We all went to school to learn. We all live and learn while doing it. And doing things, whenever you can, is a great and fun way to learn. And it is hard to gain true understanding if you cannot practice what you have learned. This includes the use of media, technology, and (new) social behavior. Hence, if someone stops you from doing things, such as using a particular blog tool, then you cannot learn about that.

In the excellent podcast For Immediate Release, episode 238, hosts Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz discusses to what extent, how, and why organizations IT deparments decide to limit the use of Information Technology. Today I e-mailed them an audio comment with my personal experiences and thoughts around that issue. In the comment I provide examples from Ericsson, Volvo Group, AstraZeneca, and many more organizations. (I will publish it here later on, but FiR should have the opportunity to use it first. I owe them more than that because of all the things I have learned from them. Also, links to my blog and wiki assignments at the Krakow University mentioned in the comment).

Here is my main point: Various measures to control access to IT is an alarming issue for the organizations who have not yet understood the consequences of their current security measures. These might stop outsiders getting access to internal systems, and keep insiders away from what might look as non-work-related stuff. But in the long run the result is an organization full of members who neither know what is going on, nor get the chance to develop knowledge and skills concerning media development and new social patterns. On the small side, the security walls is also a problem for me as a professional presenter and teacher. Same thing goes for Neville and Shel.

What do you think? Do you have any experiences around this issue?

[Update 2007-05-28] Whow! FiR included my comment immediately in its 243:rd episode (1h:03m:30s in). Hosts Neville Hobson and Sallie Goetsch added some superb remarks. Neville also suggested that instead of only discuss bad cases (as I did) we should converse about the good ones. As a result I am publishing a weconverse pod episode here with an excerpt from the FiR show with my comment. I did also add the example of Best Western Sweden, where visitors and guests at their hotels have free WiFi access to the Internet as of April this year (more info in Swedish).

[Update 2007-09-26] See also Shel Holz’ Stop Blocking initiative.