Earlier this week I wrote a post about the Indianapolis Museum of Art's social media strategy - that it was everywhere within the organization. Obviously, this is the result of starting with a small group, lots of conversation, and some culture change. It was nice to have a quick conversation with a couple of staff members. Daniel made the comment:
We launched this new blog at the beginning of this year. Prior to that, we had done a lot of work with technology – videos, audio guides, web projects and more. All of these projects included staff from a variety of internal departments, so in many ways, the IMA was already used to technology being part of the internal culture. It also helps that our Director is extremely supportive of our technology projects. So far we’ve met very little resistance to any of the blog posts or soliciting blog authors. The Blog team (a cross-departmental group) does a great job of communicating with other departments.
This example may be unusual. Yesterday at NDN: New Audiences, New Tools, the question of organizational culture change, resistance from communications director/eds who were "analogue adults" came up. One person said, "What's happening on the social web is totally invisible to upper management. It is really difficult to change the culture, get past the resistance. How do you start?"
The advice I usually give is to start small with experiments, proof of concepts. But it is more than that. You have to be an agent of change. A lot of what was discussed at NDN about how political campaigns are changing from top down to bottom. Perhaps we'll see a little bit of this in the workplace.
How do you become a social media change agent in your organization? Charlene Li at Forrester called being a Social Revolutionary. Short answer: skills, network, passion. And that's where the slide show above comes in.
There is also stealth adoption - doing that first couple of pilots under the radar and then showing the success. (Take for example the story of water wiki at the UN) I remember a colleague from a large advocacy saying once, "Our legal department didn't know we had a My Space page until we were able to show how useful it was to management."
What are some other first steps to change the culture in your nonprofit organization about social media and nonprofits in a networked world?