Saturday, 29 December 2012

What's worked well?

So with all the social-freemium activity I've had a play with this year, which applications stand out from the rest in terms of usefulness?

Clear winner:

Skype - what can I say, free phone, view of who is 'live' on-live, conference calls and a messaging system all at the click of a button!

Runner up:

Trello - great medium for developing ideas, managing projects and developing marketing plans!

Honourable mention:

Twitter (inc Tweetdeck) - thought this was going to be useless - but is very dynamic, feels alive when compared with the very slow response you get from the other networking applications.

Good but must try harder:

LinkedIn - going in the wrong direction - removing links to other media - seems to be reverting to recruitment site mode.

Storify - I like this one personally but not been a great interest for others. - you need to make sure it doesn't end up as a dumping ground  - the stuff you put in the loft thinking it would be of use someday!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas programming activity for when you get bored!

Short and sweet one this week - a bit of festive activity courtesy of 'bambofy' ;)

Hopefully everyone is now familiar with Dropbox - which is one of my 2012 favourite freemium apps by-the-way - well it has now been enhanced to the point where you can use it to build your own web site!

Or as the web site says 'absurdly simple web site hosting' check out - which lets you build a site from your Dropbox folder structure!

Here is my very feeble first attempt at it - looking for some instruction from my two trusted advisor's over the holiday.

Another one for all those interested in managing their activity on all this social media stuff - and a mechanism for planning your 2013 online campaign if you are so inclined - check out

  • Twitter
  • GitHub
  • emails
  • etc 

all tracked for you - and put onto your own personal dashboard - bit dangerous really!

That's it for now - Merry Christmas - enjoy whatever projects you have running!!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Just when you thought it was safe to come out!

LinkedIn keeps removing functionality!!!

I planned to wax lyrical about richly functional, free, open source applications than can be a powerful tool for business use. However, the past two weeks have illustrated the dangers of relying too much on these 'free' platforms. Should have heeded the messages in a number of the Tweets I have sent out recently.

So what is it all about?

The last couple of posts have been about the journey into 'gamification' and the thinking we have been doing in-house on setting up a company implementation of skill measurement 'badges'. This weeks note was going to say that the easiest implementation for us would be to use the LindedIn platform of 'endorsements'. Creating an in-house set of badges for a tbd set of skills. Company members of LinkedIn would then be able to vote for your company skill. Thus providing a global platform for these ratings without too much involvement from our management. A peer rated set of skills - a much more powerful measure than a list of the courses you have sat through!

Well - this has now all been thrown up in the air. LinkedIn have recently taken a unilateral decision - as far as I can see - to remove a couple of similar  features from your profile. One was the link to github (useful if you are into coding) and the other was a link to blogger (ie this site). I'm now very concerned about putting anything remotely critical to our business on the site. Who knows what they will decide to remove next!! In fact, why bother even using the endorsements at all - if nobody bothers they will more than likely be terminated! Yes, yes, yes, social pressures blah, blah, blah.

We need a re-evaluation.

Get your own site up and running as quickly as possible ..... xxxx you have been warned!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Gamification cont.

So - following on from the previous post what have been the thoughts on what to actually allocate badges for? Seemed like an easy one at first but became a bit mind bending pretty quickly.

Do you allocate badges for tangible activities/achievements - such as these the team came up with off the top of their head;

  • Training quizzes passed (1st, 5th, every 10 thereafter) 
  • Completion of a training series 
  • Billable hours worked (1st, 40th, 100th, 500th, every 500 thereafter) 
  • Employee grade 
  • H&S TIPs completed (1st, 5th, every 10 thereafter) 
  • Completion of Project Management training 
  • Revenue oversight for PMs ($100K, $500K, every $500K thereafter? no idea on this one) 
  • Company Profile completed (Mysite) 
  • Professional Licensure 

or link them to actual company certificates - such as;

  • Advanced Manaement Programme Certificate 
  • European Networking Programme Certificate 
  • IOSH Certificate 
  • PM Certificate 
  • Risk Mngt Certificate 
  • Webinar Presenter 
  • Quest Achiever 
  • SuperQuest Achiever 

The advantage of doing this is ease of coordination and management by the business. These activities are already tracked and monitored as part of internal staff development.

However, then the question is, what is the point of the badge? They then are simply measuring achievements in  a simple tick-box manner. Is that wrong - a question still to be debated? 

OR - should badges be allocated based more around skill or capability measures as judged by a community, peer groups, clients, competitor networks etc? This would have the advantage that it is more of a true representation of capabilities, rather than ticking the box for a given training course. You may not have your PhD in Particle Physics (or railway signalling) but you can be acknowledges for your participation and contribution to the field (Honorary Doctorate style) by other leaders in the filed. This to me seems a much better use of badge allocation. The second question - still to be debated.  

As an example of how this would work LinkedIn has recently introduced 'endorsements' - where your network of contacts can 'endorse' the skills you say you have as part of your LinkeIn profile. Its fascinating seeing this grow - its only been put in place recently and is still in the phase where people are finding out how it works and what it all means.

Anyway, the fun continues.....

Saturday, 1 December 2012

An emergent property!

Over the past few weeks - through my various meanderings on Twitter and LinkedIn - something that I have been seeking has emerged! 

A topic that I came across on a Tweet by one of my GURU's (that's Grandwizz Useful Research Unit) was taken and re-entered into one of the company 'thought leadership' groups on LinkedIn. Nothing Earth shattering in that process, however, it has been fascinating seeing how this topic has sparked interest among a 'self-organising' group of people. No need to send emails around the various operating units around the globe to canvas for support - usually resulting in getting someone nominated who is not fully engaged - the Diamond Dogs have formed. 

Comprising, me plus;

  • Ben
  • Cam
  • Eric
  • Ian
  • Marcelo
  • Paul
  • Tom - who set the challenge!
Many thanks to all - you know who you are - for the input so far by-the-way.

The topic we are thinking through is around the use of 'gamification' to help support and grow staff development -  which sounds pretty boring when you say it like that. Essentially the use of game and token incentives - like collecting game point to show your 'power' to others. Or possibly hotel points in my case given the number of scheme's I seem to be enrolled in! Given that this was completely new to me a couple of weeks ago I am now seeing these sorts of things everywhere, LinkedIn 'profile % complete', 'endorsements', Twitter followers' etc..

The challenge has resulted from Tom's use of FourSquare (I'd not used that either - just to let you know how far behind the drag curve I am on these things) where 'badges' can be gained for visiting certain places. Badge collection resulting in gamification of travel. I'm still struggling with FS if truth be told but I can understand the concept of incentives for visiting places - still feels a bit boy scout-ish to me though. The concept of using badges for training and development purposes is well established - few sites listed below for those interested - and widely used in the education field. Our challenge was could we not apply these concepts to our internal activities? Seems like a very reasonable task - how to use non-monetary public recognition awards within the business to help raise staff engagement. 

Some of the key requirements - given the topics of previous posts I had to put a few of these down ;)
  1. must be easy for staff to 'sign-up' to the scheme
  2. must be accessible to all staff - no inner-circles
  3. must be recognised across the business
  4. must be easy to implement
  5. must be publicly viewable
  6. must be linked to tangible benefits (e.g. enhanced peer recognition)
  7. must be cheap (if not free)!
See how we get on in future post's ;)  .....

Badge collection site links

A few links if you want to explore further: which provides some basic open-source tools to accomplish intrinsic badge reward set-ups.