This is part three in a series of posts on how FSG-Social Impact Consultants, is implementing emergent collaboration strategies and technologies within its organization. Part one on business drivers can be found here and part two on culture shifts can be found here. Founded in 2000 as Foundation Strategy Group, FSG is a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in strategy, evaluation, and research. Today, FSG with approximately 80 employees and celebrates a decade of global social impact. We interviewed Carl Frappaolo, Director of Knowledge Management at FSG, which has been implementing its emergent collaboration technologies and strategies for around two months. The full case study on FSG can be downloaded for free along with half a dozen other emergent collaboration case studies and resources.
One of the big changes at FSG associated with this initiative was the creation of a new department called Knowledge Management (KM) and the staffing of it at the director level. Earlier approaches included hiring part-time and junior staff. In addition to the KM Director, local representatives of the KM team existed in each office on a part-time basis (one-two hours per week). The team met periodically meet as a team to discuss what was going on within the company. However, each of these team members had another “full-time” role to fulfill as well. It was a great approach because these individuals brought an on-the-ground real world perspective to the discussion.
As mentioned earlier, less formally, FSG also had KM evangelists. Some of them were on the KM team and some were simply consultants and other staff members that “got it.” These evangelists helped to share their experiences, tips, ideas, and encouraged others to use the new technologies. They existed at various levels. There were at least two managing directors supportive of this initiative, and acted as senior level sponsors.
New Technology Adoption
To date, FSG has not undertaken any formal official approaches to incentivizing individuals to use the system. They are not using any type of incentives but may begin experimenting with this in the future to see how employees respond. While there have been no rewards, there have also been no punishments. FSG is considering making modifications to how employee performance is evaluated, based on how well they collaborate and share knowledge and information.
Encouraging Use Of E2.0 Platforms And Tools
Employees, especially in the communities of practice, are using the collaboration tools; they are putting content in central libraries and commenting on information and on other’s comments. Some are creating small projects within the collaborative sites, and managing them in there. The rate at which work product is being re-used is increasing and employees are remembering that to access the search tool when looking at a precedent work product. This is not a radical shift at FSG. The company is already very collaborative so the tools being introduced don’t represent a whole new approach to work (aka collaboration). It is not like they are just beginning to collaborate with people that they have not collaborated with before. However, these tools are making it faster, simpler and more nimble to collaborate, and to do so in a fashion that leaves behind a record, so to speak, of that collaboration. It can be “discovered” and repurposed. While the deployment is only a few weeks old, FSG is already seeing some anecdotal evidence of added value.
Salesforce is being used for client, account, and lead management.
A collaboration hub and content management system, Central Desktop, in time will also be used as a project management system.