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Listening Action Research Project Report

  1. 1. Listening Action Research Project Report Enabling pervasive social listening sustainably within IBM’s Marketing and Communications practice August, 2012 Rowan Hetherington Digital Business Transformation Professional IBM Corporate Marketing
  2. 2. Contents 1. Introduction 2. Summary of findings 3. Findings 4. Next steps Appendix – What is Action Research? – The method – Learnings about the method – Data behind finding 4: Hybrid resource model for listening 2 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  3. 3. Introduction: Background  Marketing is undergoing transformation. There are several external drivers for change that impact IBM’s Marketing and Communications (M&C) function. These include the emergence of Web 2.0 and social media, changes in how prospects/clients source information, make decisions and are influenced. To maintain fit between this continually evolving external environment and our internal marketing operations, we need to develop new skills and organisational capabilities.  The M&C function does not yet have a pervasive open information system that allows information from the external market environment (via web and social media) to be scanned by everyday decision makers within M&C globally.  For this project and report, I focussed on the task of social (listening) research defined as research that involves: – monitoring and mining information from the social web – identifying influencers and Subject Matter Experts – discovering what is being said – gathering insight into defined constituencies (interest based groups) to inform the mix of content, engagement methods, media and platforms selected – measure sentiment and volume.  Insights and opportunities identified via listening could be used to improve client experience and engagement, including IBM’s capability to personalize. © 2012 IBM Corporation
  4. 4. Introduction: About the project About the project: This report is based on findings from an Action Research ‘Listening Learning’ Project undertaken over four weeks in July 2012. Objectives: a. To support participants to learn and apply the skill of listening b. To better understand what it would take for participants to create a habit of listening c. To better understand the business value listening can create d. To gather insight into about how sustainable, pervasive listening could be enabled sustainably within M&C The methodology was aligned to the principles of IBM’s cross functional, ongoing research and engagement (C.O.R.E.) approach. Participants defined business objectives upfront, then explored findings through three lenses: ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘where’. They used free listening tools and developed an inventory of findings. In the final week they were encouraged to derive patterns. This project was an offering promoted on global digital skills workshop calls that were run in partnership by Brand System and the cross-M&C Digital Community of Practice in June, 2012. Call attendees were offered the opportunity to join the project to apply the new skill of listening to a business objective they would personally identify. © 2012 IBM Corporation
  5. 5. Introduction: Project Team © 2012 IBM Corporation
  6. 6. Introduction: Data sources Findings were based on data gathered and triangulated from the following sources: – Weekly polls (polls) – Participant’s ‘workings and findings logs’ (log) – Discussion during weekly group calls* (call) – Emails from participants (email) – Questions, comments and updates via an IBM Connections Activities section (activities) – Project completion survey (survey) *Two calls were held each week, one for US/EU participants, plus one for EU/AP participants. © 2012 IBM Corporation
  7. 7. Summary of findings 1.An informal team structure can support IBMers to apply the skill and create a habit of listening 2.Listening can contribute “significant value” to the business and “should be a key activity that informs our other marketing and communications activities” 3.Deriving patterns from listening is likely to require dedicated, specialist skill 4.Listening needs to be embedded into Business As Usual (BAU) to realize business value © 2012 IBM Corporation
  8. 8. Finding 1 An informal team structure can support IBMers to apply the skill and create a habit of listening “The Listening Learning Project was an effective method of enabling me to apply the new digital skill ‘listening’”: 60% strongly agreed, 40% agreed (source: survey) All 16 participants performed listening. Average time listening remained constant at over 2 days per week over the four project at 10 to 15 mins listening per day or more (source: polls) All participants who completed the survey (12) plan to sustain the activity of listening. Of these, three volunteered to lead calls to keep the informal group going (source: survey) – The group will continue via a Listening Community of Practice (CoP) within the broader Digital CoP. – In the period between these two supporting informal team structures existing, participants did not manage to maintain the habit of listening. Theory and logic supports the finding that an informal team structure fits: – Listening is a task with many complex and uncertain variables; Developing this skill requires second order skills such as the ability to think creatively, improvise and make ongoing adjustments. These abilities can be encouraged by the support of an informal network of people e.g. a learning-driven pilot group with no hierarchical authority or mandate. For instance, a self managing (informal) work team or a CoP made up of people with deep concerns about practical problems and an openness to experiment (Senge & Goodman, 1999 p39-41). – The challenge of the rate of technological change (sites and tools) can be addressed by a group of practitioners each testing and learning, then collaborating to share what works for different contingencies. *Senge & Goodman, 1999 p39 ‘Generating Profound Change’, The dance of change: the challenges of sustaining momentum in learning organisations, © 2012 IBM Corporation London, Nicholas Brealey, pp39-64
