Category Archives: enterprise2.0

Sowing seeds: What is technology evangelism, anyway?

Today, I want to talk about grassroots adoption, when you’re trying to influence people around you to try out something new–a new tool, a new idea, a new way of working–without dictating to people. I hope that I can help you get a better sense of where other people are, what might be stopping them from moving forward, where you are, and how you can get better at helping other people learn.

I’m interested in this because as a technology evangelist, I’ve talked to a lot of people about social tools like blogging and wikis. Over the next few blog entries, I want to share some of the objections that I’ve come across. I also want to share some of the methods I’ve tried and observed.

But first, let’s talk about what technology evangelism is. You might be wondering why I use the term “evangelism”, considering its religious roots and sometimes negative connotations.

For me, evangelism has that hint of being more than just a dry list of facts. You want to inspire people to action, and you want to do this in a way that sticks even when you’re not around.

The technology you want to promote is not going to be a perfect fit for everyone or every time. Technology evangelism is not about convincing people that your way is the right way. It’s about showing people what their options are, helping them find something that fits them, and helping them learn how to make it part of their work or their lives. (I forget this sometimes, too.)

So if a technology isn’t going to be a perfect fit for everyone immediately, how can you encourage grassroots adoption?

One way is to scatter the seeds as widely as possible. If you reach out, you might find a lot of people who can benefit from the technology you want to promote. Help them, and their success stories and influence will help you reach out to even more people.

You might not have that option. You might have been asked to help a team get up to speed on a tool. You might want to explore a collaborative tool, but before you can take advantage of that tool, you’ll need to get other people on board too. (After all, you can’t collaborate on your own.)

This is where it can get frustrating.

Next post on Monday (or earlier =) ): Sowing seeds: Five common objections

Awesome, I’ve been quoted in Portuguese!

Todas as faces da colaboração?

O poder do indivíduo já era. Experiências com colaboração e ferramentas sociais em grandes companhias, como a IBM, dão conta de mostrar o valor do trabalho desenvolvido em rede e global

Que tal conseguir o emprego dos sonhos compartilhando suas idéias em um blog? Foi assim que Sacha Chua, atual evangelizadora de Empresa 2.0 da IBM, conquistou o posto que ocupa hoje dentro da companhia, em Toronto, Canadá. Aos 23 anos, tão logo a jovem estudante passou a circular pela empresa por conta do projeto de conclusão de sua tese de mestrado em computacão social, em 2006, não hesitou em disparar posts sobre a própria pesquisa pela ferramenta interna de blogs que a IBM disponibilizava aos funcionários.

“Percebi que se não fizesse isso, no final de mestrado poucas pessoas leriam minha tese. Escrever sobre a pesquisa enquanto ela era feita permitiu que eu compartilhasse meu conhecimento com outras pessoas e aprendesse com as sugestôes e conselhos que me davam”, conta.

Foi como se a partir daquele momento tivesse calçado os sapatinhos de cristal de uma Cinderela moderna que ascendia para o universo corporativo. Do dia para a noite, o blog da então ilustre desconhecida caiu no gosto dos funcionários e se tournou o mais popular da empresa não só no Canadá–com média de 300 a 600 acessos diários–tudo sem sair da esfera interna da IBM. “Queria fazer mais do que escrever software, queria ajudar as pessoas a se conectarem por blogs, wikis e outras ferramentas web 2.0 e a IBM era a empresa perfeita para aplicar tudo que aprendi a respeito no mundo real. Quando chegou a hora de pedir o emprego, o processo foi fácil porque os futuros colegas de equipe já me conheciam e sabiam o suficiente para convencer a gerência a criar um cargo só para mim”, lembra.

A história de Sacha poderia ser uma exceção, mas não é. Essa é apenas uma das faces das oportunidades que as ferramentas sociais e de colaboração apresentam dentro de companhias. Por isso, a IBM vem apostando na criação de ambientes férteis para a inovação.

Except for my age, most of it’s right. Nifty! There’s more, but it would take me a while to type it all in from the scan. I wonder if I can get a copy of the magazine for my mom… =)

Pereira, Paula. June 2008. “Todas as faces da colaboração?”, B2B Magazine

IBM Pass It Along – social learning!

I’m happy to share that one of my favorite Enterprise 2.0 tools within IBM is now available on the Internet. IBM Pass It Along is now available on Alphaworks, a public IBM site for people interested in trying out emerging technologies–all you need is a free account. IBM Pass It Along is about sharing what you know and learning from other people. If you have a how-to you’d like to share, create a topic for it. If you’re curious about something, request it. If you’re just curious about the crazy tools we use within the enterprise, check it out! =)

Here’s what I love about Pass It Along, and I think you’ll love it too:

  • You can find out who’s learning a topic and see what else they’re interested in. Sharing what I know becomes a lot more fun when I can see who’s learning, because it gives me feedback that what I’m sharing is useful. Lists of people are much better than anonymous hit counts because I can view their profiles to see what else they’re interested in.
  • You can learn from other people’s contributions. People can add links, related presentations, discussion topics, and other updates. For example, the "How to Make the Most of Your Commute" topic I started within IBM drew lots of interesting suggestions.
  • You can create a place for discussions. I give a lot of presentations, and Pass It Along topics are a terrific place to hold follow-up discussions and reach out to more people. I post my presentation material using the Presentation Wizard and include the URL of the Pass It Along topic on my slides. It’s a great way for learners to connect with each other, too.

