Posted tagged ‘collaboration’
Categories: social learning
Tags: A means of liking senior executives' posts, collaboration, corporate, definition, enterprise 2.0, enterprise social network, ESN, hierarchy, humor, humour, organisational culture, organizational culture, participatory culture, social, social learning, social media, social software, sycophancy, workplace
Comments: 2 Comments
Game-based learning doesn’t have to break the bank. That was the key point of my presentation at The Learning Assembly in Melbourne last week.
Sure, you can spend an obscene amount of money on gaming technology if you want to, but you don’t have to.
Take Diner Dash for instance. In this free online game, you play the role of a waitress in a busy restaurant. As the customers arrive you need to seat them, take their order, submit the order to the chef, serve their food, transact their payment, clean their table, and take the dirty dishes back to the kitchen.
Leave any of your customers unattended for too long and they’ll walk out in a huff, costing you a star. When you lose all your stars, your shift is over.
It’s all very straight-forward… until the customers start pouring in and you find yourself racing to do everything at the same time. Straight-forward rapidly becomes complex!
While Diner Dash is just a simple little game, it can afford an engaging learning experience.
For example, suppose you incorporate the game into a team-building workshop. You could split the participants into teams of 3 or 4 members, place each team in front of a computer with Diner Dash pre-loaded, and instruct them to score as many points as possible within a given time period.
Of course the game isn’t meant to be played in this way. Controlling the waitress by committee is awkward and inefficient. The participants will panic; they’ll snap at one another; someone will commandeer the mouse and go it alone; someone else will butt in; and they’ll all start to talk over the top of each other.
But that’s by design. Because when the game is over, you introduce Tuckman’s model of team development and suddenly the penny drops.
What Diner Dash has done is provide the participants with a recent experience of team building. Sure, the premise of the game was fictitious, but the dynamics among the players were real. So when it comes time to reflect upon the theoretical principles of the model, they don’t need to imagine some vague hypothetical scenario because they’ve personally experienced a highly charged scenario that very morning. It’s fresh in their minds.
Other themes that could emerge via a game like Diner Dash include time management, priority management, customer service, problem solving, decision making, strategic thinking, adaptability and learning agility.
Another is collaboration. If you were to put a leaderboard at the front of the room, I could almost guarantee that each team would default to competition mode and battle it out for supremacy. But wasn’t the objective of the activity to score as many points as possible? So why wouldn’t you collaborate with your colleagues around you to do that – especially those who had played the game before! This observation never fails to enlighten.
So, getting back to my original proposition: game-based learning doesn’t have to break the bank. With resources such as Diner Dash available for free, you can do it on a shoestring.
Categories: game-based learning
Tags: blended learning, collaboration, Diner Dash, free, game, game-based learning, games, gamification, GBL, group development, learning, stages, team building, team dynamics, The Learning Assembly, Tuckman, Tuckman's model
Comments: 12 Comments
Hot on the heels of my 5 benefits of open badges for corporates, I now present my 7 big opportunities that MOOCs offer corporates.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m quite the MOOC fan. While I realise massive open online courses are not a panacea, I believe they have much to offer learners and learning professionals alike.
More specifically, I recognise the following opportunities to leverage them in the workplace. If you can think of any others, please let me know…
1. Sourcing content
Quality content, for free, from some of the world’s most respected educational institutions? That’s a no-brainer.
While Coursera and others offer MOOCs covering business and management topics that are relevant across the enterprise, it’s important to realise that other topics (such as statistics, law and IT) may also be relevant to particular teams. Having said that, I believe there is much more scope for MOOC providers to cover corporate-relevant topics.
I envisage L&D professionals playing important roles in both curating and supporting MOOCs for their colleagues. In terms of the former, it’s important that the right MOOC be connected to the right employee so that it’s relevant to their performance on the job. This will involve an analysis of the curriculum pre-study, and an evaluation of the learning experience post-study.
In terms of supporting the moocers in the organisation, I envisage L&D pro’s undertaking activities such as facilitating communities of practice, setting up buddy programs, and organising external meetups.
