One Year Oracle SocialChat – The Movie

One Year Oracle SocialChat from mprove on Vimeo.

You’ve just watched – hopefully – my first short movie. Thank you! Here is a bit of the back stage story.

About 6 weeks ago colleagues from SNBC (Social Network and Business Collaboration) announced a Social Use Case Competition. It was expected to submit a video of 2 to 5 minutes duration on the Social Enterprise (our internal phrase for Enterprise 2.0). Hmm – I had a few vague ideas, but no script – no actors – no experience in film making. Really the best conditions to try something!

I chose our weekly SocialChats as my main topic. But if you don’t do Danish Dogma cinema, you still need a script. Hence I played around with the SocialChat’s archive, and all of a sudden a script and even the actors appeared in front of me. The words that you have just seen are weekly topics. Slightly abridged and rearranged to form a story.

Exciting, next phase. How to get it on digital celluloid? I have to confess I am still impressed by epic. (Keep in mind, epic was done in 2004.) And my actors – words – call for a typographic style already. The main part was done over a weekend with Apple Keynote. And I even found a wonderful matching soundtrack among my albums: Didge Goes World by Delago. I picked parts of Second Day and Seventh Day. Literally, the rhythm was set, and I “just” had to complete the movie. Tools used – apart from trial and error: Keynote, Pixelmator, GarageBand, iMovie.

Finally I want to mention that I am extremely thankful to BSC Music for granting permissions to use the tracks for this short film! Without this sound it would have been just an ordinary slide show.

SocialChat: A guide to closing down a project

Beethoven deafness posed a challenge to have fluent conversations with him. His trick was to use conversation books, where you had to write your part and he would then answer verbally. These books have survived until today, and provide insights into… well, we have to guess his part of the conversation. But anyway.

Although I am not deaf, I want to share one page of my socialchat-conversation book that contains just my tweets and not the tweets of my colleagues. The topic this week: A guide to closing down a project. You can read topdown, but might need to fill in some impulses from other participants. I hope it still makes sense. Enjoy!

BTW_ Beethoven finished all his symphonies – Schubert did not.

  • Discussion Point 1) Have you ever worked on a project after it has lost momentum?(eg lost a sponsor, or where it’s obvious it’s a dead end) How did you maintain morale?
  • The first part of the question is easy to answer: yes. I guess I have no problem with my motivation because I am always involved in several projects at the same time. If one project loses steam, I can refocus myself to work more in others.
  • Some projects don’t have a sponsor. And they are not the worst. You really try to bring them forward b/c your are deeply convinced about what you are doing. Although, these are never the main projects but some smaller ones.
  • Moving onto Discussion Point 2) Any tips on how to close off the project? Has anyone successfully handed off a project to be supported by another org?
  • wiki documentation (always a good idea) and TOI presentations (transfer of information) to the engineering team, who takes over.
  • This is even more important if you hand-over to yourself in the future. Then you need to pick up the game maybe a year later without starting from scratch. I call this ‘freezing a project’
  • A party is also a good idea to close a project in order to finish it and turn around the heads for the next one. Celebrate success, or have a postmortem to do it better next time.
  • you can call a postmortem also ‘lessons learned’
  • There is an EOL (end of life) phase in the product life cycle.
  • 3) Has anyone any experience with the ‘Wither on the vine’ approach (eg Nokia is using this approach with Symbian)?
  • wither on the vine (British, American & Australian literary):= if something withers on the vine, it is destroyed very gradually, usually because no one does anything to help or support it
  • ‘wither on the vine’ does not sound like a good management style. More like the lack of good leadership. Wasting nerves, money, and losing customers.
  • You cannot ride a dead horse. It’s dead already, stupid! Though, it needs some experience and stance to recognize such a situation, and courage to react accordingly.
  • well, if the systems continue to run fine… Do they have a migration plan for the customers and just need to ‘entertain’ their customers until the new system becomes available?
  • I do not know it it is done deliberately and consciously. But I think it is better to manage the expectation of the users&customers rather than having rumors spread by the competitors.
  • google for for ‘software train wrecks’. e.g. 10 Signs Of Coming Software Train Wreck
  • And one for the road if you go off-track — this is the presentation that I just had in mind — Scott Berkun about Saving Design Train Wrecks 

