It’s a Productivity Path: Mayo Clinic’s Enterprise Social Media & Innovation

On LinkedIn, I  was intrigued to read a local, social media strategist’s question about whether a private social network is an oxymoron.


More like sweet music to a process/change consultant that has sweated over years about how to best help leaders engage the passion and full potential of their organization’s talent.

Note: This post was updated in 2019

with a revised title and new enterprise social media references.

Social media is a participant led, organic system of energy & interest.  This is especially helpful internally, to improve performance and productivity, if your organization has a helper/giving culture and values teams & community. Launching and supporting enterprise social media, aligned with the current vision & direction of your organization, is a great way to increase productivity and engagement in the long term. 

Internal, enterprise social media benefits, Chatter diagram ( Photo by James Dellow, Flickr cc

Internal, enterprise social media benefits, Chatter diagram ( Photo by James Dellow, Flickr cc

It’s also great for staff tired of lectures, emails, and company webinars on the latest roll-out and/or restructure/organization design update.

Geeky metaphor: If you use a smart phone, tablet or computer, you know how fun it ISN’T to get the almost daily news on what apps [applications] need a  “critical” update.  It no fun when your favorite web browser won’t sync or even “talk to” your email.

Photo by Knight725, Flickr cc

Photo by Knight725, Flickr cc

Social media at least soothes that pain with a bit of internal chatter and commiseration, and often some good tips and help!  Are you missing out needed social media banter:  “Yep, been there, done that, and here’s how I fixed it!”  The popular Geek Squad at Best Buy was launched based on such conversations happening during gaming among staffers.  That’s smart strategy, productivity and engagement combined.

The Power of Choice & Collaboration

Allowing staffers, faculty, students, physicians, researchers, really ANY organization members to choose how they form their diverse AND like-minded organic groups within subject headings of interest (think #hashtags for the Twitter tweeter’s among us) can create high engagement energy and ramp up productivity and innovation.

Photo: Ron & Deb at the OD Summit, using a Mayo Clinic enterprise social media case study

Our previous post features the Mayo Clinic’s innovation conferences and their 50% increase in engagement.  Corporate / enterprise systems are beginning to include Chatter, Yammer, Microsoft Lync (including a Mac version)  and Facebook (secret groups). Even the ultra-secure CIA has an internal wiki to enable sharing of mission-critical learning.  The Mayo Clinic accomplished its spread of innovation conference conversation in 2009, starting with  Socialtext.   (Photos from our OD Summit social media in organizations presentation featuring the Mayo Clinic systems, are here.)  Sharing cultures also outperform more traditional corporate cultures.

At the time this post was written, I listed was trending on two technology trend websites featuring social media tools Path (2019 alternatives now listed) and Chatter:

  • In April of 2013, Path, surpassed the  10 million registered user mark. (2019 Update, Path has now shut down, but here are some useful alternatives, thanks to Engaget.)
  • Chatter (owned by giant,, rolled out its mobile features in March 2013
Classics: The iPad 2 and twitter stream, plus an iPhone & the iPad 1

Classics: The iPad 2 and twitter stream, plus an iPhone & the iPad 1

Many employees love their smartphones, tablets and gadgets, including me.  Light, agile tablets are especially a hot trend in mobile.  Integrating enterprise social media with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is another trend to watch to plan your technology-accelerated strategies.

Feel free to comment on what YOU think about enterprise social media and these examples, today in 2019.

Excerpted: [The ongoing] …wave of social networks aims to shrink the number of people in your circle.

The latest web fad? Private social networks. A growing number of services let users connect in smaller groups often around specific events. With  Path, for example, you’re only allowed 50 friends; the goal is to share more intimate life details — kids’ pics, a tasty breakfast — with a more controlled group of people — maybe just your girlfriend and your sister.


Path, which only launched in November… reportedly turned down a $100 million buyout offer from Google…


New services are sprouting up for everyone: NYC moms calendaring playdates? Try RedRover. Hunters wanting to chat in text message groups? Try  (NOTE: As of 2019, these keep changing, so see alternatives here.)

The time is right for these networks to take seed. Smartphones are nearly ubiquitous. ….Facebook has made users comfortable sharing things online.

But many are attracting substantial investments even before users have fallen in love with them. Path, which only launched in November and has just “hundreds of thousands” of users, has accepted $11.2 million in funding so far and reportedly turned down a $100 million buyout offer from Google (GOOG).

Photo-sharing service Instagram, which has amassed 1.75 million members since its October launch, recently took $7.5 million.


…As with many disruptive technologies, actual customer adoption can take time.


Excerpted: from, Will the Public and Private Social Network Intersect?  January 29th, 2011 by Steve Chipman

The Private Social Network Concept

When Marc Benioff, CEO of, first announced Chatter at Dreamforce 2009, it was portrayed as “Facebook for the Enterprise”.

…There were …a couple of gotchas:  Chatter was only going to be available to customers of Salesforce CRM [ and] was going to come at an additional cost.

…[Competitor] Yammer had proven out the model of a private social network, [yet] a corporate version of public social media was still not something that was perceived by many corporate managers as being as indispensable…

…As with many disruptive technologies, actual customer adoption can take time.

Chatter's mobile tools launch (Salesforce) in 2013

Chatter’s mobile tools launch (Salesforce) in 2013

…with a maturing private social network technology on its hands, …Salesforce seems poised to leverage Chatter as part of its overall plan to increase its footprint in the corporate technology world and to keep offering more solutions on top of the world class cloud infrastructure that it’s built up over the last decade.




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