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The implications of ‘jam’ and other ideation technologies for organisational decision making

   | 11 lis 2009


New advances in collaborative technologies, often grouped under the umbrella term ‘web 2.0’, are changing the opportunity space for organisational collaboration and decision making. Research and development can now be outsourced to external self-organising communities of scientists, new business models rely wholly on content created by end users and customers are increasingly asked for input to the development of new products and services. The way in which many strategic and operational decisions are made, once the sole prevail of executive management, is being challenged by new forms of knowledge, expertise and opinion from non-management employees, and increasingly, from those outside the organisation such as customers, partners and suppliers. The widespread adoption of web 2.0 technologies and their increasing use in the business context, in other words, is creating an inevitable tension between traditional ‘top-down’ strategic decision-making principles and ‘bottom-up’, ad hoc and sometimes unstructured collaborative processes.

This paper examines recent changes to the innovation process and the advent of so-called fifth generation innovation, and discusses the way in which web 2.0 technologies are further evolving these models, highlighting that ideation technologies are an important part of the new breed of so-called innovation technologies. It then explores the particular example of jam events, which bring together a targeted group of participants on the web for a time-limited period to respond to a specific challenge, defined by decision-makers, with ideas, opinions and votes in a socially mediated process. The final section introduces the concept of co-created strategy, and discusses the factors required for an organisation to build the absorptive capacity needed to truly take advantage of the new knowledge created by ideation technologies.