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Association 2.0 webinar Q&A: How did HRPA measure the ROI of its Association 2.0 strategy?

Measuring the ROI of an Association 2.0 strategy varies from organization to organization, depending on its business objectives.

Take HRPA for instance. The organization's Chris Larsen and Corrina Mason shared how they measured the ROI of their Association 2.0 implementation during our Association 2.0 webinar.

Their Association 2.0 approach included a new Resource Centre, a searchable online HR knowledgebase that's powered by a Presto-supported Social Knowledge Network. Read on to learn the ROI they're now realizing.

Can you comment on your ROI expectations? Do you have any coaching to help measure the return on investment of your initiatives?

HRPA says ...

We applied a number of different metrics to measure ROI. First, we know approximately how many of our members renew in any given year. With the introduction of our Resource Centre and the new tools that we have provided our members, we saw a significant uptick in terms of our retention. So we had a payback in less than two months -- just in terms of subscription cost and the incremental membership fees from people who may not otherwise have renewed.

In sum: We had a payback in less than two months -- just in terms of subscription cost and the incremental membership fees from people who may not otherwise have renewed.

The best managers manage by leading

Great management or great leadership. What would you say is more important? It's a tricky question when you really think about it.

Holly Ross recently wrote a post on associationTECH comparing managers to leaders, and got the wheels turning about whether we need more managers or more leaders to run successful businesses.

On one hand, you need leaders to help set the vision and strategy, but you can't have too many leaders so that nothing gets done. You also need good managers to execute the vision. She concludes "... great management without leadership simply won't be effective in our current climate."

I agree with Holly. As I explained in my comment on her post, in general, you need both great leaders and great managers. However, one special case is when we live in changing times, like now. In times like these, I believe leadership trumps management.

Many industries, from associations to newspapers to pharmaceutical companies, are undergoing tremendous change due to economic conditions. We need strong leaders to rise up, set the goals and agenda, and guide us to the light at the end of the tunnel.

But what separates an average leader from a great leader is their ability to ensure that their organization can follow where they lead. Great leaders set realistic goals. They put the proper support system in place to achieve those goals.

And I think that's where great managers come in. Great managers are part of that support system, and they manage by leading their teams within the limits of the overall strategic direction.

A good example of this is the video that Holly included in her post. It shows how the "first follower" supports the leader by leading others to the overall goal of getting everyone to dance.

In essence, a great leader and a great manager are actually very similar. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive. A great leader can be a great manager, and a great manager can also be a great leader. And in changing times, you need leaders, and you need managers who can manage by leading.

Association 2.0 webinar Q&A: How do you gain C-suite buy-in for Association 2.0?

Like any new organization-wide strategy, Association 2.0 requires support from individuals throughout the company. Executive leadership buy-in is key to helping roll out and sustain the initiative.

But it's often hard to gain. How can you convince your C-suite that Association 2.0 will benefit the company? Let's take a look at how Peter Hutchins from ASAE did it. He gave us some insight during the Q&A session of our Association 2.0 webinar.

Mustering executive level buy-in to support the idea of "Association 2.0" is one of our challenges, any tips in getting executive leadership engaged?

ASAE says ...

This is definitely a common question that many associations have. And while I don't believe there is a one-size-fits-all scenario, I think that first and foremost, sharing and reporting on the comments and conversations that your community is having online is a good way to help the management team really understand the value of collaboration.

On top of that, I think all associations have a leadership role to play here. There is an opportunity for associations to help members to figure out the benefits of social tools. Having a conversation about Association 2.0 is a great opportunity to engage with members, show value, keep up with issues the community deems as pressing, and play a role in determining where the community is going tomorrow.

These are all good starting points for a discussion with senior management about the power of Associations 2.0 as demonstrated through real-world examples.

In sum: There is an opportunity for associations to help members to figure out the benefits of social tools.

Take your strategy and stuff it

I don't know about you, but right about now is when I start stressing out about Thanksgiving. This has nothing to do with traveling (although, I'm really glad I don't have to fly this year). It also has nothing to do with shopping, being crammed into close quarters with in-laws, outlaws, and other friendly-but-unsettling family members. This is about stuffing.

