And So It Begins … By Shutting the Gate

That’s one way to deal with the requirements of GDPR (hat tip, BBC):

A number of high-profile US news websites are temporarily unavailable in Europe after new European Union rules on data protection came into effect.

The Chicago Times and LA Times were among those posting messages saying they were currently unavailable in most European countries.


Lee Enterprises publishes 46 daily newspapers across 21 states.

Its statement read: “We’re sorry. This site is temporarily unavailable. We recognise you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore cannot grant you access at this time.”

Read more: GDPR: US news sites blocked to EU users over data protection rules

And So It Begins

May 25, 2018. It’s a date that’s always been “coming” and recently “coming quickly.” While all future dates are like that, May 25 this year was particularly interesting because that’s when the new European data protection law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) switches into enforcement mode. Organisations have had just over two years of grace since GDPR was ratified by the 28 members of the EU (by specifically, being published into the official journal, etc.), and now its requirements are supposed to be met by all organisations to whom it applies.

I have just attended a two-day workshop on GDPR in the context of how a tech vendor can help customer organisations become compliant. There was lots of cool technology on show, but answers to the fundamental questions were elusive. For example, to which organisations does it apply (in New Zealand)? For which people does it apply, and when? How do you meet the critical requirement of differentiating personal data according to the legal basis under which it was collected … and how does this flow-through into data subject’s rights to access their data, have it deleted, and more.

Interesting questions. Challenging times. And so the real work now begins … what exactly is expected, what will be taken to court, who will be fined and under what conditions, and more.

Notes from the Keynote at the SharePoint Conference 2018

On the Silverside blog, I share five key takeaways from the SharePoint Conference keynote earlier this week:

The SharePoint Conference North America 2018 in Las Vegas is the place to be this week if SharePoint is critical to the collaboration strategy at your organisation. For those not able to attend in person, a complimentary webcast of the two-hour keynote was streamed live, but of course, you miss the hundreds of sessions on offer during the three days of the conference.

During the keynote, Jeff Teper and his team recounted recent updates to SharePoint Online, previewed coming changes, and made a splash with some new ideas.

Here’s the key five points I took away from the content-packed keynote:

Read more: Notes from the Keynote at the SharePoint Conference 2018

Thinking with SAMR – SharePoint News Changes

During the keynote from the SharePoint Conference 2018 in Las Vegas yesterday, Microsoft made several announcements of new goodness coming to SharePoint. One of those is the ability to create and publish organisational news, rather than just team news:

Deem specific sites as “organizational news sources” – as news rolls up to people across their SharePoint home in Office 365, or via the news tab in their SharePoint mobile [app], the news that comes from “organizational news source” sites will get special visual treatment bubbling up to the top of one’s view.

I said we could apply the SAMR model beyond educational technology. Let’s try this quickly with the announcement above from the SharePoint Conference:

– Substitution – this would look like a simple replacement of one form of distributing organisational news with another form but without any functional improvement, such as from email (a widely followed current practice) to online publishing (in SharePoint, as per the announcement). The new out-of-the-box page approval workflow probably sits here too, as it just replaces what happened previously with a new way that fits the change for news.

– Augmentation – something has to be added to the mix that wasn’t previously possible with the earlier form. Audience targeting based on metadata classifiers was also announced yesterday, and the use of this for organisational news would push the new feature up a level. Comments that have shared visibility, likes and sharing options that feed into the Microsoft Graph could be another example at this level.

What about modification and redefinition though? I’m not saying that Microsoft announced the capabilities that follow; I have tried to imagine what it could do with organisational news in order to transform the process (that is, do something at the modification or redefinition levels).

How about:

– There’s a lot of usually hidden chatter that goes on inside an organisation about current happenings, and whether these are good or bad for the organisation and its employees. It is hidden because it happens in non-public places, like email, instant messaging, and more. Based on real-time sentiment analysis of this hidden chatter – with suitable data protection to ensure only anonymised data is used – prompt the writers of organisational news with topics and specifics to write about … right here and now.

– Automatically generate an organisational news item to address any misconceptions that the sentiment analysis has identified. Do this without involving internal communications staff directly at all, but of course these would have to be based on authoritative news predicates.

What else could be a modification or redefinition, to use Ruben’s levels, in thinking about organisational news in SharePoint?

Re-Imagining Effective Work – the SAMR Model

Ruben Puentedura developed the SAMR model to categorise how educational technology can be used to enhance education. There are four levels of potential impact:

– Substitution is the first and most basic, where new technology is used to replace a current approach, but with no functional improvement. For example, instead of printing lecture notes and handing them out to students, a substitutionary approach would see the teacher saving the notes as a PDF and providing a download link.

– Augmentation is the second level, and represents a good step beyond mere like-for-like substitution. It introduces one or more functional improvements, based on what the technology could enable. For example, lecture notes could be published for access online, but now contains in-line surveys or quizzes to check comprehension and understanding. Quiz answers are aggregated and reported to the teacher, who can then modify his or her lesson plan to address the areas of low comprehension.

– Modification steps beyond the enhancement level at which both substitution and augmentation exist, and into a transformation category. In Ruben’s terms, it represents a “significant task redesign”. For example, let’s say a student keeps getting the quiz questions wrong, even after going through the material a couple of times. One modification option could be the dynamic inclusion of new learning materials, such as videos and animations to explain the concept in a different way, based on the specific areas the student is struggling with. If multiple students are struggling with the same concept, perhaps the content baseline is dynamically updated so the next students in the class received better first-time teaching. As another idea, if the lecture notes are based on a book, areas of low comprehension across all students across the world are aggregated for the original author, who then revises his or her material to make it more fit-for-purpose for future students. This last idea may even slip into the next level.

