Archive for Communities
by Bill Ives
This is the third part of my notes from the Hyper-Social Summit sponsored by the Human 1.0 Network. It is based on research conducted by Francois Gossieaux of the Human 1.0 Network and Ed Moran, Director of Innovation at Deloitte. I will highlight some of the key findings that were presented.
There was a wide range of companies involved in the study: 22% had revenues over 1 billion and 32% had revenues under a million. The smallest group was the 500 million to 1 billion revenue group which accounted for only 2% of the sample. Within the sample 56% were considered B2B, 23% B2C, 9% were nonprofits and 2% were government.
There was also a range of experience with 14% having communities up for more than three years and 24% less than 6 months and fairly even representation in between. The size ranged from 26% less than 100 members to 11% with over 50,000 members.
Francois pointed out that the dynamics of pilot will be different than a large scale implementation so be careful with pilot results – 53% did pilot and 47% did not. A community can be successful either way. Many piloted their external communities internally so the results might not be relevant on many levels.
There was a wide range of objectives for the communities: 50% served marketing research, 46% were PR related, 45% had branding objectives, 43% provided thought leadership, 39% supported reputation management, 32% provided customer support, 28% provided lead generation, and the same number supported knowledge management.
Marketing was by far the most function engaged in the development of a community with participation in 79% of the communities. Next, was IT at 37% and sales at 36%, followed by knowledge management at 22% and legal at 17%. Similar results occurred for community management with 53% marketing, PR and community development at 11%.
These results suggest a strong external focus and that was the case with %*% externally focused, 10% internally, and 28% hybrid. Within the external and hybrid communities 81% were customers focused, 49% were prospect focused, and 37% were partner focused.
There was often a mismatch between goals and implementation. There can be too much marketing focus when non-marketing goals have been generated. Related to this finding, there have been too many programs around products rather than audience.
The objectives considered most successful were: generate more word-of-mouth 40%, increase brand awareness 27%, increase customer loyalty 25%, bring outside ideas into the organization 24%, and improve customer support quality 23%. The least successful was to increase sales at 22% of the respondents. At the same this was the leading measured used for success at 38% followed by increase leads at 33% and generate awareness at 28%.
Success factors included: ability to connect with like minded people 50% and ability to help others 45%. The findings stressed the importance of social factors for success and secondary importance of other incentives.
The biggest obstacles were getting people to engage 66%, getting people to come back 42%, and attracting people 42%. The number of active people varies as to whether you can rely on user-generated content. Only 25% deployed external people to develop content and 65% did have internal people develop content. A big factor is the level of passion. However, a community should still have some professional generated content to seed it and direct it.
The investment were mostly modest with 68% spending less than $50,000 a year on the community and 16% between 50 and 200k. Most community were managed by employees 84% and only 8% out sourced. The investment in management was also modest as 51% have less than one FTE and 16% deploy 1 FTE. Looking ahead, 50% plan to increase investment and 45% stated than the level of investment will stay the same. Looking at what types of investments will increase they found that 85% will increase time, and 68% will increase funding. In addition, 68% will invest in content development and 58% will increase their marketing efforts for the community.
These trends indicate that companies do perceive they are getting value from the communities as only 5% plan to decrease investment. However, communities are still primarily driven by marketing goals and some are really marketing programs with little social components or focus. There is often a disconnect between objectives and success factors. The companies are missing the value that can be derived from strong leadership as only 45% indentified leaders within the community.
While there is some success, there is a lot of room for improvement by injecting a greater social focus into the communities. This is very consistent with then theme of the event. It is the human much more than the technical that will make a community work. Communities will be a major component of company’s success going forward. The winners will realize that these are human networks and act in this framework. There is much opportunity and much room for improvement.
by Matthew Hodgson
For some decades now, workforce planning has been an inportant part of strategic thinking in our organisations. It ensures that we have the right skills, knowledge and abilities to do what we needs to do. But with technological advances penetrating our workplaces at an alarmingly rapid rate, offering web 2.0 solutions to increase worker productivity, collaboration, communication and social learning in order to capture and share organisational knowledge, what are the generational factors and the technology influences we must now take account of in planning for both our current and future workforce?