Stuffing is unlike any other Thanksgiving tradition. Think about it. You will probably have turkey in some form at other points during the year. A turkey sandwich, turkey pot pie, a turkey burger. You might break out the cranberry sauce with a nice roast chicken. You might even have a Jell-O mold. (But I'm not sure why.)

But how often, other than the last Thursday in November, do you have stuffing?? You probably don't. That's why stuffing is the "it" item at the turkey table for me. It's like the Cabbage Patch Kid or Zou-Zou pet of Thanksgiving. Which is where the stress comes in. There is never, ever, enough.

T-minus one hour to dinner and I start scoping out the kitchen to get an idea of just how much stuffing we're dealing with. Is there stuffing only in the bird? Well that's a curse of death. If you're lucky, your host made an extra batch that might get you through first helpings. And good luck if you're at the end of the serving line. There could only be a few scraps of bread, some sage, and celery bits left. It's quite tragic.

I know at this point you're wondering, where, pray tell, is our E2.0 moral of the story? I have one, and here it is: It's about strategy. You cannot approach the Thanksgiving feast without a strategy to ensure you get all the stuffing you need to hold you over until next year. Similarly, you cannot approach E2.0 without a strategy to ensure you achieve all your collaboration and productivity hopes and dreams.

My Thanksgiving Day feast all about the stuffing. Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes. They're all mere garnish for the stuffing! I hope you too find your "it" item at the Thanksgiving table. And to make sure you get it, bring you're A-game and a solid strategy. A SWOT analysis is a good place to start -- for your dinner and your E2.0 plans.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Inmagic!

(By the way, for more fun Thanksgiving chatter, see David Gewirtz's guide to surviving Thanksgiving. It got a few chuckles out me! Thanks, David.)

Association 2.0 webinar Q&A: How do you control your social media communications?

Picking up today with another question and answer from our Association 2.0 webinar. We're continuing to look back on the questions raised in our webinar, and sharing responses and viewpoints from our guests -- Peter Hutchins from ASAE, and Chris Larsen and Corrina Mason from HRPA -- as well as from our team here at Inmagic.

Today we look at a common concern for many organizations when it comes to social media -- how do you control the dialogue and message that's spread using these social media technology?

Any concerns over loss of control over message/dialogue by implementing social media features? Any liabilities?

HRPA says ...

Ours is a professional association, and all of our members are bound by a code of professional conduct and ethics. They see this particular media [Presto] as a performance enhancement tool for them, for their HR practice, and just for the sharing of ideas and issues.

There have been a few instances recorded where people got carried away with their opinions. I think that's just the nature of social media -- you're going to have emotion associated with some of the dialogue. But overall it has not been a problem for us.

ASAE says ...

The idea of control is one of the past. Our members are using social tools, and having conversations whether we like it or not. We can either choose to listen and engage with them, or allow them to become disgruntled because they feel we're not listening or communicating with them.

A member's perception of engagement is highly important to every association out there. At ASAE, we know that within your first year, we have to get you engaged with our staff, our community, and/or our products and services. Otherwise run the risk of you not renewing. And if members are all using this tool and talking about us, the very least I should be doing is listening.

But again, the idea that we could control things is antiquated. We have the responsibility to encourage valuable conversations. And for the most part, we find that the communities, members, and people are respectful of other individuals and their ideas. It's a small world, and most recognize that being too aggressive could lead to an awkward scenario at a future employer, networking reception, or even an event.

Inmagic says ...

Socialization by definition means a loss of control over your messaging and dialogue. Many organizations have come to realize that the loss of control is more than offset by the learning achieved through open dialogue with customers and members.

We all need to answer a simple question: Do we want to know what our members think? If the answer is yes, then we must use social media to enable the dialogue.

Additionally, you can think about it this way. The conversation is already happening, whether you are part of it or not. So by implementing a socially enabled community, you are able to participate much more vibrantly in the conversation, and in fact influence it and ensure your message is heard.

In sum: The idea that we can control things is antiquated. We have the responsibility to encourage valuable conversations. And for the most part, we find that the communities, members, and people are respectful of other individuals, and their ideas.

Association 2.0 webinar Q&A: How many resources are in your library?

Coming at you with another question and answer from our Association 2.0 webinar. Our guests from HRPA, Chris Larsen and Corrina Mason, were asked how big their knowledgebase is.

How many resources/docs are in your library?

HRPA says ...

