0 comments on “Have you ever thought about what #collaboration actually means to your organisation? #socbiz #enterprise20 #e20 #digitalworkplace”

Have you ever thought about what #collaboration actually means to your organisation? #socbiz #enterprise20 #e20 #digitalworkplace

Over the past weeks I’ve hosted various workshops on the subject of the Digital Workplace and Advanced Intranet. There was one thing all the workshops had in common: the participants suddenly were unclear what “collaboration” actually meant to them. For everyone it was clear that today’s intranets (not even close to work critical, rather an editorial graveyard) had to evolve to become the first step in the evolution of a Digital Workplace. It has to grow together with efforts and initiatives around collaboration, which are managed separately in almost all companies.

What does collaboration stand for?

It really depends who you ask. For IT departments collaboration usually is driven by the bells and whistles of a (social) collaboration platform. Their perspective is to make everything available so people can pick and choose what might suit their requirements. For business functions collaboration in a lot of instances is the ability to have at least documents in one place and use live collaboration abilities (aka chat, desktop sharing etc.) to fight data redundancies and travel efforts (and cost). For the management collaboration often ends up in the field of innovation (one big family striving for world domination) or cross-functional and -border synergies.

Get 10 people in one room and you have 15 opinions on collaborations…and probably 17 definitions.

After spending time to gather the aspects that could define the field of collaboration and trying to determine where the “act of collaboration” would actually create value participants of all workshops ended up with one common denominator:

Collaboration is more than the fact that people work work together and share files in the same place. It’s about creating assets that can be re-used by others and utilise the expertise that was created in previous team efforts. It’s about making sure that what we do happens in accordance with the framework (#FluffyHandcuffs) that is required by the organisation. It’s about connecting to experience and expertise of others that might help us to be faster or better in quality.

collaboration aspects

I am pretty sure that all readers of this post will say: yeah, but that’s totally obvious. Believe me, it’s not.

The biggest luxury in a project I have experienced recently is a pre-study that has “define what collaboration means to us” as it’s only objective. As a side effect, and this is becoming obvious already, it will create a coalition around the subject because we were able to connect to a lot of business stakeholders in the process of defining the field.

A final recommendation for the process of specifying “collaboration”: make “what is it not?” and “why is it special to us?” part of the evaluation. It will help you to scope what you’re doing against other initiatives – or build bridges to them since running them separate would cause disconnection and redundancy.

0 comments on “My write-up of the Social Business Collaboration 2014 (#wcsocbiz) on the @infocentric blog”

My write-up of the Social Business Collaboration 2014 (#wcsocbiz) on the @infocentric blog

On September 29/30 I’ve attended the Social Business Collaboration conference in Berlin. I believe it’s one of the best gatherings of the intl. and European advanced intranet and digital workplace community. It was a pleasure to meet so many friends and new folks that shared valuable insight and learning from the past year in the field. The level of honesty and candid talking is so impressive. I can only recommend to join that community if you want to meet people that share your challenges and might be able to (in the culture of social collaboration) develop ideas together.

I’ve produced a little write-up of my conference impressions. It can be found on our corporate blog here: http://www.infocentric.ch/en/blog/2014/sbc2014-digest

I will be creating a little summary of the World Café sessions as well later next week.

2 comments on “My 8 min. of fame at #TEDxTUHH – some thoughts on #motivation #leadership & why it’s essential to care about others”

My 8 min. of fame at #TEDxTUHH – some thoughts on #motivation #leadership & why it’s essential to care about others

I think I have rarely been that nervous on stage… So first of all I have to apologize to Prof. Carnabuci for slaughtering his name after I made him my source of inspiration for the start of my talk… Secondly I have to thank the TEDxTUHH team for forcing me through endless rounds of rehearsal – looks like one or two additional rounds wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Anyway…here we go 🙂

PS: the balloon story…I would have liked to support it with a little drawing…but the pen said “no” 😉 the stones I am talking about are with me IN the balloon…in case that doesn’t come across


0 comments on “Some Thoughts on Relevance and the Value of Intranets; #relevance #socbiz #socialbusiness #intranet #enterprise20”

Some Thoughts on Relevance and the Value of Intranets; #relevance #socbiz #socialbusiness #intranet #enterprise20

Summary: over the last months I have been confronted with almost the same question in various cases: “People don’t read what we publish. What can we do?” Unfortunately I have only come to one – not always embraced – recommendation that I keep repeating: “Make relevance more visible and accept that some information means nothing to some you might like to see as your target group.”.

The major challenge: relevance to operational work.

In many articles I have emphasised that the key to a valuable digital workplace lies in its clear and tangible support of the work that information and knowledge workers do every day. Thinking about the “communication intranet”, so the part of a digital workplace that is meant to provide important information to employees, I might have to specify my thoughts a little but more.
In one of my last workshops I came up with a little sketch:


It’s read like this: there are three connections of information to the work of an individual.