Participating in a MOOC forms connections with people outside of your organisation. Whether it be via the online discussion forum, on one of the associated social media groups, or at a local meetup, suddenly you are introduced to a world of people who are passionate and knowledgeable about the topic.
And it’s not just people outside of the organisation you will connect to. You may also connect with fellow participants inside the organisation, whom you otherwise might never have met.
A MOOC can therefore facilitate the kind of cross-functional collaboration and diversity of thinking that many corporates talk about, but few ever do anything about.
3. Blending content
Depending on the licensing policy of the content owner, a MOOC (or parts thereof) may be incorporated into an in-house offering.
Content sourced from a respected university can make the offering more engaging and lend it an air of credibility.
4. Flipping classrooms
While corporates are increasingly realising that classroom delivery is not necessarily the most effective pedagogy for employee development, neither is delivering the training in exactly the same way via a webinar or converting the PowerPoint slides into an online module.
Instead, corporates should consider making their offerings “MOOC like” by creating an online space in which the content can be consumed and discussed by the employees (with SME support) over the course of several weeks.
This approach reduces the burden of managing classroom sessions (timetables, room bookings, flights, accommodation), and frees up face-to-face time for value added activities such as such as storytelling, Q&A and role plays.
I also suggest mimicking the flexibility of a MOOC, whereby signing up to the course, participating in it and even completing it is optional. However, only those who pass the assessment will have their completion status recorded in the LMS.
5. Brand marketing
Just like a university, a corporate has expertise in a particular domain that it can share with the public. Perhaps after experimenting with internal “MOOC like” courses, the organisation can deliver a bona fide external MOOC either on their own server or via an established platform like Coursera.
Notwithstanding the fact that managing a MOOC is a lot of work, I would argue the investment is worth it. Think about it: you can access tens of thousands of customers and prospective customers who are becoming increasingly immune to traditional advertising. By educating them, you build up your goodwill and engender a sense of trust in your brand.
Then there’s CSR to consider. Does the company have an ethical responsibility to help the community through MOOCs? Not to mention the kudos that goes with it.
So while the financial viability of MOOCs has come under heavy fire in the blogosphere, the ROI might be more complicated than the profit-and-loss statement suggests.
6. Becoming involved
If running a MOOC is a bridge too far for the organisation, there are other opportunities to become involved.
For example, the University of Virginia’s Foundations of Business Strategy MOOC invites real companies to supply real business problems for the (tens of thousands) of students to solve collaboratively.
As Foldit can attest, problem solving through crowdsourcing really works – and sometimes the results are spectacular.
7. Mining big data
This wades into the murky waters of privacy and ethics, but theoretically at least, a company could purchase access to a particular MOOC’s analytics.
Why would it want to do that? Perhaps to:
- Offer internships to the participants who achieve the highest results.
- Uncover trends in the online discussions, and hence forecast consumer behaviour.
- Target the students, who self-evidently have an interest in the domain, with direct marketing for related products and services.
And if the organisation were to run its own MOOC, it wouldn’t need to pay anyone for the data.
Categories: corporate sector, MOOCs
Tags: analytics, big data, blended learning, brand, collaboration, content, corporate, corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility, Coursera, courses, CSR, education, ethics, flipped classroom, Foundations of Business Strategy, learning, marketing, MOOCs, online, ROI, role, spam, training
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One of the recurring themes on my blog is a call for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to share their knowledge with the wider organisation.
In my view, this isn’t just an expectation: it’s an obligation. Organisations whose people embrace collaboration will prosper, while those who don’t will be left behind.
While the stereotype of an SME is a Sheldon-like character with superhuman intellect, the convenient truth is that we’re regular folk.
Of course the level of expertise in a particular domain will vary across a population, and the label of “expert” will naturally be assigned to those who have the most. However, it would be a folly to assume that the eggheads are the only ones who have anything to contribute.
