One of the most difficult tasks — no, perhaps the most difficult task you can face within an organization is convincing people to change the way they work.
“Yes, I know we used to put it in that system, but now we need to put it in this other system instead.”
Old habits do indeed die hard, and people will continue with the old ways, despite your best efforts to convince them otherwise. Among IT consultants, it’s called The Adoption Problem. It turns out that introducing a better system and better ideas alone aren’t enough to get people working in a more productive and rewarding way. That’s why a lot of the conversation regarding business systems is about change management and “Senior Executive Buy-In” and other such things.
Incidentally, this problem is really not helped by the fact that we appear to have chosen really stupid and embarrassing sounding names for our new systems. “I know we used to send mail, but now you need to post it to the blog.” “Don’t file that document! It belongs on the wiki.”
Ew… Sure, eventually these words will become part of the vernacular as generational change occurs, but there is a lot of work to be done before these Millennials (heaven forbid) will be running all the workplaces in the world.
But I digress — back to the problem. When we started Infovark, this was something Dean and I experienced first hand. We became convinced that the easiest way to get folks to contribute was to minimize the effort that they had to put in, ideally to the point where they didn’t have to adopt any new methods at all.
The system should work with you, rather than forcing you to work with the system.
This meant that Infovark needed to understand the basic information types that businesses use. So we built our system with template types that matched up with familiar everyday things that you already work with. Then we set about finding ways to capture and share them automatically.
In the end, we decided that the five most important sources of information for knowledge workers were these:
Infovark discovers this information by scanning your files and email, and then tries to put these items in context by watching how you work with them. If it guesses right, you’ll have a complete personal information database that can be shared with friends and coworkers — without having to change your work habits.
Over the next week, as we get prepared for the next beta release of Infovark, we’re going to explore these different templates in detail through a series of blog posts, and show how Infovark can help you get things done.