Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rejoining the Oracle Social Mix

To the AppsLab team - a big thank you! As I mentioned in my last post, I'm now ex-Oracle, and one of the transition pains was cutting myself off from the internal Oracle Connect social networking site. But no sooner do I leave, and they graciously launch Oracle Mix - which is basically the combination of the IdeasFactory and Connect, but now open to the world. Yes!


I hope this is only the beginning, and we see some rapid development of the site into a premier channel for the Oracle community. I imagine a great deal of the effort in the 5-6 week development period went into integrating and refactoring the AppsLab code, and porting to the Oracle AS + jruby environment, so I'll be gentle with my comments for now;-)

I guess the main nudge I'd like to give the team would be to think a bit more about the idea generation/innovation process and adapt the site to suit. To be frank, I was getting a little disillusioned by the IdeaFactory because it was turning into a dumping ground - literally thousands of ideas going in, but little sight of what benefit was coming out.

Good ideas are hard to find - Scott Berkun does a grand job of demolishing this falsehood in The Myths of Innovation (required reading I would recommend for anyone working on "innovation tools"). The implication being that there should be no surprise in Oracle Mix attracting many great ideas, but more important is what happens next..

Do they get adopted by an Idea Angel to champion the cause? Do they get the protection and attention to make the transition from Idea to Innovation?

And perhaps even more significantly, how will the community learn about "Ideas that make it"? This will be critical to stimulate a virtuous feedback cycle that encourages people to submit more ideas because they can see it is worthwhile.

Dell included this critical ingredient for their IdeaStorm site in the simplest of ways .. Ideas in Action is just a blog of stories about how they have adopted and implemented ideas submitted and voted by their users:


I guess there are a few other points I could get cranky about, like some minor usability issues, and the bad policy of only allowing full features to users with "verified customer emails" (Dell's IdeaStorm doesn't). But I'll lay off for now, because overall I think the AppsLab team have made a fantastic start and I want to give them every encouragement to keep hammering away at this stuff!

Oracle Mix is truely a breath of fresh air!

NB: See Paul and Rich's launch announcements.

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