We have a thought farmer speaking to us -- Darren Gibbons, on the topic of Intranet 2.0 and how to set one up.
Darren begins with a series of screen shots on the evolution of intranets. My goodness, I forgot how ugly intranet sites were in the early 90's. (Even Notes was prettier.)
Characteristics of Intranet 2.0, include blogs, Wikis, taxonomy, folksonomies, mashups, etc. and the list goes on. The point is that this is about users and their wants and needs.
It's easy to get caught up in the features and functionalities of what an Intranet is supposed to be, but then we risk missing the real benefit.
When discussion Intranet 2.0, begin with the key concepts of Intranet 2.0:
- Top Down vs Bottom Up: Planed vs emergent. (e.g. desire paths - see Flickr for examples)
- Silos vs Transparency: Intranet 2.0 is about transparency and breaking down the barriers between groups and knowledge.
- Broadcast vs Conversation: People want to converse. Intranet 2.0 makes it easy to flatten the organization and reach the people you want to reach. (Remember ClueTrain? Intranets have ability to subvert preexisting structures)
- Friction vs Flow: Friction as barriers to publishing. Cognitive friction happens when my forces to work in a way inconsistent with how I think it should work. Flow as mental state when you are immersed in what you are doing. little resistance to the process.
Intranet 2.0 in 10 not-so-easy steps
1. Blow up the old intranet (Seriously, evaluate the value it provides; keep what works and toss the rest.)
2. Turn users into authors with Wikis. Implement soft-security; allow folks to edit, with revisioning and accountability
Intranet becomes self healing
No distortion in knowledge transfer
Employees feel trusted, empowered
3. E-Mail free Wednesdays Consider using e-mail less and using the Intranet more. "E-Mail is the place where information goes to die" (I disagree. That's only true if you don't know how to use it. E-Mail is a tool and it can be misused)
4. Add signals - E-Mail and RSS as tools to alert people to new information. (RSS penetration is very low inside many organizations due to filters, etc.)
5. Provide Scaffolding - Getting up and running involves helping folks get started. Easier to edit than create, so consider starting with some content, but don;t over think it.
6. Hold a barnrasing - get a group of people together, feed them and have them help populate the initial content. Also add content of value (e.g. cafeteria menu, employee directory, Pay scales)
7. Make them use it. Once. Hold a series of task-driven workshops, scavenger hunts, where people are encouraged to do things - find things, update their profile, send a message, etc. to expose people to the tool. Also, consider creating a laminated quick reference sheet to help people use the Intranet.
8. Lead by example - Upper management needs to be visible. Is your CEO blogging?
9. Expose the social context - expose every bit of social data that you can, links to personal pages, profile, etc. Make it personal.Keep it fun. Silly can be a productive way to engage new users.
10. Get the intranet "in the flow". Example: is your Wiki in the flow or above the flow? Is it part of the content creation process (that's in the flow) or is it the fnal destination (That's above the flow)