversity, which we are all proud of, is maintained, and continues to be cherished.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Whither Ethics?

There is a news piece i read in the Times of India ... titled Muslim backlash remark: CPM eats its words after SP criticism ... Not only is this an interesting article, it also brings out the levels to which politics has gone to. Criticism from the Muslims for the N-deal? Why? Because of the Israeli conflict with Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon, and American relations with Israel? Sounds too simplistic, dont you think? One would credit the Muslim population in India for a lot more acumen than this.

But, thats not even the point. The point which one wonders about is more the parameters which seem to be governing political decision-making, and the dimensions which seem to be deciding the direction the political debate is taking. Maybe time for us to pause and think, as a nation? What are the things we should allow in the politics of the country, and what are the things which should be a no-no for all political parties? Maybe a debate on this?

While on the topic, there has to be far more effort in the direction of renewable resources than there is today. The beauty of renewable resources is that no country is unduly rich in them, for the sun shines equally on all. While the government is batting for the N-deal, there must also be a relook at the extent we are utilizing some of the renewable sources of energy Nature has so abundantly provided us? Solar, wind, hydel, tide ... you name it, the technology is available to harness it. Whats missing are the projects for doing this. And, the will.

Also, Honda launched its hybrid car in India. At a price at which nobody will buy it. Lots of coverage about the import duty making the car prohibitively expensive (104%, if i am not mistaken?). And, a lot of words being written about how the government should abolish this. Longer term, maybe this may not be the best option. Maybe the government should look more at promoting manufacture of these cars in India? The idea, more than promoting the technology, is to develop the eco-friendly mindset, which is so lacking in a lot of people of the country.

Enterprise Social Computing ...

Almost the topic of a white paper i came across. Stan Gargield, in his post refers to a software vendor, Trampoline Systems. Over at their website, there is a white paper which they have published. Interesting paper. What i liked about the paper is the simple way in which its written. Not too many heavy words getting you running for your thesaurus, and some reflection on the subject which is common-sensical. However, lot of the stuff you would have already heard, so probably not much new you would gather, i guess.

Few thoughts about the stuff they put there ...

1. The paper tries to draw a parallel between Consumer Social Networking (stuff we do today on a lot of sites out there), and Enterprise Social Computing (stuff we would like to see people doing behind the firewall). The impression i get is that the assumption is that these two fit neatly into mutually exclusive compartments. I dont think this works this way. Theres no telling where the professional ends, and the friends part begins. And, to a large extent, knowledge sharing happens based on the rapport people have amongst themselves. You are more likely to share thoughts with buddies than with casual acquaintances, arent you?

2. The primary concern the paper raises is about the possibility that people may not use this, making it redundant. This, i believe, is the largest challenge any KM practitioner has to contend with. I believe any KM initiative is as good as its adoption. Otherwise, you might have made a better mousetrap, but no point if the world is not beating the path to it. Something i have written about. This is, however, not to say that that is all there is to it. I also believe that KM has been happening for centuries, with or without a separate KM function. What seems to be missing is the direction, and the possibility of leveraging the potential provided by technology, to look at ways of fundamentally changing the way things are done around here.

3. One thing i really flipped for (not something which a lot of people actually say, and its even more difficult to do so, if you are a software vendor) ...

The aim of Enterprise Social Computing is not to drive users to a system and keep them there, rather to create possibilities for offline connection, collaboration and innovation by combining the disciplines of social networking and knowledge management.

Heavy ... but, makes sense!

4. Another important point the paper makes is about the automation of capturing profile/work information about people. On facebook, folks are updating information about themselves, because its for fun, and its a way of keeping friends and family updated. Dont expect them to do the same thing behind the firewall. Theres just no reason to. However, considering the myriad systems that are deployed in the typical organization, it can be quite easy to capture information on what things people are working on, on an ongoing basis.

All in all, seems an interesting thing (though, please note ... i am not trying to sell any product, nor have i even used the product ... hey ... i am writing about the paper! :-))

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Training Scenario ...

Like i had mentioned earlier ... i had made a presentation to folks from the education/training industry. In this, i had tried to bring out my thoughts on the training scenario, at least what i have seen in India. I am not sure how different this is from other parts of the world, though i wouldnt think it would be much different.

The presentation can be found here (tried to work out how to embed the ppt here, but not much success ... maybe i am just too sleepy!).

Looking forward to how many folks out there agree or disagree with my views! Cheers ...

Social Learning ...

We have heard this before ... that learning is a social activity. And, our experience right through school and experience bears this out. Ask any of my pals from college, and they would vouch that getting past those exams was a very social process! There is an interesting post i came across ... Bridging the Gap between web 2.0 and higher education ... quite interesting, because this is something i have been thinking about, and writing about. Something which, to my mind, brings out the basic relationship between two apparently independant worlds of KM and Training. And, coming from a training background, into Knowledge Management, i think this is an area which i think i am interested in a lot.

This post represents some rather interesting thoughts ...

Firstly, this brings out the point, that unlike in a few e-learning implementations (few, not all ...), learning is something which is controlled by the student (or their boss ...), or, in other words, is more of a pull activity than a push from a centralized LMS.

Secondly, and this is where this is departing from the traditional e-learning (its already begun being used along with traditional ... the timescales sure are changing, arent they!), is in the interactivity this model visualizes among students. Whether it be in terms of discovery of trainings that the user would be interested in, or whether it be interactions in terms of "collaborating to learn", or whether it is in terms of generating content either as stand-alone content, or to supplement content generated by institutions.

In terms of discovery, i am looking at something like the facebook model ... something i have written about ... it could be as simple as finding out from fellow students what book to read for a particular topic, or, the courses which would be useful, because they have been taken by folks who are interested in something similar to what you are interested in, too. Basically, discovering trainings, courses, curricula, books, papers, and other resources based on what your network is doing, or simply based on search.

