Archives For collaboration

As you may know, together with Emanuele Quintarelli we have developed in the last months the Social Collaboration Survey 2013. Here some insights about what we discovered in the last months.

Along with the many projects recently carried out in Italy, the attention on collaborative dynamics and best practices is evidenced by the numerous international reports (Gartner, Forrester, MIT, Deloitte, Capgemini, Dachis …) who analyze the phenomenon from a human, organizational and technological point of view. While interesting, such data have rarely focused on Italy, on its network of small and medium-sized enterprises with its specific socio-economic conditions. The Social Collaboration Survey 2013, conducted by Stefano Besana and Emanuele Quintarelli, finally fills this gap by mapping collaborative practices and bringing to light their secrets and strategies for success.

Carried out online from July to September 2013, the Social Collaboration Survey has involved more than 300 Italian companies in an unprecedented X-ray analysis on 4 collaboration axes: culture, organization and processes, technology, measurement.
Among the main dimensions analyzed:
  • Relevance: To what extent is collaboration considered as a strategic topic both today and in the near future?
  • Drivers: What are the business drivers that lead companies to introduce tools and participatory approaches?
  • Sponsors: Which departments have the responsibility to launch and / or support collaborative initiatives?
  • Maturity: At what level of maturity are companies in our country?
  • Budget: How large are the available budgets and how are they spent among the different areas of the project?
  • Measurement: Which performance indicators and metrics are in place and how much is performance measurement already an integral part of existing initiatives?
  • Best & worst practices: Which strategies have been particularly effective in achieving high levels of adoption and what is important to avoid?
  • Processes: How deeply is collaboration intertwined into business processes?
  • Tools: Which tools are most often used by employees?

The results of Social Collaboration Survey 2013 underline that:

Collaboration is much more than a fad. The importance that companies assign to it is high and most likely to grow over the next three years up to 75% of the sample.

Collaboration generates value for the company. A targeted deployment of social platforms increases the efficiency of the company (43%), facilitates knowledge reuse (40%), improves project coordination (30%) and allows employees to stay up to date on what is done by their colleagues (30%).

Without adoption there is no return. Although it cannot be considered the end goal, pervasive adoption of new ways of working is instrumental to materialize the economic returns expected by management. For the majority of respondents, this still doesn’t happen, since only a small percentage of employees (<30%) is already involved in 2.0 tools. Less than 10% of companies have instead reached the milestone of almost complete adoption (>75% of employees).

Top Management sponsorizes the initiative. Even with bottom-up initiatives, real change requires a high level of sponsorship and a strong buy-in from the top management (70% vs. 34%).

No orphans. A careful, continuous and qualified cultivation is certainly not optional for those who aim to conquer the entire company. Successful projects show a lack of resources 5 times less (9% vs. 49%) than less mature initiatives.

Budget for change. Although still limited, the investment on collaboration grows hand in hand with its importance. The lack of budget (less than 10K Euro) is much rarer (36% vs. 64%) for the firms with proven experience on collaboration. This budget is also spent less on technology and more on people and strategy.

Measure to ROI. Measurement is correlated to success. Successful projects have metrics in plance 2 times more than others (91% vs 50%). More than participation metrics, business KPIs are core inthe most advanced projects (61% vs 22%).

A more collaborative culture. Large companies are more willing to recognize the value of collaboration (82% vs. 70% in 3 years).

More focus on business needs. Bigger firms have stakeholders most often positioned in specific units such as Innovation, HR, Customer Support, Training and Education.

ROI as the main barrier. Apart from the overall lack of understanding of the potential of collaboration by the top management (50%), the most clear resistance in the large company is the difficulty of measuring the return on investment or the impact of intangible benefits (49%). In smaller companies it is rather the culture to represent the most obvious obstacle (58%).

For more information visit:

We just published some excerpts and insights from our Social Collaboration Survey.
Here you can find more information about what we discovered

In a connected and digital society, expectations and behaviors individuals expose are everyday more influenced by the weight of the communities they belong to. Well beyond the personal dimension, this same social capital is now making its way into organizations, changing work practices, engagement mechanisms and even the drivers behind firms’ existence.

The Social Collaboration Survey 2013 analyses connection, communication, motivation and sharing dynamics among employees to surface the business potential, barriers and acceleration factors towards a new idea of firm. One that is able to address the huge economic challenges of the coming years.

To us, Social Collaboration is

A set of strategies, processes, behaviors and digital platforms that enable groups of individuals inside the organization to connect, interact, share information and work towards a common business goal

With the hope that this study will help in proving the value Social Collaboration can unlock, increasing the awareness between senior managers, identifying effective roll-out strategies, discovering the most impacted business processes, understanding how various organizational characteristics influence project outcomes.

