IL2012: Engaging Users

Michelle Boule, author of Mob Rule Learning, started the session on how to engage staff with crowdsourcing. She started by reminding us that to get people to use crowdsourcing, you have to give people a purpose. Stick people in the room and give them a problem and tell them to solve it. Give direction, but leave the rest of the stuff up to them.

The the crowd choose their own tools. They might like to type things out in a Google doc or sit around and talk … they might even want to send attachments around via email … we might not like that, but let them do it. letting people choose the tech they want to use is a great way to introduce people to new tools in your library.

Celebrate the successes and failures. We already celebrate our successes a lot, but don’t forget the failures. It took steps to get there and at least you tried. The easiest way to get people engaged is to include them in the decision making processes. [Michele’s slides]

Lisa Hardy was up next to share examples from her library. One thing to remember is that enthusiasm is contagious (I totally agree)! The other thing to remember is to have an end to the project, it doesn’t mean you stop working, but you have a goal and a time to focus on those successes and failures.

One way Lisa’s library engaged users was to ask those interested in participating why they were there, why they wanted to participate in their own words. At their meeting they didn’t have speakers, instead everyone just shared their stories. Another trick was to take field trips to organizations in the area and hear what issues those groups were having. I like this idea, too often we get stuck on what’s happening in libraries and not on what’s happening in the world around us and what we can learn from them!

Notes from the audience – crowdsourcing won’t work in organizations where the bureaucracy is so engrained that people can’t leave that at the door. Groups that won’t speak because their boss/manager is in the room won’t succeed at this. You can of course leave the managers out of the room – but that’s not the best way to solve things either. Another option might be to have an anonymous feedback tool like writing down things on slips of appear and putting them in the hat so it’s anonymous.

Sometimes in these sessions with groups of people you have the negative nellies or a group of 20% of your staff doing all of the participating … these situations are a great place for a moderator to step in, someone from outside of the organization who can call people on their negativity and/or try and get the other people in the room to participate. Another recommendation from the room was to use the Belbin Team Roles quiz.

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