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Business - Written by on Thursday, January 15, 2009 18:06 - 1 Comment

Naumi Haque
Humanizing the firm

Here’s an example of a small initiative that can have a big impact. We’ve done some collaborative work with a company called CoreMedia over the past year. Among the company’s many intriguing Enterprise 2.0 initiatives, one of the things they do is hold company-wide “Open Space” workshops. These sessions are collaborative, non-hierarchical meetings where participants get to set their own agenda, air grievances, propose topics, select their favorite issues, be part of different groups, define their own roles, and contribute in whatever way they like. In essence, it’s a fun and effective way to get work done in a large group setting.

The reason I bring this up now is that this year I received a lovely Christmas card from Soren and Michaela from Core Media and it reminded me of a “fun and effective” nuance of the Open Space sessions that I had forgotten about. Topics are often voted on using dot voting, where participants place small circular stickers next to the ideas that interest them. A lot of brainstorming sessions use this technique, but at CoreMedia, the difference is that the dots are photos of people.

The advantage of a sticker with your face on it is that it humanizes the voting experience – attaching actual people to initiatives, not simply dots or checks. It helps people get to know other people (at least by face, if not by name), and it also creates accountability and allows session organizers to follow-up with people who expressed interest in different topics. As a bonus, it makes for a cool way to sign Christmas cards. I did a quick search online and you can get a sheet of 20 stickers at Zazzle.com for less than $5.00 (even cheaper in bulk). Not a bad investment for you company’s next open format collaboration session.

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Jan 17, 2009 12:25

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