Searching for definition

A recurring theme for me at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston was defining 'Enterprise 2.
Written by Oliver Marks, Contributor

A recurring theme for me at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston was defining 'Enterprise 2.0'as discussed in my earlier post.

Based on my conversations with various attendees, some were clearly at the conference expressly to gain clarity on this in order to help them sell initiatives in their company.

Carl Frappaolo, director of Market Intelligence at AIIM, ran a session called 'Knowledge 2.0'which

'updated the definition of KM practices and technologies for the 21st century'.

Carl has seen KM go from a circa 1995 buzzword to an ambiguous state today.

'Some say KM is dead...others point to Web 2.0 & Enterprise 2.0 as the manifestations of KM today'.

Interestingly, a large chunk of Carls' session was taken up with vigorous audience participation around the precise meaning of 'Knowledge Management' (Carl's definition: "leveraging collective wisdom and experience to accelerate innovation and responsiveness"), and a similar semantics discussion arose around defining 'Enterprise 2.0'.

The short interview above with Carl discusses that interaction.

My take away from this during the entire conference was that there is ambiguity around what E2.0 is, which is unhelpful for vendors and their potential clients alike. During Carl's session there was much discussion about Knowledge Management's fall from grace being primarily due to the 'huge number of definitions'.

Carl mentioned there is currently a 'big j curve of interest of Google searches about KM', so people are still clearly looking for answers, just as they are for 'Enterprise 2.0'.

At the conclusion of the big keynotes later that day Andrew McAfee, the Harvard professor who coined the term 'Enterprise 2.0' in 2006, called on attendees to log on to Wikipedia and edit its definition.

While this is clearly a great example of group consensus at its best, it could also lead to an open ended 'French cafe discussion' - as one of Carl's session attendees called the semantics conversation - ultimately devolving into the political football KM became and which arguably killed it off.

This is in no way a criticism of the event organizers, but it would help a broad swathe of adopters and vendors enormously to align around a consistent definition of Enterprise 2.0 at industry gatherings such as this conference.

It would be great to see the Wikipedia entry for 'Enterprise 2.0' quickly become the go-to definition we can all agree on and avoid the 'variety of different schools of thought' fate that befell 'Knowledge Management'.

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