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Innovation: How Does Your Team Use Share Point

Since becoming a manager for my company in mid-2007 our team has gone through a Share Point revolution.  Early on, we saw the potential for this under-used tool, but had little experience using it.  We found the following uses to be helpful to us as a Content Development Team

Wiki – MS Share Point wiki capabilities pale in comparison to Telligent’s, but still provide a great platform for info sharing.  Here are some examples of what we have done in this space:

  • Team Status Sheets – employees keep a running tally of the projects and releases on their plate, using brief descriptions which can be shared/edited at any time by members of the wiki.  As the manager, I set alerts to tell me when an editor changes something, cutting down on the amount of email that gets generated.  The quick nature of the updates and tools allows us to cut down on chatter that can confuse projects.  And best of all – it is entirely searchable.
  • Team Meeting Agendas – rather than sending an attachment via email, which will need to be revised before the meeting, we found posting these as wiki pages allowed team members to add items at anytime prior to the meeting.  It then serves as the template for notetaking during the meeting (whether live on Live Meeting or posted later), and helps archive our meeting discussions, follow up items, and useful info, which can be turned into a best practice wiki page and linked to directly from the agenda.
  • Evolving Best Practice Pages – we use the wiki to keep a living journal of our best practices rather than keeping this information stored in emails or documentation.  This provides flexibility to edit as we learn better ways of doing things, more robust linking, and a collaborative approach on the team to deciding the best way to work.  By using the Wiki, rather than a shared document, people are less hesitant to make a change b/c they know how easy it is to go back to a prior version if a mistake or practice that the group doesn’t agree with gets entered.  On a shared document, track changes can serve this function, but there is margin for error if the person making the change doesn’t choose track changes or uploads a different version.  Wiki just makes this a simpler task
  •  Projects – we use the wiki as a collaborative space to do project work in.  Rather than have a version on everyone’s desktop, project proposals get entered on the wiki, worked on and tracked in that space, and discussed via email (unfortunately MS Share Point doesn’t support commenting/tagging like Telligent). 

Interdepartmental Document Library Allows Coordination of Tracking Sheets & Info – in Academic publishing we deal with partners in Production, Manufacturing, Marketing, Sales, Fulfillment, and Acquisitions.  While much email is still generated, we have found that tracking sheets and shared information works best when kept in a document library.  To that end, we created separate document libraries on a single share point for each of these departments.  Rather than sending large files via email, we point each other to links in the libraries.  Also, things like Sales Rep Reports and Marketing Intelligence get stored here as well.

What are some of the innovative ways others are using Share Point?

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Creating a Closer Organization Through Social Networking?

Everybody seems to be social networking online these days, and many businesses have responded by implementing this technology into everyday culture.  The benefits in making social networking an effective tool for business development rather than a distraction are highlighted in an article by Rheingold Associates, among which they mention:

  1. Provide an ongoing context for knowledge exchange that can be far more effective than memoranda.
  2. Attune everyone in the organization to each other’s needs – more people will know who knows who knows what, and will know it faster.
  3. Multiply intellectual capital by the power of social capital, reducing social friction and encouraging social cohesion.
  4. Create an ongoing, shared social space for people who are geographically dispersed.
  5. Amplify innovation – when groups get turned on by what they can do online, they go beyond problem-solving and start inventing together.
  6. Create a community memory for group deliberation and brainstorming that stimulates the capture of ideas and facilitates finding information when it is needed.

But can a social networks make a large organization feel closer?  It is my belief that they can.  In looking through my LN collegues on M-HC, I saw CEOs, VPs, and other senior staffers whose names I know, but who might not know mine.  While I did not just reach right out and invite them to connect (doing so didn’t seem prudent without a present context), I did find that seeing them listed as potential contacts, especially when their profile included a picture, made me feel closer to them regardless.

I then got to thinking: social networks pose an opportunity for senior leadership to connect with their organization in new ways that feel more intimate than an email, all-employee call, or posting on an intranet.  For example, the senior leader might find that posting a daily blog, a tidbit of information from lessons learned that day or an inspirational thought, connects them regularly to the workforce.  Having discussion board topics, where all employees are encouraged to comment on the topic (and start their own), fosters innovation and creativity among the group.  What if a senior leader reached out to an employee to invite them to connect b/c they saw an innovative blog post or discussion answer?  This could be a new way to reward and recognize that feels personal and focused.

In short, online social networking is here to stay, we have only begun to tap it’s potential, and I’m sure there are many effective ways to use this tool that we haven’t even thought of.  So what are your ideas?

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