Last week was big. With history-making events, the Royal Wedding and the death of Osama Bin Laden, rocking the globe on both ends of the spectrum, the media and the public are going to be buzzing for quite some time.
As I struggled to put my iPhone down Sunday night and go to bed after President Obama’s speech, I reflected on how involved I felt on a global scale as each situation unfolded. The high level of participation is directly tied to our world filled with always-on connectivity and participatory mediums. With someone in London live streaming their view of Westminster Abbey and @reallyvirtual’s moment-by-moment account of helicopters landing in Abbottabad, I didn’t have to leave Austin, Texas to share in the experiences.
When news breaks, what would have been shared among just a few, years ago is now a real-time, multi-way — forget ‘two-way’ — conversation that spans the globe. Our processing of news and events such as these now involves participation in multiple layers of communication and sharing across social platforms.
So, what do a wedding and a death mean for your business?
Let’s recap last week’s major happenings for a moment so that you can use the insights to consider how traditional communication flows in your business today.
The Royal Wedding
The public had unprecedented access leading up to, during and after the marriage of Prince William to Catherine Middleton. And we took full advantage of it whether it was an early morning watch party (my co-workers attended this one in Austin), a street party, tea with Oprah that afternoon or host of other offline and online activities.
Source: The Telegraph
The connective tissue that made all of this possible was social media. While I did wake up early to watch Barbara Walter’s live coverage and stay up late that evening watching my recorded Oprah and Entertainment Tonight (ET) wedding specials, it was the participation with friends and strangers in-between that cemented my hand in the discussion of this historic event.
Source: Facebook (post by a friend)
Osama Bin Laden’s Death
The ability to discuss and share is especially impactful after an announcement like the death of the most-wanted terrorist of our time. The sequence of events at my house last night played out as follows:
Consider how the information flow might change to more effectively serve today’s connected employees and consumers
The process around consumption of major news events sheds light on the process that many businesses are struggling to define both internally and externally. While there’s no doubting this massive shift in process consumption, most organizations aren’t sure how to optimize their own communications ecosystems. In that regard, the information flow and value exchange during large events such as these is worth a closer look. Perhaps it can help businesses define a process to get its own news to move.
A knowledge worker spends a good portion of the day communicating – meetings, status reports, emails, phone calls, water cooler talks. Much of this activity is considered unproductive overhead; when you look at a calendar full of meetings you wonder when you’re going to get any REAL work done. And while many popular forms of communication may be inefficient and ineffective, communication is work; perhaps the most important work knowledge workers do.
Knowledge work is aimed at turning information into something decisionable and actionable; too often reports, presentations, survey results are mistaken for such. While they are a key part of the decision equation, they are not enough. They don’t provide insight. The only thing they’re good for on their own is filling repositories.
Knowledge, unlike the data and information contained in reports, is a living & breathing thing. It can’t be put in your enterprise content management system. It exists in the heads of employees (often referred to as ‘tacit’ knowledge), constantly being shaped by different stimuli: articles, blog posts, pictures, models, books, conversations with colleagues, etc… Communication is the process by which this constantly evolving knowledge is applied on data and information to a decisionable end. This process will generate insights on how to take advantage of the information you have gathered. Unless the reports, presentations and survey results are subjected to scrutiny and analysis through communication, no insights are created and decisions are delayed or malinformed.
Communication is more than just a block of time on your calendar. It’s an opportunity to share knowledge, gain insight, make better decisions and create for your company a competitive advantage.
What does communication look like where you work? Is it enabling the application of knowledge to data and information? Where do your company’s insights come from?