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The post Davenport-McAfee slugfest: the Twits speak

n.r.v. twit·ted, twit·ting, twitsTo taunt, ridicule, or tease, especially for embarrassing mistakes or faults.
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Written by Dennis Howlett on

n.

r.v. twit·ted, twit·ting, twits

To taunt, ridicule, or tease, especially for embarrassing mistakes or faults. See Synonyms at ridicule.

1. The act or an instance of twitting.

2. A reproach, gibe, or taunt.

3. Slang A foolishly annoying person.

The second round in the Tom Davenport and Andrew McAfee slugfest around Enterprise 2.0 was held today. The first round was held last June with Dan Farber moderating. On this second occasion, Jim McGee of FastFroward did the moderating honors. The debate made an interesting contrast in the use of technology. The show was hosted using GoToMeeting but the real action was in Twitter. As the debate continued, various Twits (or is it Twitterers?) threw in comments and afterwards, there was a veritable slugfest as to who won, the merits of the arguments and a more general discussion around change inside the enterprise. The general consensus was that Davenport came across as curmudgeonly whereas McAfee seemed to be in sales mode. Sandy Kemsley's assessment:

Davenport came across as condescending, and Mcafee as self-promotional

Nathan Gilliatt took a sharper position:

 My impression was that McAfee was making a case, and Davenport just wanted to disagree.

Even so, the discussion contained many points of interest:

Marilyn Pratt: re: McAfee. Missing debate around business value and business participation.  Same old same old: all about the technology

Ben Tremley: (on Davenport) Winning in zero-sum game by entropy i.e. FUD, retarding innovation etc etc ... single-factor: max ROI next quarter

Luis Suarez: (on change) Great thought, but we should not forget culture starts with yourself. If you want to make it happen, you will. If not you won't

Sameer Patel: (on how to make Enterprise 2.0 a reality) Until someone defines discrete pain points & fixes, E 2.0 will be as successful & measurable as KM. E2.0 blogs can help mitigate

Anu Gupta: (on how Enterprise 2.0 concepts are disseminated) well it's our responsibility to educate vendors as well, instead of falling for the shiny pretty thing over and over :)

Following the Twitterstorm, I spoke with Luis Suarez, an IBM'er who specializes in social computing and has deep experience of the history behind many of the new concepts under discussion:

There is going to be a transition where corporations will listen more about these concepts, something I'm starting to see. I've been with IBM for 11 years and will be going to Lotusphere for the first time. It's like a tipping point because my diary for that even is already packed with customer appointments.The problem we need to overcome is explaining how best to implement these new technologies. It isn't easy, and every case is going to be different. What I don't want to see customers doing however is going down the road of falling into the command and control traps that ruined knowledge management.

That's where the real debate lays. Davenport represents in the minds of many the voice of pragmatism but current thinkers believe he is locked into a mindset that perpetuates the stifling grip on control. McAfee is talking a good game but discussions around 'emergence' isn't resonating.

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