My Crazy Prediction?

In September 2008 I made a prediction, that email as we know it today will no longer exist in 10 years time.

Read The Death Of Email by 2018

Will I be proved to be a:
or Fool?

Time Remaining:

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Disclaimer: The views expressed on stopthinksocial are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.
Strategic advice and experience on making the most of  being social in the workplace

Entries in productivity (5)

Friday
Dec072012

Gamification: Just Point's and Badges? (#SWChat)

Introduction

Gamification has always been a favourite topic with the #SWChat, community where it's usefulness in business has always split the audience. We are returning to this topic to see how Gamification has evolved and how people's opinion's may have changed.

This event debated whether Gamification can incentivise employees better or whether it's really just about point's and badges.

Definitions

 Gamification is the concept of using game design elements in non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging.

 Game mechanics are constructs of rules intended to produce an enjoyable gameplay. Think of it as basic building blocks that can be combined in interesting ways to drive a (often complex) sequence of actions in order to achieve desired results.

Courtesy of KISSMetrics

Event Questions

Q1) Gamification is a smart way to increase Brand loyalty & better understand your customer. Agree/disagree?
Q2) Are companies turning to Gamification as standard reward programmes no longer motivate employees?
Q3) Can (and should) Gamification be used to drive a companies core business processes?
Q4) Can Gamification drive cultural behaviours of employees to increase productivity?
Q5) Can Game mechanics in the workplace help to build and foster better employee working relationships?

Related Articles

 

Spreecast Social Video Channel

Participants (confirmed): Greg Lowe

Producer: @LizCpher

Playback: (see below)

 

 

Useful #SWChat Links

Next Event | Schedule

Friday
Nov022012

Email Is DEAD. So What's Next? (#SWChat)

Introduction

It won't come as a surprise to you that talking about the death of email is my favourite subject. When we talk about workplace productivity, email is the biggest blocker to being efficient with most of us spending between 3-6 hours a day purely reading and sending email.

Back in September 2008 I made a prediction, that email as we know it today will no longer exist in 10 years time (see The Death Of Email by 2018 ) and when I did I was literally laughed at by most people.

Time Remaining of my prediction:

Today no one seems to be laughing.

In fact quite the opposite. Companies like Atos have already stated that they will ban internal email by 2014 and other comapnies are following suit. There are even social products on the market today that are integrating email into them. Is this the beginning of the end of email?

On today's live panel debate it was the general consensus that email is not dead today, however we do need to start addressing the behaviours in how we use email. Stopping cc, bcc, and reply all were some of the key messages (see full playback below).

One thing is clear, the next generation coming through are not brought up on email but instead on social applications like Facebook and Twitter. These behaviours they are bringing into business and is why today we are beginning to see a communication gap between traditional and social which needs to be addressed.

There are still 6 years to go on my prediction of the death of email as we know it, a prediction that people are now debating rather ridiculing.

So before you send your next email STOP, and THINK, is there a better way - a more SOCIAL way of communicating your message.

Event Questions 

Q1) Email is dead. Agree / disagree?
Q2) A week without email. What would be the real impact?
Q3) Is integrating email with social tools into a single platform the next big thing in comms?
Q4) What email etiquette would you advise others when communicating with you?
Q5) If starting a new company with 1000 employees, what comms tool(s) would you use internally today?

(watch video panel playback below of these questions being debated)

Related Articles

Spreecast Social Video Channel

Participants: Greg Lowe (from car); Jenn Emerson; Luis Suarez; Richard Rashty

Producer: @LizCpher

Recording: (watch playback embedded below)

 

 

Useful #SWChat Links

Next Event | Schedule

Tuesday
Jan172012

Focus on the Easy Adopters, the Rest will Follow

Social adoption strategies are not easy to implement in ANY business, and if anyone tells you differently they are lying!

The reason?

How can you convince people to change their communication and collaboration processes and implement a new social business infrastructure, when in their eyes the current model is not broken?

Let's see if any of these arguments sound familiar to you...

"What is the ROI of 'Being Social in the Workplace' anyway?"

"Social? That means I need to learn even more tools huh?"

"So you want my workforce to spend all their time on Facebook?"

"I'm already social, I sent a tweet last year"

These are what we call Social Barriers, the human instinct blockers based on fear.

Overcoming the fear of change is not easy and yes it is a generation thing. The younger generation are entering business with a good knowledge and understanding of social without the added baggage of pre-defined traditional business processes. Adoption is therefore natural and unforced.

So how do you overcome these Social Barriers in the workplace?

Focus on the Easy Adopters, the rest will follow...

There are are couple of ways to face these Social Barriers, and deliver a social adoption strategy:

  1. Face them head on - provide use cases, and counter arguments to defend your position and show that 'Being Social' is nothing to be afraid of. Convince them that it will INCREASE the productivity of your workforce, IMPROVE the collaboration opportunities and STREAMLINE their communications
  2. Focus on the Easy Adopters, the rest will follow - work with those in the organisation who see the vision and are ready and willing to change. This will help you refine your social adoption strategy and create new Ambassador's. The more Ambassador's you have the easier the Social Barriers will come down

The latter is an approach I have had a lot of success with, which has also helped influence C-Level buy-in.

You could choose either of these approaches or you can do both in parallel, just don't be afraid to change tactics if you find an approach is not working for you.

Every business WILL go social, it's just a matter of when, and how you approach it...

Thursday
Mar312011

Email is losing ground to Social Communications

I recently delivered a Social Enterprise marketing campaign titled "Being Social...More Than Just Talking" where the purpose was to raise awareness inside the enterprise that Being Social is not just about tools, it's about a work style change.

