Without mentioning names — just yesterday afternoon, in a conversation with a colleague, I was told this true story.
This person told me how their private firm (thousands of dispersed staff around the US) used bulk emails to ask questions (and for assistance on a variety of hot topics) to their colleagues, using pre-determined Communities of Practice membership as their guideline. Literally, first thing in the morning, when they all check their corporate Outlook accounts (many on Blackberry devices), a call-for-assistance for a specific topic or customer might be received, and within 30 or 45 minutes, the requestor likely has 20-30 replies from a variety of perspectives – each offering some sort of assistance.
Then the requestor can select amongst these opportunities and compare/contrast/combine/renegotiate – anything they desire – but the key point being, they are able to look quick and responsive to their customer’s requirements BECAUSE of the leveraging power of their Information Network.
I know that this story does not have the usual suspects of Web 2.0 tools to assign praise to: Blogs, Wikis, Google Docs, MySpace (LOL) – not even LinkedIN, one of my favorites – but it simply works. It would likely have a greater ROI than some of these other tools, if one were to be calculated, but why bother. This works. Did I already tell you, this works?
Go forth and use the tools which work. And let me know when you find some good stories, as I like to retell them to others in my Information Network.