tiistai 1. marraskuuta 2011

Towards the Perfect Social Intranet Solution

Recently I've thought a lot of Web 2.0 work (digipaper page 24). and  social intranet's opportunities  to improve collaborative work. In my last work related blog I started a discussion of the issue in our organisation. I've also started a discussion in LinkedIn's  SOME Teollisuudessa  group, where I've got a lot feedback considering  "a vision of the perfect intranet".  At the same time, there is going on  Charlene Li's survey on enterprises' social networking, I took part in that survey and noticed, that it helped me to sketch new ideas for the social intranet.  Our organization have  used Yammer as an "unofficial discussion platform" to improve online discussion, because the official intranet doesn't have online discussion rooms for collaborative sharing. Regarding to LinkedIn discussion group's ideas for perfect intranet, Charlene Li's survey and my own experiences using Yammer, I made a mind map as a big picture to understand features of the well-functioning social intranet.

A big picture for social intranet  
I desided to use Kipling's "six honest serving-men";
1) What,
2) Why,
3) When,
4) How,
5) Where and
6) Who to teach me all the aspects the perfect social intranet, that I should knew.

What includes to social intranet: 1) adaptive working environment, 2) widgets (i.g.orgnization's news, sales information,  R & D), 3) feeds (automatic and/or no-automatic) from  i.g. people, groups and projects, 4) collaborative calender with planning tools and to do lists, 5)  work process descriptions and work instructions on i.g. WIKI environment, 6) perminat and alternating collaborative document/project sharing tools, 7) video- and/or voice meetings, 8) instant messages, 9) chat, 10) group discussion opportinities and 11) work related solutions (i.g. CRM, ERP, SAP) related to discussion opportunities.

Why to use social intranet: 1) to support organization's strategic transformation to openness/transparency, 2) reduce unnecessary face to face meetings and internal emailing,3) improve collaboration between departments and/or teams, 4) faster decision making, 5) improving business processes, 6) best practices sharing, 7) streaming a business process (sales, marketing, research etc.), 8) finding experts or sharing expertise from around the organizations, 9) employees' engage, 10) make visible the hidden knowledge, routines and rituals of the organization, 11) greater connections between employees and executives/managers, 12) support strategic information in organization or envolving company culture, 13) greater connection and understanding of the strategic goals of the organization.

 When to use social intranet: 1)  continuous (24/7) opportunity to have asynchronously, real-time and non-real-time online work. 

How to use social intranet: 1) with close connection to personal dashboard -, extranet- and internet - solutions to achive well-functioning online-offline working culture. 

Where to use social intranet: 1) easily on cloud services or organisation's own servers, 2) it's IT- department's (not users) task to find the right solutions for their customers (users), BUT with a dialogic discussion with their customers.

Who use the social intranet: 1) employees and managers/executives use social intranet together, 2) organization should know, what is their workers social media's skills level, 3)  organisation should make a plan with schedule, how to increace participating working culture from passive intranet, email- working and face to face- meetings working culture to new open social intranet working culture.  

I've started to think the perfect intranet solution last year and as you can see I'm still struggling with the same issue. I'm more than happy, if this blog's readers will give feedback  to find out better social intranet solutions.

As a conclusion, here is Kipling's original  poem of the six honest serving men, that inpirised me to find a preliminary solutions towards the better social intranet working culture.

Kipling (1865-1936)
I KEEP six honest serving-men, (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When  And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea, I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five, For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea, For they are hungry men.

But different folk have different views;
I know a person small.
She keeps ten million serving-men, Who get no rest at all!
She sends'em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes.
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!

tiistai 27. syyskuuta 2011

Is there life after a wonderful golf summer?

I've been on a four-month break from writing blogs.  I nearly started to write a golf blog during the summer, but  now, however, I was able to control myself and I focused on offlline- life; just playing golf without analyzing it's outcomes.

Did I miss writing blogs? The answer is yes and no. I think, it would have been nice to every now and then to share my golf experiences with fellow golfers. But on the other hand, it was also quite wonderful to be offline as much as possible during this lovely summer.

Golf is so dangerous game. It has totally hooked me during the last three years. It's the yin and yan in the same packet. It's both social and personal game at the same time. One shot  is just as valuable whether it is 20 cm or 200 meters. The body and mind... I'm still learning the basics. I look very carefully, how  expert golfers find  the right driving  position, reducing the outside world  focusing minds before making the perfect hit. That is a skill and an art!

