Osama versus Goliath

Uitgegeven: 7 mei 2011 11:20
Laatst gewijzigd: 7 mei 2011 11:20

Bij alle berichtgeving over de dood van terroristenleider Osama bin Laden is één vraag onderbelicht gebleven. Dat is de vraag die al tien jaar lang door het Pentagon gonst en die de Amerikanen het schaamrood op de kaken doet branden.

Door Ben Kuiken

Dat is de vraag: hoe kan het dat het grootste en machtigste leger ter wereld er bijna tien jaar over doet om één man op te sporen en uit te schakelen?

Hoe kan het dat die ene man slimmer en sneller is dan een gigantisch apparaat, een geoliede machine van honderdduizenden mannen en vrouwen die kunnen beschikken over de meest geavanceerde apparatuur en systemen, waaronder satellieten waarmee ze een bierdopje in uw tuin kunnen zien liggen?

Een man bovendien die, naar nu blijkt, niet verstopt zat in een of ander duister gangenstelsel of in een onherbergzaam gebied, maar een redelijk normaal leven leidde in een villawijk in Abbottabad, Pakistan?


Hiërarchie is failliet

De vraag stellen is hem beantwoorden. In het boek De zeester en de spin beschrijven Ori Brafman en Rod Beckstrom de kracht van het netwerk tegenover de traditionele, hiërarchische organisatie.

Zo is een netwerk veel minder kwetsbaar voor aanvallen op zijn centrum (dat is er namelijk niet), veel wendbaarder en flexibeler dan de organisatievorm waarvan de meeste bedrijven en overheden zich bedienen.

De lange zoektocht naar de terroristenleider toont het gelijk van deze bewering aan, en tegelijk het failliet van de hiërarchie. Het werkt niet meer, het is te duur (te veel overhead), te langzaam, niet flexibel genoeg.



De komende decennia zullen veel van deze molochen dan ook omvallen. De banken, grote oliemaatschappijen, softwarehuizen, autofabrieken: ze zullen worden uitgedaagd en uitgehold door razendsnelle netwerken van individuen, die bij elkaar komen om een bepaald doel te verwezenlijken en dan weer net zo snel uit elkaar vallen om elders weer iets nieuws op te zetten.

Niet de organisatie wordt de norm, maar de kunst van het organiseren wordt de nieuwe standaard. Net als bij elke revolutie zal dit niet zonder slag of stoot gaan; er staat tenslotte veel op het spel.

Het zal pijnlijk zijn voor sommigen, een bevrijding voor anderen. Maar het is onontkoombaar: de toekomst laat zich niet tegenhouden. En die toekomst is aan nieuw organiseren.

Het failliet van traditionele hierarchische organisaties, beschreven adhv de jarenlange zoektocht naar Bin Laden door het amerikaanse leger.


Argumenten vanuit management perspectief.

To find the right person to handle social media for your organization, look for people who:

  • LOVE your organization and really understand its mission – first and foremost, find the people who love their jobs and believe in your mission. This isn’t a job for the person interested in just the paycheck.
  • Believe in the transformative power of social media – it’s not about applying the same old processes to new tools. It’s about fundamentally transforming the way your organization interacts with the public, your customers and with each other.
  • You enjoy being around – If a person is a real butthead in real-life, he’s going to be that way online too, and you can’t afford to have someone like that representing you or your organization
  • Have little fear of failure – Early in my career, a client pulled me aside after they shot down 3 straight ideas I had and told me, “I want to make sure that you understand we WANT you to continue bringing those off-the-wall ideas because it forces us to think of things we never thought of and even if we don’t take your suggestions now, they all become building blocks for future ideas.”
  • Enjoy working in teams – Social media is “social” – you have to enjoy working with a diverse group of people
  • Are responsive – There is no 24 hour news cycle any more. It’s real-time baby. You need people who you KNOW will reply to emails, tweets, texts, etc. quickly and thoroughly. Interestingly, these are also often the people who are the most ambitious and passionate about your organization too.  (*note – these are also the people who may take longer lunches or come in a little late because they don’t just “shut off” at 5:00 PM)
  • Can speak like a human being – Corporate marketing speak, statistics, facts, and figures are good, but when was the last time you got inspired by a pie chart? Find people who can connect with their colleagues/customers/clients on a personal level
  • Are very aware of their strengths and weaknesses and are open about them – One of the first things I tell new employees is to find out what you’re good at and find out what you’re not good at, and then find people who are good at those things and make friends with them. In social media, you’re going to come across issues regarding privacy, IT, legal, communications, and HR, not to mention specific functional areas of your organization. You can’t know it all – know what you don’t know, and know who to contact for help.
  • Are humble -People mess up in social media. A lot.  It’s ok.  Admit you’re wrong, fix what you messed up and move on. Not everyone can do this, and very few can do it well.

Bij de inzet van sociale media gaat het om de mensen, niet om de functie!

Consider if Facebook was a country, with 500 million citizens – what lessons could other nations learn?


  1. Hold citizen attention
    Facebook is used on average six hours per month by its citizens. This is achieved by providing reasons to give the site attention, such as personalising news and information to be relevant to an individual citizen and providing various ways to get engaged.

    This compares to under 30 minutes spent on all government sites each month by individuals, according to my figures from Hitwise.

