Understand your population, improve your adoption rate

I read this White Paper from Cisco today entitled Collaboration: Know Your Enthusiasts and Laggards.  It’s a thought-provoking piece.  I think they do a nice job segmenting the universe of potential collaborators into four distinct populations:  1) “collaboration enthusiast“; 2) “comfortable collaborator“; 3) “reluctant collaborator“; and 4) “collaboration laggard“.   I think it’s a great idea to use “habits and beliefs” to factor the general categories (I found it hard to ignore the part of Table 2 that had a breakdown by organization type, role and years in position; it is my experience that often the newest in roles are the most enthusiastic collaborators).

I thought their finding “The most enthusiastic users are managers in for-profit companies who have held their jobs for 3 to 9 years.” to be counter intuitive (they don’t give the number of respondents in for-profit vs not-for-profit enterprises;   I did an engagement a number of years ago with an NGO and their whole world view was that of making connections and getting more out of less).

Give this article a read.  It gives some useful shape to the adoption challenge.  The conclusion on page 6 (summarized/paraphrased here) resonates with my experiences:

  • Recognize that attitudes and culture are [at least] as important as the tools
  • Introduce tools where people will accept and use them
  • Encourage executives to model desired behaviors
  • Provide formal and informal recognition
  • Implement [and reinforce] formal collaboration processes [I would add, blend old and new tools to smooth transitions]
  • Make sure the tools, IT support and training are available.
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