Collaboration, Networks and Digital Transformation

If you have ever read ‘Seventh Sense’ by Joshua Ramo, you’ll note that he references the phenomenon of ‘explosive percolation in random networks’. The book and full report on this are fascinating reads for those looking for a deep dive into networks and accelerated learning. But for most of us juggling our everyday priorities, deeper scientific dives are a luxury we often cannot find the time or inclination for. I want to extract the wisdom from the report and explore its application to business strategy, digital transformation and unlocking the value of people to deliver competitive advantage.  I aim to break down the complexity and apply it to something you can find useful.

 

The theory revolves around the idea of transitions. Explosive Percolation occurs whereby in a network (of people), as we keep adding connections, there is a magical point where everything changes. At this point, if we add a small number of extra connections, this causes the network to suddenly become linked together. This transition can be likened to water turning into ice or steam. A very small change can have a dramatic, explosive impact. For a workforce that may be disconnected and working in silos, this means that there is a small change that can dramatically transform the network into being connected, aligned and together. We are all looking to do more with less and find those small changes that make the biggest difference. For most businesses this is the key to unlocking the value of people to accelerate digital transformation and can ultimately mean the difference between success or failure.

 

The link between collaboration, productivity and growth is well documented, after all a company’s biggest asset is its people. This is why most of our customers and many organisations have invested heavily in collaboration software such as Jive, Yammer, Chatter, Slack etc. In many cases this investment hasn’t lead to the dramatic competitive advantage companies had hoped for. This is because technology itself does not drive change, it is the business strategy to take advantage of new technology that drives change. Adoption rates are often low, conversations remain in the inbox and the business remains in silos. We need to unlock the value of these technologies to really change the game for people and organisations.

 

That is where we come in. The small change, that makes the dramatic difference and the catalyst for explosive percolation. I realised this when one of our customers recently described us the catalyst for collaboration app adoption. mHub pulls all the information and content people need (wherever it is stored) into one, single app. People can then have discussions around this, using whichever collaboration software (in many cases more than one) they have invested in. The difference is that everything is in one place and you don’t have to push people to go anywhere or do anything different. It is so simple, intuitive and easy to use that the technology disappears and people are just discussing. We have seen this lead to dramatic rises in adoption of collaboration software, even beyond initial expectations. We allow companies to leverage these investments, unlocking the value of technology and their people to deliver the competitive advantage promised by digital transformation.

Image source: https://michiganross.umich.edu/rtia-articles/varying-faces-collaboration-networks
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