Collaboration to learn is essentially about sharing of thoughts, and ideas among students, and the teacher essentially transforming into a facilitator ... something i have written about before ... i have found, as a trainer, that students tend to learn far more from experimenting with each other than from the instructor. And this is something which ought to be part of our learning structures sooner rather than later.

Coming to the part of content ... and this is where the interesting part of the convergence of web 2.0 and learning comes ... Which is where i agree with something Michael Feldstein ...

You may want the structure and motivation a course offers, which could come from a recognised institution, or could be a user generated ‘course’ that is taken just for fun and run by an enthusiast. The key point is this – most LMSs are based on a centralisation philosophy, and as soon as you disaggregate the technology, you also decentralise control.

Interesting observation ... with the disaggregation of technology, e are looking at more and more content being created by learners themselves (now, this is nothing new ... we used to get a lot of notes from seniors, apart from photocopying notes from classmates who were the most sincere, and with the smallest handwriting ... the handwriting was a cost consideration), read blogs! And, this is where the structure of formal learning, and "discussional learning" could get merged going forward. They are already beginning to complement each other.

The Water Conjurer ...

There was once a conjurer ... a conjurer with a speciality. The speciality was something which was quite intriguing ... making something out of nothing. And, it wasnt even just an ordinary something. It was water!

Yes ... the Conjurer could make water out of nothing. How? Simple ... He would just wave his hand, and lo and behold ... there would be water. There was water in the seas, on the land, and in the sky, and all of this was there, because of the Conjurer. He was a man of Magic ... and, he created magic, too. Whenever it rained two drops, he could make a lake which had four drops of water in it ... two from the rain, and two conjured by the magical Conjurer. Though, he wasnt quite alone in this. He had a friend ... a friend who was unknown. Yes, unknown! Unknown to the world, except by his work ... for his work was path-breaking ... Literally!

One day, the Conjurer left his home. He quite liked it there, but he wanted to see new places. For one of the things he couldnt do with magic was see far-off places. This was because clouds always surrounded him. Being the Water Conjurer, he always carried with him the aura of water, and how better to express this aura than through clouds? So it would almost be fair to say that the Conjurer couldnt see beyond his clouds. Which quite made it impossible to see things which were far away. And no, even spectacles didnt help.

So, one day, he left his home, and went out into the world. He went far and wide, saw almost the entire world. He went around like this for years. For years, he was travelling, seeing some of the most beautiful places in the world, and some of the most unusual too. He went to a place where there was a tower which just wouldnt stand straight. And he went to a place where there was fire flying in the sky. he went to the place with the statue of the lady, and he went to the place with the wonderful fair. He saw merchants, kings and queens, he saw travellers, farmers, shepherds, people of all kinds. And he liked them all. Some of them were good people, who never spared a thought before helping others, and others were not so good, who never spared a thought for others. But, they were all part of Creation, and so they were beautiful.

Then one day, he came to a city ... this was a city with a tower. Only, like the other city with the tower he went to, this tower stood straight. It stood straight, pointing its finger at the sky, a beautiful reminder of people gone by. The city had a beautiful river, and a lovely fort. The city was the land of poets ... There was literature, there was art, and there was music ... and, there was the warmth of the city which welcomed him with open arms. And thats when he decided ... He must live in this city. He would never leave the city.

Now, from time to time, rains would skip the city by. These were times which were tough for the people. But, not any longer. The Conjurer was with them. So, he brought water. And more water. And then some more, till the people were wondering what they were to do with so much water. And they slowly became worried. If the Conjurer stayed there for long, they wouldnt have any place to stay. For there would be water everywhere. So, they all asked the king to ask the Conjurer to go away from there. The king wanted the Conjurer to stay, but then, the power of the people was paramount, so he had no choice ... he had to ask the Conjurer to go away. The Conjurer, upon hearing this, felt sad.

He had been asked like this to go away plenty of times before. But, it was never like this. He had never seen a city as beautiful as this. He had never come across people as nice, warm and welcoming as here. And, he had never felt the beauty of human civilization as he had here. He had never heard such wonderful poetry, such lilting music, and such beautiful art, not to mention the wonderful architecture. All in all, this was the most wonderful city he had ever seen. And he was sad ... Sad, for he didnt want to leave. But, the people were scared.

On hearing whats going on with the Conjurer, the Path-breaker ran to join him. He brought with him his unique skills, which were path-breaking ... literally. Upon seeing him, the Conjurer started to cry. He let out a loud wail, and started to cry with all the sadness he had ... And, he poured it forth in the form of tears. Seeing his wonderful friend cry, Path-breaker got furious, and let his anger be known to the people of Delhi. And, we can still see both ... whenever it rains two drops in Delhi, water logging is four drops ... two drops coming from the Conjurer. And, the Path-breaker, in his fury, to this day, goes about breaking up the roads, creating astral craters on the roads, whenever the Conjurer conjures up water.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Basic Understanding

I am not an expert on the subject ... but these days, i am reading a book titled Shadows of the Mind by Sir Roger Penrose. I have written about some of the things i am thinking from this book, here. Now, at the cost of repeating myself, i am not an expert, so this post is only about what my understanding on the subject till now is.

First thing i have understood ... that Mathematics and English dont go together. I am sure a lot of less than average IQ folks like me would have found the book more wonderful if we didnt have to take the double whammy of maths and language, simultaneously.

Second, there is an interesting outcome Sir Roger comes to ...

Human mathematicians are not using a knowably sound algorithm in order to ascertain mathematical truth.

