Lessons learned in building an internal social network: from implementation to transformation

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What You’ll Learn:: 

What do you do when you work for an agency that is consistently rated one of the worst places to work in the federal government?

You change.

National Archives and Records Administration created an internal collaboration network as a way of embracing transparency and unearthing its employees’ ideas and suggestions.

Join Kelly Osborn, web developer and community manager for NARA's social intranet, as she talks about cultivating the internal collaboration Network at the National Archives. She describes what happened when NARA allowed employees to freely voice their opinions about their workplace.

You'll learn:

  • How to obtain buy-in from technology-averse stakeholders
  • The importance of methodical research
  • How critical it is to understand your culture, from execs to front-line staff
  • The benefits of making your loudest critics your early testers
  • How to cultivate power users and advocates to speak up for the intranet

Hear why the ability to flag for abuse is appealing to executives, particularly at an agency with low morale. Otherwise, the ability for any employee to say anything is intimidating to the bosses.

Hear why you need to find a champion, and identify and clarify your objectives. First determine the business need, then look at technology. Then think about design. Osborn explains why.

Find out why you should ask, “What’s the worst thing that ever happened?” And memorize this useful phrase to use with fellow government employees: “Might you share that documentation with us?”—particularly when researching best practices.

Learn the ropes, from social interaction (pet photos) to more serious business issues, such as the relationship between an "information" intranet and a "collaboration space.”

If you’ve got a grumpy workforce and nervous executives, seize this chance to learn from Osborn. Check out Ragan Training.

March 2014

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Presenter bio: 

Kelly Osborn is community manager for the National Archives and Records Administration's internal collaboration network and is a web developer on the innovation staff. Previously, Kelly worked as web developer for The Atlantic and Science magazines, as well as the Smithsonian's American Art Museum. She moved to DC from Arizona to get a master’s in art history at American University. The program requires two theses; the one in her area of research, American art, was on performance art and feminism.