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Unlocking Value & Productivity Through Social Technologies

McKinsey Global Institute's latest report explores the potential economic productivity of social technologies that could contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value. We connected with audiences about the research online and at events, including a live Twitter conversation.


  1. McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) released the report along with a podcast by author Michael Chui, discussing the potential value in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within and across enterprises. 
  2. MGI launched the report at San Francisco's Churchill Club with Michael convening a panel of social media experts and business leaders: Wendy Arnott, VP of Social Media, TD Bank GroupBJ Fogg, Founder and Director of Stanford University's Persuasive Technology Lab; David Gutelius, Chief Scientist at Jive Software, and Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih, author of "The Facebook Era."
  3. The Churchill Club recorded and provided the full panel, including some of the comments and questions highlighted below.
  4. 7.26.12 Social Technologies Unlocked
  5. Michael also joined co-authors James Manyika, Jacques Bughin, and Hugo Sarrazin to introduce the research in a Financial Times piece discussing the impact of social technologies on enterprise IT systems and the potential gains: 

    What makes social technologies such a powerful tool within and across enterprises is the how they unlock otherwise hidden opportunities for people from across the organisation to communicate, share information, and collaborate. What is even more important for enterprise users is that communications that take place on social platforms become content. This means that every item posted on an online community site becomes part of a permanent, searchable archive. 
  6. The report's findings resonated, including the amount of time high-skilled knowledge workers spend on certain tasks, specifically email. 
  7. As @jhweissmann calculated in The Atlantic:
    The upshot: we spend 13 hours a week, or 28 percent of our office time, on email. Assuming two weeks vacation, that multiplies out to 650 hours a year. 
  8. The New York Times deputy technology editor Quentin Hardy covered the report in its Bits blog, focusing on the potential productivity gains in the trillions to four major commercial sectors populated by interaction workers —high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals:

    Social technologies like wikis, broadly accessible instant messaging, content searches and user forums, McKinsey says, are particularly effective among so-called interactions workers. These people are general managers, for example, but also consultative sales representatives, engineers working with teams to figure out new products, or health care workers personally figuring out patients’ needs.