- Image via Wikipedia
Mom always told me, “It’s what’s inside that counts.”
Companies are finally paying attention to how social media affects their businessoutsidethe company walls. They recognize the extent to which Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and other mass-collaboration forums present both opportunities and risks. There is excellent thought leadership on the topic, includingWikinomics,Groundswell, andJeremiah Owyang’s blog, just to name a few.
Less well understood is the value of launching social softwareinsidecompanies. Tapscott and Li/Bernoff each devote one chapter, late in their respective books, to “internal wikis” and the “internal groundswell”. External collaboration seems to be the main course for them, while internal is only dessert.
There are good reasons why super-smart people like Tapscott, Li, Bernoff, and Owyang focus disproportionately on external collaboration. First, external is sexier. External collaboration has far-reaching consequences for a company’s strategy, and even its business model. That’s heady stuff. Internal collaboration, by contrast, is all about working across silos and accelerating decision-making. Only org geeks like me get excited about that. Second, external collaboration has an obvious business owner–the Marketing Department–and therefore an easily identifiable market for books, speeches, and consulting services. The market for internal collaboration is more diverse. It can be IT, the CEO, the COO, HR, Corporate Communications, or no one at all.
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