“Shared information multiplies its value, hoarding information diminishes it. Increased transparency not only helps to share the information, but builds trust.”
—David Coleman, CMS Wire
A Shift in Mindset
Enterprise collaboration is more than just bringing people together; it’s about enabling people to work better together and to deliver business results faster. David Coleman discusses what he calls the collaboration shift: “The collaborative shift is a shift in mindset. It incorporates attitudes, morale, culture, relationships and more, but fundamentally it's a paradigm shift in the way you think about work. It includes considering the ‘we,’ as well as the ‘me.’”
But why change? A colleague of mine always references David Weinberger, who stated, “The smartest person in the room is the room.” You may be an expert in your domain, but learning new things and solving problems alone takes time. There is a definite business advantage in being able to find experts with the knowledge you need hiding within your organization or somewhere in the company. It’s going to be faster to leverage their expertise when you need it.
Applying the Collective Wisdom
CIOs are starting to think strategically about collaboration. Collaboration itself needs to be a strategic initiative, one that can be integrated into all of the services that IT provides. Why wouldn’t you want employees to be able to work better and with greater velocity through having access to the collective wisdom of “the room?”
It sounds easy, but it’s hard to apply what you don’t know firsthand. IT itself has to embrace collaboration and work more collaboratively to apply some of the social collaboration concepts to solve problems.
As an example, I helped a small team learn about crowdsourcing and apply it in IT to solve a problem. Together, we designed an IT cost-cutting idea jam using our internal collaboration platform to source and collaborate on new ideas from IT employees. We explained that employees delivering services are in a great position to understand the details of how IT really works and that we needed their valuable insight. Over a three-week period, a community formed. IT employees submitted ideas, reviewed their peers’ ideas, and commented or asked idea owners for clarification, which further developed the ideas. Employees were able to vote the ideas up or down.
By the end, IT employees were engaged — they provided 98 new ideas on how to cut costs from the ground up. Then, the small team I worked with facilitated virtual discussions with the top idea owners and facilitated a lot of matchmaking so people with similar ideas could collaborate. Many of the crowdsourced ideas are being implemented today.
This IT idea jam community learned how to apply crowdsourcing and use social collaboration to move their own organization forward in a cost-effective, productive way. They are now advocates of collaboration. And there are efforts like this happening every day across the company. People are starting to see the value in collaboration.
At Intel, we’re focused on enhancing our existing collaboration experience to increase the velocity and to leverage knowledge of the whole organization. We are connecting employees around the world to each other and to content they would have never had visibility to in the past. It’s about breaking down organizational, geographical, and hierarchical barriers so that employees can solve problems together.
The modern workforce, especially Millennials, has learned to expect a high level of feedback and social interaction when online. Leveraging social actions like shares, mentions, or voting, or introducing gamification, can help boost productivity, performance, and engagement.
It’s been a journey. We have made substantial improvements as we evolve in these four areas: integration, security, engagement, and mobility. Our goal is to make sure our employees and business partners can collaborate easily and effectively so that business opportunities are not missed.
And we are in the midst of that shift in mindset, a collaboration shift.