In the 70s we employed Baby Boomers and with them the values of hard work, family, the need to address gender equality, and a demand for participatory democracy in the management decisions of the organisation that resulted in today’s trend toward less-hierarchical work structures . While they represent 30% of the population their values are the foundation of today’s management practices . Their attitudes and behaviour toward technology largely reflects a generation who know and understand the use of the telephone and television as marketing and communications tools but whose views of computers and the internet reflect beliefs that these new technologies have negative effects on productivity and business . As a result, they use technology less than other generations, from personal computers to mobile devices , and with the advent of social media are less likely than others to create content and are less involved in sharing their knowledge and experience through writing blog articles or creating videos and posting them online .
These adoption factors have serious consequences for the tech savvy Generation-X and the often labelled ‘Digital Natives’ of Generation-Y. For if Baby Boomers are the managers setting the agenda, casting doubts on the security and value of web 2.0 within the workforce, and limiting its penetration, they may be responsible for creating a workplace alien to the needs of those generations who will replace them as senior managers of our organisations. We see this picture emerging most typically in government organisations. Web 2.0 tools essentially equips workers with tools to create and share knowledge, but its adoption faces cultural hurdles by conservative Baby Boomer workers who see knowledge as power and therefore have vastly different attitudes towards collaboration in the workplace . For many Baby Boomers, web 2.0 symbolises a loss of control and a sense of inferiority when they compare themselves to their technically fluent younger colleagues particularly given the collaborative and open nature of web 2.0 tools, such as wikis for example, eliminate the public service’s command-and-control structures because even people working at the lowest levels of an organisation have direct access to executives .
The truth of the matter is ultimately that 76 million Americans will retire over the next two decades. Only 46 million will be arriving to replace them. Most of those new workers will be Gen-Yers . If we are to take workforce planning seriously, therefore, we must plan for a workplace in which Baby Boomers leave behind a legacy — open, transparent, collaborative, and technology rich — suitable for the generations who will follow. One in which the gext generation of senior executives — Generation-X — will thrive in and Generation-Y will want to be a part of.
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1. Cohen, W & Simons, J. 1995. A new spin on the economy. US News and World Report, p54-55.
2. AARP, 2004. Baby Boomers Envision Retirement II
3. WorldOne Research, 2009. LexisNexis Technology Gap Survey
4. Owyang, J. K. 2009. How To Reach Baby Boomers With Social Technologies. Create And Sponsor Social Content And Allow For Their Voices To Be Heard. Forrester
5. Hadar, G. 2008. Managing the enterprise information network. Fed Web 2.0 Reaching across generational boundaries.
6. Gelston, S. 2008. Gen Y, Gen X and the Baby Boomers: Workplace Generation Wars. CIO Magazine, 15 Feb. Online at: http://www.cio.com.au/article/205772/gen_y_gen_x_baby_boomers_workplace_generation_wars?pp=2
by Patti Anklam
I’ve written a few presentations this past year to audiences who are not conversant with knowledge management. In those talks, I’ve started to distinguish what I call “Three KMs:”
- Big KM
- Little KM
- Personal KM
This distinction paves the way not only to understanding, but to choice. These presentations were given in the context of organizations trying to decide if they need KM and if so, to what extent. In today’s post, I’ll share the “Big KM” concept; subsequent posts will expand on the “Little” and “Personal KM”.
Big KM is enterprise-wide:
- There is a CKO, Director, or someone of similar stature and credibility in the organization who if not at the executive level, is at a minimum called upon to contribute to or be responsive to the corporate strategy
- This high-level person either manages or is responsible for the Intranet and related IT capabilities that support capture, storing and sharing information and provision of collaboration infrastructure for teams, communities of practice, or groups of any kind
- It is structured as a set of services provided by or through a central KM organization to business units
- It evolved from or remains an integral part or partner with the organizational functions of training, library/information services, or documentation. It may also advise or be partner to HR functions of talent management, knowledge mapping, or strategic HR planning
A recent dialogue in the SIKM group (Systems Integration KM Leaders Community) led by Stan Garfield (a fellow traveler from my KM days at Digital/Compaq) began with a question about the “best practices on integrating KM, Training, and product documentation” that led to a set of responses about the “top 3 knowledge management services” (“top” from the perspective of leadership support, acceptance by associates/employees, and success/metrics/business benefits).
