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Survival of the fittest is all about cultural change

Deloitte Research releases new Viewpoint revealing the importance of
collaboration and knowledge sharing on the web

To maximise revenue in the current economic climate, companies must foster a
working culture that enables responsive, strategic decision-making
throughout the organisation. But how can companies encourage employees to
be more creative, work more effectively and adapt faster to change? A new
Viewpoint released today by Deloitte Research, the thought-leadership arm of
Deloitte Consulting and Deloitte & Touche, suggests that companies must
strategically relinquish control if they are to operate in a faster, more
volatile marketplace.

"Companies are under greater pressure than ever to operate profitably," says
Gilbert Toppin, head of operations for Europe at Deloitte Consulting. "Over
the past five years companies have invested heavily in information
technology systems in the belief that it is the key to commercial success.
As a result, employees have access to more information than ever before.
But, if hierarchy and internal procedures within an organisation prevent
rapid decision-making, then the competitive advantage of technology is
lost."

The perspective from Deloitte Research called: 'Collaborative Knowledge
Networks: driving workforce performance through web-enabled communities',
reveals that relinquishing some control may be the most effective strategy
for organisations as they respond to today's rapidly shifting market
conditions. This can be done, in part, by creating environments that enable
employees to self-organise into informal groups or 'virtual communities'
that are linked via the Internet. Deloitte Research calls these
collaborative knowledge networks (CKNs).


"It's hard at first to get a handle on collaborative knowledge networks:
They just don't fit with traditional organisational paradigms," continues
Toppin. "In simple terms, they are groups of people working together
outside conventional organisational structures. When linked electronically
into collaborative knowledge networks, these communities enable rapid
knowledge sharing that can accelerate many important business processes.
They can help companies rapidly respond to new and changing customer needs,
streamline product development processes, accelerate knowledge transfer
within an organisation and increase creativity."

Deloitte Research acknowledges that CKNs cannot be mandated, but it presents
a framework for nurturing them within an organisation. Essential guidelines
include:

* Provide the necessary infrastructure - high performing CKNs depend
on high performance technologies.
* Sponsor, support and nurture - management must provide the
transparency that enables members to share tacit knowledge - the vast
majority of what makes every company tick resides in the heads of its
workforce.
* Reward and encourage participation - incentives may be required to
get participants to share what they know and to absorb what others have to
offer.
* Help employees become effective collaborators - successful
collaboration depends on successful relationships. Coaching and training
can help employees to strengthen their communication skills and understand
others' perspectives.
* Build trust - the ethos of trust between leaders and their employees
is the glue that holds everything together.
* Respect the need for face-to-face interaction - collaborative
efforts are less effective without some face-to-face encounters.

For a copy of Deloitte Research's new Viewpoint: Collaborative Knowledge
Networks: driving workforce performance through web-enabled communities,
please contact Pia DeVitre, Deloitte Consulting, tel: 0207 303 3000,
pdevitre@dc.com or Katie Hope, Citigate Technology, tel: 0207 282 1053,
email: katie.hope@citigatetechology.com

About Deloitte Consulting
Deloitte Consulting is one of the world's leading consulting firms,
providing services in all aspects of enterprise transformation, from
strategy and processes to information technology and human resources. The
firm's professionals help clients, from new economy start-ups to Fortune®
1000 global organizations, to create, reinvent and defend their business
models by guiding them through the complexities of the evolving digital
economy. Deloitte Consulting is part of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, one of
the world's leading professional services firms, providing world-class
consulting, assurance and advisory, and tax services through nearly 90,000
people in over 130 countries to nearly one-fifth of the world's largest
companies, public institutions and successful fast-growing companies. For
more information about Deloitte Consulting, visit www.dc.com
<http://www.dc.com>.


Contact: Katie Hope, Citigate Technology Consulting, Tel: +44 207 282 1053 , E-mail: katie.hope@citigatetechnology.com

Pia DeVitre, Deloitte, Tel: +44 20 7303 5225
E-mail: pdevitre@dc.com

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