Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Second Wave Adoption

While in Australia, one of the sub themes of my workshops and talks was the idea of "second wave adoption." In education, there is a vanguard of smart, innovative people who are coming up with really wonderful uses of new internet based technologies (sometimes referred to as "web 2.0" stuff), but they are not always seeing adoption in their groups and organizations.

This question of "second wave adoption" is fraught with questions, many of which my friend Bev has been articulating on her blog. Things like:

  • Are we focusing on the right value to the people we are asking to use these new tools and ways of working?

  • How do we stimulate people's imagination to try new things, like tools and processes that may be of use?

  • How do we trigger inventiveness with new tools?

    So this morning Annette Kramer pings me that she has been writing about this too. Kismet! How to Implement Web 2.0 In Practice? Write Some Wrongs (and Not Just in Theory). Amonth other observation, Annette suggests using writers as catalysts - and makes me wonder more about the role of catalysts in change. She also points to
    Andrew McAfee who talks about adoption of "2.0 technologies," looking for case studies that show adoption, not just experimentation. Ramana Rao gives specifics in the form of barriers to adoption of enterprise wide use of "Office 2.0" applications.

    McAfee's plea for cases reminds me that one of my recommendations out of Australia was to look for stories of second wave adoption, and I was really happy to hear that Bronwyn Stuckey and Rose Grozdanic were doing just that in the education area. (Take a look at some of the story themes and you can see why this is useful!) This is where we can learn about what is useful, how it was adopted and why.

    Of course there is always the caveat that there has to be value in innovation, change, dissemination of new practices. There is always the trap of the "shiny new thing" and the sometimes misappropriated enthusiasm of early adopters. That is a part of the change process.

    For me, from a facilitator practice perspective, I have been thinking about six practices around tool adoption. They are sort of embedded in this slide show, but I don't think they are clear enough yet. So here goes -- just a bit of thinking:

    What are your stories of useful, generative adoption of newer tools and their supporting practices? What sticks and what fades away after the enthusiastic coach, teacher or early adopter walks away?


    Anonymous Michele Martin said...

    Interesting discussion you have started here, Nancy.

    To my mind, we are dealing with issues of culture and awareness more than anything. The revolution in Web 2.0 technology is not just about the tools. It's about the utterly different way of thinking about the world and what you do.

    Beth calls it the "participatory nonprofit" and I think that's a good name for what we're talking about here. Many organizations still exist within a command and control, closed communication loop. Their institutional practices and relationships to stakeholders are built on this model. But Web 2.0 breaks that wide open, expecting a focus on process, on transparency, collaboration and openness that is simply not a part of the daily culture of many, many organizations.

    On a very practical level, I think the other problem is that outside of the technical community, users don't "get" what the technology can do for them. They need to see it in a real, concrete way. I'm not even sure that some examples of best practices will do--in my experiences with training nonprofit staff, until you can sit them down in front of a computer, take their personal issues and information and show them how Web 2.0 interacts with that, they will not really get it. Their brains are "in the weeds" as one of my friends says, so standing back from that can be really difficult.

    For me, you're getting to the heart of a question that's been on my mind for a while. How to take what is useful and valuable about all of this and help people realize how they can benefit. I'm curious to see where everyone lands and the ideas that come out of this discussion.

    7:09 AM  
    Blogger Val Evans said...

    We are currently using a 'storytelling' strategy to investigate just this Nancy, ie how to engage other professionals (in our case Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) practitioners) with Web 2.0 technologies both with the classes they teach, and also for their own learning and development.

    We are currently gathering several 'stories' from the VTE sector and the broader Corporate world both within and external to Australia to capture what it was that attracted the 'early adopters' to using the software, how they are using it, their visions for the future, etc. Their final stories will be presented using a variety of digital media including Web 2.0 technologies. Links to these stories will be made available on the wiki when they come through.

    Besides the targeted stories, we are also inviting others using social software to share what they are doing by providing links on our wiki so any of you out there who want to tell your story please visit our research wiki at https://socialsoftware-research.wikispaces.com/

    We also have a research blog where we are sharing some of our insights, musings, etc along the way at https://socialsoftware-research.wikispaces.com/

    7:40 PM  
    Anonymous Brent MacKinnon said...

    Hi Nancy,

    I am recommending a book that I think shines a lot light on this topic. It's called Getting to Maybe and it's about social innovation and social innovators from a complexity theory and evaluation development lens.

    It's yummy :-) I put a review on my blog. Hope you find time for a look.


    5:49 PM  

    Post a Comment

    Links to this post:

    Create a Link

    << Home

    Full Circle Associates
    4616 25th Avenue NE, PMB #126 - Seattle, WA 98105
    (206) 517-4754 -