Collaboration is difficult for large companies. Getting a cross-functional, global team together to participate in the development of a customer solution is difficult. Just navigating time zones is a real pain. As Strategic Account Managers we deal with this regularly. Thankfully, Web 2.0 is making participant involvement easier. Not only is participation easier, but the inclusion of more of the right minds often leads to better solutions.
Take for example a story about Best Buy that was relayed in a McKinsey Quarterly article titled Six ways to make Web 2.0 work. "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. 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 predication markets. The resulting forecasts were more accurate than those produced by the company’s experts."
The Best Buy example is an effective demonstration of tapping into the cognitive surplus that often exists in organizations to develop a more effective solution. Just think about the possibilities if we were to tap into the same surplus that exists external to the organization. Companies are developing customer communities as a means to co-create new products and obtain input on existing products, services and support. It might make the job of solution develop easier and more effective. If you’re not already, you should be thinking about ways your business can put more minds inside and outside the organization to work on your most pressing business challenges.
Senior Vice President