publication date: Sep 12, 2012
It's official! Social media - that time-sucking sink of
party photos, cute cat videos and endless celebrity factoids - could be a huge
source of productivity gains. That conclusion comes from McKinsey
directors and principals James Manyika
, Michael Chui
and Hugo Sarrazin
via the Harvard Business Review
They're convinced that social media may become "the most
powerful tools yet developed to raise the productivity of high-skill knowledge
workers." And they make a convincing case. World-wide, over
1.5 billion people
have a social networking account. The same background report
finds that nearly 20% of the world's online hours are spent on social networks.
Those are powerful arguments for devoting some marketing and fundraising
attention to them.
Even more potential
to reach within
An even bigger potential win remains for organizations to
explore. Using social technologies to improve internal communication and
collaboration could create twice as much value as all the other roles social
media might play, the McKinsey team found!
They're talking about businesses, of course (consumer
packaged goods, consumer finance, professional services and advanced
manufacturing). But for nonprofits, where collaboration and consensus building
among boards, committees, service users, volunteers and staff is an essential
part of the core work, couldn't the gains be just as great?
The barriers to collective work that hinder progress at
nonprofits are the same as those that hinder corporate progress.
Vital knowledge is buried in individual hard
drives, email files and personal memories (some of that offsite in the case of
Endless email discussion threads fail to get
everyone on the same page.
Decision makers who depend on that elusive information
spend an estimated 28% of their time handling current email, 19% of their time
trying to track down buried information, and 14% of their time collaborating.
That's a lot of expensive time wasted! Social technologies,
the McKinsey experts believe, could help people handle those needs up to 25%
Working smarter with
Here's what the McKinsey team says it would take.
- Discipline: the time spent on social networks is
for communicating and collaborating, not sharing cute kitten videos.
Universal adoption: everyone must participate.
Integration: social technologies must be an
essential part of the workflow, not an awkward add-on that is viewed as
An environment of openness, sharing and trust: leaders
must use the technologies, model them, explain and support them, and share
Manyika, Chui and Sarrazin are convinced that organizations
that adopt these technologies successfully will be faster on their feet, more
adaptable, and better able to absorb and act on new ideas.
their full post