Wednesday, October 10, 2012

People everywhere - Making it easy to do the right thing

Most knowledge workers spend their day moving from one task to another, they have little time to think about what they're doing.  The distractions are endless, people walking up to them to have a conversation, alerts of new email messages, meetings, the list goes on.  There are disruptive elements to the most basic of tasks.  No wonder people often get to the end of the day feeling as if they've achieved nothing.  Know the feeling?

With disruptive technologies, the distractions are everywhere.  How many times have you been talking to someone only to be interrupted by someone calling on their mobile phone?  How often do you try to respond to an email while being distracted by another 5 new messages?  Oh, and yes, the red light blinking on your desk phone requires urgent attention!  

Like you, I thought that technology was meant to make our lives easier.  I would suggest that technology has achieved this, but while it has increased the speed at which we can get things done it has also increased the demand to do more in less time.  The fact is, we are connected with people in an "always on" world.  It's hard to not be distracted.

When it comes to the Social Enterprise (the People Enterprise), as platforms are introduced to improve collaboration and connectivity to subject matter experts, it's important that such platforms don't become disruptive.  Make it easy for people to do the right thing by take the Social Enterprise platform to the people to open the doors of possibility within the context of what they are working on.

On every PC there is a hidden keyboard sequence, more powerful than the delete key.  It has no "un-do" option.  Most of us have come across it; "Alt-Tab".  The PC handbooks will tell you that this gives you the ability to switch between open applications.  However, that's far from 'all' it does.  The "Alt-tab" keyboard sequence has the power to erase the current task from your brain.  How often have you flicked your way to another application and become distracted by something else?

When I was working at IBM we had embedded social collaboration into our everyday applications.  This included the intranet, email, web-based applications and even mobile devices.  The corporation no longer wanted me to send emails with attachments, instead the preferred method was to send a link within the email so that there was only one version of the file.  People could then view the file as well as a conversation about the file, without having the conversation lost in people's email in-boxes.  Through drag and drop functionality, I was able to do this without having to leave the email I was working on.


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