The first quantitative study on the maturity level, the potential, the barriers and successful strategies for Social Enterprise initiatives. While conducted in Italy, its results seem to resonate very well with European and non European countries, as verified by presenting them at the recent Enterprise 2.0 Summit Paris


  • Online survey between July – Sept 2013 on 300 italian companies, both large and small, across major sectors
  • The study has addressed culture, organization, processes, technology, measurement to provide a 360° perspective on the state of enterprise collaboration.

Main dimensions analyzed

  • Importance
  • Business drivers
  • Internal sponsors
  • Available budget
  • Outcomes measurement
  • Integration with processes
  • Organizational maturity
  • Best and worst practice in top performers
  • Adoption of collaborative tools

Negli ultimi mesi mi è capitato di leggere due eccezionali lavori di Gary Hamel, professore, saggista e mente illuminata in grado di teorizzare un nuovo modello e un nuovo modo di concepire le organizzazioni.
Il primo libro che ho letto è un classico da qualche anno nelle librerie di molti consulenti ed è “The Future of Management” mentre il secondo, più recente e forse ancora più “estremo” per certi punti di vista è “What matters now


All’interno del secondo volume c’è un aspetto che ritengo molto interessante e particolarmente di livello. 12 insegnamenti che le organizzazioni dovrebbero imparare dal funzionamento della rete e del web (quelli che riporto qui sono tratti da un post sul WSJ –
Sono spunti interessanti che meritano di essere commentati e ricondotti a una logica più ampia che corrisponde a un nuovo modello di fare impresa. Vediamoli:

1. All ideas compete on an equal footing.
On the Web, every idea has the chance to gain a following—or not, and no one has the power to kill off a subversive idea or squelch an embarrassing debate. Ideas gain traction based on their perceived merits, rather than on the political power of their sponsors.

Nei contesti online le idee e le persone sono valorizzate allo stesso modo. Non esistono formalità o burocrazie che impediscano a una idea di essere meglio di un’altra né ad una idea lanciata da qualcuno che si trova in una posizione “inferiore” rispetto ad altri di non avere lo stesso potenziale successo. In questo senso la rete – come le organizzazioni – dovrebbero rappresentare contesti il più democratici possibile e favorire la circolazione di informazioni. Se l’idea è buona ha successo se non lo è non merita di essere presa in considerazione. Questo è il modello. Il cosa conta più del chi.

2. Contribution counts for more than credentials.
When you post a video to YouTube, no one asks you if you went to film school. When you write a blog, no one cares whether you have a journalism degree. Position, title, and academic degrees—none of the usual status differentiators carry much weight online. On the Web, what counts is not your resume, but what you can contribute.

Simile riflessione anche per quel che riguarda il background delle persone e quello che le persone dicono o fanno. In questo caso come riportato molto bene nell’esempio il fare conta più di molti titoli e di molte parole. Se le persone sanno fare e sanno dare un contributo di valore nell’organizzazione allora questo dovrebbe essere valorizzato al di li dei curricula o dei ruoli ricoperti da ognuno. Il merito rispetto ai risultati raggiunti dovrebbe essere il fattore chiave che guida.

3. Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed.
In any Web forum there are some individuals who command more respect and attention than others—and have more influence as a consequence. Critically, though, these individuals haven’t been appointed by some superior authority. Instead, their clout reflects the freely given approbation of their peers. On the Web, authority trickles up, not down.

Declinazione naturale di quanto si diceva prima nei punti 1 e 2 è questa. Non esistono gerarchie prescritte ma solo gerarchie mobili e naturali basate appunto sulla competenza e sui cambiamenti che avvengono nel lavoro. Nel web e in rete il funzionamento è esattamente quello descritto.

4. Leaders serve rather than preside.
On the Web, every leader is a servant leader; no one has the power to command or sanction. Credible arguments, demonstrated expertise and selfless behavior are the only levers for getting things done through other people. Forget this online, and your followers will soon abandon you.

I leader non si limitano a comandare o fornire indicazioni ma partecipano attivamente alla costruzione di valore e di contenuto all’interno dell’organizzazione. Le logiche di comando e di controllo decadono completamente e vengono sostituite da modelli organizzativi flat e collaborativi che consentono di adattarsi meglio alle sfide del mercato e che provengono dall’esterno.

5. Tasks are chosen, not assigned.
The Web is an opt-in economy. Whether contributing to a blog, working on an open source project, or sharing advice in a forum, people choose to work on the things that interest them. Everyone is an independent contractor, and everyone scratches their own itch.

In un modello simile a quello che Zappos ha annunciato di voler perseguire nel 2014 ( gerarchie, task e gruppi di lavoro sono autodeterminati e sono organizzati in modo collaborativo e dinamico, sempre intercambiabili e in grado di fornire un supporto di valore a qualunque progetto

6. Groups are self-defining and -organizing.
On the Web, you get to choose your compatriots. In any online community, you have the freedom to link up with some individuals and ignore the rest, to share deeply with some folks and not at all with others. Just as no one can assign you a boring task, no can force you to work with dim-witted colleagues.

