Social is no guarantee of effectiveness in an organization because it creates unnecessary friction as people try to figure out how to work in new ways, according to David Gutelius, the Chief Social Scientist at Jive Software speaking at the GigaOM Net:Work event Thursday. Gutelius said that while such software might be intuitive, fast and beautiful to look at, it’s also just another way to push work forward, which essentially boils down to finding the right resource for whatever the employee is trying to do.
That resource might be a person or a document, but the employee still has to find it. That’s where the machines come in. Software that learns about employees, their relationships in the company and outside the company can help humans navigate social environments more quickly, and even pull in resources that may not even be on the network. For example, Gutelius used the example of the Army realizing that one of its soldiers had figured out a new way to help deal with IEDs in Iraq. This soldier wasn’t even online, but by tracking the improvement in certain squads and soldiers the Army was able to identify this individual and promote him. He was also given a forum to teach soldiers more widely.
This example shows not only how creepy this type of software could be, but also how close it is to reality. Some people might resent having their relationships mapped at such a level. Imagine if you are in a department with a horrid boss and trying to switch roles within the company. Such software might draw unwanted attention to your wooing of the marketing department as you tried to escape product management.
Anyhow, creepy or not, Gutelius’ adaptive social computing is a few years away from widescale adoption, and no longer the stuff of science-fiction fantasies.
Photo by Pinar Ozger.