The responses provide a rich picture of what is happening with Big KM these days:
- Content management (including KM portals, search strategies)
- Consulting (to business units) on knowledge container and sharing methodologies, embedding knowledge capture and sharing into business processes
- Providing thought leadership on the application of KM to IT and the implementation of the KM infrastructure
- Innovation and ideation services
- Social software advocacy
- Key community (centers of excellence and expertise) support to build and transfer vital corporate knowledge
- Project materials
- Stewarding a collaboration strategy in support of communities of practice
- Providing learning and knowledge transfer opportunities through best practices, stimulating conversations that matter, and experiential learning practices for teams
The organizational structure may be formal (staffed knowledge “champions” assigned by business unit or geography) or informal (using a voluntary staff of committed employees). The formal model is based on the pioneering knowledge management organizations in the large consulting companies, CSC, E&Y, Accenture, Deloitte, and so on, so it is no surprise that a community of people from these systems integration firms would derive the list above.
I have always defined KM as a “collection of disciplines, methods and tools embedded in an information infrastructure that supports creation and sharing of knowledge assets to achieve business goals.” The KM community within an organization is responsible for developing and constantly renewing a repertoire of KM tools and methods that are ready-to-hand to support emerging business needs. A small number of annual conferences (including the up-coming KMWorld) bring practitioners together to see and share experiences and practices and to keep raising the bar.
In a post today, Dave Snowden (who is one of those experts who continually raises that bar) offers a part of a set of recommendations given to a client on the requirements for a knowledge management organization (Alternatives to a CKO). His primary caution to a company that is thinking about installing a Chief Knowledge Officer that it make the CKO position rotational and/or build in the structural assurances that a CKO be exposed to a wide range of ideas.
The continual flow of new methods, ideas, and perspectives is what keeps me involved in the KM community. It is a diverse network and offers, for those who are not entrained to a specific set of processes the chance to keep learning and making the learning count. This is true of all three KMs. I’ll talk about Little KM in my next post.
by Matthew Hodgson
For some time the giants of the Web 2.0 world like Tim O’Reily and Clay Shirky have talked about ‘participation’ and ‘engagement’ but there is some real lack of clarity and simplicity around what is actually meant by this beyond some significant motherhood statements and technology definitions. This problem is compounded by social commentators who, when asking a room of people “who uses Web 2.0″, note that only a few people are live-blogging or twittering and flail their arms in the air with dismay and cry out the 20 year old 1:9:90 rule of the few contributing and the masses only lurking without realising the sampling issues inherent in asking this question of the convenience sample sitting before them.
Forrester’s Social Technographics really help clear the fog when we consider what types of behaviour we should include when we refer to ‘participation’ and ‘engagement’. All of these roles, from Creator to Joiner, and even Spectator, are critical in promoting Web 2.0 as a means of connecting and forming relationships as a means to promote identification, communication, networking, and collaboration between both individuals, and between individuals and communities of practice with an online presence. It follows that, beyond looking at the technology, when investigating how to encourage staff and clients in the way our organisations work and make decisions we take a more holistic perspective regarding the range of activities we include in our intranets, our extranets and our standard internet presences.
When recently twittering for some perspective and clarity on these issues of definition of participation, ICANN responded with a gem — IAP2′s core values of public participation :
- Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
- Public participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.
- Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognising and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.
- Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
- Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
- Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
- Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.
It was an important reminder that, beyond agreeing with the group’s own Web 2.0-style social contract, because definitions of participation in a Web 2.0 world are still fairly vague and can differ quite dramatically between organisations, it is not only important to acknowledge and support all online behavioural roles but also vital to communicate what participation means to you to those with whom you want to engage.
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1. International Association for Public Participation, 2009. IAP2 Core Values. Online at: http://www.iap2.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=4
by Celine Roque
By now, everyone has probably heard of Google Wave, the innovative communications and collaboration tool that’s been turning heads since it debuted last May. With its rich feature set, it definitely seems to have a promising future, both for consumers and the enterprise. However, the thing that struck me most about Google Wave is that it’s not just an application, but a powerful open platform.
This means that APIs can extend its functionalities even more, in ways faster and more creative than if Google decided to keep it inside a walled garden. Since its launch, thousands of eager developers have been given an access pass for testing, and the company has held events to sustain interest in the platform, as well as showcase what the community has done so far. Here are some of the more enterprise-friendly extensions under development today from the Google Wave gallery:
Twiliobot. This extension uses the Twilio Phone API to recognize phone numbers in a wave, making them clickable links. If the user selects one of these links, the number is dialed (click-to-call). The conversation can be recorded and transcribed automatically, with the text available for pasting back into the wave. Twiliobot can be further enhanced to include a voicemail manager.
