EnterpriseCamp (the unconference edition)

I’m not sure why Bryce Johnson thought that he’d have full turnout at 9:30am on a Saturday, even for something as exciting as EnterpriseCamp, but a few of us managed to make it on time. Of course, my brain is still in a time zone some where east of here and I’m waking up at 5am so it’s easier for me this week.

We kicked off a bit late and the attendance was lower than the signups, but there were some great sessions (and I’m not just talking about mine). Like other unconferences, there was no set agenda, just a blank grid of time slots for sessions and a pad of Post-It notes; those of us interested in leading a talk outlined our topic verbally to the group, then posted it in an open time slot. The schedule was pretty fluid all day long, which fit well with the mood of the group and the small number of simultaneous sessions (3 at most, I think), but we still managed to fit in all the proposed sessions and finish up on time.

One cool thing that the organizers did was create icon stickers that we could put on our nametags to designate our interests: people tagging, if you will. They also provided great food (breakfast and lunch), a huge variety of herbal teas (important for us non-coffee types) and a notebook containing some Enterprise 2.0 articles and the all-important key to the people-tagging icons.

The first session that I attended was Carsten Knoch talking about bringing Web 2.0 features into the enterprise, which was a perfect lead-in to my session on a specific example of this, namely, integrating Web 2.0 functionality into BPM software. Carsten talked more in general terms about what features and techniques could be introduced, techniques for building applications, and why all of this Web 2.0 stuff is scary to the enterprise. He had a pretty comprehensive presentation, a bit unusual for an unconference, and I hope to see it posted somewhere.

I followed immediately after Carsten, and although I had the best intentions to prepare a little presentation the night before (but ended up out for dinner with friends) or at least a few notes on the subway on the way to EnterpriseCamp (but ended up chatting with a South African backpacker on his way around the world), I took the floor with a blank flip-chart and wrote four lines:

  • tagging
  • RSS
  • zero footprint
  • mashups

I then riffed on each of these, with lots of great input from the audience, with my focus on how they apply in the world of BPM but some expansion into other types of enterprise software. Great discussion: I love it when I can learn something while giving a presentation. I could have gone on for hours, except for the smell of pizza wafting in from the lunch area.

In the afternoon, I sat in on Tom Purves and Jevon MacDonald discussing adoption of Web 2.0 technology (specifically their product, for the most part) within the enterprise. That evolved into a discussion about Consulting 2.0 and a variety of other topics.

I also attended Bryce’s session on tagging, taxonomies and folksonomies, which generated some really interesting discussion. The idea of creating tag relationships rather than tag pruning as applicable to Enterprise 2.0 tagging applications: you want people to be able to add tags that are meaningful to them, but if others are using different tags that mean the same thing, find some way to relate the tags.

Definitely a worthwhile way to spend my Saturday. Many thanks to Navantis and Microsoft for their sponsorship of EnterpriseCamp.

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