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  • Chris Preston 9:00 am on June 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: personalization, , , technology innovation,   

    Our Pride and Delight in ‘I Made This’ 

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    A news item caught my eye this week. Some clever individual has noticed that someone at the picture-sharing site Flickr has hidden a small message in its website’s code. It’s a ‘We’re Hiring’ notice designed to weed out the people that are REALLY interested in how the site works.

    I think it’s a great example of what I call ‘micro-personalization’ – the small ways in which people can put their mark on what they make or do, without affecting the overall integrity of the output.

    It’s not a new idea, and has long been used as a mark of quality – buy a V12 Mercedes and you’ll see a signature of the engine’s maker proudly displayed on a prominent plaque. On a more safety-related note, when you pull the ripcord on a parachute, you do so with the certainty that a qualified individual has packed it to an exacting standard, as their signature and seal are featured in its log book. For the record, I’ve not done, nor will do, either of these things.

    Technology is offering a new way for micro-personalization to add value, create interest, and…well… have fun. For years technology enthusiasts have hunted down ‘Easter Eggs’ in software. These hidden extras can be as simple as a cheat in a game, or, as the case with Photoshop, feature a comprehensive flight simulation over a landscape that displayed the developers’ names.

    Website developers have long hidden messages and images in their code, such as the recent HMV site change, that celebrated the chain’s revival with a hidden picture of Nipper the dog in the HTML.

    A few years ago you may remember the phenomenon of Felix the Cat. It was a free piece of software that placed a small black and white cat on your desktop, which chased your cursor, put paw prints on your screen and a range of other cat antics. It was designed to mimic the unpopular Paperclip helper (and also make you buy a certain brand of cat food).  It was charming, pointless, and also the holder of a strange secret…

    One day, bored, I put the Felix programme through a Hex Decoder (I’d recently read about the phenomenon of Slag Text where computers ‘tidy up’ programs and fill left-over memory space with random content – sometimes with embarrassing consequences). The Decoder showed me all of the program’s coding… and a rather beautiful, unfathomable piece of philosophy that clearly articulated the developer’s state of mind on the day he made it.

    This discovery delighted me, but also I’m sure, delighted the developer. It’s that second part that I think is so important.

    I talked in my last blog about the need for people to see the meaning in what they were doing, and I believe micro-personalization is a crucial part of this. The ability for an individual to make something ‘theirs’ is hugely powerful, costs very little, and adds so much for the recipient.

    I recently worked with a very successful medical devices company that makes complex wound care products. The cutting floor workers will hand-cut the most difficult ones, and then sign the side of the box. Their manager told me of one new worker who questioned why they did this – he shared with them the reams of thank you letters he had from people that had written in to specifically thank the individuals for making their products. He never got the question again.

    We are so quick to label things as ‘mass produced’ and rarely think about the small ways that we can utilize to make it more personal to the maker, and more meaningful for the purchaser. Clearly signing every tin of beans that rushes past you on the production line won’t work, but that doesn’t mean everything that is made in bulk cannot be personalized. I, doubtless like many, always smile when I see a packing note saying ‘inspected by Sanjay’, rather than the impersonal ‘Inspected by 1467’. It’s good to know that a person has put their name to something, and it makes me happier to have bought it.

    For those doing the making, having a sense of care, pride, and ownership is a win-win situation.  They will be happier, more aligned with their work and the company will be guaranteed a higher quality product. Letting people personalize what they make is a powerful way of achieving this.

    So here’s my challenge – look at what you do, what you make, what you service – and ask yourself the question ‘how can I make this mine?’  Or, if you’re a manager, ask the question ‘how can I help my team make it theirs?’

    Think small, what are the additions that a person could add to something that makes it theirs? How could they bring in their own style or approach? What is the value of giving your customers something that’s more bespoke?

    We are at our happiest when we see our work as our craft, when we want to sign what we’ve done, and tell people, ‘I made this’.  (This article, in case you didn’t know, was written by a Mr Christopher Preston).

    Chris Preston (@Trimprop) is a Psychology graduate and specializes in internal communication and team development. He currently is Director at The Culture Builders.

