Monday, 15 March 2010

Humpty Dumpty and Swarming...

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.  Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.  All of the King's horses and all of the King's men-couldn't put Humpty together again."

We all remember this nursery rhyme.  As a child and then later in life as a young nanny, I remember being perplexed by the relationship of Mr. Dumpty to the King.  Why the all King's horses?  Why all the King's men?  At this point in my life, I am still not sure of what kind of relationship existed between Mr. Dumpty and the royals.  The important part was that a relationship existed, and the King's resources swarmed to Mr. Dumpty's unfortunate situation.

It paints a picture of great collaboration, powerful utilization of multiple resources of various skills, and coming along with those valuable resources are the additional existing relationships stretching beyond them.

Swarming occurs in the professional world today.  It can take place when an executive is displaced from a corporate organization chart, perhaps is in need of current career protection, or safe passage to a new career opportunity.

The relevant professional network is ready to move into action.  The "why?"--is answered by the existing network relationship. It might be a close or loose relationship--but one thing is for certain--it is effective.

JD Stanley from Cisco, wrote a white paper on the effectiveness of "digital swarming".  We witnessed this behavior on facebook related to the devastating effects of the earthquake in Haiti.  Millions of dollars raised within hours of a facebook posting.

Facebook provides the networking--but what about collaborative tools.  One of my favorite Google tools for collaboration is Google docs.  What if an entity such as facebook could combine the social networking with a collaborative work space?  I believe that would be very powerful for open source innovation.

Few examples:

You have a decision to make, you need access to the best and the brightest minds.  You all can share a discussion and engage in a virtual white boarding session.

Post a PowerPoint presentation--asking others from "friends" or a "group" to contribute ideas and modify the content.  Maybe a person would be able to do a slide show with audio--like a WebEx.

Perhaps a person could post a document for review and modification by a group of individuals, who were selected from your friends list.

I don't think we are leveraging swarming to its fullest potential.  How can we turn these networks into an oracle of knowledge, advice, and action?  How can we swarm in more effective and efficient ways?

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