Telling a story about leadership in the digital age

March 18, 2015

I tried out Storify to see if the tweets from my keynote session at CongresIntranet in Utrecht had capture my main messages. Storify is a great tool for seeing at a glance what has been picked up by people listening to you and asking questions. Here’s the edited result of my investigation.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 22.03.43


Leadership in the Digital Age

March 18, 2015

This presentation combines my keynote talk and breakout session at CongresIntranet 2015.

Leadership in the Digital Age from Jane McConnell

Wirearchy in the Workplace

February 17, 2015

The workplace in the digital age is undergoing transformation. Wirearchy is at the heart of this transformation.

wirearchy for pulse 698x400

You may not yet be familiar with the term, but you are very likely already experiencing wirearchy to some degree. Jon Husband created the term over ten years ago and defined wirearchy as: “a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority, based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology”.

I have conducted research on the internal digital work environments of organizations for nine years, starting in 2006. Each year I publish data and analysis based on input from several hundred organizations around the world. A multi-year perspective shows that organizations are moving towards ways of working that reflect the principle of wirearchy.


The Workplace in the Digital Age – Enterprise 2.0 Summit

February 15, 2015

The Workplace in the Digital Age from Jane McConnell

Enterprise 2.0 Summit Paris – Snapshots

February 5, 2015

Thanks to Frédéric Williquet (@fredericw), I have a great summary of the opening keynote I gave at the 2015 Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Paris.

cartoons of DW study

You’ll get a feel for the action over 2 days from these two stories:

How did the Global Jam Pioneer slip?

January 23, 2015

Published simultaneously on Pulse.

IBM is very much in the news these days because of weak business growth. However, I’m not a business analyst and this article is not about financial issues, at least not directly. My focus here is on people. By people, I mean both workforce and customers.

I remember listening to an IBMer presenting the IBM Global Values Jam in 2001 at an online conference in London. The enthusiastic audience loved it, asked lots of questions and wished their organizations had a similar culture based on trust. As IBM explains here: “Research showed that IBMers trusted and relied on their intranet at unprecedented levels—even more than their managers or the grapevine. Seeking to develop and extend that trust, the company introduced World Jam in 2001.”

IBM adds here that Jams are “radically open and democratic—everybody has the same capacity to participate, regardless of level or expertise—jams speak to the expectations of today’s professional worker.”

Favoring shareholders over the workforce: a serious business misstep?

What went wrong with the global jam pioneer?


Three minutes on the Connected Organization and the Digital Workplace

January 21, 2015

An interview of me after a short workshop in Utrecht organized by e-office and work21.

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How easy is it for your customer-facing people to do their jobs? #dwt15

January 18, 2015

This is the first in a series of short, regular “early insight” posts I’ll be doing as I work through the data and comments from the many participants in the 9th annual digital workplace survey, which closed January 9th. In the spirit of “working out loud”, I will be sharing insights and observations as I advance in the analysis and writing of the 2015 report. (Publication planned for the second part of March.)

Today, let’s look at a question about how the digital workplace serves the customer-facing workforce. The question and answer options were:

How easy is it for your customer-facing people to …

  • Find the information they need,
  • Provide rapid service,
  • Collaborate with their customers and colleagues,
  • And in general have a smooth and efficient work experience?


  • Very easy
  • Relatively easy
  • Somewhat difficult
  • Very difficult
  • Impossible

Only 10 organizations out of 303 participants responded “very easy”!

I was not surprised. Last year only 9 responded “very easy”.

How do these 10 organizations differ?


Going social? Don’t create needs. Respond to existing ones.

November 26, 2014

Most organizations are just starting the journey.

A long road with major barriers.

Two recent studies, Social Business: Shifting out of First Gear from MIT Sloan Management and Deloitte (here) and the other from myself, The Digital Workplace in the Connected Organization, (my 2014 annual report) have drawn very similar conclusions:

  • The internal digital work environment is becoming more social and collaborative, but there’s a very long road ahead.
  • The main barriers are strategic and organizational issues, not technological challenges. And that’s why the road is so long!

Comparison MIT-deloitte NetJMC

There are lots of hurdles to jump.

Different questions, different terms but similar discouraging results.


True leadership happens because it can

November 22, 2014

Collage 3 for net jmc

In an early experiment by educational pioneer Sugata Mitra, he broke a hole in the wall between his office and a slum in India and made a computer available to children who had never before seen one. A quote from the BBC article about this caught my attention back in 2005:

You find that the noise level begins to come down, and from somewhere a leader appears. Often his face is not visible in the crowd, but he is controlling the mouse because suddenly you see the mouse begin to move in an orderly fashion.

That’s true leadership. It emerges from a conducive context. It happens because it can.

You can “let” leadership – you cannot “make” leadership

Leadership happens in a given context at a given point in time: You lead in one situation; you follow in another.