Office Hours Recap :: December 2016

Office Hours is 45 minutes of news, stories, and Q+A with Susan, Chris, Zucu, and special guests from the KA Advance community.

Last month’s Office Hours featured a tour of Dewberry’s Synthesis Intranet with Lisa Cochran.

Dewberry’s information and communications needs are as diverse as their organization—54 offices, 2000 employees, and over 60 business units. They launched ID, their Synthesis Intranet, at the beginning of 2015 and the business is so happy with it that the intranet team received an internal award of excellence. Yet their intranet only has 6 community sites. Watch the recording to learn how Lisa and the Dewberry team set priorities and managed complexity to keep their intranet simple and easy to use.

If you only have a few minutes, we recommend jumping to 4:00 for information about KA Connect 2017’s theme and 18:45 for an overview of ID’s Home Page and Communities.

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Office Hours Recap :: November 2016

Office Hours is 45 minutes of news, stories, and Q+A with Susan, Chris, Zucu, and special guests from the KA Advance community.

This month’s Office Hours featured an introduction to the Essential Content Checklist and interviews with Pat Peyton (Mead & Hunt) and Molly Johnson Wagner (Dewberry) about how they’re using Synthesis to improve operational efficiency in their firms.

If you only have a few minutes, we recommend jumping to 7:45 for an introduction to the Essential Content Checklist, 16:25 for Pat’s thoughts on how to use the checklist to improve IT and MarComm intranet content and 33:20 for Molly’s thoughts on using the checklist to support project management process reengineering.

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Behind the Scenes: How Shepley Bulfinch Prepared Their Community Managers to Drive Intranet Success

Shepley Bulfinch Community Managers

Not long ago, I described one of the more successful Intranet launches I’ve seen—the launch of Finch at the Boston-based architecture firm, Shepley Bulfinch. While the launch itself was certainly a story worth sharing, the planning leading up to the launch is equally so. In my experience, the long-term success of any Intranet hinges heavily on developing a small group of highly engaged and effective Community Managers. In this regard, Finch was no exception. Much of the success of this launch started with the thoughtful and intelligent approach used to engage and train the firm’s Community Managers engineered by Jim Martin, the firm’s CIO and Synthesis Sponsor.

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Behind the Scenes: How Shepley Bulfinch Launched Their Intranet and Engaged Users Post-Launch


New products are launched all around us everyday. Usually, we hardly even notice. Sometimes, they yield a passing nod or a mention. And, other times…well…everything is executed so intelligently that we just have to step back, take stock, and say, “Now that was something!”

I had one of those moments last Fall with the launch of Finch, a new Synthesis Social Intranet for architecture firm, Shepley Bulfinch. To start, the launch statistics were astounding—in just 90 days the firm had over 50% participation and an average of 9 posts a day. More importantly, after seeing the inner workings of this launch, I was really impressed with the thoughtful, intelligent approach taken by the team and had to document what I learned for the KA Advance community.

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Office Hours Recap :: March 2015

In addition to community and product news with Susan and Chris, Shepley Bulfinch’s Intranet Champion Jim Martin and Head Community Champion PJ Centofanti gave us a tour of their Synthesis Intranet, Finch.

If you only have a few minutes, we recommend jumping to 3:10 for information about the upcoming Synthesis Workshop and 16:55 for the Intranet Tour of Finch.

March 2015 Topics

0:50 KA Connect: Registration Information for KA Connect 2015

1:45 AEC Knowledge Management Survey Reminder

3:10 KA Advance: Synthesis Workshop San Francisco Program Overview

7:30 KA Advance: Questions from the KA Advance LinkedIn Group

8:55 KA Advance: Driving a Professional Development Grant Program at DLR Group Using Synthesis Article

11:15 Synthesis 5 Update

12:25 Synthesis Mobile: Share Extensions

13:00 Product Roadmap: What’s Next?

14:15 When will Synthesis Mobile for Android will include the activity stream?

16:55 Intranet Tour: Finch at Shepley Bulfinch

30:00 Do “practice links” on the left nav open community sites or wiki pages?

30:50 Did Community Managers take leave with any action items based on their group exercise of analyzing the most active posts?

32:35 What was the genesis of #AskFinch?

37:00 What are the mechanics of the “no orphaned post” policy?

39:45 Do you have plans to use variations on #AskFinch for specific communities or to curate #AskFinch discussions into wiki pages?

Next Office Hours on July 16

Registration is now open for the next KA Advance Office Hours on July 16th at 11 AM PST.

Behind the Scenes: How DLR Group Drove a Professional Development Grant Program Using Synthesis

DLR Group PDG Winners

The culture of knowledge sharing at DLR Group goes back over a decade. In fact, it was 2006 when the firm launched its most high profile peer-to-peer network — DLR University (DLRU). Hosted at the IslandWood center on Bainbridge Island, just outside Seattle, DLRU brings together the firm’s senior leaders with rising stars and younger staff for three days of face-to-face knowledge sharing, learning and team-building.

I had the pleasure of experiencing DLRU first hand in August of 2012. The theme of that event was Technology + Innovation. I was asked to share my thoughts on the state of technology-driven knowledge sharing and introduce the firm to our concept of The Connected Practice. In addition to speaking, I stayed for the entire event and I was able to participate in the social activities which make DLRU work — small breakout sessions, walks in the woods, communal meals, and small group report outs.

From the moment I stepped foot on IslandWood, it was obvious to me that DLRU was about connecting the firm across offices and disciplines long before we started using the term Connected Practice. Over the years, DLRU has served as an incubator of sorts for a wide range of innovative ideas and has become a “sought after ticket” for individuals across the firm. To date, over 350 people have participated in DLRU.

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