Friday, September 18, 2009

Quick thoughts on motivation

Some great minds talked recently about extrinsic and intrinsic motivations with regards to designing social systems a la leaderboards. The notion of extrinsic and intrinsic motivations also came up in some posts (part 1 and part 2) talking about motivations of volunteers.

Personally I think we are at our best when our internal and external motivations are balanced. The challenge is getting there.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

What nonprofits can learn from the recent outages on Twitter, Facebook

Nonprofits (and any organization) can learn a lot from the recent outage on Twitter and Facebook.

1. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket

Much like the websites of Facebook and Twitter being a potential single source of failure, is your organization at risk?

Some questions to consider:
  • How diversified is your funding stream?
  • If a key member of your board, staff, etc fell ill or left, would the organization still survive?
  • How diversified is your social media strategy?

2. Foster innovation of your service(s)

Despite the news that Twitter and Facebook were down, I experienced no problems getting information through TweetDeck (where I manage both my FB status updates and Twitter messages). Had these sites only relied on their website as the only way for people like me to access their services, I would have been out of luck. By opening themselves up to the innovation of others, my service was uninterrupted.

Some questions to consider:
  • Does your organization create opportunities for people to build upon the experiences you offer -- perhaps in a manner you did not anticipate or plan?
  • How do you encourage people to engage with your experiences in a way that is meaningful for them?
3. Have contingency plans

I don't know the details of what Twitter and Facebook are doing/have done in light of the recent outages but I think it is safe to assume they have mechanisms in place to deal with this in terms of restoring service, communication, etc.

Some questions to consider:
  • What is the plan for your organization?
  • How up to date is your plan?
  • Do the people that need to know/execute said plan aware of it? Or does it sit on some shelf or in some folder on your computer?
4. No matter what, learn from your mistakes

If by chance none of the lessons mentioned previously have been applied, it's not the end of the world. Each challenge that confronts us is an opportunity for improvement and learning.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Community change through agile software principles?

I finished day one of "Certified Scrum Product Owner Training" and I am reminded of why I like agile development. While it can do great things for products, I really appreciate the community building aspects of it. Taking a closer look at the values of agile... me, these have direct parallels to community work.

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools -- people and their interactions with one another are pretty much at the center of any community.

Working software over comprehensive documentation -- Ok, so community work is not software. That being said, I interpret this as focusing on what we can do together (build working software, communities, interactions, etc) rather than focusing on how people think we get there (detailed documentation, program initiatives, etc)

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation -- again communities aren't always made of of customers. To me, I see this as really getting all of the people involved in decisions and issues that impact them.

Responding to change over following a plan -- communities are dynamic, as are product roadmaps. You have to adapt to be relevant whether in business or in our communities on a day to day basis.

I love it when my work and civic life blur.

Loosely related...
Achieving that flow state for user experiences
When individual interests and the public good intersect

mmm, johnnycakes

Just ran across this video clip of Obama talking about Dixie Kitchen's johnnycakes. Man, I miss those. Maybe next time I'm in Chicago....