2Know Magazine: Sharing KM Knowledge
2Know: Sharing KM Knowledge
May 2015 - Magazine No. 188
May 2015 - Magazine No. 188
Edition:
Written By Maya Fleisher

We already know that the 'business card' of a company is its website. This is what represents the company, enables a relationship with customers, increases sales, etc. Lately, with the emergence of Smartphones and tablets into our world, supported by several researches and a glance around (that is, if we're not too bust staring at our own tablet/Smartphone), we can understand that any company with some dignity that respects its customers will build or adjust its site as so to make it responsive.

The term 'responsive' has become a known term in the world of website and construction. Just in case there is still some doubt concerning the term's definition: a responsive site is a site adjusted for the screen size of the device from which the user is viewing the site be it a laptop, television screen, tablet or Smartphone.

One of the main objectives of the responsive website is to ensure optimal transmission of messages in any viewing setting and for any type of user. With just a small adjustment, the user can be provided with a satisfying experience that can bring him/her back, again and again.

Constructing a responsive website is, technologically speaking, quite a simple process. Adjustments can be made quickly and simply. But is the technological aspect enough? Is this what ensures the user experience? I believe not, since more users consume the content through small screens and therefore surf differently than a PC user. This leads us to the conclusion that content presentation is critical.

So, what should be done? How should it be approached? Most importantly, how is it related to the world of KM?

First of all, an important clarification: although we usually deal with the internal content of organizations and companies that nowadays due to security issues, platforms and technologies do not make their organizational and professional portals compatible with tablets and Smartphones, it is highly recommended to plan ahead for the day responsive sites are relevant to you as well (this day is close than you think).

 

I'll start off with the bottom line; the user experience is not comprised only of cool design and/or comfortable responsive design. Although these play a big part in attracting users, but when attempting to keep them interested and making them return, the site's content and its method of presentation play an important role as well. While a PC layout enables boasting a navigation tree, buttons, pictures, content and ultimately enjoying a large portion of 'web real estate', a tablet/Smartphone utilizes much less space.

So what do we recommend?

Content: Messages

  • Ask yourself: what is the main message of the item/content page? This is a good starting point.
  • Don't give up on the content's quality. It will get there with the scrolling. But before the scrolling, choose the main message. It is recommended to either write the main message as attractively as possible in order to encourage the user to keep on reading or include the content available in the main message.
  • Reevaluate the content (this is an opportunity for refreshing the page)- does the existing content enfold added value, useful and necessary for the 'small screen' user?
  • Don't fear scrolling. When viewing a site through a Smartphone/tablet, scrolling is actually preferred over hyperlinks opening new pages and forgetting the previous ones.

 

Pictures: recommended when limited.

  • If the PC screen offers a variety of pictures for each item, you must ask yourself: what is the most important picture? Which one picture delivers the message/atmosphere/experience best? Start with that picture! This picture will be presented at the top of the page in small screen format.
  • Ask yourself: can I convert some of the content into pictures in order to convey some of the messages graphically? Try using iconography, pictures or colored textboxes. These can generate interest and keep the user's alert.

Navigation bars and buttons

  • If a regular site contains a side navigation bar as well as an upper navigation bar. Take in consideration that in small screen format both navigation bars will not be presented. Usually, a single button that upon being clicked on will present the full menu. It's important to decide what is presented by this button? How will this button ease the user's navigation experience?
  • Dedicate some thought to the hyperlinks: what hyperlinks are important to the site's content? How should these links be presented in order to assist and offer the user more relevant content? (And if we're at the end of the page, add pictures-they contribute to the atmosphere).

NOTE: these pointers are also relevant for regular PC sites. The shift to responsive sites can improve all formats of your site/portal.

To conclude:

  • Are there any items that can be compromised due to the shift to responsive sites? Could they possibly be there currently for sentimental reasons?
  • Did you add nay pictures to the site? If so, is it possible to create pictures that contain messages out of the content and therefore generate interest and enjoy another method of message conveying?
  • Is your navigation currently loaded? IS it possible that some hyperlinks can be inserted in order to "air out" the navigation toolbar?

A responsive site should also create a positive response experience. According to all described above, this is a complex mission. Nevertheless, it is possible and worthwhile.

