Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Redirecting energies

If you’re checking out the dates on this blog, you’ll note a long … gap between entries. After consultation with my blogging partners, Doug and Martin, we’ve decided to formally wind down the blog … at least for now. I’ll retain the domain name and probably leave the entries to date accessible for posterity, but will be more active elsewhere on the Internet.

If you’d like to leave comments on the entries on this blog, I’ll still accept them. You can check out my personal blog at daviding.com if you’re okay with stream-of-consciousness writing, but for more in-depth content, sign up for an ID at rendez.org to follow the two-year Finnish research project on innovation. If you’re really far out on the adoption curve, you might have a better chance of catching Doug on Second Life, maybe on Almaden Island!

Coevolving.com was an experiment initiated by myself, with Doug and Martin game to try it out.

In collaborative technologies, I’ve had quite a few experiences with wikis, and find that they generally intimidate the layman. This has a lot to do with social norms. If you’re going to run a wiki, you’ll have to be comfortable with the following metaphor: you’re writing on a blackboard where people you know (and some you don’t) can come and change the words you’ve written, most probably without your advance permission. This requires a high degree of trust on the part of the original author, as well as on the part of the subsequent contributor. If it’s a small team with a well-defined vector of progress, it can work, but scalability is an issue.

As an alternative technology, I had previously started blogging by myself, partially as a learning activity, and partially in solidarity to my son Adam who was blogging from Beijing. In the interests of narrowing focus for different audiences, I decided to split my persona: non-work interests over at daviding.com, and professional interests here on coevolving.com. Doug has had a blog on the IBM intranet, and Martin agreed that we might as well dissolve the boundary on internal and external opinions. I thought that the three of us might be able to muster enough focus to have at least one entry in the blog per week by at least one of us. This has proven to not be the case.

In the meantime, the content on my personal blog has evolved in a few ways:

  • Readers seem more interested in what’s happening my life, rather than work content. (Of course, this includes a lot of family members and friends, who don’t understand what I do in my day job, and more formal language makes things worse).
  • Blogging is work, and I really should try for more work-life balance. One way of doing this is to change from writing so much text to weight towards photo-blogging … since I’ve had a hobby of photography for some time.
  • Most blogs tend to be journalistic-type reporting, where there’s at least a small entry every day or every other day. In the consulting profession that all three of us run, it’s feast-or-famine. (I think I just did 6 blog entries last night on daviding.com, because I had some focused time off the road!)
  • I’m getting more comfortable with the idea that I might as well represent myself as a single individual — and each reader will decide by himself or herself whether to “fast forward’ through content not of interest.

I suppose that it doesn’t really help that I’ve changed jobs. Although Doug, Martin and I were all spread across 8 time zones, we worked in the same organization — IBM Global Services. I’ve now moved over to IBM Software Group. Although I’m doing business consulting work similar to the IT strategy work in my history, my attitude has changed. One difference is that I’m really in an asset-based business primarily selling software, rather than labour-based services of consulting. Secondly, where I used to be just a little fish in the big pond of consultants, I’m now unusual as one of a few business consultant in the midst of a large number of technical professionals. I really like this job a better. I’ve always claimed that my most favourite job in IBM was in market development, and this is very close to that.

I don’t necessarily want the last word, so Doug and Martin can speak for themselves. (If one of them wants to make coevolving.com his personal blog, don’t be surprised in a sharp turn in direction on the content!)


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