  9. 9. Finding 2 Listening can contribute “significant value” to the business and “should be a key activity that informs our other marketing and communications activities” After applying listening for four weeks, the majority of participants’ answered 1: (Source: polls) This is consistent an earlier learning: Representatives from all eight of the M&C disciplines stated in Feb-March 2012 that they see value in performing listening to meet their business objectives. © 2012 IBM Corporation
  10. 10. Finding 2 (cont) Business value generated by participants during this four week project included: identifying an event IBM should participate in (making a new market in Africa) identifying new language used by the market which could be used in marketing materials finding potential clients and influencers finding market and competitive insights “Social listening should be leveraged to be the headlights to the business – People should be imparted training and motivation, process & tools” (source: survey) “Listening does appear to have merit as a forward-looking service Marketing & Communications could offer to IBM. Like social focus groups, digital listening teams could be deployed around a question about making a market, using a language within a country, to do targeted listening and produce recommendations. If warranted, host organization could continue the listening or pursue other means to make or develop the market.” (source: Tim’s log) “Listening could be very important on my daily work to identify relevant clients for the center I work for – this could be actioned by all the people in my organization that work in the Forum Center” (source: survey) © 2012 IBM Corporation
  11. 11. Finding 3 Deriving patterns from listening is likely to require dedicated, specialist skill In order to be confident that content or sentiment found is representative, we must find and successfully analyse patterns. This triangulation would back up actionable recommendations The participants from this project were broadly representative of M&C (slide 5). During the four week project, most participants did not reach the point of finding patterns in their listening from which they could back up recommendations. The reasons they cited in the project completion survey included needing: more time, a higher level of skill in using free tools, and/or access to paid tools Participants’ confidence in their ability to listen fell when they were encouraged to derive patterns in the final week 24-31 July. (Source: polls) © 2012 IBM Corporation
  12. 12. Finding 4 Listening needs to be embedded into Business As Usual (BAU) to realize business value To respond effectively to what we found, we will need to make and align changes in people, process, policies and platforms. People • M&C staff members need time and skill to apply listening, plus access to additional capabilities (more specialised skills e.g. listening teams, plus paid tools ) where required, for example to derive patterns and trends or for large scale listening. Processes • There is no one-size-fits-all process for listening. The cycle of exploring, improvising and learning is part of the skill of applying listening. • Practitioners need to learn which tools to use, based on multiple contingencies, through experience. Use social • Considering the ‘who’, the ‘what’ or the ‘where’ and developing an inventory of findings was found to be a useful approach. technologies to • Processes are required to incorporate findings from listening into scan Marketing and Communications plans and implementation. Client experience the external environment • Platforms that enable guidance to be communally developed and M&C results Platforms updated would be useful. For example: Which listening tools to use, based on degree of fit to multiple contingencies • Coordination and integration of listening efforts would be valuable (e.g. minimize duplication of listening efforts, share what works and what doesn’t) Policies • The social computing guidelines and business conduct guidelines cover responding and engaging. Additional policies may be required over time for listening specifically, including which IBM tools to use Inputs M&C system Outputs © 2012 IBM Corporation
