Friday, June 27, 2008

Talent Management: Satisfied Employees Innovate More Effectively

Talent Management is becoming harder and harder. CEO's world wide rank their top three business priorities consistently as Talent Management, Innovation, and Profitable Revenue Growth.

Positively influencing staff is one way to develop an environment and culture where people want to do their best and want to stay. This is critical to developing innovation capacity and depth of knowledge in the organization to continually experiment and evolve new ideas into new or current markets.

Success comes through people. If you understand what motivates people, you have at your command the most powerful tool for dealing with them to get them achieve extraordinary results. When companies are effective in satisfying their employees, employees stay longer, make a deeper commitment to the business, recommend ways to improve the company's products and services, and work harder to satisfy the customer.

In almost every survey of factors that motivate employees in the workplace, job satisfaction is at or near the top of the list, far surpassing pay and benefits. Creating a work environment that encourages rapid response to customers' needs and attentive follow-through is the key to leveraging the power of your service-profit chain. This is only possible when people are empowered to make decisions and are motivated to solve problems. Encourage employees to go beyond the literal boundaries of their jobs – to make suggestions for improvement – and you will gain not just a part, but the full potential of their contributions to the business.

The recent Randstad's 2008 World of Work survey, focused on the changes in the workplace as a result of the recession, specifically how the lackluster economy is impacting employers' and employer' expectations and demands. Likewise, it discusses the role of "employership" as a recession-proof practice that employers should incorporate into the work environment. The balance of this blog discusses this research report findings. Getting into the psyche of our employees is important in order to build a strong innovation culture. Two of the major failures in innovation is lack of leadership, and having an effective culture. Culture is all about people -their beahviors, values, norms, rituals, and the stories they share. When employees are satified, customer satisfaction increases, as does innovation capacity.

The Key findings:

- More employees say now is a good time to take on more work; fewer think it is a good time to look for a job that pays more;
- Employees’ job satisfaction is at its highest it four years;
-Fewer employees report flexible work hours, more paid time off and opportunity for advancement as important to keeping them happy on the job;
- Employees expect their companies to provide for basic needs such as health insurance; and
- Employees feel they deserve a share in company success, including bonuses based on company profits

An electronic copy of the survey report

Current Employee Outlook in North America

Fears of a recession have North Americans nervous about job security, and they are quickly understanding that compromise is a must in this lackluster economy, according to Randstad's ninth annual 2008 World of Worksurvey.

As once-plentiful job opportunities become scarcer, workplace expectations and demands are shifting and employee power is transferring back to the employer. Despite this, employee satisfaction is on the rise with the highest levels reported since 2004.

For the past five years, Randstad has tracked a trend of increasingly confident employees – switching jobs, taking risks and demanding benefits. These employees were emboldened by what seemed to be a strong economy in which jobs were plentiful and the right people were not. Today, employees are re-evaluating their own on-the-job performance and what is reasonable to expect from employers. Randstad’s survey suggests that, as the economy softens and good jobs are harder to find and keep, employees’ expectations are lowering and they are more appreciative of their current jobs.

As a result, employers are finding it easier to ensure employees’ happiness with less effort and investment than in recent years. Yet, Randstad cautions that securing a good balance is critical to long-term business success and suggests that now is the time for employers to incorporate the ongoing practice of “employership” into their work environments. Despite tightening budgetary constraints in the workplace, businesses should continue to invest in and focus on building professional relationships with their employees, developing employees’ skills, and recognizing the value that each individual brings to the organization -- just a few of many characteristics that create an atmosphere of employership.

“Even in a downshifting economy, it’s important for companies to stay focused on ‘employership’ and continue building highly-rewarding and productive relationships with employees who can make a positive difference in a company’s long-term success,” said Eric Buntin, managing director, marketing and operations for Randstad USA.

“Employership is recession-proof and employers must continuously encourage their employees to provide input on key business issues, think innovatively, and leverage their strengths to help create an organization where employees want to work and achieve company goals.”

Job satisfaction is on the rise

Feeling the pressure of a less secure job market, employees today want to guarantee that they are recession-proof at work. Since last year, more employees surveyed say now is a good time to take on more work, fewer think it is a good time to look for a job that pays more, and less are asking for help to lighten their own load at work. While employees are feeling the pressure of a less secure job market and added leverage is shifting back to employers, the Randstad survey tracked that employees’ job satisfaction is at its highest it four years.

Four major aspects of employee satisfaction have risen sharply in the past four years:

- Number of hours worked
- Opportunities to learn new things
- Amount of work expected to handle
- Level of compensation

Employees lower expectations, yet demand basics

Maintaining employees’ satisfaction may be easier for employers in the current economic climate as employees are expecting less from their companies. Fewer employees report flexible work hours, more paid time off and opportunity for advancement as important to keeping them happy on the job.

