What I learned this week …came from a side conversation during some research I am working on in the innovation systems ecosystem. I was discussing the importance of different solutions in the space with this major electronic manufacturer, and he started to get very passionate when he turned the conversation to Web 2.0 and how it can improve innovation. With the work I have been doing on social computing in PLM, we ended up having a fascinating conversation about the potentials. It’s always nice when you see confirmation of a trend from an unexpected source.
My Thoughts on Connecting People to Improve Innovation
During our conversation, I kept coming back to a thought that I posted in one of my earlier discussions about the potential for social computing to revolutionalize PLM. I was trying to communicate the fact that social networking in PLM is more than just enhancing collaboration as we know it. I made the following observations:
- Collaboration – Working and sharing ideas with people you already know
- Social Networking in PLM – Discovering new people and ideas that can further your product innovation and engineering efforts
- In short, the difference is about discovery
I tried to make the point that “discovery” in product innovation, product development, and engineering was the new value that can be tapped into with social computing. Social computing techniques will also enhance existing collaboration techniques, but this is the really exciting stuff to me. How can we leverage our “social” business networks to tap into the vast amount of knowledge available to us?
His Thoughts on Connecting People to Improve Innovation
Without sharing any of my views, our conversation turned from the ability to search for product knowledge to the need to search for the people associated with the product knowledge. It was a totally unexpected shift in the conversation, because it is not directly in line with the particular research I was discussing with him. Of course that is what made the conversation so valuable. He told a story that was very similar to my past experience. One of the key values in finding engineering or innovation knowledge is to then find the people associated with it. In turn, the value may come from the discovery of the deliverables (designs, research, products, etc.) but also from collaborating with the creator of the deliverables. After all, there is knowledge in the deliverables. But there is probably even more knowledge available from the man or woman that created the knowledge!
So given recent conversations about putting the people in PLM, people centric PLM, and focusing on people vs. process in PLM in the PLM blogosphere, I thought it was great to see the intersection of PLM with social computing and innovation. Very exciting. I hope you found it interesting. Who knew? I didn’t, if you did let us know about it. And I look forward to sharing more of the conversation as that research makes its way to the public eye.