Enterprise 2.0 – Collaboration Consulting

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You want to shape the way your organization works.

So many collaboration initiatives fail. Sometimes technologies are introduced without enough role models to inspire and support people. Sometimes a company relies on external experts with whom employees can’t identify. Sometimes people are dazzled by new tools and “best practices” instead of practices that are uniquely suited to their organization and culture.

People learn best from people who are like them. That’s why I don’t come in with all the answers. I help you bridge the gap between idea and practice. I help early adopters connect with each other, brainstorm with each other, and share their lessons learned with the rest of the organization through targeted adoption consulting. Your best salesperson shouldn’t spend all the time teaching other people how to use tools. Your best manager shouldn’t be hand-holding everyone through how to make the most of collaboration tools. I help them scale up what they know by interviewing them, developing good practices, and creating blog posts, wiki pages, presentations, screencasts, or videos that can be shared with everyone. I help seed environments so that new teams and communities are set up for success, and I customize the practices to the specific needs of each group you focus on.

This is not about finding the best practices and carving them in stone. It’s about bringing together good practices from around your organization in a cycle of continuous improvement, so that they can evolve as your company grows.

A typical project looks like this: Identify and work with early adopters, collecting stories and practices. Build resources. Identify pilot groups and work with them to adopt and improve practices. Add stories and lessons learned, building more resources along the way. Help an internal technology adoption group apply the techniques to other groups. Results: Greater technology adoption, and reusable step-by-step guides and recommendations tailored to the way you work.

You want to bring communities together for business value.

I’ve helped organize more than twenty online community-based internal brainstorming discussions to support our clients’ business challenges, bringing together participants around the world to share ideas in 48 hours of virtual discussion. Think of this like a virtual focus group with up to two thousand participants. By coordinating, setting up, facilitating, summarizing, and reporting on the results of these discussions in strategy workshops, I help organizations tap cross-industry, cross-functional insights that would be difficult to collect any other way.

This is a good fit for organizations with existing community platforms. By providing people with focused reasons for participating in communities, you can increase adoption, gather feedback, and demonstrate business value.

You want to help people scale.

No matter which collaboration platform you choose, it won’t perfectly fit every team’s needs. If it has an application programming interface, though, it may be possible to extend it in ways that are tailored to how people work.

For example, community engagement was a challenge for one large organization. There were so many communities and no easy way to stay up to date. Despite e-mail’s limitations, it was still the best way to keep in touch with people. I built a newsletter tool that used the collaboration platform’s API to determine new content within the specified date range, creating a list of links. This tool helped community leaders regularly communicate with their members, encourage engagement, and provide more value. Using the same code, I built a metrics tool that helped people measure community activity and recognize key contributors. We estimated that this and other tools in the kit saved the organization more than a million minutes of work in the two years the tools have been available.

While helping your organization with technology adoption, I can look for opportunities to automate time-consuming tasks or help people get what they want from your system. I can work with your team to prioritize and address needs, or build Java- or web-based tools wherever a small development effort can have high impact. Tailoring the system to the way people work will help them use it with less frustration and with more effectiveness.

Let’s find out how I can help your organization.