  13. 13. Next steps 1. Set up a listening Community of Practice (CoP), with a communal Wiki space to: – Facilitate the coordination and integration of listening efforts, for example providing open access to all listening reports and ongoing listening efforts from one place. – Enable people who are listening to learn from each other in a sustained, ongoing way. – Collaboratively manage information and materials such as a list of listening tools, describing the on degree to which each tool fits multiple contingencies (Many different tools are available to listen. New tools emerge frequently. Tools can vary by country and language. Many are free, some are paid. Some require a higher skill level than others.) – Make available short “How to" audio-visual webcasts or videos that provide practical know-how about how to use specific listening tools, accessible via relevant keywords/tags. §Encourage more individuals in M&C to acquire and apply the skill of listening. Listening is represented in skill descriptions for M&C (#10), Brand System and other disciplines, plus Demand Programs. – Run the listening learning project again for M&C team members who want to learn to apply the skill of listening (considering learnings from slides 17 & 18). Next project is for SSA (Oct-Nov 2012). §Test whether the Action Research format used for this project is effective in assisting M&C team members to apply other new skills where the contingencies fit (e.g. complex task, multiple, uncertain variables) §Present the insights listed under finding 4 to IBMers interested in understanding how sustainable, pervasive listening could be embedded into M&C business as usual to produce a better client experience and M&C results. © 2012 IBM Corporation
  14. 14. APPENDIX • What is Action Research? • The method • Learnings about the method • Data behind finding 4: Hybrid resource model for listening 14 © 2012 IBM Corporation
  15. 15. What is Action Research? “(Participative action research) rejects the myth of professionally trained experts as the only legitimate pursuers of knowledge” (Gummesson, 2000 p118).  The participants were ideally placed to research what it would take to apply listening, as they were applying it. Zuber-Skerritt and Perry (2002, p.173) suggest participative action research comprises three key elements where a group of people: 1.Work together 2.Are involved in the cycle of planning, acting, observing and reflecting on their work more deliberately and systematically than usual; and 3.Produce a report of that experience (such as a thesis). Action research has two integral components: action and research. §Action was required for learning, because listening involves tacit skill that can only truly be learned through application. This required a behaviour change, i.e. participants applying the skill of listening. §Rigorous research was required in order to draw conclusions about whether the project was effective in relation to its objectives. *Gummesson, E. 2000, ‘Action research/action science’, in Qualitative methods in management research, 2nd edn, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, California. pp116-123) © 2012 IBM Corporation **Zuber-Skerritt, O. & Perry, C. 2002, ‘Action research within organisations and university thesis writing’, Organisational Learning, vol 9, no 4, pp.171-179
  16. 16. The Method 3 July Set up call 1 Take action Attend 30 minute weekly group call 3  Participants apply listening for 10-15 mins per day 10, 17, 24, 31 July (4 weeks)  Report back what you found, experienced, learned and any blockers, questions  Discuss as a group (accelerated learning) Action  Instructions will be provided for the next week during the call learning cycles Each Each Week day (four cycles) Document your findings and experiences 2  Participants complete the ‘workings and findings log’ while listening (template provided)  Post any questions in the Activities section 7 Aug Presentation of project findings call © 2012 IBM Corporation
  17. 17. Learnings about the method 1. Group sharing calls occurred weekly – this 2. The thirty minute group sharing calls were was about the right frequency (83%) about the right length (75%) (Source: survey) (Source: survey) 3. 100% participants agreed that “The call facilitation effectively balanced: a. the sharing of content expertise with b. participants sharing their own experiences and learnings” (Source: survey) © 2012 IBM Corporation
  18. 18. Learnings about the method 4. 10-15 mins per day for listening was too short (58%). Participants would have liked to have been able to listen for longer, however 10-15 min (Source: survey) per day was recommended for this project as they were applying listening on top of their formal role: “15 minutes per day is very short!… Once you get started <with listening> you could go on and on” (source: Tim on a call) “But 15 mins is good because it feels achievable” (source: Nicky on a call) “People can commit to (15 mins) as part of a busy job. However if listening were a formal part of our job, 30 minutes would be a more meaningful time to dedicate to the activity, to allow us to get in the right 'listening state of mind.” (anonymous survey response) “If the objective was to learn how social listening works, the length is ok. If the objective is to provide a valuable final output, we need more time. Or more tools :-)” (anonymous survey response) “15 min at day is not time enough to listen. Social networks are updated every day with new contents, so there are a lot of information to analyze.” (source: Pedro’s log) “For a comprehensive and meaningful activity, 15 minutes a day is not enough” (source: Alessandra’s log) “Should be at least 1 hour” (anonymous survey response) “I think more time needs to be spent upfront - dedicating a couple of hours/day(s) to get your head around it all before insights can start to be gained from 10-15 mins of activity.” (anonymous survey response) “We need a lot of time to perform social listening activity seriously. All phases are time consuming: looking for the right people, finding out where they're active, what they're talking about, how they interact with others, which kind of language they use, who's in their network, etc.” (source: Tiago’s log) “Ideally (I’d like) 30 mins allocated to listening per day, or 1h+ per day to start, then 10-15 mins per day once search feeds are © 2012 IBM Corporation set up.” (source: call)
