When economies started to collapse in the second half of this year, many blog posts cropped up heralding the death of Web 2.0. I think Web 2.0 will thrive in this economic downturn. Just not yet.

The sort of start-up that has a wafer-thin business model overly dependent on advertising will struggle and many will disappear (and quite a few won’t be missed). Investment in new ideas will become much harder to secure. But Web 2.0 is about more than creating a widget, tagging a picture or poking a friend.

Web 2.0 has yet to scratch the surface of business processes. Whilst consumer habits have changed dramatically since 2000, most organisations internally still look the same. And so they will continue during most of 2009. Going into a recession, the instinctive reaction is to freeze. Stop doing anything and wait to see what happens. Few people would start a new project or reinvent how they do business at this moment in time. And those who would ought to think twice. However, once we are well and truly up to our necks in recession (what we see right now is just the beginning), then businesses will start to rethink the management and processes that led us down down this path. It is at that point that Web 2.0 has the potential to play a significant role.

In short, the next few months will undoubtedly bring more doom and gloom stories about Web 2.0 and related technologies (let alone everything else going on in the world). But the wise will use this time to get organised for when the shock of the recession eases and people start paying serious attention to what happens next.

Technorati tags: Web 2.0 | Enterprise 2.0

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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Great post! I'm particularly interested by the following: 'Few people would start a new project or reinvent how they do business at this moment in time. And those who would ought to think twice'. Does this mean that you think organisations should not seek innovative approaches to the way they work during this period?

  2. Thanks Matt :-)I think it is a matter of getting the timing right and deciding how ambitious that innovation should be. If the business has stalled or shrunk in a similar pattern to the overall economy, then chances are it is quite normal. If an organisation invests in trying to change during a period that itself is still changing, failure could be out of their hands. And if they lose, it is unlikely that they will get a second chance. Hence I think it is wise to first let the recession stabilise. The same applies to making cuts too. If you have to, you have to. But if you make unnecessary reductions you may find out later that you made the wrong cuts…There are exceptions. If an organisation has resisted growth during an economic boom, particularly if it was because of barriers to entry (i.e. large incumbent competitors) and that opportunity still exists, then they have strong potential to leverage the recession. The smaller your are, the easier it is to innovate.The advice I would give any organisation who wants to innovate now, particularly try new ways of working by leveraging Web 2.0 tools, would be: keep it simple, keep it small. Test innovative ideas with small groups receptive and willing to change. Let momentum build naturally through viral channels. Avoid trying to force change on everyone. It's not just organisations who get nervous in a recession, employees do too.

  3. Thanks – that makes a lot of sense! One of Jeremiah's posts: Adapting to Change on the Reef makes interesting reading on a similar topic…

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