However, even in an economic downturn, employees expect their companies to provide for basic needs and feel they deserve a share in company success. While competitive pay continues to be important in keeping employees happy, it has dropped in importance from last year’s survey, indicating that employees understand that compromise may be unavoidable. Health insurance, the most critical, remains important, showing that even with economic pressures employees expect and require basic needs. Bonuses based on company profits have not eroded in importance, indicating that employees feel that if the company succeeds, they deserve to share in that success.

Employees Say What is Important to Happiness on the Job

- Competitive Pay
- Health Insurance
- Flexible Work Hours
- Bonuses Based on Profits
- Increased paid time off
- Opportunity for advancement

In today’s uncertain workplace, cultural and soft benefits are not as important as economic well-being begins to overshadow emotional well-being. Employees and employers alike view all 15 soft benefits noted in the survey as less important than in 2006, including such intangible benefits as:

15 Soft Benefits that Employees and Employers Say are Less Important Now Than in 2006

- feeling valued
- recognition & appreciation
- supportive environment
- leadership I can relate to
- being part of a team capable workforce
- lack of stress
- shared vision
- personal growth
- empowerment collective commitment to objectives
- sharp individual accountabilities
- fitting into culture
- platforms for collaboration
- rigorous performance management

Expectations vary among generations

Some of the steepest declines in employee expectations of benefits and job security have occurred in Gen X and Gen Y, the two youngest generations whose expectations are traditionally highest. In particular, competitive pay has declined among Gen X (70%, down 9 points) and Gen Y (71%, down 15 points) in the past two years, indicating that it is no longer as important to keeping them happy in their current jobs.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States on behalf of Randstad USA between December 14, 2007 and January 16, 2008 among 3,494 U.S. adults (age 18 and older), among whom 1,295 were employers and 2,199 were employees. The sample for employees consisted of U.S. residents who are currently employed full-time or self-employed in a company with at least five employees.

The employer sample consisted of U.S. business professionals who make or strongly influence strategic Human Resources decisions and have been doing so for at least six months. The employee universe is segmented into three categories: small (5-49 employees), medium (50-499) and large (500 or more) companies/organizations; and four generational categories born between the respective years: Gen Y (1980-1988), Gen X (1965-1979), Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Matures (1900-1945).

The data from this survey was weighted to “match the characteristics of” and to remove potential biases so that the data is “projectable to the population of interest.” Propensity Score weighting, a proprietary weighting technique, was used to adjust for differences between the online population and the offline population to ensure that the data is representative of the general populations in question.

Concluding Comments

As corporations strive to boost earnings in an increasingly competitive environment, they inevitably turn their attention to the issue of employee productivity. When employees are unsatisfied with their current work situation, productivity decreases, tension builds in the workplace, and morale becomes very low.

Companies have known historically that morale affects productivity, yet management has struggled to come to terms with the factors that can create positive morale and an environment that attracts and retains workers and encourages them to produce. Many programs focused on enriching jobs and supporting self-directed work teams have proven to be effective.

General Electric has applied these concepts to its workplace and, subsequently, has become one of the most successful and most competitive companies in the United States.”

RHR has also found that employees are most likely to stay put when they are both satisfied with their jobs and also committed to the organization. The question then becomes: What constitutes job satisfaction and how can one gauge organizational commitment?

Job satisfaction consists of three core dimensions: meaningfulness of the work, felt responsibility, and knowledge of the results of work efforts. These components are enhanced through attention to five areas: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback.

Work is motivating when the employee perceives the enhancement of these job characteristics.

In summary, organizations that want to transform their business organizations and grow their talent to enable stronger innovation capacity will need to ensure they know how their employees are feeling about their work environments. Typically the attributes to watch closely for employee satisfaction in relationship to innovation capacity are:

- Collaboration and Team Work Skills
- Risk Taking
- Supportive Work Environment
- Knowledge Management
- Openness and Transparency
- Reward and Recognition
- Diversity
- Creativity and Experimentation

If you have any questions on this post, welcome a continued dialogue.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Forrester Report: Web 2.0 Market to reach $4.6B by 2013

Despite a long-term future marked by commoditization, enterprise spending on Web 2.0 technologies will surge over the next five years, growing 43 percent each year to reach $4.6 billion globally by 2013, according to a new report by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR - News).

The five-year Forrester forecast includes a breakdown of future business spending on technologies such as social networking, RSS, blogs, wikis, mashups, podcasting, and widgets, as well as an analysis of enterprise Web 2.0 spending across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Forrester believes that Web 2.0 technologies represent a fundamentally new way to connect with customers and prospects and harness the collaborative power of employees. Large enterprises such as General Motors, McDonald’s, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, and Wells Fargo have all made heavy use of these tools, and 56 percent of North American and European enterprises consider Web 2.0 to be a priority in 2008 according to a recent Forrester survey.

“Software firms can make money selling enterprise Web 2.0 software, but it will not be an easy road to hundred-million-dollar run rates,” said Forrester Research Analyst G. Oliver Young. “The market for enterprise Web 2.0 tools will be defined by commoditization, eroding prices, and incorporation into enterprise collaboration software over the next five years. It will eventually disappear into the fabric of the enterprise, despite the major effects the technology will have on how businesses market their products and optimize their workforces.”

