Monday, December 13, 2004

Harnessing the new in a bastion of cultural heritage

Today I spent an enjoyable afternoon at BBC Television Centre with Euan Semple in the Digilab. While I shouldn't go into much detail here and now, I have to say that based on the demo I had today, I think the BBC is on the absolute cutting edge of organizations globally in terms of attempting to harness new tools like blogging (c.70 blogs are running internally), forums, wikis and social networking. One anecdotal case in point was a piece of text in Danish which needed to be translated somewhat urgently. Using the "social networking" element of what the Beeb is running, plus the forums which have been set up, the person in need found a dozen Danish speakers internally within an hour and got the job done at zero cost. This is just a small example, and there is no doubt more profound stuff happening in this sphere at the BBC, which I hope to write on in future. For now it is enough to note that what I saw inspired me, not because it is somehow futuristic, but rather because it is a completely pragmatic and utilitarian application of some workable tools which hopefully make employees feel more engaged and empowered, and which improve human asset efficiency overall. Call me naive, but I think we have to take innovation as and where we can find it, and I don't find anything like this where I work.

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