Almost half a century has passed since Ray Tomlinson sent the first e-mail in 1971. A technology for a few nerds has gradually become a mass phenomenon at the latest since the 1990s. Today, the average employee receives or sends more than 100 e-mails per day(!). So it’s no wonder that many see e-mail as a burden and even large corporations like Atos have gone so far as to completely ban internal e-mails and thereby getting more done. There is much to be said for such an approach: constant distraction through e-mails, an increasingly unfavourable signal-to-noise ratio of the information transmitted, but also the often neglected area of knowledge management. And so the mailboxes become digital mass graves of knowledge.
Working Out Loud (WOL) is on everyone’s lips. Whether at Bosch, Daimler, ZF and last but not least at BMW, where I recently had the pleasure to meet John Stepper, the creator of the method and the author of the corresponding book. Everywhere there are enthusiastic employees who use Working Out Loud to create a cooperative learning culture in their companies, break up silos and push the often rigid corporate structures towards a highly networked agile organization. From the tender beginnings at the grass roots, a powerful movement quickly emerges, at least with approval and more and more often with the active support of top management.
IIn many organizations there is now an enterprise social network. That’s simply because it’s what you do today, and because the younger employees in particular are well versed in social media and appreciate and expect this kind of communication. However, few employees and even fewer managers have understood neither the shift of power such a enterprise social network can mean nor the creative potential of networking.