Today, McKinsey just released the results of a survey amongst executives on Web 2.0 adoption. Here are some excerpts:
1. The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top. Web 2.0 projects often are seen as grassroots experiments, and leaders sometimes believe the technologies will be adopted without management intervention—a “build it and they will come” philosophy. These business leaders are correct in thinking that participatory technologies are founded upon bottom-up involvement from frontline staffers and that this pattern is fundamentally different from the rollout of ERP systems, for example, where compliance with rules is mandatory. Successful participation, however, requires not only grassroots activity but also a different leadership approach: senior executives often become role models and lead through informal channels.
2. The best uses come from users—but they require help to scale. The applications that drive the most value through participatory technologies often aren’t those that management expects. Efforts go awry when organizations try to dictate their preferred uses of the technologies—a strategy that fits applications designed specifically to improve the performance of known processes—rather than observing what works and then scaling it up. When management chooses the wrong uses, organizations often don’t regroup by switching to applications that might be successful.
3. What’s in the workflow is what gets used. Participatory technologies have the highest chance of success when incorporated into a user’s daily workflow. The importance of this principle is sometimes masked by short-term success when technologies are unveiled with great fanfare; with the excitement of the launch, contributions seem to flourish. As normal daily workloads pile up, however, the energy and attention surrounding the rollout decline, as does participation.
4. Appeal to the participants’ egos and needs—not just their wallets. Traditional management incentives aren’t particularly useful for encouraging participation. A more effective approach plays to the Web’s ethos and the participants’ desire for recognition: bolstering the reputation of participants in relevant communities, rewarding enthusiasm, or acknowledging the quality and usefulness of contributions.
5. The right solution comes from the right participants. Targeting users who can create a critical mass for participation as well as add value is another key to success. 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.
6. Balance the top-down and self-management of risk. A common reason for failed participation is discomfort with it, or even fear. Prudent managers should work with the legal, HR, and IT security functions to establish reasonable policies, such as prohibiting anonymous posting. Fears are often overblown, however, and the social norms enforced by users in the participating communities can be very effective at policing user exchanges and thus mitigating risks.
If you understand Web 2.0, none of these findings should be surprising. If you don’t, I am not sure reading the report will make a difference. To be understood, Web 2.0 is not to be read about. Instead, it has to be experienced. Hence, I will boil down McKinsey‘s 6 ways to only one:
If you want your company to catch the Web 2.0 train, make sure that you yourself, or other executives in your company are already in that train. Blog, and tweet, and start, or participate in wikis. Not just to try. That won’t work. No, you’ve got to be genuinely into it, and make it a part of your regular (work) life. Then, McKinsey‘s 6 rules will become second nature to you. And you may even discover more ingredients to add to the ‘Web 2.0 at work’ secret sauce.
Now, I am going to tweet about this using #web2.0work hashtag, per @ McKQuarterly ‘s request – if you don’t understand, then I suggest you get a tutorial from one of your Web 2.0 savvy friends 🙂