Friday, April 03, 2009

Enterprise Collaboration at Scale

Ideo is presenting their learnings from operating in a collaborative manner at scale.

Common Enterprise Collaboration Issues:

  • Sharing between multiple locations is difficult.
  • Communications get locked in silos in hierarchical organizations

Most organizations think about technology first:

  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Social Networking
  • Telepresence
  • Real-Time Collaboration software

The issue is that ROI does not appear because of other factors:

  • Rewards
  • Culture
  • Organization Design
  • Knowledge Sharing
  • Content
  • Achieving Adoption
  • Abilities
  • Systems Design

Design Thinking: Starts and ends with individuals

  • Culture
  • Behaviors
  • Motivations
  • Social Interactions

Human Factors link with technology Factors and Business Factors.

Understand these factors, then brainstorm and prototype then develop:

i.e. Understand, Explore and Develop.

Ideo experimented with Video conferencing by leaving it on all the time. eg. in team rooms and in public places.

Telepresence hasn't worked out effectively. Eye contact doesn't work.

Instead they experimented with adding an iMac on the table in the and a videographer.

May be they should look at Microsoft Roundtable which rpovides a 360 degree panoramic view.

It is hard to get data out of peoples heads and in to Databases. It looses the context that makes it valuable.

Instead connect brains by creating:

  • Intuitive interfaces
  • Reward individual participation
  • Automatic navigation
  • No training setup

iPhone - 6.5% market share for smartphones yet 63% of all mobile browsing.

  • Go where people already are
  • Build Adaptive systems

You can't just deploy a system and be done.

Prototype early and prototype in context. Then iterate quickly.

Create Adaptive Intuitive People Centric systems that reward individual participation and integrate in to their daily workflow.

After five successive attempts at implementation they have implemented ThoughtFarmer

They wrote their own wrapper using Ruby on Linux. The blogging is built on SixApart's MoveableType's platform.

IDEO implements security based upon Trust and a 3 category qualification: Green = Open, Red = Internal only, Black = partitioned due to sensitivity eg. Customer anonymity or conflicts of interest across teams. The Wiki is for Green and Red projects.

Getting people to write valuable people and project pages:

To address this utilize:

  • Recognition
  • Project Staffing
  • Career Development

This is leading to input to organizational design.

The Tools are a natural part of the workflow. eg. a digest of project status rather than dealing with email.

People are bad at describing tacit knowledge. This is what led to a focus on connecting people. People leave so they are working on extending tools through to Ideo affiliates (ie. clients, partners and alumni)

Tiers of knowledge Management (from McKinsey)

  • Friction points (new infrastructure to address)
  • Behavior change (harder to do but builds on new infrastructure)


  1. Very interesting - especially the idea of leaving video conferencing on all the time. Is that almost like a reality TV show that's not on TV?

    Thanks for posting this - it was a great read!

  2. Nice post. I completely agree with the fact that human factor matters more than any technologies you can install. I have written a post on that last week and would be glad to have your comments on it