The campaign followed Steve, a Sales Communications Specialist, who was a bit of a social sceptic but was open minded to listen. He went on a social journey of discovery and soon realised that by being better socially connected with his colleagues he could be more collaborative AND more productive. Though he didn't managed to reduce his caffeine intake too much ;-)

The campaign was delivered on 3 fronts:

  • An introductory email to 25,000 employees
  • A poster campaign
  • A set of 5 Diary Entry videos (done in the style of Bridget Jones) - one released each day for a week

The campaign has been received very favourably (average marks 9/10 by the employees) and I have had numerous requests to do a follow up Diary Series. BUT what was interesting was the statistics on the initial email that went out.

The email introducing the marketing campaign went out on a Monday morning. Of those 25,000 employees who received it only 5,569 actually opened the email (22%) on the Monday. By the end of the week this figure had increased marginally to 6,310 (25%).

Just let me reiterate that:

three quarters of the workforce had not even bothered to open the email before deciding to discard or delete it

Now there are other factors that have to be taken into consideration here like:

  • was it holiday season?
  • was the subject heading interesting?
  • does the sender have influence and respect of the employees?

The answers to these questions are no, subjective, and again subjective respectively (though the name of the programme was used rather than a senders name here to provide more credibility).

The conclusion I draw from this is that if you want to communicate a message to the masses you can no longer rely only on traditional communication channels but you must use a combination of both traditional and social communication platforms. This is true inside and outside the enterprise.

The days of email blast campaigns are coming to an end.

Welcome to the Social Communication Revolution!

Tuesday
Sep142010

What's the cure for Infoglut?

I'll be honest, I had never even heard of infoglut until recently when it was voted the winning topic for discussion for our weekly Social Chat event last week. But I now realise I am a sufferer.

Infoglut (also known as "Information overload") is a term popularized by Alvin Toffler that refers to the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information

So what's the cure for infoglut?

Before I try to answer that, let me take you back a couple of years at a time when I first out started on my "social media is about people" crusade and how I overcame, what I now perceive as, infoglut.

In order for me to make the right business decisions to create The Social Workplace, I needed to keep an eye on the market and understand how social media was being used as well as listen to what my customers needed. This is a lot of information to wade through, a lot of infoglut.

It was never my objective to reduce my email traffic in the beginning, but with all this information being directed to my inbox it soon became apparent that email overload was a major contribution of my infoglut and it needed addressing.

These are the various stages, and thinking, I went through to overcome my infoglut (you might recognise some of these stages...):

Stage 1 - Toe dipping
My social network was small, I was reading a couple of blogs a week (receiving notifications via email) and expanding my knowledge and understanding of social media at a slow but manageable rate.

Stage 2 - The RSS Reader
As my social network grew and I was reading more blogs and listening to podcasts, my email inbox began to overflow like a blind barman pulling his first pint.

I needed a way to segregate the various bits of information to digest at a more convenient time so I started to use an RSS Reader (www.feeddemon.com allowed me to monitor information inside and outside my company's firewall) which helped me to structure my information flows and to separate it from my day-to-day email traffic.

Stage 3 - The power of Communities
By this time I was becoming better socially connected and whilst that was the goal it did mean that there was more demand for information on socialnomics and social technologies. The more email requests I received the slower I was to respond, and the slower I was to respond the more requests I received asking why I was slow in responding (oh the irony!).

The accessibility of an employees tacit knowledge is a highly under-valued commodity in most businesses and I wanted to tap into and utilise this expansive knowledge network to reduce my infoglut level. By introducing a couple of Social Business Communities (one focused on the business aspect of social media, the other focused more on social technologies) I was able to channel all requests into these online communities. This resulted in a significant reduction in my email traffic, allowing the communities to become self-sustaining (over time), and prevented me acting as a bottleneck of information.

Stage 4 - Working with Workspaces
This redirection of information to a social platform reduced my infoglut considerably and allowed me to refocus my energies on my "social media is about people" crusade once again, which is where I began defining and driving new projects and initiatives to create a more socially connected enterprise. Introducing online workspaces to work collaboratively with users on these new projects and initiatives was a really effective solution until.....

Stage 5 - Defining Favourites
I now had over 30 active workspaces. Workspaces to work with my team on identifying and managing their fiscal objectives, workspaces for managing projects, workspaces for team meetings, workspaces for task force meetings, even a workspace for sharing large files....so I started tagging my favourite workspaces and my favourite blogs, choosing to prioritise my time and energy.

Stage 6 - The Supermarket Scanner
Having worked so hard to have all this really useful information at my finger tips, I'm not willing to discard it but I don't have the time to read everything. So I now scan, choosing the key bits of information to respond to within the permitted time frame. And I have become an effective scanner, absorbing information at a fast rate (though I don't go beep once finished).

So what's the cure for infoglut? Is it to reduce the amount of information flows?

Sadly, I haven't found a cure to-date but...

"The objective is not for me to reduce the amount of information flows I'm connected to, but instead evolve how I manage them, whilst maintaining my productivity levels"

And I realised this is exactly what I have been doing over the last 2 years, constantly evolving how I choose to receive my information flows and how I engage myself and others with them and not becoming a slave to the data.

So next time you feel inundate with too many emails and overwhelmed by so much information from different sources, take a step back and assess how you are managing your own infoglut level and find a suitable solution to ease your suffering. Do this regularly and choose to be more productive.

How are you preventing you own infoglut suffering? What actions have you taken and what positive results have you seen?