Workshop recording: matching user needs with technology capabilities

Here’s the recording of the workshop I ran earlier today on using a process and template to help match user needs to technology capabilities. We worked through the example of an intranet and there was lots of interesting discussions as everyone chipped in through the session.

🖥️ View and download the slides

📄 View and download the template

I think this way of running short, focused online sessions works pretty well, and I will definitely be doing more in the future!

The digital engagement game

At the introduction to digital engagement workshop we ran this week, I debuted the digital engagement game.

It’s a workshop exercise that’s an expansion of my version of David Wilcox‘s social media game, which in turn has been developed into the Social by Social game.

The original game featured a pack of cards detailing various social media tools, and a few traditional ones too. Teams then came up with scenarios, and used the cards to produce solutions.

It was always good fun to run and is helpful in getting people to focus on purpose and not getting hung up on the tools.

Over time though it became clear that the cards needed updating, and if we were going to do that, then we might as well revisit the whole thing.

So, now there are four different sets of cards in the game. These hopefully cover the range of issues people planning digital engagement projects need to consider.

Tools – the technology

  • Blogging
  • Social networks
  • Status updates
  • Media sharing
  • Online collaboration
  • Newsletters
  • Aggregation
  • Social authoring
  • Web conferencing
  • Mobile apps
  • Location services

Roles – the people

  • Champion
  • Community manager
  • Digital mentor
  • Moderator
  • Social reporter
  • Developer
  • Strategist
  • Data expert
  • Evangelist
  • Content wizard

Activities – the other stuff you have to do

  • Training
  • Events
  • Workshops
  • Social media surgeries
  • Network mapping
  • Codesign
  • Listening online
  • Evaluation
  • Publish open data
  • Carry out surveys

Process – tackling the bureaucracy

  • Develop strategy
  • Write policy
  • Campaign plans
  • Project management
  • Identify the keen
  • Make business case
  • Get IT support
  • Get political buy-in
  • Get senior managers on board
  • Manage risks

Teams in the game have two sheets, one to set the scenario:

Red team scenario

And one to plot the solution:

Red team solutions

This format of the game seems to work pretty well, helping people think about all the issues involved in solving problems using digital tools – especially the idea that the people and the process matter just as much, if not more, than the technology.

If you’d like to make your own set of cards, here’s the PDF (3.1mb) which you can print out, cut up, fold and laminate.

Innovative ways of training

I’ve been thinking about using some new ways of providing training on digital engagement stuff to those working in public services – in tandem with the traditional approach that we are taking in our workshop tomorrow.

Webinars are something I’m looking into, and I’ve written about my experiences of running them previously. What I am looking at doing is something a little more structured over a period of time.

So, how about a twelve week course on digital engagement? One webinar per week on a chosen topic, with a private discussion space so everyone can talk to each other about the topic afterwards.

Here’s a draft list of weekly topics:

  1. Introduction to digital engagement
  2. Designing your strategy
  3. Designing a policy
  4. Operational engagement plans
  5. Managing risk
  6. Developing a Facebook page
  7. Effective organisational use of Twitter
  8. Blogging for organisations
  9. Crowdsourcing and online open innovation
  10. Social media for events
  11. Social media in a crisis
  12. Community building and sustainable engagement

Would this be something you or people in your organisation would be interested in?

Also… would you (or your organisation!) be willing to pay for it? How much?

A brief tour of Scotland…

I’m looking forward to my quick tour of Scotland this week, visiting Edinburgh tomorrow, to deliver a seminar on social media strategy for public services; and then Aberdeen to talk to the Scottish Knowledge Management Network about how technology makes sharing and storing knowledge a wonderful thing.

Both these events are in partnership with the Improvement Service.

Social media strategy

The seminar tomorrow is going to be quite interesting, as it is the first of its kind that I have delivered, and so it might be worth covering in a bit more detail.

As Joanne Jacobs expressed very eloquently in this post, strategy is vital for an organisation wanting to get digital engagement right. I’ve tried to design this seminar around the process of writing a strategy.

So, the agenda looks a bit like this:

  1. Background
  2. Objectives
  3. Implementation
  4. Evaluation
  5. Risk management
  6. Operational guidance

Each section will feature a short presentation from me, introducing the topic, and then a discussion on tables. Then all the delegates fill in the relevant section of the workbook we have created for them, with a page for each section, where notes can be jotted down.

Then after the event all delegates will be sent an electronic version of the workbook so they can type it all up, make any changes to the format they want to and that kind of thing, so that – wahey! – they have a draft strategy ready to go.

I’ll share the slides and workbook on this blog – assuming the seminar works! – next week.

I’m interested in making this seminar available to others as well, which could take the form of running more face to face sessions, for which a charge may well be necessary; or online as a webinar, which is likely to be free.

I’d appreciate any feedback on which of these people might prefer!

Digital mentoring for public servants?

Ingrid has a very nice post about the training my good friend Steve Dale and I provided to some folk at the Local Government Association and the Improvement and Development Agency today.

I think people left the room enthused.  A colleague whose arm I twisted to attend the course (when I was worried it wasn’t full – in the end it was overfull) thanked me for getting her along.   I’m planning to meet with another colleague in the near future to take some of the training into real concrete action.  And that’s the best feedback of all.

Which is very gratifying to hear.

I think there is a real need for fairly basic overview sessions like this one, introducing people to some of key aspects of this social web thing: not just what the tools are and what they do, but some of the philosophy behind it all.

Digital mentoring for public servants? Quite possibly. Maybe a topic for Barcamp?

Delivering online learning

I’ve had my attention brought to the Thirty Day Challenge, a free month long online course on internet direct marketing. Now, it’s not a subject I am particularly interested in, but I am interested in how the information is disseminated on the course. It seems to be mainly through flat HTML pages for each day of the course which  are chock full of video content, a supporting blog and a forum for participants to have a natter.

This seems a fairly simple way of doing things, I guess people pick up each day’s content through RSS or email, follow the video and text content, then try and put it into action. You might get people coming in halfway through, say, which might mess things up – and how would you present the content after the initial course has finished? Traditional blog reverse-chronological would mean that people hit the last section first.

Maybe one way of using a blog would be to run the course on a regular basis, signing up people to specific start dates and password protecting posts, so those with a password for a section can access it. Maybe this is just complicating things though…

The alternative would be to set something up in a system like Moodle, which is an open source virtual learning environment, which lets you set up proper courses for people to follow. This way you get to properly structure each segment of the courses, and can ensure people properly progress through each stage. I have been having a little play with Moodle recently, and while it clearly has some great features, it seems to be to be rivaling Drupal in the ‘bitch to set up’ stakes, and the end results do look a little, well, dated.

Another way of doing things would be to make the learning synchronous and make everyone be there at the same time for a Webex style session, sharing the screen with those taking part. There are obvious problems here for fixing a time people can make, and it also turns it into a much more formal affair.

Does anyone else have any ideas on how online courses could be presented, split into sections delivered on a daily or weekly basis?