by Chris Potts

People 2.0 (formerly known as Web 2.0)

Jun 13, 20082 mins
IT Leadership

The personalisation and agility that Web 2.0 offers demand a different way of investing in change: make it fast, keep the investment low, take the benefits early and then do it all over again. Are our people ready?

Yesterday I moderated a panel of Venture Capitalists, for a Technology Ventures conference at Cambridge University, England (  It was an honour to be invited, and as always I learned much from the experience. 

The purpose of the conference was to explore the challenges and successes of starting up a business whose technology could change our lifestyle in future.  The agenda included internet communication, sustainable energy, and personalised medicine.

The panel I was invited to moderate, addressing the first of these subject areas, considered the question “What’s Beyond Web 2.0?” 

Here’s a summary of what I heard:

– Web 2.0 is already a social movement rather than a technology one

– It is significantly adjusting the relationship between employee and employer

– It puts each of us at the centre of our own unique network(s) of collaborators

– The mobile space may be where much of the action will take place

– People are still figuring out the value of exploiting Web 2.0, but it may come to them all of a sudden

– There are low barriers to entry in exploiting Web 2.0, in terms of cost and technology

– The churn in Web 2.0 applications will be (much) faster than we’ve historically been used to.

Were I a Venture Capitalist, thinking of investing in Web 2.0-related innovations and beyond, that last point would be of particular interest.  It implies a shortening timescale between investment and exit.

Similarly, it has implications for organisations investing in business changes that exploit Web 2.0.  The risk of our chosen solution (people, process and technology) becoming obsolete, and quickly, may be much higher than we’ve been used to.  So if we’re going to change, we’d better make it fast, keep the investment low, take the benefits early and be prepared to do it all over again.  Throwaway investments in change.   

Two questions:  are our people ready for these potential consequences of using Web 2.0;   and how much of all the above is true of that other 2.0, Enterprise 2.0?