In working with organisations who are implementing enterprise social networking I often hear the same kind of complaint: ‘we wanted to use our network to [insert use case], but that has failed here. How do we fix it?’
One of the dangers of a use case approach is that it engenders a transactional mindset. There is a big difference in a human interaction that is framed to ‘get information’ vs one that is framed to ‘ask politely, learn and acknowledge help’. Often the failed use cases are where the network participant are taking a transactional mindset and not considering the needs of the other person involved. Without interactions that benefit all participants the community, the benefits of the use cases fall away.
A network has transactions. Communities have human interactions. Community creates greater business value. A community has interactions that build long term relationships of trust, learning and collaboration. That’s far more valuable and much more human.