Monday, July 02, 2007

Web 2.0 Berlin

I submitted a proposal for Web 2.0 Berlin about a week ago, and then received a email from Brady about helping out in the advisory board.

Wow .. I didn't know what to say, other than "yes" of course, I'm very flattered.

So first order of the day, was to email (a very un-web 2.0 like approach) some friends and contacts I respect about their views on good speakers, what they would advise etc.

Unfortunately, my mistake, I sent out one email to all thirty-eight at the same time. It didn't take long to be told of my error!

However, I did get some very interesting replies, suggestions and had a discussion with Ben about Security and his feeling this is missing from the conference.

Well it's a valid point, and one I'll raise.

Now, as for trends ... well I don't agree with Ben that there are NO significant changes occurring.

I'd argue that change is constantly occurring, and the most significant seem to be driven by the meme that is "open source" causing a faster dissemination of novel and new ideas, an acceleration in innovation and increased creative destruction.

Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, utility computing etc are all consequences of this as the once novel and new becomes ubiquitous and common.

Now this was part of something which I started to write some time ago about the "entropy of innovation" - I'm very good at lame titles.

Anyway, today's discussion sparked a conversation with Jenny Ambrozek, so I'll add my notes that I made during and shortly after the FAST conference - they are very rough, and at some point I'll get my note book out and write a clearer post.

Rough thoughts

The open source concept created communities around creating software systems. However the meme has spread up the stack of software (from just operating systems to system applications to entire business applications) and out of the stack (creative commons on content, images etc).

The idea of communities sharing and collaborating on information which is often provided freely in an "open source" manner is what is starting to impact traditional news media. In the same way that open source collaboration became faster than proprietary development, the same would seem to be true in information aggregation.

The hidden power behind this all is that open source removes barriers to dissemination of ideas and content. This spurs on innovation, as it accelerates the rate at which the novel and new becomes ubiquitous and common.

You can see this effect in other areas, hence wikipedia become quickly the main source of knowledge on the internet - precisely because of its open and free nature, precisely because this encourages collaboration. If you don't encourage collaboration, then because of the open and free nature someone else will - hence the trio of open, free and collaboration are always combined.

This meme will travel into processes, including business processes and many other areas of human endeavour. It increases collaboration by removing the barriers of secrecy and the illusion of arcane knowledge. It's strongest affect is where it impacts infra-structural services - those used by all. Had HTTP not been released in an open and free manner, the world wide web would not have become the force it is today.

Hence enterprise 2.0 for me is merely an extension and spread of this meme into an organisation. Ultimately I expect to see more openness and collaboration between organisations as a result - hence my theme about the necessity for openness in business at Andrew Mcafee's session at FAST and why I agreed with Euan Semple's default position that the simplest thing is to do nothing ... it's going to happen to an organisation in any case ... assuming the organisation chooses to compete in this new world.