The following is a thought experiment I devised while attempting to find some analogy for web 2.0 adoption as an indirect contributor to ROI and more akin to infrastructure, especially the type of infrastructure in which companies routinely invest nowadays without a passing thought.
Experiment 1 – New Infrastructure
In your prestigious position with ABC Company, you’ve been tasked with designing office space for their new location in Ann Arbor, MI. You have authority for every facet of the physical environment, the arrangement of walls, size of desks, position of outlets, every use of space falls under your discretion. You can configure however you deem optimal provided you can demonstrate the value of each allocation.
1.Do you include any conference rooms in your design? Why?
2.How do you account for the benefit contributed to the organization that offsets the conference room as a consumer of space? What makes it preferable to another use of the same space, i.e. additional cubicles, larger restrooms, or a big, corner office for yourself?
3.How do you justify the cost of furnishings within the conference room?
Experiment 2 – Upgraded Infrastructure
Your company has a fully configured office, complete with multiple conference rooms, each with a run of the mill conference table – four legs and a broad, flat surface. You’ve recently visited a competitor’s office and were impressed with their state of the art Collaboration Station – a conference table with a touchscreen interface spread across the entire top surface, fingerprint recognition, voice and video recording and a whole host of other features. What’s more, to your eyes, it worked. You think a tool like that is just the sort of thing some of the teams back at ABC Company could really exploit but know it comes with a hefty price tag.
1.How do you sell ABC leadership on the investment?
Connecting to Web 2.0
For any or all of the ideas we have to market web 2.0 technologies or utilize them internally for our own ends, consider the following.
1.Is the change proposed, service offered, or investment solicited more like a new infrastructure investment or an upgrade to existing infrastructure? Do tools like online wikis represent an upgrade to existing collaboration tools or a replacement for them? Are we reallocating the space or putting a harder working table in it?
2.What lessons can we learn or sales pitches can we “borrow” from folks who market collaborative office space design and equipment?
3.How can we extend this metaphor or ask even more probing questions?