Submitted by: Aqua Porter, vice president of Lean Six Sigma Strategy at Xerox

When I put together my keynote presentation for the Lean Manufacturing track of the Reliable Plant 2010 conference in Nashville, I was hesitant to include too much discussion about social media. I was keeping my audience top of mind – would I be able to convince a group of plant and facilities managers of the importance of real-time collaboration? Still, I’m a social media advocate, so I pressed on because I think it’s an important message to share.

My keynote included communication as one of three critical elements in sustaining a Lean Six Sigma culture, along with leadership and teamwork. Boy was I surprised when the communication section turned out to engage the audience the most.

I spoke specifically about Yammer, a micro-blog designed for use within a company’s network. It’s like Twitter, except you’re only talking to your colleagues. Yammer has developed a grass roots following within the Lean Six Sigma community at Xerox, and I find it helps us:

  • Find resources and information faster
  • Connect beyond known colleagues
  • Collaborate freely and easily without regard to distance or time zone
  • Decide how to best consume the vast amount of available information

The message stuck and I fielded many questions and requests for further discussion about how new communication tools, which allow for real-time collaboration, can be a strong asset within the context of process improvement. My aha moment came when I realized my initial hesitancy to approach this topic with this audience was unnecessary – social media’s relevance continues to grow and surprise us all the time.

Here’s my video reflecting on the discussion about using social media in the enterprise.   Tell me what you think.

— Aqua Porter, vice president of Lean Six Sigma Strategy at Xerox