9 Suggestions for Going Social at Work

This is from Kevin Winterfield from IBM, and relates to his presentation on Making IBM Small. He’s definitely coming from the perspective of a technology vendor and a Fortune 500 company, so he probably is advocating

  1. Enable your employees and be patient – create an environment that allow users to better collaborate via multiple modalities, across timezones, organizational barriers, skillsets, know each other professionally and socially, know each other’s skills and expertise.
  2. Integrate your tools – look for integrated toolsets; must be open; incredible growth here.
  3. Be sensitive to culture change – be sensitive to generational acceptance and norms, country cultures; incorporate storytelling and cultural sharing; allow for human interest and encourage employee participation and generation of content.
  4. Constant communication – campaigns to help with adoption; show leadership modeling and permission; define usage policies; provide education.
  5. Know when you are risking too much – connect employees without creating chaos; define free-form sandboxes and focused work projects.
  6. Ensure privacy – define the line between work and play; socializing and work.
  7. Protect and secure your assets – ensure interndal data is safe; use tools that are well-tested from credible vendors.
  8. Develop fair policies, not fluffy ones – govern use without boxing in innovation; allow for play but maintain values of company along the way.
  9. Implement with a credible vendor – work with a credible vendor to select and implement for your specific organization. Don’t try it on your own, or start with something extremely safe.

This set of tips has much to commend it, but it runs directly counter to what the Best Buy experience was with their Blue Shirt Nation project, which we heard about earlier today. They started with at $100 budget and used open source software. I think the better approach would be to go for some quick wins (which might be like the last half of Kevin’s 9th point), and then you have a proof of concept that you can use to sell the complete solution.

Otherwise, if you come in with a multi-million dollar project, you’re going to get asked to prove the ROI. If the I is to big, they’re going to be more skeptical. But if the I is small (or next to nothing), you can proceed until apprehended.

What do you think?

Kevin Winterfield on IBM Social Networking

Kevin’s presentation is called Making IBM Small: How Social Networking Can Turn a Corporation Into A Community.

IBM is enabling the endeavor through Social Media. Every IBMer has a blog and can start a wiki instantly without asking anyone.

Projects form and morph. Teams couple and de-couple to serve clients. The organizing principle that brings employees together is no longer the enterprise, it’s the endeavor.

I got the sense that Kevin didn’t want too many details about what IBM is doing to be published to the world. So instead of going into those details of his demo, I’m going to publish instead his “9 suggestions for going social at work” as a separate post.