Two things ... either these algorithms are not sound, or they are not known to us to be sound, which means that we do not know that these algorithms are sound (there is no chink in their armoury). Either way, there is a mathematical certainty that mathematicians are using something other than pure "logic" at arriving at an understanding of the mathematical world. In other words, either way, the object either knows the algorithm is mathematically unsound, or doesnt know that it is sound, and still uses it.

Interesting ... This implies that the science that we know today to be totally "rational" may not be completely so, at least not the science as we know it today.

More on this as i get to understand more ...

Corporate Training

I came across an interesting post by Jenna Sweeney about Financial Squeeze on Training Departments. Interesting read ... Especially the part where she goes on to mention that ...

That a lot of time and resources (MONEY) is being spent on things that don't teach anybody anything!

Interesting, this ... in a scenario where the training folks have to do more with less, where the requirement for delivering on diverse trainings is much higher, given the diverse nature of the work that is done by different folks, and the kind of specialization that is required in today's working life.

I had raised something similar in a presentation i had made some time back to a gathering of training practitioners ... what i like to call the "long tail of training"! OK OK ... so, i have already written a post about the "long tail" of KM, and now this ... sort of fancy the term you could say ... makes me seem smarter than i actually am! :-)

One of the thoughts was about the increasing diversity of technology that people need to be trained on, more and more of a geographically dispersed workforce (not so much of an issue today, considering the advance of virtual worlds ... something i have written about) which needs to be trained, and an almost total lack of post-training engagement. This last one is about making sure folks attending a training are engaged with the topic over a period of time, so as to make sure they dont lose all of the things they learnt in class (which is something most folks lose within a fortnight of attending a training, unless they keep in touch!). One way to address this is to bring in some of the ideas which can be harnessed from the web 2.0 domain (hey ... is this actually a separate domain? i dont think so, but read this somewhere, so ...) to bring about greater engagement with students, post-training ...

I will share this presentation once i upload this on slideshare (tried in vain to find out how to upload a ppt here on blogger!).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

This Book I Am Reading

These days, i am reading a book titled Shadows of the Mind ... written by Roger Penrose. This is a rather interesting book ... One that i would definitely recommend to anyone who is even remotely interested in human thinking. Though, of course, you would need to make sure you are at your most alert when you are reading the book (using a language slightly closer to English would have been actually a wonderful idea ...).

Just so you know ... i am still on chapter 1. Though, soon to move to chapter 2! Now, that would be an achievement (and if you read the book, you would quite agree with me!). The basic point of the part that i am reading now, is that there is the aspect of understanding "what needs to be done", and of being aware of "why it needs to be done". And, what Sir Roger Penrose argues (to my mind, quite effectively), that while the former is something which can be easily understood by any intelligence, through the form of mathematical algorithms (i would stretch this to the hilt, and say something similar about documented information, or, if i may use the term ... explicit knowledge!), the latter, in other words, awareness of what we are doing, and why this needs to be done to achieve a particular objective is something which is the tricky part.

And this is where i would extend the logic from chapter 1 of the book, to the two aspects of Knowledge Management i deal with ...

Codification, which is my fancy word for documented information

Collaboration, which, to a lot of folks, is the "other" part of KM

And this is where i would like to make the point that while what some folks call KM 1.0 focussed on the former, it is the latter which is the trickier part. One of the points Sir Roger goes on to make ...

It also allows us to have some kind of direct route to another person's experiences, so that one can "know" what the other person must mean by a word ...

This is where i would like to bring out the importance of collaboration ... from the basic premise that there is something which is beyond the objective (i am using the term loosely here) nature of things, and this is where managerial imagination comes into the picture, to imagine an organization where this can be tapped into. And this is something which large part of web 2.0 technologies are focussing on.

This also reinforces the point that some aspects of Knowledge, and hence of Knowledge Management must remain beyond measurement, at least till such a time as we can generate a framework which is scientific, and can bring these into the scientific fold (though this is something which the book argues against ... something i would surely write about again).

Tongue in cheek ... there are always ideas relating to our field of work from domains which are not necessarily related. Something i have written about before.

Nuclear (Un)Deal ... (No) Power to the People

The nuclear deal is one of the topics which is of high importance to the nation, and, if opinions in the newspaper columns are to be believed, to the comman man. This is the common man represented by the Left parties ... Wonder how? Interestingly, Jug Suraiya wrote a piece a few days ago ... Do N-Deal With China ... Interesting piece ...

What is even more interesting is the episode with the Governor of West Bengal, Mr. Gopal Krishna Gandhi, employing some of the ways of his illustrious grandfather to illustrate to the powers that be that if the comman man, whome the powers that be purport to support, has to live without electricity for a large part of the day, then maybe the high and mighty ought to share in this deprivation? Read about it ... Wonder why this upset the powers that be? Though, of course, the powers that be ... seem to be more intertested in depriving people of power than in getting much needed nuclear fuel, so the country can actually produce more power. Power that is actually needed much more than political posturing?

More unnerving ... We today have a political system where a set of political parties whose strength in the Lok Sabha is (no, i googled it, but couldnt come up with the number) is quite less can actually hold the entire nation to ransom. Cant give numbers, because i couldnt find them. But, they are definitely not in the majority. Forgive me my ignorance, but this reminds me of a quote ... Wag the dog! Shouldnt we look at some ways where this sort of arrangement can be avoided?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hyderabadi Biryani ... in Bangalore

I am currently at Bangalore ... and, the team went out for Lunch today. We went to ... guess ... Hyderabad House. Hyderabadi Biryani in the heart of Bangalore. And, every bit one of the best Biryanis i have ever had. I took the Mutton Biryani, and not only was the Biryani very well done, the Mutton was just right ... tender, juicy, and amply immersed in the spices.