  • Support: it makes it easier to do my work
  • Enablement: without it I cannot really deliver correct results
  • Execution: it is a direct part if it or could derive from my work as e.g. best practice

Information that supports or enables has a certain “distance” to the individual. The more it directly affects the personal environment (work critical) the more relevant (close) it is to the person – the more likely it is to be perceived and the more critical it is that the person is made aware of it. The next level (relevance to the larger work context – business critical) is slightly more distant from the person but still close enough to understand the effects. The outer part (not even touching “My Work” anymore) is the communication that is most likely to be ignored. The majority of people will not be able to make a connection to the content and the effect on the personal employment/work situation. Here’s the tangible example for each category:

Supporting ME: best practice for the work I am conducting.

Supporting US: a new range of product marketing that the sales team I work in uses.

Supporting the COMPANY: the CEO message on the quarterly results.

Enabling ME: a new purchasing guidelines for parts that are key to my deliveries

Enabling US: a new mandatory travel policy that affects expense processes for us as a sales team

Enabling the COMPANY: a new HR guideline on the personal use of the internet at work

Here’s the essence of the challenge: if the flood of information that touches all of the categories mentioned above is in no form or way targeted or indicated in relevance the recipients will simply turn numb. The will start to ignore all information and miss out on the essential and critical parts as well.

How to address the challenge?

Introduce targeting and indicate relevance.

It might be something that sounds like a tremendous effort. To create an editorial model that is able to specify and deliver information to pre-determined target groups. To provide intranets that are geared towards users and resonate on their role, geography, position and other relevant factors. To maybe even tailor the same message to different target group.
Rest assured. THAT is where the ROI on internal communications comes from. Not if you make it social, a stream or add pretty pictures to everything that is published – or (even worse) a strict “must read” rule that puts people even more work on their table through the required analysis & research efforts.

Introduce the indicators for a “call to action” (if there is one).

If you want people to react: tell them. Introduce the option to distinguish if a certain action is required (e.g. read, read & confirm, read & implement etc.). Make it easy for the user to classify information as urgent, critical or important. Allow them to invest only a little to follow what you want them to follow. For everyone’s sake…

0 comments on “My write-up of the “#Mobility in #Social #Business #Collaboration” WorldCafe at #wcsocbiz 2013 in Berlin”

My write-up of the “#Mobility in #Social #Business #Collaboration” WorldCafe at #wcsocbiz 2013 in Berlin

Summary: As part of the Social Business Collaboration 2013 conference in Berlin the attendants had the chance to discuss specific subjects in hosted groups in a so called “WorldCafé” format. The outcome of my “Mobility” round was incredible. Organizational and leadership subjects were discussed as essentials towards effective value contribution from a mobilized workforce putting a clear emphasis on expression like trust, care, managerial responsibility and expectations management. The severe impact on work and people culture in terms of quality awareness, individual responsibility and “caring for others” made clear how challenging it will be to simply squeeze existing business and operations models into a “mobile” mode. Really impressive was the fact that the “device” and “technology” angle was hardly touched in the discussion… Enjoy the read:

Perspectives on “mobility” as a foundation for the discussion

My role as moderator was to provide a couple of starting points for a discussion. I decided to draw a little illustrating setting out some key aspects of mobilized information work and workers.


In order to focus the conversation and retrieve tangible results from the conversation I decided to split the conversation into three major blocks, knowing that all of them of course converge and influence each other:

  • Management & Leadership – What it means to lead a mobilized workforce and how the roles of managers will be affected
  • Responsibility – The change of individual and collaborative responsiblity in a sense of making sure that others are enabled and that potential availability does not lead to a loss of work/life balance
  • Quality – How mobilized employees have to take into account what quality they will be able to deliver depending on device and situation as well as the quality expecations coming from the ones that request input from people on the road

The incredible outcome of 6 rounds of conversation, discussion and input

Social Business Collaboration and the aspect of MOBILITY_boardAttendants from various industries (banking, business services, manufacturing, insurance, biotech…) were highly engaged and partly even emotional. TRUST turned out to be an essential element in the enabling a mobilized workforce to deliver success. Three dimensions of trust were discussed:

Trust that people will deliver even if they are not present.
Trust towards managers that the right work support is provided.
Trust that mobility does not mean “disconnection”.

In the same way the emotional expression of “caring for others” was put on the table. People have to develop a real interest that their peers are able to participate even if they are not present and that information is not kept in the “ivory tower” of the office.

So from a mobilized workforce derives a new level of responsibility: work result quality, contribution ad participation shall not be affected by absence. In the same way as managers have a new responsibility towards their subordinates in terms of not expecting a 24/7 availability and ignoring conditions such as different time zones. In that context 2 statements were particularly interesting:

“What can you expect from someone on the phone at 2 am in the morning?”

