What I Learned: We are not Going to Design an Airplane on Facebook!

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: Is Social Product Development Viable without PLM?

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.

Research Rap: Social Networking in PLM – Takeaways from COFES

A quick peek into some research on … social computing in PLM that I am currently working on. I had the opportunity to lead a discussion at COFES (Congress for the Future of Engineering Software) this morning on the use of social networking in design and engineering. I am just starting my research project for a paper, so the timing was very good to start the discussion. I will share my key takeaways from the conversation with you now, and of course post a link to the paper when it is ready.

How Does Social Computing in PLM Help Collaboration?

What I learned this week … is based on responses and my own reflection stemming from my post
Is Social Networking in PLM Just More Collaboration? from last week. In that post I talked about how social networking capabilities can add more than just collaboration by extending into “discovery.” But what I want to circle back on now is that yes, social networking capabilities can also play a significant role in collaboration. In my enthusiasm with what could happen for manufacturers that are willing to stretch the boundaries of their current business, I may have made some pretty big assumptions in regards to people understanding what is most likely their first step in embracing these technologies in product innovation and engineering – which is enhancing collaboration in design and product development. So in this post, I want to step back and comment on the near at hand values of social computing and PLM, and potentially put the horse back before the cart for many. Will social networking make your product development team as happy as this picture? Probably not, but it might just help make your products more profitable.

Why Social Networking in PLM is More than Just Collaboration

What I learned this week … came as the result of a conversation I had recently with some of the people I know who are passionate about the use of social computing to improve product development. The examples that we kept discussing were good, but to me I kept hearing about better collaboration. Important, but from my use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. I kept feeling like there was more to it that I wasn’t able to articulate. In one of those “aha” moments (aided by one of my favorite innovation tools, the white board) I finally got it. I would like to share that with you if I can.