– Redefinition is the fourth and final level in Ruben’s model, and by its very nature, the most challenging to imagine. Redefinition is where “tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable.” For example, imagine redefining a lecture as an adventure in a mixed reality world, where students have challenges to accomplish in a limited time. Or imagine redefining a lecture as a collaborative co-learning and co-teaching activity that brings together students from different schools around the world to share learnings, experiences, and resources.

Ruben’s model applies more broadly beyond his domain of interest (educational technology). All efforts to introduce change through technology can be classified using Ruben’s model. In my opinion, however, the really interesting way to use the model is as a thinking and design prompt in advance of introducing change, along the lines of “If we did X, what level would we reach?” and “Given what’s possible with the technology, what options do we have for a redefinition move?”

Conversations for Understanding – the Amway RealTalk Approach

Claire from Amway explains their RealTalk initiative to create the context for people to talk about difficult subjects without trying to “win” the conversation. The overall intent was to improve the culture at Amway.

A few key points:
– People were encouraged to participate with a positive intent, and assume positive intent on the behalf of others.
– RealTalk was about dialogue not debate. People needed to listen to understand, not talk to win.
– After the RealTalk series finished, people continued to use the format for additional difficult subjects.

Using Data Analytics on People for Better Decision Making

Chantrelle and Natalie from the Workplace Analytics practice at Microsoft share three ideas of how organisations are using people analytics (defined as “the use of data about human behavior, relationships and traits to make business decisions“):

1. In process transformation, by comparing and contrasting process productivity across different teams within a company. If one team is significantly more productive, they are a “bright spot” (showing that something different is possible), and can be engaged to teach other teams.

2. In cultural transformation, by crunching comparative data on things like managerial interaction with direct reports, and the effect of different levels on employee engagement scores. Having data on the difference can bring real data to change programs.

3. In strategic transformation, by looking at the number of hours people are working each week, and focusing change interventions on people and teams who are not overburdened with work. If there’s no schedule-space for embracing change or experimenting with a new way of doing things – because people are “schedule-slammed” – it’s hard to make progress. See diagram above.

Read more: How People Analytics Can Help You Change Process, Culture, and Strategy (Harvard Business Review)

SharePoint Swoop – The Intranet Makeover Show

Microsoft published Season 1 of SharePoint Swoop: The Intranet Makeover Show, where three well-known MVPs swoop into an organisation for three days and make some SharePoint and Office 365 magic happen. This is Microsoft’s description:

SharePoint Swoop is not a typical reality show — this new, enterprise-focused, five-part web series from Microsoft is jam-packed with fun. Three MVP experts have just three days to help an international toy company modernize its overwhelmed intranet. Consultative makeovers of this kind normally take weeks. Can they do it?

Welcome to a world of enterprise reality TV. A world where the journey of a growing pop culture business intersects with three superhero Microsoft MVPs. Watch as it blends innovative technology and hands-on best practices for an intranet makeover you won’t want to miss. We caught it all on tape and are excited to share the learnings, best practices, and outcomes with you.

Some reflections after binge watching the 5 episodes:

1. This is a great initiative to show what’s possible when well-informed SharePoint and Office 365 experts are empowered to help. Sue I have met 3-4 times, Benjamin once, and I haven’t yet met Laura. They are good people in the community, and do great work.

2. While the show is positioned as helping the firm to “modernise its overwhelmed intranet” in three days, the reality of delivery is on a much smaller scale. One help site using a Hub site is built. One team site for The Shire is created. One PowerApp for tracking truck movements is built. Those are all great things to build within a three day period, but it isn’t the grandness of “modernising the intranet.” The CIO at the end of video 5 has the right expectation: this is a 1-2 year project / initiative.

3. The makeover shows what it should be like, in my view, when building and creating new ways of working for people and teams. Talk and listen. Explain and learn. Build and prototype. Improve and deliver iteratively. Get feedback and take the next step. In my book Collaboration Roadmap, I talk about the “Business Impact Group” that engages with business groups and teams to do this very thing. It is also the Facilitated Group Re-Imagining strategy in one of my other books – User Adoption Strategies. It’s great to see the idea come to life as a mini-series. It’s an informative way of showing the reality of an often hard-to-describe job description.

4. Office 365 and SharePoint Online enable (and demand) a new profile of the IT professional. The need for server administration, configuration, monitoring, upgrading, etc., is declining significantly. The need for bringing the innovation of what’s possible based on cloud-delivered services to people and teams is the new game. Sue, Benjamin and Laura demonstrate this new profile so well.

5. What. An. Amazing. Office.

I’m sure there’s more that could be said, but for today … awesome work to all involved.

Storytelling for Leaders – Auckland on May 29

Shawn Callahan is presenting his Storytelling for Leaders workshop in Auckland in a couple of weeks:

Anecdote’s Storytelling for Leaders program will teach you the techniques you need to better influence, engage and inspire others – just as thousands of leaders already have, from Melbourne to New York, London to Singapore.

Organisations are changing quickly. Structures are flatter and reporting lines more complex. Staff and customers are spread around the world. And everyone is deafened by the ‘noise’ of information inundation. Yet the modern leader still needs to be able to influence and persuade in this constantly fluid environment…and this leadership occurs at all levels in an organisation.

The sharing of stories orally is a powerful way of cutting through. When we tell stories, people ‘get’ what we are saying – and they remember it. This is the case whether we are communicating informally (which is what we do most of the time) or in a more formal environment such as a presentation.

More: Eventbrite – Storytelling for Leaders