We need an E2.0 Rosetta Stone

August 11th, 2008 by Gia Lyons Leave a reply »

Learning how to do useful things with a new application is like learning a new language. For example, if I just want to see if I like it, I can try picking up the Italian language for free online. If I want to put some skin in the game, say, because I’ll be vacationing in Italy for a couple of months, maybe I’d spring for the $549 Rosetta Stone Italian series. If learning this language is strategic to my life’s goals – maybe I’m moving to Milan for two years to apprentice at Roberto Cavalli – then, I’d probably pay several thousand to immerse myself in the language and culture by living six weeks with a Milanian family.

That’s the problem: a particular E2.0 solution isn’t necessarily strategic to an enterprise right away. That means they are either looking to kick tires for free, or are willing to put a little skin in the game. That’s where an adoption starter pack – the E2.0 Rosetta Stone, if you will – comes into play. (And really, trying to use some E2.0 solutions out there today is like trying to decipher hieroglyphics.)

Here’s my theory:

People hire consultants when they realize two things. One, that they can’t do it themselves, and two, they can admit that to their management team. With the task of promoting E2.0 adoption, there is a sense that, “hey, this isn’t rocket science,” and, “we should be able to figure this out ourselves, for crying out loud.”

The truth is that, if we were just given a recipe about how to implement an E2.0 adoption strategy, we could probably muddle through it the first time, and refine our strategy as we go.

Recipe, Rosetta Stone – I never said I was wicked awesome at analogies.

Anyway.

My point is that, there should be some sort of relatively inexpensive E2.0 adoption starter pack included with every vendor’s solution that includes at least the following:

  • How to pick the right pilot groups
  • “Here’s how you did it then, here’s how you do it with this software” videos
  • “Here are totally new capabilities that don’t map to anything you’re familiar with today” videos
  • Materials to be used in a company’s existing education program
  • Internal marketing materials and recommendations
  • Typical metrics to shoot for within the first six months

The biggest thing that needs to be included, though, is time. Time from those who have the breadth of experience across multiple implementations, and time from those who are trying to implement. It’s all well and good to throw best practices at people like beads during Mardi Gras. But, what people need is someone who will spend time with them, listening, providing ideas and advice, being an experienced sounding board. All for the low low price of cheap.

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4 comments

  1. Scott Megill says:

    We’re currently developing our own internal version of the “starter pack” using many of the basic building blocks you list above. However, the challenge isn’t tools adoption. It’s mind-set adoption. Our corporate culture is very conservative and by nature, E2.0 requires people to “put themselves out there” in a way that can sometimes feel risky. Our “kit” includes a few things that you didn’t mention:
    * ‘Adopt an Executive’ playbook – Setting the tone at the top is a critical success factor. Hand holding some key voices to lead the way is key to our implementation.
    * A tool selection wizard – I can’t tell you how many times people have asked for a blog, only to really want a forum, or a wiki when what they really needed was a shared file space etc. Education on appropriate tool use is half the challenge.
    * “Pioneer hunting 101″ – Without content, the tools are empty. Empty tools quickly become shelfware. Seeding the platform requires dedicated pioneers who are willing to speak alone in the dark for some time before other voices join. Finding those people is HARD… but absolutely needed. We’re actively trying to find ways to filter and surface those people in any given organization.
    * Fast and well marketed case examples – Find the “soft value” examples quickly and promote them as the “why”.

    None of this has to be expensive. If I have to sell E2.0 like trying to sell moving to Milan for 6 weeks, then it is already too bloated to succeed.

  2. Jay says:

    Great thoughts, I particularly thing the need for consultants arise from employers not allowing “play time”. Call it hacktime or whatever you want, but employees are good barometers for technical change, if they’re allowed the opportunity to measure the wind.

  3. Gia Lyons says:

    Scott, excellent advice! I didn’t list my entire kit here, but you shared one I’d forgotten – Adopt an Executive. Totally critical. Also, you’re bang-on with my sad analogy. You shouldn’t have to spend six weeks in Milan to prep for a two-month vacation. Or something like that.