I was reading a post from @SteveBoese entitled “People, Process, and Productivity Killers” and it reminded me of a preambulation I had some time ago on the subject of decision making in the context of a social business and its role on current business processes.
As Steve discussed in his article (and as was referenced in the Fast Company article he mentions, “5 ways process is killing productivity”) current business process tend to be very rigid and sub-optimal for highly innovative fast pacing companies. Social is frequently positioned as a vehicle through which greater flexibility can be introduced into the system by allowing ad-hoc processes to be collaboratively developed, ie. Collaborative Decision Making. However, social and collaboration is not a magic pill that can single-handedly cure corporate sluggishness.
The trick with Collaborative Decision Making is to put in place a system that can combine the the discipline, governance, and structure of traditional decision making with the agility, flexibility, and broad engagement of social. What companies ultimately need is a framework that can put some structure around the social processes to support & track discussion, debate, decision analysis, and (critically) provenance & governance.
There can be no doubt that much as the waterfall method of software development has well and truly died a painful death, so is the waterfall method of decision making going to die. The choice is whether its death is proactively instigated by the business or is forced upon the business by external market pressures.