Session slides for our ICONUK session

Session as delivered by Sasja Beerendonk & me at ICONUK in London on September 12th 2014

Beyond theory: Trials & tribulations in becoming a successful social business

Abstract: There is lots of theory about how to become a social business but what really does or doesn’t work? We wanted to know and interviewed 32 companies in various stages of their journey to becoming a social business. Not just highlighting the big wins but also talking about the struggles and small successes that really made the difference.

Taking the experiences of 32 companies and combining it with the theories surrounding change management and change adoption, we’ve created a Social Business journey scenario that can help you identify the successes and avoid the pitfalls in becoming a social business.

Speaking at ICONUK 2014

Next week I will be flying out to London to join my coworker Sasja Beerendonk to deliver a session at ICONUK 2014 on the trials & tribulations of becoming a successful social business. I’m really looking forward to this session in more then one way:

First of all because it will be my first time presenting together with Sasja whom I’ve know for years as a specialist of social business adoption and who, I’m lucky to say,  decided to join the great team we have at Silverside earlier this year. Secondly because our session will be drawing on the real life experience of quite a number of real life customers who’ve gone through or are right in the middle of the process of becoming a social business.

This experience comes from a project Silverside has worked many hours on this past year in which 32 companies were interviewed to see what really worked and what didn’t work in getting people within their organizations to adopt a different way – and in many ways  – philosophy of working. Not just our own customers but many companies we’ve never done business with and who use all kinds of social tools. Not necessarily even the ones we support. After all, in social business the tooling isn’t necessarily the major stumble point, it often is the adoption or lack thereof that makes or brakes a social business project. These interviews resulted in a wealth of information that is being used to further perfect our methodology of user adoption as well as to create white papers and a book that was written by my coworkers  Mirte Bouwmans, Evelyn van Kelle and Roland Driesen in which the combined experience of these companies was translated into a comprehensible and easy to read novel. The book (sorry it is only available in Dutch for know) was published and launched last May.

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With our session Sasja and I will also be drawing upon the knowledge gained from these interviews to explain some of the obvious (and less obvious) pitfalls and we hope to give a bit of insight into the struggles many of you are probably facing right now. So join us this Friday in room 4 at ICONUK for our session:

“Beyond theory: Trials & tribulations in becoming a successful social business

There is lots of theory about how to become a social business but what really does or doesn’t work? We wanted to know and interviewed 32 companies in various stages of their journey to becoming a social business. Not just highlighting the big wins but also talking about the struggles and small successes that really made the difference. Taking the experiences of these 32 companies, the likes of Dutch Railways, DAF, Saxion, Forbo Eurocol and Bavaria, we’ve created a Social Business journey scenario that can help you identify the successes and avoid the pitfalls in becoming a social business.”

ICONUK September 12th 2014, 11:00 Room 4

Why? – Why not

Sometimes something inspires you, hits you or just speaks to you. Today I saw this fragment on a Dutch tv show and it hit a nerve.

I’m not in science but I am in IT and I still get asked sometimes “why?”. I’ve never really paused at that question, I knew when I started that I was an exception in a sea of men (my then company employed 160 male and only 4 female IT consultants) but I never felt inhibited or held back in any way to become or do what I wanted. The ‘why?’ that I’ve been asked hundreds of times never really bothered me.

Until last week. And weirdly enough it wasn’t even about my work in IT when it did.

Apart from working in IT I also like LEGO. As a kid we had LEGO but I was always told it was my brothers’, so I could only play with it if we played with it together. problem was, we didn’t really play well together so I never got to play much with it and as opportunity dwindled I eventually forgot about it. After all, It was a boy thing.

30 years on and hearing from more then a few people (mostly men) in my circle who still loved building with LEGO I finally got over my own inhibitions and bought my own LEGO set. I loved it!