“Leaders have to understand that live broadcasting for corporate information to a globally distributed workforce will put a lot of people into a pretty miserable situation.”

Scalability was another interesting aspect: making sure that the impact of a specific expert(ise) is not limited by requiring physical presence. This might even go hand in hand with a note towards talent management: if relocation or unreasonable travel can be avoided for a particular role the options of high caliber candidates might increase substantially.

From an organisational perspective it was crystal clear that moving existing models of business operations unchanged into a “mobile mode” is destined to fail. Individual and collaborative value contribution in a mobile environment is substantially different from the one happening in a physically shared office space.

What came up from two angels was the war of generations at the mobile workplace. On the one hand in terms of “ability of adaption” and affinity on the other hand in terms of “training bottom-up” (not in the sense of using technology but in sense of “applying” it the right way!). For some representatives of the “established and experienced workforce” training from very young folks can be…challenging (how can they tell me how to “think mobile”).

With a decentralized and mobilized workforce one key paradigm definitely moves into the center right next to the aspect of “trust”:

Accountability vs. Control

It shouldn’t be the way to the result or the physical space in which the result was created. Management by objectives and results will be the key challenge to the established management pool that is in charge today.

The outcome in detail (MindMap in PDF Format)

In order provide – more or less – the actual results of the discussion I have consolidated the results in a MindMap. As part of the exercise I’ve tried to group them a little bit, which felt a little bit artificial because in many instances a statement can’t really be allocated to one subject alone. In order to keep it transparent and easy to read I’ve decided not to replicate statements for multiple groups connect statements across groups. I might have ended up with a subway map that actually scares of anyone who just remotely considers to think about the subject of “mobility”…

Social Business Collaboration and the aspect of MOBILITY
Click here to open the MindMap in PDF Format

4 comments on “My digest of “#Social #Business #Collaboration 2013” (Berlin) #wcsocbiz #socbiz #enterprise20 #e20”

My digest of “#Social #Business #Collaboration 2013” (Berlin) #wcsocbiz #socbiz #enterprise20 #e20

Summary: On Sept 23 and 24 over 100 protagonists in the social business space had the opportunity to exchange their experience, opinion and expectations deriving from the endeavor towards a more social digital workplace. Similar to the IntraNET.Reloaded conference series in spring it’s literally possible to re-live the entire conference through Twitter at the #wcsocbiz hashtag. Nevertheless I will provide my digest of the conference. Essentially all organizations have left the experimental stage are now in the middle of connecting the ideology of “social” to the core business. Determining qualitative and/or quantitative business value (or even calculating a ROI) is not just part of the preaching anymore but brutal reality. Change management and the human factor has turned into an integrative element of all social strategies. Ask anyone and “simply rolling out a platform” simply isn’t enough anymore. At the same time platform providers are facing the challenge that “why you…what makes you so different?” is becoming a more and more frequent question. I could sense a certain fatigue towards always the same pitch around get connected, share stuff, follow topics”. I am actually very curious myself to see how the landscape of platform provides will be able to re-form the market in the coming years (or months?). Here we go…my digest (not cutting a long story short) and upfront apology that I will not elaborate on all presentations…

The power of VISUALIZING big data

I’ve just recently been confronted with the subject of establishing a data mining and reporting strategy in the finance industry. So it was extremely refreshing to see Nathan Bricklin (@socialbrick , Wells Fargo) talk about surfacing experts and expertise through the cloud of data that exists around them. In his point of view experts are

  • Self reported
  • Rated
  • Credible through seniority (if that’s applicable)

Imagining a 300+ thousand people company that is distributed around the globe one can imagine that the amount of data that is (or can be) collected and associated with specific people is vast. However, using the right approach it is possible to visualize connections between subject matters and people and thereby attach the right person to the right challenge. In Wells Fargo’s case even in the form of a career step and foundation of building new business. Being able to connect “the unusual” (in their case an intrinsic intrest in a certain subject) to their value proposition allowed the company to win business and to stand out in an RfP process (probably one of the best examples of a resonating value proposition I’ve ever seen).

Talking about influencers Nathan described them as connected with a well established reputation and open to content. In order to understand the impact there are certain indicators such as

  • title (not just the position)
  • number of followers (reach in the organisation)
  • (publication) frequency
  • content (type, format, comprehensiveness) and
  • geography

Why social enterprise matters…?

Nathan just boiled it down to the essence:

  • Differentiation
  • Participation
  • Access
  • Connections
  • Retention

It is probably the best foundation for a social enterprise mission statement I have ever seen (I am just making one up here!!):

We want to be different as an employer and business partner. We make it easy and tangible for people to participate and access experts and expertise independent from organizational, geographical or hierarchical location. We connect our intellectual assets and turn them into a continuous flow of value for our employees and clients – our foundation for retaining business and people.

His final recommendation was the one of a gateway drug. In Wells Fargo’s case it was the “digitalisation” of internal events and the connection of participants through internal social tools. The goal was simply to show the power of the mechanics in real life context.

