What I learned this week … came from two recent conversations with manufacturers about their use of social computing to support product innovation, product development, and engineering. I am exploring how companies are using these technologies to improve design and product development collaboration, but also trying to uncover ways they are going beyond collaboration on a specific product or design. Two of my recent conversations touched on the use of wikis and blogs to present information. To be more accurate, these manufacturers are using wikis and blogs to both collect and communicate engineering and product knowledge. Pretty interesting stuff, I think.
What I Learned
What I learned this week . . . came from The Front End of Innovation event in Boston. At day one of the event, Author Jim Collins (Good to Great, Built to Last, Why the Mighty Fall) gave a rousing presentation of findings from his latest research. According to his research, the reason mighty companies fail is not because of lack of innovation. In fact the ones that succeed in the harshest conditions, at “27,000 feet on Mount Everest,” are not necessarily ones who bring a lot of new products to market; it’s the companies that are disciplined in their innovation approach, and have the right people working on the right projects.
What I learned this week… is that it is really fun to pick on Facebook because it doesn’t have the capabilities to support product innovation, product development, and engineering. Of course, it was never intended to and that is probably not a market that they are really very interested in. But it is fun, and also helps to bring home some of the requirements that are important for social computing in PLM. This post started as a reply to Stan’s comment on my “not building an airplane on Facebook post,” and I realized after about 17 pages of comments that maybe I had better turn it into a blog post. Thank you Stan for bringing up a lot of very good questions.
What I learned this week … came from a participant at my session on Social Computing in PLM at COFES last month. A quote from the session has been haunting me since that time, and I haven’t been able to place my finger on why it has resonated in my head. I think because it is both meaningful to me and meaningless at the same time. The quote was “We are not going to build an airplane on Facebook!” The statement drew a lot of chuckles, and I have to believe it’s a true statement of fact. But I think why it haunts me is that people are willing to discount the value of a hugely important trend (the use of social computing technologies in business) because the examples they have don’t quite fit the way the currently work.
What I learned this week … came from a post on PLM Think Tank (aka PLM Twine) titled 5 reasons why Wiki fails for PLM collaboration which I think points to an interesting set of questions:
Is social computing software enough on it’s own to support product innovation, product development, and engineering?
– Will social computing software evolve to handle more full PLM-related requirements as it matures?
– Will PLM leverage social computing platforms to extend their capabilities?
– Will PLM embed social computing capabilities of their own?
Here is my take on an interesting conversation, and some of my thoughts on the direction that social computing in PLM might take.