We have about 3,000 articles that are cataloged and available. We also moved over records from our entire collection of books and binders, including all of the physical materials that we have at our Resource Centre library. The bulk of it is available through Presto now, but the sky is the limit. As long as people keep providing us with content, we will keep making it available to our members.

In sum: As long as people keep providing us with content, we will keep making it available to our members.

Human nature's effect on E2.0

We've talked on our blog about how we view organizational culture as one of the key ingredients of Enterprise 2.0 adoption. A culture of knowledge sharing is crucial to spreading E2.0 across an organization, and, as a result, addressing pain points surrounding productivity and collaboration.

We also believe another key component is having the right social technology to support knowledge sharing. It needs to be customizable so organizations can tailor it to meet their business objectives.

But what other factors could be important? Eric Norlin brings human nature into the mix in this recent post on the Defrag Blog. He argues that if we're going to have a discussion about culture, we must have a discussion about human nature.

He writes, "... any discussion of 'human nature' is so nuanced, so philosophical entangling, so old as the hills that philosophers have been debating it for (literally) thousands of years -- that it’s just silly for us to step in, make a bunch of easy assumptions about human nature and then move on to solving 'the culture problem.' You can’t talk about 'sharing' or 'collaboration' or 'incentives' in an enterprise setting without running into this thicket of nasty presuppositions."

I take this to mean that we cannot assume everyone naturally wants to share their knowledge and collaborate. Human nature is complex. And so Eric asks, "Can E2.0 overcome human nature?"

But I don't know whether that's the right question. Can you overcome Mother Nature? Temporarily, maybe. But probably not in the long run. A better approach might be, "Can E2.0 and human nature coexist?"

Any time we try and bulldoze Mother Nature we eventually, and inevitably, suffer the consequences (global warming, polluted rivers and oceans, adverse health effects, etc.). Likewise, trying to bulldoze human nature with E2.0 will also eventually, and inevitably, cause less than desired side effects.

Humans are naturally sharing and good, seeking to benefit those around them. However, those same humans can also be self-interested, egotistical, and arrogant. Therein lies the challenge. E2.0 can help draw out the good, but it must also be able to handle the bad. That's where an understanding of your own culture, people, and management is crucial to achieving E2.0 harmony.

What are your thoughts?

Association 2.0 webinar Q&A: How do you handle copyrighted material from outside sources?

Moving along today with another question and answer from our Association 2.0 webinar. For a refresher, we're revisiting the questions raised in our webinar, and sharing responses and viewpoints from our guests -- Peter Hutchins from ASAE, and Chris Larsen and Corrina Mason from HRPA -- as well as from our team here at Inmagic.

This time we explore what you need to know about storing and using copyrighted content in your Social Knowledge Network.

How do you handle copyrighted material from outside sources?

HRPA says ...

For all of the third parties whose information sources or documents we index, we have written understandings that we will credit copyright. And in fact, with our premium sources, essentially what we publish are excerpts. So we're probably generating sales leads for them as opposed to eroding their business opportunities.

Inmagic says ...

Anytime you post copyrighted material for distribution you must have permission of the copyright owner. In the United States, there are allowances for "fair use."

For example, you may utilize copyrighted material if the use is not something reasonably anticipated by the copyright owner and does not damage the copyright owner's market. Fair use is a very gray area of copyright law and is in flux depending on precedence. We suggest that you contact your lawyer for additional guidance.

One other way to handle copyrighted material is to link to it, if it's available online from the publisher. Then you provide easy access, but because you have not added the material into your site, you avoid copyright issues.

In sum: Have written understandings with third parties whose information sources or documents you index, and credit copyright.

How E2.0 unveils the wizard behind the curtain

There's something to be said for face-to-face interaction. And I'm going to draw an analogy from one of the greatest films ever made, "The Wizard of Oz."

In the story, Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion beseech The Wizard to help them with their unique needs. They need his knowledge, wisdom, and guidance. But he's a busy guy, ruling Oz and all, and he has some requirements of his own.

He first tasks them with killing The Wicked Witch of the West before helping them. And yet, it wasn't until little Toto unveiled the wizard that he stepped up and granted them their wishes.

I think the story of "The Wizard of Oz" illustrates the points Ron Miller recently made in a Fierce Content Management article.