The key question for software firms is who pays for Web 2.0 in the enterprise? Three challenges face vendors: IT shops are wary of what they perceive as insecure, consumer-grade technology; ad-supported Web 2.0 tools on the consumer side have set “free” as a starting point; and Web 2.0 technologies enter a crowded space dominated by legacy software investments.

Currently, large businesses are spending more on employee collaboration tools than customer-facing Web 2.0 technologies, but Forrester expects that trend to reverse by next year. By 2013, investment in customer-facing Web 2.0 technology will dwarf spending on internal collaboration software by nearly a billion dollars.

“Social Computing and Web 2.0 marketing are still in their infancy; and in general, the market is still in an experimentation phase,” said Young. “In the long run, the affect of Web 2.0 will be enormous. But what may prove to be of more value to vendors will be the skills of running a successful software-as-a-service (SaaS) business. For the vendors that do it well, disaggregating expertise about the medium from Web 2.0 content is likely to provide far more value than wikis and blogs ever did.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Leading Employees Towards Innovation

Innovation often brings to mind visions of white-coated laboratory technicians peering into microscopes or bespectacled engineers poring over design specs. But it might be more appropriate to visualize water-cooler chats, employees at keyboards or executive pow-wows as examples of innovation in action. After all, research shows that's where a lot of innovation actually occurs in organizations.

This is valuable insight for leaders, who have many options for encouraging innovative thinking throughout the organization.

The walk

To begin, if leaders want employees to become more innovative in their daily work, those at the top must be willing to demonstrate how that is done. A study from researchers in the Netherlands found that the leadership behaviors of "innovative role-modeling" and "providing vision" were among those that influenced both idea generation and the application of new ideas by employees. Jeroen P. J. de Jong (2007) of EIM Small Business Research and Consultancy and Deanne N. Den Hartog of the University of Amsterdam Business School conducted interviews in knowledge-based service companies and combed through the literature, finding that 13 specific leadership behaviors were linked with innovative employee behavior.

But that doesn't mean such behaviors are common in organizations today. In fact, leaders don't always "walk the walk" in regard to innovation, according to a global study of 293 senior executives by Oliver Wyman of Delta Organization & Leadership in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit ("Executives," 2007). The Global Leadership Imperative series found that more than half of respondents said their leaders failed to set a clear course for innovation or create the kind of environment that supports innovation. Furthermore, 68% said their leaders failed to facilitate idea generation. Without visible evidence from the top that employee innovation is, in fact, critical to business results, workers are unlikely to reach that conclusion on their own.

The Talk

Communication - both from outside the organization and within it - is another key factor in increasing employee innovation, according to the Netherlands study. Leaders who "talk the talk" can prompt innovative employee behavior. One way of doing this is by "organizing feedback" that comes from outside the company. For example, leaders can ensure that customer input or the results of new product trials are shared with employees.

Leaders can encourage internal communication through a variety of channels, and technology is playing a crucial role in facilitating these connections. A 2007 Best Practices in HR article draws from Lynne A. Robinson's book Trust Your Gut: How the Power of Intuition Can Grow Your Business, and it offers several suggestions ("13 Ways," 2007). Communication strategies that can help spark creative thinking in the workplace include cross-department gatherings that engage both creative and analytical types of employees, informal lunch sessions hosted by a named "chief creative officer," unstructured meetings that encourage playful thinking, and blogs or online communities for employees to offer ideas regarding the firm's products or services.

The work

Positive role models and strong communications are a good start, but employees need to be able to embrace innovation within the context of their daily jobs. The Netherland researchers found two ways that leaders can facilitate this. First, leaders must acknowledge employees' need for challenging work by assigning tasks that fit well with their skills and their individual stated preferences. Second, leaders must encourage employees to evaluate how things are done and prompt them to generate new ideas. Both of these leadership behaviors influence employees' idea generation, according to the study.

Employee idea generation doesn't always have to depend on traditional brainstorming, where any and all ideas are welcome. Experts from McKinsey & Company suggest that "inside the box" thinking might be more productive in some cases. A Harvard Business Review article describes how a more structured approach may actually work better for generating ideas (Coyne, Clifford, & Dye, 2007). Constraints can serve a useful purpose by focusing employees on exploring possibilities and alternatives in a systematic way.

The Perks

Last, innovative employee behavior is unlikely to continue for long if rewards are absent. Acknowledging innovative employee performance by giving rewards, providing employees with recognition and ensuring that sufficient time and money are available to implement new ideas are three additional leadership behaviors found to have a positive influence on employees' innovative behavior.

In summary, a leader's actions can do much to ensure that innovation becomes a natural part of every employee's workday. And a leader's own daily behavior can reinforce such behavior in the workforce, leading employees - and the organization - toward the level of innovation that truly provides a competitive edge.

Sources: Donna Bear: Leading Employees Toward Innovation


13 ways to inspire creativity and intuition in your workplace. (2007,
January 6). Best Practices in HR, 8.

