Gartner has outlined six tips for achieving what it calls a culture of extreme collaboration, as discussed in part one of this feature.
Here they are:
1) Foster virtual, web-based collaboration spaces that affect daily roles
Encourage "traditional" activities such as such face-to-face meetings or email to happen in more virtual, perhaps web-based, collaboration spaces – such as social media or on-premises networked UC – instead. Easily accessed, easily available platforms can help users gain experience using collaborative technology, and become more (extremely) collaborative.
2) Exploit the value of communications addiction
"Texting, tweeting or updating Facebook is not just a fad and businesses should embrace and encourage such behaviour," says Gartner. These practices can encourage information to flow more freely and rapidly, enhancing staff response times and productivity and therefore service delivery. Few would deny the "common problem of information being constrained and delayed through formal communication channels that run up and down the organisational hierarchy, or through defined email and need-to-know distribution lists", notes Gartner.
3) Use crowdsourcing and popular social media to facilitate dynamic communities
Have you ever promoted the "tweet jam" to your contacts? No, us neither. However, Gartner suggests this can be a good way of getting end users to think differently and start using collaboration technology in more effective and productive ways.
"This involves simply setting a time and topic, and encouraging people to participate and get working. Unlike a conversation in a meeting room, all communication is captured so there is a clear record of what was discussed, who contributed ideas, and which participants excelled at facilitating discussions and problem solving," writes Gartner. "Crowdsourcing is also proving to be very effective for bringing together people, who often didn't previously know each other, to tackle shared problems."
4) Change reward systems to encourage collaboration
Think gamification perhaps, but focused on fostering teamwork rather than rewarding individual outcomes. Most process-centric organisations do not sufficiently reward collaboration and teamwork, suggests Gartner, yet it can contribute greatly to fixing complex problems as well as rewarding individual deliverables.
"The use of collaboration technologies also makes it easier to track collaborative behaviour and tie it directly to outcomes achieved," the analyst points out.
5) Use social network analysis to measure the collaborative behaviour of teams
Use social media to track how people interact. This isn't about spying on staff, but can help managers and others discover what is working and how to improve things. A foundation of openness, trust and respect must also exist, adds Gartner.
6) Plan group events to kick-start real-time communication and collaboration
Users may have to be forced out of their comfort zones somewhat in order to try new ways of collaborating and interacting. Here are Gartner's suggestions:
• Designating mobile-video attendees at meetings. Use mobile video tools to allow people to "attend" via their mobile devices. You can also bring in key experts this way, saving time and resources and enhancing productivity and performance.
• Use game play to spur new collaboration and creative interaction. Gamification is a great way to encourage collective problem solving.
• Consider turning off email for a defined time. Email is the dominant means of business communication, but it's a poor collaborative tool and an overused crutch that keeps people from using more collective and interactive approaches, suggests Gartner. Turning it off will force users on to social networks and other real-time communication tools.
What do you think? Are customers ready for extreme collaboration? Email Fleur Doidge
This article is an appendix to All together now for the jump, part one, which you can read by clicking here
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