Groupy-the-bot. A wave robot for creating and managing groups using Python. It also has a web interface to make management easier. Administrators can add new groups, remove a group, add someone to a group, remove someone from a group, moderate add request, etc. When finished, this should be very useful for project collaboration.
MediaWiki Wave. Enables you to embed Google Waves inside wikis. Part of an initiative to improve the usability of the MediaWiki engine for editors. It adds Wave’s real-time collaboration, unlimited viewable versioning and WYSIWYG editor to an already popular platform.
Checky. A clean and simple checklist gadget. It takes its inspiration from Basecamp’s to-do lists, supporting drag and drop. Checky offers just a glimpse of how PIM (Personal Information Management) can be integrated into Google Wave.
Apart from these, there are even some games and musical extensions being created. It seems the only limit to Google Wave is the developers’ imagination. During the Google I/O Conference, the team behind Google Wave was clear that they wanted to involve the developer community early so that by the time the service is ready for public use, a good number of extensions can go along with it. Perhaps this is part of their learning experience with the Chrome browser, and I think it’s a great decision on their part.
by Matthew Hodgson
It’s been a great journey. The more I look into social media and report on its current use the more it seems that others, from corporates to government agencies, are starting to ‘get’ social media.
For those of you still lagging behind, here are some stats that might get you motivated to join in the conversation (… that means both listening and talking):
- 2/3 of the global internet population use social media 
- 3 in 4 Americans use social media 
- 4 in 5 Australians use social media at least monthly 
- People now visit social media websites more than they use personal email 
- Time spent on social media websites is growing 3x the speed of internet adoption 
What are they doing? In Australia, the statistics indicate:
- 39% – news feeds
- 29% – instant messaging
- 26% – social networking
- 22% – blogs
Hitwise reports that of all websites visited by Australians:
- 4.03% visit Facebook
- 1.44% visit YouTube
- 1.12% visit MySpace
- 0.81% visit Wikipedia
These are interesting numbers from a government information and communication perspective because of the 2,094 websites that Hitwise monitors the combined traffic only equates to 1.3% of which the Bureau of Meteorology attracts 0.36%. It suggests that people would rather go to YouTube and be one of the 100 million people who watch some of the 13 hours of video uploaded every minute. If you were to watch all the content on YouTube though make sure you’ve got lots of popcorn because it would take you about 412 years.
So what about other social media webistes? Some suggest that people arn’t engaged or maybe its only a small proportion, yet the statistics speak for themselves:
- 13 million articles in Wikipedia
- 3.6 billion photos on Flickr in June 2009 — roughly 1 photo for every 2 people on the planet (world population is est 6.7 billion by United States Census Bureau to be 6.7 billion)
- Twitter grew by 1382% from January to February 2009
- 3 million Tweets on Twitter per day
- 5 billion minutes spent on Facebook every day
- 1 billion pieces of content, from links and news to photos and blog posts, shared on Facebook each week
- If Facebook was a country it would be the 8th most populated in the world ahead of Japan which is 127.7 million according to the Japan Statistics Bureau
If you’re not part of this conversation, this collaboration, this community, then your stakeholders and your clients are obviously talking to other people.
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1. Nielsen, Global Faces & Networked Places, 2009
2. Forrester, The Growth of Social Technology Adoption, 2008
3. Internet World Stats, 2008. Internet Usage Stats and Telecommunications Market Report
by Jim Ware
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Please join me and my partner in crime Charlie Grantham, along with Eric Bensley of Citrix Online, and James Hilliard of BNet next Wednesday, June 24, for a free one-hour webinar called “Keeping Your Team Connected in a Distributed Workplace.”
The webinar is sponsored by Citrix Online We’re very grateful for their continuing support of our research and ideas.
Again, the webinar will be on June 24, at 11 AM Pacific/2 PM Eastern. Register here.
We hope you’ll join us. We’re going to be talking mostly about the leadership and interpersonal principles for keeping members of a distributed team connected with each other, their tasks, and the company.