  19. 19. Data behind finding 4: Hybrid resource model for listening Pros, cons and recommendations discussed for the three resource options: Individual IBMers in M&C function Specialist listening teams within Agencies IBM (language based) Pros The larger the number of M&C team members able to directly engage with Increased ability for global coordination. Access to information from the external environment, the larger the surface area of the (source: call) additional / rare paid function - allowing more people to identify and respond to opportunities (Worley tools / skills / & Lawler 2006 in ‘Designing organisations that are built to change’*). Specialist knowledge and skills. capabilities. (source: call) Immediate access to market insight, at the fingertips of planners and decision Increased likelihood of specialist teams makers. Creates ability to respond rapidly. being granted access to paid tools than individuals, due to efficiencies. (source: Several participants reported ‘stumbling across’ valuable related information, call) that an agency or hub may not have included in listening report results. Listening can creating an environment Listening is a natural extension of desk research. “The line between gathering where marketing process innovation social intelligence by listening to conversations in the online world and desk can be developed, i.e. ‘built to change’*, research (for example using Google search) is often blurred. “ (source: call) so it seems important that listening . capability is built internally rather than relying on agencies Cons Lack of time in current job designs, given the existing formal tasks that are Less immediacy than the individual Briefing the work and rewarded. “Ideally (I’d like) 30 mins allocated to listening per day, or 1h+ per listening themselves. waiting for results is day to start, then 10-15 mins per day once search feeds are set up.” (source: time consuming. call) (sources: paraphrased from Lack of coordination between individuals who may be performing the same anonymous survey task. response, plus call) Lack of specialist, up to date knowledge & skills. Risk: outsourcing a strategically Lack of access to paid tools. important capability Recomme “Make social listening an ongoing BAU part of the M&C job role” “make it “Create language based specialist Agencies can offer ndation formally recognised.” (source: call) listening teams to be used for complex access to specific tasks that require specialist skills tools and skills as Everyone in M&C needs to be able to ‘reach into’ the world of data available via and/or paid tools. E.g. Monitor ongoing needed. web & social, to gather information from the external environmental that will brand sentiment, find patterns to test Agencies might be assist them in making everyday decisions and to engage with prospects and validity of individual IBMers’ findings.” useful in teaching us clients, to improve the client experience. (source: paraphrased from call) and building capabilities. (call) © 2012 IBM Corporation *Worley & Lawler 2006 in ‘Designing organisations that are built to change’, MIT Sloan Management Review, vol 48, no. 1, pp.19-23
  20. 20. Comments or questions? Please contact Rowan Hetherington @RoHetherington

Editor's Notes

  • Point 2: Everyone in M&amp;C needs to be able to ‘reach into’ the world of data available via web &amp; social, to gather information from the external environmental that will assist them in making everyday decisions and engaging with prospects and clients. This information should not be ‘controlled’ by a few, only accessible for a few, or stuck within siloes. It needs to be accessible to anyone within M&amp;C (&amp; ultimately IBM), on demand. Point 3: Some example business objectives for listening (social intelligence research): Monitor online comments about a brand / person / keyword Mine social media to find potential sales leads / clients and stay connected with them Identify subject matter experts / influencers and discover what is being said Gather insight into a defined constituency (interest based group): Find out how many people are talking about specific keywords online, understand natural language used in conversation (to inform content development and search marketing), where they are talking (to inform the marketing mix), and what they are saying (to inform product development, message development, response plan etc) Measure activity about a brand / person / keyword over time. For example to determine how an ad campaign, product launch, event, digital campaign or social initiative has impacted the way people talk about a brand, product, or expert online If we don’t do this we may fall behind our competitors: In McKinsey’s Quarterly November 2011 survey “How social technologies are extending the organisation”, 40% respondents stated that they use social networking to complete the process of scanning the external environment. “Many respondents believe that entirely new processes could arise if barriers to use fall.” This external information suggests that if IBM does not build this capability quickly, ground may be lost to competitors who do. IBM is talking about how we do this for clients externally: SportTechie reports on the results of IBM&apos;s analysis of millions of public tweets generated throughout the US Open tennis tournament. Internet Evolution looks at how IBM is helping the US Tennis Association analyze social sentiment at the US Open. InformationWeek examines how sentiment analysis is helping companies with brand analysis.