Coyne, K. P., Clifford, P. G., & Dye, R. (2007, December). Breakthrough
thinking from inside the box. Harvard Business Review, 71-78.

de Jong, J. P. J., & Den Hartog, D. N. (2007). How leaders influence
employees' innovative behaviour. European Journal of Innovation
Management, 10(1), 41-63.

Executives fall short when leading for innovation, global leadership
study shows. (2007, December 12). Business Wire.

Monday, June 23, 2008

i4CP Survey Impacts Innovation Capacity

i4cp Survey Finds Over Half of Employers Lack Leadership and Education on Workplace-Diversity Matters

Based on Helix research, a core leadership behavior to collaboration capacity and innovation agility is based on diversity capabilities in creating innovation competency depth. For rich ideation processes to support diverse perspectives, opinions and hold without judgement requires appreciate inquiry skills and diversity appreciation know-how.

As CEO's globally espouse innovation --- the realities are there are bare bones in depth of collaboration core comptencies, of which diversity is a core diffusion skill to develop innovation resilence.

The recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found that 53% of companies do not sponsor diversity training in their organizations, 66% do not have specific diversity councils to serve as a watchdog on issues including race, gender, and sexual orientation and 77% do not have affinity groups in place to support minorities.

The study also found that 68% lack a high-level executive who oversees diversity initiatives. And 65% of respondents admit their organizations do not have a global diversity strategy.

“Many employers seem to think of diversity and inclusion as simply an EEOC compliance issue,” said Eric Davis, i4cp’s Associate Editor.

“Employers need to view diversity and inclusion as an important strategy for developing talent. Organizations embracing that concept are more likely to have top-down diversity policies, which include accountability.”

According to the survey, when diversity programs are in place, accountability for diversity strategies tends to start at the top. When asked how leaders are held accountable for driving diversity in their organizations, 31% of respondents said CEOs are subject to annual diversity reviews. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed said their CEO’s compensation is tied to how well the chief executive carried out the organization’s diversity strategy. However, nearly 20% of respondents say their top leadership is not held accountable for ensuring diversity.

Of those companies that have “diversity teams” in place, 39% say the teams devise diversity strategies for the company, and 33% percent of teams offer companywide diversity training and education.

The Taking the Pulse: Diversity and Inclusion survey – which polled 206 organizations – was conducted by i4cp, in conjunction with, in March 2008. The full results of the survey are now available exclusively for i4cp corporate members.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Enterprise 2.0: Emergent, Agile and Integrated

I am finding it very hard to keep current in the rapidly emergent Enterprise 2.0 world. Fortunately we have active bloggers, consultants, researchers, academics, and practioners sharing their knowledge rapidly globally.

A recent report of AIIM, which researcherd over 441 end users found that most organizations do not have a clear understanding of what Enterprise 2.0 is. This is hardly surprizing to those of us deep into the mud in this transformational paradigm, but it does reaffirm for sure how much more work needs to be done to prepare for the next generation of talent as they grow up from WebKinz to enter the corporate world which is less than 15 years away.

Some of the key findings from their report included:

- 44% of respondents indicated that Enterprise 2.0 is imperative or significant to corporate goals and objectives;
- Another 27% positioned Enterprise 2.0 as having average impact on business goals and success;
- 74% stated they have only a vague familiarity or no clear understanding of Enterprise 2.0. ;

You can join the Enterprise 2.0 peers on the blogs of the authors of this research, Dan Keldsen at BizTechTalk and Carl Frappaolo at TakingAIIM ( and continue to discuss the topic of Enterprise 2.0 in relationship to this research.

I was not able to head down this year to E2.0 in Boston - but for those that could not make it - you will want to check out the podcasts for sure.

One of my Enterprise 2.0 active blogging colleagues, Patti Aklem did attend and below are some of her sharings:

- Simon Revell, of Pfizer,* adopted a “just do it” approach, introducing the tools, creating edgy introductory videos (see “Meet Charlie”), and nurtures the successes;
-Ned Lerner -Sony Computer Enterprises, responded to top-down management directives to use these tools (easy in a company whose business is internet gaming);
- Pete Fields, Wachovia, who developed a concept for an integrated tool set that connected to corporate communications policies, and worked across the organization for 18 months to get buy-in before launching;
- Sean Dennehy and Don Burke, CIA, were inspired by Cal Andres “The Wiki and the Blog” to explore Wikipedia and see how discussion and history pages could naturally support the way that intelligence analysts work;

Andrew McAfee acknowledged that Enterprise 2.0 hasn’t yet taken over the planet, for a variety of reasons:

- The tools are not yet perfected
- Management is impeding adoption in some way
- Users are slow to take up the tools
- There was general agreement that the current use within these organization is less than 10% of the employee populations, but each see that the growth is continuous in a positive direction.

Many of the “lessons learned” from these early adopters will sound quite familiar to those of us who have been on the leading edge of introducing technologies for collaboration and knowledge management into organizations, but there are some new twists.