 

References:


http://alistapart.com/column/responsive-design-wont-fix-your-content-problem
http://www.clickthrough-marketing.com/content-and-responsive-design/

 

 

 

Organizational compliance and the use of Social Media in organizations

Nurit Stone

 

Knowledge Management workers have been waiting for a while for Social Media to enter the organizational work. Finally, in the last 3-4 years we can clearly view a real, meaningful process in this field. More and more organizations and companies utilize tools of Social Media in the world of internal KM in their organization and merge them as part of their core business processes (not only as an external PR tool or as an enhancement tool for customer relations). The leading tools in this category are: Yammer, JIVE INM Connections, Chatter, and SAP Social Media. Of course, Social Media entering the organizational world enfolds new questions and unique challenges, such as:

  • How can Social Media be used in an organization?
  • What is these tools' advantage over other KM tools?
  • How does one differentiate these tools from other KM tools (knowledge communities, portals, and websites)? When does one use each tool?
  • How does one merge the Social Media tools with the existing KM tools in order to prevent an overload of channels and tools?
  • How much should we moderate and manage the Social Media channels?

And many more questions arise.

 

One issue that frequently rises in many organizations is the issue of organizational compliance. In the organizational world, compliance is defined as actions and policies that the organization and worker must work by in order to meet the requirements of the organizational regulations and guidelines in different fields. Some concern the conduct of workers in the organization, some concern their conduct when dealing with suppliers, colleagues and clients, and others are unique to the organization's practical fields (e.g. banking or software).

The Social Media tools, which are a channel of communication and information transfer for internal organizational needs, are not monitored and allow workers to write what they want freely, quickly and usually widely distributed. These enhanced features cause organizations to fear unintentional and conscious violations of the organizational compliance guidelines, therefore, the question of content enforcement rises frequently: what content written in the social Media should be banned? What means should be used?

Many organizations that went through the process of defining the organizational compliance policy in their communication channels in the past (e.g. the use of emails), we can view that introducing Social Media tools to the organization has prompted a process of revision and updating of these definitions. For other organizations, this introduction serves as a catalyst for the initiation of a policy definition process.

The way in which these organizations handle the dilemma of organizational compliance in regard to the internal use of Social Media focus on either one of three methods or a combination of all three:

  • Raising awareness by using an explanatory campaign via the organizational internal channels of communication. This campaign will present the rules of compliance expected from the workers when using Social Media: what they are permitted to write, how they are they are permitted to write it, and what they are not permitted to write and/or share using Social Media. The advantage of this method is that besides raising awareness, this campaign also serves as a channel for assimilating the Social Media (if done correctly, in a manner that doesn't evoke any resentment). Its obvious disadvantage is its lack of actual enforcement.
  • Conditioning the use of the aforementioned tools to committing to proper work. This is done using Privacy Policy and Terms of Use instilled in the tool itself or the initial signup process (a pop-up window that presents the policy which the user must sign or click on Accept). This method's advantage is that the worker takes full responsibility for complying with the policy. In many cases, this action might be required legally. Its disadvantage is that the majority of these signees or 'accepters' do not read a word of what they just allegedly agreed to. Therefore, using this tool might hardly affect the situation and so the compliance level in the organization may remain problematically low.
  • Designated enforcement tools for Social Media. These tools, instilled to the Social Media tools, enable monitoring and analyzing the content written. Also, management can choose the level and method of enforcement executed when identifying a policy violation. The advantage is obvious- this is the only method that enables both monitoring the content uploaded via the Social Media tools and automatic execution. Its disadvantage is that the organization may encounter restrictions in certain countries as part of their privacy protection rules meant to protect local workers. Furthermore, the high cost of purchasing these tools and their licenses.

 

When considering the use of such a tool, an organization must examine the following aspects and features:

  1. Avoiding harming the user experience of the Social Media tool: the monitoring tool must act subliminally and be transparent to its users.
  2. Demarcation: the organization must check what different components of the KM tools are monitored: posts, pictures, movies, files etc.
  3. Operation: how is a dictionary of monitored terms, words and expressions built and managed? Is it easily and comfortably updated and adjusted? Does it support different languages ?
  4. Grading the severity level of the compliance policy violation and choosing an appropriate response. For example, in defined severe cases that endanger the organization an appropriate reaction would be automatically deleting the content and informing a senior authority. In specific cases defined as hardly severe, an appropriate reaction would be merely informing the writer of said content of the violation.
  5. Can the organization avoid monitoring certain users? This request might arise as a result of some countries' privacy protection rules.
  6. The flexibility of the tool: can this tool adjust and develop in light of new requirements? How much does it depend on its supplier during the day-today use?

