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What do Pixar, Google, Lockheed Martin, AT&T, P&G and Best Buy have in common? E2.0

Continuing on from my last few posts, I’ve found an interesting study conducted by McKinsey Quarterly titled, “Six ways to make Web 2.0 work“. The article is 100% focused on the internal aspects of Web 2.0 in businesses (or Enterprise 2.0) and discusses topics such as:

  • The new tools available to business in comparison to older style tools. Ie. Automatic transactions vs. enabling participation and collaboration.
  • The gains to be harvested from unlocking this participation
  • 6 ways to unlock participation amongst employees and make web 2.0 work.
  • and what’s next?

Particularly of interest to me were the numerous case studies they reported. I’ve just taken huge chunks of block quotes here to demonstrate my point but you should definitely read the whole article for more clarification and meaning.

At Lockheed Martin, for instance, a direct report to the CIO championed the use of blogs and wikis when they were introduced. The executive evangelized the benefits of Web 2.0 technologies to other senior leaders and acted as a role model by establishing his own blog. He set goals for adoption across the organization, as well as for the volume of contributions. The result was widespread acceptance and collaboration across the company’s divisions.

[…]

At AT&T, it was frontline staffers who found the best use for a participatory technology—in this case, using Web 2.0 for collaborative project management. Rather than dictating the use, management broadened participation by supporting an awareness campaign to seed further experimentation. Over a 12-month period, the use of the technology rose to 95 percent of employees, from 65 percent.

[…]

Google is an instructive case to the contrary. It has modified the way work is typically done and has made Web tools relevant to how employees actually do their jobs. The company’s engineers use blogs and wikis as core tools for reporting on the progress of their work. Managers stay abreast of their progress and provide direction by using tools that make it easy to mine data on workflows. Engineers are better able to coordinate work with one another and can request or provide backup help when needed. The easily accessible project data allows senior managers to allocate resources to the most important and time-sensitive projects.

Pixar moved in a similar direction when it upgraded a Web 2.0 tool that didn’t quite mesh with the way animators did their jobs. The company started with basic text-based wikis to share information about films in production and to document meeting notes. That was unsatisfactory, since collaborative problem solving at the studio works best when animators, software engineers, managers, and directors analyze and discuss real clips and frames from a movie. Once Pixar built video into the wikis, their quality improved as critiques became more relevant. The efficiency of the project groups increased as well.

[…]

To select users who will help drive a self-sustaining effort (often enthusiastic early technology adopters who have rich personal networks and will thus share knowledge and exchange ideas), a thoughtful approach is required. When P&G introduced wikis and blogs to foster collaboration among its workgroups, the company targeted technology-savvy and respected opinion leaders within the organization. Some of these people ranked high in the corporate hierarchy, while others were influential scientists or employees to whom other colleagues would turn for advice or other assistance.

When Best Buy experimented with internal information markets, the goal was to ensure that participation helped to create value. In these markets, employees place bets on business outcomes, such as sales forecasts.6 To improve the chances of success, Best Buy cast its net widely, going beyond in-house forecasting experts; it also sought out participants with a more diverse base of operational knowledge who could apply independent judgment to the prediction markets. The resulting forecasts were more accurate than those produced by the company’s experts.

Source: McKinsey Quarterly. (2009). Six ways to make Web 2.0 work. Retrieved August 21, 2009, from, http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Six_ways_to_make_Web_20_work_2294#SubmitLetter

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