You see, everyone is an expert in something. When humans work in a domain day in, day out, they familiarise themselves with it; they grow to understand its subtleties; they think up ideas to improve it; and they recognise the difference between business reality and academic fallacy when other people talk about it.
So while they might not be experts in the entire domain, they will be experts in parts thereof.
Take Sam for example. He’s an administrator in the back office of a financial services organisation.
He’s no expert in superannuation, but he sure knows how to process a unit switch – even complicated ones. He processes dozens of them every day.
So when you need someone to record a unit switching tutorial, who you gonna call? It sure as hell won’t be Carl the CFP, or Mary the MBA, or anyone else with an acronym after their name. It will be Sam, the unit switching expert.
When we view the concept of subject matter expertise through this lens, we realise our roles as learning professionals need to change:
- We need to stop deifying the few. This creates an “us & them” mentality which – even if affectionate – discourages the participation of the mortals.
- We need to empower the many to share their expertise. In the modern workplace, this will involve social technology.
- We need to cultivate a participatory culture. The best technology in the world is useless in an organisation with inhibitive policies and attitudes. Tools are meant to be used.
So unless they are doe-eyed novices, all the employees in your organisation have knowledge and skills to share. And if they don’t or won’t, let them find alternative employment with your competitors.
Tags: collaboration, enterprise 2.0, expert, expertise, knowledge sharing, organisational culture, organizational culture, participatory culture, role, SME, social business, social learning, social media, subject matter expert, subject matter expertise
Comments: 9 Comments
I tailed my previous blog post with the question:
What is the SII of your organisation’s intranet?
By “SII” I mean Social Intranet Index – a metric I have proposed to measure the degree of social functionality afforded by the platform. From 1 through to 10, the SII represents an increasing level of sociability.
I posed this question to 23 intranet managers from around the world, and they kindly rated their respective platforms against a 10-point likert scale. The results are displayed in the following graph.
Graph 1. The current distribution of Social Intranet Indices across 23 organisations
I also asked the respondents to rate what they thought the SII of their organisation’s intranet would be in 12 months’ time. These results are displayed in the next graph.
Graph 2. The future distribution of Social Intranet Indices across 23 organisations
While my sample size is no doubt too small to indicate statistical significance across the wider population, simple observation suggests the following:
We expect our intranets to become more social than they are today.
As you can see in the first graph, the ratings are quite spread out across the scale (x̄=5.1 σ=3.3). In other words, the level of social functionality is variable among our different intranets. Plenty of us are still using the platform as a broadcast medium, while others have added social elements.
As you can see in the second graph, however, the ratings shift noticeably to the right (x̄=7.5 σ=2.4). In other words, we expect the level of social functionality to increase over the short term. Whether we are planning, hoping or praying for this to happen, plenty of us think that in a year’s time our intranets will be personalised and our target audiences will be producing the content.
As an e-learning professional with a passion for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, I hope we realise this future state sooner rather than later.
Categories: enterprise 2.0, intranets, social media
Tags: collaboration, enterprise 2.0, intranet, intranet manager, knowledge sharing, SII, social business, social intranet, Social Intranet Index, social media
Comments: 2 Comments
There’s a lot of talk about social intranets these days. It even threatens to overtake the blogosphere’s current obsession with gamification.
But what exactly is a social intranet…?
Everyone seems to have a different opinion, from a human-centred platform, to the intersection between portals, team sites and social sites, to a system that ties the business’s processes and data to the employee’s social behaviour.
Which one is correct? They all are.
You see, a “social intranet” is simply an intranet with social media elements that allow the users to interact with the content and with each other.
While everyone’s definition covers this functionality more or less, what is different is the degree of the functionality.
So, to introduce a common language and some standardisation to our discourse, I propose the “Social Intranet Index” (SII).
The Social Intranet Index is a metric that denotes the degree of social functionality afforded by an enterprise’s intranet. From 1 through to 10, the SII represents an increasing level of sociability…
1. An intranet with an SII of 1 is the traditional, old-fashioned broadcast medium. Its content is published by a select few (usually members of the Communications team) and remains read-only for the target audience.