Solving business challenges through a network

Linda Tinnert (@lindatinnert, IKEA) had her presentation built around one of IKEA’s core values:

Togetherness & enthusiasm

Besides the fact that their set of initiatives around social business have to meet clear business requirements such as

  • Networking
  • Communications
  • Planning & Organization
  • Manage Documentation
  • Accessing Documentation
  • Accessing Solutions

there is one key paradigm that she put on the screen and I just fell in love with it straight away:

Communication has to be trustworthy

This is probably THE game changer and shift within organisations. Because it makes game playing and corporate politics a lot harder (if not impossible).

Based on their solution IKEA has established three core areas in which the future of information and knowledge work is adding constant value to the company:

  • My IKEA product idea (innovation, entrepreneurship, dialogue)
  • Contact center Austria (updated, dialogue, speed & quality)
  • Virtual matrix meeting (sharing learning, cost & time saving)

Competence driven business

Wolfgang Jastrowski (@jaschi42, Swiss Re) gave a brief insight on how social enterprise is supporting a business model that is built on “risk” and very factual thinking. My essential of his presentation actually went straight into a tweet:

Capabilities are the functional building block of an enterprise at Swiss RE. Everything has to fall in one place.

My take: no matter if you are in professional services, finance or manufacturing. As soon as expertise is a key factor in creating value connecting it and surfacing it at the right time to the right people is KEY to winning the every day race.

Video to empower people and save time…for recipients.

BP’s Joe Little (@JoeLittle) gave a presentation that made probably half the media houses out their either cry or applaud – depending on their maturity in reaching out to their users.

Essentially Joe made the point that…

…it’s worth a lot to put a little more effort in the “sending” part because it will make receiving so much easier.

Walking the crowd through the treasure of BP’s corporate media platforms he showed everything from brand communication and marketing archives through educational videos to webcasts and training. Video has become an essential pillar in BP’s communication and knowledge exchange strategy.

I am still impressed…

Play a game with me…and win a badge (but not for everything)

Bryan Barringer (@collab_me, FedEx Services) delivered his presentation on employee engagement and unlocking knowledge (yes, I had to have the word game here as well). So far the standard “mental model” (believe how things work from good and bad experience) is

“I have knowledge and must control that intelligence in order to be valuable”

In the (not so far) future that mental model has to change. If companies want to unleash their potential that lies buried in today’s information and knowledge work they have to build the foundation and trust into the new version:

“I am valuable because I am knowledgeable and I am willing to share that knowledge”

Along that process and in order to catalyze the right pieces companies have to pay proper attention on what level and to what extend the model has changed already…

Gamification (engagement > adaption > viral growth) and badges (virtual rewards for certain actions) are two models that FedEx is introducing to their organization in order to drive and and motivate the change towards that mental model. However, Bryan made the important point that immunification can be one evolutionary phase of introducing playful business applications if literally the whole day is turned into a game.

Furthermore he made a clear statement:

So if you’re struggling with social how will you deal with gamification?

People still come to work in order to work – not to play. There will be a difference depending on who you’re approaching (FedEx is currently dealing with 5 generations in the workplace) but it’s good to really seek to understand before seeking to…give playful work a try.

Badges (like you can find them e.g. on foursquare.com) are one variant of gamification. The concept can for example be used as part of an education & training program: tell others you’ve improved your expertise

Eventually here are four (pretty good) don’ts on the roadmap to gamification:

  • Don’t lock down functionality (making them need a badge to access it…that will be the source for frustration)
  • Don’t assume to know your user base (you’ll make an ASS out of U and ME)
  • Don’t start with 300 badges and give badges for—breathing (literally…)
  • Don’t start a program if you don’t keep it going (that should be pretty obvious…but it rarely is)

Asia ahead of the game

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the full presentation of Deepak Bhosale (@db1904) but parts of the initiatives that Asia Paint Ltd. from India has in place are simply overwhelming. Imagine you’d publish drafts of HR policies in your company to get refinement from the cloud BEFORE they are put into force... I have to admit that I haven’t met one other company that could even do that.

Connecting sales organizations and creating customer centric solutions are only two further use cases Asia Paint Ltd. has put into place.

Global Voice & Online DNA

AkzoNobel’s Bram Kokke (@bramkokke) made me cheer when he mentioned that his company is aware that they need an Online DNA. It is one of the rare occasions where a company has obviously realized that “digital” has to be built straight into the company’s business strategy. Bram’s presentation motivated me to tweet (in the sense of…)

You don’t need one global language – you need one global voice.

So the conference has finally given me the spot-on recommendation if I am involved in “what language shall we use” discussions. It’s so simple, clear and comprehensive and it would solve so many challenges that global organisations are facing.

