Sunday, November 30, 2008

Adopting Social Media

Yesterday I read Chris Brogan’s post “If I started today” in which he outlines a few starting ideas for working with social media. I would like to explore this question further.

I feel there is a strong component of change management which needs to be addressed. What is the culture in your organization? How do individuals in your organization value the web? How do you develop a culture of online engagement and networking; one of collaboration, sharing and participation?

Please understand that I'm not an expert in organizational change, but I think to be successful, it will need to start with individual change. I like the ADKAR model for individual change (see definition in Wikipedia).

This model describes five required building blocks for change to be realized successfully on an individual level. The building blocks of the ADKAR Model include:
  1. Awareness – of why the change is needed
  2. Desire – to support and participate in the change
  3. Knowledge – of how to change
  4. Ability – to implement new skills and behaviors
  5. Reinforcement – to sustain the change
In this model, I think the second and third building blocks, Desire and Knowledge, are the most difficult. While we can develop Awareness (which we do through our annual technology showcase) and Ability through training opportunities, Desire has to come from the individual perspective of value. How I feel about and use social media doesn’t always translate well to my colleagues. At the same time, I interpret Knowledge not as how to use technology, but how to make the change within your own time-constrained and political environment.

I’m not worried as much about Reinforcement (might be a mistake) because if you can find the value, gain the desire and skills, then I believe your new network will help sustain you. Of course having some administrative support at evaluation time (and possibly some nice numbers and anecdotal benefits will help).

I’d be interested in feedback. What do you think? What has been your experience bringing an organization (its people) into the world of social media?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dogs and Drums

Every once in a while, I will jump on my son's drum set and play around. It's kind of sad, my drumming skills were never good and now about 35 years later, not so good. But it can be fun. One day, Jackson, a Shih Tzu was visiting and we found he has a certain "scary" foundness for the drums. This video is my first on Vimeo and shows Jackson and his cousins Bo and Daisy reacting to the drums. Fun.

Jackson, Bo and Daisy versus the Drums from Floyd Davenport on Vimeo.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Roll Call – Where are Your People?

For the last few months (give or take a year), I’ve been trying to wrap my arms around a specific issue. How do you help a large, distributed, diverse and independent organization become more engaging online?

We’ve spent a great deal of time working on the web presence, developing a content management strategy and struggling with the issue of navigation and structure.

My conclusion? There is more to engagement than good content.

This isn’t to suggest that content isn’t important, content is critical. However, when you have a solid content management system in place; when your systems supports good SEO guidelines; when your presentation is set and you have a model for your site map; it’s time to look at other technologies and engagement strategies to promote your content and build an audience.

Something is missing… or better yet, someone is missing. Where is everybody? Who creates this content? What do they bring to the table? I want more than what is edited and formatted into news, announcements, publications or even educational modules. I want humor, ideas, guidance, and opinions. You want engagement? Talk to me.

Tell me what you are doing. What’s important and relevant in your area of expertise and why? How do you feel about current events? I need your help to filter and find the most useful resources. Help me develop context. I already know how to use Google, Wikipedia, or to browse your site (although I may not bother).

To borrow some relevant insights from Nicholas Skytland of NASA in his post “Social Media: What’s the Point?”. Participation helps:
  • Create a transparent and connected organization
  • Encourage a modern communications structure
  • Employ innovative technology to collaborate on and solve our challenges
  • Improve how teams integrate to solve problems
  • Ensure full and free access to information
  • Share your compelling stories with the Public
  • Flatten organization structures
  • Change our approach to advertisement and marketing

Build a real engagement strategy. Put a face(s) on your organization. Participate. Use networking tools like Twitter, blogs and Friendfeed. Share more than your content, share your experiences. Employ staff who have passion and a message (voice) and let them go.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Paper Pliers

Last weekend my son, Keegan, came home from his dorm at Iowa State University to work on a design project.  Keegan is going through his freshman year at ISU in Design.  I've heard stories about the first year in design; the amount of work involved, and now Keegan is learning first hand.  

His third project for this semester is to model a working tool using paper.  Evidently there are lots of rules (can do and can't do) involved.  Keegan was given a pair of pliers to model.  He was allowed to use a specific type of paper which he could weave and sew.  There a lot to this project including a design paper, measured plans... 

Here is a picture of the results... might not look like much, but I can attest to about four days of work on his part... I was most inpressed with his ability to sit down and from scratch layout precisely measured templates to create a working model.