Archive for March, 2016

Hosting a Post-Conference Blab – What I Learned

blab logoBlab is a live video streaming tool with chat box / Instant Messaging.  I hosted my first blab on 15 March 2016 – here’s link to the recording.  I was inspired to do this by an article in February’s ‘Training and Development,’ magazine, published by the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD).  I read the article en-route to Enterprise Collaboration TechFest in Melbourne (29 Feb – 1 Mar).  The author, Helen Blunden, provided suggestions for How to Work Out Loud at a Conference.  Although hosting a blab wasn’t one of her suggestions I’d been looking for a good reason to do this, and could see that it would provide an opportunity to continue the conversation started at TechFest.  I scheduled the blab almost on a whim when I arrived at the conference, and then had to figure out how to make it work.

I hosted a 30 minute to get confident with the tool.  A few friends who had hosted blabs before joined this session.  This was a good move. The tool is easy to use and an Internet search will yield plenty of ‘how-to’ advice.  The hands-on practice allowed me to focus on content rather than mechanics at the real event.

What I learned and some tips

Using the Blab tool

Blab is an easy tool to use.  Search for ‘how-to‘ guides online and run a practice session before your first real event.

I am a Mac user.  I wasn’t able to run blab in my Safari browser (perhaps it can be done, but I couldn’t figure it out).  I used Chrome instead and it worked well.

You can add a custom image to your scheduled blab to help promote it.  I didn’t know this at first and hated seeing my profile photo every time I Tweeted about the blab.  Once I added a custom image I was more confident to promote the blab.  I also felt that the image reflected the topic and could attract people to the blab.

Remember to record your blab.  One of the attendees reminded me 20 minutes after the start of the session.  The next morning I went to a breakfast event where someone told me they had been listening to the recording that morning.  (That blew me away!)  I have since reviewed the recording both to recap content and to reflect on what I would do differently next time.



Hosting a Blab as a post-conference activity

Before you schedule your blab ask the Conference organisers if they would be willing to promote it, and check conference hashtag.

Schedule your blab before the Conference starts so that you can promote it during the Conference.

Include the conference hashtag in the blab title.

Consider multiple time zones when you schedule your blab.

Allow 3-7 days between the conference and your blab so conference attendees can travel home and word of your blab has time to spread .

Promote the blab via social media and word of mouth during and after the conference.  Use the conference hashtag and hashtags relevant to themes and topics discussed at the conference.

Use a mix of general social media posts to promote your blab and targeted posts where you @mention people to invite them.  Target conference speakers and organisers, people active in the conference backchannel, and thought leaders in relevant fields.  Even if they don’t attend they may promote the blab.

Invite speakers to join the blab.  Sharon O’Dea joined mine and it made a lot of difference to have her take part in the conversation.

Within a couple of days on the Conference publish a blog post summarising Conference themes and your takeaways.  Curate links to content published by others about the Conference.  Promote the blab on your post.

Write generic reusable questions to use in your post-conference blab. (Tip – you could answer these in your post-conference blog) Examples of questions:

  • ‘What do you think the key themes of the conference were?’
  • ‘What is the most valuable idea or tip you picked up at the conference?’
  • ‘What’s one thing you will do (or do differently) as a result of attending this conference?’

Write conference-specific questions to generate discussion in your blab.  Refer to your notes about panels, questions from the audience, or questions you had written during the conference for ideas.



Your Ideas?

What other tips or ideas do you have for hosting a post-conference blog?  Please post your thoughts in the comments box.

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Enterprise Collaboration Techfest #ECTF16 My Takeaways

ECTFI attended Enterprise Collaboration Techfest in Melbourne, Australia 29 Feb – 1 March 2016.  I’m hosting a follow-up blab to discuss questions, ideas and themes – on Tuesday 15 March 8.00pm AEST (Sydney time) .  In advance of this blab I wanted to share my personal notes from the sessions I attended.    Keep in mind that I’ve polished these notes a little in order to share them and help seed discussion on the blab, but they’re mostly for my personal use.

Below I’ve listed each session I attended, my key takeaways and any potential personal actions.  Click on the session title to access my session notes in Evernote.  I’ll update some of these notes in the coming week e.g adding images of key slides.

Today’s Digital Collaboration Tools – Connecting Everything to High Value Business Outcomes, Dion Hinchcliffe – Chief Strategy Officer, Adjuvi

My key takeaways:
  1. Difference between coordination, cooperation and collaboration – the need to explain what collaboration is.
  2. Seek to put community in the centre of everything I do
  3. Open up the Doors to Collaboration.  Don’t prescribe who can participate.  Don’t make assumptions on who should be involved.
My potential follow on actions:
  • Get a copy of Social Business by Design – Dions book.  Management strategy guide and handbook on social business.
  • Learn about blockchain
  • Learn about the Internet of things
  • Check out Slack – the ‘one collaboration tool to rule them all’.

Fashioning New Ways of Engaging with Customers and Technology at Burberry, Robyn Randell – VP IT Asia Pacific, Burberry

My key takeaways:

  1. User adoption – small things make a big difference e.g. Show users 1:1 how to use things
  2. Give people the functionality they need to do to their job and they will not want to find more tools
  3. Do things WITH people, not to people

My potential follow on actions:

  • Capability Community – consider introducing a ‘Capability Roundup’ in fortnightly catchups – stories of either Learning/Development wins or failures/opportunities from learners across business unit

Leadership in the New Era of Enterprise Collaboration – From Dictator to Collaboration, Paul Miller – CEO and Founder, Digital Workplace Group

My key takeaways:

  1. Power centres are moving from physical to digital workplace. If you’re invisible in digital channels you will become invisible in the organisation.
  2. Endeavour to create functional, beautiful digital workplaces.
  3. For most of us if our physical workplace were designed like our virtual workplaces we would refuse to work there.