  • Participant (Discipline, Role): Susanne Janssen/Switzerland/IBM@IBMCH, BSWE, Brand System &amp; Workforce Enablement Leader, IBM Europe Luca Tentarelli1/Italy/IBM, DP, Digital Marketing Focal Point for DP Consolidated Timothy R Keeley/China/IBM, WE, SNR Workforce &amp; Field Enablement PROF (Exec) Pedro Garcia Prieto/Spain/IBM, BS, IBM Forum IT Specialist Ranjini N Rao/India/IBM, SWG, TeleWeb Marketing Manager,SWG Benjamin J Montague/Australia/IBM, GBS, GBS Graduate Consultant Charu Babbar/India/IBM, GMC, Services Digital Program Manager - Global Marketing Center Susie Wong/Singapore/IBM, M&amp;C, ASEAN Digital Leader Anuradha Roychowdhury/India/IBM, WFE, Communications Manager-India Software Lab Alessandra Pollicini/Ireland/IBM, GTS, Communications Partner, Services Integration Hub WEST Tiago Ferreira Bueno/Italy/IBM, MDI, Market Development Advisor - Italy Stephanie Rasmussen/Austin/IBM, STG, Workforce and Field Enablement Communications Alicia Gonzalez Sanabria/Spain/IBM, HR (Business Integration &amp; Strategy), IBM Madrid CoE HR Professional Development &amp; Career Advisor Nuria Flengas Serrano/Spain/Contr/IBM, HR (Business Integration &amp; Strategy), IBM Integrated Supply Chain, Client &amp; Transformation Nicky Parkinson/UK/IBM, BS, WW Brand System Strategy Kieran Cannistra/Atlanta/IBM, BS (Digital Strategy &amp; Development), Senior digital content strategist   Technical expert (advisor): Ranjun Chauhan/Costa Mesa/IBM, BS (Digital Strategy &amp; Development), Digital &amp; Social Intelligence Strategy   Learning (action research) project facilitator:  Rowan Hetherington/Australia/IBM, BS (Digital Strategy &amp; Development), Digital Strategy Enablement, Business Transformation Professional. Consistent with the concept of action research, I played multiple roles. I was the Change strategist and implementer, designing and leading the project, plus recipient / participant in that I participated in the action steps myself. I also played the role of researcher.
  • Source data: “ The best thing (about the project) was looking at other people’s progress and challenges, comparing experiences. I learned a lot from that.” (source: anonymous survey response) “ I learned a lot by listening to what other people were sharing and looking at their log-books loaded in Activities.” (source: anonymous survey response) &lt;The project&gt; “Made me very excited, as this was a new experience to me, I found it very interesting and people were helpful and available to share experiences and tips” (anonymous survey response) “ Great value cause it’s a hands-on activity that doesn&apos;t simply provide a guide but makes us learn by doing” (source: anonymous survey response) “ I think the whole concept of a listening project is fab - and you have done a wonderful job of making an idea real - I think it has the potential to be a great technique for applying learning we should use more. I&apos;d like to figure out how we help more people to do similar projects - and how we encourage more people to participate in future listening learning projects.” (source: anonymous survey response) Note: this style of participative action research fits if the skill to be learned is complex, uncertain and has contingency factors (e.g. different: a. business objectives, b. environmental factors such as local market factors and c. levels of readiness including practitioner time availability, commitment and skill.)
