May 27, 2010

Social Networks - can they offer solutions for current situations?

Lecture Reflection
Lecture Date: 5/25/10 in Second Life
Article discussed:A Practical Guide to Social Networks

The class met in Second Life for the second time. We had trouble initially with getting everybody’s audio set up. But once that was sorted out, the class proceeded smoothly.

Apart from talking about the logistics of the class, the main topic of discussion was on the article about Social Networks and their applications. We went through the three different types of Social Networks: Customized Response, Modular Response & Routine Response. I am not going into detail about what each model is about. Instead I am going to try something different in this blog posting.

During the lecture Dr. Mennecke mentioned ideas about the topic for this week’s blog. He said to think about different communication tools that could be employed in each of the model types. It got me thinking and I began to wonder how one of the models & the type of communication tools used in that model help solve a current problem. The disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and all the buzz about the amount of time it is taking to solve it, has been on my mind. I wanted to sort of theorize if Social Network and Social Media tools could have been employed to better handle the situation and come to a rescue plan faster. I don’t really have a suggestion but a mere thought of what if the Customized Response model was used for this problem?

The article talks about how Novartis used the Customized Response model to look at an old problem in a new way. Alex Matter at Novartis used diverse external connections to help him show the way. Internal connections were also helpful in solving the problem. What if BP employed this kind of thinking to solve the crisis? I am not saying they haven’t done that already. I am just wondering how the value of Customized Response been derived by using external and internal social networks. Here’s a hypothetical set up for BP. BP after having learned about the leak and the cause for it, employ outside network of resources ranging from Government help, Private experts in the industry, Educational & Research experts in the field and its own experts in the company. Using the experts from all these fields form a team and get them in touch either via Social Media or other collaborative tools. For example set up a face book group with all the experts added to it. They could then brainstorm possible suggestions and cross check for viable solutions through experiments/studies in their own field and then come to a conclusive solution. Twitter could also be used to send out tweets on a regular basis to keep the local population updated about the situation. Maybe tweets could have been used to send notices to animal wildlife preservation groups who could have come in a timely manner to assess the situation and relocate the affected wildlife.

I am sure all the possible efforts are being done in this case already. What I am trying to do is just think of ways in which this problem could have been addressed within the scope of the topics discussed in class. I would love to hear what others think about this or any other ideas that people might have on this situation.

Here's the latest update about what's happening and what's being done

May 24, 2010

Web 2.0 Serving a company - inside & outside - A McKinsey Global Survey

Article Reflection
Article:How Businesses are Using Web 2.0: A McKinsey Global Survey

The global survey highlights how corporations around the world are utilizing web 2.0 technologies to better serve the needs within and outside the company. Companies utilizing web 2.0 do it for many reasons, some of which might be to maintain a company’s market position, have a competitive edge in the market or address customer needs and demands.

The article talks about how “technology is just the way of doing business today and collaborative technologies” help accomplish that goal. It’s the easy access to information without a hierarchy that makes it so attractive. It can work at grassroots level allowing participation in the entire process and thereby having a direct impact on the success of a product. Such technologies also increase competitive advantage while reducing operating costs. It also creates a strong send of community within an organization that is “more interactive and less pushy”.

Why Web 2.0 & Social Media?

Lecture Reflection
Lecture Date: 5/19/2010. Met via Adobe Connect

Article discussed: Secrets of Successful It Teams: Socially Connected Employees; The Future of the Web: How Businesses are Using Web2.0: A McKinsey Global Survey

The point of the classs was to discuss in detail the syllabus, schedule, modes of meeting and talk about why & how Social Media and collaborative technologies affect an organization.

Web 2.0 tools are the next big thing to IT systems mainly because of the ease of use in implementing the web 2.0 apps and the way they work from grassroots level instead of top down. Web 2.0 applications can be easily implemented by anyone in the organization thereby enabling the free flow of information across all levels without any of the hassles of the permission based IT systems. With web 2.0 applications, information can be shared and accessed very easily. Individuals benefit from this model and can move forward on a project by having easy access to information. Communication and collaboration are key in the timely success of a product and web 2.0 apps provide us with collaborative tools.

Enterprises are employing web 2.0 tools due to the control it gives a team member at the grassroots levels. This “innovation without permission” model puts the power in the hands of individuals at ground level and then filtering up all the way to the top. People don’t have to wait for permission to share an idea or suggest a solution to a problem.

This “innovation without permission” model also poses the grave risk of putting too much access and control in the hands of an individual. A major concern of small and larger corporations is, protecting their valuable information. The web 2.0 apps pose the threat of information getting leaked very easily. The fact that most web 2.0 apps is easily available for free makes it even more tempting for companies to implement them considering today’s economy. But they need to be implemented with certain rules and restrictions so that information is not leaked.

I find web 2.0 applications fascinating! The world of internet is rapidly changing. What’s current today is outdated tomorrow. In a dynamically changing world like this, web 2.0 provides the tools to individuals to share their view point easily and freely. It’s great to see how you can create something and share it with anybody. Web 2.0 allows you to collaborate and be in touch with somebody half way across the globe and meet a targeted deadline without actually having to go there – to me that’s a lifesaver! Technology lets me be in touch and in control. But yes I do agree that there needs to be a certain degree of rules & restrictions adhered to such applications.