2. An intranet with an SII of 2 accommodates special account holders outside of the golden circle. These are typically highly motivated individuals, because the backend is clunky and illogical.
Unfortunately these individuals tend to find themselves in the unenviable position of publishing content for other people, because said people are either too dumb or too lazy to learn how to do it themselves. Strangely, though, they all know how to use Facebook.
3. An intranet with an SII of 3 introduces a star rating or a “like” facility. The target audience can interact (albeit minimally) with the content by judging its quality and relevance.
4. An intranet with an SII of 4 introduces a commenting facility. Beyond a reductionist score, the target audience can now post free-form comments in response to the content.
5. An intranet with an SII of 5 bolts on third-party social applications such as Yammer, Compendium and Confluence. While these apps aren’t components of the enterprise’s intranet proper, they’re accessible from there and thus form part of the network. The target audience is empowered to generate their own content within these ringfenced zones.
6. An intranet with an SII of 6 integrates social media elements such as a discussion forum, blogs and wikis into a single sign-on solution. The user experience is seamless.
7. An intranet with an SII of 7 maintains a bank of user profiles that includes everyone in the organisation and is accessible by anyone in the organisation. The profiles are rich (including photos, contact details and subject matter expertise) and integrate with the other components of the intranet (eg the discussion forum) to facilitate social networking.
8. An intranet with an SII of 8 enables the users to personalise the interface. This typically involves the selection and arrangement of social widgets (eg a particular blog, a discussion sub-forum), a filterable activity stream, plus external functionality such as a customisable RSS feed.
9. An intranet with an SII of 9 empowers anyone in the organisation to publish and edit “regular” informational content beyond the aforementioned social media elements, though still within certain ringfenced zones. For example, a team site may host user-generated content pertinent to that team.
10. An intranet with an SII of 10 is the poster boy of heterarchy. All content is easily publishable and editable by everyone in the organisation. Devoid of ringfences, the platform effectively becomes a giant wiki. The corporate community pitches in to produce and maintain organic knowledge.
Outlandish and unworkable, or innovative and game changing? At the very least, I say an SII of 10 is aspirational.
From 1 to 10, the Social Intranet Index represents a series of concurrent trends.
Most radically, the direction of publishing shifts from one-way to two-way to multi-way. This is typically associated with an increasing ease of use, which in turn encourages an increasing number of content producers.
Knowledge contained in silos is increasingly shared, and a broader community blossoms. As governance loosens, the organisation puts more trust in its own employees. Effectively, its hierarchy flattens.
As more control is relinquished by the company to its people, however, the risk of something going wrong increases. The content that is generated by the users might be flawed, and in extreme cases an individual might abuse their privileges and do something malicious.
On the other side of the coin, though, loose governance does not mean no governance. Sensitive content may still be locked, while an approval process and a reversion facility can prevent disaster.
Moreover, it may be argued that the shifting paradigm places an increasing obligation on the SME not only to share their knowledge with the wider organisation, but also to maintain its currency and relevance. Those who can’t or won’t will soon get found out.
Clearly, a “social intranet” is not just about the technology; it’s about the culture of the organisation. Just because sophisticated functionality is available does not necessarily mean it will be used!
Notwithstanding this truism, I submit that culturally speaking, an SII of 1 is poles apart from an SII of 10. The former is characteristic of a restrictive, distrustful, clunky organisation, while the latter is characteristic of an open, empowering, nimble one.
Which organisation do you think will be more collaborative?
Which one is more adaptable to change?
Which one will ultimately perform better in the market?
Closer to home, what is the SII of your organisation’s intranet…?
Categories: enterprise 2.0, intranets, social media
Tags: collaboration, culture, definition, discussion forums, enterprise 2.0, enterprise social networking, evolution, heterarchy, intranet, knowledge management, maturity, maturity model, organisational culture, organizational culture, participatory culture, personal profiles, roles, SII, SME, social business, social intranet, Social Intranet Index, social media, social networking, standard, standardisation, standardization, web 2.0
Comments: 8 Comments
Yammer has been quite a success at my workplace. Not off the charts like at Deloitte, yet very much alive and growing.
