Posts

Showing posts from 2007

Spirituality 2.0

Now this is going to be a rather exotic post! Last Sunday I visited a friend of mine who is working as a pastor. It was my first Sunday service within almost a full year, and after the event we engaged into a discussion about the cultural change that is happening in faith-based communities. Apparently there is a movement in christian communites which tries to adapt spiritual life to a postmodern reality and that shows stunning links to the discussion about the knowledge age. To one extent, the movement called " Emerging Church " or "Emerging Conversation" emphasizes the importance of decentralized networks and social communities for church life, promoting flat hirarchies, an inclusive participation of laymen and innovative ideas in spiritual service and teaching. On a second glance, however, the cultural change goes much deeper. The approach not only tries to communicate a well-known message in new forms, it acknowledges that spirituality and faith itself are chang

Towards a knowledge age

Sometimes it's important to remind ourselves that Web 2.0 is indeed just an expression of a deeper paradigm shift that is happening: the transition from a modern to a post-modern society or - in business terms - from the industrial economy to the knowledge economy. With regard to organizational development, this shift is characterized by the transition from authoritative decisions to team work from hirarchies to flat organizational structures from an infrastructure focus to a focus on people from a chain of command to a culture which gives space to creativity & innovation from tightly controlled to widespread information from one lifetime job to multiple careers (with a loss of job security) from specialized skills to multi-tasking from external inscentives to intrinsic motivation (Kotler 2002) The web becomes the symbol of this change from centralized institutions to social networks

The Meta-Network - now it's getting interesting

Today Google announced the launch of the new standard OpenSocial for tomorrow, which should enable third-party programmers to develop widgets which could be integrated in any social software application observing the standard. By requiring external applications to exchange a standardized set of metadata between the networks, Google is hoping to connect a wide range of different social networks under one framework. The opportunity to plug into these networks with accustomed widget application has already propelled the recent success of Facebook and is what developers were waiting for. The end result could be a global standard which would connect all existing networking applications and form one single global network. This is actually exactly what I was waiting for. However, I am curious to which extent this network standard will deserve to be called open, namely to which extent Google will control and monitor the data which is exchanged. The fear of course is that privacy standards mig

Looking out for a professional Facebook

In his latest blog post, Christian Kreutz asked why IT departments (who are still responsible for technical Knowledge Management solutions) seem to not take the participative web as a top priority . I fully agree with his analysis and also his call for a higher priorization of Web 2.0 within organizations. Just to give one example: In fact, what I’m really looking for, is an internal Facebook application for enterprises/organizations, where everyone updates his status message regularly and you can see who’s currently working on what, meeting with whom, participating in which event, etc. Just imagine, somebody setting his status to "John Smith is drafting a discussion paper on xy". It would be so easy then to step in and say “hey, you’re working on this? That’s interesting for me too, I'm working on something similar! Let's have a look at it, maybe we do this together?” After all, lots of our younger staff members and interns (most if them are below 30 years) spend h

Envisioning one single world network

A funny post on the KM4Dev network , which suggested that "maybe all these social community sites could be merged into one called, say, MyFlickeringFace", caught my attention today. In fact, considerations regarding a global meta-network, which consolidates all existing social networking platforms, are already under way. And the big IT players like Microsft, Google, etc. are very eager to get the lead in this. There was an interesting article in SPIEGEL Online this week (unfortunately only in German) which tries to grasp what's happening there at the moment. For me as an indivdual user this is very ambivalent. One one hand, I hate to have to maintain all these different applications and accounts in parallel (Private email, Google, del.icio.us, facebook, xing, skype, youtube, flickr and many more specialised portals and communities) and desperately long for a one-stop shop where several (or all) of the above services are integrated and ALL the people I want to liaise wit