     
  • Mari Carmen Martin 9:00 am on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , technology innovation   

    It’s time to speed up the implementation of social technology in organizations 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    I’m a follower and reader of research by the American consultancy company McKinsey, above all of its studies regarding social technology or social business. Social technology covers both the internal and external scope: internal tools are those that promote internal collaboration, such as Enterprise Social Networks; whilst external technology is what can be found outside the company in question, such as, social commerce, corporate blogs and general networks like Facebook and Twitter, among many others.

    The latest study published by McKinsey about social technology was in July last year. Later, in November, they published the article Capturing business value using social technology, which includes a very interesting summary revealing that the improvement in communication and the productivity of employees when social technology is used contributes to an increase in productivity of between 20 and 25%. The sectors where these types of services are most used, and therefore contribute more value to the business are the B2B sectors, such as advertising, auditing, engineering and consultancy services; for other sectors the percentage is also significant but with a lower level of influence.

    I really don’t understand why businesses and their managers don’t speed up the implementation of social technology in their companies.

    I’d like to believe it’s due partly to ignorance and the lack of development of their digital skills for accessing this information; and also that they don’t have the personnel with the skills to manage social technology. However, in fact it’s the managers of these companies who should be looking after innovation and be at the forefront of managing the team. From experience and after years spent in management positions, in general the short-term occupies an excessively large amount of managers’ time. This group, which should favor change and innovation, is in many cases the one that holds back these initiatives, due to ignorance, turning the organization into a slow institution that manages innovation badly.

    As this is my first post on the ZyncroBlog for 2013, here’s my personal list of trends 2.0 that I’d like to see implemented in many companies:

    1. Mass implementation and management of enterprise social networks created with the aim of being essential tools for managing innovation and practice communities that provide value to the business and generate more productivity among people, and streamline decisions.
    2. Development of digital skills at all levels in the organization, from management committees down, in a cascade process that will generate important strategic and operational changes in companies.
    3. Creation of digital skills maps necessary for leading the transformation process to enterprise 2.0 in the strictest sense of the word.
    4. Appointment in large companies of a social technology manager. This should be a multidiscipline and cross-company role that reaches all departments.
    5. Management of the personal brand of key managers and ambassadors to support and contribute to the positioning of the company brand in the internal and external social environment.
    6. Importance and management of the social influence on those brand ambassadors of the company, strategically located in different areas of the organization.
    Mari Carmen Martín (@maricarmenmar) is a trained Industrial Psychologist and an expert in HR. Currently she works for Cloudtalent, a company of the Humannova group, where she is responsible for creating personal branding programs for executives and professionals.


     
  • Eirene Ramos 9:00 am on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , technology innovation   

    Zyncro receives a new award for technology innovation 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Updated on September 27: Thanks to everyone who joined us at the awards ceremony!

    ***

    In light of the crucial role that innovation takes in creating dynamism in business activities these days and in which Zyncro plays its part, the COETTC (Colegio de Ingenieros Técnicos y Peritos de Telecomunicaciones de Cataluña) has awarded us with the ex aequo award for Technology Innovation, a new recognition that we receive with much pleasure and enthusiasm, and which gives us that extra push to continue working for business innovation.

    Their Awards for Business Excellence in ICT are presented each year, and on this occasion, have gone to institutions and companies like Aventia (“Business Excellence” category), Sant Cugat City Council (“Sustainable Development” category), Televisión de Catalunya, Cadena Ser and the newspaper Ara. In the technology innovation category, in which this year we have been presented with the award together with Serhs Food Service, COETTC recognizes companies that stand out for creating value products that contribute to social, cultural or economic improvement, and for developing products that incorporate new features, techniques or technologies associated with IT and telecommunications.

    The awards will be presented during Diada de las Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (Catalan Telecommunications Day), which will take place on the morning of September 26 at CosmoCaixa. It is one of the most important and representative events of the ICT sector both in Catalonia and in the rest of the Spanish state. This 11th edition will cover ICT from the areas of business creation and talent retention, discussing current news topics in the ICT sector, and analyzing the new trends this year and the forecast for the upcoming months.

    At the end of the day, the Awards for Business Excellence will be presented, at which we hope we can count on your support. Zyncro will collect this new recognition for daily innovation, working to create technology development designed to improve business management.

