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Laura Whitehead

Hi Beth - I look forward to hearing any responses you get on this post!

I'm the driver for change in my own organisation, and the boss; and have the more unusual stance of getting the team to take it all on board rather than having to convince the boss!!! One year in, we're working slowly but surely to incorporate more social media within our daily work. It's taken lots of teamwork, talking and working relevancy and usage out as a team to come to the same viewpoints. Not only for external use to reach out to our members and users of our services, but also to enhance and develop our own internal information and knowledge management too. Taken a while, but reached the point finally where it is becoming embedded into daily practice more and more now, plus plans for more in the future!

Beth Kanter

What three tips would you advise an organizational leader to encourage Web2.0 embedded practice?

What would you have done differently, if at all?

Do you see web2.0 adoption tips/processes any different from other types of technology?

Laura Whitehead

1 - Look at the outcomes of what you aim to achieve first, then explore how you could reach them and also why you are aiming to reach them. When exploring available options keep an open mind to include traditional tools as well as the Web 2.0 tools.

Explore how other similar organisations did what they did, did they use different approaches? If so, what tools did they use. Be confident - ask them! We all like sharing when things work well!

Put them all in the cooking pot as it were, and then establish which could be used best for which purpose.
Evaluate the steps needed to reach where you are aiming for and be realistic on timescales, Rome wasn't built over night!

2 - Lead by example, use it yourself and feel comfortable first, encourage and empower but don't evangalize.
I've seen many people use a new tool for just a few days, then try to encourage everyone around them to use it, before establishing the real benefits to it's use, just because they personally suddenly got 'hooked' into it. Just because one tool/app works and helps one person, doesn't mean it works for everyone.
On the flip side of that, embrace that there is such a diversity of tools and applications (web 2.0 or not!) that we have at our fingertips to create more, do more and collaborate more for improved internal and external effectiveness in our work (which is why we must include web 2.0 in our selections to reach our outcomes in point 1!)
Evaluate whether just because it helps you in your own personal working, will it also really be of benefit in an organisation wide context? In the organisation context, think 'will it advance our mission' at all times!

3 - Goes back to point 2, allow time to slowly embed change and development in working practice. Organisations are constantly having to manage change due to funding, nonprofit climate etc, and introducing a sudden change in how they manage their information, knowledge or communications could create resentment from other team members. Introduce slowly, share good examples from others doing similar that have ventured into Web 2.0 and show the benefits. Communicate with each other in your own organisation, talk face to face, talk wider than your own internal issues and discuss issues of other related organisations and sectors. This conversing about the bigger picture really helps. Stimulates new ideas and approaches and opportunities.

As with anything 'new' like a new accounting system or database, introducing a new voice of the organisation by using social media to connect and reach out, will always strike fear in some.

Committees often fear about the openness of it all. But you don't need to put everything out there just what is needed that will help you advance the work and support who you aim to help (I always remind groups that I don't put photo's of my laundry or doing the housework on flickr! It's not needed nor relevant!). Social Media policies should be in harmony with Communications policies or embedded as one, and importantly embedded within the whole workings of an organisation, the staff, volunteers, committee etc.

What would I have done differently... hmm... anticipated the timing... walking the walk, talking the talk... all good... but it's taken around a year for the light bulbs to light up in other peoples ideas rather than just me coming up with them. But this too is is great. It's taken time, but the ideas of incorporating Web 2.0 practice in daily work is now not only coming from me, but being inspired by my teams own confidence in having a go and coming up with their own ideas and ways to use it.

Richard Gayle

Our board, Seattle Biotech Legacy Foundation, is mainly baby boomers like myself but with little day-to-day experience using Web 2.0. Many had only read the blogs of friends who were writing diaries or had seen some political blogs. I spent some time educating them about the technologies.

I really hit the fact that our website, as with many non-profits, is static. The only area for a conversation is where we ask for them to join an email newsletter and tell them where to send money. This took about 40 minutes.

I then used the rapid prototyping aspects of Web 2.0 to quickly demonstrate just what was possible.. I created a weblog at Wordpress for our foundation. I only gave board members access. This overcame their fears of 'losing the brand.' I then populated the blog along the lines I described and invited them to leave comments.

Over half of the board examined the blog within two days of the board meeting. They all left comments, many thanking me for a specific bit of information that they had not known. They have seen very rapidly how information is moved and how conversations begin.

They are smart people and realize now how some Web 2.0 approaches can begin conversations, starting a dialog that is much more powerful than asking for money.

We are now making a blog a part of our strategic plans and will have one up soon. It would not have happened if the technologies were not mature enough to leverage Wordpress, or the equivalent. If I had needed to get approval first, it would have taken a much longer time.

Rapid prototyping while working towards perfection is one of the features of web 2.0


Excellent post Beth. Check out our short primer we did on using Tiwitter. We didn't ask we just jumped in!

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