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.