What's a Blue Kiwi? Innovation through Social Network Software ~ Praxis Habitus - On Race Religion & Culture

Friday, April 3, 2009

What's a Blue Kiwi? Innovation through Social Network Software

Quick post: My interest in innovation and online social networking led me to discovering new software designed to stimulate organizational innovation.

In Europe, blueKiwi 2009 was launched last November with a bold presentation on the interaction between the web and human interaction. Working with sociological principles, the software re-thinks the interconnection of networks and the play of organizational management dynamics.

Too many of us take software design for granted. But the ingenuity of software design aligned with the understanding of human social interaction is coming into its own -- especially as social computing becomes more portable and more readily available.

Now we've all got to be schooled in how to use more than "Microsoft Word" and email. Social networking is becoming just as important as the telephone. And as organizations harness the use of these technological innovations, we will find new ways to communicate, brainstorm, share content, and "group think" in dynamic, yet-not-entirely-forseen ways.

In short, the new wave of project management and committee work will move online.

According to a post by Jon Husband, "Starting from the vantage point of the Web 2.0-savvy user, they have designed and built blueKiwi to be user-centric whilst responding to the business issues that require the building, distributing and and deploying of business-focused knowledge … the essence of social business computing, in my opinion."

Husband describes blueKiwi as "centered on the building, nourishing and sustaining of business-focused relationships - building useful knowledge and getting things done."
[M]ost collaboration systems start from the point of view of technical capabilities and do not make it easy, or overlook, the building and growing of relationships. In the past, users of collaborative platforms had to go about building their business relationships, both internally and externally, outside of the collaboration system / platform. blueKiwi2009 is first and foremost a means of building valuable and value-added relationships in the course of doing one’s work … it can enable, contain and manage all the activity in a business ecosystem.
An online "ecosystem" is exactly the right term for describing the vision of these software designers.

Here is an interesting and, to me, persuasive attempt to foster a stimulating space of content and interaction. And once businesses really get behind the building of such systems, the leaders of science, education and religion will not be far behind.

Husband continues in describing the uniqueness of blueKiwi --
[A]ll collaboration platforms offer spaces where people can connect, gather, share and exchange information. Thus far, the mainstream approach has been to offer spaces where people can connect and gather, and then share content … information about issues, problems, and areas of interest, and as people exchange and collaborate, useful knowledge is built.

bK2009 turns this upside down, or around (you choose). It is designed on the principle that the collaborative space is there for content and its distribution, and the individual user then chooses which groups she or he wishes to engage with. Thus, any individual user can be a member of the groups they have chosen to interact with. And of course it has a Twitter clone as one of its features.

What eventuates is a network of interaction around pertinent content, and thus over time an ecosystem around issues in which engagement is de facto defined by the users’ interest and willingness to engage. This then leads to the ability to watch and quantify the volume of interactions and obtain a better, and visible , understanding of the value that is being created (responsiveness, innovation, deepening understanding and so on).
In what Husband calls “natural sociology of knowledge work,” the software allows people to enter and exit any "information ecosystem" they wish. The combining of features we know through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogging -- as well as the archiving of documents and drafts -- allows a constructive yet constantly changing space of idea-generation and product-design. Husband says, "the result after several years of intense design, development and deployment is a collaborative platform that in my opinion more closely mirrors the natural sociology of knowledge work than any other platform about which I know."

Individuals can be known by the "reputation" they build for being involved in different ecosystems in addition to whatever "profile" they create to identify themselves.

The software is oriented around Metcalfe's Law of Networks "whereby the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected members of the network" even though not everyone agrees on this "law." Nevertheless, the software is based on a belief that "organizations should realize that collaboration in connected networks is the way work will be done all the time in the near future, and so organizations should seek to enroll and engage the entire organization in the use of the collaborative platform."

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

I find this fascinating. Once all of us (including tech-infatuated people like me) get over what may initially seem "complicated," "unnecessary," and "too much time to learn," I think we will find such software to be remarkably helpful.

The software here is already available on iPhone -- which means that the accessibility to working with a "portable knowledge community" from the comfort of your local cafe will surely change the way we "think" in the world.

I'll speculate and say I think we're seeing the future of the "new normal." Another decade and this will be a natural way to share ideas.

1 comment:

J Steele said...

Thanks for sharing! I don't consider myself an early adapter but having a blog, website, facebook, LinkedIn, and twitter have me now looking for SIMPLE. This gives me hope...