Thursday, June 5, 2008

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.

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