 

  The organization's choice of a method to cope with potential risks in the field of organizational compliance should be a combination of organization type and its field of action (from which the classification level of its managed knowledge is derived as well as its required rules of compliance), organizational character and culture that affect the level of sensitivity to the subject. Obviously, the size of the organization and its budget are also important factors. Clearly, the field of compliance in Social Media is still making its baby steps and will most probably be developed over the following years. It will be very interesting to see these constant dynamic developments, which are so typical of the world of Social Media, affect the organizational compliance policy of different organizations and its supporting tools evolving with it.

 

 

 

 

 

What is 'wisdom of the crowd'?

The wisdom of the crowd is defined as decisions/knowledge derived from the decisions/knowledge of a large crow which, under certain circumstances, can exceed that of an expert. This sentence, if read only few years ago, would be regarded by most as false. However, over the years we have witness this phenomenon recur successfully (e.g. Wikipedia) and therefore fully understand how such can occur.

 

What are Social Media tools?

Social Media tools are web services (internet/intranet) that enable the users to communicate with each other and share content. These are the building blocks of WEB 2.0 that fulfill the principles defined of connectivity by Tim O’reilly (for details- click HERE).

 

Utilizing performace using the Wisdom of the Crowd in Social Media tools

In this article, I will review several "field" examples, from different organizational fields, of the use of Wisdom of the Crows in Social Media tools in order to improve organizational performance. These examples are based on my own professional experience as well as on studied web publications.

 

Examples from the field of innovation

One of the fields in which organizations find dealing with Wisdom of the crowds is the field of innovation. In the past organizations managed a complaint box, which later became a suggestion box. Nowadays organizations promote designated processes in order to receive ideas from the organization's workers. For example:

  • Bank HaPoalim with their "I Care" project, which was a collection of ideas suggested by bank workers.
  • Elbit systems, on the lookout for new products and features.
  • Some organizations hold a "best new idea" contest between the workers. The workers suggest ideas and grade their colleagues' ideas.

 

Examples from the field of Knowledge & information Management

The field of KM is a classic field for utilizing the Wisdom of the Crowd method and Social media tools. For example:

  • One of the organizations to which I consult started a response mechanism through which the workers assist in updating their knowledge directory. The workers, by using the directory, present malfunctions and updates in real-time as well as requests for further information and elaboration by clicking on the "feedback" button" on each page of this directory. The editing team receives the feedbacks and updating content if required.

 

Examples from the field of sales and distribution

Organizations that deal with sales and distribution of products and services nowadays use methods that incorporate wisdom of the crowds. For example:

  • Companies such as Strauss and Osem advertise "specials" in which they request their crowd of consumers to pick a name for a new product, and even choose their favorite product from a list (for example: several flavors of a certain snack had been released to the market without titles on their packages. The users were requested to enter the company's website and choose their favorite flavor).
  • Starbucks is seeking cooperation with clients regarding dilemmas and business decisions.
  • TripAdvisor is just one example of a site that recommends trips.
  • Websites based on advertising and rating services and professionals.

 

To conclude: the more the organizations instill and use Social Media tools (WEB 2.0) the more they will enjoy the advantages of their workers' wisdom.

 

The skeptics will probably ponder "yes, but does it really work?" Well to them I say: yes. For example: Lior Tzoref (in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Science) conducted a survey on "Science Day 2014" and asked the masses how much salt they think is in the Dead Sea. The crowd's answer when compared to answers provided by professionals was astounding: the scientists answered 42.7 billion tons and the crowd answered 42.8 billion ton. Watch THIS video of the experiment and THIS video to view the results.

 

 

 

The book "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" was written in 2012 by Charles Duhigg, a Pulitzer-prize awarded journalist. It is a best-seller and has been translated into more than 40 languages.

The book describes changing habits on the individual level (me, you and she), the organizational level (Change Management) and the level of overall social changes. The book's motto is: although habits are embedded in our brains (i.e. create a nervous desire in our brain), they can be changed. The key to this is will power, a detailed understanding of the habit in its context, creating an alternative plan of action (hereby explained) and implementing it:

 

 

Tips

Although the book summary is mainly written from an organizational point of view, it is worthwhile to read it through the eyes of an individual as well through an overall social perception. I sure benefitted from it, and therefore highly recommend it.