It warms my heart to see my colleagues asking and answering questions, sharing web articles, crowdsourcing ideas, gathering feedback, praising team mates, comparing notes on where to buy the best coffee, and even whining a little.
Every so often I’m asked by a peer at another company what they can do to increase the use of Yammer in their own organisation. I’m happy to share my opinion with them (borne from my experience), but thus far I have been cognisant of the fact that I haven’t cross-checked my ideas against those of others in the corporate sector.
So I recently invited 14 community managers from around the world to rate the key factors that drive Yammer use in their respective organisations. The results are summarised in the following graph.
While my sample size is probably too small to infer any significant differences among the factors, observation reveals a tiered arrangement.
The front runner is business champions. These enthusiastic users encourage the use of Yammer with their colleagues across the business. The importance of this factor is unsurprising, given the effectiveness of WOM in the marketing industry. Employees presumably trust their team mates more than they do HR, IT, or whoever “owns” Yammer in the workplace.
The next one down is another no brainer: internal promotion. Typical promotional activities such as newsletters, testimonials and merchandise not only raise awareness among the users, but also act as ongoing reminders. If WOM is the steam train, promotion is the coal that keeps it chugging.
Intrinsic motivation is obvious to anyone who knows the saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. In other words, you can unleash your business champions and push all the promotion you like, but if the individuals who comprise your target audience lack a collaborative attitude, they won’t use Yammer.
Rounding out the top tier is top-down support and participation. Not only is it important for the user’s direct manager to be enthusiastic about Yammer and participate in it him- or herself, but it’s also important for the CEO, CFO, COO, CMO etc to do the same. They must lead by example.
At the next tier down, informal support resources have some importance. I guess self-paced tutorials, user guides, tip sheets etc are less of an imperative when the system is so damn easy to use. Not to mention that just about everyone knows how to use Facebook or Twitter already, so in that sense they have prior knowledge.
User acknowledgement is also somewhat important. Everyone wants their questions to be answered, and perhaps attract a “like” or two. Otherwise, why would they bother?
The placement of Community Manager at this tier pleasantly surprised me, given the pool of respondents. Nonetheless, some sort of management of the forum is considered important in driving its use.
Integration of Yammer-based discourse into L&D offerings was also placed surprisingly low. I suspect that’s because only intrinsically motivated learners participate in it anyway.
Rounding out this tier, it appears a decent sense of netiquette is the norm in the workplace. You would be a clown to behave otherwise!
At the lower tiers, we see the factors that are considered less important by the respondents.
I guess a formal usage policy is irrelevant to intrinsically motivated users, while prizes, points and other forms of extrinsic motivation are similarly redundant. Same goes for activities and games such as “fun facts” and trivia quizzes.
And one thing’s for sure: a traditional project management approach characterised by a hard launch and follow-up training misses the mark.
In summary, then, we see that enterprise social networking is multifaceted. There is no silver bullet.
If your objective is to drive the use of Yammer in your organisation, you would be wise to focus your energy on the factors that offer the greatest return.
In the meantime, bear in mind that social forums grow organically. It takes time for individuals to see what’s in it for them and jump aboard.
Having said that, if the culture of your organisation is bad, it either needs to change or you should shift your efforts to something else.
Categories: enterprise 2.0, social networking
Tags: business champions, challenges, collaboration, community management, community manager, corporate, culture, discussion forum, discussion forums, enterprise 2.0, enterprise social networking, extrinsic, intrinsic, L&D, launch, micro-blogging, microblogging, motivation, netiquette, organisational culture, organisational development, organizational culture, organizational development, participation, participatory culture, policy, promotion, social learning, social media, social media manager, social networking, support, top-down, training, use, user acknowledgement, Yammer
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