Friday, July 31, 2009

Social Media Show and Tell

1971 Lambsie at show and tell Mary Abraham's post 'The Four Chickens Problem' got me thinking. She's been writing and thinking about e.g. enterprise 2.0 (tools) adoption and warns not to throw tools/solutions at the "nearest group of people. She says:

In order to achieve changed behavior (or adoption of a new tool) we must:

  • Educate people as to the actual cause of the problem.
  • Educate people as to the theoretical benefits of the proposed solution.
  • Prove the solution in such an obvious way so that you make the theoretical real.
  • Include monitoring and evaluation to keep proving your case as you implement the solution in their community.

The comments made on this post are interesting to read too.

As I said it got me thinking (and that's why I commented on her post). Because in my experience showing people how I use and enjoy social media applications also helps the 'selling' and 'adoption' of social media/enterprise 2.0/...

I find that with social media you have to dip in to experience it. Can you explain what the use of Twitter is, before you've used it? I couldn't. And by trying it I understood (or try to).
To give you an example. I've been talking to colleagues about social media for some time (- the underlying mechanisms, theory, etc). And some of them caught on quickly. But not many actually went out and tried using the tools. So, I looked for some cases, set up the tools for them and helped them start using them. Now, they're really getting it.

It's a "social media show-and-tell". (Or should it be tell-and-show, relating to Mary's list?) And I don't think this only works for social media, by the way.

Does this make sense? Or are you already doing this in your company? Please share your ideas and experiences!

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Overcoming Reluctance to Share Ideas

light-bulb-idea-hand Lifehacker has a nice piece to convince people who are reluctant to share ideas to do this early. It's a good article. And it's my personal experience too. Share your thought and ideas as soon as you can or dare, and your idea will crystallize much faster. It's one of the reasons I blog.

But the Lifehacker post doesn't take away something that can be taken away. Because even if you learn to share early, you still can experience that people hate to hear ideas that cannot be made right now. Or they'll start scrutinizing your idea instead of building upon it. Even worse, they'll steal your idea and tell all it's their idea and get the credit. Truman's quote is true: "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." But it's also idealistic. We do care who gets the credit.

How can we overcome these human traits? Well, that's easy. And that's why I like social media. A blog or a wiki helps you share an idea, even if that idea is crazy, not finished, etc. A blog or a wiki saves the idea together with your name and the date/time you submitted it. Now others can take the idea, scrutinize and build upon it. But you're always the one that came up with the idea first (or at least you're the first one that wrote it down). You can prove it.

What do you think? Does this help you jot down ideas sooner?

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Different types of content

Mark Morrell of BT has an interesting post on the different types of intranet content they distinguish. I commented on this post, but would like to extend my comment here.

Mark distinguishes between personal, crowd, team and formal content. I commented:

Interesting post! What I was wondering is: is this list right? For you I understand it is. But can’t ‘team’ content be ‘formal’ for instance? And isn’t ‘personal’ a security issue? For instance, I’m working on some content I don’t want to share yet (so it’s personal), but in time it will be in the category ‘crowd’? I’ll blog about this and tell you what my categories are. Thanks for sparking this discussion.

I'm curious if you agree with my remarks. Do you make different distinctions?

Anyway, I think it's great BT is distinguishing between content. I find that lots of content that is now on intranets shouldn't be their anyway. And I see that BT is not only making this distinction but also providing different applications to create and share the content (blog, wiki, CMS, etc.).

As information architect I also distinguish information types. My list is:

  1. product info (product data, specs, competitor info, etc.)
  2. project info (tasks, calendars, meeting minutes, etc.)
  3. department info (presentations, etc.)
  4. process info (process descriptions, working methods, templates, etc.)

What we're seeing now is that our intranet contains all kinds of info. I find our intranet (traditional CMS with 1-to-many publish method) should only contain process information. Process information incorporates news and who-is-who info as well.

All these info types can be given authorization levels, allowing certain information to be kept personal or shared within a team or project.

Does this make sense? Again, do you distinguish between information types and manage them differently?

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Contribute to the Global Intranet Strategies Survey for 2010

Jane McConnell's 'Global Intranet Strategies Survey' for 2010 is up and ready. (It has been for some time...) It's waiting for you to join and contribute!

For a couple of years now we've been participating in this survey. I wrote about it a couple of times (e.g here and here). I enjoy participating for lots of reasons. Among others:

  1. it helps me think about intranet in a structured way
  2. it benchmarks our intranet
  3. the survey itself is basically a checklist for a good intranet
  4. it sparks thinking about intranet (improvement)

Lots of companies have contributed to this survey and our knowledge of intranet strategies. I hope new participants will also join this year and share their intranet experiences.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

#yam For Blogs

Several times now I've posted about the integration of internal and external blogs.

I told you about our internal microblogging experiment with Yammer. (Things are still going OK, by the way!) And if you're on Twitter you may have seen this: #yam. Some people have asked me what that means. Well #yam integrates Twitter with Yammer. So, if I tweet something I'd also like to share internally (with my colleagues), I add #yam to the tweet. That tweet is then retweeted into Yammer automatically. Great feature!

But that got me thinking. Wouldn't it be nice to have such a tag for certain blogposts. So you add a (hash)tag to a blogpost on your external blog and it automatically also gets published on your internal blog. This solves my problem of posting twice using copy-paste.

What do you think of this idea? And if you have an internal and external blog, how do you maintain them? Do you copy posts from one to the other?