Spices reminds me ... the Biryani was spicy. In true Hyderabad style, the spices were subtle, but at the same time, effective, if you know what i mean. Friends tell me ... There is a Double Masala Biryani ... one which is enough to have you smoking with the spices they put in there. Every bit worth the wait (you better make sure you reach there before 1 pm on weekdays, if you dont want to wait for half an hour). And definitely, worth repeat visits (this was my fourth!).

Web 2.0 in the Organization

Dave Snowden has written a very interesting post ... Small one ... You could read it here. Very interesting thought. More often than not, we use things for stuff they werent even remotely intended for.

Something we saw yesterday ... I am in Bangalore right now, and i was in my room last night, with a few friends, knocking off a few Beers. As usual, the wall-mounted bottle opener proved inadequate for opening the Beer bottles. And, what did the guys open the bottles with? You wouldnt guess ... A spoon. Whoever invented the spoon would never have imagined that.

On a more serious note ... i was once working with a client. They were using an enterprise software (read ERP), and interestingly, they were using a particular feature of the applications. Interestingly, that was an undocumented feature (euphemism for bug), and when they upgraded the software ... what do you know ... the "feature" went away, and they were no longer able to do something they were able to earlier. Nobody would have guessed they would actually have been using that.

Which is why i quite agree with Dave when he quotes ...

When I worked at IBM we were asked (in 1990) to 6Sigma our CICS development team. The gurus told us that the next release of CICS could only have 6 bugs (or APARs as we called them). This was ridiculous, but luckily a colleague ran a report and showed that IBM program products had extremely strong positive correlation of profitability with APAR rate. That is, the products with the most APARs were the most profitable. This is because great products, like CICS, get used for lots of things we didn't think of and for which we didn't test. Mediocre products only get used for what the tests cover. Bad products don't get used at all and so generate almost no bugs.

In all probability, you would be using things in ways which the guys who made them never even dreamt of. And this is something which i hold even when it comes to adopting technology ... especially in the web 2.0 world ... More often than not, you can roll-out some application to the users, and you would find them using these in ways you never were able to imagine in those requirements documents you had written. Which is why, i believe that especially with technology in the web 2.0 space, it would be wise to simply launch this in the organization, and wait and watch ... you would find over a period of time, usage emerging ... new, and in all probability, innovative usage for these tools. And, it is not in the interest of the knowledge managers, or the larger community, to restrict this usage.

In other words ... usage, and hence benefits would tend to be more emergent rather than being pre-defined when it comes to collaboration, or social software. This is a challenge especially to the ROI school of thought, because this very phenomenon would make it quite difficult to actually measure something like this. Remember ... ROI of spoon? While this is something we are all grappling with, the other side of the coin also is quite relevant, that is, how does management decide whether to invest or not, unless they can see benefits. Having said this, though, there is also the viewpoint that whether you like it or not, social computing is here to stay ... whether within or outside the firewall. More beneficial to adopt it, and see benefits as they emerge. Only thing is, most managers are not comfortable with the idea of something emerging over a period of time. What we dont realize is that most technologies do actually emerge. The internet wasnt invented ... sure, the technology was, but the usage ... thats something that emerged over a period of time. Same is true of web 2.0, too.

Emergent technology means looking at how people use it over a period of time, and then look at how you would like to guide this technology into the business processes in the organization. Which again is something which, in my opinion, would happen sooner or later ... something i have written about before.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Food from Goa

Goa Portuguesa is tucked away on one of the streets of Mahim. But the food here is something which is amply wonderful to draw you to it. Well, we went there yesterday ... And sure enough, one of the dishes i would invariably order would be the Prawns Balcao, with the Garlic Pao ... These Prawns are like little bits of delight which they serve up. Especially wonderful ... In addition, we ordered the Goencho Tolog ... The Chicken is quite ok, the gravy is quite nice, though. Its gravy thats made of Cashew and the works ... Quite nice ... and, a nice contrast from the Balcao gravy, which is a differet ballgame altogether.

The Balco is fiery, the Goencho Tolog is soothing ... The Garlic Pao were not as nice as they have been ... the Butter was missing, for instance. Though, of course the Prawns were fresh as always, and the Balcao was wonderful ... as usual. For a cange, i didnt go for the Bombay Duck stuffed with Crab ... but then considering we had gone there for Lunch ... there was no Feni to go along with the Bombay Duck ...

All in all, Goa Portuegesa lives up to its name ... though they have come up with the idea of serve Maharashtra food ... which sort of confuses the issue. As long as they are keeping separate space (as they are doing with Culture Curry), its ok, but the current format ... confusing!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Of Kababs and Biryani ...

I am blaming my data-card ... While the icon at the bottom of the computer says its connected, suddenly it will pop up and say ... Internet is connected. Hello ... what about all this while when the icon was showing connected? Just a means of keeping customers in the dark (its a different thing the telecom companies call them idiots ... that is, if they are in a charitable mood, otherwise its suckers) ... or, as one guy on the laughter challenge put it ...

Customer = Kasht se mar!

Wonder how the service companies, especially in India, manage to make this sound almost prophetic. Which brings me to the point ... whats all this got to do with Kababs and Biryanis! Nothing, actually, except that when i had written about Kababs and Biryanis, and tried to publish the post, the internet connection decided to conk out on me (of course, without bothering to me ... after all, i am just the stupid user!). So, here i am, having to write again, and having to take out my frustration on someone ... and who better than you, dear reader!