What works:

- Acknowledge and reward the early adopters and champions
- Pfizer has consultants available to help business groups get started and use tools appropriately
- Change management is essential. Wachovia involved organizational development, organizational pyschologists, and corporate communications, but still underestimated the difficulty of traction beyond the early adopters
- Look for ways to implement the tools “in the flow,” as part of work. Look especially for existing work processes that can be vastly improved and implement there.
- Organize around big problems, and don’t keep all the social tool usage under the radar.

Cautionary tales:

- Middle management can be harder to convince than senior management. (They are rewarded for “making the trains run on time,” not for encouraging people to spend time learning new tools.)
- It’s faulty to assume that what’s true on the web will work the same way in the enterprise
- Fight against lockdown. Turn down requests by users to have “private” spaces accessible by only a few people (yes, this one from the CIA!)
- Not all organizations are ready for transparency.
- Don’t assume that because everyone can have a voice that decisions will be made by the majority (the crowd). Leaders must learn to use the opinions of the crowd to inform and shape decisions, not to make them.

Pete Fields’ definition of “Enterprise 2.0:"

Connecting people for the purpose of deriving business value

It is worth browsing through the podcasts and discussion forums to help you learn more about innovative approaches for Enterprise 2.0 -- more often now called Enterprise 3.0 and Web 3.0.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Innovation Best Practices - 3M Case Study


We have been working with a number of global organizations on innovation practices for New Product Introduction (NPI) and have found in companies like: SAP, Microsoft, Bell Canada, Siemens etc, - that operationalizing innovation from its early creative stages is a stocatto like tango. Balancing creative tension to ensure innovation downstream execution traction requires tremendous leadership navigation and skill.

It is so difficult for multi-nationals to avoid putting pressure too early on the creative design phases in their short-term hunger for ROI results that more often than not new innovation ideas at the conceptual or ideation stages are squashed or so heavily restricted that the creative and expansive energy is so diluted that results are impossible to achieve.

What we do know is the front end creative process at the ideation phase is a thorn in many organization's side as they strive to improve front end effectiveness to ensure ideation to execution is achieved. This requires more leaders to develop skills and competencies in leading innovation effectively to achieve sustainable growth in their organizations.

Less than 25% of organizations in North America are confident on their organization's ability to innovate or have a cleared defined new product or service innovation capability that is robust and adds business value.

Services or NPI Innovation Questions we hear consistently in our client experiences include:

1.) How does my organization innovate more effectively?
2.) How does my organization filter and track what we fund?
3.) How do we avoid filtering ideas out too early or lose track of them?
4.) How much discipline do we ned to drive innovation forward?
5.) How we evaluate more effectively early stage service innovation concepts?
6.) How do we get our leaders more comfortable in dealing with ambiguity, uncertainty, the messiness of creativity?
7.) What decision making practices are role model?
8.) What business processes and systems should we use for tracking service or NPI innovation?

There are many companies that are executing robust innovation programs, practices, and processes. We will target to feature a case study of a new company every week that helps to answer these eight questions to share our knowledge and help move along our capacity to innovate more effectively.

Case Study - 3M

3M is a $16B technology company with reach into health care, electronics, industrial, safety, consumer and office products. Most famously remembered for its' innovation solutiono - post it notes. 3M has more than 40 business units world-wide and offices in more than 60 countries. In 2002, the company celebrated a century of innovation since its founding.

Innovation a Foundational Core Value of 3M

For companies to innovate more effectively, cultural capabilities are critical with leadership effectiveness to engender confidence in employee minds and hearts. Employees need to know they can take risks to be creative, experiment, think outside the box, and be rewarded for demonstrating innovation thinking. They need to believe they are encouraged to be life-long learners, and enabled to continually learn and improve work products or services.

As the retired chairman of 3Com said: "Innovation is the key to our growth as it delights our customers and it's the basis for long lasting customer loyalty."

3M Innovation Best Practices

The five best practices that 3M prides itself in are:

1.) Six Sigma
2.) 3M Acceleration
3.) eProductivity
4.) Sourcing Effectiveness
5.) Indirect Cost Control

What is important to understand about 3M is their KM and Innovation program office which supports the companies 5 business units puts a tremendous amount of focus on culture and guiding principles.

The pillars of 3M's innovation platform are:

1.) Shared World-class Technology
2.) Shared Customers, Channels and Brands
3.) Shared Manufacturing
4.) Shared Global Infrastructure, and
5.) Shared Cultural Innovation Values, Practices, Processes and Toolkits

A best practice for cultural innovation is to use stories for rapid cultural diffusion to celebrate heroes of innovation who passionately and consistently pursue new ideas or find new context to discover new meaning and rapidly share their knowledge creating social energy networks to co-create collaboratively.

They have a freedom rule for inspiring creative imperatives as any person in a lab can spend 15% of his or her time experimenting on any new idea that could add value to 3M. This creative jazz time is not tracked; it is a freedom role to reflect, think, and learn to encourage ideation in its earliest stages of creativity - unencumbered by reporting practices.