The social enterprise rockstars: Novozymes

At the IntraNET.Reloaded in April 2013 Frank Hatzack ( @frankhatzack) already rocked the stage with his insights into Novozymes approach towards social collaboration, networking and innovation management. He stuck to his principle, brought a Digital Native (@tillegreen) to the stage as well and kept rocking the crowd. Their way of telling stories that even contained references to significance of collaboration in an statistical (for real) context was as refreshing as always. At Novozymes (like at Wells Fargo) connecting the social sphere and power to real events and jams was one of the driving factors.

And even at Novozymes they said at some point “let’s get real” and started digging into the business value and potential of the newly surfaced ideas.

So what have I learned? Maybe I can put it into one statement:

Social Business has started its evolution from playful into powerful and essential. First steps are taken. First results are visible and measurable. Social is there to stay and change the way we work, achieve and balance. I can’t wait…

Please stay tuned…in my next blog post I will provide the summary on my World Café session on “Mobility in the context of social business collaboration“…

2 comments on “Leaner Process. Less Waste. Less Cost. An industry leader’s perspective on #SocialEnterprise; #FutureOfWork #Enterprise20”

Leaner Process. Less Waste. Less Cost. An industry leader’s perspective on #SocialEnterprise; #FutureOfWork #Enterprise20

Summary: I am still in awe. As part of a client workshop on enterprise 2.0 a company leader gave an introduction on his point of view on the approach. For him the commitment to leading change the established ways of working in information and knowledge work is the differentiating factor between leaders and followers. Even though I cannot share the name of my client I have to share his key statements in this blog post…

I might want to emphasize: this article resonates on a workshop opening…this is not me preaching about what social enterprise can deliver to organizations.


Doing it right the first time. This is probably the best motivation for knowledge re-use and building up a corporate DNA of expertise and experience. If you work in comparable markets your success and competitive edge is driven by how fast and spot-on you are in producing and delivering industrial goods. Only the ones that are capable of eliminating errors, inefficiencies and develop repeatable pieces in their value chain will prosper in the long run.

Leaner Processes. Less Waste. Less Cost.

Coming from a production company this sounds like industrial optimization. In out the company’s leader was referring to process waste in terms of time, human resource and quality. Driving cost effectiveness will eventually contribute to the competitive advantage as well. Simply by offering products at a higher quality, at less cost and with superior service.

You need to be a scientist to keep up with corporate noise.

Global organizations produce noise, a lot of noise. Corporate guidelines, regional policies, local announcements hammer onto an organization with the goal to unify operations and profit from size and scaling effects. To ensure that the right message is available to the right person in the right context (aka situation) is the key to success. It reminded me of the metaphor to “tune the social radio to the right channel and silence the noise…” (see my summary of the INTRAnet.Reloaded 2013). At the end of the day a company would reach the goal of

“…people being less ignorant to corporate messages because they start delivering value if they come up in the right moment”

I loved the reference to “ignorance” because it’s an purely emotional expression and describes the feeling to the usual corporate one way distribution channels so well.

“Email is not good enough for all this. We have to find ways to unleash global know-how to improve locally.”

Rest assured…this reference was not made towards an internal social network. It was referencing socially inspired business IT that is interwoven with core business processes. That’s exactly where I see the future of work going…and I loved to hear that not only the evangelists for the subjects see it this way.

Unleash 24h productivity by seamlessly connecting 8h shifts.

That was probably the most radical statement and I love the meaning of it. If you are able to connect your organization in a way that across all time zones people can seamlessly work together and contribute to the joint goal you have a 24h information and knowledge work bench. Assuming that each individual can contribute with reasonable effort and within acceptable work hours…why not?


I am still blown away by this experience and I am honored to be part of this endeavor…

0 comments on “Expectations Mgmt: YOU! are in charge; the #DigitalWorkplace will only provide means 2b better @ it; #SelfLeadership #socbiz #enterprise20”

Expectations Mgmt: YOU! are in charge; the #DigitalWorkplace will only provide means 2b better @ it; #SelfLeadership #socbiz #enterprise20

Summary: The expectation that a new digital workplace will simply remove all known obstacles and automate all cumbersome things of an information worker is wrong. In too many instances I have stumbled across users and managers that said “But then I still have to look for stuff – I just want it there right in front of me”. Yes, indeed. You stay in charge. All a digital workplace can provide is the means to make life and work easier. Working itself will stay with the people. I believe we have to manage expectations accordingly.

Inspired by the book “Self Leadership and the One Minute Manager” (Ken Blanchard, Susan Fowler, Laurence Hawkings, 2005) I’ve decided to elaborate a little bit on one of the most important pieces of change in the context of the future of information and knowledge work: Expectations Management. I got the inspiration from the general approach of the book to put people in the right place and put responsibility and initiative in their hands. For me this is the first step to a successful transformation of the digital workplace.

