Who Says Mainstream Companies Don’t Get It?

Rich Hoeg just emailed to let me know that Honeywell is about to go live with its behind-the-firewall tagging capability (which is supplied by ConnectBeam). This will allow Honeywell employees to securely tag both Intranet and Internet content, to have relevant tags returned with (Google-powered) search results, and to see other users’ tag collections. Rich’s blog post provides more information and screen shots.

I’m really encouraged by this experiment for a couple reasons. First, it’s an attempt to use collective intelligence and network effects to make the Intranet more interconnected. The link structure of the Internet goes a long way toward accomplishing these goals, but as I’ve written before, most Intranet content isn’t very heavily interlinked, and the links that do exist are usually created by a few people – the people responsible for Intranet content – rather than by a broad, diverse population. Tags are potentially a way to deal with this problem, and to add after-the-fact emergent structure to Intranets.

Second, it’s an effort by a classic large, mainstream, ‘old economy’ company to embrace Enterprise 2.0 technologies and approaches. Honeywell is about as far away from Avenue A | Razorfish as possible —  the former is a huge old manufacturing conglomerate, the latter is a Network Era interactive agency. Yet both have now embraced tagging as a way to let their employees help each other find relevant content (a group-level goal) while simultaneously organizing their online environments  (an individual-level goal).

I’m very interested to learn how internal tagging progresses at Honeywell, and to hear of other similar initiatives.  If you have good examples, please share them by leaving a comment.