Well ... to the Kababs and Biryanis ... I went for Lunch yesterday, with a colleague in a nice restaurant here in Bandra ... Persian Darbar! The decor is not upmarket, but then, i usually dont bother about that ... i have gone there to eat, remember? So, where do irrelevant things like decor and ambience come into the picture? Anyway ... about the Food ... we ordered Kababs ... there was the Pudina Murgh Kabab (its nice if you are hungry, but actually, avoidable!), and the Seekh Kababs (again, nice, but about it!). And there was the Biryani ... Chicken Biryani ... age and weight are both catching up with me, you see! As i had read somewhere ...

Eats is eats, waist is waist,
And never the twine shall meet!

I guess i might do well to consider this while the twine is still meeting. So, even though you might be thinking how anyone can call a Biryani a Biryani without the Mutton, there are reasons, my dear, why old and fat people might want to do so. This Biryani is one of the better Biryanis i have had. Now, its nowhere close to the numero uno ... The Hyderabad House at (you guessed it) ... Hyderabad, and also at Bangalore. I havent eaten a memorable Biryani in Delhi, and Shiraz and the rest of the folks in Kolkata are not quite in the same league. Except for the Potato they give you with the Biryani, of course! So, Persian Darbar is one of the better Biryanis i have eaten. Actually, one of the best. Now, interestingly, this happens by default ... In the land of the Biryani, i have to admit that this was one of the best Biryanis i have ever had ... sad state of affairs! Biryani afficionados ... rise, and we shall have our Biryani!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Role of Tech Pros

I came across an interesting piece ... about the impact of web 2.0 on tech pros. Interesting thought ... about the impact web 2.0 technologies (more of the DIY web, the way i like to see it) is having on the job profiles of technology professionals. Of course, to a last extent, when it comes to business apps (read ERP, CRM, SCM ...), i dont see web 2.0 really impacting the role of folks who work on these technologies (though there is an extent to which web 2.0 technologies are being incorporated in some of the business apps ... i have written about this here).

However, when it comes to the larger information technology arena, the research this article refers to shows that more than more, there is the requirement for more and more technology professionals to align themselves to web 2.0 technologies. Interesting ... the research shows that there is quite a bit of inroads the technology is making in organizations, though maybe not to the extent that would make it as effective as a facebook. A lot of folks believe this might make technology professionals irrelevant, though i believe it wont ... it would simply reorient them. From being the masters of the apps, to the facilitators of business innovation (something i have written about here). Now, thats quite a shift. Of course, thats only the ideal, and the shift could probably be to different levels in different environments, but to an extent this is already happening. Especially in companies which are more at ease with deployment of new technologies.

An example of what i am talking about ...

The SharePoint draw is that Microsoft is essentially giving away lightweight wiki and RSS technologies for free, and unquestionable business value from a trusted brand. The opportunity will be for IT professionals to leverage the partnership ecosystem Microsoft is creating around SharePoint to extract further uses for the system.

What this is doing is making the technology folks the discoverers of new apps and new usage for these apps, in the face of increasing, and changing demands from the user community.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Of Giving Your Viewpoint

My friend Shubro commented on my post on Aaddaabaajee ... Well, this reminded me of this little episode ... The guys almost beat me up.

Well, in our part of the world, swear words are quite customary ... you use them almost as punctuations (anybody who knows any Punjabi would know this, and of course, Delhi is so, so Punjabi ...). And as such, these pearls of poetic wisdom used to flow freely in our intellectual interactions. They almost used to decorate our prose, and punctuate our discussions, much like the cigarettes used to. Though, of course, i am yet to find out which of the two were the more valuable communication aids.

As it would be ... there was a debate underway ... passionate discussion, if you may (which is where most discussions used to be, after around 5 cigarettes having been smoked in the space of an hour!). So passionate that, as usual, tempers were frayed, and participants were quite eagerly delivering swear words at random. The topic of the debate?

Does familiarity allow us to use swear words with friends, or is this a sign of bad manners!

Trust the guys to not understand the irony of the nature of the debate. As you might have guessed, i wasnt there (since the debate hadnt yet reached rarefied heights). Well, i walked into the narrow alley which was Atlas Radios, pipe in mouth. Being the "impartial" one, the two sides jumped at me, and asked me what i think about the topic. Holding the pipe, chewing on its end, knotting my brows, and thinking from my impartial platform, the only response i could muster was ...

It depends on what viewpoint you hold.

Of course, thats the impartial view. Listen ... i go one way, i get bashed up by one set of guys, and i go the other way, well ... you get the picture! Sitting on the fence was the safe option. Or so i thought. The response this brought on was something i obviously cant write here (folks might object to it), but it definitely was quite in flow of things, and i almost got bashed up by both the set of folks.

Of Measurement ...

Wikipedia defines Measurement as ...

The estimation of the magnitude of some attribute of an object ... (theres more, but this quite sums it up!)

Now, when it comes to measuring KM, we are not even sure what is the object, and what attribute of this object we are trying to measure. As such, there doesnt seem to be a direct mechanism of measuring the impact of KM, because the impact of KM is not on KM itself, but on some business processes. Now, this is what makes this so nebulous. The business processes vary from one part of the organization to another, and hence, the impact of KM on these also varies from part of the organization to another. In this kind of a scenario, can there be a direct way to measure the impact of KM? I am not talking about measuring KM (i dont think that would make sense), because KM cannot be the end in itself.

I came across a post by Dave Snowden about setting targets for KM. Dave is spot on ... if you are setting targets for KM, you really havent understood KM. Especially the part where he says ...

The early abortive attempt involved things like requiring x documents contributed to a community of practice or similar measures. Net result there was meaningless material been published to achieve a target along with plagiarism in many cases.

I quite agree with the observation here. Having said this, there are two thoughts i wanted to make:

1. The idea of the software which gives thank you credits ... sounds like a nice idea. The crazy part, i think, is the part where these credits are encashed. I would look more at the possibility of generating social capital for folks who are earning these points. Something like "Featured Bloger of the Month" ... or, some such idea?

