mbaIf there's a bastion of stodgy business thought, it's McKinsey & Company, where deep consulting reports have long ridden the leading edge of globalization, innovation, and management thought.

McKinsey has never been exactly dialed in to online innovation...until now. Without much fanfare, McKinsey has embraced social media, making it safe for MBAs around the world to tweet and retweet.

The company's statement piece came in late February via a series of articles on McKinsey Quarterly. The company's global Web 2.0 survey finds only 34 percent of companies actively maintained a blog. Only 28 percent used social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook. Every company surveyed plans to spend more on social media, mostly to add to customer service. But the biggest statement is McKinsey's own active solicitation of tweets about the survey as it was developing. The company that has thrived on organically grown knowledge has found a new way to invite new thinking.

The common thread between McKinsey's tradition and social media is collaboration. Like other business schools and authors, it has espoused collaborative innovation as the key to global competition. In the past, this was an invitation-only strategy. But its new Web 2.0 report sates: "There are few differences in size, region, or even tool use between companies that are satisfied with their Web 2.0 experience and those that are not.

This suggests that today’s seemingly insurmountable barriers could be overcome through the adoption of managerial methods that satisfied companies use...Successful companies already use Web 2.0 for business applications such as communicating with customers and suppliers; soon they may use it to drive innovation."

McKinsey has a Facebook page. Its consultants have Twitter handles, and its excellent thought leadership publications now have obvious blog interfaces and lots of white space. The company braings a lot of structure to the social media conversation. It's very interesting that instead of social media monetization, which most consultants focus on, McKinsey is about collaboration and innovation. Innovate by harnessing the intellectual capital within your company; court innovation by collaborating externally.

Nice, buttoned-up, tweet-worthyformula.


Published 16 March, 2009 by John Gaffney

John Gaffney is US Editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter

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Comments (3)


Jeff Pundyk


I'm the publisher of The McKinsey Quarterly (  Thanks for the nice write-up. As you note, we're actively trying to bring more voices into the conversation -- to serve as both a publisher and a convener.  Toward this end, I'd like to call your attention to our newest site, What Matters, available at  It really lives on the principles you describe.



over 9 years ago


John Gaffney, US Editor at Econsultancy


I'm all over it. I used to work at Peppers & Rogers as executive editor and I've spent more than a few years chasing McK's reputation. Thanks for your response.

over 9 years ago



And that just about sums up blogging for me - Endless wading through irrelevant twitters from random people selling handbags and boots ;-) If you think community feedback is the way forward for innovation, customer services and key business KPI measurement, then focus more attention to feedback management & get yourself a decent multi channel survey and reporting strategy / capability... Don't get me wrong, I like Ugs, but there is a time and a place...

over 9 years ago

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