We’re contributing to an event with that title on the afternoon of 1st July. Let me explain the backdrop and then what it’s all about.
Business has been tied to collaborating with email and sharing files by attaching them to those message since the 80s (and actually the first ever email was sent in 1971!). So we’ve been working this way for maybe 40 years. Then back in the 90s as the Internet took hold it became a cool communication mechansim for consumers too – the movie “You’ve Got Mail” was in 1998, a time when, if we weren’t on the office network, we all got used to the buzzing of a modem to connect. Coming in to the 21st Century, as broadband and wider connectivity took hold, you would think we would be finding better ways. You would think we would get beyond sending a spreadsheet to 3 people by email and suddenly there are 4 copies of the file trapped in 4 inboxes and who has the latest version? We’re crazy, because even today many of us still collaborate that way.
Part of the reason we still do it is because of Riepl’s Law. Alan blogged about that a short while ago telling us that:
“newer and further developed types of media never replace the existing modes of media and their usage patterns. Instead, a convergence takes place”
But things did change coming in to this century. The world of social tools emerged. As consumers first, and then in more progressive businesses, we started to use a different form of communication – blogs, wikis, microblogging, instant messaging in a variety of forms, video calls, online meetings and hangouts. However, although these tools delivered great value in certain use cases, and some companies deployed enterprise social networks and succesful social business initiatives, they just haven’t achieved the promise we originally expected. Consumer social tools like Twitter and Facebook have become part of the fabric of communications for business and as well as in our personal lives, but that adds to the problem, where our conversations and interactions get fragmented across many channels that don’t fit well together.
Back in February 2008 one of our good friends, Luis Saurez, took a stand against email when he was in IBM. He has been famouus for living “A World Without Email” ever since. Take a look at this video of him explaining how he operates from the 2011 campaign:
Since 2011 there has even been a No Email Day each year. Follow the hashtag #noemail to see the current activity. Other companies have embraced the idea, like our friends at Atos/BlueKiwi. All of these initiatives are great, but there has to be a better way.
That “better way” is exactly the topic of the event we are supporting with BroadVision titled “Business Communication is (Still) Broken” at the British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace in London on July 1st starting at 15:00 and finishing at 17:00. BroadVision is an international software vendor of self-service web applications for enterprise social software, electronic commerce, Enterprise Portals, and CRM. We are delighted that their founder, chairman and CEO, Dr Pehong Chen, is over from the USA to be the main speaker. After the welcome and introductions, I’ll be spending 5 minutes setting the scene and then acting as master of ceremonies for the event. The rest of the agenda will be:
- Dr Pehong Chen talking about new ways of collaborative working, both at the desk or on the move with mobile devices, as well as about BroadVision’s Vmoso technology.
- One of the Agile Elephant co-founders, Alan Patrick, will talk about Social Business in terms of where companies have succeed, where they’ve failed and why, and the he’ll explore what needs to be done.
- Richard Hughes, BroadVision’s Director of Social Strategy, will highlight the ways many of our existing communication tools are making us inefficient and, more importantly, what we should do to fix this.
- All of the speakers will join in a question and answer panel session.
This is a great line up, and promises to trigger some great discussion around a vital issue. If you would like a place, follow this link to contact BroadVision
And on top of that, if you are coming to the British Academy on the afternoon of July 1st, we’ve arranged our regular “first Wednesday of the month” evening Social Business Sessions London meetup at the same venue with the kind support of BroadVision, and Pehong is staying on to be our main speaker. More details here.
(Cross-posted @ Agile Elephant)