Yes, I have written many times about the fallacy of “driving adoption” for collaboration solutions. I also ran a workshop last week at Catalyst on “Driving Adoption of Collaboration Solutions”, Let me get that out of the way up front. I’ve frequently mentioned two main caveats to the “driving adoption” approach commonly described in the SharePoint community. Luckily the workshop attendees identified them right away. The first caveat is that “driving” (pushing people to use the system much like a timeshare salesman trying to make a sale) is an inferior approach to pulling users into the system by taking the time to understand their needs and providing a customized solution that they will see value in. The second is that adoption (number of users or amount of sites/docs) is a poor proxy for value.
The most surprising finding for me was this: four attendees said their organizations had people dedicated to cultural change. I also had dinner with a client who turned out to be a full time change agent around worker productivity. So these jobs (I don’t want to call it a “role” since that would imply it’s just an extra task given to some poor sap that already has other work to do) already exist in large organizations. These culture change agents weren’t specific to collaboration; they were a full time position in charge of managing transitions to new processes and technologies. In one attendee’s case this was a group; for the others it was a single person. I think this is a great way for an organization to get the most value from their collaboration investments.
The workshop went very well, despite a blue marker exploding in my hands while trying to record attendee ideas on a poster pad (it looked like I was turning into a Smurf). The attendees had a chance to exchange ideas about where their adoption has gone off the rails or could be improved. Hopefully they take these approaches back to their organizations and find ways to create more attractive, usable environments that users want to wander around in and collaborate rather than just being “driven” there.