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6/25/2009
01:19 PM
Ben Kepes
Ben Kepes
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The Outlook for Enterprise 2.0 Abroad

Cross posted from CloudAve, specialist cloud computing blog.It''s always nice to see something that''s not completely US-centric in technology, this panel included a great cross-section of European enterprise 2.0 visionaries. In the audience were participants from all around the world - South Africa, Canada, Europe (and Australasia believe it or not).Parochialism - collaboration and community works very differently in different cultures, the example was given of private enterprise social networks working well in Europe, but not in Japan were workplace culture is completely different. There is a cultural chasm within organisations, both departmental and geographical - the best way to bridge that is to bring people together and enable them to communicate. Obviously though language barriers make that problematic - most of the time cultural differences online are rooted in language differences. I suggested that part of the problem is that English speakers tend to have an arrogance that others should default to their language - the panellists pointed out that "English is the Latin of the modern world" - a really interesting discussion ensued looking at cultural context around language, the example was given of the word "rubber" which has a remarkably different meaning in the UK and Australasia from what it does in the US, so that is a socio-lingual issue rather than a language one only.The example was given of Danone whose HR department started a "network attitude" program, which was a grouping of people focussed around sharing their knowledge. The advice was given to just listen to people and make weak ties.It was also pointed out that many tools are built with a US perspective - European privacy laws are completely different to those of the US. The example was given that for Danes overseas, their Danish laws applies to them (and IT systems) anywhere in the world the valid question that comes from this is at what point do strong privacy laws disadvantage citizens by making the finding of expertise by topic, when that information is separated from individual''s name? How can you implement social networks into an organisationwhen the law forbids the simple sharing of photos? Clearly the rate of adoption will reduce until these privacy, security and cross-border issues are resolved.

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