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januari 27, 2013

Change is social

Those attending IBM Connect may be very familiar with socializing and networking, but your employees might not be adopting this new way of collaborating so easily. In my session 'Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification' I explain why and how gamification an be used to make employees understand how Connections can be used to collaborate in a new way.

Here's a little something out of my session 'BP304 Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification' for you to get you going.


Gamification helps to spread the 'virus' of user adoption

One of the characteristics of social networks is it easily spreads information. Just like a virus the information can easily flow through the networked components. In IBM Connections the employees are the 'nodes' that are connected. Connections should help organisations to have better access to information, find out what's going on in the separate silos made by organizational structures such as departments and enhance collaboration between people. In order to achieve this, employees need to start building social networks.

Some people are better connected than others. They are the 'hubs' in the connected organisation. These hubs play an important role to change behaviour of the other employees. They can help other employees adopt IBM Connections.

Gamification uses networks of people to enhance adoption. Through gamification the early adopters and influencers start earning point and badges. The colleagues in their network can see their progress through the Activity Stream.


Building networks in Connections with gamification

The theory explained in The strenghth of weak ties states that networks become more powerful the further they are removed from you. Gamification can be used to start building profiles and networks and the network itself can encourage other users to indulge in gamification and improve their profile and network.

Source: Granovetter: the strenght of weak ties

Let's see how this works:

First people are encouraged to build their Profile, the pre-requisite to becoming a networked organisation. Secondly employees are encouraged to build networks, starting with the people close to them at first probably, such as their manager and their direct team members. But this network will slowly grow to other circles as they will work with others on projects or get introduced to previously unknown colleagues through their current close circle of colleagues.

When somewhat connected to colleagues they will be influenced by their peers, especially the ones that are well-connected and perform as innovators. Innovators have a tendency to be 'hubs' in the network of the organisation. They are the ones everybody turns to, to ask for advise and they are the ones who acquire the most links. A phenomenon known as 'the rich get richer' in social nework analysis.

The innovators will most likely start earning badges quite early, as they will adopt the new way of working and actually are writing blogs, participating in or even leading communities, do regular status updates and share and collaborate on files.

Through the network and the Activity Stream in Connections their 'followers' will see them earning points and badges. Seeing them getting badges for this and that can trigger the follower to participate in the same behaviour, trying to accomplish the same thing and as a result seeing the real value of the activity itself. By watching the activities of these innovators in their network, they will soon adopt the same behaviour.


Get more

Come join my session BP304 Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification on tuesday 4:15-5:15 in SW Pelican1-2 at IBM Connect to learn more about gamification for IBM Connections.


januari 15, 2013

using Activities to meet effectively

We meet a lot, especially the larger organizations often have a genuine meeting culture. There's nothing wrong with that in itself, but is that 'meeting time' actually used efficiently? Are we making efficient use of our time and schedule when we actually sit together in a room? And when we meet, are we making effective use of software resources that support meetings?

This article will get you an idea of how you could use Activities in IBM Connections to make meetings more efficient and effective. If you would like to discuss this more, I invite you to join me and Marion Vrielink to come join us in our IBM Connect 2013 session BOF106 Using Actvities to Manage Meetings on Tue, 29/Jan 06:30 PM - 07:30 PM at Macaw 2.

At a meeting people come together where interaction and communication are the main means to achieve common objectives. Interaction and communication are the key collaboration methods. We come together and discuss or debate vigorously. We come to decisions and action points (tasks, todo's) are set. The question now is, is this collaborating efficiently and effectively? The answer is usually 'no'. Many people I talk to  complain about too many and ineffective meetings. The next question is: what can we do to effectively meet?

Top annoyances
Have a look yourself on the internet for the top annoyances of meetings. Chances are that when you Google you get a list like this:
  • ringing telephones
  • email during meeting
  • arriving too late
  • unprepared / documentation not read / outdated versions of documents
  • meetings last longer than scheduled
  • no clear agenda
  • actions from earlier meeting not done
  • no decisions being made
  • tedious
  • not the right people

Some of these annoyances can be overcome with good agreements and good abidance. But there are other organizational and behavioral aspects that  can  be tackled otherwise. An example is that the meeting is lasting longer than scheduled. This of course may be a consequence of other annoyances, such as not reading the meeting documents or lengthy discussions.

What if we meet differently? What if we define a meeting not as the time and place where new topics are being brought to the agenda and where questions about the content are done. But what if we define a meeting as the moment of coming together to just make decisions and set actions. Or as a time where new output or innovation starts, which then is elaborated on at other times. This way meetings will be more than just a moment of getting together. Work is done prior to the meeting and afterwards, by each individual on their own schedule and only on that part important to them - thus the meeting itself can be more productive.