3M's success has been predicated on its ability to foster collaboration in both formal and information approaches, and their cultural norms are very mature in supporting knowledge sharing - a core requirement to foster and seed innovation capacity development.

Technology Enablers

The company has a number of technology enablers to support innovation. They use:

- streaming videos to collect learnings and make them available for global access,
- comprehensive lotus notes databases for collaboration and knowledge access, and
- an Idea hopper which captures and helps filter ideas to move from concept to funding phases of implementation, etc.

The library and information services group has as its core mission to help 3M employees worldwide create, share and use knowledge more effectively throughout the organization, so there are strong Electronic Library solutions, virtual help desks to source know-how, etc.

Strengthening People Innovation

3M uses a number of talent management techniques to support innovation such as:

-staff rotational assignments to develop new skills to strengthen innovation talent capabilities,
- reward and recogntion programs for people to share ideas and receive peer recognition,
- connecting its scientists with its customers,
- training talent on problem solving approaches such as 6Sigma, and also
- promoting story telling as a leadership competency to help on cultural diffusion to celebrate innovation successes, and celebrate talent moments of creativity.

The company also leverages communities of practice and learning techniques to support the continual flow of internal knowledge.

What opportunties must 3M pursue for new innovation robustness?

Based on our analysis of 3M's financial reports,innovation patents,and research,3M is like many global companies not as externally integrated with its customers to leverage next generation collaboration and organization of the future practices which are highly web 2.0 and social mediated driven.

There are major opportunities to bring in solutions for social network analysis, collaboration experiences leveraging new collaboration platforms, like Mzinga, providing product managers with collaboration labs with customers using blogs, and wikis, etc....

With the speed of knowledge diffusion and know-how outdated often in less than 12 months -- applying more real-time and on demand ways of developing and sustaining innovation will be critical to 3M's future growth.

What 3M does have to constituate world-class leadership attributes:

- charts the course - or sets the vision
- raises the bar - creates tension to achieve performance excellence
- energizes others - creates passion to motivate others to create and follow
- resourcefully innovates - values creativity but also balances accountability to execute
- lives the 3M values (which go back 100 years and hold true today - satisfy customers with superior quality, value and services, provide investors an attractive return through sustained quality and growth, respect the social and physical environment, and be a company that employees are product to be part of
- and delivers results.

These attributes combined with business accumen, functional expertise and corporate knowledge supports 3M's overall leadership model.


Innovation is a core competency at 3M and is at the heart of the company's culture.

They appreciate the fragility of innovation in its weakest creative design moments, but also reinforces shareholder value which needs to be top of mind to ensure accountability in the culture.

At the same time, 3M allows freedom for ideation 100% unemcumbered from stiffling and controlling business processes which is a rarity in business today.

This Helix Commerce believes is an operating practice which differentiates 3M from the pack and in our collaboration world - enables butterfly wings to beat beautifully without constraints - creating a potential to change the winds forever in the services innovation war that is rapidly unfolding.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Online Web Statistics for Average Order Results and importance of Social Mediated Marketing Approaches

This is the final blog entry of a four part series highlighting the importance of Web 2.0 and Social Mediated marketing approaches. We hope that this roster of recent statistics can help you and your organization develop stronger business cases in demonstrating the value of Web 2.0 and social mediated approaches to support your online marketing for employee, partner, or customer engagement conversations.

Average Order Value Results

•Consumers were willing to pay between 20 to 99% more for a 5-star rated product than for a 4-star rated product, depending on the product category. (comScore/Kelsey, October 2007).

•Reviews usage drives higher spending: 27% of users report an increase of 5-10%; almost 7% report an increase of 20%+.(Avenue A/Razorfish “Digital Consumer Behavior Study,” October 2007).

User-generated Content Beyond the Web

•64% of Social Researchers (those who refer to user-generated content when shopping) research products online more than half the time, no matter where they ultimately buy the product (store, Web, catalog, etc.).(eTailing Group, 2007).

•Online consumers are becoming precision shoppers. For every $1 in online sales, the Internet influenced $3.45 of store sales. (eMarketer, 2007).

•Nearly one out of every four Internet users (24%) reported using online reviews pri.or to paying for a service delivered offline. (comScore/The Kelsey Group, October 2007).

•More than three-quarters of review users in nearly every category reported that the review had a significant influence on their purchase, with hotels ranking the highest (87%). (comScore/The Kelsey Group, October 2007).

•97% of those surveyed who said they made a purchase based on an online review said they found the review to have been accurate. (comScore/The Kelsey Group, October 2007).

•Nine of 10 local shopping trips made by multi-channel consumers for products researched online resulted in purchases worth $125 more than the products researched online—up 25% from the prior year. (Dieringer Research Group, 2006).

•Consumers who shop online for digital cameras and TVs spend 10% more on in-store purchases than consumers who do not search online. (ChannelForce for Yahoo Search Marketing).

•90% of those surveyed say they have a better overall shopping experience when they research products online before shopping in-store. (Harris Interactive, October 2007).

•92.5% of adults said they regularly or occasionally research products online before buying them in a store. (BIGresearch).