I also really like how a newbie like me can create value for other people by sharing what I’m learning. =) Whee! I’m copying some of my public content over, and you can find my topics on Pass It Along.

IBM Pass It Along on Alphaworks is a public site open to everyone. Access controls will follow soon, so you can limit topic access to just your organization if needed. IBM Pass It Along is even better inside your organization, where you can link it up with your employee directory or do all sorts of other cool stuff.

Check it out – it might be a great fit for your organization!

IBM Pass It Along

How to talk to execs and clients about social media

“Know the differences between Technology, Features, Benefits, and Value,” Jeremiah Owyang
 advises in his blog post about effectively talking to executives and clients about social media. He goes on to provide concrete examples of all four approaches, and suggests how to establish trust and respond to indicators of interest or disinterest. Good stuff.

I’m an emerging technologies evangelist focusing on social computing in the enterprise. Some people come to me with a technology focus. They want to use a blog or a wiki, but their objectives aren’t clear, and they don’t know where to start. Sometimes they start on their own, but they quickly lose interest in it when people don’t reply to their posts or update their wiki. Part of my role as a technology evangelist is to get them from focusing on the technology to focusing on at least the benefits as soon as possible. In order to do that, I need to know who they are and what matters to them. What are they looking for? What words do they use to describe what they do? Listening is a huge part of evangelism. (This makes me want to find another term, actually, as “evangelist” brings up images of people who just talk at other people.)

When I talk about benefits or value, I talk about WIIFM: “What’s in it for me.” It’s a good idea to lead with personal benefits, and let the social benefits follow. Blogs, social bookmarks, wikis… All of these things should pay off for you on a personal level, because the social benefits might not kick in for a while. When I talk to people who are new to blogging, for example, I emphasize how it’s useful as a professional notebook for recording lessons learned and questions to explore. I talk about how the practice I get in thinking about what I think makes it easier for me to talk to other people. I talk about how my blog helps me remember what I’m passionate and excited about. When the personal benefits are established, then I can talk about the social benefits: the unexpected connections, the deeper conversations, the online and offline interactions. But personal benefits have to come first. Otherwise, it becomes a chore and you won’t be able to appreciate the social benefits.

Kids are a great way to show some of those benefits, because kids pick up the technologies that have good WIIFM value. Here’s an example: At a recent kick-off meeting, one of the clients mentioned that he saw his daughter using to coordinate a school project with some of her classmates. Using, they could quickly put together and share relevant sites. And hey, if his daughter could do that, maybe people in his company could, too.

The caveat is that it’s also easy to get locked into thinking of social media as just for the kids, or just for our personal lives. That’s why it’s also important to tell stories about older people using social media. (My mom shares business tips on her blog!) It’s important to tell stories about the business benefits of social media. (I got my job because of my blog, my bookmarks, and my other social stuff!) We need to tell those stories so that we can help people see what’s in it for them and what’s in it for their company.

So how do you talk to people about social media?

  • Listen well. You need to pick up and use their vocabulary. You need to watch how they react. People give you plenty of cues; you just have to listen.
  • Focus on people and value, not the technology. The technical details come later, when you’re talking to IT for implementation.
  • Tell stories whenever possible. They make your benefit and value statements concrete.

(xpost: The Orange Chair (team blog), personal blog, personal internal blog; thanks to Stefano Pogliani for the link)

Reading about Enterprise 2.0

Nearly forgot to mention that Google Reader is my new favorite RSS reader and that I had a lot of fun dipping my toes back into the Enterprise 2.0 blogosphere. It isn’t hard. Start with a few favorite blogs like Luis Suarez: elsua, follow a couple of links, subscribe, follow a couple of links, subscribe… I look forward to getting back into that space, and might look into finding a way to categorize my posts. =)

By the way, does anyone know how to get Feedburner to forget your
default feed reader when reading a SmartFeed feed? Right now, it
automatically tries to add stuff to Bloglines. Old habits…

Random Emacs symbol: nntp-wait-for-string – Function: Wait until string arrives in the buffer.

Meet Enterprise 2.0

Here are some great presentations on what people who use Enterprise 2.0 look like. =)

Someday I’m going to make slides like that.

Thanks to The Shed 2.0 for pointing me to this group of Slideshare presentations.

On Technorati:

Random Emacs symbol: set-file-times – Function: Set times of file FILENAME to TIME.