John Seely Brown and John Hagel have a blog at HBR and are writing about The Enterprise Value of Social Software at the blog and are developing a longer white paper on the topic. They are looking at how social software fits their new model of "Pull" (going along with their book).
Here, we'd like to examine how social software supports all three levels of Pull: from Access to Attract to Achieve.
In the blog entry they cover each of these "A's" in brief. Their book covers them in more detail (I assume). But it makes sense. Social software should enable people to get to the right people much faster in order to get things done and move on (and knowledge management to a large extent should do this too).
So what's blocking the adoption of these ideas to make businesses more effective? One thing they touch on and I have been seeing more and more: while businesses want to be effective, they are measuring by efficiency. And efficiency is just the wrong measure to use. Everyone needs to support the goals of the business - this does not mean that everyone needs to be busy 100% of the time. If they are, they are just doing "make work" to keep the appearance that they are busy.
There is a classic tale, I believe about IBM, where the chief is giving a tour and they walk by the office of someone who has his feet up on the desk and is staring out the window. After the group walks by, someone asks who that guy was - with the assumption that he can't be long for the world if the chief caught him slacking. Nope, "That's Joe. He made the company $10 million last year. We are letting him come up with more of those ideas." [If you have the correct version of this story, please let me know!]
My point with this IBM story is that the guy "looks" inefficient. But he is very effective. Why do we continue to believe that if everyone is busy then we will have a successful company?
[Photo: "The PULL" by Syed Abulhasan Rizvi]