2. Having said that setting targets for KM is quite akin to taking the wrong road, the point is, that managers need to figure out the return on the money being invested in KM. Since there are no direct ways, we need to rely on indirect measures. Something i have written about here.

The way i see it ... the impact is more in terms of the impact, and the kinds of results in terms of improvement in business processes can be delivered by KM, and no way we can have a direct measurement of KM which is possible ... or desirable.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Of Science and Humour

This one's for folks who believe scientists are drab folks ... no sense of humour! I am reading about dark matter here. Well ... they have two categories of dark matter ... Machos and Wimps ... No no ... these are not mere words, they even dreamt up full forms of these, making these acronyms ...

MACHO: Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects

WIMP: Weakly Interacting Massive Particles

Almost as though someone thought up the words, and then made the expressions?

Of Blogging ...

You know blogging has arrived when a leading television channel runs a show about blogging. Or about anything, for that matter. This is what i am seeing in India ... NDTV is running a program about blogging ... This is on We The People.

The basic essence of the discussion on blogging is related to the possibility of abuse of blogs. As such, the discussion is centred around the idea of monitoring blogs. Its interesting to note the aspects of blogging that have come up ...

  • complicated way of getting recognized and reaching out to people in an increasingly lonely world
  • the idea of blocking users
  • credibility of the blogger
  • revival of writing

Interesting debate ... One of the speakers talked about the way blogging is connecting people. Otherwise, the basic topic of the debate relates to the possible abuse of blogs. What seems to be missing from the debate ... The fact that the kind of abuse being talked about (maligning people, spreading rumours ...) was quite possible even before blogs. It was there in the era of "web 1.0", and hey ... surprise, surprise ... it was there even before that. And, with blogs, users themselves show their interest in a particular blog by reading it, by adding it to their feed reader. So, i would guess the quality of blogs would emerge democratically ... in a way that the good ones, the ones which are adding value to users, and hence to society, would emerge, while a lot of others would fall by the way.

What i find a little disconcerting ... the voice talking about blogs connecting people seems to be a minority. More so, nobody on the panel talked about the potential of blogs for learning. Today, for example, i am able to read the thoughts of so many brilliant people ... Andrew (McAfee and Gent), Luis Suarez, Dave Snowden, Dion Hinchcliffe, Stan Garfield, and host of similarly brilliant folks ... hey, till a few years back, this couldnt even be imagined. As such, i would think that blogs are a tool, and just like any other tool, they are as good as their usage. Over a period of time, we would come to terms with blogs as tools for much more than the way we see them today ... as the conversation matures?

Afterthought ... none in the program ever looked at the sponsors. If they had, they would have realized that one of the sponsors is an organization which has been able to leverage blogs massively .. IBM.

Dark Matter ... Beginners

I am reading about dark matter these days. Highly interesting ... First question ... what is dark matter. Simple ... its matter thats dark. Oops ... that sounded like a typical consultant ... or, Sir Humphrey (or are they pretty much the same thing?)! Well ... to make it simple ... Dark matter is stuff which is out there in the universe which we cant see. For some reason ... dont ask me why. The brains (read scientists) havent figured that out yet, or at least thats what i think.

Only thing i have been able to figure out yet is how they figured out its existence if they cant see it. Well ... its simple. We all know galaxies rotate around a centre. Now, the rotation speed of galaxies can be calculated using the Doppler effect. So, if the galaxy were like a disk, then one end of the rotating disc would be coming at you (blue shifted), and the other end would be going away (red shifted). Based on the extent of the spectral shift, they could calculate the rotational speed of the galaxy. Knowing this, the mass of the galaxy can be calculated using Newtonian mechanics. Now, the speed of rotation of galaxies is such that the stars along with their solar systems should probably get hurled out of the galaxy, given the calculated gravitational pull of the mass calculated for the galaxy by the Mass-Luminosity equation.

In other words, the calculated mass of the galaxy is not enough to keep these stars in place in the galaxy, and overcome the centrifugal force they would feel. Now, since the stars are actually in place in the galaxy, the only thing that can explain this is that there is mass in the galaxy which we cant see. Ergo, Dark Matter ...

According to what scientists say ... Mother Nature has hidden away 90% of the universe from us. Question is ... why? I dont know! Maybe someday soon, we will find out.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Indus Saga ... Cont'd.

As i have written earlier ... i am reading The Indus Saga. Now, the book is written about a topic which is bound to raise emotions about everything written in the book ... Some for, and some against. But, i think thats what Mr. Ahsan would like to see ... the book sparking a healthy debate about the reality of things in the subcontinent.

Well, i have been reading this book for around a month now (thanks to IPL). I am reading the part where he is talking about the Hindu-Muslim divide. Mr. Ahsan has written masterfully about this. And, come up with a few arguments which its very difficult to disagree with. But then, i am writing about the things i disagree with (why waste my time trying to agree with something which is masterfully done, so if you wanna know more, read the book, not my blog ...).

The first important thing ... Religion definitely was an aspect of the Partition. We would be fooling ourselves if we were to say religion wasnt at the forefront. However, religion itself shouldnt be seen as the reason. Because, if it were, then Pakistan would probably have been far closer in terms of geo-politics to Afghanistan than they actually are. Also, this wouldnt explain the second largest population of Muslims in the world ... in India. It also wouldnt explain the centrifugal force which drew Bangladesh away from Pakistan.

Taking all of these together, i would think that the raison d'etre for the Partition would be religion, associated with a regional identity. I think the regional aspect must not be overlooked, which is something which Mr. Ahsan has written throughout the book.

