Sunday, September 18, 2011

Enterprise Software Tools For People Should Focus On Connections, Sharing and Conversations

When I attended Columbia Business School in New York, my strategy professor, Bruce Greenwald, gave a reading assignment that was more than 500 pages long. My classmates and I wondered how he expects us to read everything overnight. Reading our mind, he explained that the purpose of overloading us with the reading assignment is to make everyone realize that no matter how smart and productive one is, he cannot finish the assignment with out working together with others, exchanging ideas and combining insight. He said that beyond a point, intelligence and personal productivity does not matter. What matters is one's ability to work with others to share knowledge, exchange ideas, combine insight and deliver results. This was an important lesson for me. I see a lot of parallels in the business world today. Technology has enabled a great amount of process efficiency and personal productivity. The next stage of competitive advantage is going to come from the ability of an organization's workers to share ideas, exchange knowledge and build things together to accomplish their common goals.

While designing Career OnDemand, my colleagues and I debated several features suggested by our co-innovation customers. We concluded that the primary purpose of Career OnDemand is not process automation or personal productivity. The primary purpose is to connect people and enable them to have a conversation in the context of their work. This understanding provided us with a framework to debate the design and defend the priority of features. 

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