Google Wave – are we “waving” goodbye to the old school

The much talked about Google Wave will be available later this year and the preview demonstrated at Google I/O event has got me thinking and after watching the video (below) there are a number of opportunities for the public sector, here are three areas where i feel we could gain real benefit, with this type of new functionality.

  • Emergency comms – with email, web publishing and IM all interconnected. Communicating to a wide audience goes beyond your “contacts” list and can essentially reach the world in an instant.
  • Community engagement – comments/conversations on blogs or other sites will be sent to me in my inbox and i can reply via my inbox. This would help those people who want to re-use content on various platforms and enable those people to capture all feedback and collate these and pass the conversations from one platform into another to facilitate wider community or network involvement (this coupled with the conversation playback facility will transform collaboration)
  • Integrated access to colleagues / people on mobile devices (mobile and flexible working) this changes the landscape of mobile and flexible working in my opinion.

I for one am really excited by the prospect of seeing how this can allow people to work, collaborate and communicate more effectively……

It won’t solve everything, but it can teach us a new way in sharing and collaborating together.

Well done Google.

BAN Internal Email

Like most people i receive hundreds of emails and most (if i’m honest) are not really for me, but i get copied in because others think i am interested.

Well i believe the answer is quite simple but radical in local government terms.

BAN INTERNAL EMAIL

Yes, ban internal email altogether for staff. Why do we do it and what purpose does it actually serve. Who really understand when to CC, or even BCC someone in and why would you actually Blind copy someone in (i admit i have done this before but wondered why i actually did it afterwards).

I would prefer to receive email only from customers or external organisations, that way i would know for sure that it was going to be at least business related (spam aside for a minute). I’d stop getting emails about lunch and copied into email conversations half way through and be expected to read the rest which scrolls for hours on end.

Well i’d like to propose that we seek to explore replacing internal email with more modern tool, which reflect the way we interact with each other and the increasing demands on knowing things “now” instead of when someone reads their email and decides to reply.

The answer (or suggestion anyway):

Internal Social Network – This would capture the conversations (formal and informal) which occur, but would be tagged by users and commented on by others who also add tags. It puts the individual in control of what content and conversations they participate in. Much more effective then the classic old school “CC”.

Instant Messenger – This would compliment the social network (depending on platform of course) with instant communication potential and presence awareness. That way i would know whether someone i need to speak to was actually available at that moment in time. This would make decisions and networking more productive coupled with a social network. I’d also use this tool to find out whether a colleague wanted to get a coffee or lunch. Much, much better than email.

Now you might ask, what am i actually doing about this. Well we are piloting an internal social networking platform, which is great and provides increased opportunity to engage wider people because i no longer have to think about “who might be interested”. The system and others users enable that to happen. The system flags to me stuff i have stated i want to be kept informed about (alerts etc) and i can see all “public” conversations and am able to contribute or comment on all of them.

I’d be very interested if anyone has actually made this move and i’d be keen to know how the staff perceived the change and more so, how internal communications has improved.

Anyway, i’ll keep on pressing and moving forward.