  • There seems to be consensus about the value listening can contribute to the business. The business value that was generated by participants during this project came in a variety of forms, based on their different business objectives for listening. Value included: identifying an event IBM should participate in (making a new market in Africa), identifying new language used by the market which could be used in marketing materials, finding potential clients and influencers and finding market and competitive insights. Source data From participant’s logs: “ Talking with a few colleagues about the activity I am doing, I realised that effective listening (and sharing how to do it) would bring value to client teams by equipping them with additional insights about their clients. When you deal with a client, you can run the risk of merely relying on what they tell you – which is not always the full story. Listening would help gather the bigger picture.” (source: Alessandra’s log) “ Listening does appear to have merit as a forward-looking service Marketing &amp; Communications could offer to IBM. Like social focus groups, digital listening teams could be deployed around a question about making a market, using a language within a country, to do targeted listening and produce recommendations. If warranted, host organization could continue the listening or pursue other means to make or develop the market .” (source: Tim’s log) From the project completion survey: “ I don&apos;t think listening and its value are fully understood - at least, not in all areas of the MCC function. Listening is the new Marketing Intelligence (or at least a strong part of it) but it should not just be limited to Market Insights teams .” (source: anonymous survey response) “ Social listening should be leveraged to be the headlights to the business – People should be imparted training and motivation, process &amp; tools” (source: anonymous survey response) “ Listening could be very important on my daily work to identify relevant clients for the center I work for – this could be actioned by all the people in my organization that work in the Forum Center” (source: anonymous survey response) “ The real value of a listening activity comes with time, monitoring our target and understanding when variations occur in order to act promptly” (source: anonymous survey response) In contrast, in the project completion survey, only one third of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they had generated business value from listening over the four week project. When I investigated the anomaly between participant’s conclusion and own generation of results, consensus was that a timeframe longer than four weeks, plus access to skilled listening resources with paid tools may be required to fully leverage the opportunities of listening. This consensus is supported by an earlier finding from one NA Intelligent Listening pilot that started in 2009 and generated 6.7M in opportunities identified in 2010, through over 1,000 discussions (next slide)
  • Bullet 2: This is consistent with the N.A. Intelligent Listening pilot generating 6.7M USD in 2010, its’ second year (2.3M USD the year before in 2009) Source data: “ 15mins a day did not provide enough time to develop comprehensive analysis.” (source: Alessandra’s log) Updates from analysts are often contradictory to what I found during listening - analysts tend to report patterns, whereas what I find when listening tends to be quite extreme “ (source: Ben on a call). “ &lt;Listeners should always ask the question:&gt; &quot; Is this content / sentiment representative?” (source: call) One possibility is that people are motivated to post by strong emotion, either positive or negative. Another factor to consider is how reliable the listening tools are. Different tools use different methods and therefore generate different findings. A participant questioned, “ Is the common assumption that paid tools are more reliable accurate?” (source: call) In the third week of listening, several participants had breakthroughs, however valid patterns were still elusive: “ Really happy cause I started to find interesting profiles in my listening activity today, it’s starting to work!!!! &quot; (source: Tiago on a call) “ This week I started to connect the dots - I started to come across the same content via different searches. I still don&apos;t feel I can make sense of the information and derive patterns from it, but I&apos;m starting to accurately define the content and get my arms around it.” (source: Alicia’s update on Activities + call) “ Plenty of titbits swirling around but need an angle to corral them into useful information for IBM.” (source: Tim’s log)
  • Free tools exist that allow pervasive input from the external market environment (via web and social media) to be scanned by everyday decision makers within M&amp;C globally. HOWEVER, the practice of listening alone would be ineffective if the system of Marketing &amp; Communications (i.e. it’s operations of people, processes, platforms &amp; policies) is not aligned to take advantage of this new capability. Listening will only lead to improved results if we have the people, processes, platforms and policies (or capabilities and systems) in place to respond to what is found. Transformation will need to be driven from the top down as well as from the bottom up (ideally a holistic, integrated, systematic approach) While emergent change in the form of an informal group has been shown to be effective in supporting application of the listening skill (slide 8), a directive management approach will be required to enable and support the development of the listening capability from the top down, including formal resource allocation, information systems and process innovation that can transform the input of listening findings into better M&amp;C system outputs (results).