Email Campaign Results

•Email study: PETCO realized a 5X increase in email click-through rates by including relevant ratings and reviews content in the campaign promotion. (PETCO).

•Top rated product email drive 46% higher revenue per email in A/B test.(Golfsmith Search Engine Optimization Results).

•In a study of a major electronics retailer site of 30,000 monthly natural language search visitors, converted 60% more often, spent 50% more, and viewed 82% more pages than search visitors to other pages.(Bazaarvoice case study with a major electronics retailer).

In summary, there are sufficient case study facts and reliable market research statistics demonstrating the value of user generated content, and shifting ways that customers, consumers, employees, partners and suppliers make purchasing decisions.

Social Mediated Web 2.0 forms of online marketing are likely one of the most powerful enablers to generating higher revenue and building market awareness of your products and services. If you are not participating in this conversation, you are invisible, and over time, this will erode market share and brand profile.

A new set of market dynamics are in play - and old models are under seige as prior traditional advertising channels and media and print channels are not as robust as they were prior. Companies need to carefully scrutinize their web based strategies and engage in a social mediated conversation, allowing the wisdom of the crowd to unfold in real time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Web 2.0 Benefits - Part Three Blog Facts

The past two blog entries have highlighted benefits of using Web 2.0 and social mediated forms of interaction to support online experiences. Enclosed below is the third blog entry of additional market statistics. For more information, do not hesitate to contact me directly at

Consumer Demand for Ask & Answer

•76% of online shoppers surveyed report that content is insufficient to complete research or purchase online “always, most often or some of the time.” (eTailing Group, 2007).

• Online businesses lose as many as 67% of consumers due to a lack of online product information. (Allurent).

• 83% of online shoppers would make purchases if sites offered increased interactive elements. (Allurent).

•One in four (24.5%) shoppers said they left a store because of a lack of assistance. (, November 2007).

•90% of UK shoppers surveyed said they wish they could communicate directly with businesses – using live chat, forums or call-me-back facilities – via their websites; one in three require it from the UK businesses they currently use. (1&1, October 2007).

•42% of consumers said they prefer being able to find the answers they need online on their own if they had a question or wanted help while shopping online. (Harris Interactive, May 2007).

•The share of traffic to question-and-answer Web sites has more than doubled from 2007 to 2008 (HitWise, 2008).

•Yahoo Answers had 25.3 million visits in February 2008 (comScore Media Metrix, March 2008).

•68% of consumers trust “people like me” first for product advice. (Edelman Trust Barometer).

•42% of 1,179 online consumers surveyed have left a site without purchasing multiple products because they couldn’t get a question answered about one of the products in their shopping cart; 41% decided not to make a planned purchase because they couldn’t readily find a piece of information about the product or service. (JupiterResearch, September 2007).

Conversion Results

•Online shoppers who look at TripAdvisor reviews on the Hayes & Jarvis site book trips at double the rate of online shoppers who have not seen the TripAdvisor reviews, based on first four months after launch. (TripAdvisor, 2008).

•79% of online UK retailers surveyed reported that the main benefit of consumer-generated rating and reviews was that they improved site conversion rates. (eMarketer, 2007).

•Shoppers who browsed the site’s new "Top Rated Products" page, which features products rated most highly by customers, had a 59% higher conversion rate than the site average and spent 16% more per order than other browsers of products. (Bass Pro Shops).

•Shoppers who browsed the site's “Top Rated Products” page, which features products rated most highly by customers, had a 49% higher conversion rate than the site average and 63% more per order than other site shoppers. (PETCO).

•Giving shoppers the ability to sort products within a category by customer rating led to a sales increase of 41% per unique visitor.(PETCO).

•MarketingExperiments tested product conversion with and without product ratings by customers. Conversion nearly doubled, going from .44% to 1.04% after the same product displayed its five-star rating.(MarketingExperiments Journal).

•Conversion rates are higher on products with less than perfect reviews (less than 5 stars) than those without reviews at all,indicating that the customer feels that the product has been properly reviewed by other customers. (Burpee).

Check out the prior two blog entries for additional market facts to help justify your investments in Web 2.0 Innovation based solutions.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Online Marketing Demand for Ratings and Reviews - More Web 2.0 Benefits

In our prior post we outlined a number of benefits of using the web for social mediated customer communication. The next set of stats reinforce the marketing needs for ratings and reviews to help promote products and services. These statistics are taken from a variety of sources to demonstrate the value of online marketing approaches, in particular social mediated forms of communication.

Marketer Demand for Ratings and Reviews

• 79% of online UK retailers surveyed reported that the main benefit of consumer-generated rating and reviews was that they improved site conversion rates. (eMarketer, 2007).

• The State of Retailing Online study, conducted by Forrester Research, found only 26% of the 137 top retailers surveyed offered customer ratings and reviews, but 96% of them ranked customer ratings and reviews as an effective or very effective tactic at driving conversion. (Forrester).

