Expert Profile – View

What is your name?

Rawn Shah

Who are you and what are you doing?

After a dozen years at a mega-company, I joined a new software startup, Alynd, Inc. that is still in stealth mode but we are building new tools to help manage work in a social, collaborative and trust-based way.

How did you get to the E2.0 topic?

In my prior role at a global multinational tech company, I spent years working on E2.0 adoption, management and transformation. It started with managing an external 7million member customer community, and then another role to build and encourage social business adoption across the 400K+ employees in 150+ countries.

What is your understanding of the core concept of the Enterprise 2.0 idea?

The core of Enterprise 2.0 is to think of the organization not as a body of processes and hierarchy, but as a non-linear web of work, with relationships between people collaborating and working towards many goals and strategies, together.

It shows

(a) how work is actually done in specific contexts not generalities like processes: to each specific context of people involved in a task for a customer or project

(b) the context of each person includes their skills, their relationships, and the trust others have in them based on actual experience.

(c) it looks beyond pure rationality of how things should work, to the reality that work is emotional, and motivation to be productive requires following the work purpose and ethos of each worker.

What are the main potentials of the Enterprise 2.0 idea?

The main potential is that

(a) Innovation trumps Efficiency in the long-run. By showing how work actually is done, we find out that large standardized processes are an illusion of many, many variations and exceptions that constrain. Processes are only a starting framework, and by exploring the variations we discover new innovative possibilities.

(b) it maximizes efficiency not by force fitting everything into the lowest-common-denominator molds as gears in a factory oriented process, but by recognizing the skills and other context of the people involved or those who should be.

(c) by focusing on the worker or participant, supporting their purpose but also helping them grow in skill, experience and career, it looks to retain expertise and keep it vibrant, ensuring long-term productivity growth.

What are the main challenges, threads and issues of the Enterprise 2.0 idea?

(a) Enterprise 2.0 transformation is time consuming and large scale effort, in part because it varies with the size and culture of the company, but more so because productivity in social systems comes from having enough time to allow for maturity. This means the people involved in a collaboration need to spend active time together interacting before it becomes of value. However, the plus side is that the value scales greater than linearly.

(b) Organizations and business leaders have pushed towards short-term views and continuing urgency and thus hyper-efficiency. Unfortunately, that leads to over-standardization and limitation of possibilities, and then reduction of any variable thought that could affect the speed of action.

(c) Business is used to thinking in fixed predefined shapes, roles, and expectations, and then measuring against them. Before technology to manage the data about how variable people are became available, that was simply the easiest way to run and measure operations. They are artificial limits that do not maximize the strengths that each person brings in their variable and dynamic nature.

Please give us three tags that describe your person and work best?

workhacker, work ethos, transformation

Please give us three names of colleagues that you would refer to as brother-in-spirit?

Emanuelle Quintarelli, Digital Transformation Practice Leader Europe, Ernst & Young

John Hagel, Co-Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge

Chris Heuer, Catalyst, Adhocnium ; and CEO, Alynd