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Social Learning In A Dialogic Way

Earlier this week I joined a discussion group improvising on a theme around Richard Sennett's book Together and his recent RSA talk.  I understand the book explores the nature of cooperation, the evolution of cooperative rituals through history and the politics of the tribe versus the complexity of modern society.  Haven't read it - it's now on the long list.  The Everything Unplugged: Learning Conversation group meets in London every Wednesday at 10:00 at the RFH Level 5 to discuss wide ranging topics from creativity to the learning process.  This week's discussion on Sennett was titled "In a Dialogic Way" echoing Miles Davis.  I was intrigued on three counts:
  • I miss the kind of wide ranging conversations we used to have several years back at London's CreativeCoffee Club (which I founded with Toby Moores) or when the London Social Media Cafe/Tuttle Club was in its energetic heyday at the Coach and Horses or the ICA.
  • The topic of cooperation is vital to the the collaboration solutions I work with and I wanted to learn more about Sennett's take.
  • I don't often have philosophical discussions about dialectic argument versus the dialogic ...
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Social Business

After some soul searching I've just started updating my various personal profiles around the web to say I'm a social business evangelist rather than saying enterprise 2.0I've got close to this before.  I wanted to explain why now.  For me that terminology change is a big deal because I'm not 100% comfortable with "social business", but it's not me rather the market that decides.  If we move the clock forwards 5 years I'm sure we'll be using different language again, and I believe the way the smart companies use social media and social tools in their businesses today will be as natural and essential to any organisation as a website, email, phones or mobiles (cell phones for my US friends, handys for the Germans - language is so crucial!).  I actually prefer the term "amplified enterprise" because the terms "social business" (as used by the likes of Dachis, Altimeter Group and IBM) or "social enterprise" (as used by Salesforce) are already occupied by a very different idea.  Go ask the average, non-technology oriented bushiness person in the street and see what they say.  Actually my perspective on this topic has 4 dimensions:
  • The social ...
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The cultural divide on data protection - USA vs EU

We are several months past the 10 year anniversary of the September 11 (9/11) attacks, but one of the significant consequences of that event a decade ago highlights the cultural divide between the USA and Europe on data protection.  Data privacy has been hitting the news recently because of Google's changes in their terms and condition.  Frank Jennings of DMH Stallard, who chairs the Governace Board for the CIF Code of Practice on which I sit, has just published a good analysis of the proposed reforms to the EU's data protection laws, and that triggered me to visit the topic here.  Data in terms of security, privacy and sovereignty is still the number 1 issue for companies who are first considering Cloud Computing.   As a buyer, you need to carry out your due diligence for any software, platform or infrastructure as a service - you should be checking how and where the provider will be storing your data, and how YOU will comply with legislation like the Data Protection Act.

Here in the UK, if your systems handle personal information about individuals you have a number of legal obligations to protect that information under the Data Protection Act 1998. .. ...
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Using the Cloud for personal productivity with Evernote

I've just made a significant switch in one of the main tools I use for my own personal productivity which highlights a key trend for the industry and all of us - the personal cloud.  Whether it is for work or our personal lives we use desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, media players and tablets and a lot of the time we need to get at the same stuff from each device.  For some time we've been used to setting up our smart phones so we can sync and access the same email as on the computer or the web, and the early adopters and geeky types have been sharing photos and documents too.  The personal cloud will make that easy and more pervasive for everyone.  

Let me explain more with the key tool that I use for all my writing, note taking, project documentation and capturing of ideas.  Since January 2005 I've been using what I believe is Microsoft's best and most undervalued product - OneNote.  OneNote is a free form note taking application with a user interface that looks like the Windows equivalent of a cool Moleskin notebook.  I can type, draw, insert pictures or make screen clippings and capture my thoughts in multiple notebooks.  .. ...
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Social Business - use cases and best practice are pants!

At the IBM Collaboration Diner at the Social Business Expo we had a long conversation with my old friend Luis Saurez about use cases and best practice - he doesn't believe in them!  Luis was there to do Wednesday's keynote address on the topic he is famous for - Thinking Outside the Inbox - There is no We in email.  I was there as one of the invited thought leaders contributing to the cafe style debates IBM and Collaobration Matters had organised inside a 1940s American Diner styled after Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks.  One of my customers, Janet Parkinson of The Smart Work Company, was there joining in the discussion with Luis, triggered by our belief that there aren't enough good case studies of businesses using social tools inside their organisations to show how Social Business can work.  I commented that part of the reason for that is the difficulty of getting enterprises to share something that can be a competitive advantage, but Luis immediately declared that use cases are useless!

His view is that every business is different, every business is unique.  Having a use case for some other firm doesn't really help much.  He wants to go in . ...
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The Cloud needs some standards (or a Code of Practice)

Standards Cartoon from xkcdOne of the big issues for a buyer today considering Cloud Computing is how do you choose a good Cloud provider from a bad one?  Who do you trust?  Maybe the Cloud Topic needs some standards?  Well actually there are so many standards bodies and vendor groups that the picture is confused - something that I try to demystify with my company and with the various cloud groups that I'm involved with.  If you type "cloud standards" in to Google, you'll find an alphabet soup of acronyms, and even the first entry in the list - a "Wiki site for Cloud Standards Coordination" - initially looks promising, but doesn't yet mention some of the key organizations that have something worthwhile to contribute to this topic.  

When you do some  research you find the International Organization for Standardization (their ISO 27001 on IT security is relevant for the data centre) or the IBM backed Open Cloud Manifesto  or The Open Data Center Alliance, and many others, but most of their output seems to be about technical standards for set up, programming and interoperability of services - good for the industry as a whole, but not necessarily relevant to the average .. ...
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Social Business at IBM's Hopper Collaboration Diner

This week I was invited by IBM (and Ogilvy PR) to join in the collaboration debates at the Social Business Expo, a new strand of the Unified Communications Expo at Olympia .  This is not an event I would normally attend, covering everything from phone handsets through VoIP to tele conferencing, but I'm sure the social business component of ths show will get even bigger next year.  The attraction was to be part of what IBM is doing, which moves a long way from your typical steel, white and blue corporate show stand.  Their event was themed around recreating the late night downtown diner scene depicted in Edward Hopper's famous Nighthawks painting from the 40s.  It represents loneliness and alienation.  IBM are the sponsor, but their partner Collaboration Matters came up with the concept, created and hosted the stand.  The front of the cafe was peopled with actors who remained in character throughout both days, and who alternated between the original solitary view, and using smart phones, iPads and Macs to collaborate and connect with people.  Each character had their own Twitter identity so we could interact and break through the social isolation. ...
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Back Blogging (again) and Fresh Business Thinking

I just want warn the Internet and social media addicts everywhere that I will be back blogging again on a more regular basis from today.  I've left a big gap since my last post although I've carried on tweeting and RTing snippets and the good stuff - the Twitter community that I follow still gives me the best, filtered access to quality content and ideas from out there.  I've been addicted to Twitter since 14 February 2007 - It seems appropriate that our 5 year love affair started on Valentine's Day!

I haven't been completely absent from publishing blogs as Cloud Advocates started a regular email newsletter called Cloud means Business over on Fresh Business Thinking.  The newsletter goes out to over 70,000 subscribers, and each post goes up on the FBT site too.  I write 2 of the 4 posts each month, and we are just about to publish the 8th edition.  I'll repost some or all of those 16 articles here in the coming weeks, and I'll add links in a side column soon.  As well as that I have half a dozen draft posts languishing in Evernote ready to be completed.  Thank heavens it isn't a blank page....

The thing that finally spurred me back to action was contributing to the ...