Posted by: gavinstokes | August 31, 2011

Summary of “Six ways to make Web 2.0 work” The McKinsey Quarterly


  1. organizational structure,
  2. the inability of managers to understand the new levers of change,
  3. lack of understanding about how value is created using Web 2.0
  4. managers simply don’t know how to encourage the needed type of participation
  5. Executives who are suspicious or uncomfortable

They also demand a mind-set different from that of earlier IT programs, which were instituted primarily by edicts from senior managers.

What distinguishes them WEB 2.0 from previous technologies is the high degree of participation they require to be effective. Unlike ERP and CRM, where most users either simply process information in the form of reports or use the technology to execute transactions (such as issuing payments or entering customer orders), Web 2.0 technologies are interactive and require users to generate new information and content or to edit the work of other participants.

Spending on them is now a relatively modest $1 billion, but the level of investment is expected to grow by more than 15 percent annually over the next five years, despite the current recession. (We’re in on the ground floor fellas).

Critical factors

  1. The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top. 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.
  3. What’s in the workflow is what gets used. Web 2.0 and participating in online work communities often becomes just another “to do” on an already crowded list of tasks. If its not part of the work process interest will fall off.
  4. Appeal to the participants’ egos and needs—not just their wallet. Compulsory participation tied to monetary benefits leads to poor quality material. ’Desire for  recognition and bolstering the reputation of participants are stronger motivators for participatory platforms.
  5. The right solution comes from the right participants. With participatory technologies, it’s far from obvious which individuals will be the best participants. Without the right base, efforts are often ineffective. Targeted technology-savvy and respected opinion leaders within the organization.
  6. Balance the top-down and self-management of risk. Participatory initiatives can be stalled by legal and HR concerns.  The problem differs from previous technology adoptions in that it’s no longer high cost and pure execution but is now low cost and undesired results. There must be a balance between freedom and control and at times fears may be unjustified and self policing of social norms regularly occurs.

Next Steps
Encouraging participation calls for new approaches that break with the methods used to deploy IT in the past.


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