Something very interesting and unusual happened on the internal platform last week.
I wasn't paying close attention (busy with other things) so I almost missed it.
I can't really describe the business value in quantitative terms, but I know it was very important and very cool. I just can't measure it, though.
One of our more passionate social media advocates (Candi) suggested the idea of a "Day In The Life Of EMC".
The idea was that everyone -- around the globe -- take pictures of their work day and work environment on October 9/10 -- and share them online, using our internal platform. She used the platform and email and whatever to spread the word, get people excited, etc.
The idea caught on like wildfire. It was viral in the extreme sense of the word.
I spent over an hour yesterday, just looking at the posts, the pictures, the commentary. Hundreds and hundreds of posts. Many of them giving me a glimpse of places and people I barely knew existed.
And, as I was going through it, it started to dawn on me that I was looking at something very special, almost magical, and I've been struggling to describe it in more precise terms since then.
The Value Of Feeling Connected
There were some pretty powerful social dynamics at work here.
Here I am. Here is my space and environs. Here are the great people I work with. I am part of a larger company with a larger purpose, but here's where I fit in and contribute. I am relevant -- as are you.
We had over 28,000 people around the globe either contribute or view the results within a 5 day period.
Now, for all you ROI-heads, how do you put a price tag on this one?
I can't do that. But I know it was pretty important nonetheless. And, since we did it for near-zero incremental cost, any ROI we get is pretty damn leveraged, wouldn't you agree?
The Soft Side Of Social Computing
Early on, like many of you, we struggled to come up with hard ROI numbers on our investment. During this process, we got there -- but we felt like we were synthesizing some numbers just so we could get on to what was really important -- connecting people, starting that Big Conversation we all wanted.
I consider this a failing of the ROI tools we use in business today -- they have sadly fallen out of step with the emerging nature of work and value-creation in our economy. How do you value a great idea? Or an insightful connection?
Maybe we'll have to revisit that dusty old MBA curriculum soon ... :-)