Latest Publications

The Information Canvas

Information is a key asset in modern knowledge-intensive organizations. Whether it is information about customers, leads, cash flows, market trends or mentions via social media, the right information helps us to make strategic decisions. Yet, given the increasing speed of doing business, it is easy to skip important questions about this information. Question such as: who in the business actually uses this information, what value does it provide to them, what are the costs of obtaining this information (subscriptions, technology, man hours in gathering and cleaning data, creating reports)? We at GriDD are convinced of the importance to look from a strategic perspective at the key information in your organisation. The Information Canvas is an instrument that helps you in this.
The Information Canvas is a slight adaptation of the Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. Just like their canvas, the Information Canvas consists of 9 blocks. In the section below we briefly introduce these 9 key aspects of information and related questions that help you to look from a strategic perspective at the information in your organization.
Central to the canvas is the value proposition of the information: what value does the information actually deliver? What business problem does this information help to solve?
Customers: Who are the users of the information? For who does this information create value? While we use the term ‘customers’, this does not imply an external customer. In many cases information is gathered only for internal customers.
Customer Expectations: What expectations do the customers have regarding the provided information? Whether people expect a weekly report or anytime, anywhere mobile access to the information makes a big difference for the costs associated with the information. What expectations regarding the information do the customers have, that are currently not met?
Channels: Via what channels are we going to provide the information to the customers? How would they like to be reached? Which channels work best? Which ones are most cost-efficient?
Key Partners: In order to be able to provide the information, who are our key partners? What resources do we acquire from them? What actions do they perform?
Key Activities: What activities does the value proposition require? What activities follow from the customer expectations? What activities do the different distribution channels require?
Key Resources: What key resources does the value proposition require? What databases or systems are key sources of information? What people do we need based on the value proposition?
Cost Structure: What are the most important costs in providing this information to our customers? What key resources are most expensive? What key activities are most expensive?
Revenue Streams: In case of external customers: for what value are our customers really willing to pay? For what do they currently pay? Also with internal customers there can be revenue streams, for instance by avoiding unnecessary costs or by being able to take important decisions in a timely manner.
By addressing these nine aspects of information with key stakeholders and capturing results on the information canves, you create an easy-to-understand strategic overview of key information in your organization. Use the results to decide whether you really need that new information system, what data you should be collecting in your processes and, for instance, whether the target audience is better supported by an infographic or if a table will do.

De plussen en minnen van Google+

Is Google+ een hype? Absoluut! Maar zoals we van Gartner weten, is dit nou eenmaal een normaal stadium in de levenscyclus van een technologie. Vanuit GriDD denken we graag “beyond the hype”: hoe kan deze technologie straks, als het stof neergedwarreld is, echt helpen om productiever te werken? In dit artikel zetten we uiteen wat Google+ is, hoe je deze tool moet zien in het landschap van Facebook, Twitter en andere sociale media en wat de sterke en zwakke punten zijn voor het gebruik in organisaties.
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White paper: De App Store van de Organisatie

For effective collaboration it is essential to use the right channels. However, due to current IT processes employees have a limited choice of channels, especially when working with people outside their own organization. As a result, employees end up using e-mail and telephone, even when innovative cloud solutions would suit their purpose much more effectively and efficiently.

At the same time, these employees have a much broader range of communication channels at their disposal at home. In this white paper we describe how a model that works great at home, the App Store, will also yield benefits in a business context. To read our full whitepaper on this subject go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/51711400 (Article in Dutch).

De Appstore van de Organisatie

Network analysis – Open space outcomes

As part of the Enterprise2.0 Summit 2010 in Frankfurt, we held an open space session on network analysis, facilitated by Alpesh Doshi. In the following post I try to summarize the results. If you have any additions or corrections, please leave a comment.

We’re all part of multiple networks. Even more: relationships change, so our membership of networks changes over time. If you start mapping, visualizing and analyzing these formal and informal networks in organizations, you can do all kinds of interesting things. Thing such as:

  • asking questions to your network – to reveal the experts,
  • recommendations from your network – “you might also be interested in…”
  • find shortest path to colleagues – How are we connected?
  • identify relevant people for an innovation project,
  • find patterns in the network to identify experts, connectors, influencers,
  • and even: who to contact for a 360 degree appraisal round of a colleague.

