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15 tips for a successful launch

1 March 2009

We all know that launching a Knowledge Management solution is an integral part of the KM process. But how can we launch the product in a way that attracts users to the solution and interest them in adopting it? Hereby is a collection of creative ideas, all based on our experience and the experience of our customers which can be implemented in future launches.

  1. "a day in the life of…" the launch is an opportunity to expose users to the KM solution for the first time. Instead of trying to cover as much of the portal as possible, we suggest a different approach: presenting a day in the life of our end user. One possible way to do so is to present the meeting schedule and define the knowledge need it displays and explain how the solution answers this need. For example, a defined activity can be reading a research report in which the knowledge need is understanding the professional lingo it uses; the solution would naturally be using the portal's term dictionary.

  2. Voice messages: we are making frequent use of email: we send messages, teasers, etc. Using a different medium could possible catch the users' attention. In an age in which everyone is constantly checking their voice messages, a text/voice message can be a refreshing change that assists us in conveying or message (especially if it contains some humorous content).

  3. Fortune: setting up a Knowledge Management solution does not depend on sheer luck, it requires hard work. This message can be emphasized by planting some messages in Chinese fortune cookies or lottery scratch cards. This is a nice and fun way to convey this important principle.

  4. Balloon arc: a portal is essentially a gate. Therefore, placing a balloon arc at the entrance to the organization and inviting people to pass through it is considered an invitation to enter the portal. We thus animate the solution by conveying it a visual aspect which can be identified with.

  5. Ribbon cutting: projecting the selected solution's homepage onto a screen on which a red ribbon is tied; cutting this ribbon generates a festive atmosphere.

  6. Hourglass: placing a real hourglass at the entrance to the office or an image of one at the homepage of the website to be upgraded or the new website at its last processing stages prior to the launch to which a group of workers is exposed, generates expectation for something important to take place. This is a method borrowed from TV, a medium which frequently shows the minutes ticking away till an important program is broadcasted.

  7. Photographing the launch: taking pictures at the launch and uploading them immediately afterwards creates a sense of dynamism among users. This is doubly important when the target audience is scattered among a number of locations so that you can review the launch in each location. Our experience shows that these pictures will probably be the most popular items during the following week.

  8. Picture collage: presenting a picture collage documenting the different stages of the process that led to this solution is a great way to illustrate our work to users. This requires documenting the various stages of the process, focus groups, team meetings, content expert workshops, etc.

  9. Decorating the settings in which the launch will take place with motives associated with the solution can add to the atmosphere, e.g. balloons with brand-colors, posters featuring slogans associated with the portal.

  10. Thank you: don't forget to thank all the hard workers, the content experts, unit manager, mobile team, etc.

  11. Happening: not all launches must be festive. In one organization, the team of knowledge leaders waited at the entrance to the organization and cafeterias wearing shirts with the portal's address. They then burst into the worker's cubicles and provided each worker with a short explanation.

  12. Gifts: A modest gift awaiting the worker on the morning of the launch, especially if it is accompanied by a letter from the unit manager, can go a long way. It is recommended to make sure that the gift attracts users to the solution and contain the website address and contact information.

  13. Competition: another way to generate positive association with the solution is an element of positive competition, such as a name-picking competition with its results revealed at the launch.

  14. Launch video: those of you gifted with creativity and a video camera as well as friend with command of editing programs can benefit from a launch video. This can be a humorous video or alternatively contain positive input from various users.

  15. Consult, consult and them consult again. The ideas are endless. The best idea can come from anywhere, so pay attention to your target audience. So, we'd love to hear of more creative ideas.

We wish you luck!

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