On the eve of the sixties social revolution, my older brother turned me onto science fiction writer Robert Heinlein. “Stranger in a Strange Land” is one of Heinlein’s classics. It’s the story of a human raised on Mars who returns to Earth and introduces radical transformative ideas to Earth’s culture. This book, originally written in 1961, reappeared in the recesses of my memory this week, as I found myself relating to the main character. Over the past month, I’ve been involved in a few client meetings where we have introduced sets of our clients to “the edge.” Never in a professional situation have I felt so removed, so different, from my client peers.
There are two programs I’m directly participating in that should yield some interesting results. The first is a multi-client study, “Re-defining Employee Computing” and the second is our IT Leadership Development Program. Sensitivity to corporate internal discussions prevents me from listing here which of our clients are participating in these programs, but rest assured, these are some of the largest corporations in the world with some of the largest IT budgets.
The experience has been eye-opening for me, as we, in the Enterprise 2.0 community, tend to immerse ourselves in the echo chamber of those who already have crossed the mental chasm to web 2.0 freedom and collaborative sharing. Our clients are not resisting the changes afoot. They’re eager to learn about social media and web 2.0, but they face hard realities concerning what to even invest their time in, let alone their budget– which, by the way, is mostly already committed to legacy apps and operations expense.
I’m aware that the so-called “revolution” is being waged in departmental groups of large enterprises, but in order to reap the true benefits of enterprise 2.0, IT must embrace the transcendental experience. Despite the flood of information flowing every day onto the web on Enterprise 2.0 and social media, the largest firms in the world are now just becoming introduced to these concepts. It’s important to keep this in mind even if we think we’ve seen it and heard it all.
Along these lines, a YouTube interview from CIO Magazine…
5 thoughts on “Stranger in a Strange Land”
Like large ships enterprise firms turn slowly and IT departments bare the risk of IT change for the organisation. CIO’s are the gatekeepers to E2.0 becoming mainstream. Furthermore E2.0 is so much more than a technology revolution is a change of mindset and change takes patience, education, more patience and learning.
P.S. – Thanks for the video included it on my latest Nickpoint blog post
Thanks for the reminder, and we’re finding very much the same thing. As you say, enterprise is quite eager to learn and participate, but they have to get to understanding first. We’d do well not to allow our expectations to become too disconnected from reality (while still being far enough ahead to have vision about where to next).
An interesting balancing act, and I wonder – when in history has the speed of innovation been so incredibly accelerated?
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