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Collaboration efficiency is greater outside than inside enterprises

January 20, 2009

Last week, I attended a presentation by Shel Israel on Twitter.

In the course of his lively speech  Shel illustrated the speed and efficiency of twitter using the well-known examples of Motrin, Ford Ranger, Chevy Volt and the Pepsi Suicide advertisement which all triggered a mini revolution within impacted communities.

Some thoughts went through my mind then and I’m sort of dumping there here.

Could it be that now group of individuals outside, a.k.a tribes,  use technology and have adopted  a culture that is just far superior (for collaboration) to the ones still used inside nearly every company? Every second, tons of new connections are made by people with a shared sense of purpose, knowledge is created/shared at the speed of light and it’s done in an open/trust oriented manner.

It does seem like yes.

Indeed, while individuals have embraced web2.0 technologies, most companies are still bogged down trying to figure out the ROI of such technologies.  To make the matter worst, technologies that have been very successful outside (like RSS), are failing inside. Not good! the 10 reasons mentioned by Mike sound all too familiar and don’t really exist outside companies.
They’re exceptions. According to Bertrand Duperrin, Cisco made/is making the move. No surprise, Cisco has always been at the bleeding edge of new technologies that improve operations (I remember 10+ years ago their amazing support website which got awards for using web1.0 technologies when everybody else was just calculating the ROI).  Note what Chamber’s said: The future is the group. We’re back to the tribes.

So what’s the alternative for enterprises?

They’re playing catch up and they have to become part of relevant tribes where the tribes hang out online (by the way, they are welcome by 92% of us);
Fortunately, there are  people in any organization who will naturally become champions of the social media initiatives.  It’s key to welcome and empower these people, nurture their knowledge, connect them together inside and outside even if they’re not part of the same function/organization…and make it easy for them to get / share knowledge, experiences, and expertise .
It’s very powerful; a few years ago, I saw the quick adoption of IM in a software development organization.  People brought it in from the outside (without asking IT or top management), it started with a few ‘open minded’ folks who saw it as a solution to their need for quick back and forth communication (oops conversations). Not long after, everybody was using it in development, quality assurance, marketing..and communication just got better, faster.

It’s just a matter of time before enterprises embrace the right combination of collaboration model and technology that has made their customers so powerful.

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