  • Speakers notes for point 1: Listening CoP could be a platform through which learning is accelerated. This will support the sustained application of listening by project participants (all 12 that completed the final survey plan to continue the practice of listening) – as well as support others practicing listening within IBM Tools – create an editable matrix of which tools suit which objective, media type (based on constituency and geo digital usage) and skill level.
  • Zuber-Skerritt and Perry – point 3: Two reports were produced: Rowan Hetherington produced an academic report which was her final assessment in the Australian Graduate School of Management ‘Graduate Certificate in Change Management’ program. Rowan also produced this report, to be presented within IBM, with input from participants.
  • I used a modified version of the action learning cycle. The method utilized two types of intervention: Documenting their findings and experiences in a ‘workings and findings log’. Group sharing and feedback on weekly conference calls. Both intervention types enabled reflection and learning. One participant suggested this type of participative project is “ a great technique for applying learning we should use more ”. I agree, so long as the contingencies fit. For example, the learning task to be explored must be complex. Also, contingency factors that affect the commitment of participants should be taken into account, for example, the leader’s credibility, trustworthiness and expertise and their ability to create positive social dynamics. ABOUT THE PROCESS: Taking action: Listening for 10-15 min per day was recommended (over, say listening for 1hr per week) for two reasons: When searching on a keyword that is used frequently, we are likely to find different things each day (different talking points / events / hot topics etc. Data from one day won’t be representative). The practice of listening 10-15 mins per day forms a sustainable habit. Applying the skill requires taking regular action Documenting your findings and experiences in the ‘workings and findings log’ is critical : So participants can look back at what they found in previous weeks, reflect on the questions they had and the answers found – and put themselves in position to report on your week’s listening during the weekly calls (if the call is on Tuesday, they may have forgotten what they found on Wednesday of the previous week). I provided a template to document these things. IMPORTANT: This is about taking a scientist’s perspective! Even trivial experiences should be logged in order to enable patterns to emerge. Questions could be posted in the ‘Activities’ section (as well as in the workings &amp; findings log). This facilitates quick answers from the SME monitoring the Activities section. Each 30 min call is an important check point – an opportunity to get the information for the next week to support achievement of the participants’ selected business objective. Also: to check whether they are on track as well as keep confidence and momentum up The calls are an opportunity for participants learn from each other – to get guidance and ideas from the group The final call was on 7 Aug. During this call, I reported back to participants the first iteration of the combined, aggregated findings from the project. I requested feedback and input on that call to gain additional perspectives and ‘sanity checks’ before sharing the results.
  • Additional for point 2: “ Time on the calls seemed to fly. Definitely the right size of group in order to build a collaborative atmosphere.” (approx. 6 participants per group) (source: anonymous survey response)
  • Additional insights about the method: “ &lt;I’d recommend to&gt; Kick off with a longer, more structured ‘teach-like’ education call to get everyone started un the right direction.” (source: anonymous survey response) “ &lt;I’d like more&gt; Formal education on the main social media searching engines and how to maximize their use. Increased coaching on how to capture data from conversations in a meaningful way, i.e. if I follow conversations every day of a set of keywords, how can I categorise them without making my file become a volume of data and text” (source: anonymous survey response) Regarding confidence falling in week 4 (per slide 11), two recommendations: first, make the next project we run five weeks instead of four, to allow participants one more week to tackle finding patterns. Second, test whether the word ‘patterns’ is off-putting for marketers. Would the word ‘trends’ be better?
  • A hybrid resource model would involve individuals in M&amp;C being up-skilled so they are able to find information specific to their business objectives, plus access being available to funded specialist listening teams where findings require validation (finding patterns and applying skilled analysis) or the listening objective is large scale.