Connecting Social Interaction with Product Information – Interview of Jim Brown


What I learned this week … came from a great conversation with Sankar from Younomy. I have been in a number of conversations recently that make me realize that the world of social computing is looking into social product development and social innovation as much as the PLM and manufacturing communities are looking into the social computing world. Still with me? Sorry, that was a mouthful. You can read Sankar’s interview of Jim Brown (me) on social computing and product development on Younomy here and learn more by reading this collection of social computing in PLM posts on my site.

Who is Looking at Who?

What I realized is that we are all trying to learn from each other. Manufacturers are trying to learn from what other companies are doing, and other companies are interested in some of the early initiatives from manufacturers. To me, this is just another reminder of how new social computing is. I am fortunate to sit in both camps – the advancement of social computing in business and the maturation of PLM. That is why the intersection of social computing and PLM is so interesting to me.

Implications for Manufacturers
One of the key points that I made in the interview was that I see the greatest value not from one side or the other (social computing or PLM). I believe that the most significant improvements to product innovation, product development, and engineering performance will come from linking social interactions with product data. That’s why I pay so much attention to what PTC, Siemens, Dassault Systemes, Vuuch, Sopheon, and others are doing in this space. That is the where the real power is unleashed. Generic tools will be helpful, but by connecting the two we get:

  • A product-focused discussion that directly helps develop better products
  • A source of product knowledge (the discussion itself) that can be captured and reused into the future

It was great to have an opportunity to discuss this with Sankar to remind me how passionate I am about the potential of taking the concepts of things like Facebook and applying them to product development. I hope you found the discussion (and the interview) interesting.