YOU! are in charge of driving automation of information retrieval

“Enterprise Search” is still in the top list of corporate business IT initiatives. “We just can’t find our stuff” is probably the key complaint when it comes to information, data or knowledge management. Rest assured: a blue, yellow or whatever color search application server won’t make much of a difference.

Rubbish in (by YOU!), rubbish out (for the poor others).

I don’t know how many times I have commented the need for “Enterprise Search” with that. As long as users don’t classify information others won’t be able to find it in a context beyond semantic. The content of a document however must not necessarily be the best indicator where or when to use it. To make it really valuable the conversation around that piece of data or additional information on background, usage or ownership is essential in most cases.

Well…if YOU! don’t want to tag the document, then at least tag yourself, the workspace you work in and throw in a short comment on why you have created, modified or just stored that piece of work. So that just by knowing enough about you and your context the document can be put in the right place – meaning: in front of the right people and next to information and data that goes well with it.

YOU! are in charge of capturing essentials and value of the new “corporate conversation”

“There is no information overload, just filter failure” (Clay Shirkey) is one side of the coin. The flip side is: YOU! have to use the filters. Like in: using them yourself by thinking things like…

  • what am I looking for? specifically or “more or less”…
  • is what I am seeing important to me or not?
  • what would be the easiest channel/source to what I am looking for?

Yes, one of the value propositions is that relevant information will be delivered to the door step of employees. Nevertheless: digital data (stupid zeros and ones) cannot look inside your brain to figure out “right now or is tomorrow maybe better?”. So a digital workplace will strengthen all efforts to filter out noise and “stuff” and reduce the overload to the (potentially) most relevant pieces that could add value to one’s day.

To distinguish important from urgent and core essential process stuff from “nice to know maybe later” material is down to YOU!.

YOU! need leadership in the D2 stage? Then go and ask for it!

“Self Leadership and the One Minute Manager” is referring to four stages of motivation/competence that employees can be in. Corresponding to those stages the authors suggest leadership/management styles to help employees to move to the next stage. Here’s the basic illustration from that book:

Situational Leadership

If you ask me the leadership style that is required in today’s transformation process from a pure top down and hierarchical to a more knowledge and network driven organization is S2. Existing employees (in particular the ones that have been part of the workforce for a while already) might feel challenged with the new level of responsibility they suddenly carry. If one comes out of a task and process managed work culture the move into an objective managed environment requires a lot of help.

We may acknowledge that and preach it to the management. And managers have to transform their role from watching each single step to making sure that the orchestra plays well together and is delivering the symphony spot on.

Nevertheless employees have to expose their challenge with the new ways of working and seek support by either their managers (now coaches) or other employees. Because the book also states that being a leader does not necessarily have to be connected with organizational power. Leaders can be the ones that are ahead of others and that are capable to support others to walk the same path.

If YOU! don’t know what to do, go ask for help!

Oh…and if there is nobody around willing to help you, you might want to think about the question if your trying to deliver your value in the right place… (like in: find a better job!).

My apology to YOU!

I apologize to anyone who thinks I am just ranting here. All I am trying to say here is

  • Employees have to understand that they have to start their brains
  • Employees have to either show interest or simply find motivation for  that somewhere else
  • Employees have to take action and actively use the new opportunities to either contribute or utilize the contributions of others
  • Managers have to be role models – today more than ever. If a manager is convinced that there aren’t enough minutes in the day to make information findable, why would anyone feel obliged to add that little piece of work to the day?

Expect the following: The digital workplace is there to support. It is there to grow, become more useful and helpful with every single contribution. It is there to become more and more relevant and knowledgeable about its users and their “intentions”. It’s like a kid. It has to be born, grow and then become a genius.

Don’t expect the digital workplace to be “rolled out” and solve all challenges we have been confronted with over the past years through  its pure existence.

Thanks for listening…

0 comments on “Like a #magnet; very nice metaphor for a strategic #enterprise20 #framework; #e20 #socialbusiness #socbiz”

Like a #magnet; very nice metaphor for a strategic #enterprise20 #framework; #e20 #socialbusiness #socbiz

Summary: I suppose most of us have been confronted with the question why a transformation needs the ‘big picture’ – the strategic framework. During one of my recent workshops a client of mine drew the picture of a magnet on a flip chart and it’s probably the nicest metaphor that I’ve seen so far for the subject.

This post actually doesn’t need many words beyond some context.

Most companies don’t just have one single IT project in the pipeline. Depending on the source of business there can be hell of a lot of things going on – all in parallel: ERP, productivity infrastructure, CRM, Unified Communications, collaboration, intranet etc.

Now…Stephen R. Covey already told us to always ‘have the big picture in mind’ while walking along a roadmap ‘doing first things first’. Walking towards one common goal needs guidance. That guidance could be a (magnetic) pole that helps to adjust the direction of all moving initiatives. Like we would orientate towards the North Pole with a compass. That North Pole is represented by the strategic framework or transformation program that helps to align everything so it will fall together in one place eventually.

