enterprise2.0

Making Enterprise Gamification Work – Part 2: Get the definition of enterprise gamification correct

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In the previous post, I mentioned the consequences of using the standard definition of gamification within the enterprise. So, this raises the question: If not this definition of gamification then what to use within the enterprise?

Lets understand, at an abstract level,  how organizations work and what they want to achieve?

  • Organizations usually have structured business processes that are core to the day-to-day operations. Each function/department defines it’s own set of business processes and employees are expected to follow these processes as part of their day-to-day work
    • For example: Sales process on how to capture leads, customer conversation records, customer support queries, software development process, project management process, recruitment, procurement etc.
  • These business processes are usually implemented on top of systems which employees use as part of their work
    • For example: project tracking platform. Learning management system, CRM & HR systems etc
  • In an organization, either something (process/system) would be broken & the organization would want to fix it or the organization wants to embark on a new path. This usually takes form of ‘Change Management’ initiatives or initiatives that amplify a given behavior.
    • For example: Sales people not updating the Sales system after they meet prospects. People not taking part in community activities. Organization wanting that all employees get trained in a particular area. etc
  • Organization usually rewards people who demonstrate the behavior that is being promoted in hope of setting the right examples/motivating people.

In light of above, a definition of gamificaton that would work best in organizations is:

Gamification is about driving desired user behavior / change management, in your systems & business processes, through a combination of rewards & recognition with social constructs

Am sure that if you use this definition to explain gamification, most people would not only get it but realize the need for it and get to to the next question of “how do we do it”

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Why organizations need 2 different Social Media Policies

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Dion made an excellent blog post on the subject of connecting employees to social media where he elaborates the need for a comprehensive social media policy. I agree with his thoughts on this subject and firmly believe that organizations, who want to start their journey towards social enablement need to critically think on the SM policy that they need to create. Starting the SM journey without a sound SM policy is like driving on a road with no defined destination.

While most SM efforts are targeted towards the enterprise engaging in & leveraging external social channels, I firmly believe that organizations need to be socially enabled internally and then only they can be truly socially engaged externally. Going forward, it just can’t be let to a select group of people (in marketing, sales, customer service) to be socially enabled externally without they tapping into the internal social enabled enterprise.

Towards this, I think that the dynamics, context & implementation nuances within the enterprise are different from the external landscape and hence there is a need for a differentiated internal & external SM policy. This doesn’t mean that they differ at the concept level but just the implementations, rules of engagement could differ and clearly articulating it though separate SM policies would reduce confusion & give greater clarity.

For example, the external policy could have rules of engagement in external channels, do’s & don’ts, workflows, roles & authorizations, NDA’s etc aspects covered; while the internal policy could focus on tying internal social initiatives with work, collaboration, KRA’s, objectives, culture, rewards, acceptable norms of engagement, IP etc.

What do you think? do you also think there is a need for separate internal/external SM policies or just one will do? What’s been your experience?

How to best make use of your organizations social computing platform

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Should you use your organizations social networking platform just like you use Facebook with your friends? Should you micro-blog the same way as you do on Twitter?

Maybe NOT.!!!
The purpose of social networking platforms within the enterprise are very different from the personal ones (the ones we use outside of work) — even if they look and feel the same. Social platforms within the organization are there to support the work of the organization and not to let individual employees do and say whatever they want.

So, what can you use corporate social networking platform for?
As part of your day-to-day work, you can micro-blog about the tasks and projects you are working on (subject to IP clauses), blog your views on various topics; you can bookmark the online links & resources you find useful; when stuck, you can ask questions to the communities for help, share documents etc.
This way, your digital footprints on the platform will become searchable, findable, and reference-able; helping people know what you are working on and in process make your existence and expertise better known throughout the organization, and benefit the organization as a whole.
This will let others discover what you know and what you’re good at. It will make you easier to find and increases the chances of you being a helpful colleague to someone. You can use the social platform to build relationships by adding value, being relevant — thereby fostering trust and respect; eventually helping in forge lasting connections.
Do all this on your organizations social computing platform and it will help build your personal reputation and brand.

