Michel Serres et la performance de la réalité


Nous, on rêve tout le temps, on est des machines à virtuel. Et voir le réel n’est pas donné à tout le monde. Pour voir le réel, il ne faut rien moins qu’une révolution, une puissante révolution comme celle réalisée par Galilée et Newton. Je retourne donc la question. Le réel n’est pas là, devant nous. Et c’est une performance de parvenir à la regarder tel qu’il est.

En 2008, la keynote d’ouverture de la première édition de l’USI était assurée pas un octogénaire malicieux : Michel Serres y parlait de l’innovation. C’était une authentique révélation.

Dans le numéro 100 de Philosophie Magazine (Qu’est-ce que la Philosophie) l’académicien répond ainsi à l’habituelle question liant le numérique à une aliénation virtuelle. Il ne s’agit pas d’un changement radical plutôt d’un changement d’échelle. Et de poser un des problèmes essentiels de la condition humaine : comment voir le réel, là devant nous.  Continue reading “Michel Serres et la performance de la réalité”

Myths of the 21st century organization and the sad truth about enterprise collaboration


There have been 2 milestones in my story with online collaboration tools. First, at the turn of the century, these have helped me to get out of a very tricky professional situation. Then I was fascinated by the geek culture after I joined an innovative start-up in 2004, where everybody would use such tools while collaborating in a very efficient way. And I kept on telling myself : why on earth isn’t everyone working like this ? This is fun, exciting, engaging I need to tell the world this is the way to go.

I have been a very active supporter of these ever since, in particular during the 2009 – 2011 period during which I have blogged extensively on the topic. Looking back to this activism, I have realized that I was making some major misconceptions, the very same that people talking about future of work or hacker culture are making today IMHO.

  1. People who are not digital literate won’t see the value of online collaboraton tools, especially if they don’t collaborate in the first place. In other words, technology is more an obstacle than an enabler to create a culture of collaboration.
  2. The hacking culture has emerged from people who are more comfortable collaborating online then in real life. Thank God, we are a minority (I’m counting myself in).
  3. Online collaboration tools are used to scale collaboration throughout the organization. If there is no collaboration in the enterprise, you ain’t gonna scale anything but frustration.

If buying enterprise software was actually solving organization problems, my job (organization coach/consultant, i.e. fixing broken organizations) would not be a multi-billion dollar industry. If this a strategy, it is just a CIO/VP self-preservation one (“No CIO hs been fired for buying ${enterprise_software_vendor} solutions”).

This easy approach has even less chances to succeed for something as fragile as enterprise collaboration. It may, though, in very specific contexts, but in my opinion these are more evidences of leadership of the professionals making their project a success (Claire FlanaganDan Pontrefact, or Celine Schillinger being names coming to mind) than evidences of the viability of such initiatives.

Baring in mind these sad truths, this post proposes an alternate strategy to root collaboration in the organization. Continue reading “Myths of the 21st century organization and the sad truth about enterprise collaboration”

Accumulating Knowledge Vs Learning

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(Originally published on Kinder Wiser collaborative blog)

I’m an IT guy. I’ve been working for 25 years in this business doing just about any job you can think of. I’ve been working in different industries, different countries, using different types of technologies, from IBM Mainframe technology built in the 60s to 00’s avant-garde mobile start-ups.

My strategy to survive in this fast-pace changing business has been to think in patterns. This comes from IT industry standards called Design Patterns. The baseline is : for every problem that will slow you down you while designing a software solution, someone has already bumped into it and standardized a generic design solution.

This is both a bless and a curse and here’s why … Continue reading “Accumulating Knowledge Vs Learning”

Plateformes Collaboratives et Sociales : présentation à la commission européenne

Dans le cadre des Masterclass Communication de la commission européenne, j’ai eu l’opportunité de faire une présentation dans les locaux de l’institution à Bruxelles le 25 Juin 2013. Voici donc le support utilisé dans cette présentation de deux heures.

Europhile convaincu, (davantage au sens anglais qu’au sens français, plus limité) et souhaitant participer à l’apaisement dans la tension Bruxelles-Paris, j’ai donc eu l’honneur de présenter dans la langue de Montebourg un état de l’art sur l’utilisation de ces nouveaux outils de communication émergents à des cadres des différentes directions de l’institution. Mille mercis à l’impeccable Diane Sifflet (du crew #EdgeExperimenters) pour m’avoir offert cette opportunité.

Continue reading “Plateformes Collaboratives et Sociales : présentation à la commission européenne”

Sunday Quote : John Hagel

Our point of view is that the rationale of scalable efficiency is becoming less and less compelling, and the alternative rationale is scalable learning. The reason we have institutions is because we can learn faster as part of an institution than we could alone.

This quote is taken from a great John Hagel interview by Stowe Boyd. The co-chairman of Deloitte Center for Edge innovation shares here a profound idea.

In Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky suggests that the core purpose of organizations, as defined by Nobel prize Ronald Coase, (the cost of transaction) is no longer relevant in our networked economy. In order to demonstrate his statement, Shirky draws on complex distributed projects such as open source software or wikipedia. So this has left us wondering : what is the core purpose of institutions in the 21st century ?

John Hagel proposal is inspiring : it is to scale learning to the whole organization for faster individual learning and (I may add) to develop organization intelligence as the network of individual knowledge. Which brings us back to the Knowing-Doing Gap : once the company has accumulated learning and knowledge, how does it turn it back into action ?

The Collaborative Organization by Jacob Morgan

Jacob Morgan is principal at The Chess Media Group and has been a very active promoter of Collaborative Software for the last few years.

I had the opportunity to meet him at a party at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Boston in 2011. I knew his work before that as I’ve read many of the case studies his company has shared through their blog. I was quite impressed by his enthusiasm and his sharp mind on the topic despite his rather young age (he was 28 back then). He told me then he was writing a book : I guess it is the first time I read a book that was introduced to me by his author prior to the publication so please forgive me for bragging about it.

The Collaborative Organization introduces itself as a Strategic guide to solving your internal business challenges using emerging social and collaborative tools. It is a truly useful book as it is clear, actionable, based on solid experience and many research studies. It allows to define a strategy suited to your own context with many tricks of the trade to tactically address the many issues such project implies.

Last but not least, the book contains insights from many thought leaders such as Don Tapscott (already quoted here), Gil Yehuda, Charles H Green, Oscar Berg or Andrew McAfee and, for each section, there is a testimony by a project leader of such initiative in many different industries : insurance, publishing, video game, health care, logistics, government, organisation …

This allows to multiply the perspectives and make it a genuine valuable and collaborative effort …

Continue reading “The Collaborative Organization by Jacob Morgan”

The Knowing-Doing Gap

Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton are both professor of organizational behavior in Stanford University and this book, written in the late 90’s, remains as relevant as ever today.

In The Knowing-Doing Gap (How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action) they attempt to address one of the main root cause of the problems organizations face in 21st century economy : why the ideas that are widely known and proven to be useful remain unimplemented ? How to bridge this knowing-doing gap and what are the results of companies succeeding in doing so ? How to tackle the paradox of companies that know too much and do too little, and who fails in transforming knowledge into action (and action back into new knowledge) ?

This is one of the most powerful book I’ve read about management together with Toyota Kata by Mike Rother. Both books have this thing in common : these are proposing meta-processes to address systemic issues faced by companies today. The objective is to align thinking and action and, while doing so, it is to deeply transform organizations into dynamic entities able to tackle any new problem arising.

Another classic reviewed by #hypertextual and another very long post (+2000 words – 10 mns read) …

Continue reading “The Knowing-Doing Gap”