He writes, "Today's workers are more disconnected from the company than ever. Spread out by distance, sometimes even without an office, these workers are looking for a way to connect to their fellow workers like never before, and this is especially true for knowledge workers who frequently require contact with other employees to get their work done."

I agree with Ron's assertion that e-mail today is easily ignored. Traditional e-mail, as well as the phone, essentially let workers hide behind the curtain.

Of course it is much easier to ignore an e-mail from, say, Sally, someone you've never met from halfway across the country, than it is Joe, who sits one cube over. But the point is, this mode of communication does not support real-time, rich knowledge sharing.

How many times have you said, "It's nice to put a face to a name?" Nothing will replace a face-to-face meeting, even E2.0. We're just too human for that.

But E2.0 does bring us closer -- whether through social profiles, video conferencing, blogs that demonstrate personality, or on-the-fly instant chat. These all give us windows into the man or woman behind the curtain, which in turn allow us to start making connections that are the building blocks for more substantial and productive relationships.

Wasn't The Wizard so much more agreeable and willing to help once Toto called him out? You could say E2.0 is calling us all out, and encouraging us all to step up and share our individual expertise with those who need it.

Association 2.0 webinar Q&A: Are wikis the best forum for collaboration?

A lot of great questions were raised during the Q&A session of our recent Association 2.0 webinar. We were able to get to many of them, and we had some interesting discussions. But there's much more to talk about than what we could possibly fit into the limited time we had for Q&A.

Luckily we have a blog to help us out. :) We've gathered all the questions that were raised, including those that were addressed and those that we couldn't get to.

Our Inmagic team has being mulling them over. We've assembled our thoughts, along with the answers that our guests -- Peter Hutchins from ASAE, and Chris Larsen and Corrina Mason from HRPA -- had given during the webinar. And what we've created is a collection of 12 questions about Association 2.0 with in-depth responses.

We'll be rolling out each question and answer over the coming days and weeks on our blog. Our hope is to provide you with a deeper dive into each question with a well-rounded response with a variety of industry perspectives.

We bring you our first question and answer today. You can follow our Q&A roll-out, as well as other Association 2.0 discussion by bookmarking our Association 2.0 tag.

Are wikis the best forum for collaboration? If so, do you still need Facebook and Twitter? How much time is needed to develop and implement a corporate wiki or collaborative site?

ASAE says ...

I don't believe that there's any one tool that suits everyone's needs, and I don't believe there's any one tool that's perfect. For example, Facebook has an interesting story simply because of its widespread use. The statistics are staggering. The average user spends more than an hour and a half on Facebook per day.

In the context of what we do, being present on Facebook is important for gaining mindshare from our members. And it's not about competing against the wiki, it's about incorporating ASAE into a more constant role within the life of our members. If they're willing to spend 50 minutes a day connecting with people talking about the association community, we want to be part of that.

However, just because you're using a wiki, doesn't mean you don't need to be using Facebook or LinkedIn. There are just different people who like to connect in different ways.

We spend a lot of time talking about the 1.9.90 rule, which is out of every 100 people, there's one person who's willing to create wiki entries, add, and update content. There's going to be nine people that are willing to rate and review it, and the rest are going to be merely lurkers who want to see what's available.

That's more of a reflection on general society than any one industry specifically. The bottom line is that we just have to be engaged with tools where a large percentage of our members are talking.

Inmagic says ...

Collaboration is a big area, and I don't think you can look at a single technology (wikis, forums, content ranking) to solve a widespread challenge. My suggestion is to first identify areas for improvement, and then look for an appropriate solution.

For example, I may want to improve the ability to locate and ask questions of subject matter experts within my organization. Or I may want to enhance the creation of new product ideas.

In general, wikis promote a specific kind of collaboration. Broadly speaking, information sharing of known items. Wikis are not especially useful for discussing issues and/or asking questions of the community.

And wiki's don't work very well for information that is controversial, as the pages are edited and re-edited to reflect the opposing views, rather than promoting a conversation and then gaining consensus. In addition, wiki's do not accommodate fielded information well, so if the information you wish to publish is fielded, then a wiki might not be appropriate.

Regarding Facebook and Twitter, both are interesting social networking tools, and serve a specific role. However, when building a content-driven, collaborative community, they are not very useful for managing and storing content. Therefore, their key role is often to make more people aware of the content community that you have built.

