incidental learning

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Boston was hot and hazy as the CTC conference kicked off today. Saying "so far, so good" would be down playing one heck of a conference with super sessions, terrific attendees and a great venue at the Seaport Hotel. Day 1 began with a key note from John Seeley Brown, titled Globalization, Innovation and Collaboration in the Networked World. The business case for collaborative technologies and networks is clear, intelligent and compelling as JSB explains how firms, such as the Asian manufacturer Li & Fung uses process networks to build a loosely coupled relationship with suppliers and customers that yields collaborative learning for all the players. One example that he cites is the retailer, Ann Taylor, that stays on the competitive edge as it brings to market the latest fashions by tapping the best sources for fabric and construction from that L&F relationship. (And hearing this as I sat in the 2nd row in my Ann Taylor pant suit was a nice bonus!) As I see it, too many of the young gurus on the morning agenda ( Matthew Glotzbach, Head of Products, Google and Jason Fried, CEO, 37Signals) are smitten with the term "self-directed " in regards to innovation or collaboration. I'm the first person to get out of the way of the person who can self-direct -- at the same time, I know that only about 10% of adults at last count had the capabilties to kick-start their own work and to stay with it (Guglielmino did some research on this). Doing your own thing is a far cry from being self-directed, guys. The bottom line is being able take initiative without the help or direction from other people *and* producing something of value.