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6 Best Practices to Ensure Adoption


The Collaboration Consortium, a community of practice focused on sharing insights and best practices on the topic of collaboration, released their 2011 report last week from the Adoption Working Group.  The report covers the common ideas, lessons learned, and recommendations about practices for successful adoption of collaboration/Web2.0/social initiatives.

There are four member examples shared as part of the report that cover a wide variety of topics: connecting people and communities (BG Group), accelerating product development (Cisco), enabling a mobile workforce (Statoil), and identifying expertise location (RAND). The examples all have a similar member objective: to drive employee productivity and efficiency within their organizations.  In general, the Group recommends the following best practices for adoption of collaboration/Web2.0/social initiatives, based on the collective experience and learnings of the Working Group members:

  1. Secure executive sponsorship early: When executive stakeholders are engaged early in a planned collaboration effort, it helps ensure the effort supports the top business priorities and drives adoption from the top down. Sponsorship also needs to come from both the business and IT.
  2. Recruit champions: Champions may take the form of early adopters, volunteer ambassadors, team influencers or vocal pilot participants. These users have a passion for change, and are role models to encourage others to adopt the capability and work differently. These individuals drive     adoption from the bottom up. They are willing to provide feedback and become the local "feet on the street" to help promote your effort.
  3. Keep it simple:  The less complexity of the user interface and the tighter integration with other business applications, the greater chance of adoption success - period! This also applies to the development of any virtual training material, quick start guides or other forms of training.
  4. Seek opportunities to enable business process: Business value and adoption from any Web 2.0 and collaboration effort will usually be higher when it supports an existing workflow or business process. Keeping it "in the flow" also helps to establish a baseline and track progress.
  5. Formalize community roles: Successful communities require active moderators who are assigned the role as part of their formal jobs. The moderators should be incented and rewarded based on the success of the community.
  6. Manage the cultural change: Change management is an important component of successfully implementing any collaboration effort. There are many approaches that can be leveraged and the specific methodology is not as important as selecting one, then implementing it as part of your collaboration initiative to achieve the desired end state.

More information about the 2011 Adoption Report and the Collaboration Consortium can be found here: Collaboration Consortium, 2011 Adoption Report

The publicly available member examples include BG Group (see attached file), Cisco (CaseStudyTransforming Product Development with Quad ) and Statoil (see attached file). 

Let us know what you think!   …f


Great set of best practices for adoption of social networks.  We used these same best practices in developing our Cisco internal community Architecture Center of Excellence (ACoE) and saw so much success we posted a public case study on How Cisco Built a Global, Cross-Functional Architecture Community that contains details on the steps we went in designing and building the community, adoption trends, and lessons learned from the experience.  All of which align with the best practices in your posting.


Hi John - Thanks for referencing the Architecture CoE community as another example of how these best practices can lead to higher levels of adoption.  From discussions among Consortium members, these practices are applicable regardless of industry or type of collaboration initiative. 


Maybe it's just me, but some of those points seem a little obvious. Like "Recruit champions" ... really, no, recruit losers. The first thing I look at when adopting any kind of "Best Practices" is to see if they have a history of volunteerism in their background; especially in a leadership capacity. My reason for this is if a person has done the time to do a task for free, and done it well, imagine how much better they will be when they get paid for it.