Showing a picture of my latest set (model of the Mini Cooper) to a coworker who also likes building with LEGO (yes, it’s an IT thing, nerds seem to love LEGO) he quizzically looked at me and stated “you really do love it don’t you?”, and then it hit me.

Even though we are the same age, spend roughly the same amount of money on LEGO and have been talking about LEGO for a while now, the fact that I’m a girl somehow still makes it an oddity for me to enjoy it. And although I’m certain he didn’t consciously mean anything with it I suddenly felt 10 again and being told: “Why do you want to play with LEGO? Isn’t that more something for boys?”. It made me aware of how much some cultural concepts creep into perception and into our culture and how even a simple question can make you question yourself when it is asked often enough.

This speech is not about LEGO, it’s not even about IT but it is about the power of cultural concepts and how those influence us in who we become.

The next time you ask someone “why?”, perhaps ask yourself “Why not?” first.

 

 note: The reference that started the response in the video above is in relation to a controversial statement made by former Harvard president L. Summers in which he suggests genetics play a role in why women are under represented in science.

Dander4Dosh – Break(ing) in the foot

Ok, so people who know me might know that I broke my foot last November. I was training for a 15k race (running) and missed a curb…. Stupid, stupid, stupid….

http://photos-f.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-ash/1389568_1385292018377909_1263321968_n.jpgSeven weeks of a cast, a wheelchair and crutches on I was more then ready to restart my live and decided that I had to get back in the swing of exercising. As running still felt a bit daunting so soon after the break and as I had already kind of committed myself to walk the Dander4Dosh I figured it would be the perfect way to force myself into a regular exercise pattern again. And so it did. For the last 5,5 months I have been walking daily. Doing a morning round before work and an evening round after dinner. I even went up to Northern Ireland for a weekend last March to get some elevation training in (The Netherlands is not exactly big on hills you know…).

Dander4 Dosh… So what is it? Well, figure a team of nerds from all over the globe (Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Portugal and USA) who’ve met each other at conferences or through the social media channels. Not particularly well trained (or at least not all), not at all the typical ‘athlete’ type but with a big dose of humor, a spiderman onsie or two (no not me!), enough connected and GPS enabled devices to get us to the nearest pub and a target to get: Walk 5 days to raise as much money for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) as  we can!

This isn’t the first Dander4Dosh although it is going to be my first. The team consists of 7 walkers and two lovely volunteers who will most likely have to rescue us and transport us to the nearest pub at the end of the day. ‘Rescue us’ as we unfortunately lost our designated map reader: Eileen, who can’t attend due to work related obligations. The route will take us along the coast line of Wales through picturesque places who’s names I will probably never be able to remember or pronounce correctly and it will be long… very long.

In the run up to this walk there has been some confusion about the total distance we will be walking in 5 days. Somehow someone said it was 85 miles, some thought 92 miles and others said 100 miles. I’m the ostrich type of person so I opted to convince myself it would be the already daunting 85 miles…. Yes you guessed it, it turns out to be the 100 miles (160km). How are we going to do that?!? Well probably with a lot of blisters, aching muscles and some cursing.

But…!

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Steve has pledged that the more money is donated the bigger the chance of seeing him wear this on route…. Not sure if I like that but it’s all for a good cause!

You can help! As mentioned above we will be raising money for MSF and to do that we set up a donations page. Every cent donated there is another incentive (and stick behind the door!) for us to walk. So help us out and donate on our Just Giving page. The money will be going directly to MSF and will be well used by this fantastic organisation. In return I promise we will be posting lot’s of updates on twitter (follow #Dander4Dosh) and Facebook and Steve will hopefully use his amazing (and slightly deranged!) writing skills to write a day by day review of it all on the blog afterwards. Reading last years blog about D4D2013 was what got me into it this year and is well worth it if you are interested in the antics of a group of otherwise quite normal IT folks in the wilderness of Scotland.