 

Changing personal habits 

According to researches, more than 40% of the actions we do on a daily basis are not a result of a conscious decision. They are the result of a habit. Let's not confuse the issue: this not necessarily bad. Our brain conserves much time and effort by allowing us to act according to habits rather than considering every action and consciously deciding about it (this subject is elaborated on in the summary of Israeli Nobel laureate Professor Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow"). Nevertheless, this astounding number is more than what we would've expected. More importantly, we are probably dissatisfied with many of these actions derived from habits. We are addicted to out habits and they dictate our conduct.

So, what is the correct balance? There is obviously no single answer to this question. Each and every one of us can consider which habits he/she is content with and which he/she would prefer eliminating or altering (e.g. overeating/smoking/rage etc.). The latter should and can be changed.

Of course, changing many habits at once is unwise. Even if we are dissatisfied with many aspects of our conduct, we should choose a keystone habit we would like to change and deal with it only. The good news is that changing the second and third habit becomes simpler once you took care of the keynote habit. Furthermore, sometimes one change naturally leads to another (for example, increased physical exercise may lead to a healthier diet). As stated, the key to any change is to understand our behavior, plan the change and implement it accordingly.

 The process of individual change is comprised of three stages:

  1. Cue-something to get our brain to perform the habit automatically.
  2. Routine-the unwanted action is performed as part of a routine following this cue.
  3. Reward-a good feeling/satisfaction we get from performing this habit.

Example: if every time I get a mail at work I don't know how to handle I eat something sweet, then my cue is "receiving an annoying email", the routine is unmonitored food consumption and the reward is a distraction or feeling of empowerment (thus assisting in approaching the email).

How do we change an existing habit? There is no actually no need to do so. Instead, we can simply create an alternative habit:

  1. We decide we want to make a change. Without our willpower, no change can occur.
  2. Identifying the routine. This is the simple part in most cases and thus doesn't need any explaining.
  3. Comprehending what reward we gain from performing this habit. A recommended way to implement this step is to write down, immediately after the habit was performed, what you felt. This documentation must be done associatively. After a week, reviewing these notes can reveal the nature of this feeling. We must then review alternative actions that can produce a similar feeling.
  4. Isolating the cue. A recommended way to implement this step is for a week, every time you perform the habit document the following 5 parameters:
    • Location-where were we?
    • People-Who did we talk to/work with/contact.
    • Time-when did the activity take place?
    • Emotion-what did we feel?
    • Last action performed before initiating the routine.
  5. Planning the change: deciding that each time the cue will appear, we will consciously perform the alternative, beneficial action that can provide us with the same emotional reward. For example, if when we're tired during the afternoon we become easily annoyed with our children, every day when the designated hour nears and our child indeed begins to make more noise than we'd wish we should dedicate 10 minutes to ourselves: talk to a friend on the phone or take a nice shower. These will provide us with the same feeling of relief we would achieve by becoming angry without actually becoming angry. So what did we achieve? Same cue, same reward-but in between them was performed a beneficial action instead of the harmful habit.
  6. Implementation: proactively searching for the cues and replacing them with the alternative action. There is no guarantee for immediate success. On the contrary: I can assure you failures and mishaps. Yet the chances for success are high. It requires willpower, perseverance and brain work (comprehension, planning and implementation). It is possible.

Managing organizational change 

Organizations are not essentially different from individuals. An individual has habits; an organization has its routine. These are just different names given to two essentially identical phenomena. Similarly to the conduct of the individual, most actions performed by/within the organization are a product of various routine templates and are not derived from an intelligent decision making process. Another similarity is the fact that people perform these habits as a reaction to some sort of cue. Also, on an organizational level, a reward will be granted as a result of performing this habit.      

As we learned, an individual cannot (and therefore should not attempt to) change several existing habits simultaneously. This is true regarding organizations as well; organizations should indentify their keystone routines they wish to change and if chosen wisely. This change will later lead to many other positive changes. Duhigg presents the following case study: O'Neill, CEO of the American company Alco'a, decided to improve the attitude towards safety, and by improving the safety routines lead the company to a substantial growth in profitability. Wise management of a key stone routine change affects the organization transversely. In the words of one company worker, "excellence is just spilling all over".

Obviously, correctly identifying the keystone routine is not an easy task. It requires investing thought and conducting research, understanding the organization's needs in this specific context. It is nevertheless safe to say that quick wins are an assisting factor (yet not a singular factor) in identifying the keynote routine that must be changed. Quick wins are powerful factors when motivating employees towards the new routines. Sometimes there is even a snowballing effect that affects the organization transversely. In any case, these quick wins are affective in instilling the new culture.

