Social collaboration for teams is important, but here's how to scale up using "creation spaces" of forums, videos and other networked tools.
From an IT perspective, creation spaces are challenging in a couple of ways. First, because too often technology platforms inadvertently develop in silos: teaming/shared workspace tools over here; enterprise social tools over there. A creation space must bridge both.
In addition, creation spaces must accommodate teams and connections that span organizational boundaries and extend to partners and customers. IT projects tend to be categorized as employee tools or customer platforms. Again, the creation space platform is likely to engage both and requires integration between internal and external. The flow of information, communication, and participation across boundaries poses issues for access control and management.
Reputation profiles are critical for supporting trust-based interactions in creation spaces. Within teams, trust develops based on an individual's assessment of past interactions with other individuals on the team. In the larger population of a creation space, a participant might not have previous interactions with another, but is able to trust, based on interactions with other members of the community. This requires the platform to support a memory for previous behavior and endorsements of skills and trust by others. What mechanism is best for creating and maintaining reputation profiles? How do you manage them, preserve integrity and prevent gaming the system?
Reputation profiles also help participants get recognition for what they've done, not just to elevate their achievements but to allow others to find and connect with them based on shared skills, interests, experiences and goals. What mechanisms can help generate profiles that don't depend on the assertions of the individuals themselves but instead automatically capture the interactions and contributions that demonstrate their experience and skills in action?
Three tips for a successful creation space:
-- Be clear about the performance metrics that the space will be evaluated on and have a plan for monitoring metrics such as level of participation and frequency of response.
-- Avoid the temptation to over-engineer. Launch the platform with a minimal level of functionality and build out based on how the participants are actually using the platform. The same applies to governance and management structures. Start with a minimal set and let the participants themselves evolve ongoing rules and practices tailored to their context. Watch for areas of real engagement and try to propagate those practices into other areas.
-- Consider launching with a limited set of participants who are actively wrestling with a performance challenge that could have a significant near-term impact on metrics that matter to the company. A targeted launch reduces the investment and lead-time required for deployment; the resulting impact on performance metrics will draw more participants in to address other performance challenges.