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The Tools for Innovation and Co-Creation

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The most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped. By fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers — high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals — by 20 to 25 percent. [McKinsey Global Institute, July 2012.]

We recently reported on the general outlines of this recent McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) study and now would like to fill in some of the most important details about knowledge workers and collaboration.

When it comes to collaboration, companies utilize a mix of tools and technologies. There are many large companies, such as IBM and SAP, that produce innovations to existing products by collaborating outside the company with customers, partners, and experts as well as people across the company.

The question is, what tools and resources do engineers and other innovation workers use to promote collaboration and knowledge-sharing, and accelerate product development?

The tools vary by industry and by task, and include an array of traditional internal repositories and systems, external content sources, and a number of new social technologies that enable greater collaboration and new forms of content creation, sharing, and consumption.

The report from McKinsey Global Institute indicates that:

[…] knowledge workers spend 28 hours each week writing emails, searching for information, and collaborating internally. Per MGI, Web 2.0 technologies — such as social networks, ratings and reviews, wikis, discussion forums and crowd-sourcing, among others — could represent a 20-25 percent improvement in knowledge worker productivity. With internal knowledge and external information more readily available via social media — a typical information worker could reduce information searching time by as much as 35 percent, returning over 6 percent of an innovation or knowledge worker’s workweek to other tasks.

MGI estimates that two-thirds of the value creation opportunity afforded by social media technologies comes from an organization’s ability to better communicate within and across the enterprise.

MGI also estimates that in using social technologies to gather customer feedback and gain customer insights, improve internal and external collaboration, and enable the co-creation of products, advanced manufacturing companies can capture value equal to 12%-15% of the costs.

Other findings of the study include the following:

  • Just 3% of companies are “fully networked” and using social media to interact with customers, partners, and employees.
  • In the U.S., only 5% of all communications and content takes place on social networks.
  • Companies that seek consumer input to drive product development have an opportunity to generate consumer insights and market intelligence via social media.
  • Social technologies could add an estimated $170-200 billion in value annually for advanced manufacturing industries.

Here is an infographic from the study:

Social Technologies Today graph

Untapped Potential graph

What social media tools and technologies does your team use to collaboratively solve problems? We would really like to know, so please add your thoughts to the comments.

Source: “The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies,” MGI, July 2012
Source: “Collaborating Across Geographies to Foster New Ideas, Innovation,” Goldfire Blog, 06/13/12
Image by FreeDigitalPhotos.net.