Philip Sheldrake

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Tag: social

Why decentralization needs more than cryptonetworks – the Internetome

Aldous Huxley (1937) regarded the decentralization of industry and government necessary for a better society. Norbert Wiener’s insights (1950) into the dynamics and ethics of humans and large computer systems hinted at the advantages. Marshall McLuhan (1962) anticipated a shift from the centralized mechanical age to the decentralized electronic age, coining the term global village as shorthand for such a welcome outcome. E.F. Schumacher (1973) considered decentralization allied with freedom and one of “the truths revealed by nature’s living processes”. Steven Levy’s hacker ethic (1984) includes the tenet “mistrust authority – promote decentralization”. And Nicholas Negroponte (1995) regards decentralization as one of the four cardinal virtues of the information society (alongside globalization, harmonization and empowerment).

When centralization is mediated by an organization, governmental or corporate, its best interests must be aligned perfectly and continuously with the parties subject to its gravity in the mediating context – otherwise decentralization must be preferred to avoid the appropriation and erosion of those parties' valuable agency. Importantly, decentralization demands decentralization at every level without exception for any exception would be centralization. By definition.

This post aims to scope the challenge that still lies ahead to secure decentralization even with the rise and rise of cryptonetworks such as Ethereum. For more information about decentralization in general and why it's important, see Decentralization – a deep cause of causes you care about deeply, written for the World Wide Web Foundation.

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Technology trends relevant to change management

when change becomes routine – PostShift

I have been invited to talk about tech trends relevant to change management at this evening's London meeting of the Change Management Institute.

I'm keeping most excellent company alongside Karolina Lewandowska, Change and Transformation Manager at Google UK, and Faith Forster, Founder and CEO Pinipa.

The image here is taken from an excellent blog post by Lee Bryant of PostShift – The Quantified Organisation: can change become routine?

Here's my stack:

An open letter to Paul Polman, Unilever – from Enterprise 2.0 Summit, London

Enterprise 2 Summit - British Academy London

I'm at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit at the British Academy in London today, courtesy of Kongress Media and Agile Elephant. In conversation with Lee Bryant, Matt Partovi, David Terrar, Damian CorbetCéline Schillinger, Johan Lange, Janet Parkinson and Anne McCrossan, a common theme is emerging – we need such events as this, and the deep and wide potential of Enterprise 2.0, to extend beyond the inevitable echo chamber of today's eager community.

With this in mind, I have penned an open letter to Paul Polman and everyone with an interest in Unilever's success, if only because I love the company's vision, believe it is important in our world, and feel that the stuff we champion in the e2.0 / socbiz / futureofwork communities will be critical in its pursuit.

The letter is embedded below and it's also available as a PDF: Open letter to Paul Polman, Unilever.

[Photo credit: British Academy Facebook page.]

BT’s social failure drives customers away

You'll know that consumer facing organisations are investing shed loads in social media. Right? But how intelligent is this investment? Are they even getting the basics right?

Thinking or just acting?

This is the number one differentiator in my book between the success stories and the also-rans. There are those who truly 'think' social. They have reviewed operations from the ground up in light of the age of social media. Every aspect of business is reviewed systematically through the lens of social media, and strategy is developed on this basis. And whilst they are to be celebrated, this post is about one company that has visibly #failed in my eyes in recent weeks.

BT's woeful social inadequacy

BT Ireland logo (2005 - Present)

Image via Wikipedia

BT is the UK's number 1 Internet Service Provider, yet a May 2011 upgrade to the firmware of its customers' home routers left Linux users unable to connect to it.

And in case you didn't know, Android, the world's fastest growing operating system for Smartphones, is based on Linux. So BT does not currently provide me Internet service for my Android phone, leaving me and other customers in my position having to use the more expensive 3G data networks than home broadband. Disgraceful.

But this isn't a blog about ISPs. This is a blog about social media and customer relationships and business performance. Enter BT's support forum (at http://community.bt.com). Read more