    We want to share this award with all the companies that have joined Zyncro in the innovation revolution.

    Zyncro: innovating with you and your company day by day… Will you join us?

     

     
  • Eirene Ramos 9:00 am on May 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , technology innovation, ,   

    How do companies use Enterprise Social Networks? Find out in a new webinar 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Motivate your employees and encourage a collaborative culture by implementing an Enterprise Social Network. We’ll give you some success stories of using Zyncro.

    Continuing our series of Spanish-language webinars started back in December 2011 by Zyncro y Web2Present, we’d like to invite you all to the new webinar “How companies use Enterprise Social Networks. Zyncro success stories.”

    What’s it all about?

    Social networks are a basic communication tool nowadays and they are beginning to be used for internal communication in companies. For this reason, in this new webinar, as well as the basic concepts in Enterprise Social Networking within the company, we will look at how major corporations have decided to invest in these development.

    The idea behind creating internal communities is to encourage employees exchange contents directly from a central point, both as messages and documents. This stimulates the imagination, creativity, motivation in employees, as well as productivity and internal communication aimed at improving the balance sheet, together with reducing email use.

    In this webinar, Zyncro will look at some real use cases in companies from different sectors (retail, IT, marketing and communication, banking, consultancy), companies that have implemented a social work methodology using Zyncro as the knowledge management system.

    When is it happening?

    The webinar will take place on Tuesday, May 29, at 18.00 CET and will last approximately an hour.

    Who is giving it?

    The seminar will be given by Patricia Fernández Carrelo, head of Marketing at Zyncro.

    Who is it aimed at?

    This Spanish-language webinar is aimed at all those companies that are interested in finding out more about the possibilities and advantages of implementing an Enterprise Social Network, and for those that are already thinking about implementing one, but have doubts on how to go about it and want to hear success stories from other companies.

    How do I participate?

    To participate in our Spanish-language webinar, you just need to register using this form.

    To find out more about Enterprise Social Networks and success stories, click the following link: I want to attend the webinar!


     
  • Eirene Ramos 10:20 am on April 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , technology innovation, ,   

    New Webinar on Private Social Networks for achieving customer loyalty 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.

    Let me take this opportunity with my first post on this blog to present myself: I’m Eirene Ramos, new contributor here at Zyncro. It’s a pleasure to form part of this great team of professionals! :-)

    I’m your customer, spoil me and socialize with me for me to become your brand’s champion and for me to recommend it.” Social networks are already a basic communication tool and now the tool of choice for companies to communicate with their customers. If you want to make your customers loyal… this is the webinar for you!

    Continuing our series of Spanish-language training webinars started in December by Zyncro and Web2Present, we’d like to invite you all to a new webinar entitled “Private Social Networks for Achieving Customer Loyalty.”

    What’s it all about?

    At this new webinar, apart from the basic concepts on what is an Internal Social Network within a company, we’ll explain how major corporations have decided to invest in the development of Private Social Networks to achieve customer loyalty. A tool of this type lets organizations of any size offer added value to their customers and give them a private information exchange environment that is attune to their interests.

    Companies that go for social technology to achieve customer loyalty experience a ROI based on the positive association and user experience, which is extended exponentially to new potential customers.

    For this reason, in this webinar, Zyncro will explain the benefits and advantages of Private Social Networks, from from a business and technology perspective, illustrate several success stories and will discuss the best practices in implementing a network of this type.

    When?

    The webinar will take place on Thursday, April 26, at 18.00 CET and will last approximately an hour.

    Who is giving it?

    The seminar will be given by Patricia Fernández Carrelo, head of Marketing at Zyncro.

    Who is it aimed at?

    This Spanish-language webinar is aimed at all those enterprises that are interested in and want to discover the possibilities and advantages of implementing a Private Social Network for socializing with customers and creating loyalty, implementing a social space for communication with customers as well as sharing contents.

    How do I participate?

    To participate in our Spanish-language webinar, you just need to register using this form.

    To find out more about Private Social Networks for achieving customer loyalty, click the following link I want to attend the webinar!

     
  • Mireia Ranera 10:02 am on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , middle management, , , , technology innovation   

    20 tips for a successful Social Network for Employees 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    Editor’s note: We would like to thank Mireia Ranera (Director of HR 2.0 at Íncipy, Digital Strategy and Innovation) who has shared with Zyncro her article, given below.

