Natural science is well known for using mathematical models over “common sense” and intuition, to the frustration of many students. The use of mathematics in social sciences is newer, and it is probably fair to say that this discipline is still not as completely reliant on mathematical models as for example modern physics.
Joe Kraus, who among other things founded Excite, has a new blog called Bnoopy where he recently highlighted three cost differences between starting a technology company in 1993 compared with 2004:
I am re-reading the classic articles from the Harvard Business Review, and the 1975 article by Henry Mintzberg titled The Manager’s Job: Folklore and Fact is not only as relevant as ever, but in the light of developments in using social tools in the workspace, Mintzberg seems to be advocating corporate blogging:
I have an interest in social software in the enterprise - the use of tools like blogs, wikis, document management, rss, communities, discussion boards, and so on within large organisations to foster “bottom up” knowledge management, collaboration, etc.
Geoffrey A. Moore has an important article in the July-August 2004 issue of the Harvard Business Review. Articulating and systematising what we probably already understand at some level, Mr. Moore proposes a taxonomy of innovation and reminds us how different types of innovation are relevant at different stages of the market lifecycle from disruptive innovation in the early markets through to structural innovation near the end of life of the market for a particular product or service offering. The article also provides a useful summary of the type of leader best associated with each type of innovation.
I proposed a slightly provocative definition of social software when we were discussing it at the July 2004 London Symposium on Social Tools for the Enterprise.
A common activity when we work with start-up companies is to help them discover what business they are in. It may sound surprising to people who are not entrepreneurs themselves or who have not worked closely with management of young companies that this should be needed. Surely why you are in business should be pretty obvious?
“We like to think that we hire mostly above-average people with above-average skills and motivation. We know that our future as a company depends on our ability to continuously innovate and stay one step ahead of the competition. How can we best encourage creativity and risk-taking within our organization and how can we be much more effective at initiating and executing changes initiatives?”
Sometimes the shortest route is a long one. I am still a little dubious about some of the social networking sites out there, but one thing I find absolutely fascinating is the insights they can give into how human networks and relationships really work.