September 15, 2009
learning 2.0

Too Dot Oh: Making Sense of the Terrible 2’s

I knew things were starting to go a little 2.0 crazy when our 3rd child (and second daughter) was being referred to as Claire 2.0 by family, friends, etc.

Her actual name is Cate. (the oldest is Claire)

So how are we to make sense of this 2.0 landscape when everything seems to be coined 2.0 these days?

First of all, we should thank our lucky stars for Marcia Conner. She has recently written about this and does far better than I ever could to succinctly decipher the history, rationale and inanity of such a moniker.

That being stated, and for purposes of furthering my argument (and many others: see Hamel, Malone, Tapscott, etc.) that organizations need to flatten and become community connected in heterarchical structure, I’d like to take a stab at defining some key examples and implications for HR and the Org using (ironically) the 2.0 flavour of the month terminology.

As described in this post “HR in a 2.0 World: Leading vs. Following”, the 2.0 components that will help an organization evolve into this future world, and permit HR to lead versus follow include:

  • Web 2.0
    • Definition:
      • collaborative technologies that facilitate sharing of expertise, ideas, etc.
    • HR & Org Implication:�
      • Web 2.0 train has left the station; failure to get on will be disastrous if culture is to actually evolve and HR/Leaders want to understand their employees
  • Enterprise 2.0
    • Definition (via Andrew McAfee):
      • the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers
    • HR & Org Implication:
      • Enterprise 2.0 is the use of Web 2.0 concepts in an organization; thus, failure to drive its introduction may result in redundant platforms/processes & confused employees
  • Learning 2.0
    • Definition:
      • the shift from a predominantly formal instructor-led/eLearning model to one that encompasses formal, informal and social learning methodologies
    • HR & Org Implication:
      • organizational culture can evolve via a strong learning ecosystem; to continue with antiquated ‘spray and pray’ formal only training models is akin to GM’s 2011 automobile lineup being full of SUV’s
  • Work 2.0
    • Definition:
      • the shift from a 9-5 workday to a flexible workweek inclusive of work location (ie. home, shared workspace, coffee shops, etc.)
    • HR & Org Implication:
      • the performance of an individual should be measured not on when they are in the office or present in their cubicle; rather, on the end result and its merits for the organization itself (whenever the deliverables are accomplished)
  • Culture 2.0
    • Definition:
      • the shift from a white ivory tower hierarchical / manage by fear structure to one that is wirearchical, heterarchical, flat, connected and community-driven
    • HR & Org Implication:
      • employees are seeking to belong, to be heard, and to be a part of something; the ‘just a number’ culture has died and failure to recognize this will result in difficult retention and attraction outcomes
  • People 2.0
    • Definition:
      • employees (people) will seek out an employer that provides an experience, a second family, a place to feel valued; the new ‘employee’ will not be institutionalized
    • HR & Org Implication:
      • attracting this type of talent will go far beyond advertisements in a newspaper; retaining the talent will be even harder if other aforementioned 2.0 concepts are not upheld

12 Replies to “Too Dot Oh: Making Sense of the Terrible 2’s”

  1. fabulous Susan, thanks for sharing – really vivid preso with excellent case studies

    I agree – “hr is poised to be a catalyst for enterprise transformation” … but … will they lead or follow?

  2. Personally, would love to see HR step up to lead here. One of the perfect (and perhaps rare) occasions in the landscape of business transformation where they’re rightfully heir to this throne. (Bad metaphor for 2.0, but you get the idea.)

  3. Nicely put .. clear and succinct. The calls for transforming HR into business partners, coaches and enablers have been building for at least the last ten if not fifteen years and not much has happened in response to those calls (as a generality) .. way to stir the pot, Dan!

  4. Hi Dan (and Susan).

    I’d agree with your point about HR. We know that any technology ends up having less impact than it should when driven by IT (sorry, Susan). Web 2.0 etc is about behaviour change – to be effective, it should be driven by HR. And what a wonderful opportunity for HR to grab a strategic remit as well…

    The other point I’d like to make is that I personally feel that you’re in some ways guilty of the same over-application of the 2.0 tag as your family and friends.

    2.0 can mean a couple of things. One is that it simply refers to any significant, qualitative vs quantitative shift over the ways things were done before (otherwise we’d be talking about 1.1 not 2.0). But then work 2.0, culture 2.0 could mean anything. So I don’t think that’s a useful route to go.

    But I’d suggest that the other way of looking at this, and the only way I can see to bring these terms closer together is that they’re all about ‘social’. Web 2.0 = social technology, enterprise 2.0 = a more social way of organising etc.

    In fact, as we’ve discussed on your previous post, HR in a 2.0 World: Leading vs. Following (, they’re all about generating social capital.

    Just a personal view of course!

    For more, see

  5. Good to have a definition at each level, although I’m most concerned with Learning 2.0 (being a learning and development professional touting blended learning). Thanks for providing clarity at the other layers for work, culture, people! My hope is that organizations can embrace and support the Culture 2.0 definition soon to capitalize on what’s already happening naturally with their millennial employees – connected and community-driven learning.

  6. Great post Dan.

    I’m not sure when HR will get it – you would think that the economic crisis would have jolted some HR teams to do things differently, but many that I talk to are reverting to the same old, same old. 60 hour work weeks are back with a vengeance.

    Have the economic circumstances actually caused HR to regress rather than seize the opportunity to make a fundamental change to how they do business? If so, what do you think needs to happen for HR to make that change?

    I think there may be some that are penning HR’s eulogy now and finance/operations/marketing are all waiting on the sidelines to show that they could do a better job than HR (whether they are right is of some debate).

    What do you think?

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