&838/ The State of Business Technology: Distributed Cocreation Moves Into the Mainstream

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In August, Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and James Manyika, published an update of 8 business technology trends identified by McKinsey two-and-a-half years earlier, in December 2007.

According to McKinsey 8 trends turned into 10, merging 2 of them and adding 3 new ones.

Trend #1: "Distributed cocreation moves into the mainstream."

What does that mean? And: Do you agree?

According to McKinsey, this is the one megatrend merging trends #1 and #2 identified in 2007: "Distributing cocreation" and "Using consumers as innovators."

Whereas once companies built castle-like walls to protect the wrong information from leaving the fortress, opening the gates only for bursts of mass-marketing, we see more and more organizations being surrounded by a translucent and porous layer allowing in- and out-flux along the whole value chain.

Wishful thinking, restricted to high tech and social media, or even a fad only? McKinsey mentions three examples:

- IBM being based on a community-developed operating system, Linux

- Wikipedia out-performing the Encyclopedia Britannica by relying on an army of external writers, and

- Facebook, Xing and LinkedIn out-sourcing the translation of their products to global volunteers.

Do we have more examples for the R&D end of the value chain?

By comparison, in sales and marketing, the transformation is evident all over the place. Word-of-mouth marketing is slowly replacing mass-marketing for organizations size-of-one to multi-million dollar companies assisted by tools like Twitter, Facebook, you name it.

Others are trying to ramp up there own networking platforms, like P&G's Vocalpoint, Business Week's Business Exchange, or the NYT's Times People.

What about services & support?

In my opinion there is a huge opportunity here. An opportunity to decrease dissatisfaction mainly. Consumers are no longer willing to wait in line on a service number or fill out a Web form and hope to hear back anytime soon.

The same channels that are open for word-of-mouth marketing may be used to prevent bad-word-of-mouth and enable customer service: Twitter and Facebook or specialists like Get Satisfaction.

Those external platforms are a step up from classic approaches as Microsoft and Apple Support communities. Well, are they? Make sure to comment!

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