This is Your Brain on Jive

This is Your Brain on Jive

In his book Business @ the Speed of Thought (1999 Grand Central Publishing), Bill Gates made use of the phrase “Digital Nervous System” to describe how a company with lots of information workers has the potential to operate.

His brilliant description of the concept included the following:

“The term 'digital nervous system' is kind of an interesting one. The analogy, of course, is to the biological nervous system where you always have the information you need. You always are alert to the most important things, and you block out the information that's not important. And companies really need to have that same kind of thing: the information that's valuable getting to the people who need to know about it.”

I believe that every manager, director, vice president, and executive would greatly benefit from heeding what Mr. Gates has to say about this.

Think about it – we are now squarely in the Information Age, and all of society has drastically changed in the past 20 years because of it. The changes that have occurred in society are broad and deep, but without a doubt they include the fact that companies exist today that could not have existed 20 years ago. Today we see companies that have shifted their business model, either by subtle changes or out-right pivots, to focus not on their original book of business, but on the information that their company touches, generates, and collects. Companies exist today that have far fewer (or even zero) workers who handle physical goods, but instead consist mainly of “information workers” who primarily add value by using their brains and their hearts. Not just brains alone, mind you – these people have to really care about what they are doing in order to add value.

We find ourselves in a world with millions of intelligent, caring, devoted workers, ready to add value to companies that are focused on software, hardware, data, information flow, and other amazing concepts. That’s a big change, but now also consider the fact that business itself is changing faster than ever. There simply is no time to develop and maintain three-ring binders of documentation to guide workers during the daily grind. Today, any company that tries to use such an outdated approach to run their business will undoubtedly be left behind by more nimble competitors. Such a company will be swiftly disrupted by creative new entrants to their space.

With all this in view, it is with great pleasure that I announce that Certify has implemented Jive Software for our Digital Nervous System! Jive is simply an amazing platform, designed from the start with the mantra of “work better together.” Jive is all about “communication and collaboration for the modern, mobile business.” This is exactly what Bill Gates had in mind when he said, “…The information that's valuable getting to the people who need to know about it.” Jive is a modern Digital Nervous System, available to any company, today, on a SaaS basis.

But there is more going on here than the Digital Nervous System. You see, as we use Jive, we are seeing information that used to be kept in separate silos brought out into the open. We are seeing collaboration among teams, and across teams, take place effortlessly. There is tremendous power in the combination of instant full-text search and well-crafted, intuitive user interfaces on the web and in mobile apps. Intelligent ranking of content, @mentions, and configurable activity streams work together to do something… well, something really special! What is that something special? I call it the Addictive Feed, and I think that Bill Gates would appreciate this concept as applied to knowledge management. Let me explain…

How many times in a day do modern hipsters whip out their smartphones and glance through Twitter and Facebook? 10? 25? Heck, maybe 50? To the hipster, all of this activity is effortless and not at all like what they might consider to be work. Far from work, they consider this to be their right, part of their freedom, and even a happy task, partly because of the amazing new smartphones they will be paying off for the next 18 to 24 months. But I can’t just pick on the hipsters here – many of us 40-something’s do the same thing keeping up with the news on TechCrunch, CNet, and Gizmodo. Social media and the news media have perfected the art of the Addictive Feed.

Now that we are using Jive, we are leveraging the power of the Addictive Feed among our peeps. We happily call them “our peeps”, because these are our people, not just “employees” or “resources.” We care deeply about the personal fulfilment that our people experience in life. We want them to enjoy their time here at Certify, and their time elsewhere with friends and family, or all alone on a mountain hike or a deep sea excursion. We invest so much time, energy, care, money, learning, and encouragement into these people that we simply could not stand the thought of sticking them with a painful, clunky, outdated system for knowledge management and collaboration. And that’s why we chose Jive.

With Jive, we connect all our people together into one big Digital Nervous System, with a user experience that is an Addictive Feed. That’s Business @ the Speed of Thought. Is this work or play? We’re not really sure anymore, and that’s a good thing.
Alan Neveu

Certify, CTO