But if you start mapping, visualizing and analyzing networks, all kinds of privacy issues arise. We had a good discussion on that, but no uniform solution. Transparancy seems key: knowing (and being able to control) what information about your network is in the system seems crucial.

And then, how do you prove the business case of social network analysis? If you start from a real, specific, measurable problem, you have a good chance of explaining the ROI. Otherwise, you might have to collect success stories, and sometimes use KPIs around communication & knowledge flow.

Further readings on http://www.crossanalytics.com/cna, where Rob Cross publishes interesting information on this topic.

Enterprise 2.0 Summit – Key messages from day 1

This first day of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2010 in Frankfurt was packed with interesting talks. Much discussion went on about smart introduction strategies, common pitfalls and assessing the maturity of an initiative.

In an effort to compress all that information, I would like to share the key messages that stood out for me:

  • Output requested by customers is changing, more focus on creativity and personal production. This requires
    1. small, decentralized units with decision-making power,
    2. leaders that have open, constant, dynamic, honest communication,
    3. Listen to your customers and employees, don’t just broadcast (Richard Collin and Rolf Schmidt-Holtz)
  •  

  • in a business context, do not use the ‘s-word’ (social)
  • look for existing (formal or informal) communities to launch enterprise 2.0 initiatives. They actually need it the most (Luis Suarez, IBM)
  • now we need to create conditions for evolutionary improvements. Design for changes by the users themselves (Lee Bryant)
  • empower people to share and they will, because people like to help others (Luis Suarez, IBM)
  • make sure Enterprise2.0 does not make the same mistakes as Knowledge Management: domination by tool vendors and consultants focussing on storing information, loosing the human aspect

Sociale media in normaal Nederlands [Dutch]

Woensdag 28 april heb ik op het Syntens event Groeien met Sociale Netwerken een presentatie gegeven “Sociale media in normaal Nederlands”. In deze presentatie probeer ik in normale woorden (en beelden) uit te leggen wat met de term “sociale media” bedoeld wordt, wat we zien gebeuren en wat dat voor ondernemers kan betekenen. Dus niet de hype achterna, maar een concreet verhaal met voorbeelden, een paar belangrijke technologieën en 6 concrete stappen die ondernemers nu kunnen zetten als ze aan de slag willen met sociale media.

Mijn belangrijkste conclusies: stap niet in sociale media omdat u het gevoel heeft dat het “moet”; kijk of het past bij uw doelen en doelgroep en bepaal dan uw strategie. Leer te luisteren en weet dat de oude manier van bedrijfscommunicatie (zenden, corporate nieuwsbrieven, 1-richtingsverkeer) niet meer werkt. Meng u in de conversatie. En als u besluit sociale media in te zetten, zorg dan dat het gebruik een onderdeel is van de normale werkprocessen, niet iets dat mensen erbij moeten doen. In de trajecten die wij bij klanten doen zie je vaak dat dat laatste de sleutel tot succes is.

Meer weten? Vragen of commentaar naar aanleiding van deze presentatie? Neem contact met me op!
De slides kunt u vinden op slideshare:

(cross-posted op thisexperiencerules.com)

De Evolutie van het Web (in Dutch)

Het web heeft zich over de laatste jaren in rap tempo geëvolueerd van een information-only media naar een verrijkt en dynamisch internet zoals we het vandaag kennen. Er is geen algemene definitie te geven voor het web van vandaag. Termen zoals web 2.0 en 3.0 worden gebruikt om bepaalde trends en kenmerken te beschrijven, maar daar is geen formeel standpunt van te vinden. De term 2.0 en 3.0 suggereren dat het gaat om een soort technische upgrade van het information-only web 1.0, maar veel belangrijker is dat het ook een nieuwe manier is hoe gebruikers en ontwikkelaars het web gebruiken.

Over het algemeen is het nieuwe web te beschrijven op basis van drie kenmerkende trends, namelijk:

  • Web als collaboratief en participatief platform ook bekend als het sociale web
  • Bredere gebruikersondersteuning en toegankelijkheid
  • Integratie standaardisatie

Deze drie kenmerkende trends vormen de basis van de internetontwikkelingen van vandaag en de nabije toekomst en worden in nader detail verder hier beschreven. Ook brengen deze trends duidelijkheid in de toekomst van het web en de verdere ontwikkelingen die we kunnen verwachten. Het onderstaande boek, gepubliceerd door Via Nova Architectura, biedt IT architecten en managers die geconfronteerd worden met deze nieuwe ontwikkelingen daarbij een overzicht en helpt bij het maken van slimme keuzes.