    Mireia gives her clear tips on how we should make the change needed to get the most out of an Enterprise Social Network.

    20 tips for a successful Social Network for Employees

    We had got used to the idea that all technological innovation (the first computers, cells, Internet, email…) started off initially in companies and slowly was transferred to the private sphere.

    Now the exact opposite is happening. Our employees have smartphones, tablets, computers… that are much more modern and innovative than the ones our companies give them.

    But leaving the devices themselves aside, new communication channels and ways of communicating associated with professional topics are appearing first outside the organization’s walls, such is the case with Professional Social Networks, enabling employees, collaborators… to communicate, relate, exchange experiences, ideas and opinions.

    Now we want to take advantage of what is happening naturally and spontaneously outside the company’s walls and transfer the potential of social networks to inside our companies with internal tools.

    There is no shortage of media, as a multitude of social platforms and software have appeared on the market to be implemented in enterprises, and cloud computing has made things much easier.

    All offer powerful functions like in the open networks: profiles, groups, directories, internal blogs, share spreadsheets, wikis, collaboration tools and communication in real time…

    Really excellent features for promoting interaction among members of a company, helping to strengthen relationships and collaboration, encourage the flow of knowledge and to leverage collective intelligence.

    What’s more, documented studies show that there are important benefits to be obtained from an Enterprise Social Network (McKinsey: “The rise of networked Enterprise: web 2.0 finds its payday”)

    So, it’s hardly surprising that, given this potential, more and more companies are seriously considering implementing social network for exclusive, private use for all its employees.

    But we must not fall into the trap of thinking that if our employees use the social networks outside the company’s, that they will also do so inside. Nor is it a case of simply integrating a powerful internal social software and waiting for our people to start to use it. It is an organizational change, a new internal way of working, communicating and relating to one another that must be guided and stimulated.

    When is an Enterprise Social Network for employees really successful?

    1. When the vision of its benefits starts from General Management.

    2. When this vision is shared without fear and with courage by the other Directors.

    3. When the Directors know how to transfer their support and priority to Middle Management.

    4. When it is communicated and users are involved in the objectives of the initiative and in the real advantages that the new platform will mean for them in their work.

    5. When IT becomes involved, supports it, provides their know-how instead of seeing it as a loss of power.

    6. When a platform that is suitable for the specific objectives and needs of the company is chosen. You need to choose the best tool and don’t see the project as just a matter of buying licenses.

    7. When the platform is so easy to use that it is intuitive and it generates a pleasant, simple and extremely visual user experience.

    8. When the implementation is planned and stimulated, and users’ participation is made dynamic.

    9. When it is implemented without imposition, and users are supported with patience so that they lose their fear, become familiar with it, and learn without pressure.

    10. When you don’t fall in the trap of thinking that users will start to use the tool spontaneously, automatically sharing information and working collaboratively.

    11. When actions are carried out and stimulated to encourage participation, collaboration and help break those initial barriers.

    12. When the results of implementation are measured (level of participation, reading, contributions, comments, interaction, etc.) and you act and reactivate participation based on those results.

    13. When the project is planned and started with pilot groups to learn, experiment and detect possible obstacles and opportunities.

    14. When the know-how learnt is applied and implementation is gradually extended to the rest of the organization.

    15. When users manage to improve aspects of their work with the new platform and achieve things that mail or traditional media couldn’t do.
    16. When specific, top priority and valuable projects for day-to-day operations for employees, teams and the company are transferred to the platform.

    17. When Management also participates actively and shares, exchanges ideas, makes suggestions… with the same transparency as the rest of users.

    18. When employees see their contributions recognized by their superiors (with mentions, thanks, recognition of talent…)

    19. When content of interest is shared and good repository of knowledge is generated that will be useful for everyone.

    20. When, as well as work issues, more personal issues are shared, as they help to humanize relationships and consolidate teams.

     

    My thanks to all my colleagues at Íncipy for helping me select these 20 tips, found from our day-to-day operations in supporting and stimulating Enterprise Social Networks.

    The list is open to all your contributions and suggestions. Will you help us extend it?

     

     
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