Another aspect i wanted to comment upon ... "Honour" killings, to my mind, are by no means the preserve of the Muslims. I see them more as an Indus phenomenon, rather than as a phenomenon associated with Muslims in the subcontinent. Might be that these are present certian parts of the subcontinent because of a greater central Asian (or Arab?) influence than in other parts of the subcontinent. For example, i am not aware of "honour" killings in Bengal or the southern parts of the country.

Some Adoption Thoughts on Social Computing ...

Interesting piece that Andrew Gent has written ... Enterprise 2.0, Revisited ... And he's got it spot on ... Critical mass is essential. Something i have written about before ... about adoption! Though, this is a chicken-and-egg situation, to an extent ... people not contributing till they see value, and value not getting generated till people contribute. However, this post is not about this ... The basic idea that i as looking at is the possible impact of social computing on organizational structures.

Andrew says that ...

I am even more firmly convinced that social computing -- sometimes referred to as Enterprise 2.0 -- cannot happen inside the corporation without some major changes to processes, practices, and preconceptions. This is not "change management"; this is a deep, fundamental change in beliefs throughout the corporation.

I agree and disagree with the central idea here. I agree to the fact that social computing and fundamentally new ways of doing things (processes, practices, and preconceptions ... probably even the different functions in the organization) are related. Though, to my mind its not such a straightforward relationship. The way i see it, in the long term, there is a high probability of social computing causing some of these changes, rather than being caused by them. This is not to say that no change is required ... Certainly, there has to be a certain amount of change in the way things are done ... more importantly, the way the organizational structures and attitudes look at social computing.

The way i see it ... its almost like a chicken-and egg scenario ... Social computing wont be widely accepted till there is widespread change, and widespread change wont happen till social computing is widely accepted. Now, given the way organizations function, i dont see widespread change happening anytime soon (the change in processes, practices, and preconceptions). However, to break this circle, requires making a start ... And certain aspects of the organization which lend themselves far more easily, either due to the inherent nature of the work, or due to the prevailing attitudes to the work in that part of the organization. Over a period of time, this could lead to incrementally greater levels of change, but this transition needs to be managed ... not managed in the true sense of the term, but rather, in terms of the sensitivities involved.

Bottomline ... if social computing can deliver value, it would be here to stay. And, i totally agree with Andrew that this requires critical mass ... adoption to at least a particular level. Though, i may be wrong ... this is just my thought process, and this is not backed by experience ... Wish me Luck!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Green India ...

Today is World Environemtn Day. Interesting, this ... A lot of people are exhorting India to a greener future. To my mind, though, this is no longer a luxury. Its not just about a better quality of life for people, its about economics.

Coming a day after the Govt. hiked fuel prices, causing huge uproar across the country, green energy is an alternative which is more beneficial than conventional fuels. Wind energy, solar energy, hydel energy ... There is ample of each available in different parts of the country. Seen in light of the fuel price hike, and non-availability of greater sources of neclear energy, thanks to the Left, green energy is the alternative for the future, from the economic perspective, too.

Aaddaabaajee ...

Aaddaabaajee ... a term not very familiar to lots of people. To the inhabitants of Kolkata (or Calcutta, if you may), an integral part of their lives. Though, surely aaddaabaajee is not the preserve of the city. There were the days ... rather, evenings ... the vanue? Atlas Radio! Not an address known to many, but to the boys of Darya Ganj, or at least the folks i grew up with, this is an address which is closely linked with our growing up years, through school and college.

No matter how, come evening, and we would gather there. If we werent playing cricket, of course ... though, cricket playing took a back-seat sometime during school. At the risk of having our parents read this, i would admit that this is where cigarettes were smoked (surreptitiously, of course). This is where we graduated from smoking Navy Cut to Wills Kings (dont see them around anymore), to Gold Flake, to the ubiquituous Prince Henry (and no, we are not the only ones to prefer this brand ... read this). As Avinashjee writes ...

From the next day it started. Ashish brought an assortment of four pipes for the supervisor to select one from. He kept all the four. “You tend to get tired of smoking the same pipe day after day,” he said. Impeccable logic, that. We bought cigarette paper. Ashish had brought “Capstan” brand tobacco. The supervisor told him to buy “Prince Henry” brand next time. “The flavor is rich,” he said. The valuations were rich too – Prince Henry was retailed at a price almost one and a half times that of Capstan.

And this is where we discussed ... we discussed almost everything. The discussion ranged from politics, to social issues, to philosophy, to movies, literature, and the occasional mention of girls. And no, i have not covered all the topics we discussed. Then there was the time when, influenced by the pipe-smoking charm of Sherlock Holmes, we took to smoking a pipe. It made you look so elegant, though of course we all shared one pipe (hey ... who had the money to buy so any pipes).

And even when it went to college, to study at BHU, holidays were times when i could meet all my friends ... and guess where i would find them?

Emerging Technologies ...

Andrew McAfee has an interesting post about My Provocation, and Others. Interesting read about the impact of technology on the world of business. We have seen this happening over a period of time. How the advent of the steam engine and the telegraph changed the entire notion of business, and enabled the expansion of the European business model to large parts of the world, especially Asia. We have seen how the automobile has further changed the way work is organized (anybody who commutes in any of the megapolises of the world would agree with that, wouldnt they?), and of course, how the advent of computers, and more recently, the emergence of the network have drastically changed business models, created entirely new things to be done, and entirely new ways of doing the things we were already doing.

I remember someone once arguing that human needs lead to developments in technology. While there is merit in that argument, over the last decade or so, it seems to be even more apparent that probably its the other way round. Technological developments are changing the way we do business.