[PDF]

Improving Team Effectiveness

For teams to work together effectively, a series of boundary conditions have to be met. Based on our own experience and combining a few existing models, we have in Future Workspaces come up with a model for team effectiveness. We use this model to analyze how well a team works together and to advize where process improvements or innovative technologies can help a team to be more effective.

Central in the model is individual readiness: the individuals in the team have to be willing and able to work together. Between the different individuals there have to be positive relationships. Other key aspects are having clear goals, clear roles & responsibilities, a common way of working, organisational embedding and strong leadership. Click on the image above to see a more detailed description of these aspects.

We are currently validating checklists for each of these individual aspects – such checklists can be used to gain a deeper understanding of the situation or to compare the situation before and after an intervention.

I am curious to hear which models you use around team effectiveness!

Do you need a webcare team?

helpdesk2At the Dutch National Architecture congress (LAC2009) we have given a talk on the organizational and architectural aspects of introducing Web2.0 tools. One of the main issues we discussed was how to support your employees to make responsible use of social media and how to deal with negative responses, complaints or online discussions about your brand that are getting out of hand. One of the interesting approaches companies such as ING and UPC are experimenting with is a webcare team.

A webcare team monitors online conversations on Twitter, blogs and other social media and has a strategy on how to deal with various types of negative responses via social media. When necesary, they can join the conversation, offer support, provide facts or anything else to steer things in the right direction. But it is not just about customer care, the webcare team can also do PR (discovering and preventing issues) and marketing (educating customers or providing feedback to product development).

Why do companies actually care about what is being said in social media? More and more companies realize that, in line with the Cluetrain Manifesto, “markets are conversations”: customers trust opinions of friends a lot more than they trust company websites, and they use information about products and services found on social media to make informed choices.

Who should be in your webcare team?
From the type of work a webcare team has to do, it should be clear that this is not a job for the IT department. Instead, people from marketing and corporate communication should be involved, and maybe even experts on your products and services. Pick your team from people who understand the norms of social media and are able to respond from a personal perspective. As such, your manager PR and corporate communication is probably not a good candidate for the job.

The tools of the trade
Webcare teams get more and more tools to discover what is currently being said about their brand, products and services. Important tools of the trade are Google Alerts, Twitter search, Technorati and Google blog search. These tools are all aimed at discovering relevant online conversations, without having to spend the whole day looking.

What is a smart social media strategy?
Unfortunately, there is no universal recipe for a smart social media strategy yet. Nevertheless, an important starting point is to accept each opinion as such, and not call opinions into question. As with any employee that takes part in an online conversation, the norm is to identify yourself as an employee of the company and behave accordingly. Also it seems important not to be drawn into online discussions: seek direct communication with the person behind the complaint. For more inspiration on social media strategies, I suggest you take a look at the IBM Social Computing guidelines.

I would like to hear your experiences with webcare teams!
(Cross-posted on the Future Workspaces teamblog)

The slides of our talk (in Dutch) are available via slideshare:

Method: bias storm

The bias storm is a method we apply at the start of collaboration, when the people who have to collaborate come from different backgrounds, cultures or organizations. The method aims to get prejudices they might have about the other in the open. Talking about these prejudices helps to understand the other and clears the road for fruitful future collaboration.

How it works
This method should be used during the initial session of people who have to collaborate. Immediately after the initial round of who is who and why are we here together today, form pairs of people from different backgrounds, cultures, organizations or whatever barrier you wish to level. Ask these pairs to write down on sticky notes what prejudices their colleagues might have against people from the other “side”. It is important not to ask what prejudices they have; as that might result in only the politically correct responses. While they are writing these down, walk around and stimulate them with questions such as: “What did your colleages say when they heard you had this session?”.

After a few minutes, when you notice that “the popcorn stops popping” ask the people from one “side” to read out what they have written down. Write key terms on a big piece of paper. Try to defer any defence (“I would like to react on that…”, “Let me put that straight…”) to the next phase. Then ask the people from the other side to read out what they have written down and collect their key terms on a different piece of paper. Then start the next phase by just asking “Who would like to react?

Our experience is that this method is a powerful starter for cross-organizational collaboration projects.

(c) photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/agharti
Cross-posted on the Future Workspaces teamblog.