Stessa riflessione per i team di lavoro che si scelgono compiti, composizione, scadenze sulla base dei reciproci interessi e competenze lavorando in modo sempre motivato e significativo.

7. Resources get attracted, not allocated.
In large organizations, resources get allocated top-down, in a politicized, Soviet-style budget wrangle. On the Web, human effort flows towards ideas and projects that are attractive (and fun), and away from those that aren’t. In this sense, the Web is a market economy where millions of individuals get to decide, moment by moment, how to spend the precious currency of their time and attention.

All’interno delle community online, le risorse non sono gestite da un coordinamento centrale e da un organo di controllo specifico ma scelgono i propri progetti e sono attratte in modo spontaneo dai progetti di valore che vengono costruiti all’interno. Contenuto e persone di valore attraggono altre persone di valore.

8. Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it.
The Web is also a gift economy. To gain influence and status, you have to give away your expertise and content. And you must do it quickly; if you don’t, someone else will beat you to the punch—and garner the credit that might have been yours. Online, there are a lot of incentives to share, and few incentives to hoard.

L’informazione è potere recita un vecchio adagio spesso applicato in contesti organizzativi molto strutturati.
Se da un lato questo è vero dall’altro può rappresentare un grosso freno nello sviluppo di nuovi processi e di frontiere innovative, all’interno della rete (pensiamo anche solo a come è costruita una community e un sito come quello di Wikipedia)

9. Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed.
On the Internet, truly smart ideas rapidly gain a following no matter how disruptive they may be. The Web is a near-perfect medium for aggregating the wisdom of the crowd—whether in formally organized opinion markets or in casual discussion groups. And once aggregated, the voice of the masses can be used as a battering ram to challenge the entrenched interests of institutions in the offline world.

Le decisioni e le opinioni delle persone influenzano tutta l’azienda. In rete si sa che ogni pezzo di informazione e ogni nodo coinvolto ha una importanza chiave, nelle organizzazioni non è sempre e non è affatto così. Comprendere questo significa giocare di anticipo e abilitare ogni singolo attore nella creazione di valore e di successo per l’impresa. Abilitare i nostri dipendenti è spesso la soluzione migliore che abbiamo per fronteggiare il crescente potere del consumatore.

10. Users can veto most policy decisions.
As many Internet moguls have learned to their sorrow, online users are opinionated and vociferous—and will quickly attack any decision or policy change that seems contrary to the community’s interests. The only way to keep users loyal is to give them a substantial say in key decisions. You may have built the community, but the users really own it.

Il potere si traduce anche nella possibilità di veto. Trasformarsi e imitare una community significa anche questo. Ognuno ha la possibilità di impattare in modo davvero significativo sull’ambiente di cui fa parte.

11. Intrinsic rewards matter most.
The web is a testament to the power of intrinsic rewards. Think of all the articles contributed to Wikipedia, all the open source software created, all the advice freely given—add up the hours of volunteer time and it’s obvious that human beings will give generously of themselves when they’re given the chance to contribute to something they actually care about. Money’s great, but so is recognition and the joy of accomplishment.

Le ricompense non formali, gli incentivi intrinseci sono i migliori per stimolare la motivazione e il voler fare bene delle persone. Per molti individui non esiste nulla di più energizzante del sentirsi parte di una squadra che lavora in modo coeso verso un unico obiettivo e che condivide una passione e uno scopo. Puo’ sembrare una favola ma abbiamo visto anche in passato come la motivazione non sia guidata solo da incentivi economici e anzi, abbia molti altri aspetti da non sottovalutare (per approfondire si veda anche: in cui l’argomento è stato trattato)

12. Hackers are heroes.
Large organizations tend to make life uncomfortable for activists and rabble-rousers—however constructive they may be. In contrast, online communities frequently embrace those with strong anti-authoritarian views. On the Web, muckraking malcontents are frequently celebrated as champions of the Internet’s democratic values—particularly if they’ve managed to hack a piece of code that has been interfering with what others regard as their inalienable digital rights.

La rete funziona anche e soprattutto grazie a coloro che non sono d’accordo, coloro che giocano un ruolo nel remare a volte controcorrente (con un senso si intende – ovvio), coloro che non la pensano sempre allo stesso modo degli altri. Queste persone contribuiscono alla creazione di una forte dialettica costruttiva e a realizzare cose che da molti altri sono ritenute impossibili.

Le “lezioni” evidenziate da Hamel che le organizzazioni dovrebbero apprendere dal web sono estremamente significative e di valore per chiunque voglia costruire il prossimo futuro della propria impresa. In sostanza queste “regole” non sono molto differenti da quello che tempo fa abbiamo teorizzato come social business. Un’organizzazione più a misura d’uomo, più personale, più in linea con principi di valore e di costruzione di senso per gli individui. Un modello aziendale che sembra – tra le altre cose – essere l’unico in grado di rispondere con efficacia alle sollecitazioni e ai nuovi stimoli che provengono dal mercato.