How much easier would it be if you had free-flowing information within your company?
In this article Andrew McAfee, principle researcher at MIT’s Center for Digital Business, sheds some light on the way business is evolving around us every day and tries to answer this question. In order to take advantage of the easy accessibility of knowledge, years ago he started investigating the ways in which to make businesses have a free flow of information and communication. “I wanted to think about what these tools and the communities and processes and philosophies that came along with these tools meant for good old-fashioned companies trying to get their widgets out the door every day. So I used the phrase “Enterprise 2.0″ as the shorthand for what the Web 2.0 tools and that world meant for enterprises.”
When asked about his elevator pitch, McAfee uses this impactful quote: “So I’ve had to come up with a different way to get at this knowledge challenge in the company. One useful trigger is to use a quote that I first heard a while back that is attributed to Lew Platt, who was the old CEO of Hewlett-Packard. He looked around his organization, which is a big, very well-run, hugely respected company in America for decades. This is not a poorly run company. He looked around Hewlett-Packard and said, ‘If only HP knew what HP knows, we’d be three times more productive.’ Whenever I say that to a room full of executives, you can see the heads nod.”
Although Enterprise 2.0 can be accurately described as social, McAfee avoids it. The reason he cites is “because it has primarily negative connotations, especially for a really hard-headed, pragmatic manager in a business, decision-maker in a business, who just wants to get more stuff done. When that person hears ‘social,’ he thinks of happy hours after work and the corporate softball league. I thought the word ‘social’ would be not just neutral, but actually a bad way to do that.”
Being able to find a way to communicate information that the individuals know to better serve and unify the company can be highly effective and have long term impact.
How do you circulate knowledge in your company? Are you using Yammer, Chatter, or some other Enterprise 2.0 tool?
Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.