“To reap the full benefit of social technologies, organizations must transform their structures, processes, and cultures: they will need to become more open and nonhierarchical and to create a culture of trust. Ultimately, the power of social technologies hinges on the full and enthusiastic participation of employees who are not afraid to share their thoughts and trust that their contributions will be respected. Creating these conditions will be far more challenging than implementing the technologies themselves. “

– McKinsey Global Institute, July, 2012

From the corporate world, to start-ups, to higher education, I have been working in and around technology for my entire career. As someone who believes in the value of community more than the value of a platform, I’m consistently amazed how often I hear people fall into the trap of technotopia. What do they say?

  • “The functionality will amaze people.”
  • “With the right training . . .”
  • “Once the integration/upgrade/migration is in place . . .”
  • “It’s not about the technology, but . . .”
  • “A creative campaign will convince them.”
  • “They [our employees/our customers] will have no other choice.”

Jon Husband coined the phrase “wirearchy” which is “a dynamic two-way flow of  power and authority, based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology.” Within wirearchies, the relationships supersede the technology. Take away Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, Chatter, or any enterprise social network, and interconnected people will find a way to continue to learn and share.

You can buy “interconnected technology.” You cannot buy trust, credibility, results, or people who want to work together.

As Vala Ashfar repeated, “Collaboration is a cultural achievement, not a technology achievement.”