•68% of online marketers believe "media is in big trouble and will lose dollars to user-generated content." (iMedia Connection, February 2008).

•Of merchants who adopt customer reviews, 58% said improving customer experience was the most important reason for adding reviews to their sites, followed by building customer loyalty (47%), driving sales (42%), and maintaining a competitive advantage (37%). (eTailing Group, 2008).

•By 2020, 84% of marketers agree that building customer trust will become marketing's primary objective, and 82% agree that collaboration with customers will prevail over marketing. (1to1 Media survey of the 1to1 Xchange panel, April, 2008).

•11% of retailers reported a 20% or more overall increase in conversions as a result of adding reviews to their sites, 21% reported an 11% to 20% increase and 5% reported a 1% to 10% increase. (eTailing Group, 2008).

81% of marketers surveyed say that their social media spending will meet or exceed their traditional advertising spending within the next 5 years. (TWI Surveys/Society for New Communications Research, November 2007).

•Dave Seifert of Bass Pro Shops noted at a round table discussion that Top Rated Products were “the #1 merchandising technique ever utilized on their site.” (Bass Pro Shops).

•After their order, PETCO asked customers, "What online tool most influenced your purchase decision?"The #1 answer was product ratings and reviews, with site search coming in a distant second. (PETCO).

•43% of retailers have reviews – double in one year. (Marketing Sherpa, February 2007).

•Ratings and reviews is the second most important site feature behind search and online buyers who cite ratings and reviews most useful site feature has more than doubled from ’05 to ’06. “Retail Marketing: Driving Sales Through Consumer-
Created Content” says retailers who adopt ratings and reviews as a differentiator and retention strategy will gain market share. (Jupiter)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Convincing Statistics on Usage of Web 2.0 - Power of the Word of Mouth

There have been a number of studies spotlighting the latest in word of mouth and its importance in converting customers into revenue generating opportunities. So often we hear in our Web 2.0 research on innovation and best practices, where is the beef, and where are the benefits. Enclosed below is a collection from a number of sources that will hopefully help our customers and readers understand the value of social networking, web based commerce and new ways of communicating with customers and consumers to create trusted relationships. If you are not using web based social mediated collaboration approaches with your customers, you are missing out on major new opportunities to have effective conversations. This is a two part blog entry and will be followed up by a white paper which will regularly track these high impact benefits and statistics demonstrating the value of Web 2.0 and social mediated solutions for customer, employee or partner engagement practices.

Power of Word Of Mouth

Trust in "a person like me" has tripled, from 20% to 68% from 2004 to 2006. (Edelman Trust Barometer.

"Person like themselves" still most trusted source for information about a company and, therefore, products. (Edelman Trust Barometer, November 2007).

Recommendations from family and friends trump all other consumer touchpoints when it comes to influencing purchases,according to new data from Publicis media network ZenithOptimedia. (AdAge, April, 2008).

According to Global Nielsen survey of 26,486 Internet users in 47 markets;consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising among 78% of study’s respondents.(Nielsen:“Word-of-Mouth Most Powerful SellingTool”).

Online social network users were three times more likely to trust their peers’ opinions over advertising when making purchase decisions. (“Social Networking Sites: Defining Advertising Opportunities in a Competitive Landscape,” JupiterResearch, March 2007).

The two leading reasons people contribute content to social shopping sites are the need to feel part of a community (31%) and recognition from peers (28%).(IBM Institute for Business Value, August 2007).

A consumer survey by the JC Williams Group ranked consumer content as the #1 aid to a buying decision, cited by 91% of respondents. (JC Williams Group, 2006).

Consumers trust friends above experts when it comes to product recommendations (65% trust friends, 27% trust experts, 8% trust celebrities).(Yankelovich).

91% of moms prefer brands that other moms have recommended. (Marketing VOX, October 2006).

86.9% of respondents said they would trust a friend’s recommendation over a review by a critic, while 83.8% said they would trust user reviews over a critic. (Marketing Sherpa, July 2007).

When asked what sources of information they are “very likely” to consult before making a decision about their entertainment options,62% named Web sites with user reviews as their top choice, even beating out a knowledgeable friend (59%). (Marketing Sherpa, July 2007).

91% of US adults regularly or occasionally seek advice about products or services. BIGresearch).

Adult Internet users surveyed chose recommendations from friends as the one type of promotion they consider most worthwhile. (DoubleClick).

Review users noted that reviews generated by fellow consumers had a greater influence than those generated by professionals.(comScore/The Kelsey Group, October 2007).

Two thirds of UK social networkers (66%) are more likely to buy a product as a result of a recommendation, compared to 52 per cent of non-social networkers. (Royal Mail’s Home Shopping Tracker Study 2007).

Recommendation is the number one reason for choosing a particular site. (Royal Mail’s Home Shopping Tracker Study 2007).

In summary, Web 2.0 social mediated conversations leveraging what friends, families and trusted shoppers think about your products and services is one of the most powerful ways to grow your company's value proposition(s) and promote your brand. Ignoring these capabilities is a recipe for stagnation and demise.

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