I love it…


(The credit for the foundation of this drawing really goes to my client…)

2 comments on “My ReCap of the INTRANET.Reloaded 2013 #intrel13 #Intranet Conference (#Berlin); #inspiration #socbiz #socialbusiness #e20”

My ReCap of the INTRANET.Reloaded 2013 #intrel13 #Intranet Conference (#Berlin); #inspiration #socbiz #socialbusiness #e20

Summary: On April 23/24 2013 Berlin was the place to be for European intranet and enterprise 2.0 professional. From 8am in the morning until 6pm at night participants had the chance to exchange experience. Speakers from various industries shared their best practice and the DOs and DONTs when it comes to evolving the intranet into a digital workplace. In this article I am sharing my key take aways and sincerely hope to meet some of my readers next year. A word of warning: I’ve not cut a long story short – intentionally. Some parts of my recap might seem “common sense” but the level of awareness for the key success factors has experienced a substantial shift. Value creation has moved into the focus of almost all hands-on drivers in the field.

Social Minutes of the conference…
…can be found on Twitter under the #intrel13 hashtag. It’s definitely worth browsing through the almost 1.000 tweets that we’ve produced in the two days.

My personal key take away from INTRANET.Reloaded, Berlin (2013)

  1. When Communications & IT join big things can happen
  2. People centricity is not just reflected through “social software” anymore (Or: The social radio and the hidden dream team)
  3. Cultural change – it’s less of hen and egg than before
  4. Key asset of the new workplace: relevant content
  5. The requirements document is not a wish list

1. When Communications & IT join forces big things can happen

The status-quo still seems to be more of a two class society. In some organisations the business and technology folks haves moved closer together. In others there’s still a lot of platform, bells & whistles and “just get it out of the door” thinking. That leaves business professionals frustrated and demotivated when they are either bullied or slowed down by there sous-terrain peers (maybe it’s some kind of reaction on the lack of daylight…). Whenever business and IT decided to work hand in hand on the endeavour towards real business IT results where exciting. In particular the presentation of StoraEnso on the current status of their journey towards a digital workplace was impressive. What I particularly loved (yes…emotion!) was their mantra to

“…make sure that employees simply have clarity on where to go for what piece of information.”

This is one of the “common sense” things. However, to take this as a motivation to merge collaboration and communication initiatives and replace the “old” world with a completely new digital service concept for employees is heart warming. It’s consequent. It’s smart. Here’s what StoraEnso shared as their general advice to the participants of the conference.


(c) StoraEnso 2013 | Presented by Ulrika MacGregor & Charlotte Sperling (@charlottesp)

The same applies to the Sonae’s presentation (Portugal; check the #sonae hashtag combined w/ #intrel13). I strongly recommend to “steel with pride” from their quadrant on driving the digital workplace initiative (http://t.co/mtZq2dpyzf).

(c) Sonae 2013 | Presented by João Piedade (@jp3dro)

2. People centricity is not just reflected through “social software” anymore

Or: The social radio and the hidden dream team

Almost all speakers emphasised the importance of “seeking to understand before seeking to be understood”. Running conceptual pre-studies and making sure that the results of the project will meet actual business needs has been an essential part of the impressive and promising case presentations. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of how need/requirements are evaluated. Talk to anyone who has applied the Xmas approach of how useful wishful thinking of frustrated users eventually is. More to this a little bit later in this article.

In particular Novozymes (Danmark, @frankhatzack) made two very strong points. Their analogy of the new abilities to drive communication and collaboration through social media inspired services with a social radio is just beautiful!

“Following the flow of activities in a company is like listening to a social radio. You have to make sure that you’ve tuned into the right channels and silence the noise.”

This goes hand in hand with the so often used quote of “There is no information overload, just a filter failure” by Clay Shirkey. Using the social radio requires the users to be aware of the general principles and the way one can use the dials to fine tune personal relevance.

Secondly “the hidden dream” concept is something that should be on the agenda of all drivers of innovation/best practice/idea management initiatives. Novozymes figured out that the most powerful ideas came from the “long tail” of users submitting ideas. It’s not the ones with the loudest voice, it’s the ones that rather post less quantity but strive for higher results – and bear in mind that innovation usually involves more than one point of view. To unveil the hidden dream teams is an amazing opportunity that lies within a company’s organisation. New ways of surfacing experts, expertise and experience that derive from socialised business IT definitely helps with this task.