Looking at a range of socially enabled tools will help build collaborative environments. Blogs are good for certain types of collaboration, discussion forums for others, wikis for yet others. Each has its place.

One of today's dominant needs is to move discussions out of e-mail and into a technology that distributes and preserves knowledge generation for others in the organization. Typically e-mail is a one-to-one communication that is not preserved for sharing.

In sum: The bottom line is to be engaged with a number of tools where a large percentage of your community is talking.

Four new challenges for Enterprise 2.0

The industry is increasingly seeing Enterprise 2.0 take hold as more organizations accept, understand, and adopt social technology behind the firewall. In fact, Andrew McAfee reported on his blog that he felt like he was "preaching to the converted" for the first time in a recent presentation to enterprise CIOs.

"As I listened, I realized that a fundamental shift had taken place: these executives were no longer talking mainly about their concerns, hesitations, or reasons for caution around Enterprise 2.0; instead, they were talking about their frustrations that their companies weren’t moving faster toward it," he writes.

I agree that Enterprise 2.0 has evolved greatly 2010. It was only about a year ago that we were trying to figure out how we even define Enterprise 2.0. We've since deployed pilots, measures results, and identified what worked and what didn't. We're now setting our Enterprise 2.0 agendas for 2011.

A year ago, our challenge as an industry was to come to some sort of consensus on what Enterprise 2.0 is. We were faced with determining whether it could even provide value to us. Now that organizations have resolved that stage, and are now increasingly deploying Enterprise 2.0, the industry is starting to face a new set of challenges.

Klint Finley, a Writer for ReadWriteEnterprise, took a stab at identifying three of them. Flip over to his article to get his perspective.

While I agree with his take, I have to add another item to the list: responsibility. I explained my rationale for this in the comment I left for Klint. Basically, I believe organizations have a certain responsibility to find the right mix of processes and tools that will make E2.0 a success for them, and help them meet their business objectives. More on this in my comment.

Ask yourself as well, what challenges are we facing today regarding Enterprise 2.0? How do these industry challenges compare to what you're facing personally in your organization?

How and why ASAE and HRPA are deploying Association 2.0: our webinar transcript

Last week, we posted our Association 2.0 webinar archive. Today we bring you the complete transcript, proofed for readability and clarity.

Our guests -- Peter Hutchins from ASAE, and Chris Larsen and Corrina Mason from HRPA -- did a great job detailing how and why their organizations are deploying Association 2.0. Keep the transcript handy to reference something from our webinar archive, or add it to your notes on how associations are using social technology behind the firewall to meet their member services and other business objectives.

Up next: Deeper commentary and more perspectives on the topics discussed in our webinar. Stay tuned!

Candid camera strikes Inmagic?

One of our customers, Gulfstream, recently sent the Inmagic team some custom T-shirts for a job well done. They wanted to get a group shot of everyone, but no one could figure out how to work the camera because it takes still shots as well as video. Well, apparently the camera was set to video, and no one knew it was recording. We didn't get a picture out of it, but we did get a few laughs watching this video. C'est lavie ...

See market's first Association 2.0 initiatives: our webinar archive

We had a great turn out for our last webinar, Associations 2.0: Organizational Evolution Through Social Collaboration and Community Building. Thank you to everyone who joined us! We hope it was a useful and informative session.

As a result of the webinar, we're going to be rolling out a series of additional educational resources over the coming days. First up is our webinar archive. You can now download and watch the complete webinar at any time.

Our webinar covers some of the first initiatives the market is making in Associations 2.0. The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) are helping shape this emerging trend by incorporating social media technology into their business processes to improve knowledge sharing, productivity, and collaboration.

In our webinar, you can watch a guided tour of HRPA's public-facing Resource Centre, a new searchable online HR knowledgebase that's powered by a Presto-supported Social Knowledge Network.

You can also hear ASAE's perspectives and impressions on industry trends, the impact of the social movement on associations, and how they can use these technologies to meet business objectives surrounding member support and patronage.

If you have any feedback or questions about what you see in our webinar, feel free to leave us a comment here, or send us an e-mail.

Also stay tuned to our blog for upcoming resources related to our webinar, including our webinar transcript, the questions and answers from the webinar Q&A session, plus deeper commentary and expertise from our team. Keep your eyes peeled!
UPDATE: Here's the full transcript.


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