Supporting resources
When a meeting is used only for coming together to decide, prior to the meeting some collaboration has to be done. By using online and social resources, attendees can discuss and ask questions prior to the meeting take place. We could use forums for lenghty, and expected discussion. Or we could use commenting on files and blogs for simple questions and interaction. And meetings can also be supported with realtime resources, such as IBM Sametime Chat, Sametime Online Meeting, video conferencing, or IBM Connections Activities.

Email and Calendar: good for scheduling, not for collaboration
It is very common for organizations to mainly use Email and Calendar to support the process of meeting. A Calendar is a great tool for scheduling the meeting. But these tools are less suitable for discussing documents or assigning agenda items to certain people and setting tasks. Email and Calendar are not suitable for managing documents in the context or for making minutes.

Email and Calendar: information lock-down
A disadvantage of all the information in a Calendar invitation is that this information is only available for the attendees who have accepted. When someone initially declined the meeting, then this person does not have all the information. When a new team member or attendee is added, all the previous correspondence in email needs to be sent again. A disadvantage of sending all information by email is that the replies given by all attendees can lead to conversation chaos and when files are edited and routed through email there is a version chaos as well!

The issues with email collaboration are common: where can I find the latest version of the meeting minutes? Where can I find detailed information on the meeting? How can a new team member find all previous information and decisions? To solve these issues requires more structure. IBM Connections Activities can provide this structure.

Meeting with IBM Connections Activities
Activities in Connections, lets you organize tasks. And a meeting could be such an activity. Connections Activities even lets you create a template which everyone in the organization may use to easily create the appropriate structure to organize a meeting. The structure may of course slightly differ for individual situations, or your organization may have different needs as to how to structure the activity. But this will give you a general idea. Each organizer can adjust the template to their specific meeting objectives and requirements. You can edit content, delete and add.

Every meeting usually has an Agenda with several (sometimes recurring) topics. Usually the agenda is provided in a Word document. But the agenda can very well be an item in your activity. You may choose to have an activity with multiple meeting dates where these are defined as a section (i.e. section 15-02-2013), or create an activity for each seperate meeting. This depends on whether the meeting takes place regularly (every week, every month) with a fairly solid team,  or if it is a single complex meeting such as organizing a special three day event.

Share, communicate and discuss prior to the meeting
When the agenda is addes as items to the meeting section, attendees can collaborate prior to the meeting. To each topic you can add text, but also links and files. In addition, colleagues can be notified (e-mail message or message in the Connections Activity Stream) of new items or tasks. Action items are tasks. These allow you to assign a task to all members of the activity (a group task) or to a specific colleague. When the action items are assigned to a colleague with a specific date, this colleague can easily keep up with the todo's by using the To Do list view in IBM Connections, or simply add them as a calendar overlay in their Lotus Notes calendar.

Meeting time becomes a moment for decision making and setting out new tasks
During the meeting, any decisions made can be added to a desicions section. That way there will always be an overview of all decisions, no matter what meeting date it was made.
Any new tasks decided upon during the meeting, can be easily added to the Activity, where they will show up in the Action items view in the Activity, for all to see and keep track of.

When the Agenda is covered in items in the Activity, then making minutes is really pointless. Because during the meeting action items and decisions can be added, the Activity itself becomes the minutes.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a possible structure of a meeting template in Connections. In a blog of Alan Hamilton a slightly different approach is used. The idea remains the same. e-office work for adoption of IBM Connections regularly with the application of Activities for meetings to actually use in the flow of work to get. This scenario-based approach has proven very effective. Download these slides that once the design schematic and step-by-step display.

If you would like to see more and discuss the possibilities of using Activities to meet efficiently, come join me and Marion Vrielink at IBM Connect 2013 'BOF106 Using Actvities to Manage Meetings' Tuesday from 6.30-7.30 pm at Macaw 2.

The thrill of going to IBM Connect 2013

This year will be my first time actually attending IBM Connect. That in itself is exciting enough, but I am not just attending some great sessions, but I am a speaker as well. I've been doing sessions at several other events before, but this is something different completely!

The last month has been a very busy month, with mailing and socializing on all kinds of platforms with several people from IBM. From mails about the technical preparations to stern yet funny emails from my track manager Susan Bulloch, I've been in awe with the tight scheduling and organizing and information flow coming to me. There have been so many people assisting and answering questions so swiftly, it's amazing.

Ofcourse the thrill for me started when my session BP304 Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification was approved early december. That's when things really became hectic with creating the presentation, and filling in all sorts of forms and ofcourse scheduling flights and hotels.

I've been eager to see what other sessions would be listed. Now they are all known and I'm even more excited! You can check them out yourself, for example by downloading The totally unofficial and totally unsupported IBM Connect session database Mat Newman provided for us, which now is available in a mobile version too! There are some really great speakers and sessions on all kinds of topics. The topic I am speaking about (gamification) has some more interesting sessions:
  • Growing a Smarter Workforce through Social Gaming
  • Using Gamification to Ignite the Widespread Adoption of IBM Connections
  • Social CMO: Engaging the Consumer
  • The wednesday Keynote by Jane McGonigal
So if you are interested in the topic of gamification and adoption, go see any of these, or mine.

