How can business best use web2.0 tools?
The trick in any community is maintaining that delicate balance between diversity, individual opinion (voicing) and collective, reflective insight, finding applicable content, having the freedom to annotate and receiving timely notification.
Encouraging personal views, commentary, opinion, critique and news, helps to ensure diversity, brings in new voices and memes, creates the space for innovative ideas. A RSS enabled blog is the ideal tool for this. Think personal control & ownership, fast learning curve, permanent pointers via unique post URLs, simplified time-based structure, ways to gather feedback via comments and trackback, auto-archiving and more.
The blog allows bottom-up inputs, promotes cross-linking, seeds connections and captures distributed 'conversations'. If the posts are tagged, searchable and available for subscription, these affordances help to promote self-organization.
At another level, we need permanent concept level aggregation, a space where we can get collective information, where current views are synthesized, best practices are made explicit, information is continually updated, sources are referenced and there are pointers to people to contact for help, mentoring, advice and consultation. Here the wiki comes into its own.
Imagine if every business built its own wikipedia!. Authoritative, applicable, crafted, aggregated multimedia content available as text, images, audio files and video.
To tie this ecology together, provide notification, annotation and back-channel links, we will need social bookmarking applications similar to flick'r and Del.icio.us. This will allow cross content notification and referencing, provide the affordance that links items on the wiki with uploaded images, interesting podcasts and points to relevant conent on blogs. The tags allow us to browse related concepts using the tag cloud, giving a broader view than keyword search and avoids the trouble associated with maintaining a strict classification system and taxonomy.
This mix of tools will help promote self-organization, bust functional silos, increase corporate agility, speed decision - action cycles and help to keep employees on the same page.
Now tell me I'm dreaming big time.