Another critical similarity between the individual and organization(s) is that in both cases changing the habit in its entirety is nearly impossible. Instead, we must opt with replacing only the action itself by identifying, isolating and analyzing the habit's cue and reward.

An example (M.L):  A project manager begins a project enthusiastically > quickly approaches the project's execution > feels satisfied from the substantial ignition.

Instead (as a result of the change):

A project manager begins a project enthusiastically > makes an appointment with an associate manager who has managed a project with similar characteristics and learns lessons from his colleague's conduct > feels satisfied from the substantial ignition.

Duhigg recommends that if possible the organization should simultaneously clarify authority yet create work routines that balance this authority in order to distribute power wisely. Based on Kotter's approach (M.L) Duhigg explains that a perquisite for successfully initiating an organizational change is the workers understanding that a change is needed.

 

Managing an overall social change  

 

Succeeding to affect an entire society towards a change is not trivial. Nevertheless, it is possible if we only comprehend its three components:

  1. Affecting those closest to you-based on strong relations.
  2. Affecting your community-based on weaker relations.
  3. Evolvement to social affect and creating new routines of identity and ownership.

Elaboration:

During the first stage, people will respond and feel a need to get involved due to their close relationship with the initiator. Those with weaker relations will more easily ignore this attempt. Friendship will be the reason for success in this case.

During the second stage, weaker relations are actually important due to the ability to expand. According to the linking theory, people to which I have a strong relation usually have a strong relation to one another. It's therefore difficult to expand relying solely on this small group. If the change is promoted within the second, there is a chance for the change to expand. During this stage, peer pressure (literally caused by their peers, who are in this case members of the first group) will cause other to join the change (if there is indeed a critical initial mass). People generally tend to conform to society's expectations in regard to behavioral norms.

In order to develop as an overall social change, it must escape the boundaries of the wide community. At this point, the idea should already be able to sell itself, since there is no direct channel through which the change initiators can affect it. The best way to reach and maintain this stage is by creating new habits (as we explained numerous times above, the template cannot change-only its contents, i.e. the action itself).

Duhigg elaborately describes the social change towards the African-Americans in the middle of the previous century. He describes how these three stages were utilized in this change, and why arrests prior to the famous case of Rose Parks (even those that occurred during the same year!), did not result in a social change. It wasn't only the timing, but the following three stages that were implemented.

 

Tips

As we all know, change is not easy even when following a detailed method. Therefore, hereby are some tips that can be of assistance when attempting to change a habit:

  1. Remember that willpower is a key component in successfully promoting changes (especially individual ones). Nevertheless, willpower needs enhancement (e.g. conserving willpower for important issues and not waste its "energy" on trivial ones). Furthermore, it is vital to acknowledge that when our willpower "muscles" strengthened and our willpower skills are created it will be a general skill (which is why other habits will change more easily or even automatically).
  2. Choose a keynote habit. This will affect other habits and behavioral patterns.
  3. Gain Quick Wins on the path to success. These Quick Wins should be celebrated.
  4. Write down our plans. Even if only we read them, this still increases our chances for successful implementation. This is true regarding daily routines (not only general plans). Writing gives us a sense of organization and more importantly a sense of control over events. Organizations can benefit from this tip as well, since providing workers a sense of control can improve performances.
  5. Take advantage of substantial external changes (management replacement, organizational structure, getting married etc.) as an opportunity to change your habits. The external changes enable us to perform internal changes more easily.
  6. Always create a new action as an alternative for the current habit. The pattern is eternal, the action is not.
  7. Repetitively practice the new action we chose as an alternative for the habit we are trying to change. Practice will make these actions into automatic responses, which will bring us closer to complete change.
  8. Consider the mistakes and shortcomings that are an integral part of this process. Make sure that these shortcomings do not become a permanent habit. These mistakes should be viewed as a learning tool and should be used to improve the process. They should be utilized as leverage.
  9. Have faith: before initiating the process and during the hard times.
  10. View other cases of others going through similar processes. Knowing you are not the only person to ever to embark on this journey can be comforting and encouraging.

 

Conclusion

Change is possible. It takes faith, understanding and appropriate actions. In his essay on habit changing, William James likens our habits to water: they create their own current, widening it as time goes by. These currents can be bended and changed. We can swim in a new current.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Rom Knowledgeware
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