Last week I had the good fortune of participating at BP Council promoted by Forrester Research. One of the tracks was about change management.
This track involved people who belong the different groups sharing ideas about how to structure change management when implementing a new enterprise program. The medium to idea generation was “brown paper” glued to the hall, post its and white board pens.
In the end each group presented it’s conclusions on paper, with the post its glued together with hand writing and signs on a very nimble and clear way.
This contradicts all social media tools benefits and advantages.
Before the criticism starts, let me state clear that I believe that these new social tools can bring a lot of benefits:
- Cost reduction (there is no need to incur on traveling expenses);
- Structuring all the info around idea generation (documents, comments, votes, approvals, flow charts, data);
- Access (everyone can see the information in a structured repository).
But it’s also true that social tools cannot simulate human interaction:
- There is no way to provide a format that allows people to write their ideas like writing on paper. Ahh you can say yes there is. Well try to watch how people behave when they are writing and try to the same on a paperless system (my group finished idea generation first and I kept looking to the other group expressing it’s ideas).
- There will be people that cannot understand how to use a system. Training is needed, or a system facilitator must be in place organizing other peoples ideas.
- There is a huge difference between letting people write their ideas on a paper (just think how easy is putting a sheet of paper in front on a group of people with pens that like kids are engaged and committed to a desired result) and a system that for some reason blocks the way people express because they cannot understand the interface, or does not simulate how a person can put it’s mark (this makes all the difference) like doing it’s personal hand writing.
- Last, try to carry an analysis of a process mock up on computer screen. Even the most experienced print it all and organize things on a table or glue it all over again on the wall.
Think about it.
My personal my thanks to: Alex Peters, Claire Schooley and Jeanne Strepacki that facilitated the session.