My Time, My Key Learning’s for Social Computing

I spent the past couple of months working as the Program Manager of our internal Social Computing Program. Laurie Buczek just wrote "All I Want For Christmas is my E2.0". In her post, she points out  2009 and the state of the program. I want to talk about my experiences filling in for about the two months she was enjoying time away from Intel. My normal job is managing a number of program managers and systems analyst for Productivity and Collaboration of our internal users. I was asked to try something different, for a couple of reasons. First, I have a passion for social computing and feel that it does have a strong use cases for inside an enterprise. I have been blogging internally for just over three years. I have learned so much from my posts, that I decided to continue my passion externally. Second reason, I needed a break from being a people manager. Not that I don't enjoy managing people, but I have been doing it for over 26 years. Stepping away from it for a short time - really helped me with refreshing my batteries.  I saw this as a huge opportunity for me (and hopefully for the program team).

My temporary coverage time is now over. When I complete anything, I like to reflect on the experience and below are some of my key learning's:

  • There are some extremely passionate people pushing for E2.0 capabilities within the company. Besides the program team, we have a very strong sub set of users that are very passionate. They not only ask for capabilities but are very willing to help. Our internal community managers are a group of volunteers that not only want to evangelize usage but help with administering the guidelines. That is not the only ones that are passionate. We have many users that are stretching the limits, adding requirements and helping to develop strong use cases . Without these folks, I think the program would just be another set of tools and/or capabilities that would be available, but not used.
  • Lots of folks want to, but just need some help to get started. I spent much of my time meeting with individuals and teams discussing what E2.0 is and how it could potentially help. I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard - "What is Social Computing?" or "How do I get started?"  Not having participated in many of those sessions in the past, I was somewhat surprised by the lack of understanding.
  • Please help to improve communications and collaboration across the organization. With many of the teams within Intel, they are very dispersed around the globe. With many I met with, they have the challenge of being in all geographies and meeting together is very difficult. Leaders were looking for ways to help get their message out to the organization. E2.0 capabilities can help with those issues and concerns, but it takes some effect and changes in order to be effective. With communications - just about every team has email blast communications, newsletters and web sites already. I would ask the simple question - "Are those effective today - really?" Adding E2.0 capabilities is just another avenue, if the message is not getting through - look at the message. I enjoyed looking for and watching the ah ha moments!
  • People just want to belong. New employee's come into a company the size of Intel and are overwhelmed by the size, team globally dispersed and all the new things they need to learn. There is time to ramp up, but speed of ramp is watched as well. If you are lucky, you may know some folks or your team is very willing to share. For the most part, you are left to fend for yourself. Making effective connections is key. E2.0 capabilities have that ability! For me, I have been with Intel for 27+ years - I have a network, just not digitally connected. I need to get reconnected to my network officially, so that the folks that work for me or know me - can use my network.

My temporary assignment lived up to its expectations; challenging, plenty of discussions and demonstrations, keeping the focus on releasing more capabilities and meeting new people. The hungry by internal end users for using E2.0 capabilities is large. Demand for additional demonstrations are still high. Our internal Social Computing program has gained traction, but there is still much to do. For me, I will continue to participate as one of those extremely passionate people that can improve communications and collaboration within Intel.