Embracing social media and the myriad of Web 2.0 tools is more challenging than just setting up a Facebook account or adding a “Follow Me on Twitter” link. Organizations struggle with how to take advantage of the power of Web 2.0. Where do you start? How do you tie these new tools in with your current website? How do you make sure your current constituents are happy while moving the organization to a more networked world?
For this month’s LAB, we will use the innovation template called Task Unification, one of five templates of the corporate innovation method called S.I.T.. To use Task Unification, we take a component of a product, service, system, etc, and we assign an additional “job” to it. For this exercise involving Social Media, here is how it works. Imagine your company has a large base of employees in the field. For example, suppose your company has a large sales force or an extensive network of delivery or service people. Consider the U.S. Postal Service, for example, with an army of postal workers and letter carriers at over 32,000 post
offices. A key question for these organizations like the USPS is: how do we get more value out of this fixed asset? Let’s use Task
I start by visiting a site that inventories all the social web tools: GO2WEB20.NET. I randomly pick an application from this list. Then I assign the internal field resources to “use” this application to increase revenue/profits for the company. Using our example of the postal service, I create this statement: “Postal delivery staff have the additional ‘job’ of using XXXX (web application) to increase USPS performance.” This is our Virtual Product in the S.I.T. method.
The key is to use the non-obvious applications for creating new, innovative services. You have to literally force yourself to imagine the corporate resource using the inherent aspects of the Web 2.0 application to create revenue or cut costs. Here are examples I created using Task Unification:
Companies have an enormous stockpile of Web 2.0 business model ideas sitting and waiting to be leveraged. Their challenge is to take advantage of the discipline and structure of innovation templates to lead them to new, useful, and surprising opportunities.