Session B - Pre-Conference Session
Emerging Social Software Platforms - How & Why Emergence and Adaptability Increase our Common Understanding
Presented by Rick Ladd and John Pourdehnad

Description: This session will explore the expanding role social software is playing not only on the Internet, but also in our places of work and in our educational institutions. We will discuss the difference between channels and platforms and how what Professor Andrew McAfee calls “Emergent Social Software Platforms” can flatten the hierarchy of an organization and tap into the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of larger and more diverse groups of employees.

Target Audience: Anyone who wishes to better understand how the increasing use of "social" tools portends change within, between, and among organizations of all types.

Organizational Issues: As communication within organizations continues to move from broadcast to conversation, traditionally hierarchical organizations are coming under increasing pressure. One of the most basic questions we'll address is whether or not, and to what extent, theflattening of an organization's structure is possible or likely to occur.

Objectives: To increase attendees' understanding of "Emergent Social Software Platforms" and the possibilities and challenges they present in an increasingly connected world.

Date: Thursday, April 16th

Length: 3 hours (9:00-12:00pm)

Location: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne - 6633 Canoga Avenue, Canoga Park

Cost: None

Handouts: Available for download after the Forum

Rick Ladd

Biography: Rick Ladd joined Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) in 1987 as part of the team preparing the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) program for the Shuttle's return to flight. Before that he spent over 20 years as a self-employed small business entrepreneur in both the food services industry and the entertainment industry, where he introduced the practice of using portable computers in performing on-site royalty audits on behalf of major recording artists. Rick has worked extensively at PWR as a process improvement facilitator and has gained a reputation as an articulate and thoughtful problem solver. Currently, Rick leads the SSME’s Knowledge Management (KM) team, is a long-time member of PWR’s KM team, and is the KM liaison to the PWR Program Management Office. Additionally, Rick leads the implementation efforts for PWR’s Expertise Location/Social Networking tool – AskMe Enterprise, and PWR’s meeting capture and presentation tool, Quindi Meeting Companion, as well as writing, editing, and publishing a monthly KM newsletter, quicKMemos.

Rick is currently enrolled in the Roland Tseng College of Extended Learning at California State University at Northridge in the Masters in Knowledge Management program. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of La Verne in 1976.

Contact: Rick can be reached by e-mail at for additional information about this pre-conference session.

Websites: and

John Pourdehnad

Biography: John Pourdehnad is Associate Director, of the Ackoff Collaboratory for Advancement of Systems Approaches at the University of Pennsylvania. His primary areas of interest include implications of systems thinking in complex problem formulation, including complex project leadership. He consults and lectures internationally.

Contact: John can be reached by e-mail at for additional information about this pre-conference session.


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