Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Technology Evangelist?

One of my principal activities these days is to bring Semantic Technology to markets and society in order to improve our (for the moment, professional) lives. This involves, among others, understanding of technology and market mechanisms, business insight and business development, and knowledge of processes related to innovation. Many times I find myself talking to people trying to convince them about the great things, the major leap forward, that this new technology can bring us. I am convinced myself; for sure. I often use the term: “to evangelize”, in analogy to the evangelists of the Bible.

Recently I found out that this is actually a know position in organizations, and I found a study that analyzes several important technology evangelists of Silicon Valley (I think Apple appointed the first one). The study can be found here, and I found the reference at the blog “How to Change the World” of Guy Kawasaki, quite an interesting and entertaining blog (e.g. check out the video on “The Art of the Start”).

The abstract of the study is as follows (taken from http://www.growthresourcesinc.com/TechEvan.pdf):

"The purpose of this study was to gain a clearer understanding of the relatively new phenomenon known as the "technology evangelist." By our exploration, we aim to help readers improve their management functions, and to understand how best to integrate “evangelists” within their organizations.

In order to do so, we analyzed the roles of those who hold this position and leadership styles. Our research included surveying and interviewing 29 technical evangelists worldwide from a variety of cultures and organizations.

Some general tendencies regarding the role did, indeed, emerge. However, we also discovered variable character, or personality, patterns among the participants. Therefore, we proceeded to examine the gap, between the role of the technology evangelist and the subject’s personal character.

We contrasted individual competencies with these character patterns, and created a grid to analyze their qualities of leadership. This paper includes our recommendations for recruiting, integrating, developing and managing the technology evangelists."


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