My potential follow on actions

This session was a call to action to create digital workspaces with as much care and thought as we create physical workspaces.

  • Look critically at our community hubs and other digital spaces – how could we make them more beautiful and easy to use, more like a consumer experience?

Putting the Narrative to Work, Ethan McCarty – Global head of Employee Communications, Bloomberg

My key takeaways:

  • Understand the reason that a collaborative culture is important to your organisation.  Collaboration is not an end in itself.
  • To build a culture of collaboration select people who value collaboration and encourage them to decide how to work together
  • Recognise collaboration as a leadership skill.

Conversation Cafe run by James Dellow – General Manager, Ripple Effect Group

James Dellow stood in at short notice to run this session when scheduled session was cancelled at short notice.  Session was run as Roundtable discussion with some participants rotating between tables at designated points during sessions.  Questions were based on some of themes emerging at the conference on Day 1:
  1. Who should own collaboration?
  2. Should we worry about ‘shadow’ IT?
  3. How do you keep collaboration on the management agenda?


The Four Pillars of a Collaboration Enterprise, Silvio Damiano – CEO, Founder, About My Brain Institute

My key takeaways

Session looked at how individual leaders could improve collaboration through their personal trust-building behaviours.

The 4 pillars at an individual level to drive collaboration are:

  1. Inspiration – Become the source of inspiration, not source of desperation  – leave people with more energy in every encounter
  2. Communication – Improve the way you communicate
  3. Generosity – Grow your generous side
  4. Courage – Have courage to address the issues that need to be addressed

My potential actions

  • Read biographies to study how generosity looks like in the life of others.
  • Use reflection tool on quality of relationships to think about quality of some of my key relationships and how I could improve them in order to improve collaboration (tool is in image at end of my session notes)

Human Centered Digital Workplace – Creating Digital Worlds Where We Want to Work, Paul Miller – CEO and Founder, Digital Workplace Group

My key takeaways:

Our Digitial world needs to be seen as a new dimension of human experience and have characteristics of beauty.  Digital workplace needs to be well architected and maintained.  It should be welcoming and functional.

My potential actions:

  1. Improve governance of digital workplace in my organisations – Create good governance so content is accurate, reliable, timely.
  2. Read Good Governance Practice Guide – Digital Workplace Group eBook

Using Community to take Enterprise Collaboration to the Next Level,  Dion Hinchcliffe – Chief Strategy Office, ADJUVI

My key takeaways:

  1. Community management is an essential skill set in organisations.
  2. Community management is maturing as a practice.
  3. Community Managers speed adoption

My potential actions:

  • Update ‘business case’ for Community Management in my own organisation using content, research and case studies shared in this session
  • Develop community playbook and roadmaps for all communities.
  • Look at community success metrics which are emerging

Communications Strategy or Collaboration Strategy? Hint: Employees Demand Both,  Ethan McCarty – Global Head of Employee Communications, Bloombergs

My key takeaways

Content and people were two key themes that stood out to me in this session.

  1. Meaningful content is important
  2. People->Process->Platform (in that order)
  3. “Killer app” is our employees – especially in connecting with external world. Encourage them to share content in days that are appropriate for them

My potential actions

  • Develop content strategy for my Capability Community.
  • Include content strategy in Community Playbook.
  • Figure out how to access and use SharePoint data
  • Investigate Design Thinking, Lean Start-Up and Agile – how can I use these in my work?
  • How can I encourage Capability Community members to share content across our organisation in order to build learning culture?

Delivering a Truly Collaborative Workforce, Sean Hallahan – Managing Director, TATA Global Beverages Australia

My key takeaways:

Note – although the Tata team is small (40 employees) the leadership approaches discussed could be adopted at team level within a larger organisation.

  1. Focus on the “human” (team) first then allow them to choose their technology.
  2. Leader as host rather than leader as hero – important mindset shift
  3. Intangible things people want from leaders

My potential actions:

  • Read Margaret Wheatley Leadership in the Age of Complexity: From Hero to Host
  •  View Simon Sinek Ted Talk on ‘Why’ again
  • Consider whether my leadership delivers on the ‘intangible things people want from leaders’

Enterprise Collaboration TechFest Final Panel – Delivering Digital Workplace Strategies for Competitive Advantage

My key takeaways:

  1. Strategies to gain executive sponsorship (see session notes for list)
  2. Utility is the #1 driver of adoption

My potential actions:

  1. Develop 30 second elevator pitch on collaboration in my organisation
  2. Prepare 2-3 page presentation pitching collaboration for my organisation
  3. Community Playbook – look at notes on ROI from panel for ideas on outcomes and metrics
  4. When engaging with a new team on collaboration find out what their business problem is and the metrics around it

Other Conference Resources

Summary of key ideas and sketchnotes posted by Rebecca Jackson

Post conference blab where I discuss some of the ideas and questions from#ECTF16 with Sharon O’Dea and Sarah Jones

Archive of all tweets during conference that used #ECTF16 – thanks to Bruno Winck for creating this



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