Plus you have my promise that as I will be armed with a smartphone, ipad and a MiFi -which I hope will have coverage in rural Wales-, there will be lots of ‘Spiderman & consorts meet Wales’ updates!

ps. As we speak a second group of nerds is doing a related fund raising tour driving up to the northern most point of Norway on bikes. Check out the journey of the Dash4Dosh boys here!

IBM Connections Folders #4: Some final recommendations

This blog is follow up in a series of blogs on Folders in IBM Connections. For full understanding I would recommend reviewing the previous blogs: #1: Community Folders, #2: Ownership of files and folders and #3 working with folders first.

 

So in the previous three post I explained a bit about the ins and outs of IBM Connections folders, the different flavours you have and how they work and differ from each other. But the question now is how do you use them…?

I’m not going to tell you.

The truth is that each organization is different and each situation is different. IBM Connections is a social business platform that offers you tools that can help you stimulate collaborative work and knowledge sharing and there really is no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’ as long as you can achieve that. Having all three different types of folders (Shared Folders, CCM Folders and Community Folders) means you just got more options to find YOUR way. But to do so it is important to understand how each of them function, what their strongholds are as well as possible weaknesses. In the previous 3 blogs I’ve tried to give you an overview of those strengths and weaknesses.

Control?

Having so many options that work so differently at times can be quite confusing. Can you prevent users from using a certain type of folders?

Well in a way yes, by simply deactivating the whole feature. Shared Folders is part of the personal files, as far as I know you can’t easily deactivate those without deactivating personal Files too but I’m no admin so check with your admin before dismissing that. CCM Folders require CCM Licensing and an additional installation. You can definitely choose not to buy it / install it. Then again, that would mean you lose some great features that CCM could offer to your organization so make sure you fully evaluate before deciding! Community folders, which is part of the default offering as of IBM Connections 4.5 CR4, has only recently been released and it requires a specific act from your administrator to activate so again, that is something that you can choose to do, or not.

But….! Don’t just dismiss these options. Make sure you test them and discuss them with your users. They might in fact solve problems you weren’t even aware of. In that sense, having so many different options also means you have a rich variety of possible use cases. Just make sure you are aware of how each works.

Recommendations

So what would I recommend?

Well, again, it’s all up to your situation, organization and needs. But there a few things I would definitely recommend:

  1. Do not implement CCM just so your users have nested folders…. Yes, I know having this option is a great selling point for CCM but it will always fall short in replicating the functioning of their file shares, even with subfolders. If that was the only reason to implement it, users will only get disappointed. Instead, highlight the other benefits of social file sharing and look at the other features CCM offers like approval cycles, document types and the option of having users control the security access levels to it. Use that to show users why CCM could be a great thing to use.
  2. Inform users of the Ownership differences between Community Files/Folders and Personal Files/Folders. Try to come up with a strategy with them, on when to use what. There are clear cases where personal files are preferred but in other situations community files can be a better way to go. If for no other reason than to at least make sure they are, by default, editable to all community members or ensure a better security within a community.
  3. Do not use Shared folders in Restricted communities. See this blog for an explanation why.
  4. Train your key users so they know how IBM Connections Files & Folders work and provide cheat sheets so they can understand and explain to other users why certain things work the way they work.
  5. Try & experiment. As stated before, IBM Connections is a platform offering more than one way to go. That is its strength but sometimes is also seen as its weakness as it can be confusing to users. Find out what works for your organization and base your content strategy on that.
  6. Lastly, but probably most importantly…. If you haven’t done so yet, explain to users what the key thoughts behind IBM Connections is and try to get them to realize that when it comes to Sharing information in a social platform, the premise about who should have access to a file or folder shouldn’t be “I, unless…” but “Everyone, unless…”!

 

So have I covered everything there is to know about IBM Connections folders? No! There are whole areas I haven’t even touched upon. So I will most likely be publishing more blogs on this topic in the future. In the meantime, let me know if you thought this series was helpful or if you have any questions by posting in the comments.