Scott Berkun at BayCHI: Saving Design Train Wrecks

SocialChat: Efficiency of E20

mproveSPEECHBUBBLEEfficiency of Enterprise 2.0 tools. This was the subject we discussed in our SocialChat today. Read my tweets below (top down):

  • Lack of efficiency in the (communication) tools can be frustrating and eventually lead to poor effectiveness & minimal creativity.
  • I see it this way: With a limited amount of energy and attention I want to work as much as possible in the effective&creative area. Spending my time in the basics, ie. finding my way to the info and people, is wasted for me and the company.
  • efficiency w/o effectiveness is useless. efficiency is about effort and speed. Effectiveness is about results.
  • E2.0 tools bear the potential to get faster into the results and solution corner of the spectrum. But only if there is a critical mass of people using the tools.
  • The more people who use and contribute the higher the effectiveness for all of us. If the tools cannot cope with the demand, then we have a happy problem to solve.
  • A “single social platform” definitely bears the advantage not to miss info&experts in dark branches of the intranet. At least all internal platforms need to be interconnected.
  • E2.0 tolls create a flexible communication structure by ignoring the company’s org-chart. This is more efficient (and effective) than sending the info up the chain and down into another team.
  • If the tools live up the the promise you can even communicate with people you don’t know upfront!
  • I was happy to see (when coming from Sun) that the corporate yellow pages use tags. But tagging is complicated and there is almost no positive feedback loop in place to harvest the advantages of tagging.
  • Tagging should be easy, as well as retrieving the clusters of knowledge and competence. I would like to see more efficiency to understand the swarm(!).
  • I set up a Connect group to aggregate (= get a combined feed) for a couple of Oracle forums. This is much more efficient than checking the forums manually or receiving updates via mail
  • My hope is that others follow my example, and that I can benefit from their cleverness regarding E2.0.
  • Do it anyway because we benefit. Be cool. Be fast. Be more efficient and effective. And BTW_ tell others about your way of getting the job done.

This is, what I just did. Hope you enjoyed this posting.

See also Benefit of Social Media in Corporates? by Sreya Dutta

SocialChat on Sharing Best Practices

mproveShareThis SocialChat touches the heart of Enterprise 2.0: Why is it challenging to share best practice? Once again, we had an interesting crowd together exchanging ideas at our internal microblogging channel. Read my share top down:

  • In my opinion “sharing best practice” has at least two problems:
    1) The entry barrier is to high. If you ask yourself if your case is a good example for best practice, then it is likely that you say no. So asking for just the best is wrong.
  • 2) Collecting “best practice” is most of the time an after-though, once the project is done. But then you are already preparing for the next project and don’t have time to think about the previous lessons learned.
  • Therefore “sharing best practice” needs to happen while you are still on the project. It should not be an extra step that causes extra work that nobody pays for.
  • @gary Indeed, social software can help to identify the nuggets. But this can only happen if the information is easily accessible and has an URI to refer to. And of course #3) we need a culture of sharing, referring and recommending stuff.
  • @amy “close communications” yes, but not “closed”. Other employees need to be able to participate.
  • The trick is to exploit the selfish attitude of some people. (The altruistic do it anyway). The argument to convince the selfish and ego-centric is the following: …
  • @amy Incentives don’t work. They don’t change the culture.
  • @amy “What’s my benefit if you can do your job better and get a bonus?”
  • As nobody is asking how to convince the selfish, I guess I keep the secret. :o)
  • @frank Open source is all about sharing. And the s-curve in Sun’s recent visual brand was a symbol for sharing.
  • @frank But I do not want to sound too enthusiastic. Reality was somewhere between the ideal and the average.
  • The secret trick revealed in the final minute…
  • Share with yourself! You gain something for your future projects if you blog some notes or fill some wiki pages about the current project for later use. (psst, others might do the same and you all benefit.)

