Networks are like muscles. The more you exercise them, the stronger they get. (Although networks are more like neurons than they are like muscles, because muscles get stronger because you damage the fibers, while neurons strengthen synapses with use…</tangent>)Exercising My Network
Jams are great for IBM in terms of tapping collective insight, but they're also good for individuals like you and me. I like reading Jam posts in order to find out what people are thinking about, what they're concerned about, what needs they see, where they think we need to go. I love it when people share their thoughts and I can think of a tool that does most of what they want, or I can introduce them to other people who are working on the same ideas. So the key things I'm looking for here are:
I'm particularly interested in virtual collaboration, and I'm also interested in multi-generational workplaces. I care more about collaboration tools than about multi-generational workplaces because I think that globalization and work-life integration place more stress on the workplace than generational differences do. I'm interested in the specific issues people run into when working with globally-integrated teams. I'm interested in the tasks people often do, and how we might use collaboration tools to do that work more efficiently and effectively. I'm interested in helping people connect and collaborate. So in terms of the Smart Work Jam, that would be "The Future of Team Work", "Work Without Boundaries", and "Smart Work 2020".
... some time later...
Okay, I've blogged about some of the insights I picked up. (See blog posts immediately preceding this one.) Here's another highlight that didn't neatly fit into a blog post:
Successful Teamwork does not Need High Tech! - turned into a great discussion of group dynamics when text chat is available. One group found that when they were using Second Life without the VOIP chat (so text only), colleagues from Asia were more likely to participate than usual. Once VOIP was integrated, that dynamic shifted, and the colleagues from Asia were quieter. Another group had the same experience, so possibly voice chat inhibits both voice and text chat for people who are less comfortable with the primary language. The thread also has interesting insights drawn from research into the Fedora open source development community.
So I've stuffed lots of posts into my brain and contacted a couple of people. Now it's time to let them percolate for a bit...
Another post taking off from the Smart Work Jam: One of the participants wondered what I'd say about loyalty. I can't speak for Gen Y and loyalty, but I do know that I love my work.
Am I loyal? "Loyalty" makes me think of Labrador Retrievers or fiefdoms or frequent shopper programs. I won't stay with IBM just out of habit. I don't think of it as loyalty, I think of it as love.
I'm here because I love the kinds of people I get to work with and the kinds of differences we get to make.
It's love, not loyalty, that makes me happy at work, that makes my voice catch in my throat when I read about the awesome things people are doing, that makes me enjoy reaching out and helping out and making things happen.
I love my work not because of the past, but because of the future.
I may not always be at IBM. It's healthy to step outside and try different things. But while I'm here, I'm here, and I'm in love.
Companies often wonder about recruiting, engagement, and retention--of Gen Y, of other generations, and so on. People have asked me what to do to get people to feel like how I feel about IBM. I think it isn't that hard to figure out.
The IBM I get to see is different from the company that many people see. I'm going to figure out how to share this amazing experience with others. I may not be able to help everyone (re)discover or strengthen their passion, but maybe I can help a few people, and that would already be fantastic.
Don't go for loyalty. Go for love. It's a bigger challenge, but it's well worth it.
Last night's Toronto Girl Geek Dinner with Sarah Prevette, the founder ofSprouter, was a great braindump of entrepreneurship and networking tips.
Sarah told us stories about her failures and what she'd learned along the way, particularly the importance of talking to potential users and reaching out to the community. Her tips for engaging with the community were:
Here are other tips she shared:
Here are some notes from the Q&A:
Toronto Girl Geek Dinners is giving away one free pass for people who would like to attend the Mesh Marketing event. Tweet @s_moore with the answer to the question of why it would be awesome for a girl geek to go to the event, and the most creative answer will get a free pass. More details about that and upcoming events at .