The June issue of Fast Company profiles Disney executive vice president of digital media Albert Cheng, and how a wiki is at the center of his 20 month old digital media department’s reinvention of TV distribution. The article discusses how the wiki started:
His team didn’t ask permission to create the internal Web site, with staff profiles and a section called “Cool Stuff We’ve Done This Year.” They just did it. And truth be told, Cheng is rather proud of that. The project captures what his 20-month-old incarnation of the digital-media department is all about. Speed. Collaboration. Gumption. “I see us as a Silicon Valley startup within a big company,” he says.
This is an excellent description of how a wiki can be the information, collaboration, and social hub of a group. Creating a directory of staff profiles helps people hone their wiki editing skills, tell others about themselves, and become more deeply connected to the rest of the community on the wiki. The flexibility of the wiki shows in the creation of that “Cool Stuff We’ve Done This Year” section, because people can start by informally listing things they’ve done, then go back and add descriptions, links, images, video, etc. and pretty soon they’ve built a better, more accurate, and naturally built report on what they’ve accomplished.
The quote that perhaps best captures the wiki spirit:
“If HR tells us we can’t do this,” Cheng says, “we’ll apologize later.”
That’s the spirit! This article is a fascinating read, and it shows how a large, influential company uses a wiki to be nimble and ahead of the curve.