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Innovation in Turbulent Times

image I love reading articles about innovation. And every now and then you read one that is very interesting. "Innovation in Turbulent Times" by Rigby, Gruver, Allen (in HBR, June 2009) is one of them.

This article takes fashion companies as an example for continuous, year-by-year innovation. And how successful fashion companies are usually led by two people: a left-brainer and a right-brainer. "If you don't have highly creative people in positions of real authority, you won't get innovation. Most companies in other industries ignore this lesson."

They extend this to show that successful non-fashion companies have the same kind of leadership. And this kind of leadership is usually also characterized by a long-term relationship.

I think this concept can also be extended to teams and projects as well. More often than not, people are good at one or the other: thinking up great concepts or ideas, or, making them. In teams and projects we can learn from this as well, and make sure our teams and projects consist of left- and right-brainers.

I loved this quote and will close this post with it:

Uncreative people have an annoying tendency to kill good ideas - demand multiple rounds of "improvements. They add time, cost, and frustration to the innovation process even in a boom. In a downturn the effect is magnified.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Free, the continuing debate

Some time ago I pointed to an interesting article in Wired by Chris Anderson titled "Free! Why $0.00 is the future of business". Now Anderson published his book on this subject. And, of course, there's lots of talk about its contents.

I still have to read the book. But I wanted to point to 3 posts about this book that I enjoyed. One is a review by Malcolm Gladwell. Two is Anderson's response to that review. And three, ReadWriteWeb's review.

I still find Anderson's thesis very interesting and thought-provoking. But Gladwell's question is my question too: What about the plants and the power lines? Lots will be free, mainly digital stuff. But all the other stuff, what about that?

UPDATED: Mashable has a great piece on this topic too.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Communicating Vision

imageFound this picture (inserted) in Fortune (May 25, 2009)! (Couldn't find the picture on the web, so I scanned it for you.)

Really neat and powerful way to get your vision across:

  • short (one page)
  • visual (mind map with some pictures)
  • facts (numbers)
  • inspiring (culture and values in the middle)

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Crowdsourcing the IT Helpdesk

Bumped into an article and a post that got me thinking. One is an older article (that I reread after going paperless). It is titled "Tailoring IT Support to communities of practice" by Agresti (in: IT Pro, 2003). The other is a recent blogpost by Oliver Marks, "Sorry, the helpdesk doesn't cover that".

What I was wondering is: How many companies are crowdsourcing their IT helpdesks? I see most companies still maintaining traditional helpdesks. So, every employees knows the numbers he/she should call, you call the helpdesk and they try to help you. Usually there's also a system to support that process. This tool supports the helpdesk to manage calls and their solutions. And employees can check the progress of their incident/question.

However, we all know lots of stuff that is IT helpdesk-ish is solved by asking colleagues for help or Googling the solution. And the solutions the helpdesk provides to one colleagues is shared among the helpdesk people, but is not shared with all employees.

Would it be nice and wise to crowdsource the IT helpdesk. I'm not saying the helpdesk employees should move over. We still need them. But their knowledge and that of all the employees can be used to quickly find who else has a certain problem, to solve issues the IT helpdesk can't solve, etc.

I'm wondering: does your corporate IT helpdesk work in this way? Or do you know of companies that have this in place? And is this working for them?

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Going 'paperless'

image I prefer to read longer articles (even blog posts...) on paper. For instance I read Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan articles. Our corporate library allows me to read those articles in hard-copy. Of course the librarians have access to the digital sources of these magazines, but I don't.

What I usually do is browse through the magazine and make copies of the articles I want to read (or I think are interesting for my colleagues). In this way I can read them when and where I want.

When I read articles I usually write comments in the sidelines and highlight what I find interesting and important to remember. These marks are very important to me. So important that I would archive the hard-copy of the article in binders. At least until recently. If I could get my hands on a digital copy I would file that one on my computer with the comments.

Over time I've collected many articles and found that I hardly reuse those articles in my work. Filing them is hard and therefore retrieving them when I need them is too.

So recently I said to myself: Let's get rid of those hard-copies and scan all those articles in. This is quite easy because I work for a company that develops copier-printer-scanners. The scanners have a document feeder so I don't have to scan page-by-page. The scan is automatically emailed to me in pdf (but is not OCR-ed...).

When I get the pdf of the article I trust the scanning process has gone OK and don't check that. I rename the filename by typing in the title, the author(s) of the article, the source it came from and the date. Because Windows wants me to put the file in one folder (I'm using XP) I also add some 'tags' to the filename (by simply adding extra text in the filename) to be able to create intersections over files and folders.

This is working out fine for me. And I'm finding I'm reusing older articles more often now. When I'm asked to look into something I start by search my desktop and collecting the info I already have. Then I move over to my bookmarks (- wouldn't it be great if you could merge bookmarks and files? -) and finally search the internet.

I'm curious what you do with your paper documents. Do you also scan them? Or do you file them in a binder? Do you reuse those documents often? Please share your best-practices!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Match

Received an interesting invite today from Novay for their new game 'The Match'. (As I understand Buro Blink also helped set up the game.) It's a game to show how 'networked innovations' could work. All our invited to join. Do you want to know how you can play? Just take a look at this video.

How am I doing in the game? Just take a look at the widget at the right-hand side of my blog! Pretty good eh?! ;-)

Oh my email address? (UPDATE July 29: ... removed email after the game stopped. I didn't win...)

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