    Consider how much government spends on television and radio trying to get our attention for a few seconds each day. How much could be saved if government spent money on building and operating websites that truly engaged and informed citizens rather than attempting to push out the views of agencies and providing generalised information which cannot be personalised to an individual’s needs?


  2. Design for individuals in a scalable way
    Facebook is designed for individuals, with the central component being individual profile pages. These pages contain all the information an individual citizen has shared with Facebook and can be modified to share or not share each piece of information with others.

    If governments allowed individual citizens to have all their information pertaining to government aggregated in a single (secure) place online, we’d be moving towards a citizen-centric government.

    Individuals could self-managed their information, controlling which agencies could access which pieces. These profiles could also scale to contain as much information as was required (but no more) as government offered new services or benefits.


  3. Connect ‘like’ groupsOn top of individual profiles, Facebook makes it easy for citizens with similar interests to connect in groups. These allow individuals to discuss news and events, share ideas, research, learn and debate. They engender the best of democracy – forums where each can provide their views as part of a group discussion, moderated based on individual group rules.

    Governments around the world are starting to form citizen groups to discuss and debate issues, provide suggestions and submit ideas – however the machinery of government isn’t designed to help citizens to form their own groups, it’s the government’s way or the highway – individuals are left to their own devices.

    If governments began creating the environment and providing the tools for individuals to form their own groups – as President Obama’s website did through his campaign – this could be a powerful way to spread an understanding of democracy, promote engagement and deliver real results over time.


  4. Monitor behaviour and trends in real-time
    Facebook is constantly studying how its citizens act, group and behave in its site, giving it a continual flow of information on trending interests and issues. This allows the website to identify key topics and address them early, supporting its citizens and preventing some potential issues from blowing up.

    This type of ongoing monitoring is also highly important for government. We’ve seen many calls for government to monitor social media channels to understand community sentiment and keep a finger on the pulse in a way that previously was impossible.

    However many governments still rely on traditional gatekeepers – pollsters and lobbyists from interest groups – to provide them with insights. This approach can be prone to distortions, deliberate or otherwise, as few people are able to be truly objective – particularly when they are tasked with pushing specific agendas important to those funding their lobby groups. How representative of the community these groups may be can also be questioned.


  5. Respond quickly to citizen criticismFacebook recently came under a lot of criticism for its privacy controls. Did it study the situation carefully for twelve months? Hold a royal inquiry? Label those raising concerns as a small group of lobbyists misleading the public? No.

    Through monitoring its citizens Facebook was already aware of and working on the issue. It was in a position to respond quickly to the criticism, rolling out a set of simplified privacy tools which addressed many peoples’ concerns.

    Government can often be slow to react to criticism – or react by attempting to close it down rather than hear it out. This is partially due to having to study situations first – whereas Facebook’s continual research keeps it aware of trending issues.

    Governments can also be slow to take action, requiring layers of approval and bureaucracy to be observed before making even simple and commonsense changes. Simplifying these processes and keeping a closer eye on the pulse of the community will help any organisation to reduce the effort required to manage and address issues, saving money, time and reputation into the bargain.??


  6. A platform for others to build on
    If you’re a Facebook citizen than you’d be aware of the thousands of applications built on top of the service – from games to business applications. These applications rely on Facebook to provide the platform – data, commands and systems. In return they significantly increase the use of Facebook and the value of the information it holds – a win-win-win for Facebook, the application developers and Facebook’s citizens.

    Government needs to similarly move towards becoming a platform, opening up its data and systems to allow others to develop applications on top.

    Imagine opening up government systems to allow an organisation to develop an end to end business registration system which allowed a citizen to register a company, get an ABN, register for state licenses and apply for development grants. The tool would help many people to start their businesses, provide an application developer with revenue and simplify the administrative burden for agencies at the same time. Similarly imagine being able to incorporate geospatial mapping data from multiple states and ABS statistics to allow a business to decide where to place its new offices.

    If government is able to make the public-owned data it holds more accessible online and open appropriate doors into key services tremendous value will be created for the entire community.


Wat kunnen wij bij de implementatie van overheid 2.0 leren van het succes van facebook. Goede lessen!



If you leave your computer on overnight, how much does that cost you? What about all those unnecessary lights you have turned on in your house? How much money could you save if you had bought an energy-saving refrigerator instead of a regular one?

General Electric answers these questions with a nifty interactive tool that displays the energy consumption rates of oft-used home appliances. It tracks 53 devices and you can choose to see how much power each appliance consumes in watts or kilowatthours. Alternatively, you can see how much each appliance costs to use in dollars, and how much it consumes in equivalent gallons of gas.

Clicking on various appliances turns them on or off. An overall energy consumption rate is calculated in the lower right corner of the tool.

Some appliances are marked with a green star; this means that an Energy Star power-saving product is available in that class of appliance. Clicking on the star, you???ll see how much money you can save by replacing your old appliance with an Energy Star model.

Slimme applicatie die mensen bewust maakt van energie-verbruik.

Ach ’n beetje apple-spot kan geen kwaad 😉

Grandma’s iPad Commercial

Ik vind ‘m briljant en er zit ’n kern van waarheid in. Ben benieuwd of de iPad nu daadwerkelijk zo’n succes wordt. Zo’n iphone ligt nog lekker in de hand maar zo’n ipad lijkt daar toch echt wat te groot voor en ligt ie plat op tafel is het ook niet erg handig (dat wordt ’n dikke rekening bij de fysio 😉

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