Credits for the nice infinite icon: KPT #18

SocialChat about the Next Big Thing

mproveNBTYou can ask the oracle about The Next Big Thing. Or you can listen to the tweets of a guy at Oracle thinking about The Next Big Thing at one of our weekly SocialChats. Read top-down and try to fill in the parts of the invisible guys:

  • For me it is very helpful to distinguish between invention and innovation. If you want to know what is the next big thing, you have to look for the inventions from 10yrs ago.
  • 10 years might be the time they need to gain traction in the market and turn into innovation. (innovation := inventions with market success)
  • Flying cars is a good example. They exist. They fly!
  • E.g. a smartphone similar to the iPhone was invented by IBM in 1993.
  • There is no single path through history of technology. The similarity between iPhone and IBM’s device is, that they both are based on touch.
  • I think analysts and the press are not close enough to the research labs. They have to provide good stories to entertain their audience. But in the early stages of innovation the stories are hardly existing and not very convincing — like the flying Moller car.
  • Bruce Sterling gave up. He says there is nothing left to write about that makes really interesting science fiction.
  • Minority Report was a real research project for the science consultants. No science fiction at all. See John Underkoffler’s TED talk.
  • Just a shame that we are not using hypertext in the original sense. I mean, why are we satisfied with the current state of the art? May I post another talk? 45′ Ted Nelson at ACM Hypertext 2001
  • The question “What’s the next big thing?” is too good to being answered on the spot. What is going on in the research labs now? Provides insights regarding technology. What is missing? Provides insights regarding user adoption.
  • Do we have anybody in the chat who participated in Oracle IT2020?
  • My IT2020 prediction
  • But I have one more. Bill Buxton’s closing keynote at ACM Computer Human Interaction Conference in 2008 really impressed me. There are only my notes left. Basically he draws the connection between the artist and the environment.
  • Who would have been Mozart without the forte piano and the concert halls, and a society who appreciates his music?
  • The same is true for research scientists and their customers and users.
  • And one for the road: reconstructed slides and notes from Bill Buxton’s talk On Being Human in a Digital Age – enjoy! and have a nice weekend. -Matthias

Recommended Podcast: Paul Saffo at Longnow: Embracing Uncertainty – The Secret of Effective Forecasting

SocialChat on Getting Things Done

mproveGTDIf you are no longer suffering under Infoglut, you can focus on the things that matter in your daily business. Whatever that is, you want to get them done. How do you Get Things Done – what are your productivity tips? was the topic of our 13th SocialChat at Oracle. Here are my tweets in chronological order:

  • @SocialChat wait a sec. – my avatar is not done yet!!!
  • bad planning is a challenge. No planning is even worse. But if you get into the flow all plans are forgotten and the guilt might come afterwards.
  • there are four buckets for your tasks:
    1. urgent and important
    2. important but not urgent yet
    3. urgent but not important
    4. neither urgent nor important.
  • As said: 4 buckets, get rid of the content of 1. [->try to avoid] 3. [->delegate] and 4. [->don’t do] and then work on the important but not urgent tasks. Then you have enough time to get the job done in high quality.
  • ToDo lists don’t work for me b/c my tasks have different scopes, life spans and priority.  But I like to check items off from a list when they are done. Celebrate success! (to a certain sense).
  • I would love to try GOOTODO – The basic idea is to send emails to yourself in the future.
  • And one for the road: “Without the last minute, nothing would get done.”  –– bye everybody.
  • Gootodo on lifehackerGood Todo website

PS: my bookmarks on GTD at 

And next week in my series of SocialChatsThe Next Big Thing!