During this summer, I went to play golf in Peuramaa, Vierumäki, Kotojärvi, Virvik,  Porvoo, Kulloo and Vuosaari. The most beautiful golf course was in Kulloo 4 green. The most difficult golf course is the Vuosaari links course. Playing there keeps up my mind humble. Vuosaari is my home course and I both hate and love it. I cannot wait until  the next summer, when I'll struggle with myself trying to beat the Vuosaari golf course again. It's going to be fun. 

I asked in the title: is there life after a wonderful golf summer? The answer is yes, there is "waiting life to get play golf again". The first waiting period ends in November, when I'm going on ProJenni's golf course in Torrevieja, Spain. After that follows the second period of waiting  to play golf in San Francisco. This SF's golf play will be during of this dark and snowy winter here in Finland. Yes, there is life outside golf courses, you know like social media kind of stuff, but if I were forced to choose either a golf or social media. There is only one right answer for me and that is GOLF. As long as my legs carry on me, I rather play golf instead of looking at the screen.

maanantai 18. huhtikuuta 2011

A Green Social Media Vision by 2017 - finally “think global act local”

This blog got it roots from another blog that I just read on "information work" in which the writer was concerned about our brains and also this current open office working culture with constantly disruptive colleagues.

Every morning when I drive from Helsinki to Lahti to work, I wonder how patiently hundreds of cars on the motorway are queuing to work towards the center of Helsinki and the metropolitan area. At the same time another four highways are blocked also, when everyone of these information workers, I assume, are driving towards their offices. In the late afternoon these same people are queuing out of their offices heading back to their homes. This same phenomenon happens in all countries all over the world in the mornings and late afternoons. I wonder why this happens, if the most of them are so called information workers.

I have following questions for the information workers now in April 2011:

- do you work side by side in an open office where you are trying to work in peace and hope that other coworkers don’t disturb you,

- could you work at home with Web- connections instead of traveling to work everyday,

- how much do you have face-to-face meetings with your coworkers; 20 %, 40 %, 60% or 80% of your working hours and

- if you have collaborative online working facilities (e.g. video conferences, social media- tools like shared documents, chat and group discussion tools), how much do you use them instead of face-to-face- meetings?

I also wonder, why I drive 100 kilometers twice a day to work in an office with people whom I know very well from seven common years. Nowadays I wonder even more, why 80 % of the working hours I work in face-to-face meetings, where people are doing something else like reading and answering their emails, accepting the bills and surfing on the Web, these were not included in the meeting’s agenda. Why are we coming together to the face-to-face meetings to look at laptops instead of each others, which was previously the practice at face- to-face meetings. Is this something that happens just in my workplace here in Finland or this a global phenomenon?

Let’s be patient, the future will be much better, because we have the green social media vision by 2017:

- we have understood that information work does not happen in offices between 8-16 or 9-17,

- we use our collaborative online working facilities including all social media tools more effectively,

- we have created well functioning online-offline working cultures where also The Net Generation feels comfortable working with us and

- we have also understood that we are saving the environment, when we stop this unnecessary traveling after information work between organisations and also homes and offices.

keskiviikko 9. maaliskuuta 2011

Social media's opportunities to improve management and leadership

This blog post got its roots from three of my latest work related social media (SOME) experiences: 1) quality management work with WIKI, 2) online news Salpaus Monday Morning News and 2) using online video conference instead of face-to-face- meeting.

Social media to improve quality management
Social media tools require users to familiarize themselves with the tool itself, for example WIKI online group work. Online group work will be initiated, to be aware of participating in the common goal of working as a concrete example, the output document, whose structure and content must be a certain shape. Participants should be aware of the milestones, schedules and division of tasks between the different roles of the experts working together. This requires a collective agreement or rules of the game to work online. In addition, a further commitment to the work of the participants and the promoter patience to guide the work toward a common goal. So far, we have used in our organization a WIKI environment, only a description of the quality of processing. WIKI would be a great social media tool for quality management systems to improve staff's increasing participation to quality assurance work. This could ensure that the entire organization's quality management systems are going be more transparent, which will improve the organization's quality improvement generally.

Organization's video online news
Somehow it seems so much easier to communicate by talking face-to-face, when there is non-verbal communication aid. Face-to-face- communication on the other hand, does not leave traces, unless the conversation is being recorded or videoed, as we have begun to make in Salpaus Monday Morning News. I was a guest for Salpaus Morning News on 21st February 2011. At the same time, it was my first experience of how the video recording and chat option can be combined with each other. Was it a social media event? Yes it was, as it was via video in real time online to connect with about 30 different people. One of them sent a question through the news studio to chat about the issue, which took place in real time debate. This face to face- event moved to the online event and started to live its own story about the various SOME communities (Facebook, Twitter and blogs). It was a great experience on how we could use more videos and chat opportunities for organization’s inside and outside communication.

