Should You Pilot Enterprise Communities? Three Tips for Success

In a recent blog post called "Drop The Pilot," Andrew McAfee argues that most "Enterprise 2.0" pilots are unintentionally set up to fail. This is in part because such enterprise communities depend upon broad employee acceptance in order to be effective. This doesn't mean that collaboration platforms are only effective in organizations with tens of thousands of employees, but it certainly helps. And the challenge with pilots is that they are frequently focused on a subset of the organization -- these pilots never really have the chance to fully realize their potential. Perhaps the best pilots are those that are not limited in scale but limited in time -- they determine adoption rates over time and use the pilot to figure out how to make the final rollout more successful.

In his blog post McAfee goes on to suggest six steps toward effective deployment which gel nicely with the key lessons learned from the United Business Media (UBM) case study published recently. McAfee suggests you should:

  1. "Deploy tools that deliver a novel capability, like microblogging, social network formation, or prediction markets. Tools that deliver something novel -- that aren’t trying to displace an incumbent -- avoid the 9X effect.
  2. Make sure the tools are frictionless, freeform, and emergent. This lowers barriers to participation and altruism.
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