Leadership and management in a post-modern world

Some weeks ago, I had to write a few paragraphs on how I would define good leadership and management. The following revised essay is the result of this exercise: When the 51 founding members of the United Nations convened in San Francisco in 1945, the signed UN Charta marked a clear shift from unilateralism and colonialism to multilateralism. The main basis for this development was the growing consciousness that the existing global challenges can not be faced by one power alone. The distinctiveness of this new international system of collective security was not characterized by one nation claiming leadership but by a peer structure with equal rights and responsibilities. In its own way the UN system thus appears as one of the many faces of the transition process from a modern to a postmodern society. Why is this important with regard to leadership and management? Because unlike the modern characteristics of enforced rules, clear hierarchies and strict boundaries, the post-modern era

Worst case scenario for a blogger rookie

OK, it happened. The one thing I was afraid of since the very day I started this blog: I haven't found the time to write anything for a far too long time. Too long for just ignoring it. Too long for a simple excuse like a 2 week holiday in Indonesia or a 1 week training in Kuala Lumpur. There's just one single obvious reason - I was lazy. So what does that mean? Is this like some kind of death sentence for my young blog ambitions? Am I just not professional enough for this? But no, I still want to write, I still want to express myself. So what am I to do now? Basically I figure there are three options in this situation. 1. I come out with a long and lengthy excuse, including sincere apologies and a determined promise to never let it happen again. Makes me still look as the lazy author I was and doesn't really encourage anyone to trust my committment as a blogger in the future. 2. I just ignore the empty space since the last post and start with the next post. Maybe nobody

The quest for finding the right topic

The biggest question for me as a blogger newbie is, what should I actually talk about? Do I have something to tell which is of any importance to the outside world? Do I know things that others don't know? Things of actual value to others? Realizing that many of the blogs out there elaborate on private life details of an intimacy level with which I either feel not comfortable with or I am just not interested in, I decided to abstain from publishing personal diary stories. On the other hand, a significant amount of bloggers use their blog strategically to position themself in their professional environment or a thematic community they feel part of. This however requires of course a certain confidence in your own knowledge and (where this knowledge is still very much in the process of evolving) significant investment into research. And of course this strategy will not work, if positioning yourself is your only inscentive to start a blog. In order to have something to tell about which

Shocked that somebody is actually reading my blog...

It is fascinating, how a message of a participant of last week's KM4Dev workshop, who just congratulated me to the launch of my blog today, is able to force me into hectic and most nervous activity. I just created the launch 4 days ago and Google is already indexing it on the second page when searching my name??? I remember times when search engines needed 6 months for this... Does that mean that I now actually have to WRITE something in my blog every week? I cannot dissapoint the 2 people who suscribed to my blog within these first four days, can I? But what if more people will see it then? Waves of thoughts are breaking over me... What if colleagues will find the blog and read about my professional views? Ooooh.. what if my boss reads it? Or my Human Resources focal point? Or former students from university. What about family and friends? I realize this has serious implications on my public reputation, as well as my professional environment, my career options, my social peers, we

Magister Artium!

After waiting for several months for my professors to review my final thesis in my studies in political science, I finally received my certificate yesterday! This means I can now freely distribute my thesis to everyone who is interested. The thesis examined the connection between common development theory approaches and ICT for Development (ICT4D), based on the observation that most development projects in this field seemed to be somehow disconnected from theory-based development research. Projects often were developed according to various assumptions which have never been proved before - such as the idea that development countries would be able to 'leapfrogg' various stages of development by transforming form agricultural societies straight to information societies. The character of these considerations where inspired by a rather practical and pragmatic approach, asking rather what actually could work than how this would connect to the research in development theory of the y

I was sure I will never write a blog

It has been about 13 years ago, that a good friend of mine tried to persuade me to get myself an email account in order to communicate with her in some other part of Europe. It was 1994, I was 20 and I had just started my studies in computer science in multimedia. Even though I signed up for one of the most innovate studies existing in Europe at that time, I had somehow a strong hesitation when it came to new tools which did not immediately reveal their usability to me. So it took my friend about 6 months until I finally approached our university's IT admin to set up my account. Since then roughly about 10,000 emails have left my outbox and today of course I could not live without emails anymore. But somehow, this inner resistance regarding new fancy-but-senseless tools remained to a certain extent. So all the hype about blogs and Web 2.0 left me extraordinary unimpressed. In fact, I considered most of the blogs I have seen in the early days to be stunningly irrelevant, boring and