Collaborative Technology & The Knowledge Worker

The heart of what knowledge workers do on the job is collaborate, which in general means they interact to solve problems, serve customers, engage with partners, and nurture new ideas in sectors ranging from scientific research to line level problem solving.  In some sectors knowledge workers can account for up to 75% of the workforce, but we still don’t have adequate metrics to improve its efficiency and minimize the ‘wasted’ time inherent to knowledge work.

The recent influx of both commercial and open source collaborative technology solutions when used by knowledge workers has the potential to improve efficiency and add an element of quantitative metrics to measure success in an industry that has to this point been subjective.  There is potential for sizeable gains from even modest improvements of access to web 2.0 tools such as social networks, wikis, and video conferencing.  Both Cisco Systems and Procter and Gamble have employed this strategy with their international enterprise sales teams and have seen a significant improvement in productivity.

Now comes the important part –  in order to be really effective leaders must consider the behavioral and structural requirements of their industry first by understanding the capabilities their own knowledge workers need to increase their productivity, and not tailor their processes to accomodate the capabilities new technologies provide.  This may mean that out of the box solutions are not appropriate for your organization and require customization.  Like any other product or service; not all collaborations are created equal!

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Click on the image to check out McKinsey & Companies interactive tool to assess what collaborative tools are most appropriate for each class of worker!
(Using technology to improve workforce collaboration, James Manyika, Kara Sprague and Lareina Yee, 27 October 2009)

This entry was posted in Collaboration, Collective Intellegence, Innovation, Leadership by John. Bookmark the permalink.

About John

“John Abele is a pioneer and leader in the field of less-invasive medicine, For more than four decades, John has devoted himself to innovation in health care, business and solving social problems.” He is retired Founding Chairman of Boston Scientific Corporation. John holds numerous patents and has published and lectured extensively on the technology of various medical devices and on the technical, social, economic, and political trends and issues affecting healthcare. His major interests are science literacy for children, education, and the process by which new technology is invented, developed, and introduced to society. Current activities include Chair of the FIRST Foundation which works with high school kids to make being science-literate cool and fun, and development of The Kingbridge Centre and Institute, a conferencing institution whose mission is to research, develop, and teach improved methods for interactive conferencing: problem solving, conflict resolution, strategic planning, new methods for learning and generally help groups to become “Collectively intelligent.” He lives with his wife and two dogs in Shelburne, Vermont.”

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