Simon Terry

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From Sharing to Solving

Sharing Out Loud

A recent conversation with Cai Kjaer and Laurence Lock Lee of Swoop Analytics about the Value Maturity Model highlighted a key point that is at the heart of many organisation’s struggles to get value from enterprise social collaboration. Too many organisations are stuck below the Share>Solve boundary. Once you connect enterprise social collaboration to work, the benefits for users and the organisation expand exponentially.

Sharing Out Loud

The first reaction in many organisations to an enterprise social network is to see it as a chance to share out loud. What people see first is the potential for status updates, sharing of articles, links and other stories of interest.  This is natural human behaviour and it will be heavily influenced by the culture of social media use in your employee base.

As we have discussed in previous posts, sharing adds value in helping provide transparency, shared context, reducing duplication and enabling better alignment. If Sharing Out Loud is as far as the Working Out Loud goes then it can add value. Sharing is the core concept behind the knowledge worker productivity case for benefits of enterprise social collaboration. Share information and it is findable. Findable information can be reused.

Any organisation that does not move beyond Sharing will face a number of key challenges.  Sharing is where there is a lot of noise. Filtering the sharing with groups and other approaches becomes important. Users get frustrated that there is so much information and so little value. Networks can alienate users because a few loud or extroverted voices dominate the traffic and shape perceptions of what an enterprise social network can contribute. Senior executives will quickly lose interest in a network that does not reflect their work and their strategic priorities. A network that is only sharing will need sustained energy from community management or passionate users to survive.

The Launch Point: The Sharing-Solving Boundary

When an enterprise social community crosses the boundary from Sharing to Solving, the dynamic changes. Bringing work into the community provides a momentum and new benefit cases for all users. The purpose of the community and the benefits it can provide begins to clarify and the distinction between an enterprise social and other forms of social media can clarify for people. The work itself begins to provide the energy, rhythm and momentum of the community.

We can help users to turn a Sharing Out Loud community into a Working Out Loud community through strategic community management. We can provide the right context and strategy for the use of collaboration. We can structure the opportunities for Connection, Solving, and Sharing around the key interactions and challenges of the work of the organisation. We can focus on the culture of collaboration and generosity in helping others. All of this helps users to sustain their activity in the Solving domain.

One other benefit of focusing on moving above this boundary is that you are building key foundations for innovation.  Employees who develop confidence in an enterprise social collaboration solution as a place to solve their problems will begin to explore how to fulfill their new ideas there. People move easily from How? to What if? Employees who learn to create agile teams to solve problems can apply those same teaming skills to new ideas. The growing wirearchy of work can be reused to provide an engine to innovation work in your organisations.

Creating an environment where employees (& others) can work out loud on real business problems and challenging customer opportunities is the work of strategic community management. The value created beyond the Sharing-Solving Boundary is exponentially greater than that before.  If you want the attention of the business stakeholders to support your community, you will need to Work Out Loud.

If you are interested in exploring further how to the Collaboration Value Canvas, enables organisations to conduct a two-hour workshop with business stakeholders to ensure that the business has an integrated plan for its community management and adoption work.  Contact Simon Terry to discuss how this could be applied in your organisation.

For suggestions on how Swoop Analytics can help you measure this transition see Cai Kjaer’s post on Linkedin.


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