And this holds good for the web 2.0 surge as well. Like a lot of us have written earlier, web 2.0 is going to change the way things are done. The challenge, i feel, is more with the organizational willingness to let go, rather than people contributing their thoughts. One of the interesting things he writes in this ...

The second thing IT does is give business leaders the ability to let new work structures emerge without forcing them. Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 technologies are wonderful new tools for letting processes, interdependencies, decision right regimes, operating models, etc. appear over time without central direction, and without much (if any) up-front guessing about how these structures will or should look.

Now this is an interesting thought ... with web 2.0 technologies, there is the scenario where work structures would emerge based on the experiences and thought processes of people. The question that remains to be seen is ... How quickly organizations can let go. Let go of the control over decision-making, and understand how to harness these new discussion channels (if i may coin the term!) towards building a more robust organization, and more importantly, to create an environment of embracing change.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wikipedia Research

I dont know how i didnt come across these earlier ... The page on Researching using Wikipedia or the page on Criticism of Wikipedia. Quite interesting reading, both of them. Some of these thoughts are quite what i have written about earlier. Lets face it ... Who would use only a single source when they are researching something, and more importantly, when their grades depended on it? So, in an environment in which wikipedia operates, it would be important to also use other sources for information. From this perspective, wikipedia could simply be an aggregator, which aggregates information from disparate sources in a single place, while at the same time, carrying the opinions of the number of people interested in the subject.

To this extent, like i have said before, wikipedia would be a good starting point, not necessarily the cornerstone of the research. Taking this one step further ... if we were to have a wiki setup within an organization. Would this have a reliability score higher than that of wikipedia? I would think so ... there is much more at stake within the organization (your boss could be reading your article, especially around appraisal time), but then this shouldnt make it so different, because i would assume the same consideration for reputation would be on the minds of the folks who are contributing on wikipedia, too.

Keeping this in mind, for an organization which is looking at deploying an internal wiki application, i would look at using a corporate wiki as a task-management tool, a tool which can be used for managing operations in a multi-author, collaborative model, and progress from there based on the learnings from this deployment. One could, however, argue that this is too restrictive a view on the entire idea of web 2.0 tools, but in a corporate environment where it might be a challenge to demo the value of these tools to managers, this could be the right way to demonstrate value, in the context of something managers understand from their day-to-day work.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Khuda Kay Liye ...

The movie has become popular ... And, it should have. Khuda Kay Liye is a movie about human frailty. A frailty which is to be seen whereever one might go ... In every part of the world, among followers of every religion. Importantly, it brings out the fact that goodness is neither the preserve of a particular religion, or a particular belief system.

More than anything else, the movie brings out the fact that inherently, any religion cannot be narrow minded. Inherently, any religion is not about building hatred, or imposing one belief system on another. Nor is any belief system, any society homogenous, and should not be branded as such. Whether it is the so-called "Islamic terrorism", or whether it is the so-called "hegemonic west".

But i am getting ahead of the story, i guess. The story revolves around the lives of two brothers ... One who is convinced, though half-heartedly, into becoming a Jihadi, and the other, who is forced into proclaiming he is a terrorist. I guess i shouldnt be writing much more ... much rather you watch the movie. It should be treated as one of those rare movies which can shake the foundations of the thought processes of a society. Because, it can ... It would be very nice if the movie brought about a thought process that religious belief is not necessarily reflected in one's dress, or that Faith is not hostage to a beard. A jeans clad, cap wearing boy can still recite the Aazaan, and that would probably be more valuable than an insincere one. This very point reminds me of a movie of a totally different genre, a hilarious movie titled Gol-Maal. You must be wondering whats the connection. The connection is in one line. Utpal Dutta believes that a young man who doesnt have a moustache is not a decent man. Thats when he is told ...

Sharaafat koi chidiya hai jo moonchh mein ghonslaa banaati hai?

The thought process of the movie is exemplary. I was reading a report recently where it said that the Darul Uloom have issued a Fatwa against terrorism. One would praise the Darul Uloom for this, though i believe all the seminary has done is uphold the grand tradition of Islam.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Wiki Book

There is an initiative happening here ... you could find it over at ourownbook. Not that this is something new. There was something on the same lines some time back ... The Wikinomics Playbook ... hey, this was supposed to have gone into publishing the fall of 2007. Whatever happened. Though the page does say that the book is off to the publishers, when do we get to lay our hands on the book? Reading a wiki doesnt quite match up to curling up with Old Monk and a wonderful book. OK OK ... i am sure you got the picture.

Having said that, this is an idea, which is something which can be exploited in ways which can be quite unexpected. We have begun seeing this happening in industries as diverse as manufacturing and publishing, and this, to my mind, is something which can be deployed in even more unexpected ways once we can bring this concept into the organization. The challenge here is more to do with the inertia that exists within the organization, when it comes to opening the doors to social computing, rather than in the adoption of this technology especially when it comes to wholly new ways of doing things. Though, of course, the one thing this depends on ... Culture! This is what is going to decide how well, and to what extent, an organization can engage with the collective wisdom of its people. As for me, i would like to wait and watch ... see more and more ways in which the entire concept of social computing can be put to use in the organization, and the way in which it can change the way we do things.

Having said this, digest this ... I came across a Forrester report titled Web 3D: The Next Major Internet Wave. Interesting piece ... The essential point being made here is the idea, of course, as the title says, that the 3d web is the next wave, or the future of the web. Agreed! And that going forward generating content on the 3d web is going to undergo a sea change, with more and more content being user generated, much as web 2.0 has done to "web 1.0". Agree again. Though Forrester have got it wrong before (who hasnt), i would kind of agree with the thought process of the piece. The interesting part is the possible scenarios the paper uilds up. Interesting reading ...