Today I joined a webinar about Vivastream. This is the tool used for IBM Connect 2013 which allows speakers and attendees to interact in a great way. I hope to speak to you there soon.  I will also get you involved before they start, on two BOF sessions I am doing:

  • BOF106 Using Actvities to Manage Meetings (together with Marion Vrielink, Saxion University)
    Tuesday 6.30-7.30 pm in Macaw 2
  • BOF108 Metrics That Matter. Insight to Employee Engagement
    Wednesday 7.00-8.00 am in Macaw 1
The Vivastream for Connect will allow us to do polls and contact each other  So you can expect to get some polls for the above mentioned BOF sessions! I invite you to join me in the interaction!

januari 09, 2013

Three times a lady! Speaking at IBM Connect 2013

I am so happy today! It might be a little self indulging but here it goes none the less.

You may have heard this song by The Commodores (or Lionel Richie) 'Three times a lady' ?
That's what I'm singing to myself all day today.

After already having been approved to be a speaker at IBM Connect 2013 in the beginning of december 2012, I today got a confirmation e-mail from IBM that both my Birds of a Feather sessions submitted have been approved as well!
So I am feeling like 'once, twice, three times a lady'.

Birds of a Feather sessions (BOF)
A Connect 2013 BOF is a relaxed, interactive discussion, with no media or AV. This is a 'chalk-talk' style meeting, and the purpose of the discussion is to gather input, feedback, and learn from each other. I will be the facilitator of the discussion. All attending get the opportunity to become engaged. This is not a 'one to many' session.

These are the 3 sessions I will be doing coming january:

BP304 Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification Sasja Beerendonk, e-office
January 29, 16.15 - 17.15 Swan Pelican
User adoption is key to success when implementing social software within your organization. When confronted with social software, employees often find themselves clueless about how to get started, because it requires a different work manner, behaviour and attitude. Step-by-step gamification guides employees into the right direction and takes them to a higher level of understanding and usage. This session covers topics such as: What is gamification? Is it suitable for my organization? What motivates people? From "Maslow’s Need" to "Pink’s Drive", you'll understand the basic concepts of motivation that gamification uses. I will also show a demo on gamification for IBM Connections and the metrics used to measure and stimulate desired behaviour.

BOF106 Using Actvities to Manage MeetingsSasja Beerendonk, e-office; Marion Vrielink, Saxion
One of the challenges for social software adoption is that employees need guidance in understanding how to embed IBM Connections in their daily work routine. Often people say they do not have time to blog, or dont know what they should be sharing. Dealing with these kinds of roadblocks is what user-adoption is all about. Come to this BOF to learn how we dealt with these challenges!

BOF108 Metrics That Matter. Insight to Employee EngagementSasja Beerendonk, e-office
It is generally perceived that in social networks only 1% of people are actively participating by creating content, 9% is contributing by recommending and commenting and 90% is just 'lurking'. Commonly referred to as the 90-9-1 rule. But is this really true for social software in the enterprise? Discuss if this rule shouldn't apply to your Connections user group, and how to measure engagement by user type (creator, contributor, joiner) using the metrics provided in Connections. Metrics provide numbers and graphs that tell you about the usage of Connections. Numbers in itself are meaningless. So what are the right questions to ask to provide meaningful insight ?

Ofcourse I am hoping you will join me in one (or all!) of my sessions. If you have any wishes, or feedback up front, feel free to leave a comment here or send me a message of some sort.

Webinar Wednesday: meet, beloon, stuur en verbeter:vergroot adoptie van uw platform door de toepassing van speltechnieken

Binnenkort presenteer ik bij IBM Connect 2013 sessie 'BP304 Become a Social Business: Leverage User Adoption Through Gamification' op dinsdag 29 januari.

Voor iedereen die zelf niet aanwezig is tijdens dit event: je kunt ook een korte versie bijwonen online op 13 februari op de e-office Webinar Wednesday.

Hebt u onlangs een nieuwe samenwerkingsplatform binnen uw organisatie aangezet? Of denkt u erover om te gaan werken met een sociaal intranet? Vraagt u zich af  hoe u medewerkers bereid krijgt te werken met deze nieuwe omgeving? Hoe u hun gedrag en houding kunt veranderen? Hoe hen te leren anders samen te werken? Aandacht besteden aan gebruikersadoptie van nieuwe technologie bepaalt 90% van het succes. 

Dit webinar laat zien hoe u door spelelementen toe te voegen binnen het samenwerkingsplatform of intranet, het voor medewerkers aantrekkelijker wordt om deel te nemen én het hen leert effectiever om te gaan met de sociale functionaliteiten van het samenwerkingsplatform.

Inschrijven voor dit webinar kan hier.