3. Cultural change – it’s less of hen and egg than before

For years change management has been trending in the context of enterprise 2.0 and the future of information work. @frankhatzack from Novozymes made clear: digital doesn’t go well with pure hierarchy. There a general agreement that top management (aka the C-suite) is happy to request and lead change. The employee base is happy to tap into the new opportunities – adoption rate and speed depending on the demographical structure. Middle management however has a proper challenge with their change of role. The more connected the nodes of an organisation are and the more automated informations logistics become the less “controllable” it will be. #FOLC was established as an acronym at the conference this year: Fear Of Loosing Control. All endeavours have to address that fear as much as they have to pick up on potential #FOMO amongst employees: Fear Of Missing Out. Adding new channels and new opportunities requires to make sure that each single employee is able to work in full certainty and clarity that the relevant stuff will find her/him. For StoraEnso that was a key driver to treat intranet and digital workspace as ONE.

What has settled in is the fact that change in work culture and the digital workplace have to come hand in hand. It’s a give and take. Making cultural change the foundation for changes in the digital workplace is like swallowing the elephant in one go. Slicing it up in reasonable steps, prioritising based on value contribution and managing expectations towards the scope of the single steps is the way to go.

4. Key asset of the new workplace: relevant content

Ensuring relevance for the actual user is key in the majority of initiatives. The way to tackle relevance today ranges from very basic pro-active selection of “what I want to see” to the automated delivery of the right piece of information to the user’s door step at the right time.

One key take away of the conference is definitely the issue of managing/creating information assets in a multi-channel world. Skanska (Sweden) for example manages its content for all digital services through one backend. Treating external and internal presence as just a different channel is definitely a smart way to make sure that content is used most effectively.

Pfizer (USA) decided to “harness the ego factor” (@NoraGhitescu) and give people that produce content for their digital channels. They turned their communicators into correspondents and gave them the chance to stand out with by-line and picture. As a result Pfizer was able to create content that attracted so many people that media agencies would be probably more than happy to sell advertising on that inventory.

(c) Pfizer 2013 | Source: https://twitter.com/for_desire_it/status/327449438270414848/photo/1

5. The requirements document is not a wish list

Making sure that the new endeavour will deliver value to individuals as well as the organisation is key. Evaluating requirements and managing expectations in that context is definitely key. At this point I’d like to refer to one of my older posts on motivation. Requirements don’t have to be things people want (or wish). It can as well be something that should be resolved, removed or improved. That angle – it terms of motivation & measurability – is much stronger than just striving towards a vision.

What I definitely have to share is Sonae’s (Portugal) slide on requirements engineering. It actually doesn’t need much explanation…


(c) Sonae 2013 | Presented by João Piedade (@jp3dro) | Source: @DigitalJonathan

World Café on “Managing expectations along the workplace evolution”

I had the opportunity to host a world café session on “managing expectations”. As a framing for all participants (5 rounds in total) I used the following approach:

Seek to understand before seeking to be understood

(Stephen R. Covey)

Use this paradigm as the motivation to understand where you are today in order to understand how to phase out the roadmap to the vision of the future workspace (the reloaded intranet).

Find your current position on either or or both following models for distinguishing the status/evolutionary phase of a workspace:

#1 Workspace Maturity Model


(c) Infocentric Research AG | Presented by Stephan Schillerwein (@IntranetMatters) as part of the Digital Workplace Framework

#2 People Relationship Model (w/t the thought leadership stage)


(c) Philipp Rosenthal 2013 (@for_desire_it)

After the framing followed the discussion based on how the participants of the world café table positioned themselves in the model and shared their insights on how expectations were managed on the way to the current status and with regards to the future steps.

Key take away of the discussion around “how to manage expectations along the evolution of a digital workplace”

Photo 26.04.13 15 13 34

  • It’s about people. Evangelist or Ambassador programs are essential but both have to be connected to the real steps that are taken. Just preaching the vision won’t be enough to make people really adapt. Sometimes some “nudging” towards the new opportunities might be required.
  • Management has to be committed to the change and support it by being a prime example.
  • To get commitment it’s necessary to have role based value proportion for “what’s in for me” for e.g. roles like CEO, CIO, HR, program managers, production managers, etc…
  • Top Management might require a value proposition that resonates with their abstraction of the business in Excel and ERP. Middle Management needs a value proposition that avoids #FOLC. The employee base has to be ensured that #FOMO is unnecessary and that access to the relevant content will actually improve.
  • Taking into account blue collar work is essential for companies that produce more than just paper. However, it should not stop initiatives because (broadly) involving blue collar roles will be a challenge for almost all companies.
  • Do NOT ask people what the want. Ask them “What’s preventing you from being excellent?”.
  • Argue the endeavour and its scope based on challenges that will be solved and QuickWins that derive from new opportunities. Do NOT argue along bells & whistles of digital services.
  • Easy things first: create tangible results quickly!

INTRANET.Reloaded: Inspired not just by the content

At this stage I want to share a way the organisers of the conference decided to create “minutes” of the conference. It was a live sketching done by an incredible illustration artist. I can strongly recommend this to anyone who’s intending to produce a documentation alongside a larger event…

Photo 26.04.13 17 17 25


The rights to all content shown in pictures of slides of the conferences lie with the original/presenting author(s) and the represented company.