What you should avoid

  • Don’t talk about what you had for lunch or how the food in cafeteria sucks!!!. We all know that 🙂
  • Don’t make personal attacks on people. It’s ok & perfectly acceptable to have difference of opinion and debates. But do those in a civil manner – without making personal attacks. 
  • Don’t discuss sex, politics, or religion. In an organizational context, these are taboo topics and it’s just too easy to upset people and start nasty, pointless fights on these subjects.
  • Be overly negative & cynical. Yes, there can be 1000 things that are not correct in the organization but try not to post/comment ONLY the –ve aspects. You can also look at the glass half full & then make +ve suggestions for improvement.

Social Memory | Conversations are as important as the content itself

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Traditional content systems focus only the ‘creation’ aspect of the content and this is achieved through individual contributions or through collaborative efforts.
With the advent of Social Software – like Blogs, Artifacts, Q&A, Bookmarks and any ‘knowledge object’, apart from building value through collaboration one can build value through leveraging the individual actions around those knowledge objects and build a long term social memory.

Such individual actions are of low engagement and, individually, on a standalone basis they have little vale but the aggregation of these add up to lot more value  — like the ‘long tail’ phenomenon.

Social Software gives people the ‘choice’ to move between low engagement to high engagement depending on their interest levels and time. For example for a particular artifact or a category of artifact person A may choose to be just content with reading, subscribing or adding tags but at a different time & for a different category of artifact the same person may choose to refactor, comment, collaborate and have high levels of engagement.

The power that social software brings about is ‘providing the choice’ to the people to do all this and in the process making the conversation around the content as important as the content itself.

Social Computing behind the firewall | Pay attention to the ‘social’ behind the ‘computing’ for success

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With the advent of web2.0 and the perceived success of these technologies, tools, applications & platforms on the internet, making these tools & applications available behind the firewall seems to be the flavor of the season. It seems that any organization worth it’s salt ‘has to have‘ a enterprise 2.0 or web2.0 or a social strategy.  Most of the time, the people leading these initiatives don’t understand the essence of ‘web2.0/social’ applications and these initiatives then get reduced to rolling out blogs, wiki’s, social networking tools behind the firewall and asking people to use them.

This strategy of just rolling out social networking tools, without understanding why social computing works on the internet, is a recipe for disaster and any enterprise2.0 or social computing initiative based on a focus of just the ‘technology’ part will be short lived and not go anywhere. Anyone leading a social computing initiative behind the firewall needs to understand the ‘social science’ behind the ‘computing’ to appreciate why it has worked in the internet world and what all ‘social’ factors need to be considered and appropriate changes that need to be made in order for it to work in the more restricted ecology of a modern organisation.

Some of the underlying ‘social’ concepts that one needs to understand are:

  • User Participation: What factors drive user behavior and participation in social computing platforms on the internet? What are the key drivers and how is the organizational playground different from the internet w.r.t these key factors & drivers?
  • Emergence & Evolution: Do the managers & leaders of the organization understand the role of emergence in social computing or are they impatient and need all answers upfront and a ‘predictable‘ outcome with all intermediate steps outlined?
  • Managing vs Nurturing: Does the environment of the organization  create space for nurturing of people, ideas, thoughts, aspirations of employees or is the organization all about managing numbers, KRA’s etc.
  • The Arena Itself: What is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander here. The dynamics, the participation levels, the numbers of people participating in the social applications on internet would be vastly different from that behind the firewall.
  • Value Networks: Do organizations that want to extend the social computing platforms to their customers/partners etc understand that this is not just as simple as offering these platforms to customers? What are the additional things that need to be done?
  • Cultural Alignment: The ‘secret sauce’ according to me in the whole recipe of social computing behind the firewall. One could have an organization that understands all this but still does not have the right cultural alignment to make social computing work. What are the critical factors w.r.t culture here?

Social computing has the potential to transform how business operates, how the flow of business knowledge, insights, intelligence and collaboration happens across the organization. Social computing can create alternative & more effective ways of communicating and collaborating across the organization, but the  key to that promise lies in how well the leaders of the social computing initiative understand the above ‘social’ concepts & realities.

I will try and outline the key aspects of  each of the above points in more detail in my subsequent posts.