Online meetings
My recent experience of the use of social media as part of leadership took place in last week, when we held our management team’s meeting by using online video conference. Management team's meetings usually last two and a half hours. Video conference meeting lasted just over an hour. Some time of the begin of the meeting went to the equipment testing. Participants' first experiences were positive. Discussion progressed to the point and so-called useless discussions and too deeply reflections avoided. Video conferences are therefore a very active tool for using as part of management and/or leadership. We could use more videos as part of management/leadership and combine face-to-face- meetings and online- working with social media- tools more efficiency together.

My meaningful SOME- learning experiences
First of all, while using social media, the techniques of the tools have to be studied and tested carefully before using them. We have to give us time to learn how SOME- tools are working as part of leadership and management. Let's be patient and forgive us failures that we make in the begin while using social media- tools and social media give us great learning and renewing opportunities while acting/working online.

sunnuntai 6. helmikuuta 2011

Social media skills quick test

I've created a quick Social media skills test while doing my MBA research considering social media leadership. This test got it's roots from my own experiences and also from my observations how colleagues are acting and struggling while trying to use social media as part of their leadership.

As test's results there are four levels for social media (SoMe) users:

- the 0- level person is SoMe- Preventer, who has never been in online social media networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). He or she is afraid of social media and defences himself/herself against social media which is nonsense and waist of time. He/she feels fear against social media.

- the 1- level person is SoMe- Suspector, who has created profiles or accounts to social media networks. He/she is a passive watcher, who follows what others are doing, but he/she is not participating e.g. online discussions. He/she feels unsecure while being on social networks.

- the 2- level person is SoMe- Tester, who is both active and passive social media user, while sharing and participating online communities. He/she is wondering is or isn’t social media "my cup of tea". He/she feels unsecurity/security while acting on social networks.

- the 3- level person is SoMe- Crowdsourser, who is an active social media user in several social media networks. He/she gets positive feedback from others participants and therefore he/she is also engaged in social networks development work. He/she feels security and success while acting on social networks.

These four levels aren't really as linear step by step as the picture describes. We all humans have better and worse days. Sometimes we have time and energy to participate online groups and sometimes not. Therefore, time from O- level SoMe- Preventer to 3- level SoMe- Crowdsourcer may vary from some months to some years. It has taken three years from myself to become active on social networks.

I'm developing scores for this social media quick test. What do you think? What are reasonable scores for today’s school organisations to pass this kind of social media user's test? Should all personnel work at least on 1- level as SoMe- Suspector or is it OK that some are still on 0- level as SoMe- preventers?

tiistai 11. tammikuuta 2011

Towards the Social Media Leadership Theory

I have a two-year experience of writing blogs as part of my work and a six-month experience of using work related shared documents and online discussion groups on Facebook and Yammer. During the past six months I’ve also dedicated to the latest research and literature of social media, and led discussion groups on Facebook for my MBA dissertation research for data collection of the theme social media leadership. Regarding to my experiences as a vice principal in an adult education organisation and studying social media leadership, I’m convinced that there is a need for a social media leadership theory to clarify the phenomenon of using social media as part of leadership.

Charlene Li has created an open leadership theory that considers the key issue; sharing by using social media tools. This changes the organisation culture transparent and therefore there is a need for transforming organisation culture. Li also defines four open leadership archetypes mind-sets for social media users:1) Cautious Tester, 2) Worried Skeptic, 3) Realist Optimist and 4) Transparent Evangelist. I’m sure we all can recognise these kind of social media users from our workplaces. Charlene Li’s open leadership theory considers the basics for the social media leadership theory. But there is a need to develop more detailed social media leadership theory, based on the transformation of communication from face-to-face leadership, offline- working culture to the new online-offline working culture.

The more detailed social media leadership theory should focus on renewing manager’s leadership skills to see the perspectives from employee’s privacy - publicity issues to different openness levels (intra-, extra- and internet) of the organisation. The social media leadership theory should also contain cultural issues broader from social media users (e.g. age, gender, religious and nation) to also organisation, society and global issues because the Internet based social media is both person’s private and global working tool.

The more detailed social media leadership theory should demonstrate manager’s social media communication skills such as: online writing/drawing, using of images/videos, online chats, talking online, video conferences, document sharing, micro-blogging, the use of work related social media networking tools (e.g blogs, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer and LinkedIn), leading of online discussions and projects, legal issues (e.g. who owns the online materials and privacy-publicity of the organisation), monitoring and evaluating the risks of using social media. The list is not the final because new social media solutions are created all the time and therefore there is a need to renew manager’s social media leadership skills continuously and to keep up open mind for new solutions in this changing world.

Happy New Social Media Leadership Year 2011!