SocialChat: Giving Back to the Community

Big companies feel the urge to give something back to the community. They support local and social activities with employee’s time and know-how. Oracle is no exception. Here are once again my contributions to our weekly SocialChat. You know the game. Read bottom up:

  • Famous last words: Share your shit! — Evening Talk by Tor Nørretranders at reboot11 (video) 
  • If you mention your company name along the lines: even better! 
  • But since you get something back personally — trust, friends, reputation – it is worth every minute. 
  • If you want to support your community the effort is much higher. 
  • 1day/year doesn’t change anything. And I doubt that it is even effective due to the management overhead. 
  • Even better: Do good stuff and let others talk, blog and tweet about it. 
  • My mantra: Do good stuff and talk about it. Rephrased today as: Do good stuff and blog about it. 
  • What about organizing un-conferences? Think TED. Or 
  • I mean I do not even mow my own lawn. Why do it at the kindergarden next door? 
  • What about building and managing online communities? e.g. the UX Forum at Xing 
  • If I am running a local non-profit designers group, does it count as an Oracle supported volunteer project? 
  • …or align our individual forces and abilities on less but larger projects. 
  • If you want to make a difference you have to commit more time on the project, … 
  • …rather limited. It is important but the impact on the local community and the benefits for the company is low. 
  • I am really struggling with today’s topic. I see the value of individuals spending a number of days on scattered social projects as… 
  • Some of my OraTweets from the SocialChat #6 on “Giving back to the Community”… 

SocialChat on Learning in Meetings

Learning and meetings. How does this fit together? If you exclude status meetings, jour fixes and team meetings for a while then there is a chance. Read my contributions to a recent Oracle SocialChat on the subject.  I wonder what happens if I copy a stream of tweets here. Of course, it is still in reverse chronological order, and you have to read your way bottom up.

!yojne. elpmaxe rof tfel ot thgiR .esrow eb dluoc tI

    • Thanks you @aludding for facilitating the SocialChats. 
    • Here is another example of an icebreaker that I used recently 
    •  … and a very good & open discussion in the afternoon. no Powerpoint the entire day. 
    •  I’ve conducted a 1-day think tank. Opening video. mood maps, collecting ideas, clustering and sorting… 
    •  You have to utilize other components to set the stage right for brainstorming & collaborative learning sessions. 
    •  If you just use Powerpoint to prepare a meeting then you are already lost. 
    •  Presenting is not learning. Preparing a presentation is. Attending a presentation might be. 
    •  Powerpoint is a bad tool for learning. It is even a mediocre tool for presentations! 
    •  On the other hand workshops and attending good (interactive) presentations can stimulate learning and aha! moments. 
    •  Team meetings and status meetings are not suited for learning. 
    •  Next steps might be follow-up meetings and formal prose in wikis. 
    •  This is the first step after the meeting to really get something. This is the best and fastest way I know to keep the energy level up. 
    •  A very simple and yet effective way to capture the results of a meeting is to take photos and put them on a blog. 
    •  3) moderate the meeting 4) collect the findings for later use. 
    •  but you have to use the tool ¨meeting¨ correctly. 1) set the expectactions right 2) have the right set and mix of people 
    •  … learn new facts and new point of views and get to something that was beyond your own abilities. 
    •  A meeting is also a tool for learning and eventually drawing conclusions. You meet with people, exchange ideas,… 
    •  (Ha, OraTweets can be 256 characters long! So I have to break them up fro Twitter) 
    •  I’ll share some of my OraTweets from the SocialChat #5 on Learning in Meetings… 
    •  The SocialChats are summarized and captured for later reference. 
    •  e.g. we had “Video conferencing – niche to have or needed?”, “How can we give back to the community?”, “How can we improve communication?” 
    •  Each Friday we have a one hour SocialChat in OraTweet. The topics are proposed and voted during the week. 
    •  Another idea to generate traffic and buzz for corporate microblogging are social gatherings. 
    •  Commenting on blogs creates OraTweets. 
    •  For instance status updates in OraTweet show up on your profile page in Connect (our internal Facebook) 
    •  One important factor for successful E20 microblogging is the integration with other social software. 
    •  Compared to Sweet at Sun OraTweet is actually used. How comes? 
    •  We have a corporate microblogging system at Oracle called OraTweet