You can create better…
…business solutions and outcomes less expensively by tapping into your company’s collective intelligence through a blended use of traditional and emerging tools to more easily generate, amend and access information. While working to help clients for our entire careers, for more than a year now, we have been working with clients to improve how they do and improve their work in a new and exciting way to get more out of what they already have.
What is new?
Just recently, and continuously, a number of light-weight collaborative tools are becoming available. Fueled by the consumer trends toward open source and open communication, simple, easy-to setup and use tools are changing how we interact socially and at work.
We are placing a moniker of “collaborative tools” around this group of existing and emerging tools based on their value to how companies work. There are others who refer to these tools as web 2.0 (consumer) or enterprise 2.0 (corporate) and tend to focus on all the cool technology.
In a nutshell, these collaborative tools are providing a catalyst, and enabling, more “talent reach” within and across companies, both synchronously and asynchronously. Said another way, the tools enable more porous boundaries within our enterprise and supply chain. Additionally, these tools provide easier access to, development of, and use of, necessary information.
Author’s sidebar on tools
We have included a number of examples of the more consumer oriented tools to illustrate key capabilities. Each of these more consumer biased tool types currently have “behind the firewall” cousins with similar capabilities. However, because the enterprise market has been slower to adopt, few corporate biased collaborative tools have risen to the market share concentration and penetration as rapidly as have the consumer biased collaborative tools.
The Directed Community is…
… a natural extension of the more traditional initiative teams, stakeholders, experts and consultants. Critical to success is a laser-like focus on business outcomes, a critical core with clearly defined roles, and incentives aligned to encourage value-added contribution and achievement of the business outcome. An interesting characteristic of these collaborative environments is the transparency to contribution and value add.
The directed community varies significantly from the consumer communities in its clear raison d’être (e.g., support business strategy and strategic initiatives) versus more dependence on emergence of consumer based social sites. That said, there are opportunities for bottom-up self-directed work-teams with appropriate prioritization and funding support structures to ensure coordination of tactical work and provide growth paths for bottom up ideas.
…all focus should be on business outcomes within the enterprise. By starting with business solution (desired outcome), we can align, for example:
- How collaborative, both internally and externally?
- Which tools are best (e.g., what is the best blend of collaborative and traditional)?
- What are the roles, skills, knowledge and abilities necessary in a directed community?
- What type of information is needed?
- What value does the information provide in achieving the outcome?
Further, we believe successful companies must move to a more collaborative environment to support wide-spread innovation of how they do and improve work. This innovation occurs via unlocking the collective intelligence. And finally, we believe these collaborative skills are a necessary capability to create and maintain a durable competitive advantage.