Transcend and Include the Two Types of IT

A couple of synchronous events recently.  First, I was having a chat with one of the senior managers at work the other day about the two different approaches to IT, one that focuses on infrastructure, workflow and standard processes, and the other (which I am more involved with) on self-publishing, wikis and emergent conversations and collaboration.  Then I noticed in one of Andrew McAfee’s recent posts (on a great conference on Inventing the Future of Management) where he talked about exactly those different types of IT, a first one that imposes work structures and then the Web 2.0 technologies that instead, let those structures emerge. 

McAfee prefaces his comments with the view that this newly-available toolkit of corporate IT gives managers two diametrically opposed abilities and that companies and managers that accept this duality are going to stand out over time.   In other words, they need to “transcend and include” those two seemingly opposing approaches.  Contextual analysis like using Cynefin is really handy here to make sure that the best approach is adopted for the applicable environment and not try and cram all issues into the one type of technology.

On a similar tack, I recently read Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything which explores the emergent side of IT.  So it was nice to notice that my last post on coordination, cooperation and collaboration was actually picked up on the Wikinomics blog


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