McKinsey on using Technology to Improve Workforce Collaboration

by Fredrik Savin on 29/10/2009 · 0 comments

McKinsey’s What Matters recently published an essay on how technology can improve collaboration among knowledge workers and make them more productive.

The essay includes an interactive feature that examines twelve different types of collaboration efforts in the workplace and the tools required for these interactions to thrive.

According to the authors, one must understand the details of how collaboration workers get their work done in order to increase their productivity. Collaboration workers have been defined as “those who interact to solve problems, serve customers and conceive new ideas”.

McKinsey first identified twelve segments of these workers. Each segment was characterised by the day-to-day activities required for their respective jobs. The twelve segments were then matched with the technologies and tools that best support their workflows.


Segment: Manager

  • Characteristics: The manager supervises other people and business processes
  • Job types: Editors, film directors and line managers
  • Well suited tools: Conceptual authoring, shared workspace, wiki, virtual whiteboard, instant messenger, video conferencing and telepresence
  • Adequate tools: Fax, podcasts, RSS, surveys, co-authoring, document/file sharing and audio bridge
  • Ill suited tools: Authoring, annotations, e-mail, blogs, application/screen sharing, real-time polling and web conferencing

Interestingly, e-mail, which is one of most widely used communication tools today, has been classified as ill suited for the manager.

The interactive feature is based on Adobe Flash and is very well built. I recommend everyone with an interest in Enterprise 2.0, Web 2.0 and collaboration to read the essay and play around with the feature.

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