In Gerry McGovern’s latest post he says ‘Digital transformation is cultural transformation first and foremost. Some time ago, I dealt with an organization that had just installed collaborative software. The problem was that the employees saw no benefit in collaborating. Surprise, surprise, collaboration didn’t happen. Collaboration, first and foremost, is a cultural thing, not a technological thing.’
While I agree with Gerry as far as he goes, I also believe the type of governance deployed for collaborative content can be a major barrier to people adopting these tools. Too often the governance used for accredited content e.g. policies and news articles, that are official and factual is also tried (and fails) for collaborative content.
A more ‘light touch’ form of governance is needed to remove the barriers that prevent people wanting to share their ideas or offer suggestions that may help someone with a work problem. Here are some examples of what I mean:
- Posting on a blog or contributing to a discussion group should not need you to ask for permission before you start. It should be ‘on demand’ so there is no delay between when someone needs to use a collaboration tool and being able to. Often the need is urgent and passes quickly so any barrier preventing its use could mean the content is lost forever.
- You should not need formal training before you use the collaboration tool. A) the tool should be so easy to use it isn’t needed and B) understanding how to comply with the publishing standards such as ownership and content review dates shouldn’t be required.
- Usability and design shouldn’t be something you need to bother with. The important thing is your content. Make sure the template you use has the right functionality that people can just start using and understand easily.
- Adapt and embed as many of your publishing standards that are relevant to collaboration into the templates e.g. navigation menus, field for contributor to enter their personal details.
Taking this approach shows how the culture has changed from a ‘command and control’ view of governance many years ago for a limited amount of corporate content. Now, many people can use a wide range of collaboration tools to publish their views and opinions and be comfortable with the experience and knowledge that the content is managed appropriately.
The governance adopted fits the cultural revolution and helps, not hinders, it. Long may that continue!